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3 1924 099 175 196 

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Having been consulted by the family and friends of 
tbe late Lord Elgin as to tbe best mode of giving to 
the world some record of Ms life, and having thus con- 
tracted a certain responsibility in the work now laid 
before the pubKc, I have considered it my duty to prefix 
a few words by way of Preface to the following pages. 
On Lord Elgin's death it was thought that a career 
intimately connected with so many critical points in the 
history of the British Empire, and containuig in itself 
so much of intrinsic interest, ought not to be left with- 
out an enduring memorial. The need of this was the 
more felt because Lord Elgin was prevented, by the 
peculiar circumstances of his pubhc course, from en- 
joying the famihar recognition to which he would else 
have been entitled amongst his contemporaries in 
England. 'For ' (if I may use the words which I have 
employed on a former occasion) ' it is one of the sad 
' consequences of a statesman's life spent like his in the 
' constant service of his country on arduous foreign 
' missions, that in his own land, in his own circle,. 
' almost in his own home, his place is occupied by 
' others, his very face is forgotten ; he can mauifcain no 
' permanent ties with those who rule the opinion, or 
' obtain the mastery, of the day ; he has identified 


' himself with no existing party ; he has made himself 
' felt in none of those domestic and personal struggles 
' which attract the attention and fix the interest of 
' the many who contribute in large measure to form 
' the pubhc opinion of the time. For twenty years the 
' few intervals of Lord Elgin's residence in these islands 
' were to be counted not by years, but by months ; and 
' the majority of those who might be reckoned amongst 
' his friends and acquaintances, remembered him chiefly 
' as the eager and accomplished Oxford student at Christ 
' Church or at Merton.' 

The materials for supplying this blank were, in some 
respects, abundant. Besides the official despatches and 
other communications which had passed between him- 
self and the Home Government during his successive 
absences in Jamaica, Canada, China, and India, he had 
in the two latter positions kept up a constant corre- 
spondence, almost of the nature of a journal, with Lady 
Elgin, which combines with his reflections on public 
events the expression of his more personal feelings, and 
thus reveals not only his own genial and affectionate 
nature, but also indicates something of that singularly 
poetic and philosophic turn of mind, that union of grace 
and power, which, had his course lain in the more tran- 
quil walks of life, would have achieved no mean place 
amongst English thinkers and wi'iters. 

These materials his family, at my suggestion, com- 
mitted to my friend Mr. Theodore Walrond, whoso 
sound judgment, comprehensive views, and official ex- 
perience are known to many besides myself, and who 
seemed not less fitted to act as interpreter to the 
public at large of such a life and character, because, 
not having been personally accjuainted with Lord 


Elgin, or connected with any of the public transactions 
recorded in the following pages, he was able to speak 
with the sobriety of calm appreciation, rather than 
the warmth of personal attachment. In this spirit he 
kindly undertook, in the intervals of constant public 
occupations, to select from the vast mass of materials 
placed at his disposal such extracts as most vividly 
brought out the main features of Lord Elgin's career, 
adding such illustrations as could be gleaned from 
private or published documents or from the remem- 
brance of friends. If the work has unavoidably been 
delayed beyond the expected term, yet it is hoped 
that the interest in those great colonial dependencies 
for which Lord Elgin laboured, has not diminished 
with the lapse of years. It is believed also that there 
is no time when it will not be good for his country- 
men to have brought before them those statesmanlike 
gifts which accomplished the successful accommodation 
of a more varied series of novel and entangled situations 
than has, perhaps, fallen to the lot of any other public 
man within our own memory. Especially might be 
named that rare quality of a strong overruling sense of 
the justice due from man to man, from nation to nation ; 
that ' combination of speculative and practical ability ' 
(so wrote one who had deep experience of his mind) 
' which peculiarly fitted him to solve the problem how 
' the subject races of a civilised empire are to be go- 
' verned ; ' that firm, courageous, and far-sighted confi- 
dence in the triumph of those liberal and constitutional 
principles (in the best sense of the word), which, having 
seciu-ed the greatness of England, were, in his judg- 
ment, also applicable, under other forms, to the difficult 
circumstances of new countries and diverse times.' 


'It is a singular coincidence,' said Lord Elgin, in a 
speecli at Benares a few months before his end, ' that 
' three successive Governors-General of India should have 
' stood towards each other in the relationship of contem- 
' porary friends. Lord Dalhousie, when named to the 
' government of India, was the youngest man who had 
' ever been appointed to a situation of such high respon- 
' sibility and trust. Lord Canning was in the prime of 
' life ; and I, if I am not ah-eady on the decline, am nearer 
' to the verge of it than either of my contemporaries who 
' have preceded me. When I was leaving England for 
' India, Lord EUenborough, who is now, alas ! the only 
' surviving ex-Governor-General, said to me, ' " You 
' " are not a very old man; but, depend upon it, you 
' " mil find yourself by far the oldest man in India." ' 
To that mournful catalogue was added his own name 
within the brief space of one year ; and now a fourth, 
not indeed bound to the others by ties of personal or 
political friendship, but like in energetic discharge of 
his duties and in the prime of usefulness in which he 
was cut oflf, has fallen by a fate yet more untimely. 

These tragical incidents invest the high ofBce to 
which such precious lives have been sacrificed with a 
new and solemn interest. There is something espe- 
cially pathetic when the gallant vessel, as it were, goes 
down within very sight of the harbour, with all its 
accumulated treasures. "But no losses more appeal at 
the moment to the heart of the country, no careers 
deserve to be more carefully enshrined in its grateful 

Arthur P. Stakley. 

Deanery, Westminster : 
March 4, 1872. 



Early Years. 


Birtli and Parentage — School and College — Taste for Philosophy — 
Training for Public Life — SLRJor Southampton — S peech on the 
Address — Appointed Governor of Jamaica 1 



Shipwreck — Death of Lady Elgin — Position of a Governor in a West 
Indian Colony such as Jamaica — State of Public Opinion in the 
Island — Questions of Finance, Education^ Agriculture, the Labour- 
ing Classes, Religion, the Church — Harmonising Influences of British 
Connexion — Resignation — Appointment to Canada . . . .12 



State of the Colony — First Impressions — Provincial Politics — 'Respon- 
sible Government ' — Irish Immigrants — Upper Canada — Change of 
Ministry — French Habitans — The French Question — The Irish — 
The British — Discontents ; their Causes and Remedies — ^Navigation 
Laws — Retrospect — Speech on Education . . . . .31 



Discontent — Rebellion LossgsJBill — Opposition to it — Neutrality o f the 
Governor— 'Kiots afMontreal — Firmness of the Governor — Approval 
of Home Government — Fresh Riots — Removal of Seat of Govern- 
ment from Montreal — Forbearance of Lord Elgin — Retrospect . . 70 




Annexation Movement — Remedial Measures — Repeal of the Naviga- 
tion Laws — Reciprocity with the United States — Hiatory of the Two 
Measures — Duty of Supporting Authority — Views on Colonial 
Government — Colonial Interests the Sport of Home Parties — No 
Separation ! — Self-Government not necessarily Republican — Value of 
the Monarchical Principle — Defences of the Colony . . . .90 



The ' Clergy Reserves ' — History of the Question — Mixed Motives of 
the Movement — Feeling in the Province — In Upper Canada — In 
Lower Canada — Among Roman Catholics — In the Church — Secu- 
larisation — Questions of Emigration, Labour, Land-tenure, Education, 
Native Tribes — RelationsjotlxlheLUnited States — Mutual Courtesies 
— Farewell to Canada — At Home . . . ' ^ . . . 1.34 


FiEST Mission to China — Peeliminaeies. 

Origin of the Blission — Appointment of Lord Elgin — Malta — Egypt — 
Ceylon — News of the Indian Mutiny — Penang — Singapore — Diver- 
sion of Troops to India — On Board the ' Shannon ' — Hong-Kong 
— Change of PI ans — C ale utta and Lo rd Canning — Return to China 
— PerplBSiiJei^^^^^^Caprices of Climate — Arrival of Baron Gros — Prepa- 
ration for Action 170 


FiEST Mission to China— Canton. 

Improved Prospects — Advance on Canton — Bombardment and Capture 
— Joint Tribunal — Maintenance of Order — Canton Prisons — Move 
Northward — Swatow — Mr. Bums — Foochow — Ningpo — Chusnn 
— Potou — Shanghae — Missionaries 210 


FiEST Mission to China — Tientsin. 

Advance to the Peiho — Taking of the Forts — The Peiho River — Tient- 
sin — Negotiations — The Treaty — The Right of Sending a Minister 
to Pekin — Return southward — Sails for Japan .... 245 



First Mission to China — Jatan". 


Embavk for Japan — Coast Views — Simoda — Off Yeddo — Yeddo — Con- 
ferences — A Country Ride — Peace and Plenty — Feudal System — A 
Temple— A Juggler — Signing the Treaty — Ita Terms — Retrospect , 260 


First Mission to China — The Yangtze Kian-g. 

Delays— Subterfuges defeated by Firmness — Revised Tariff — Opium 
Trade — Up the Yangtze Kiang — Silver Island — Nankin — Rebel War- 
fare — The Hen-Barrier — Unkuown Waters — Difficult Navigation — 
Iliinkovc — The Governor-G-eneral — Return — Taking to the Gun- 
boats — Nganching — Nankin — Retrospect — More Delays — Troubles 
at Canton — Return to Hong-Kong — Mission completed — Home- 
ward Voyage . 275 


■ Second Mission to China — Outward. 

Lord Elgin in England — Origin of Second Mission to China — Gloomy 
Prospects — Egypt — The Pyramids — The Sphinx — Passengers Home- 
ward bound — Ceylon — Shipwreck — Penang — Singapore — Shanghae 
— Meeting with Mr. Bruce — Talien-Whan — Sir Hope Grant — Plans 
for Landing . . 314 


Second Mission to China — Pbkin. 

The Landing — Chinese Overtures — Taking of the Forts — The Peiho 
— Tientsin — Negotiations broken off — New Plenipotentiaries — 
Agreement made — Agreement broken — Treacherous Seizure of Mr. 
Parkes and others — Advance on Pelrin — Return of some of the Cap- 
tives — Fate of the rest — Burning of the Summer Palace — Convention 
signed — Funeral of the murdered Captives — Imperial Palace — Prince 
Kung — Arrival of Mr. Bruce — Results of the Mission . . . •'^40 


Second Mission to China — Homeward. 

Leaving the Gulf — Detention at Shanghae — Kowloon — Adieu to China 
— Island of Luzon — Churches — Government — Manufactures — Gene- 
ral Condition — Island of Java — Buitenzorg — Bantong — Volcano — 
Soirees — Retrospect — Ceylon — The Mediterranean — England — 
Warm Reception — Dunfermline — Royal Academy Dinner — Mansion 
House Dinner .... 374 




Appointed Viceroy of India — Forebodinffs — Voyage to India — Installa- 
tion — Deaths of Mr. Ritchie, Lord Canning, General Bruce — The Hot 
Season — Business resumed — State of the Empire — Letters : the 
Army ; Cultivation of Cotton ; Orientals not all Children ; Mission- 
aries ; Rumours of Disaffection ; Alarms ; Murder of a Native ; 
AfFghanietan ; Policy of Lord Canning ; Consideration for Natives . 395 



Duty of a Governor-General to visit the Provinces — Progress to the 
North- West — Benares — Speech on the Opening of the Railway — 
Cawnpore — Grand Durbar at Agra — Delhi — ^Hurdwar — Address to 
the Sikh Chiefs at Umballa — Kussowlie — Simla — Letters : Supply 
of Labour ; Special Legislation ; Missionary Gathering ; Finance ; 
Seat of Government ; Value of Training at Head-quarters ; Aris- 
tocracies; against Intermeddling — The Sitana Fanatics — Himalayas 
— Rotung Pass — Twig Bridge — Illness— Death — Characteristics — 
Burial-place 426 




&c. &c. 






James, eighth Earl of Elgin and twelfth Earl of Kin- Birth and 
cardine, was born in London on July 20, 1811. His P^'^^^^'g^- 
father, whose career as Ambassador at Constantinople 
is so well known in connection with the ' Elgin Marbles,' 
was the chief and representative of the ancient Norman 
house, whose hero was ' Robert the Bruce.' From him, 
it may be said that he inherited the genial and playful 
spirit which gave such a charm to his social and 
parental relations, and which helped him to elicit from 
others the knowledge of which he made so much use in 
the many diverse situations of his after-life. His 
mother, Lord Elgin's second wife, was a daughter of 
Mr. Oswald, of Dunnikier, in Fifeshire. Her deep 
piety, united with wide reach of mind and varied cul- 
ture, made her admirably qualified to be the depositary 
of the ardent thoughts and aspirations of his boyhood ; 
and, as he grew up, he found a second mother in his 
elder sister, Matilda, who became the wife of Sir John 
MaxweU, of PoUok. To the influence of such a mother 


and such a sister he probably owed the pliancy and 
power of sympathy with others for which he was re- 
markable, and which is not often found in characters of 
so tough a fibre. To them, from his earliest years, he 
confided the outpourings of his deeper religious feelings. 
One expression of such feelmg, dated June 1821, may 
be worth recording as an example of that strong sense 
of duty and afifection towards his brothers, which, 
beginning at that early age, marked his whole subse- 
quent career. ' Be with me this week, in my studies, 
' my amusements, in everything. When at my lessons, 
' may I think only of them ; playing when I play : when 
' dressing, may I be quick, and never put ofi^ time, and 
' never amuse myself but in playhours. Oh ! may I set 
' a good example to my brothers. Let me not teach 
' them anything that is bad, and may they not learn 
' wickedness fi-om seeing me. May I command my 
' temper and passions, and give me a better heart for 
' their good.' 
School and "^^ learned the rudiments of Latin and Greek under 
coUege. the careful teaching of a resident tutor, Mr. Fergus 
Jar dine. At the age of fourteen he went to Eton, and 
thence, in due time, to Christ Church, Oxford, where 
he found himself among a group of young men des- 
tined to distinction in after-hfe — Lord Canning, James 
Ramsay (afterwards Lord Dalhousie), the late Duke 
of Newcastle, Sidney Herbert, and Mr. Gladstone. 

There is httle to record respecting this period of his 
life ; but a touching interest attaches to the following 
extracts from a letter written by his brother, Sir 
Frederick Bruce, in November, 1865. 

' My recollections of Elgin's early Hfe are, owing to 
' circumstances, almost nothing. In the year 1820 he 
' went abroad with my father and mother, and was away 
' for two years. From that time I recollect nothino- 
* until he went to Eton ; and his holidays were then 
' divided between Torquay, where my eldest brother 


'was, and Broomhall ; ^ and of them my memory has re= 
' tained nothing but the assistance in his later hohdays 
'he used to give me in classical studies. 

' We were together for about a year and a half at 
' Oxford. But he was so far advanced in his studifeSj 
' that we had very little in common to bring us together; 
' and I hardly remembet any striking fact connected with 
' Mm, except one or two speeches at the Union Club, 
' when in eloquence and originaHty he far outshone his 
' competitors.^ 

' I do not know whether Mr. Welland is still alive : 
^ he probably, better than anyone, could give some sketch 

* of his intellectual growth, and of that beautiful trait 
*• in his character, the devotion and abnegation he showed 

* to poor Bruce^ in hi^s long and painfal Ulness. 

' He was always reserved about his own feehngs and 
' aspirations. Owing to the shortness of his stay at Ox- 
' ford, he had to work very hard; and his friends, like 
' Newcastle and Hamilton, were men who sought him for 
' the soundness of his judgment, which led them to seek 
' his advice in all matters. He always stood to them in 
' the relation of a much older man. He had none of the 
' frailties of youth, and, though very capable of enjoying 
' its diversions, life with him from a very early date was 
' " sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought." Its 
' practical aspect to him was one of anxiety and difficulty, 
' while his intellect was attracted to high and abstract 
' speculation, and took little interest in the every-day 
' routine which is sufficient occupation for ordinary 
' minds. Like all men of original mind, he Uved a life 
' apart from his fellows. 

' He looked upon the family estate rather as a trust 

^ The family seat in FifesMre. ' placing tim as to the natural gift 

" The most distinguished of all ' of eloquence at the head of all those 

those competitors has borne his tes- ' I knew either at Eton or at the 

timony to the truth of this ex- 'University.' 

pression. ' I -well remember,' Mr. => His elder brother. 

Gladstone wrote after his death, 

B 2 


' than as an inheritance — as far more valuable than money 
' on account of the family traditions, and the position 
' which in oiir state of society is given to a family con- 
' nected historically with the country. Elgin felt this 
' deeply, and he clung to it in spite of difficulties which 
' would have deterred a man of more purely selfish 
' views.' 

' It is melancholy to reflect,' adds Sir F. Bruce, ' how 
' those have disappeared who could have filled up this 
' gap in his history.' It is a reflection even more melan- 
choly, that the loved and trusted brother, who shared so 
many of his labours and his aspirations, no longer Hves 
to write that history, and to illustrate in his own person 
the spirit by which it was animated. 

The sense of the difficulties above referred to strongly 
impressed his mind even before he went to Oxford, and 
laid the foundation of that habit of self-denial in all 
personal matters, which enabled him through life to re- 
tain a feeling of independence, and at the same time to 
give effect to the promptings of a generous nature. 
' You tell me,' he writes to his father from college, ' I 
' coin money. I uncoined your last order by putting it 
' into the fire, having already supplied myself. ' 

About the middle of his Oxford career, a studentship 
fell vacant, which, according to the strange system then 
prevalent, was in the gift of Dr. Bull, one of the Canons 
of Christ Church. Instead of bestowing it, as was too 
commonly done, on grounds of private interest. Dr. 
Bull placed the valuable prize at the disposal of the 
Dean and Censors, to be conferred on the most worthy 
of the undergraduates. Their choice fell on James 
Bruce. In announcing this to a member of the Bruce 
family. Dr. Bull wrote : ' Dn Smith, no less than the 
' present college officers, assures me that there is no 
'■ young man, of whatever rank, who could be more 
' acceptable to the society, and none whose appointment 
' as the reward of excellent deportment, diligence, and 


'right-mindedness, would do more good among the 
' young men. ' 

A letter written about this time to his father shows 
that the young student, with a sagacity beyond his 
years, discerned the germs of an e^dl which has since 
grown to a great height, and now Hes at the root of some 
of the most troublesome questions connected with Uni- 
versity Education. 

In my own mind I confess I am much of opinion, that college 
is put off in general till too late ;' and the gaining of honours, 
therefore, becomes too severe to be useful to men who are to 
enter into professions. It was certainly originally intended 
that the degrees which require only a knowledge of the clas- 
sics should be taken at an earlier age, in order to admit of a 
residence after they were taken, during which the student 
might devote himself to science or composition, and those 
habits of reflection by which the mind might be formed, and 
a practical advantage drawn from the stores of knowledge 
already acquired. By putting them off to so late an age, the 
consequence has been, that it has been necessary proportionably 
to increase the difficulty of their attainment,, and to mix up in 
college examinations (which were supposed to depend upon 
study alone) essays in many cases of a nature that demands 
the most prolonged and deep reflection. The effect of this is 
evident. Those who, from circumstances, have neither oppor- 
tunity nor leisure thus to reflect, must, in order to secure their 
success, acquire that kind of superficial information which may 
enable them to draw suflSciently plausible conclusions, upon 
very shght grounds ; and [of] many who have this form of 
knowledge, most will eventually be proved (if this system is 
earned to an excess) to have but little of the substance of it. 

He had meant to read for double honours, but illness, 

' 'We are disposed, in fact, to ' entertained, that students now stay 

regard the question of University ' too long at the Public Schools and 

pxtension,in this sense, as depending 'Universities, and that young men 

entirely on thepossibility of reducing ' ought not to be engaged in the mere 

' the time required for a University ' preparatory studies of their life up to 

' degree, and we should like to see ' the age of twenty-three or twenty- 

' more attention paid to this point. . . 'four.' — TVmes, May 22, 1869, 

' . . The opinion is strongly and widely 


brought on by over-work, obliged him to confine himself 
to classics. All who know Oxford are aware, that the 
term ' Classics,' as there used, embraces not only Greek 
and Latin scholarship, but also Ancient History and 
Philosophy. In these latter studies the natural taste and 
previous education of James Bruce led him to take a 
special interest, and he threw himself into the work in 
no niggard spirit.^ At the Michaelmas Examination of 
1832, he was placed in the first class in classics, and 
common report spoke of him as ' the best first of his 
' year.' Not long afterwards he was elected Fellow of 
Merton. He appears to have been a candidate also for 
the Eldon Scholarship, but without success. In a con- 
test for a legal prize it was no discredit to be defeated 
by Roundell Palmer. 
Taste for Somc of his Contemporaries have a lively remem- 
phy.°^°' brance of the eagerness with which, while still a student, 
he travelled into fields at that period beyond the some- 
what narrow range of academic study. Professor Mau- 
rice at one time. Dr. Pusey at another, were his de- 
lighted companions in exploring the dialogues of Plato. 
Mr. Gladstone ' remembers his speaking of MUton's 
' prose works with great fervour when they were at Eton 
' tog-ether ; ' and adds the confession — interesting alike as 
regards both the young students — ' 'I think it was from 
' his mouth I first learned that Milton had written any 
' prose.' This affection for those soul- stirring treatises 
of the great advocate of free speech and inquiry he 
always retained : they formed his constant companions 

' There remains a memorandum ' connection with the Bible History,' 

in his handwriting of a systematic with the view of seeing 'how all 

course of study to he pursued for his 'hang upon each other, and develops 

degree, in which two points are re- ' the leading schemes of Providence.' 

markable — Ist, the hroad and liberal The various branches of mental and 

spirit in which it is conceived; 2ndly, moral science he proposes, in like 

that the whole is based on the manner, ' to hinge upon the New 

Bible. Ancient History, together ' Testament, as constituting, in an- 

with Aristotle's Politics n,nd the ' other line, the history of moral and 

ancient orators, are to be read ' in ' intellectual development.' 


wherever he travelled; and there are many occasions in 
which their iafluence may he traced on his thought and 
language. ' I would rather swallow a bushel of chaff 
' than lose the precious grains of truth which may some- 
' where or other be scattered in- it,' was a sentiment 
which, though expressed in much later hfe, was charac- 
teristic of his whole career. In this spirit he listened 
with deep interest to the roll of theological controversj? 
then raging at Oxford, though he was never carried 
away by its violence. 

In after life he had little leisure to pursue the philo- 
sophic studies commenced at Oxford; but they took 
deep and permanent hold on his mind, and formed in 
fact the groundwork of his great practical ability. This 
is well stated by Sir Frederick Bruce : — 

In Elgin (to use the distinctions of Coleridge, whose phi- 
losophy he had thoroughly mastered) the Reason and Under- 
standing were both largely developed, and both admirably 
balanced. And in this combination lay the secret of his suc- 
cess in so many spheres of action, so different in their charac- 
teristics, so alike in their difficulties. The process he went 
through was always the same. He set himself to work to form 
in his own mind a clear idea of each of the constituent parts of 
the problem with which he had to deal. This he eifected partly 
by reading, but still more by conversation with special men, 
and by that extraordinary logical power of mind and penetration 
which not only enabled him to get out of every man all he had 
in him, but which revealed to those men themselves a know- 
ledge of their own imperfect and crude conceptions, and made 
them constantly unwilling witnesses or reluctant adherents to 
views which originally they were prepared to oppose. To 
test the accuracy of their statements and observations, and to 
discriminate between what was fact and what was prejudice or 
misconception, he made use of the higher faculty of cultivated 
Reason, which enabled him, by his deep insight into the uni- 
versal principles of human nature, of forms of government, 
&c., to bring to the consideration of particular facts the light 
of an a priori knowledge of what was to be expected under 
particular circumstances. The result was, that in an incredibly 


short time, and with little apparent study or eifort, he attained 
an accurate and clear conception of the essential facts before 
him, and was thus enabled to strike out a course which he could 
consistently pursue amidst aU difficulties, because it was in 
harmony with the actual facts and the permanent conditions of 
the problem he had to solve. 

Training The jears -whicli followed the completion of his 
i°fe.^" '° academical studies — those golden years which generally 
determine the complexion of a man's future life — were 
not devoted in his case to any definite pursuit ; for 
though he entered himself of Lincoln's Inn in June, 
1835, he does not appear to have ever embarked in the 
professional study of law. 

The scanty notices which remain of this period show 
him chiefly residing at Broomhall, where, in his father's 
absence, he takes his place in the affairs of the county 
of Fife ; commands his troop of yeomanry ; now pre- 
sides at a farmers' dinner, for which he has written an 
appropriate song ; now, at the request of Dr. Chalmers, 
speaks at a pubhc meeting in favour of church extension. 
At one time we hear of long sohtary rides over field 
and fell, during which the thoughts and feelings that 
stirred in him would take the shape of a sonnet or a 
poem,, to be confided to one of his sisters ; at another 
time he is keeping up a regular correspondence on 
abstruse questions of philosophy with his brother 
Frederick, still at Oxford. 

In these pursuits, as well as in the somewhat harass- 
ing occupation of disentangling the family property 
from its embarrassments, he was preparing himself for 
future usefulness by the exercise of the same industry 
and patience, the same grasp both of details and of gene- 
ral purpose, which he showed in the political career 
gradually dawning upon him. It was observed that, 
whatsoever his hand found to do, he did it with all 
his might, as well as with a judgment and discretion 
beyond his years, and a tact akin to genius. He was 


undergoiBg, pertaps, tlie best training for the varied 
duties to wHch he was to be called — that pecuharly 
British ' disciphne of mind, body, and heart ' to which 
observers hke Bunsen attribute the effectiveness of 
England's pubhc men. 

As early as 1834, when he had barely completed his 
twenty-third year, he pubHshed a Letter to the Electors 
of Great Britain, with the view of vindicating the policy 
and the position of the Tory leaders, more especially of 
the Duke of Wellington. A similar motive, the desire of 
protesting against a monopoly of liberal sentiments by 
the Whigs, and showing in his own person that a Tory 
was not necessarily a narrow bigot, impelled him to 
offer himself as a candidate at the election of 1837, on 
the occurrence of an unexpected vacancy in the re- 
presentation of Eifeshire. But, coming forward at a 
moment's warning, he never had any chance of success, 
and was defeated by a large majority. 

In the year 1840, George, Lord Bruce, the eldest m.p. for 
son of Lord Elgin by his first wife, died, unmarried, ampton. 
and James became heir to the earldom. On April 22, 

1841, he married EHzabeth Mary, daughter of Mr. 
C. L. Gumming Bruce. At the general election in 
July of the same year he stood for the borough of 
Southampton, and was returned at the head of the poll. 
His political views at this time were very much those 
which have since been called 'Liberal Conservative.' 
Speaking at a great banquet at Southampton he said — 

I am a Conservative, not upon principles of exclusionism— 
not from narrowness of view, or illiberality of sentiment — but 
because I believe that our admirable Constitution, on prin- 
ciples more exalted and under sanctions more holy than those 
which Owenism or Socialism can boast, proclaims between 
men of all classes and degrees in the body politic a sacred bond 
of brotherhood in the recognition of a common warfare here, 
and a common hope hereafter. I am a Conservative, not 
because I am adverse to improvement, not because I am 


unwilling to repair what is wasted, or to supply wtat is 
defective in the political fabric, but because I am satisfied that, 
in order to improve effectually, you must be resolved most 
religiously to preserve. I am a Conservative, because I 
believe that the institutions of our country, religious as well 
as civil, are wisely adapted, when duly and faithfully adminis- 
tered, to promote, not the interest of any class or classes 
exclusively, but the happiness and welfare of the great body 
of the people ; and because I feel that, on the maintenance of 
these institutions, not only the economical prosperity of Eng- 
land, but, what is yet more important, the virtues that distin- 
guish and adorn the English character, under God, mainly 

Speech on Parliament met on August 19, and, on the 24tli, the 

drtss. ' new member seconded the amendment on the Address, 

in a speech of great promise. In the course of it he 

professed himself a friend to Free Trade, but Free Trade 

as explained and vindicated by Mr. Huskisson : — 

He should at all times be prepared to vote for a free trade 
on principles of reciprocity, due regard being had to the 
interests which had grown up under our present commercial 
system, without which, as he conceived, the rights of the 
labouring classes could not be protected. Much had been on 
various occasions said about the interests of the capitalists and 
the landlords, but unless the measures of a Government were 
directed equally to secure the rights of the working classes, 
they never should be supported by a vote of his. It was true 
that the landlord might derive some increased value to his pro- 
perty from the increase of factories and other buildings upon 
it, and that the capitahst might more advantageously invest 
his capital, or he might withdraw it from a sinking concern ; 
but the only capital of the labourer was his skill in his own 
particular walk, and it was a mockery to tell him that he could 
find a satisfactory compensation elsewhere. 

But the most characteristic part of his speech "was 
that in which he commented on the ' harsh, severe, and 
' unjust terms ' in which it had been the fashion to 
designate those who had taken an opposite view on 


these questions to that taken by Her Majesty's Govern-, 
ment : — 

In a day (he said) when all monopolies are denounced, I 
must be permitted to say that, to my mind, the monopoly 
which is the most intoierable and odious is the pretension to 
the monopoly of public virtue. 

The amendment was carried by a large majority. 
Lord Melboxirne resigned, and Sir Robert Peel became 
Prime Minister. About the same time, by the death of 
his father and his own succession to the peerage, the 
young Lord's brief career ia the House of Commons 
was closed for ever ; no Scottish peer being ehgible, 
according to the commonly received opinion, to sit in 
the Lower House. He appears, indeed, to have had 
at one time an idea of pressing the question ; but he 
abandoned this intention on finding that it had been 
entertained twenty-five years before by Lord Aberdeen, 
and given up by him on the ground, that the majority 
of the Scottish Peers looked upon the proposal as lower- 
ing to their body, and as implying inferiority on then- 
part to the English Peers. 

At this time it seemed as if the fair promise of Governor 
eloquence and statesmanship had been shown to pubhc °^ ^''" 
life only to be withdrawn from it ; but a path was about 
to be opened, leading to a new field of action, distant, 
indeed, and often thankless, but giving scope for the 
exercise of gifts, both of mind and character, which can 
rarely be exhibited in a Parliamentary career. In 
March 1842, at the early age of thirty, he was se- 
lected by Lord Stanley, who was then Secretary for 
the Colonies, for the important post of Governor of 




Ch. n., 








Death of 



Lord Elgin sailed for Jamaica in the middle of April 
1842. The West Indian steamers at that time held 
their rendezvous for the collection and distribution of 
the mails not, as now, at St. Thomas, but at a Httle 
island called Turk's Island, a mere sandbank, hedged 
with coral reefs. The vessel in which Lord Elgin was 
a passenger made this island during the night; but the 
captain, over anxious to keep his time, held on towards 
the shore. They struck on a spike of coral, which 
pierced the ship's side and held her impaled ; fortu- 
nately so, for she was thus prevented from backing out to 
sea and foundering with all hands, as other vessels did. 
Though the ship itself became a total wreck, no lives 
were lost, and nearly everything of value was saved; 
but from the shock of that night Lady Elgin, though 
apparently little alarmed at the time, never recovered. 
Two months afterwards, in giving birth to a daughter, 
now Lady Elma Thurlow, she was seized with violent 
convulsions, which were nearly fatal; and though, to 
the surprise of the medical men, she rallied from this 
attack, her health was seriously impaired, and she died 
in the summer of the following year. 

There are probably few situations of greater difficulty 
aGovernor ^^^ delicacy than that of the Governor of a British colony 

Position of 


whicli possesses representative institutions. A consti- in a West 
tutional sovereign, but "with frail and temporary tenure, colony 
he is expected not to reign only but to govern ; and to 
govern under the orders of a distant minister, who, if 
he has one eye on the colony, must keep the other on 
home pohtics. Thus, without any power in himself, he 
is a meeting-point of two different and generally antago- 
nistic forces — the will of the imperial government and 
the wiU of the local legislature. To act in harmony 
with both these forces, and to bring them into some- 
thing of harmony with each other, requires, under the 
most favourable circumstances, a rare union of firmness 
with patience and tact. But the difficulties were much 
aggravated in a West Indian colony in the early days 
of Emancipation. 

Here the local legislature was a democratic ohgarchy, such as 
partly composed of landowners, but chiefly of overseers, •'^'^"""'^^ 
with no permanent stake in the country. And this 
legislature had to be induced to pass measures for the 
benefit of those very blacks of whose enforced service 
they had been deprived, and whose paid labour they 
found it difficult to obtain. Add to this that, in Jamaica, 
a long period of contention with the mother-country 
had left a feeling of bitter resentment for the past, and 
sullen despondency as regards the future. Moreover, 
the balance had to be held between the Church of 
England on the one hand, which was in possession of 
all the ecclesiastical endowments, and probably of all 
the learning and cultivation of the island, and, on the 
other hand, the various sects, especially that of the 
Baptists, who, having fought vigorously for the Negroes 
in the battle of Emancipation, now held undisputed sway 
over their minds, and who, as was natural, found it 
difficult to abandon the position of demagogues and 


Lord Elgin was at once fortunate and unfortunate in 
coming after the most conciliatory and popular of 

14 JAMAICA. Oh. II. 

governors, Sir C. Metcalfe. The island was in a state 
of peace and harmony which had been long unknown 
to it ; but the singular affection, which Metcalfe had 
inspired in all classes, made them look forward with 
the most gloomy forebodings to the advent of his suc- 
State of Moreover, to use Lord Elg-in's own language, a tone 

th™isiand. ^^ dcspondcncy with reference to the prospects of the 
owners of property had long been considered the test 
of a sincere regard for the welfare of Jamaica. He 
who had been most successful in proclaiming the de- 
pression under which the landed and trading interests 
laboured, had been held to be in the popular acceptation 
of the term the truest friend to the colony. 

Nothing could be more alien to the spirit of inquiry 
and enterprise which leads to practical improvement. 
In an enervating climate, with a proprietary for the 
most part non-resident, and a peasantry generally inde- 
pendent of their employers, much encouragement is 
requisite to induce managers to encounter the labour 
and responsibility which attends the introduction of 
new systems ; but, by reason of the unfortunate prepos- 
session above described, the announcement of a behef 
that the planters had not exhausted the resources within 
their reach, had been considered a declaration of hostility 
towards that class. 

And truly (^nrote Lord Elgin himself) the onus probandi lay, 
and pretty heavily too, upon the propounder of the obnoxious 
doctrine of hope. Was it not shown on the face of unques- 
tioned official returns, that the exports of the island had dwindled 
to one-third of their former amount ? Was it not attested even 
in Parliament, that estates, which used to produce thousands 
annually, were sinking money year after year ? Was it not 
apparent that the labourers stood in a relation of independence 
towards the owners of capital and land, totally unknown to a 
similar class in any fully peopled country? All these were 
facts and indisputable. And again, was it not equally certain 
that undeserved aspersions were cast upon the planters ? Were 


they not held responsible for results over which they could 
exercise no manner of control? and was it not natural that, 
having been thus calumniated, they should be somewhat im- 
patient of advice? 

From the day of Lord Elgin's arrival in the colony, 
he was convinced that the endeavour to "work a change 
on public opinion in this respect, would constitute one 
of his first and most important duties ; but he was not 
insensible to the difficulties with which the experiment 
was surrounded. He felt that a new Govei-nor, rash 
enough to assert that all was not yet accomplished 
which ingenuity and perseverance could achieve, might 
have perilled his chance of benefiting the colony. Men 
would have said, and with some truth, ' he knows 
' nothing: of the matter : his information is derived from 
' A. or B.; he is a tool in their hands; he wiU undo 
' all the good which others have eiFected by enlisting 
' the sympathies of England in our favoxu".' He would 
have been deemed a party man, and become an object 
of suspicion and distrust. 

It was soon found, however, that the new Governor 
was as anxious as his predecessor had been to concihate 
the good will and promote the interests of all ranks of 
the community in a spirit of perfect fairness and 
moderation. The agitation of vexed constitutional 
questions he earnestly deprecated as hkely to interrupt 
the harmony happily prevailing between the several 
branches of the legislature, and to divert the attention 
of influential members of the community from the 
material interests of the colony to the consideration of 
more exciting subjects. ' I do not underrate,' he said, 
' the importance of constitutional questions, nor am I 
' insensible to the honour which may be acquired by 
' their satisfactory adjustment. In the present crisis of 
' our fortunes, however, I am impressed with the belief 
' that he is the best friend to Jamaica who concentrates 
' his energies on the promotion of the moral well-being 

16 JAMAICA. Ch. it. 

' of tlie population, and the restoration of the economical 
' prosperity of the island.' 
Questions The finances of the colony were at this time in a state 
' to require the most careful treatment. At a moment 
"when the recent violent change in the distribution of 
the wealth of the community had left the proprietary 
body generally in a depressed condition, the Legislature 
had to provide for the wants of the newly emancipated 
population, by increasing at great cost the ecclesiastical 
and judicial establishments; and at the same time it was 
necessary that a quantity of inconvertible paper recently 
set afloat should be redeemed, if the currency was to be 
fixed on a sound basis. Under these conditions it was 
not easy to equalise the receipts and expenditm-e of the 
island treasury; and the ditficulty was not diminished 
by the necessity of satisfying critics at home. Before 
long an occasion arose to test Lord Elgin's tact and 
discretion in mediating on such questions between the 
colony and the mother-country. 

Towards the end of 1842 a new tariff was enacted by 
the legislature of the island. When the Act embody- 
ing it was sent home, it was found to violate certain 
economical principles recently adopted in this country. 
An angry despatch from Downing Street informed 
Lord Elgin that it was disapproved, and that nothing 
but an apprehension of the financial embarrassments 
that must ensue prevented its being formally disallowed. 
In terms almost amounting to a reprimand, it was in- 
timated that the adoption of such objectionable enact- 
ments might be prevented if the Governor would exer- 
cise the legitimate influence of his ofiice in opposing 
them ; and it was added, ' If, unfortunately, your efforts 
' should be unsuccessful, and if any such bill should be 
' presented for your acceptance, it is Her Majesty's 
' pleasure and command that you withhold your assent 
' from it. ' 

Lord Elgin replied by a temperate representation, 

1642-5. EDUCATION. 17 

tlat it was but natural that traces of a policy long 
sanctioned by the motber-country should remain in the 
logislation of the colony ; that the duties in question 
vvere not found injuriously to check trade, while they 
vrere needed to meet the expenditure : moreover, that 
the Assembly was, and always had been, extremely 
j «alous of any interference in the matter of self-taxa- 
tiion : lastly, that ' whUe sensible that the services of a 
' Governor must be unprofitable if he faUed to acquire 
' and exercise a legitimate moral influence in the general 
' conduct of affairs, he was at the same time convinced 
' that a just appreciation of the difficulties with which 
' the legislature of the island had yet to contend, and of 
'■ the sacrifices and exertions already made under the 
'' pressure of no ordinary embarrassments, was an indis- 
' pensable. condition to his usefulness.' 

The Home Government felt the weight of these con- 
siderations, and the correspondence closed with the 
x-e vocation of the peremptory command above quoted. 

The object which Lord Elgiu had most at heart was Eiucation, 

"to improve the moral and social condition of the Negroes, 

and to fit them, by education, for the freedom which 

Ihad been thrust upon them; but, with characteristic 

"tact and sagacity, he preferred to compass this end 

"through the agency of the planters themselves. By 

^ncouracfing the application of mechanical contrivances 

"to agriculture, he sought to make it the interest not 

only of the peasants to acquire, but of the planters to 

^ve them, the education necessary for using machinery ; 

while he lost no opportunity of impressing on the land' 

owning class that, if they wished to secure a constant 

supply of labour, they could not do so better than by 

creatine in the labouring class the wants which belong 

to educated beings. 

The following extracts from private letters, written 
at the time to the Secretary of State, contain the 


18 JAIL-UCA. Oh. II. 

freshest and best expression of his views on these and 
similar questions of island politics : — 

In some quarters I am informed, that less desire for education 
is shown now by the Negroes than during the apprenticeship ; 
and the reason assigned is, that it was then supposed that 
certain social and political advantages would accrue to those 
who were able to read, but that now, when all is gained, and 
all are on a par in these respects, the same zeal for learning no 
longer prevails. It has been suggested that a great impulse 
might be gi^en in this direction, by working on the feeling 
which existed formerly ; confining the franchise for instance 
to qualified persons wJio could read, or by some other expedient 
of the same nature. This being an important constitutional 
question, I have not thought it right to give the notion any 
encouragement ; but I submit it as coming from persons who 
are, I believe, sincere well-wishers to the Negro. It is not very 
easy to keep children steadily at school, or to enforce a very 
rigid discipline on them when they are there. Parents who have 
never been themselves educated, cannot be expected to attach 
a very high value to education. The system of Slavery was 
not calculated to strengthen the family ties ; and parents do not, 
I apprehend, exercise generally, a very steady and consistent 
control in their families. The consequence is, that children 
are pretty generally at liberty to attend school or not as they 
please. If the rising generation, however, are not educated, 
what is to become of this island ? That they have withdrawn 
themselves to a considerable extent from field labour is, I 
think, generally admitted. It is therefore undoubtedly desir- 
able that all legitimate inducements should be held out, both to 
parents and children, to encourage the latter to attend school. 

In urging the adoption of machinery in aid of manual labour, 
one main object I have had in view has ever been the creation 
of an aristocracy among the labourers themselves ; the substi- 
tution of a given amount of skilled labour for a larger amount 
of unskilled. My hope is, that we may thus engender a healthy 
emulation among the labourers, a desire to obtain situations of 
eminence and mark among their fellows, and also to push their 
children forwards in the same career. Where labour is so 
scarce as it is here, it is undoubtedly a great object to be able- 
to effect at a cheaper rate by machinery, what you now attempt 

^®^"'^' AGRICULTUEE. 19 

' ^^iite very unsatisfactorily by the hand of man. But it 

'-0 me to be a still more important object to awaken thia 

I'able ambition in the breast of the peasant, and I do not 

1 k ^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^® effected by any other means. So long as 

tneans nothing more than digging cane holes, or carry- 

8 adg Qjj |.|^g head, physical strength is the only thing re- 

■ 1 ' .^° moral or intellectual quality comes into play. But, 

aiiug -yyith mechanical appliances, the case is different ; 

^,-j- ®^§e, acuteness, steadiness are at a premium. The 

6 ^ill soon appreciate the worth of these qualities, when 

7 give him position among his own class. An indirect 
^ill thus attach to education. 

,^^y successful effort made by enterprising and intelligent 

I'^MUals to substitute skilled for unskilled labour ; every 

F lutu awarded by societies in acknowledgment of superior 

3*3 carefulness, or ability, has a tendency to afford a 

^ y the most salutary and effectual which can be devised 

tor the evil here set forth. 

vv itti the view of awakening an interest in the subject Agricai- 
^gricultural improvements, Lord Elgin himself of- ^^' 
rea a premium of 100^. for the best practical treatise 
on tne cultivation of the cane, with a special reference 
CD tne adoption of mechanical aids and apphances in aid 
oi- in ]j^g^ q£ jnechanical labour. In forwarding to 
_ Stanley printed copies of eight of the essays 
w^liicJi competed for the prize, he wrote as follows : — 

■M-uch, I believe, is involved in the issue of this and similar 

e :speriments. So long as the planter despairs, — so long as he 

assumes that the cane can be cultivated and sugar manufactured 

o projJi; ojjjy Qji ^}ig system adopted during slavery, — so long 

a.s Jie looks to external aids (among which I class immigration) 

s Jiis Sole hope of salvation from ruin — with what feelings must 

e contemplate all earnest efforts to civilise the mass of the 

population? Is education necessary to qualify the peasantry 

o carj^y Qjj ^jjg rude field operations of slavery ? May not 

some persons even entertain the apprehension, that it will in- 

cla,sposes tliem to such pursuits? But let him, on the other 

sncl, believe that, by the substitution of more artificial methods 

or tJaose hitherto employed, he may materially abridge the ex- 

c 2 

20 JAJIAICA. Ch. n. 

pense of raising his produce, and he cannot fail to perceive 
that an intelligent, well-educated labourer, with something of a 
character to lose, and a reasonable ambition to stimulate him 
to exertion, is likely to prove an instrument more apt for his 
purposes than the ignorant drudge who differs from the slave 
only im being no longer amenable to personal restraint.' 

One of the measures in whicli Lord Elgin took the 
most active interest was the establishment of a ' General 
' Agricultural Society for the Island of Jamaica,' and he 
was much gratified by receiving Her Majesty's permis- 
sion to give to it the sanction of her name as Patroness. 

I am confident (he writes to Lord Stanley) that the notice 
which Her Majesty is pleased to take of the institution wiU be 
duly appreciated, and will be productive of much good. 

You must allow me to remark (he adds) that moral results 
of much moment are involved in the issue of the efforts which 
we are now making for the improvement of agriculture in this 
colony. Not only has the impulse which has been imparted to 
the public mind in Jamaica been beneficial in itself and in its 
•direct effects, but it has, I am firmly persuaded, checked 
opposing tendencies, which threatened very injurious conse- 
quences to Negro civilisation. To reconcile the planter to the 
heavy burdens which he was called to bear for the improve- 
ment of our establishments and the benefit of the mass of the 
population, it was necessary to persuade him that he had an 
interest in raising the standard of education and morals among 
the peasantry ; and this belief could be imparted only by 
inspiring a taste for a more artificial system of husbandry. 
By the silent operation of such salutary convictions, prejudices 
of old standing are removed ; the friends of the Negro and of 
the proprietary classes find themselves almost unconsciously 
acting in concert, and conspiring to complete that great and 
holy work of which the emancipation of the slave was but the 

The On a general survey of the state of the labouring 

Ik^J^s."^ classes, taken after he had been a little more than a 

' It is impossible not to be struck cultural poor in some parts of Eno-- 
with the applicability of these re- land, and the question of extending 
marks to the condition of th« agri- among themthe benefits of education. 


year in the island, he was ahle to give a most favourable 
report of their condition, in all that concerns material 
prosperity and comfort of living. 

The truth is (he wrote) that our labourers are for the most 
part in the position of persons who Kve habitually within their 
incomes. They are generally sober and frugal, and accustomed 
to a low standard of living. Their gardens supply them in great 
measure with the necessaries of life. The chief part, therefore, 
of what they receive in money, whether as wages or as the 
price of the surplus produce of their provision grounds, they 
Can lay aside for occasional calls, and, when they set their 
rninds on an acquisition or an indulgence, they do not stickle 
at the cost. I am told that, in the shops at Kingston, expensive 
articles of dress are not unusually purchased by members of 
the families of black labourers. Whether the ladies are good 
judges of the merits of silks and cambrics I do not pretend to 
decide ; but they pay ready money, and it is not for the sellers 
to cavil at their discrimination. The purchase of land, as you 
"well know, is going on rapidly throughout the island ; and the 
money thus invested must have been chiefly, though not en- 
tirely, accumulated by the labouring classes since slavery was 
abolished. A proprietor told me the other day that he had, 
^thin twelve months, sold ten acres of land in small lots, for 
the sum of &007. The land sold at so high a price is situated 
near a town, and the purchasers pay him an annual rent of SO*-, 
per acre, for provision grounds on the more distant parts of the 
estate. Again, in most districts, the labourers are possessed of 
liorses, for which they often pay handsomely. A farm servant 
not unfrequently gives from 12Z. to 20?. for an animal which 
he intends to employ, not for purposes of profit, but in riding 
to church, or on occasions of festivity. 

Whence then are these funds derived? That the peasantry 
are generally frugal and sober I have already observed. But 
they are assuredly not called to tax their physical powers un- 
duly, in order to achieve the independence I have described. 
Although the estate I lately visited is well managed, and the 
"best understanding subsists between employer and labourers, 
the latter seldom made their appearance in the field until some 
time after I had sallied forth for my morning walk. They 
"work on the estate only nine days in the fortnight, devoting 

22 JAMAICA. Ch. II. 

the alternate Fridays to the cultivation of their provision 
grounds, and the Saturdays to marketing and amusements. 
On the whole, seeing that the climate is suited to their consti- 
tutions, that they experience none of the drawbacks to which 
new settlers, even in the most fertile countries, are subject, 
that they are by disposition and temperament a cheerful race, 
I much doubt whether any people on the face of the globe 
enjoy as large a share of happiness as the Creole peasantry of 
this island. And this is a representation not over-charged, or 
highly coloured, but drawn in all truth and sobriety of the 
actual condition of a population which was, a very few years 
ago, subjected to the degrading, depressing influences of slavery. 
Well may you and others who took part in the work of eman- 
cipation rejoice in the success of your great experiment. 

But was it possible to indulge the same feelings of 
exultation when contemplating their condition morally, 
and marking the indications of advance towards a higher 
state of civilisation? In the island itself controversy 
was rife as to the degree in which such results had been 
already achieved, and the promise of further progress. 
Some of the more enthusiastic and ardent of that class 
of persons who had been the zealous advocates of the 
interests of the Negro population at a former period, 
were now disposed to judge most hardly of their con- 
duct. Their very sympathy with the victims of the 
system formerly prevailing, led them to conceive un- 
bounded hopes of the benefits, moral and social alike, 
which a change would effect ; the admirable behaviour 
of the peasantry at the time of emancipation, confirmed 
such anticipations ; and they were now beginning to 
experience disappointment on finding that all they 
looked for was not immediately realised. These feel- 
■ ino-s, however, Lord Elgin did not share. 

On the whole (he said) I feel confident that the moral results 
consequent on the introduction of freedom, have been as satis- 
factory as could in reason have been expected ; and, notwith- 
standing the very serious pecuniary loss which this measure has 
entailed in many quarters, few indeed, even if they had the 

1842-5. RELIGION. 23 

power to do so, would consent to return to the system wliicli 
has been abandoned. It is gratifying in the highest degree to 
observe the feelings now subsisting between those who lately 
stood to each other in the relation of master and slave. Past 
wrongs are forgotten, and in the every-day dealings between 
man and man the humanity of the labourer is unhesitatingly 

"We have seen how zealously Lord Elgin exerted Eeiigion. 
himself to reahse his own hopes for the prosperity of 
the colony, by encouraging the spread of secular and 
industrial education. Not that he regarded secular 
education as all-sufficient. His sympathies^ were en- 
tirely with those who believe that, while ' it is a great 
' and a good thuig to know the laws that govern this 
' world, it is better stUl to have some sort of faith in the 
' relations of this world with another; that the knowledge 
' of cause and effect can never replace the motive to 
' do right and avoid wrong ; that our clergymen and 
' ministers are more useful than our schoolmasters ; that 
' Eehgion is the motive power, the faculties are the 
' machines : and the machines are useless without the t 
' motive power. '^ But, as a practical statesman, he felt | 
that the one kind of education he had it in his power i 
'o forward directly by measures falling within his own ^ 
legitimate provmce ; whUe the other he could only-' 
promote indirectly, by pointing out the need for it, and 
drawing attention to the pecuhar circumstances of the 
island respecting it. The following are a few of the 
passages iu which he refers to the subject : — 

Much has been done by the island legislature — more, I think, 
than could reasonably have been looked for under the circum- 
stances — towards making provision for the religious necessities 
of the population. But the daily formation of small mountain 
settlements, and the consequent dispersion of large numbers in 
districts remote from the established places of worship, adds 

1 Vide inf. p. 156. 

" See the speech of Mr. W. E. Forster, at Leeds, May 20, 18G9. 


24 JAMAICA. Oh. W. 

greatly to the difficulty of extending to all these humanising 
The and civilising influences. The Church can keep its footing 

here only by the exhibition of missionary zeal and devotion, 
tempered by a spirit of Christian benevolence and conciliation. 
I regret to say that some of the unhappy controversies which 
are vexing the Church in England have broken out here of late. 
Discussions of this nature are singularly unprofitable where the 
people need to be instructed in the very rudiments of Christian 
knowledge, and where it is so desirable to keep well with all 
who profess to have a similar object in view. 

A single bishop in a colony, where large funds are provided 
by the State for Church purposes, and where he is beyond the 
reach of the public opinion of England, exercises a very great 
and irresponsible authority. If a zealous man, of extreme 
views on points of doctrine, the clergy of the diocese, looking 
to him alone for advancement in their profession, are apt to 
echo his sentiments ; and the wide folding doors of our mother 
Church, which she flings open for the reception of so many, to 
use Milton's words, ' brotherly dissimilitudes that are not 
' vastly disproportioned,' are contracted, to the exclusion, per- 
chance, of some whom it were desirable to retain in our com- 
munion. If, on the other hand, he be a man of but moderate 
piety, ability, and firmness, the importunity of friends at a dis- 
tance, who may wish to provide for dependents or connections, 
and other considerations which need not be enumerated, may 
tempt him to lower the standard of ministerial qualification, of 
which he is, of course, the sole judge. It requires a person of 
much Christian principle, and singular moderation, discretion, 
and tact, to administer powers of this nature well. I have 
every hope that the bishop whom you have sent us will prove 
equal to the task. For the sake of humanity and civilisation, 
as well as for the interests of the island, I fervently trust that 
I may not be disappointed in my expectations on this head. 

The complex and thwarting currents of interest and 
opinion that may exist in a colony respecting the main- 
tenance of a State Church are well illustrated in the 
following extracts : — 

Very soon after I arrived here, I felt satisfied that the con- 
flicts of party in the colony would ere long assume a new 
character. I perceived that the hostility to the proprietary 

1842-5. THE CHURCH. 25 

interests, which was supposed to actuate certain classes of per- 
sons who had much influence with the peasantry, was on the 
decline. Should a state of quiescence prove incompatible with 
the maintenance of their hold on their flocks, analogy led me 
to anticipate that the Established Church would, in all pro- 
bability, become an object of attack. 

Considering the facility with which the franchise may be 
acquired, it is not a little remarkable that the constituency 
should have hitherto increased so slowly. This phenomenon 
has not escaped the notice of the opponents of the union of 
Church and State, and they have ascribed it to the true cause. 
They are sensible that an uneducated population in easy cir- 
cumstances, without practical grievances, are not likely to be 
intent on the acquisition of political privileges. They have, 
therefore, undertaken to supply them vsith a grievance, in order 
to whet their appetite for the franchise, and also to provide them 
with guides who shall instruct them in the proper use of it. 

But in attempting to carry this scheme into effect they have 
encountered an obstacle, which has, for the time, entirely 
frustrated their intentions. The more educated and intelli- 
gent of the brown party listen with disapprobation to the tone 
in which the Baptist ministers and their adherents arrogate to 
themselves exclusively the title of friends and leaders of the 
black population. Many persons of this class have already 
embarked in public life ; some, as members of Assembly, have 
taken part in those transactions which are the object of the 
bitterest denunciations of the Anti-Church party. A few are 
Churchmen, others Wesleyans. The prospect of a Baptist 
oligarchy ruling in undivided sway disquiets them. They 
have their doubts as to whether, in the present stage of our 
civilisation, the peasantry of this Island would evince much 
discrimination in their selection of a religion if left in that 
matter entirely to themselves. In the chequered array of 
colours which our religious world even now presents, com- 
prising every shade, from Roman Catholicism and Judaism, to 
Myalism, and providing spiritual gratification for every eye, 
they still think it, on the whole, desirable that predominance 
should be given to some one over the rest. Many have ex- 
perienced the bounty of the legislature, which has been most 
liberal in affording aid to all sects who have applied for it. 
They are not, therefore, as yet ready for the overthrow of the 

26 _ JAMAICA. Ch. II. 

Church Establishment. But I will not take upon myself to 
affirm that, as a body, they are prepared to incur political 
martyrdom in its defence. 

But apart from the difficulties — social, moral, and 
religious — at which we have glanced, there was enough 
in the political aspect of affairs to fill the Governor of 
Jamaica with anxiety. The franchise being within the 
reach of every one who chose to stretch out a hand and 
grasp it, might at any time be claimed by vast numbers 
of persons who had recently been slaves, and were still 
generally illiterate. And the Assembly for which this 
constituency had to provide members exercised great 
authority within its own sphere. It discharged a large 
portion of the functions which usually devolve upon 
an Executive Government ; it initiated all legislative 
measures, besides voting the supplies from year to year. 
What hope was there that a body so constituted would 
wield such powers with discretion ? 
Harmonis- Lord Elgin's answer to this question shows that he 
ence of already cherished that faith in the harmonising influence 
of British institutions on a mixed population, which 
afterwards, at a critical period of Canadian history, was 
the mainspring of his policy. 

A sojourner in this sea of the Antilles, who is watching with 
heartfelt anxiety the progress of the great experiment of Negro 
emancipation (an experiment which must result in failure unless 
religion and civilisation minister to the mind that freedom 
which the enactments of law have secured for the body), might 
well be tempted to view the prospect to which I have now 
introduced you with some feelings of misgiving, were he not 
reassured by his firm reliance on the harmonising influence of 
British connexion, and the power of self-adaptation inherent in 
our institutions. On the one side he sees the model Republic 
of Hayti — a coloured community, which has enjoyed nearly 
half a century of entire independeuce and self-rule. And with 
what issues? As respects moral and intellectual culture, 
stagnation : in all that concerns material development, a fatal 
retrogression. He beholds there, at this day, a miserable 

Britinh in- 


parody of European and American institutions, without the 
spirit that animates either : the tinsel of French sentiment 
on the ground of negro ignorance : even the ' sacred right of 
' insurrection ' burlesqued : a people which has for its only 
living belief an ill-defined apprehension of the superiority of 
the white man, and, for the rest, blunders on without faith in 
what regards this world or that which is to come. 

He turns his eyes to another quarter and perceives the 
cluster of states which have formed themselves from the break- 
up of the Spanish continental dominions. What ground of 
consolation or hope does he discover there ? 

These illustrations of the working of free systems constructed 
out of the wreck of a broken-down African Slave Trade are 
not indeed encouraging ; but neither do they, in my opinion, 
warrant despair. I believe that by great caution and diligence, 
by firmness and gentleness on the part of the parent state, and 
much prudence in the instruments which it employs, a people 
with a heart and soul may be built up out of the materials in 
our hands. I regard our local constitution as a fait accompli, 
and have no desire to remove a stone of the fabric. I think i 
that a popular representative system is, perhaps, the best \ 
expedient that can be devised for blending into one harmonious 
whole a community composed of diverse races and colour, and 
this conviction is strengthened when I read the observations of 
Sir H. Macleod and Governor Light, on the coloured classes 
in Demerara and Trinidad. In colonies which have no assem- 
blies, it would appear that aspiring intellects have not the same 
opportunity of finding their level, and pent up ambitions lack 
a vent. 

In studying the play of the various forces at work 
around him, and in endeavouring to direct them to 
good issues, Lord Elgin found the best solace for the 
domestic sorrow which darkened this period of his life. 
He lived chiefly in retirement, at a country-house called 
Craigton, in the Blue Mountains, wdth his sister, now 
Lady Charlotte Locker, and his brother Robert, who 
was also his most able and efficient secretary ; seeing 
little society beyond that occasioned by official inter- 
course and receptions, which were never intermitted at 

28 JAMAICA. Ch. n. 

Spanisli Town, the seat of Government. The isolation 
and monotony of this position, broken only once by a 
conference held with some of the neighbouring Governors 
on a question of common interest respecting immigra- 
tion, could not fail to be distasteful to his active spirit ; 
and when it had lasted over three years, it was not un- 
natural that he should seek to be relieved from it. 
Early in 1845 we find him writing to Lord Stanley as 
follows : — 

Resigna- I am warned by the commencement of the year 1845 that I 

'°°' have filled the situation of Governor of Jamaica for as long a 

time as any of my predecessors since the Duke of Manchester. 
The period of my administration has not been marked by 
striking incidents, but it has been one of considerable social 
progress. Uninterrupted harmony has prevailed between the 
colonists and the local Government; and it may perhaps, with- 
out exaggeration, be affirmed, that the spirit of enterprise 
which has proceeded from Jamaica during the past two years 
has enabled the British West Indian colonies to endure, with 
comparative fortitude, apprehensions and difficulties which 
might otherwise have depressed them beyond measure. Cir- 
cumstances have, however, occurred since my arrival in the 
colony, unconnected with public affairs, which have materially 
affected my views in life, and which make me contemplate 
with much repugnance the prospect of an indefinitely pro- 
longed sojourn in this place. Without dwelling at any greater 
length on these painful topics, I venture to trust that you will 
acquit me of undue presumption when I assure you, that in 
my present forlorn and isolated position, nothing enables me to 
persevere in the discharge of my duties, except the hope that 
my humble services may earn for me your confidence and the 
approbation of my Sovereign, and prove not altogether unpro- 
fitable to the community over whose interests I am appointed to 

He remained, however, at his post for more than a 
year longer, and quitted it in the spring of 1846 on 
leave of absence, with the understanding that he should 
not be required to return to Jamaica. 

During nearly the whole period of his government 


the seals of tlie Colonial Office had been held by Lord Appoint- 
Stanley, to whom he owed his appointment ; and at the Canada, 
break-up of the Tory party, in the beginning of 1846, 
they passed into the hands of his old schoolfellow 
and college friend, Mr. Gladstone. But he had scarcely 
arrived in England when a new Secretary arose in the 
person of Lord Grey, to whom he was mikno^RTi except 
by reputation. It is all the more creditable to both 
parties that, in spite of their political differences. Lord 
Grey should first have endeavoured to induce him, on 
public grounds alone, to retain the government of 
Jamaica, with the promise of his unreserved confidence 
and most cordial support; and shortly afterwards, 
should have offered to him the stiU more important post 
of Governor-General of British North America. ' I 
' beheve,' wrote his Lordship, in making the offer, ' that 
' it would be difficult to point out any situation m which 
' great talents would find more scope for useful exertion, 
' or are more wanted at this moment, and I am sure that 
' I could not hope to find anyone whom I could recom- ' 
' mend to Her Majesty for that office with so much con- 
' fidence as yourself.' 

So splendid an offer, made in a manner so gratifying, 
might well overcome any reluctance which Lord Elgin 
felt to embark at once on a fresh period of expatria- 
tion, and to resume labours which, however cordially 
they may be appreciated by a minister, are apt to 
meet with little recognition from the public. 

He accepted it, not in the spirit of mere selfish am- 
bition, but with a deep sense of the responsibilities 
attached to it, which he portrayed in earnest and 
forcible words at a public dinner at Dunfermline : — 

To watch over the interests of those great offshoots of the 
British race which plant themselves in distant lands ; to aid 
them in their efforts to extend the domain of civilisation, and 
to fulfil that first behest of a benevolent Creator to His intel- 
lio-ent creatures — 'subdue the earth;' to 'abet the generous 


endeavour to impart to these rising communities tlie full ad- 
vantages of British laws, British institutions, and British free- 
dom ; to assist them in maintaining unimpaired, it may be 
in strengthening and confirming, those bonds of mutual affec- 
tion which unite the parent and dependent states — these are 
duties not to be lightly undertaken, and which may well claim 
the exercise of all the faculties and energies of an earnest and 
patriotic mind. 

It was arranged that he should go to Canada at the 
end of the year. In the interval he became engaged 
to Lady Mary Louisa Lambton, daughter of the first 
Earl of Durham. They were married on November 7th, 
and iu the first days of the year 1847 he sailed for 

1347. CANADA. 31 








In passing from Jamaica to Canada, Lord Elgin went View of the 
not only to a far wider sphere of action, but to one of Canada. 
infinitely greater complication. For in Canada there 
were two civilised populations of nearly equal power, 
viewing each other with traditionary dislike and dis- 
trust: the French liabitans of the Lower Province, 
strong in their connexion with the past, and the British 
settlers, whose energy and enterprise gave umnistakable 
promise of predominance in the future. Canada had, 
within a few miles of her capital, a powerful and restless 
neighbour, whose friendly intentions were not always 
sufficient to restrain the unruly spirits on her frontier 
from acts of aggression, which might at any time lead 
to the most serious complications. Moreover, in Canada 
representative institutions were already more fully de- 
veloped than in any other colony, and were at this 
very time passing through the most critical period of 
their final development. 

The rebellion of 1837 and 1 838had necessarily checked Eebeiiion 
the progress of the colony towards self-government, ° ^^^^' 
It has since been acknowledged that the demands 
which led to that rebellion were such as England 
would have gladly granted two or three hundred years 

32 CANADA. Oh. HI. 

before ; and they were, in fact, subsequently conceded 
one after another, ' not from terror, but because, on 
' seriously looking at the case, it was found that after all 
' we had no possible interest in withholding them. ' ^ But 
at the time it was necessary to put down the rebels by 
force, and to establish military government. In 1838 

Lord ^ Lord Durham was sent out as High Commissioner for 

E^ort™^ the Adjustment of the Affairs of the Colony, and his 
celebrated ' Report ' sowed the seeds of all the beneficial 
changes which followed. So early as October 1839, when 

Sydenham Po^l^tt Thomson, aftcrwards Lord Sydenham, went 
out as Governor, Lord John Russell took the first step 
towards the introduction of 'responsible government,' 
by announcing that the principal offices of the colony 
' would not be considered as being held by a tenure 
' equivalent to one during good behaviour, but that the 
' holders would be liable to be called upon to retire 
' whenever, from motives of public policy or for other 
' reasons, this should be found expedient.'^ But the in- 
surrection was then too recent to allow of constitutional 
government being established, at least in Lower Canada; 
and, after the Union in 1840, Lord Sydenham exercised, 
partly owing to his great ability, much more power 
than is usually enjoyed by constitutional governors. 
He exercised it, however, in such a manner as to pave 
the way for a freer system, which was carried out to a 

Sir c. great extent by his successor. Sir Charles Bagot ; who, 
''^° ■ though bearing the reputation of an old-fashioned Tory, 
did not scruple to admit to his counsels persons who 
had been active in opposing the Crown during the re- 
cent rebelhon ; actmg on ' the broad principle that the 
' constitutional majority had the right to rule under the 

' Our Colonies : an Address de- John RusselPs Administration, hy Earl 

livered to the members of the Me- Grey: a ■work in which the records 

chanics' Institute, Chester, Nov. 12, of a most important period of colonial 

1855, by the Right Hon. W. E. history are traced with equal ability 

Gladstone, M.P. and authority. 

^ See the Colonial Polin/ of Lord 


'constitution.' ^ Towards the end of 1842, Sir C. Bagot 
foxind himself obliged by continued ill-healtb to resign ; 
and he was succeeded by Lord Metcalfe — a man, as has Lord 
been before noticed, of singularly popular manners and ^^^ ^' 
conciliatory disposition, but whose views of government, 
formed in India and confirmed in Jamaica, little fitted bim 
to deal at an advanced age with the novel questions pre- 
sented by Canada at this crisis. A quarrel arose between 
liina and his Ministry on a question of patronage. The 
ministers resigned, though -supported by a large ma- 
jority in the Assembly. With great difficulty he 
formed a Conservative administration, and immediately 
dissolved his Parhament. The new elections gave a 
small majority to the Conservatives, chiefly due, it was 
said, to the exertion of his personal influence ; but the 
success was purchased at a ruinous cost, for he was 
now in the position, fatal to a governor, of a parly 
man. Even from this situation he might perhaps have 
been able to extricate himself : so great was the respect 
felt for his rare qualities of mind and character. But 
a distressing malady almost incapacitated him for the 
discharge of pubhc business, and at length, in Novem- 
ber 1845, forced him to resign. At this time there 
vas some apprehension of difiiculties with America, 
arising from the Oregon question, and, in view of the 
possibility of war, Mr. Gladstone, who was then at the 
Colonial Office, appointed Lord Cathcart, the commander Lord Cath- 
of the forces, to be Governor-General. 

When the Whig party came into power, and Lord 
Grey became Secretary for the Colonies, the Oregon 
difficulty had been happily settled, and it was no longer 
necessary or desirable that the colony should be go- 
verned by a mihtary officer. What was wanted was 
' a person possessing an intimate knowledge of the prin- 
' ciples and practice of the constitution of England, some 
' experience of popular assemblies, and considerable 

1 MacMullen's History of Canada, p. 497. 



Ch. ni. 

of Colo- 
nial Go- 

' familiarity with the political questions of the day.' ^ 
After much consideration it was decided to offer the 
post to Lord Elgin, though personally unknown at the 
time both to the Premier and to the Secretary for the 

The principles on which Lord Elgin undertook to 
conduct the affairs of the colony were, that he should 
vernment. identify himself with no party, but make himself a 
mediator and moderator between the influential of all 
parties ; that he should have no ministers who did not 
enjoy the confidence of the Assembly, or, m the last 
resort, of the people ; and that he should not refusfe 
his consent to any measure proposed by his Muiistry, 
unless it were of an extreme party character, such as 
the Assembly or the people would be sure to disap- 
prove.^ Happily these principles were not, in Lord 
Elgin's case, of yesterday's growth. He had acted 
upon them, as far as was possible, even in Jamaica ; 
and in their soundness as applied to a colony like 
Canada he had that firm faith, grounded on original 
conviction, which alone could have enabled him to 
maintain them, as he afterwards did, single-handed, in 
face of the most violent opposition, and in circum- 
stances by which they were most severely tested. 

It was fortunate that Lord Elgin had arranged to 
leave his bride in. England, to follow at a less inclement 
season ; for he had an unusually stormy passage across 
the Atlantic — 'the worst passage the ship had ever made. ' 
Writing on the 16th of January to Lady Grey he says : 

Hitherto we have had a very boisterous passage. On the 
13th we had a hurricane, and were obliged to lie to — a rare 
occurrence with these vessels. It was almost impossible to 
be on deck, but I crept out of a hole for . a short time, to 
behold the sea, which was truly grand in its wrath; the 
waves rolling mountains high, and the wind sweeping the foam 
off their crests, and driving it, together with the snow and 




' Lord Grey's Colonial Policy, &c., i. 207. 


sleet, almost horizontally over the ocean. We lay thus for 
some hours, our masts covered with snow, pitching and tossing, 
IDW in the trough of the sea, and now on the summit of the 
lillows, without anxiety or alarm, so gallantly did our craft 
tear itself through these perils. 

The ship is very full, with half a million of specie, and a 
motley group of passengers : a Bishop, an ex-secretary of 
Legation and an ex-consul, both of the United States ; a 
batch of Germans and of Frenchmen ; a host of Yankees, the 
greater part being bearded, which is, I understand, charac- 
teristic of young America, particularly when it travels ; some 
specimens of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada, and the 
Eocky Mountains, not to mention English and Scotch. Every 
now and then, at the most serious moments, sounds of up- 
roarious mirth proceed from a party of Irish, who are playing 
aatics in some corner of the ship. Considering that we are 
all hemmed in within the space of a few feet, and that it is the 
amusement of the great restless ocean to pitch us constantly 
into each other's arms, it is hard indeed if we do not pick up 
something new in the scramble. 

On the 25th of January he landed at Boston, and pro- pirst im- 
ceeding next day by railway and sleigh, reached Mon- p"^"^^^'""^' 
treal on the 29th. On the 31st he wrote from Monklands, 
the suburban residence of the governor, to Lady Elgin: — 

Yesterday was my great day. I agreed to make my 
entrance to Montreal, for the purpose of being inaugurated. 
The morning was unpropitious. There had been a tremendous 
storm during the niarht, and the snow had drifted so much that 
it seemed doubtful whether a sleigh could go from hence to 
tovm (about four miles). I said that I had no notion of being 
deterred by weather. Accordingly, I got into a one-horse 
sleigh, with very small runners, which conveyed me to the 
enti-ance of the town, where I was met by the Mayor and 
Corporation with an address. I then got into Lord Cathcart's 
carriage, accompanied by the Mayor, and a long procession of 
carriages was formed. We drove slowly to the Government 
House (in the town), through a dense mass of people — all the 
societies, trades, &c., with their banners. Nothing could be 
more gratifying. After the swearing in, at which the public 
were present, the Mayor read another address from the inhabit- 

D 2 

36 CANADA. Ch. m. 

ants. To this I delivered a reply, which produced, I think, a 
considerable effect, and no little astonishment on some gentle- 
men who intended that I should say nothiiig. I have adopted 
frankly and unequivocally Lord Durham's view of government, 
and I think that I have done all that could be done to prevent 
its being perverted to vile purposes of faction. 

Various circumstances combined to smooth, for tlie 
time, ttie waters on which Lord Elgin had embarked. 
The state of political parties was favourable ; for the 
old Tories of the British ' Family Compact ' party were 
in good humour, being in enjoyment of the powers to 
which they claimed a prescriptive right, whUe the 
' Liberals ' of the Opposition were full of hope that the 
removal of Lord Metcalfe's disturbing influence would 
restore their proper preponderance. Something also 
was due to his own personal qualities. Whereas most 
of his immediate predecessors had been men advanced in 
years and enfeebled by ill-heath, he was in the full 
enjoyment of vigorous youth — able, if need were, to 
work whole days at a stretch ; to force his way through 
a Canadian snow-storm, if his presence was required 
at a public meeting ; to make long and rapid journeys 
through the province, ever ready to receive an ad- 
dress, and give an impromptu reply. The papers soon 
began io remark on the ' geniality and affability of 
' his demeanour.' ' He is daily,' they said, ' making new 
' friends. He walks to church, attends public meetings, 
'leads the cheering, and is, in fact, a man of the people.' 
Before long it was added, ' Our new governor is 
' the most effective speaker in the province ; ' and, 
thanks to his foreign education, he was able to speak 
as readily and fluently to the French Canadians in 
French as to the English in English. Added to this, 
his recent marriage was a passport to the hearts of 
many in Canada, who looked back to the late Lord 
Durham as the apostle of their liberties, if not as a 
martyr in their cause. 


But thougli tlie surface was smooth, there was much Provincia 
beneath to disquiet an observant governor. It was not ^° ^ '°^' 
only that the Ministry was so weak, and so conscious 
of its weakness, as to he incapable even of proposing any 
measures of importance. This evil might be remedied 
by a change of administration. But there was no real 
pohtical life ; only that pale and distorted reflection of it 
which is apt to exist in a colony before it has learned 
' to look within itself for the centre of power.' Parties 
form.ed themselves, not on broad issues of principle, but 
with reference to petty local and personal interests ; and 
when they sought the support of a more widespread 
Bentiment, they fell back on those antipathies of race, 
which it was the main object of every wise Governor to 

The following extracts from private letters to Lord 
Grrey„ written within a few months of his arrival, reflect 
this state of things. Though the circumstances to 
which they refer are past and gone, they may not be 
without interest, as aflTording an insight into a common 
phase of colonial government. 

Hitherto things have gone on well with me, much better 
than I hoped for when we parted. I should have been very 
■willing to meet the Assembly at once, and throw myself with 
useful measures on the good sense of the people, but my min- 
isters are too weak for this. They seem to be impressed with 
the belief that the regular Opposition will of course resist what- 
ever tkey propose, and that any fragments of their own side, 
who happen not to be able at the moment to get what they 
want, will join them. When I advise them, therefore, to go 
down to Parliament with good measures and the prestige of a 
new Governor, and rely on the support of public opinion, they 
smile and shake their heads. It is clear that they are not very 
credulous of the existence of such a controlling power, and that 
their faith in the efficiency of appeals to selfish and sordid 
motives is greater than mine. 

Nevertheless, we must take the world as we find it, and if 
new elements of strength are required to enable the Govern- 

38 CANADA. Ch. III. 

ment to go on, it is I think very advisable to give the French 
a fair opportunity of entering the Ministry in the first instance. 
It is also more prudent to enter upon these delicate negotia- 
tions cautiously and slowly, in order to avoid, if possible, giving 
the impression that I am ready to jump down everybody's 
throat the moment I touch the soil of Canada. 

I believe that the problem of how to govern United Canada 
would be solved if the French would split into a Liberal and a 
Conservative party, and join the Upper Canada parties which 
bear corresponding names. The great difficulty hitherto has 
been that a Conservative government has meant a government 
of Upper Canadians, which is intolerable to the French, and 
a Radical government a government of French, which is no less 
hateful to the British. No doubt the party titles are mis- 
nomers, for the radical party comprises the political section most 
averse to progress of any in the country. Nevertheless, so it 
has been hitherto. The national element would be mei-ged in 
the political if the split to which I refer were accomplished. 

The tottering Ministry attempted to strengthen its 
position by a junction with some of the leaders of the 
' French ' party ; but the attempt was unsuccessful : 

I cannot say that I am surprised or disheartened by the re- 
sult of these negotiations with the French. In a community 
like this, where there is little, if anything, of public principle 
to divide men, political parties will shape themselves under the 
influence of circumstances, and of a great variety of affections 
and antipathies, national, sectarian, and personal; and I never 
proposed to attempt to force them into a mould of my own 

You will observe that no question of principle or of public 
policy has been mooted by either party during the nego- 
tiation. The whole discussion has turned upon personal 
considerations. This is, I fancy, a pretty fair sample of 
Canadian politics. It is not even pretended that the divisions 
of party represent corresponding divisions of sentiment on 
questions which occupy the public mind ; such as Voluntary- 
ism, Free Trade, &c., &c. Responsible government is the 
only subject on which this coincidence is alleged to exist. The 
opponents of the Administration are supposed to dissent from 
the views held by Lord Metcalfe upon it, though it is not so 


clear that its supporterf5 altogether adopt them. That this 
dehcate and most debatable subject should furnish the watch- 
words of party is most inconvenient. 

In enumerating the difficulties which surround such questions 
as Union of the provinces, Emigration, &c., you omit the 
greatest of them all; viz. : the materials with which I have to 
work in carrying out any measures for the public advantage. 
There are half a dozen parties here, standing on no principles, 
and all intent on making political capital out of whatever turns 
up. It is exceedingly difficult, under such circumstances, to 
induce public men to run the risk of adopting any scheme that 
is bold or novel. 

Keenly alive to the evil of this state of things, Lord 
Elgin was not less sensible that the blame of it did not 
rest vdth the existing generation of Canadian politicians, 
but that it was the result of a variety of circumstances, 
some of which it was impossible to regret. 

Several causes (he wrote) co-operate together to give to 
personal and party interests the overweening importance which 
attaches to them in the estimation of local politicians. There are 
no real grievances here to stir the depths of the popular mind. 
We are a comfortable people, with plenty to eat and drink, no 
privileged classes to excite envy, or taxes to produce irritation. 
It were ungrateful to view these blessings with regret, and yet 
I believe that they account in some measure for the selfishness 
of public men and their indifference to the higher aims of 

The comparatively small number of members of which the 
popular bodies who determine the fate of provincial adminis- 
trations consist, is also, I am inclined to think, unfavourable 
to the existence of a high order of principle and feeling among 
official personages. A majority of ten in an assembly of seventy 
may probably be, according to Cocker, equivalent to a majority 
of 100 in an assembly of 700. In practice, however, it is far 
otherwise. The defection of two or three individuals from the 
majority of ten puts the administration in peril. Thence the 
perpetual patchwork and trafficking to secure this vote and 
that, which (not to mention other evils) so engrosses the time 
and thoughts of ministers, that they have not leisure for matters 
of greater moment. It must also be remembered that it is 

40 CANADA. Ch. m. 

only of late that the popular assemblies in this part of the 
world have acquired the right of determining who shall govern 
them — of insisting, as we phrase it, that the administration of 
affairs shall be conducted by persons enjoying their confidence. 
It is not wonderful that a privilege of this kind should be ex- 
ercised at first with some degree of recklessness, and that, 
while no great principles of policy are at stake, methods of a 
more questionable character for winning and retaining the con- 
Respon- fidence of these arbiters of destiny should be resorted to. My 
Bible go- ^ course in these circumstances is, I think, clear and plain. It 

vernment. I , , 

may be somewhat difficult to follow occasionally, but I feel no 
doubt as to the direction in which it lies. I give to my minis- 
ters all constitutional support, frankly and without reserve, and 
the benefit of the best advice that I can afford them in their 
difficulties. In return for this I expect that they will, in so 
far as it is possible for them to do so, carry out my views for 
the maintenance of the connexion with Great Britain and the 
advancement of the interests of the province. On this tacit 
understanding we have acted together harmoniously up to this 
time, although I have never concealed from them that I in- 
tend to do nothing which may prevent me from working cordi- 
ally with their opponents, if they are forced upon me. That 
ministries and Opposition s should occasionally change places, is 
of the very essence of our constitutional system, and it is pro- 
bably the most conservative element which it contains. By 
subjecting all sections of politicians in their turn to official 
responsibilities, it obliges heated partisans to place some re- 
straint on passion, and to confine within the bounds of decency 
the patriotic zeal with which, when out of place, they are wont to 
be animated. In order, however, to secure these advantages, it 
is indispensable that the head of the Government should show 
that he has confidence in the loyalty of all the influential 
parties with which he has to deal, and that he should have no 
personal antipathies to prevent him from acting with leading 

I feel very strongly that a Governor-General, by acting 
upon these views with tact and firmness, may hope to 
establish a moral influence in the province which wUl go far 
to compensate for the loss of power consequent on the sur- 
render of patronage to an executive responsible to the local 
Parliament. Until, however, the functions of his office, under 


our amended colonial constitution, are more clearly defined — 
until that middle term which shall reconcile the faithful dis- 
charge of his responsibility to the Imperial Government and 
the province with the maintenance of the quasi-monarchical 
relation in which he now stands towards the community over 
which he presides, be discovered and agreed upon, he must be 
content to tread along a path which is somewhat narrow and 
slippery, and to find that incessant watchfulness and some 
dexterity are requisite to prevent him from falling, on the one 
side into the neant of mock sovereignty, or on the other into 
the dirt and confusion of local factions. 

Many of his letters exhibit the same conviction that 
the remedy for the evils which he regretted vs^as to be 
found in the principles of government first asserted by 
Lord Durham ; but there is a special interest ia the 
expression of this sentiment when addressed, as ia the 
following extract, to Lord Durham's daughter : — 

I still adhere to my opinion that the real and effectual vindi- 
cation of Lord Durham's memory and proceedings will be the 
success of a Governor- General of Canada who works out his 
views of government fairly. Depend upon it, if this country 
is governed for a few years satisfactorily, Lord Durham's re- 
putation as a statesman vriU be raised beyond the reach of 
cavil. I do not indeed know whether I am to be the instrument 
to carry out this work, or be destined, like others who have 
gone before me, to break down in the attempt ; but I am still 
of opinion that the thing may be done, though it requires some 
good-fortune and some qualities not of the lowest order. I 
find on my arrival here a very weak Government, almost as 
much abused by their friends as by their foes, no civil or 
private secretary, and an immense quantity of arrears of busi- 
ness. It is possible, therefore, that I may not be able to bear 
up against the diflSculties of my situation, and that it may 
remain for some one else to effect that object, which many 
reasons would render me so desirous to achieve. 

With these cares, which formed the groundwork of Irish ;m- 
the texture of the Governor's life, were interwoven ""s^^*^'""- 
from time to time interests of a more temporary cha- 
racter ; of which the first in date, as ia importance. 

42 CANADA. Ch. in. 

was connected with the flood of immigration consequent 
on the Irish famine of 1847. 

During the course of the season nearly 100,000 im- 
migrants landed at Quebec, a large proportion of 
whom were totally destitute, and must have perished 
had they not been forwarded at the cost of the public. 
Owing to various causes, contagious fever of a most 
malignant character prevailed among them, to an un- 
exampled extent ; the number confined at one time 
in hospitals occasionally approached 10,000 : and 
though the mortaUty among children was very great, 
nearly 1 000 immigrant orphans were left during the 
season at Montreal, besides a proportionate number at 
Grosse Isle, Quebec, Kingston, Toronto, and other places. 

In this manner 'army after army of sick and suf- 
' fering people, fleeing from famine ia their native land 
' to be stricken down by death in the valley of the St. 
' Lawrence, stopped in rapid succession at (Jrosse Isle, 
' and there leaving numbers of their dead behind, pushed 
' upwards towards the lakes, in over-crowded steamers, 
' to burthen the inhabitants of the western towns and 
' villages.'^ 

The people of Canada exerted themselves nobly, 
under the direction of their Governor, to meet the 
sudden call upon their charity ; but he felt deeply for 
the suffermgs which it entailed upon the colony, and 
he did not fail to point out to Lord Grey how severe 
was the stram thus laid on her loyalty : — 

a scourge The immigration which is now taking place is a frightful 

scourge to the province. Thousands upon thousands of poor 
wretches are coming here incapable of work, and scattering the 
seeds of disease and death. Already five or six hundred orphans 
are accumulated at Montreal, for whose sustenance, until they 
can be put out to service, provision must be made. Con- 
siderable panic exists among the inhabitants. Political motives 
contribute to swell the amount of dissatisfaction produced by 

1 MacMullen's History of Canada. 

to the 


this state of things. The Opposition make the want of adequate 
provision to meet this overwhelming calamity, in the shape of hos- 
pitals, fee, a matter of charge against the Provincial Administra- 
tion. That section of the French who dislike British immigra- 
tion at all times, find, as might be expected, in the circumstances 
of this year, a theme for copious declamation. Persons who 
cherish republican sympathies ascribe these evils to our de- 
pendent condition as colonists — ' the States of the Union,' they 
say, ' can take care of themselves, and avert the scourge from 
' their shores, but we are victims on whom inhuman Irish land- 
' lords, &c., can charge the consequences of their neglect and 
' rapacity.' Meanwhile I have a very delicate and irksome duty 
to discharge. There is a general belief that Great Britain 
must make good to the province the expenses entailed on it by 
this visitation. ' It is enough,' say the inhabitants, ' that our 
' houses should be made a receptacle of this mass of want and 
' misery : it cannot surely be intended that we are to be mulcted 
'in heavy pecuniary damages besides.' The reasonableness of 
these sentiments can hardly be questioned — bitter indignation 
would be aroused by the attempt to confute them — and yet I 
feel that if I were too freely to assent to them, I might en- 
courage recklessness, extravagance, and peculation. From the 
overwhelming nature of the calamity, and the large share which 
it has naturally occupied of the attention of Parhament and 
of the public, the task of making arrangements to meet the 
necessities of the case has practically been withdrawn from the 
department of the Civil Secretary, and fallen into the hands of 
the Provincial Administration. In assenting to the various 
minutes which they have passed for affording relief to the sick 
and destitute, and for guarding against the spread of disease, I 
have felt it to be my duty, even at the risk of incurring the 
imputation of insensibility to the claims of distress, to urge the 
necessity of economy, and of adopting all possible precautions 
ao-ainst waste. You will at once perceive, however, how em- 
harrassing my position is. A source of possible misunderstand- 
ing between myself and the colonists is furnished by these un- 
toward circumstances, altogether unconnected with the ordinary, 
or, as I may perhaps venture to term them, normal difficulties 
of my situation. 

On the whole, all things considered, I think that a great 
deal of forbearance and good feeling has been shown by the 



Ch. m. 

colonists under this trial. Nothing can exceed the devotion 
of the nuns and Roman Catholic priests, and the conduct of 
the clergy and of many of the laity of other denominations has 
been most exemplary. Many lives have been sacrificed in 
attendance on the sick and administering to their temporal 
and spiritual need. But the aspect of affairs is becoming 
more and more alarming. The panic which prevails in Mon- 
treal and Quebec is beginning to manifest itself in the 
Upper Province, and farmers are unwilling to hire even the 
healthy immigrants, because it appears that since the warm 
weather set in, typhus has broken out in many cases among 
those who were taken into service at the commencement of the 
season, as being perfectly free from disease. I think it most 
important that the Home Government should do all in their 
power by enforcing the provisions of the Passengers' Act, and 
by causing these facts to be widely circulated, to stem this tide 
of misery. 


Bhould be 
borne by 


What is to be done? Private charity is exhausted. In a 
country where pauperism as a normal condition of society is 
unknown, you have not local rates for the relief of destitution 
to fall back upon. Humanity and prudence alike forbid that 
they should be left to perish in the streets. The exigency of the 
case can manifestly be met only by an expenditure of publicfunds. 

But by whom is this charge to be borne ? You urge, that 
when the first pressure is past, the province will derive, in 
various ways, advantage from this immigration, — that the pro- 
vincial administration, who prescribe the measures of relief, 
have means, which the Imperial authorities have not, of check- 
ing extravagance and waste ; and you conclude that their con- 
stituents ought to be saddled with at least a portion of the 
expense. I readily admit the justice of the latter branch of 
this argument, but I am disposed to question the force of the 
former. The benefit which the province will derive from this 
year's immigration is, at best, problematical ; and it is certain 
that they who are to profit by it would willingly have re- 
nounced it, whatever it may be, on condition of being relieved 
from the evils by which it has been attended. Of the gross 
number of immigrants who have reached the province, many 
are already mouldering in their graves. Among the survivors 
there are widows and orphans, and aged and diseased persons. 


who will probably be for an indefinite period a burden on 
Groveriiment or private charity. A large proportion of the 
healthy and prosperous, who have availed themselves of the 
cheap route of the St. Lawrence, will, I fear, find their way to 
the Western States, where land is procurable on more advan- 
tageous terms than in Canada. To refer, therefore, to the 
82,000 immigrants who have passed into the States through 
N^ew York, and been absorbed there without cost to the mother- 
country, and to contrast this circumstance with the heavy ex- 
pense which has attended the admission of a smaller number 
into Canada, is hardly just. In the first place, of the 82,000 
who went to New York, a much smaller proportion were 
sickly or destitute ; and, besides, by the laws of the state, ship- 
owners importing immigrants are required to enter into bonds, 
which are forfeited when any of the latter become chargeable 
on the public. These, and other precautions yet more strin- 
gent, were enforced so soon as the character of this year's 
immigration was ascertained, and they had the effect of turning 
towards this quarter the tide of suffering which was setting in 
that direction. Even now, immigrants attempting to cross the 
frontier from Canada are sent back, if they are either sickly or 
paupers. On the whole, I fear that a comparison between the 
condition of this province and that of the states of the neigh- 
bouring repubhc, as affected by this year's immigration, would 
be by no means satisfactory or provocative of dutiful and affec- 
tionate feelings towards the mother-country on the part of the 
colonists. It is a case in which, on every account, I think the 
Imperial Government is bound to act Uberally. 

Montli after montli, the tide of misery flowed on, 
eacli wave sweeping deeper into the heart of the pro- 
vince, and carrying off fresh victims of their own 
benevolence. Unfortunately, just as navigation closed Lord 
for the season, a vessel arrived full of emigrants from stoX'^" 
Lord Pahnerston's Irish estates. They appear to have t™^"*^- 
been rather a favourable specimen of their class ; but 
they came late, and they came from one of Her 
Majesty's Ministers, and their coming was taken as a 
sign that England and England's rulers, in their selfish 
desire to be rid of their starving and helpless poor. 

46 • CANADA. Ck. m. 

cared nothing for the calamities they were inflicting on 
thecolony. Writing on November 12, Lord Elgin says: — 

Fever cases among leading persons in the community here 
still continue to excite much comment and alarm. This day 
the Mayor of Montreal died, — a very estimable man, who did 
much for the immigrants, and to whose firmness and philan- 
thropy we cliieflyowe it, that the immigrant sheds here were 
not tossed into the river by the people of the town during the 
summer. He has fallen a victim to his zeal on behalf of the 
poor plague-stricken strangers, having died of ship-fever caught 
at the sheds. Colonel Calvert is lying dangerously ill at 
Quebec, his life despaired of. 

Meanwhile, great indignation is aroused by the arrival of 
vessels from Ireland, with additional cargoes of immigrants, 
some in a very sickly state, after our Quarantine Station is shut 
up for the season. Uufortunately the last arrived brings out 
Lord Palmerston's tenants. I send the commentaries on this 
contained in this day's newspapers.' 

The flood From this time, however, the waters began to subside. 

su 61 es. r^^^ Irish famine had worked its own sad cure. In com- 
pliance with the urgent representations of the Governor, 
the mother-country took upon herself all the expenses 
that had been incurred by the colony on behalf of the 
immigrants of 1847; and improved regulations respect- 
ing emigration offer ground for hope that the fair 
stream, which ought to be full of life and health both 
to the colony and to the parent state, will not again be 
choked and polluted, and its plague-stricken waters 
turned into blood. 

visit to In the autumn of this year Lord Elgin paid his first 

Canada. '^^^^'^ ^^ Upper Canada, meeting everywhere with a 

reception which he felt to be 'most gratifying and 

'encouraging;' and keenly enjoying both the natural 

' A pamphlet waa published by their ' mercenary agents; ' but it was 

a member of the Legislative Council, proved by satisfactory evidence that 

denovmcing this and similar instances his main statements were not founded 

of ' horrible and heartless conduct ' in fact, 
on the part of landed proprietors and 

1847. NIAGARA, 47 

beauties of the country and the tokens of its prosperity 
whicli met Ms view. From Niagara he wrote to Mr. 
Camming Bruce : — 

I write with the roar of the Niagara Falls in my ears. We Niagara. 
have come here for a few days' rest, and that I may get rid of a 
bad cold in the presence of this most stupendous of all the works 
of nature. It is hopeless to attempt to describe what so many 
have been describing ; but the effect, I think, surpassed my ex- 
pectations. The day was waning when we arrived, and a turn 
of the road brought us all at once in face of the mass of water 
forming the American Fall, and throwing itself over the brink 
into the abyss. Then another turn and we were in presence 
of the British Fall, over which a still greater volume of water 
seems to be precipitated, and in the midst of which a white 
cloud of spray was soaring till it rose far above the summit of 
the ledge and was dispersed by the wind. This day we walked 
as far as the Table Rock which overhangs one side of the 
Horse-shoe Fall, and made a closer acquaintance with it ; but 
intimacy serves rather to heighten than to diminish the effect 
produced on the eye and the ear by this wonderful phenomenon. 

The following to Lord Grey is of the same date : — 

Our tour has been thus far prosperous in all respects except 
weather, which has been by no means favourable. I at- 
tended a great Agricultural Meeting at Hamilton last week, 
and had an opportunity of expressing my sentiments at a 
dinner, in the presence of six or seven hundred substantial 
Upper Canada yeomen — a body of men not easily to be matched. 

It is indeed a glorious country, and after passing, as I have 
done within the last fortnight, from the citadel of Quebec to 
the Falls of Niagara, rubbing shoulders the while with its free 
and perfectly independent inhabitants, one begins to doubt 
whether it be possible to acquire a sufficient knowledge of man 
or nature, or to obtain an insight into the future of nations, 
without visiting America. 

A portion of the speech to which he refers in the 
foregoing letter may be here given, as a specimen of 
tis occasional addresses, which were very numerous ; 
for though the main purposes of his life were such as 
' wrote themselves in action not in word,' he regarded 

48 CANADA. Oh. m. 

his faculty of ready and effective speaking as an 
engine which it was his duty to use, whenever occa- 
sion arose, for the purpose of conciliating or instruct- 
ing. In proposing the toast of ' Prosperity to the 
Agricultural Association of Upper Canada,' he said : — 

Speech at Gentlemen, the question forces itself upon every reflecting 
cult^i mind, How does it come to pass that the introduction of agri- 
meeting, culture, and of the arts of civilised life, into this and other parts 
of the American continent has been followed by such astonish- 
ing results ? It may be said that these results are due to the 
qualities of the hardy and enterprising race by which these 
regions have been settled, and the answer is undoubtedly a 
true one : but it does not appear to me to contain the whole 
truth ; it does not appear to account for all the phenomena. 
Why, gentlemen, our ancestors had hearts as brave and arms 
as sturdy as our own ; but it took them many years, aye, even 
centuries, before they were enabled to convert the forests of 
the Druids, and the wild fastnesses of the Highland chieftains, 
into the green pastures of England and the waving cornfields 
of Scotland. How, then, does it come to pass, that the labours 
of their descendants here have been rewarded by a return so 
much more immediate and abundant ? I believe that the true 
solution of this problem is to be found in the fact that here, for 
the first time, the appliances of an age, which has been prolific 
beyond all preceding ages in valuable discoveries, more parti- 
cularly in chemistry and mechanics, have been brought to 
bear, under circumstances peculiarly favourable, upon the pro- 
ductiveness of a new country. When the nations of Europe 
were young, science was in its infancy ; the art of civil go- 
vernment was imperfectly understood; property was inade- 
quately protected ; the labourer knew not who would reap 
what he had sown, and the teeming earth yielded her produce 
grudgingly to the solicitations of an iU-directed and desultory 
cultivation. It was not till long and painful experience had 
taught the nations the superiority of the arts of peace over 
those of war ; it was not until the pressure of numbers upon the 
means of subsistence had been sorely felt, that the ingenuity 
of man was taxed to provide substitutes for those ineffective 
and wasteful methods, under which the fertility of the virgin 
soil had been well-nigh exhausted. But with you, gentlemen. 


it is far otherwise. Canada springs at once from the cradle 
into the full possession of the privileges of manhood. Canada, 
■with the bloom of youth yet upon her cheek, and with youth's 
elasticity in her tread, has the advantage of all the experience 
of age. She may avail herself, not only of the capital accu- 
mulated in older countries, but also of those treasures of know- 
ledge which have been gathered up by the labour and re- 
search of earnest and thoughtful men throughout a series of 

Now, gentlemen, what is the inference that I would draw 
from all this ? What is the moral I would endeavour to 
impress upon you ? It is this : That it is your interest and 
your duty to avail yourselves to the utmost of all these un- 
paralleled advantages ; to bring to bear upon this soil, so 
richly endowed by nature, all the appliances of modern art ; to 
refuse, if 1 may so express myself, to convert your one talent 
into two, if, by a more skilful application of the true principles 
-of husbandry, or by greater economy of management, you can 
convert it into ten. And it is because I believe that societies 
like these, when well directed, are calculated to aid you in 
your endeavours to effect these important objects, that I am 
disposed to give them all the protection and countenance, 
which it is in my power to afford. They have certainly been 
very useful in other countries, and I cannot see why they 
should be less serviceable in Canada. The Highland Society 
of Scotland was the first instituted, and the proud position 
■which Scotland enjoys as an agricultural country speaks 
volumes of the services rendered by that society. The Royal 
Agricultural Society of England and the Eoyal Agricultural 
Society of Ireland followed in its wake, and with similarly 
beneficial results. I myself was instrumental in establishing 
an agricultural society in the West Indies, which has already 
done much to revive the spirits of the planters ; and I shall be 
-very much disappointed, indeed, if that society does not prove 
-the means, before many years are past, of establishing the truth 
so important to humanity, that, even in tropical countries, free 

Habour properly applied under a good system of husbandry is 

zmore economical than the labour of slaves. 

At the close of 1847 the Canadian Parliament was change of 
*iissolved. When the new Parhament met early in '"'^"''y- 


50 CANADA. Oh. HI. 

1848, the Ministry — Lord MetcaKe's Ministry — found 
itself in a decided minority. A new one was accord- 
ingly formed from the ranks of the opposition, ' the 
members of both parties concurring in expressing then- 
sense of the perfect fairness and impartiality with 
which Lord Elgua had conducted himself throughout 
the transactions ' which led to this result.-^ 
French The French Canadians, who formed the chief element 

in the new government, were even at this time a 
peculiar people. Planted in the days of the old French 
monarchy, and cut oif by conquest from the parent 
state long before the Revolution of 1789, their little 
community remained for many years like a fragment or 
boulder of a distmct formation — an island enshrining 
the picturesque institutions of the ancien regime, in 
the midst of an ever-encroaching sea of British nine- 
teenth-century enterprise. The English, it has been 
truly said, emigrate, but do not colonise. No con- 
course of atoms could be more fortuitous than the 
gathering of ' traders, sailors, deserters from the army, 
outcasts, convicts, slaves, democrats, and fanatics,' who 
have been the first, and sometimes the only ingredients 
of society in our so-called colonies. French Canada, 
on the contrary, was an organism complete in itself, a 
little model of mediaeval France, with its recognised 
gradations of ranks, ecclesiastical and social. 

It may, indeed, be doubted whether the highest 
forms of social life are best propagated by this method : 
whether the freer system, which ' sows itself on every 
wind,' does not produce the larger, and, in the long 
run, the more beneficent results. But if reason ac- 
quiesces in the ultimate triumph of that busy, pushing 
energy which distinguishes the British settler, there is 
something very attractive to the imagination in the 
picture presented by the peaceful community of French 
hahitans, living under the gentle and congenial control 

' Lord Grey's Colonial Policy. 


cz)f their coiltumes de Paris ^ with their priests and their 
s-eigneurs, their frugal, industrious habits, their amiable 
c3ispositions and simple pleasures, and their almost 
e^xaggerated reverence for order and authority. Poli- 
"fcically speaking, they formed a most valuable element 
i~n Canadian society. At one time, indeed, the restless 
eanarchical spirit of the settlers around them, acting on 
tihe sentiment of French nationality, instigated them to 
■fche rebelhon of 1837; but, as a rule, their social sym- 
;pDathies were stronger than their national antipathies; 
sm,rA gratitude to the Government which secured to 
fchem tlie enjoyment of their cherished institutions kept 
■fchem true to England on more than one occasion when 
1 ler own sons threatened to fall away from her. 

By the legislative union of 1840 the barriers which 
taad separated the British and French communities 
"^==vere, to a great extent, broken down ; and the various 
eslements in each began gradually to seek out and to 
c=;oinbine with those which were congenial to them in 
t-he other. But there were many cross currents and 
fchwarting influences ; and there was great danger, as 
ILord Elgin felt, lest they should form false combina- 
t^ions, on partial -^dews of local or personal interest, 
i^nstead of uniting on broad principles of social and 
f3ohtical agreement. 

Such were the antecedents of the party which now, 
f"or the first time, found itself admitted to the counsels 
czjf the Governor. Well might he write to Lord Grey, 
that 'the province was about to pass through an in- 
' teresting crisis.' He was required, in obedience to his 
c=>^n principles, to accept as advisers persons who had 
■v=^ery lately been denounced by the Secretary of State 
^s well as by the Governor- General, as impracticable 
Eand disloyal. On the other hand he reflected, with 
satisfaction, that in these sentiments he himself had 
meither overtly nor covertly expressed concurrence ; 
^;=vlule the most extravagant assertors of responsible 

E 3 

52 CANADA. Ch. m. 

government had never accused him of stepping out of 
his constitutional position. He felt, therefore, that the 
onus probandi would rest on his new councillors if they 
could not act with him, and put forth pretensions to 
which he was unable to accede. At least he was de- 
termined to give them a fair trial. Writing on the 
17th of March he says : — 

The late Ministers tendered their resignations in a body on 
Saturday 4th, immediately after the division on the address, 
which took place on Friday. I received and answered the 
address on Tuesday, and then sent for Messrs. Lafontaine 
and Baldwin. I spoke to them in a candid and friendly tone : 
told them that I thought there was a fair prospect, if they 
were moderate and firm, of forming an administration deserving 
and enjoying the confidence of Parliament; that they might 
count on all proper support and assistance from me. 

They dwelt much on difficulties arising out of pretensions 
advanced in various quarters ; which gave me an opportunity to 
advise them not to attach too much importance to such con- 
siderations, but to bring together a council strong in adminis- 
trative talent, and to take their stand on the wisdom of their 
measures and policy. . . . 

I am not without hoj^es that my position will be improved 
by the change of administration. My present council un- 
questionably contains more talent, and has a firmer hold on 
the confidence of Parliament and of the people than the last. 
There is, I think, moreover, on their part, a desire to prove, 
by proper deference for the authority of the Governor-General 
(which the)^ all admit has in my case never been abused), that 
they were libelled when they were accused of impracticability 
and anti-monarchical tendencies. 

News of It was only a few days after this that news reached 

reroiution. Canada of the revolution of February in Paris. On 
receipt of it he writes : — 

It is just as well that I should have arranged my Ministry, 
and committed the Flag of Britain to the custody of those who 
are supported by the large majority of the representatives and 
constituencies of the province, before the arrival of the as- 
tounding intelligence fi-om Europe, which reached us by the 


Ulast mail. There are not wanting here persons who might, 
T-jnder different circumstances, have attempted, by seditious 
tnarangues if not by overt acts, to turn the example of France, 
^nd the sympathies of the United States, to account. 

But T^^Mle congratulating Lord Grej^ on having passed Three 
satisfactorily ttirough a crisis which might, under other '''^''"^""^• 
cziircumstances, have been attended with very serious 
ir-esults, and on the fact that ' at no period, during the 
' recent history of Canada, had the people of the pro- 
' vince generally been better contented, or less disposed 
' to quarrel with the mother-country,' Lord Elgin did 
imot disguise from hitnself, or from the Secretary of 
^3tate, that there were ominous symptoms of disaffec- 
t:3ioii on the part of all the three great sections of the 
c^oinmunity, the French, the Irish, and the British. 

Bear in mind that one-half of our population is of French 
c^rigin, and deeply imbued with French sympathies ; that a 
c^OBsiderable portion of the remainder consists of Irish Catholics ; 
t~hat a large Irish contingent on the other side of the border, 
fSinatics on behalf of republicanism and repeal, are egging on 
tZheir compatriots here to rebellion ; that aU have been wrought 
T-M-pou until they believe that the conduct of England to Ire- 
l^rd is only to be paralleled by that of Russia to Poland; 
tThat on this exciting topic, therefore, a kind of holy indig- 
r^ation mixes itself with more questionable impulses ; that Guy 
l^'^aivkes Papineau, actuated by the most malignant passions, 
iifccritated vanity, disappointed ambition, and national hatred, 
v"Si^hic]n unmerited favour has only served to exasperate, is 
v^aving a lighted torch among these combustibles — you will, I 
t"Siiak:, admit, that if we pass through this crisis without ex- 
p^losions it will be a gratifying circumstance, and an encourage- 
nchent to persevere in a liberal and straightforward application 
o f constitutional principles to Government. 

1 have peculiar satisfaction therefore, under all these cir- 
c^umstances, in calling your attention to the presentment of 
tWn.e grand jury of Montreal, which I have sent you officially, 
iin. which that body adverts to the singularly tranquil and con^ 
tinted state of the province.' 

'See Papers presented to Parliament, May, 1848; or Lord Grey's 
C^ohnid Policy, i. 216. 



Oh. m. 




TJee of tte 




With regard to the French he constantly expressed 
the conviction that nothing was wanted to secure the 
loyalty of the vast majority, but a policy of conciliation 
and confidence. In this spirit he urged the importance 
of removing the restrictions on the use of the French 
language : — 

I am very anxious to hear that you have taken steps for the 
repeal of so much of the Act of Union as imposes restrictions 
on the use of the French language. The delay which has 
taken place in giving effect to the promise made, I think by 
Gladstone, on this subject, is one of the points of which M. 
Papineau is availing himself for purposes of agitation. I 
must, moreover, confess, that I for one am deeply convinced of 
the impolicy of all such attempts to denationalise the French. 
Generally speaking they produce the opposite eifect from that 
intended, causing the flame of national prejudice and animosity 
to burn more fiercely. But suppose them to be successful, 
what would be the result ? You may perhaps Americanize, 
but, depend upon it, by methods of this description you will 
never Anglicize the French inhabitants of the province. Let 
them feel, on the other hand, that their religion, their habits, 
their prepossessions, their prejudices if you will, are more con- 
sidered and respected here than in other portions of this vast 
continent, who will venture to say that the last hand which 
waves the British flag on American ground may not be that of 
a French Canadian ? 

In the same spirit, when an association was formed 
for facilitating the acquisition of crown lands by 
French habitans, he put himself at the head of the 
movement ; by which means he was able to thwart the 
disloyal designs of the demagogue who had planned it. 

You will perhaps recollect that some weeks ago I mentioned 
that the Roman Catholic bishop and priests of this diocese had 
organised an association for colonisation purposes, their object 
being to prevent the sheep of their pasture (who now, strange 
as it may appear, emigrate annually in thousands to the States, 
where they become hewers of wood and drawers of water to 
the Yankees, and bad Catholics into the bargain) from quitting 
their fold. Papineau pounced upon this association as a 


means of making himself of importance in the eyes of his 
countrymen, and of gratifying his ruling passion by abusing 
England. Accordingly, at a great meeting convened at Mont- 
real, he held forth for three hours to the multitude (the bishop 
in the chair), ascribing this and all other French-Canadian ills, 
real or supposed, to the selfish policy of Great Britain, and 
her persevering eiforts to deprive them of their nationality and 
eyery other blessing. 

In process of time, after this rather questionable start, the 
association waited on me with a memorial requesting the 
co-operation of Government, M. Papineau being one of the 

In dealing with them I had two courses to choose from. I 
had nothing for it, situated as I was, but either, on the one 
hand, to give the promoters of the scheme a cold shoulder, 
point out its objectionable features, and dwell upon difficulties 
of execution — in which case (use what tact I might) I should 
have dismissed the bishop and his friends discontented, and 
giTsn M. Papineau an opportunity of asserting that I had 
lent a quasi sanction to his calumnies ; or, on the other, to 
identify myself with the movement, put myself in so far as 
might be at its head, impart to it as salutary a direction as 
possible, and thus wrest from M. Papineau's hands a potent 
instrument of agitation. 

I was tempted, I confess, to prefer the latter of these 
courses, not only by reason of its manifest expediency as 
bearing upon present political contests, but also because I 
sympathise, to a considerable extent, with the views of the pro- 
moters of the movement. No one object, in my opinion, is so 
important, whether you seek to retain Canada as a colony, or to 
fither for independence and make her instinct with national life 
and vigour, as the filling up of her vacant lands with a resident 
atricultural population. More especially is it of moment that 
tie inhabitants of French origin should feel that every facility 
for settling on the land of their fathers is given them with the 
cordial assent and concurrence of the British Government and 
its representative, and that in the plans of settlement their 
feelino-s and habits are consulted. The sentiment of French 
Canadian nationality, which Papineau endeavours to pervert 
to purposes of faction, may yet perhaps, if properly improved. 

56 CANADA. Cn. IH. 

furnish tlie best remaining security against annexation to the 

I could not with these views afford to lose the opportunity 
of promoting this object, which was presented by a sponta- 
neous movement of the people, headed by the priesthood — the 
most powerful influence in Lower Canada. 

The official correspondence which has passed on this subject 
I hope to send by the next mail, and I need not trouble you 
with the detail of proceedings on my own part, which, though 
small in themselves, were not without their effect. Suffice it 
to say, that Papineau has retired to solitude and reflection at 
his seignory, ' La Petite Nation ' — and that the pastoral letter, 
of which I enclose a copy, has been read au prone in every 
Koman Catholic church in the diocese. To those who know 
what have been the real sentiments of the French population 
towards England for some years past, the tone of this docu- 
ment, its undisguised preference for peaceful over quarrelsome 
courses, the desire which it manifests to place the representa- 
tive of British rule forward as the patron of a work dear to 
French-Canadian hearts, speaks volumes. 

With the same object of conciliating the French por- 
tion of the community, he lost no opportunity of mani- 
festing the personal interest vrhich he felt in then- 
institutions. The following letter, written in August 
1848, to his mother at Paris, describes a visit to one 
of these institutions, the college of St. Hyacinthe, the 
chief French college of Montreal : — 

A French I was present, the other day, at an examination of the 
'^° '^^*'' students at one of the Roman Catholic Colleges of Montreal. 
It is altogether under the direction of the priesthood, and it is 
curious to observe the course they steer. The young men 
declaimed for some hours on a theme proposed by the superior, 
being a contrast between ancient and modern civilisation. 
The greater part of it was a sonorous exposition of ultra- 
liberal principles, ' Liberie, Egalite, FraterniteJ ' Vox populi, 
vox Dd,^ a very liberal tribute to the vanity and to the pre- 
judices of the classes who might be expected to send their 
children to the institution or to puff it ; with an elaborate 


pivot a la Lacordaire — that the Church had achieved all that 
lia,d been effected in this genre hitherto. Au reste, there was 
the -wonderful mechanism which gives that church such 
advantages — the fourteen professors receiving no salaries, 
Tvorking for their food and that of the homeliest ; as a conse- 
quence, an education, hoard and lodging inclusive, costing only 
15 Z. a year; the youths subjected to a constant discipline 
under the eye of ecclesiastics day and night. I confess, when 
I see both the elasticity and the machinery of this church, my 
wonder is, not with Lacordaire that it should do so much, but 
that it should not do more. 

More formidable at all tiraes than any discontent on The Irish 
the part of the quiet and orderly French liahitans w&s the '^^^^ '°'^' 
chronic disaffection of the restless, roving Irish ; and 
especially when connected with a threatened invasion 
of American ' sympathisers.' When such threats come 
to nothmg, it is generally difficult to say whether they 
■were aU mere vapouring, or whether they might have 
led to serious results, if not promptly met ; but at one 
time, at least, there appears to have been solid ground 
for apprehending that real mischief was intended. On 
the 18th July, 1848, Lord Elgin writes : — 

At the moment when the last mail was starting a placard, insh 
calling an Irish repeal, or rather republican, meeting was placed repub- 
in. my hands. I enclosed it in my letter to you, and I now 
proceed to inform you how the movement to which it relates 
has progressed since then. 

An M.P.P.', opposed in politics to the present Government, 
waited on me a few days ago and told me, that he had been 
requested to move a resolution at the meeting in question by a 
Mr. O'Connor, who represented himself to be the editor of a 
newspaper at New York, and a member of the Irish Republican 
Union. This gentleman informed him that it was expected 
that, before September, there would be a general rising in 
Ireland ; that the body to which he belonged had been insti- 
tuted with the view of abetting this movement ; that it was 
discountenanced by the aristocracy of the States, but sup- 

' I.e. Member of the Provincial Parliament. 

68 CANADA. Ch. ni. 

ported by the great mass of the people ; that funds were forth- 
coming in plenty ; that arms and soldiers, who might he em- 
ployed as drill sergeants in the clubs, were even now passing 
over week after week to Ireland ; that an American general, 
lately returned from Mexico, was engaged to take the com- 
mand when the proper time came ; that they would have from 
700,000 to 800,000 men in the field, a force with which Great 
Britain would be altogether unable to cope ; that when the 
English had been expelled, the Irish people would be called to 
determine, whether the Queen was to be at the head of their 
political system or not. He added that his visit to Canada 
was connected with these objects ; that it was desirable that a 
diversion should be effected here at the time of the Irish 
outbreak ; that 50,000 Irish were ready to inarch into Canada 
from the States at a moment's notice. He further stated that 
he had called on my informant, because he understood him to 
be a disappointed man, and ill-disposed to the existing order 
of things ; that with respect to himself and the thousands who 
felt with him, there was no sacrifice they were not ready to 
make, if they could humble England and reduce her to a third- 
rate power. 

The place originally selected for the monster meeting, 
according to the advertisement which I enclose, was the Bon- 
secour Market, a covered building, under the control of the 
corporation. When this was announced, however, the Govern- 
ment sent for the mayor (a French Liberal) and told him that 
they considered it unbecoming that he should give the room 
for such a purpose. He accordingly withdrew his permission, 
stating that he had not been before apprised of the precise 
nature of the assembly. After receiving this check, the leaders 
of the movement fixed on an open space near the centre of the 
town for their gathering. 

It took place last night, and proved a complete failure. 
Not a single individual of importance among the Ii-ish Repeal 
party was present. Some hundreds of persons attended, but 
were speedily dispersed by a timely thunder shower. O'Connor 
was violent enough; but I have not yet ascertained that he 
said anything which would form good material for an indict- 
ment. I am of opinion, however, that proceedings of this 
description on the part of a citizen of another country are not 
to be tolerated; and, although there is an indisposition in 


certain quarters to drive things to an extremity, I think I 
shall succeed in having him arrested unless he takes himself off 

But the French question and the Irish question were The 
simple and unimportant as compared with those which question, 
were raised by the state of feeling recently created in 
a, large and influential portion of the British popula- 
tion, partly by pohtical events, partly by commercial 

The political party, which was now in opposition — the 
old Tory Loyalists, who from their long monopoly of 
office and official influence had acquired the title of 
the ' Family Compact' — were fiUed with wrath at seeing The 
rebels — for as such they considered the French leaders Compact. 
— now taken into the confidence of the Governor as 
Ministers of the Crown. At the same time many of 
the individuals who composed that party were smart- 
ing under- a sense of injury and injustice inflicted upon 
them by the. Home Government, and by that party in 
the Home Government by whose policy their own 
ascendency in the colony had, as they considered, been 
undermmed. Nor was it possible to deny that there 
vv^as some ground for their complaints. By the Canada 
Corn Act of 1843 not only the wheat of Canada, but 
also its flour, which might be made from American 
vyheat, had been admitted into England at a nominal 
duty. The premium thus ofifered for the grinding of 
American wheat for the British market, caused a great 
amount of capital to be invested in mills and other ap- 
pliances of the flour trade. ' But almost before these 
' arrangements were fully completed, and the newly 
' built mills fairly at work, the [Free -Trade] Act of 
' 1846 swept away the advantage conferred upon Canada 
' in respect to the corn-trade with this country, and thus 
' brought upon the province a frightful amount of loss to 
' individuals, and a great derangement of the Colonial 



Ch. m. 

due to Im- 
perial le- 

How to be 

' finances.' ^ Lord Elgin felt deeply for tlie sufferers, and 
often pressed their case on the attention of the Secretary 
of State. 

I do not think that you are blind to the hardships which 
■ Canada is now enduring ; but, I must own, I doubt much 
whether you fully appreciate their magnitude, or are aware of 
how directly they are chargeable on Imperial legislation. 
Stanley's Bill of 1843 attracted all the produce of the "West to 
the St. Lawrence, and fixed all the disposable capital of the 
province in grinding mills, warehouses, and forwarding esta- 
blishments. Peel's Bill of 1846 drives the whole of the 
produce down the New York channels of communication, de- 
stroying the revenue which Canada expected to derive from 
canal dues, and ruining at once mill-owners, forwarders, and 
merchants. The consequence is, that private property is un- 
saleable in Canada, and not a shilling can be raised on the 
credit of the province. We are actually reduced to the dis- 
agreeable necessity of paying all public officers, from the 
Governor- General downwards, in debentures, which are not 
exchangeable at par. What makes it more serious is, that all 
the prosperity of which Canada is thus robbed is transplanted 
to the other side of the lines, as if to make Canadians feel 
more bitterly how much kinder England is to the children 
who desert her, than to those who remain faithful. For I care 
not whether you be a Protectionist or a Free-trader, it is the 
inconsistency of Imperial legislation, and not the adoption of 
one policy rather than another, which is the bane of the 
colonies. I believe that the conviction that they would be 
better off if they were ' annexed ' is almost universal among 
the commercial classes at present, and the peaceful condition 
of the province under all the circumstances of the time is, I 
must confess, often a matter of great astonishment to myself. 

His sympathy, however, with the suffermgs caused by 
the introduction of Free-trade was not accompanied by 
any wish to return to a Protective policy. On the con- 
trary, he felt that the remedy was to be sought in a 
further development of the Free-trade prmciple, m the 

■ Lord Grey's Colonial Polic;/, i. tlie mfittor, for he voted ng'ainst the 
220. Lord Grey was one of the few Act of 1843, in opposition to his 
statesmen who were blameless in party. 


repeal of the Navigation Laws, which cramped the com- 
merce of Canada by restricting it to British vessels, 
and in a reciprocal reduction of the duties which 
hampered her trade with the United States. In this 
sense he writes to Lord Grey : — 

I am glad to see your bold measure on the Navigation Laws. 
You have no other course now open to you if you intend to 
keep your colonies. You cannot halt between two opinions : 
Free-trade in all things, or general Protection. There was 
something captivating in the project of forming all the parts of 
this vast British empire into one huge Zollverein, with free 
interchange of commodities, and uniform duties against the 
world without; though perhaps, without some federal legis- 
lation, it might have been impossible to carry it out. Un- 
doubtedly, under such a system, the component parts of the 
empire would have been united by bonds which cannot be 
supplied under that on which we are now entering ; though it 
may be fairly urged on the other side, that the variety of con- 
flicting interests which would, under this arrangement, have 
been brought into presence would have led to collisions which 
we may now hope to escape. But, as it is, the die is cast. As 
regards these colonies you must allow them to turn to the best 
possible account their contiguity to the States, that they may 
not have cause for dissatisfaction when they contrast their own 
condition with that of their neighbours. 

Another subject on which I am very solicitous, is the free 
admission of Canadian products into the States. At present 
the Canadian farmer gets less for his wheat than his neigh- 
bour over the lines. This is an unfortunate state of things. 
I had a long conversation with Mr. Baldwin about it lately, 
and he strongly supports the proposition wliich I ventured to 
submit for your consideration about a year ago, viz. that a 
special treaty should be entered into with the States, giving 
them the navigation of the St. Lawrence jointly with our- 
selves, on condition that they admit Canadian produce duty 
free. An arrangement of this description affecting internal 
waters only might, I apprehend, be made (as in the case of 
Columbia in the Oregon treaty) independently of the adjust- 
ment of questions touching the Navigation Laws generally. I 
confess that I dread the effect of the continuance of the pre- 

62 CANADA. Ch. m. 

sent state of things on the loyalty of our farmers. Surely the 
admission of the Americans into the St. Lawrence would be 
a great boon to them, and we ought to exact a quid pro quo. 

He was sanguine enough to hope that these measures, 
so simple and so obviously desirable, might be brought 
into operation at once ; but they were not carried until 
many years later, one of them, as we shall see, only by 
aid of his own personal exertions ; and his disappomt- 
ment on this score deepened the anxiety with which 
he looked round upon the difficulties of his position, 
already described. On August 16 he writes : — 

The news from Ireland — the determination of Government 
not to proceed with the measure respecting the Navigation 
Laws — doubts as to whether the American Congress will pass 
the Reciprocity of Trade Bill — menaces of sympathisers in the 
States — all combine at present to render our position one of 
considerable anxiety. 

Firstly, we have the Irish Repeal body. I need not describe 
them ; you may look at home ; they are here just what they are 
in Ireland. Secondly, we have the French population ; their 
attitude as regards Enijland and America is that of an armed 
neiltrality. They do not exactly like the Americans, but they 
are the conquered, oppressed subjects of England ! To be sure 
they govern themselves, pay no taxes, and some other trifles 
of this description ; nevertheless, they are the victims of 
British egoisme. Was not the union of the provinces carried 
without their consent, and with a view of subjecting them to 
the British ? Papineau, their press, and other authorities, are 
constantly dinning this into their ears, so no wonder they 
believe it. 

Again, our mercantile and commercial classes are thoroughly 
disgusted and lukewarm in their allegiance. You know 
endugli of colonies to appreciate the tendency which they 
always exhibit to charge their misfortunes upon the mother- 
country, no matter from what source they flow. And indeed 
it is easy to show that, as matters now stand, the faithful sub- 
ject of Her Majesty in Canada is placed on a worse footing, as 
regards trade with the mother-country, than the rebel ' over the 
' lines.' 


The same man who, when you canvass him at an English 
borough election, says, ' Why, sir, I voted Red all my life, and 
I never got anything by it : this time I intend to vote Blue,' — 
addresses you in Canada with ' I have been all along one of 
'the steadiest supporters of the British Government, but really, 
'if claims such as mine are not more thought of, I shall begin 
'to consider whether other institutions are not preferable to 
' ours.' What to do under these circumstances of anxiety and 
discouragement is the question. 

As to any aggressions from without, I shall throw the re- 
sponsibility of repelling them upon Her Majesty's troops in 
the first instance. And I shall be disappointed, indeed, if the 
military here do not give a very good account of all American 
and Irish marauders. 

With respect to internal commotions, I should like to devolve 
the duty of quelling them as much as possible upon the 
citizens. I very much doubt whether any class of them, how- 
ever great their indifference or disloyalty, fancy the taste of 
Celtic pikes, or the rule of Irish mob law. 

Happily tte dangers whicli there seemed so much 
reason to apprehend were dispelled by the policy at once 
firm and conciliatory of the Governor: mainly, as he 
himself was never wearied of asserting, owing to the 
healthy ana loyal feeling engendered in the province by 
his frank adoption and consistent maintenance of Lord 
Durham's principle of responsible government. It was 
one of the occasions, not unfrequent in Lord Elgin's 
life, that recall the words in which Lord Melbourne 
pronounced the crowning eulogy of another celebrated 
diplomatist : — ' My Lords, you can never fully appre- 
' ciate the merits of that great man. You can appre- 
' ciate the great acts which he publicly performed ; but 
' you cannot appreciate, for you cannot know, the great 
' mischiefs which he unostentatiously prevented.' 

In the course of the discussions on the Repeal of the Navigation 
Navigation Laws, to which reference is made in the 
foregoing letters, an incident occurred which attracted 
some attention at the time, and which, as it could not 


64 CANADA. Ch. m. 

be explained then, ouglit, perhaps, to be noticed in this 


Lord George Bent'nck, who led the opposition to the 
measure, saw reason to think that, in the published 
despatches from Canada on the subject, a letter had 
been suppressed which would have furnished arguments 
against the Government ; and, under this impression, 
he moved in the House of Commons for ' copies of the 
omitted correspondence.' The motion was negatived 
without a division, on Lord John Eussell's pointing 
out that it involved an imputation on the Governor's 
good faith ; but the Premier himself was probably not 
aware at the time, how completely the mover was at 
fault, as is shown in the following letter from Lord 
Elgin to Mr. C. Bruce, who, being a member of Par- 
liament and a strong Protectionist, had a double interest 
in the matter : — 

You ask me about this mare's nest of Bentlnck. The facts 
are these : the Montreal Board of Trade drew up a memorial 
for the House of Commons against the Navigation Laws, con- 
taining inter alia a very distinct threat of separation in the 
event of their non-repeal. My secretary (not my private 
secretary, mark, but my responsible Government Secretary) 
sent me a draft of a letter to the Board containing very loyal 
and proper sentiments on this head. I approved of the letter, 
and sent a copy of it home with the memorial, instead of a 
report ly myself, partly because it saved me trouble, and 
partly because I was glad to show how perfectly my 
liberal government had expressed themselves on the point. 
Two or three weeks later, the Board of Trade, not liking; 
Mr. Sullivan to have the last word, wrote an answer, 
simply justifying what they had already stated in their 
memorial, which had already gone with my comment upon it 
to be laid before the House of Commons. To send such a 
letter home in a separate despatch would have seemed to me 
worse than absurd, because it would really have been giving 
to this unseemly menace a degree of importance which it did 
not deserve. If I had sent it I must have accompanied it 
with a statement to the effect, that my sentiments on the point 


communicated in my former letter remained unchanged ; so 
the matter would have rested pretty much where it did before. 
Bentinck seems to suppose that, in keeping back a letter which 
stated that Canada would separate if the Navigation Laws were 
not repealed, I intended by some very ingenious dodge to 
hasten their repeal I ' 

At the beginning of the winter season of 1848 9, Speech on 
Lord Elgin was present, as patron, at a meeting of the ^ "'^'^ '°"' 
Montreal Mercantile Library Association, to open the 
"winter's course of lectures. It was an association 
mainly founded by leading merchants, ' with a view of 
' affording to the junior members of the mercantile body 
'opportunities of self- improvement, and inducements 
' sufBLciently powerful to enable them to resist those 
' temptations to idleness and dissipation which unhappily 
'abound in all large communities.' He took the oppor- 
tunity of delivering his views on the subject of educa- 
tion in a speech, parts of which may still be read with 
interest, after all that has been spoken and written on 
this fertile topic. It has at least the merit of being 
eminently characteristic of the speaker, whose whole 
life was an illustration, in the eyes of those who knew 
him best, of the truths which he sought to inculcate on 
the young merchants of Montreal.'^ 

After remarking that it was vain for him to attempt, 
^n a cursory address, to fan the fervour of his hearers' 

' The personal finnoyauce which ' wouldbe an admirable text on which 

~tiA felt on this occasion was only a ' to engvaft ideas of permt^nent value 

^hase of the iudiomation which was ' on this most important question ;' 

often roused in him, by seeing the as helping to show ' that to reduce 

^interests and feelings of the colony ' education to stuffing the mind with 

nmade the sport of party-speakers and ' facts is to dwarf theintelligence, and 

3)arty-writers at home; and im- ' to reverse the natural process of the 

^nrtant transactions in the province ' growth of man's mind : that the 

-distorted and misrHpresented, so as 'hnowledge of principles,astheraeans 

—to afford pround for an attack, in the ' of discrimination, and the criterion 

Jjiitish Parhament, on an obnoxious ' of those individual appreciations 

ZMinister. — Vide l7ifm, p. 113. 'which are fallaciously called facts, 

"■ ' A knowledge,' wrote Sir F. ' ought to be the end of high edu- 

Bruce, 'of what he was, and of the 'cation.' 
' Jesuits he in consequence achieved, 


CANADA. Ch. m. 

zeal, or throw light on subjects which they were in the 
habit of hearing so effectively treated, 

Indeed (he continued) I should almost be tempted to affirm 
that in an age when education is so generally difFused— when 
the art of printing has brought the sources of information so 
near to the Hps of all who thirst for understanding— when so 
many of the secrets of nature have been revealed — when the 
impalpable and all-pervading electricity, and the infinite elas- 
ticity of steam, have been made subservient to purposes of 
human utility, — the advantages of knowledge, in an utilitarian 
point of view, the utter hopelessness of a successful attempt 
on the part either of individuals or classes to maintain their 
position in society if they neglect the means of self-improve- 
ment, are truths too obvious to call for elucidation. I must 
say that it seems to me that there is less risk, therefore, of our 
declining to avail ourselves of our opportunities than there is 
of our misusing or abusing them ; that there is less likelihood 
of our refusing to grasp the treasures spread out before us, 
than of our laying upon them rash and irreverent hands, and 
neglecting to cultivate those habits of patient investigation, 
humility, and moral self-control, without which we have no 
sufficient security that even the possession of knowledge itself 
will be a blessing to us. I was much struck by a passage I 
met with the other day in reading the life of one of the greatest 
men of his age and country — Watt — which seemed to me to 
illustrate very forcibly the nature of the danger to which I 
am now referring as well as its remedy. It is stated in the 
passage to which I allude, that Watt took great delight in 
reading over the specifications of inventions for which patent 
rights were obtained. He observed that of those inventions 
a large proportion turned out to be entirely worthless, and a 
source of ruin and disappointment to their authors. And it is 
further stated that he discovered that, among these abortive 
inventions, many were but the embodiment of ideas which had 
suggested themselves to his own mind — which, probably, when 
they first presented themselves, he had welcomed as great dis- 
coveries, likely to contribute to his own fame and to the 
advantage of mankind, but which, after ha\-ing subjected them 
to that rigid and unsparing criticism -which he felt it his 
bounden duty to apply to the offspring of his own brain, he 


lad found to be worthless, and rejected. Now, unquestionably, 

the powerful intellect of Watt went for much in this matter : 

"Unquestionably his keen and practised glance enabled him to 

detect flaws and errors in many cases where an eye equally 

honest, but less acute, would have failed to discover them ; but 

■can we doubt that a moral element was largely involved in the 

-composition of that quality of mind which enabled Watt to 

^hun the sunken rocks on which so many around him were 

^making shipwreck — that it was his unselfish devotion to truth, 

His humility, and the practice of self-control, which enabled 

3iiin to rebuke the suggestions of vanity and self-interest, and, 

~~\Tith the sternness of an impartial judge, to condemn to silence 

=ind oblivion even the offspring of his own mind, for which he 

«:loubtless felt a parent's fondness, when it fell short of that 

standard of perfection which he had reared ? From this inci- 

«3ent in the life of that great man, we may draw, I think, a 

aamost useful lesson, which we may apply with good effect to 

::^elds of inquiry far transcending those to which the anecdote 

Mias immediate reference. Take, for instance, the wide region 

cDccupied with moral and political, or, as they are styled, 

Social questions ; observe the wretched half-truths, the perilous 

^fallacies, which quacks, greedy of applause or gain, and specu- 

i^ating on the credulity of mankind, more especially in times of 

jfierturbation or distress, have the audacity to palm upon the 

"^^orld as sublime discoveries calculated to increase, in some 

""■^ast and untold amount, the sum of human happiness ; and 

imark the misery and desolation which follow, when the hopes 

excited by these pretenders are dispelled. It is often said in 

^apology for such persons, that they are, after all, sincere ; that 

"fchey are deceived rather than deceivers ; that they do not ask 

<Z3tliers to adopt opinions which they have not heartily accepted 

"t^hemselves ; but apply to this reasoning the principle that I 

tiave been endeavouring to illustrate from the life of Watt, 

^aad we shall find, I think, that the excuse is, in most cases, but 

^a sorry one, if, indeed, it be any excuse at all. God has 

T=3lanted within the mind of man the lights of reason and of 

<^onscience, and without it. He has placed those of revelation 

^and experience ; and if man wilfully extinguishes those lights, 

3 n order that, under cover of the darkness which he has him, 

^elf made, he may install in the sanctuary of his understanding 

E^nd heart, where the image of truth alone should dwell, a vain 

E 2 

68 CANADA. Ch. m. 

idol, a creature of his own fond imaginings, it will, I fear, but 
little avail him, more especially in that day when the secrets 
of all hearts shall be revealed, if he shall plead in extenuation 
of his guilt that he did not invite others to worship the idol 
until he had fallen prostrate himself before it. 

These, gentlemen, are truths which I think it will be well 
for us to lay to heart. I address myself more particularly to 
you who are entering upon the useful and honourable career 
of the British merchant; for you are now standing oa the 
lower steps of a ladder, which, when it is mounted with dili- 
gence and circumspection, leads always to respectability, not 
unfrequently to high honour and distinction. Bear in mind, 
then, that the quality which ought chiefly to distinguish those 
who aspire to exercise a controlling and directing influence in 
any department of human action, from those who have only a 
subordinate part to play, is the knowledge of principles and 
general laws. A few examples will make the truth of this 
proposition apparent to you. Take, for instance, the case of 
the builder. The mason and carpenter must know how to hew 
the stone and square the timber, and follow out faithfully the 
working plan placed in their hands. But the architect must 
know much more than this ; he must be acquainted with the 
principles of proportion and form ; he must know the laws 
which regulate the distribution of heat, light, and air, in order 
that he may give to each part of a complicated structure its 
due share of these advantages, and combine the multifarious 
details into a consistent whole. Take again the case of the 
seaman. It is enough for the steersman that he watch certain 
symptoms in the sky and on the waves ; that he note the shift- 
ing of the wind and compass, and attend to certain precise 
rules which have been given him for his guidance. But the 
master of the ship, if he be fit for his situation — and I am 
sorry to say that many undertake the duties of that respon- 
sible office who are not fit for it — must be thoroughly ac- 
quainted, not only with the map of the earth and heavens, but 
he must know also all that science has revealed of some of the 
most subtle of the operations of nature ; he must understand, 
as far as man can yet discover them, what are the laws which 
regulate the movements of the currents, the direction of the 
tempest, and the meanderings of the magnetic fluid. Or, to 
take a case with vyliich you are more familiar — that of the 


merchant. The merchant's clerk must understand book-keep- 
ing and double-entry, and know how to arrange every item of 
the account under its proper head, and how to balance the whole 
correctly. But the head of the establishment must be ac- 
quainted, in addition to this, with the laws which regulate the 
exchanges, with the principles that affect the production and 
distribution of national wealth, and therefore with those social 
and political causes which are ever and anon at work to disturb 
calculations, which would have been accurate enough for quiet 
times, but which are insufficient for others. I think, there- 
fore, that I have established the truth of the proposition, that 
men who aspire to exercise a directing and controlling influence 
in any pursuit or business, should be distinguished by a know- 
ledge of principles and general laws. But it is in the acqui- 
sition of this knowledge, and more especially in its application 
to the occurrences of daily life, that the chief necessity arises 
for the exercise of those high moral qualities, with the im- 
portance of which I have endeavoured, in these brief remg,rks, 
to impress you. 



Ch. IV. 



cial de- 





The Avinter of 1848 passed quietly ; but the commer- 
cial depression, which was then everywhere prevalent, 
weighed heavily on Canada, more especially on the 
Upper Province. In one of his letters Lord Elgin 
caught himself, so to speak, using the words, 'the 
' downward progress of events.' He proceeds: — 

The dov^Dward progress of events ! These are ominous 
v^ords. But look at the facts. Property in most of the 
Canadian towns, and more especially in the capital, has fallen 
fifty per cent, in value within the last three years. Three- 
fourths of the commercial men are bankrupt, .owing to Free- 
trade ; a large proportion of the exportable produce of Canada 
is obliged to seek a market in the States. It pays a duty of 
twenty per cent, on the frontier. How long can such a state 
of things be expected to endure ? 

Depend upon it, our commercial embarrassments are our real 
difficulty. Political discontent, properly so called, there is 
none. I really believe no country in the world is more free 
from it. We have, indeed, national antipathies hearty and 
earnest enough. We suffer, too, from the inconvenience of 
having to work a system which is not yet thoroughly in gear. 
Reckless and unprincipled men take advantage of these cir- 
cumstances to work into a fever every transient heat that 
affects the public mind. Nevertheless, I am confident I could 
carry Canada unscathed through all these evils of transition. 


and place the connection on a surer foundation than ever, if I 
could only tell the people of the province that as regards the 
conditions of material prosperity, they would be raised to a 
level with their neighbours. But if this be not achieved, if 
free navigation and reciprocal trade with the Union be not 
secured for us, the worst, I fear, will come, and that at no 
distant day. 

Unfortunately, powerful interests in the one case, 
iadifference and apathy in the other, prevented these 
indispensable measures, as he always maintained them 
to be, from being carried for many years ; and in the 
meantime a most serious fever of pohtical discontent Political 
was in. effect worked up, out of a heat which ought to '^™° ™ ' 
have been as transient as the cause of it was intrin- 
sically unimportant. 

Irritated by loss of office, groaning under the ruin 
of their trade, outraged moreover (for so they repre- 
sented it to themselves) in their best and most patriotic 
feelings by seeing ' Rebels ' in the seat of power, the 
Ex-ministerial party were in a mood to resent every 
measure of the Government, and especially every act 
of the Governor-General. When Parliament met on 
January 18, he took advantage of the repeal of the law 
restricting the use of the French language, to de- 
liver his speech in French as well as in English : 
even this they turned to his reproach. But their wrath Rebellion 
rose to fury on the introduction of a Bill ' to provide °^''^^ ' " 
'for the indemnification of parties in Lower Canada 
'whose property was destroyed' during the Rebelhon in 
' 1837 and 1838 :' a ' questionable measure,' to use Lord 
Elgin's own words in first mentioning it, ' but one 
' which the preceding administration had rendered almost 
'inevitable by certain proceedings adopted by them' 
in Lord Metcalfe's time. As the justification of the 
measure is thus rested on its previous history, a brief 
retrospect is necessary before proceeding with the 
account of transactions which formed an epoch in the 


72 CANADA. Oh. IV. 

history of the colony, as well as in the life of the 
History Within a very short time after the close of the 

RebeUion of 1837 and 1838, the attention of both 
sections of the colony was directed to compensating 
those who had suffered by it. Fu-st came the case of 
the primary sufferers, if so they may be called ; that is, 
the Loyalists, whose property had been destroyed by 
Rebels. Measures were at once taken to indemnify all 
such persons, — in Upper Co^nada, by an Act passed in 
the last session of its separate Parliament ; in Lower 
Canada, by an ordinance of the ' Special Council,' under 
which it was at that time administered. But it was 
felt that this was not enough ; that where property 
had been wantonly and unnecessarily destroyed, even 
though it were by persons acting in support of autho- 
rity, some compensation ought to be given ; and the 
Upper Canada Act above mentioned was amended next 
year, in the first session of the United Farliament, so 
as to extend to all losses occasioned by violence on the 
part of persons acting or assuming to act on Her 
Majesty's behalf. Nothing was done at this time about 
Lower Canada ; but it was obviously inevitable that 
the treatment applied to the one province should be 
extended to the other. Accordingly, in 1845, during 
Lord Metcalfe's Government, and under a Conservative 
administration, an Address was adopted unanimously 
by the Assembly, praying His Excellency to cause 
proper measures to be taken ' in order to insure to the 
' inhabitants of that portion of the province, formerly 
' Lower Canada, indemnity for just losses by them 
' sustained during the Rebelhon of 1837 and 1838.' 

In pursuance of this address, a Commission was ap- 
pointed to inquire into the claims of persons whose 
property had been destroyed in the rebellion ; the 
Commissioners receiving instructions to distinguish the 
cases of those persons who had joined, aided, or abetted 


ia the said rebellion, from the case of those who had 
not. On inquiring how they were to distinguish, they 
were officially answered that in making out the classi- 
fication ' it was not His Excellency's intention that they 
' should be guided by any other description of evidence 
' than that furnished by the sentences of the Courts of 
' Law.' It was also intimated to them that they were 
only intended to form a ' general estimate ' of the 
rebellion losses, ' the particulars of which must form 
' the subject of more minute inquiry hereafter under 
' legislative authority.' 

In obedience to these instructions, the Commissioners 
made their investigations, and reported that they had 
recognised, as worthy of further inquiry, claims repre- 
senting a sum total of 241,965/. 10s. hd. ; but they 
added an expression of opinion that the losses suffered 
would be found, on closer examination, not to exceed 
the value of 100,000/. 

This Eeport was rendered in April 1846 ; but though 
Lord Metcalfe's Ministry which had issued the Commis- 
sion, avowedly as preliminary to a subsequent and more 
minute inquiry, remained in office for nearly two years 
longer, th^y took no steps towards carrying out their 
declared intentions. 

So the matter stood in March 1848, when, as has 
been already stated, a new administration was formed, 
consisting mainly of persons whose political sympathies 
were with Lower Canada. It was natural that they 
should take up the work left half done by their pre- 
decessors ; and early in 1849 they introduced a Bill 
which was destined to become notorious under the 
name of the ' Rebelhon Losses Bill.' The preamble of it 
declared that in order to redeem the pledge already given 
to parties in Lower Canada, it was necessary and just 
that the particulars of such losses as were not yet 
satisfied, should form the subject of more minute in- 
quiry under legislative authority ; and that the same. 



Cm IV. 

ment re- 

SO far only as they might have arisen fi-om the ' total 
or partial unjust or wanton destruction' of property, 
should be paid and satisfied. A proviso was added 
that no person who had been convicted, or pleaded 
guilty, of treason during the rebellion should be en- 
titled to any indemnity for losses sustained in con- 
nection with it. The Bill itself authorised the appoint- 
ment of Commissioners for the purpose of the Act, and 
the appropriation of 90,000^. to the payment of claims 
that might arise under it ; following in this respect the 
opinion expressed by Lord Metcalfe's preliminary 
Commission of enquiry. 

Such was the measure — so clearly inevitable in its 
direction, so modest in its proportions — which, falling 
on an inflamed state of the public mind in Canada, and 
misunderstood in England, was the occasion of riot and 
nearly of rebellion in the Province, and exposed the 
Governor- General, who sanctioned it, to severe censure 
on the part of many whose opinion he most valued at 
home. His own feelings on its introduction, his 
opinion of its merits, and his reasons for the course 
which he pursued in dealing with it, cannot be better 
stated than in his own words. Writing to Lord Grey 
on March 1, he says : — 

A good deal of excitement and bad feeling has been stirred 
in the province by the introduction of a measure by the 
Ministry for the payment of certain rebellion losses in Lower 
Canada. I trust that it will soon subside, and that no endur- 
ing mischief will ensue from it, but the Opposition leaders have 
taken advantage of the circumstances to work upon the feel- 
ings of old Loyalists as opposed to Rebels, of British as opposed 
to French, and of Upper Canadians as opposed to Lower ; and 
thus to provoke from various parts of the province the ex- 
Ijression of not very temperate or measured discontent. I 
am occasionally rated in not very courteous language, and 
peremptorily required to dissolve the Parliament which was 
elected only one year ago, under the auspices of this same 
clamorous Opposition, who were then in power. The measure 


itself is not indeed altogether free from objection, and I very 
much regret that an addition should be made to our debt for 
such an object at this time. Nevertheless, I must say I do 
not see how my present Government could have taken any 
other course in this matter than that which they have followed. 
Their predecessors had already gone more than half-way in the 
same direction, though they had stopped short, and now tell us 
that they never intended to go farther. If the Ministry had 
failed to complete the work of alleged justice to Lower 
Canada which had been commenced by the former Adminis- 
tration, M. Papineau would most assuredly have availed him- 
self of the plea to undermine their influence in this section of 
the province. The debates in Parliament on this question 
have been acrimonious and lengthy, but M. Lafontaine's 
resolutions were finally passed by a majority of fifty to twenty- 

Dissensions of this class place in strong relief the passions 
and tendencies which render the endurance of the political 
system which we have established here, and of the connection 
with the mother- country, uncertain and precarious. They 
elicit a manifestation of antipathy between races and of 
jealousy between the recently united provinces, which is much 
to be regretted. This measure of indemnity to Lower Canada 
is, however, the last of the kind, and if it be once settled 
satisfactorily, a formidable stumblingblock will have been 
removed from my path. 

A fortnight later he adds : — 

The Tory party are doing what they can by menace, in- 
timidation, and appeals to passion to drive me to a coup d'Etat. 
And yet the very measure which is at this moment the occasion 
of so loud an outcry, is nothing more than a strict logical 
following out of their own acts. It is difficult to conceive 
what the address on the subject of rebellion losses in Lower 
Canada, unanimously voted by the House of Assembly while 
Lord Metcalfe was governor and Mr. Draper minister, and the 
proceedings of the Administration upon that address could 
have been meant to lead to, if not to such a measure as the 
present Government have introduced. 

I enclose a letter which has been published in the news- 

76 CANADA. Ch. IV. 

papers by A. M. Masson, one of the Bermuda exiles,' who 
was appointed to an office by the late Government. This 
person will be excluded from compensation hy the Bill of the 
present Grovernment, and he positively asserts that Lord 
Metcalfe and some of his Ministers assured him that he would 
be included by them. 

I certainly regret that this agitation should have been 
stirred, and that any portion of the funds of the province 
should be diverted now from much more useful purposes to 
make good losses sustained by individuals in the rebellion. 
But I have no doubt whatsoever that a great deal of property 
was wantonly and cruelly destroyed at that time in Lower 
Canada. Nor do I think that this Government, after what 
their predecessors had done, and with Papiueau in the rear, 
could have helped taking up this question. Neither do I 
think that their measure would have been less objectionable, 
but very much the reverse, if, after the lapse of eleven years, 
and the proclamation of a general amnesty, it had been so 
framed as to attach the stigma of Rebellion to others than 
those regularly convicted before the Courts. Any kind of 
extra-judicial inquisition conducted at this time of day by 
Commissioners appointed by the Government, with the view 
of ascertaining what part this or that claimant for indemnity 
may have taken in 1837 and 1838, would have been attended 
by consequences much to be regretted, and have opened the 
door to an infinite amount of jobbing, false swearing, and 

Petitions Petitions against the measure were got up by the 
agains i . ^^^.^gg ^ g^^ parts of the province ; but these, instead 
of being sent to the Assembly, or to the Legislative 
Council, or to the Home Government, were almost all 
addressed to Lord Elgin personally ; obviously with 
the design of producing a collision between him and 
his Parhament. They generally prayed either that 
Parliament might be dissolved, or that the BUI, if it 
passed, might be reserved for the royal sanction. All 
such addresses, and the remonstrances brought to him 

' I. e. one of the rebels of 1837, who had been banished to Bermuda by 
Lord Durham. 


by deputations of malcontents, lie received with civility, Neutrality 
promising to bestow on them his best consideration, Governor 
but studiously avoiding the expression of any opinion 
on the points in controversy. By thus maintaining a 
strictly constitutional position, he foiled that section of 
the agitators who calculated on his being frightened or 
made angry, whUe he left a door open for any who 
m.ight have candour enough to admit that after all he 
was only carrying out fairly the principle of responsible 

In pursuance of this pohcy he put off to the latest 
m.oment any decision as to the course which he should 
take with respect to the Bill when it came up to him 
for his sanction. As regards a dissolution, indeed, he 
felt from the beginning that it would be sheer folly, 
attended by no small risk. Was he to have recourse 
to this ultima ratio, merely because a parliament elected 
a year before, under the auspices of the party now in 
opposition, had passed, by a majority of nearly two to 
one, a measure introduced by the present Government, 
in pursuance of the acts of a former one ? 

If I had dissolved Parliament, I might have produced a 
rehellion, but most assuredly I should not have procured a 
change of Ministry. The leaders of the party know that as 
well as I do, and were it possible to play tricks in such grave 
concerns, it would have been easy to throw them into utter 
confusion by merely calling upon them to form a Government. 
They were aware, however, that I could not for the sake of 
discomfiting them hazard so desperate a policy : so they have 
played out their game of faction and violence without fear of 

The other course urged upon him by the Opposition, 
namely, that of reserving the Bill for the consideration 
of the Home Government, may appear to have been 
open to no such objections, and to have been in fact 
the wisest course which he could pursue, in circum- 
stances of so much delicacy. And this seems to have 

78 CANADA. Ch. IV. 

been the opinion of many in England, wlio were dis- 
posed to approve of Hs general policy ; but it maybe 
doubted whether they had weighed all the consider- 
ations which presented themselves to the mind of the 
Governor on the spot, and which he stated to Lord Grey 
as follows : — 

There are objections, too, to reserving the Bill which I think 
I shall consider insurmountable, whatever obloquy I may for 
the time entail on myself by declining to lend myself even to this 
extent to the plans of those who wish to bring about a change 
of administration. 

In the first place the Bill for the relief of a corresponding 
class of persons in Upper Canada, which was couched in terms 
very nearly similar, was not reserved, and it is difficult to dis- 
cover a sufficient reason, in so far as the representative of the 
Crown is concerned, for dealing with the one measure dif- 
ferently from the other. And in the second place, by reserv- 
ing the Bill I should only throw upon Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment, or ( as it would appear to the popular eye here) on Her 
Majesty herself, a responsibility which rests, and ought, I 
think, to rest, on my own shoulders. If I pass the Bill, 
whatever mischief ensues may probably be repaired, if the 
worst comes to the worst, by the ' sacrifice of me. Whereas, 
if the case be referred to England, it is not impossible that 
Her Majesty may only have before her the alternative of pro- 
voking a rebellion in Lower Canada, by refusing her assent to 
a measure chiefly afi^ecting the interest of the hahitans, and 
thus throwing the whole population into Papineau's hands, or 
of wounding the susceptibilities of some of the best subjects 
she has in the province. For among the objectors to this Bill 
are undoubtedly to be found not a few who belong to this 
class ; men who are worked upon by others more selfish and 
designing, to whom the principles of constitutional Govern- 
ment are unfathomable mysteries, and who still regard the 
representative of royalty, and in a more remote sense the 
Crown and Government of England, if not as the objects of a 
very romantic loyalty (for that, I fear, is fast waning), at least 
as the butts of a most intense and unrelenting indignation, if 
political affairs be not administered in entire accordance with 
their sense of what is right. 


In solving these knotty problems, and choosing his 
course of action, the necessities of the situation required 
that he should be guided by his own unaided judgment, 
aud act entirely on his own responsibility. For although, 
throughout all his difficulties, in the midst of the re- 
proaches with which he -was assailed both in the colony 
and in England, he had the great satisfaction of know- 
ing that his conduct was entirely approved by Lord 
Grey, to whom he opened all his mind in private letters, 
the official communications which passed between them 
"were necessarily very reserved. The following extract 
illustrates well this peculiarity in the position of a 
British Colonial Governor, who has two popular As- 
semblies and two public presses to consider : — 

Perhaps you may have been annoyed by my not writing 
officially to you ere this so as to give you communications to 
send to Parliament. All that I can say on that point is, that 
I have got through this disagreeable affair as well as I have 
done only by maintaining my constitutional position, listening 
civilly to all representations addressed to me against the 
measure, and adhering to a strict reserve as to the course 
■which I might deem it proper eventually to pursue. By 
following this course I have avoided any act or expression 
■which mifirht have added fuel to the flame ; and although I have 
been plentifully abused, because it has been the policy of the 
Opposition to drag me into the strife, no one can say that I 
have said or done anything to justify the abuse. And the 
natural effect of such patient endurance is now beginning to 
sho'w itself in the moderated tone of the organs of the Oppo- 
sition press. You will perceive, ho^wever, that I could not 
possibly have maintained this position here, if despatches from 
me indicating the Ministerial policy had been submitted to the 
House of Commons. They would have found their way out 
here at once. Every statement and opinion would have formed 
the subject of discussion, and I should have found myself in 
the midst of the melee a partisan. 

To counteract the violent and reckless efforts of the 
Opposition, Lord Elgin trusted partly to the obvious 

80 CANADA. Ch. rV. 

reasonableness of the proposal under discussion, but 
more to the growth of a patriotic spirit which should 
lead the minority to prefer the rule of a majority 
within the province to the coercion of a power from 
mthout. Something also he hoped from the effect of 
the many excellent measures brought in about the same 
time by his new Ministry, ' the first really efficient and 
' working Government that Canada had had since the 
' Union.' jSTor were" these hopes altogether disappointed. 
Writing on April 1 2 he observed, that a marked change 
had taken place within the last few weeks in the tone 
both of the press ^ and of the leaders of the party, some 
of whom had given him to understand, through dif- 
ferent channels, that they regretted things had gone so 
far. ' But,' he adds, ' whether the gales from England 
' will stir the tempest again or not remains to be seen.' 
h^Eiis-^ And, in effect, the next post from England came 

Lmd. laden with speeches and newspaper articles, denovmcing, 

in no measured terms, the ' suicidal folly of rewarding 
rebels for rebellion.' A London journal of influence, 
speaking of the British population as affected by the 
measure in question, said : — ' They are tolerably able to 
' take care of themselves, and we very much misconstrue 
' the tone adopted by the English press and the English 
' public in the province, if they do not find some means 
' of resisting the heavy blow and great discouragement 
' which is aimed at them.' Such passages were read with 
avidity in the colony, and construed to mean that sym- 
pathy would be extended from influential quarters at 
home to those who sought to annul the obnoxious de- 
cision of the local Legislature, whatever might be the 
means to which they resortfd for the attainment of that 
end. It may be doubted, however, whether any ex- 

' One of the Conservative papers bellion losses than have what is no- 

of the clay wrote : — ' Bad aa the pay- minally a free Constitution fettered 

ment of the rebellion losses is, we and restrained each time a measure 

do not know that it would not be distasteful to the minority is passed.' 
better to submit to pay twenty re- 


traneous disturbance of this kind had much to do with 
the volcanic outburst of local passions which ensued, 
and which is now to be related. 

The Bill was passed in the Assembly by forty-seven The Biu 
votes to eighteen. On analysing the votes, it was ^^P'^^^^'^' 
found that out of thirty- one members from Upper 
Canada who voted on the occasion, seventeen supported 
and fourteen opposed it ; and that of ten members for 
Lower Canada, of British descent, six supported and 
four opposed it. 

These facts (wrote Lord Elgin) seemed altogether irrecon- 
cilable with the allegation that the question was one on which 
the two races were arrayed against each other throughout the 
province generally. I considered, therefore, that by reserving 
the Bill, I should only cast on Her Majesty and Her Majesty's 
advisers a responsibility which ought, in the first instance at 
least, to rest on my own shoulders, and that I should awaken 
in the minds of the people at large, even of those who were 
indifferent or hostile to the Bill, doubts as to the sincerity with 
which it was intended that constitutional Government should 
be carried on in Canada ; doubts which it is my firm conviction, 
if they were to obtain generally, would be fatal to the con- 

Accordingly, when, on April 25, 1849, circumstances and re- 
made it necessary for him to proceed to Parliament in ^™i *■ ® 
order to give the Royal Assent to a Customs Bill which Aesent. 
had that day passed the Legislative Council, he con- 
sidered that, as this necessity had arisen, it would not 
he expedient to keep the public mind in suspense by 
omittiag to dispose, at the same time, of the other Acts 
■which still awaited his decision, among which was the 
'Act to provide for the indemnification of parties in 
' Lower Canada whose property was destroyed during 
'the RebeUion in 1837 and 1838.' What foUowed is 
thus described in an ofi&cial despatch written within a 
few days after the event : — 

"When I left the House of Parliament I was received with Eiota. 
mingled cheers and hootings by a crowd by no means numerous 


82 CANADA. Ch. IV. 

whicli surrounded the entrance to the building. A small knot 
of individuals, consisting, it has since been ascertained, of 
persons of a respectable class in society, pelted the carriage 
with missiles which they must have brought with them for the 
purpose. "Within an hour after this occurrence a notice, of 
which I enclose a copy, issued from one of the newspaper 
offices, calling a meeting in the open air. At the meeting in- 
flammatory speeches were made. On a sudden, whether under 
the effect of momentary excitement, or in pursuance of a plan 
arranged beforehand, the mob proceeded to the House of Par- 
liament, where the members were still sitting, and breaking 
the windows, set fire to the building and burned it to the 
ground. By this wanton act public property of considerable 
value, including two excellent libraries, has been utterly de- 
stroyed. Having achieved their object the crowd dispersed, 
apparently satisfied with what they had done. The members 
were permitted to retire unmolested, and no resistance was 
offered to the military who appeared on the ground after a 
brief interval, to restore order, and aid in extinguishing the 
flames. During the two following days a good deal of excite- 
ment prevailed in the streets, and some further acts of in- 
cendiarism were perpetrated. Since then the military force 
has been increased, and the leaders of the disaffected party 
have shown a disposition to restrain their followers, and to 
direct their energies towards the more constitutional object of 
petitioning the Queen for my recall, and the disallowance of 
the obnoxious Bill. The proceedings of the House of Assem- 
bly will also tend to awe the turbulent. I trust, therefore, 
that the peace of the city will not be again disturbed. 

The Ministry are blamed for not having made adequate pro- 
vision against these disasters. That they by no means expected 
that the hostility to the Rebellion Losses Bill would have dis- 
played itself in the outrages which have been perpetrated 
during the last few days is certain.' Perhaps sufficient atten- 
tion was not paid by them to the menaces of the Opposition 
press. It must be admitted, however, that their position was 
one of considerable difficulty. The civil force of Montreal — 
a city containing about 50,000 inhabitants of different races, 

' ' I coDfea9,' he wrote in a private ' of order which covers the anarchical 
letter of the same date, 'I did not ' elements that boil and toss beneath 
' before know how thin is the crust ' oiir feet.' 


Tvith secret societies and other agencies of mischief in constant 
activity — consists of two policemen under the authority of the 
Government, and seventy appointed by the Corporation. To 
oppose, therefore, effectual resistance to any considerable mob, 
recourse must be had in all cases either to the military or to a 
force of civilians enrolled for the occasion. Grave objections, 
iowever, presented themselves in the present instance to the 
adoption of either of these courses until the disposition to 
tumult on the part of the populace unhappily manifested itself 
in overt acts. More especially was it of importance to avoid 
any measure which might have had a tendency to produce a 
collision between parties on a question on which their feelings 
"were so strongly excited. The result of the course pursued is, 
tiiat there has been no bloodshed, and, except in the case of 
some of the Ministers themselves, no destruction of private 

The passions, however, which appeared to have 
calmed doAvn, burst out with fresh fury the very day 
on which these sentences were penned- The House of 
Assembly had voted, by a majority of thirty-six to 
sixteen, an address to the Governor-General, expres- 
sive of abhorrence at the outrages which had taken 
place, of loyalty to the Queen, and approval of his just 
and impartial administration of the Government, with 
his late as well as with his present advisers. It was 
arranged that Lord Elgin should receive this Address 
at the Government House instead of at Monklands. 
Accordingly, on April 30, he drove into the city, 
escorted by a troop of volunteer dragoons, and accom- 
panied by several of his suite. On his way through 
tie streets he was greeted with showers of stones, and 
vpith diiEculty preserved his face from being injured.^ 
On his return he endeavoured to avoid all occasion of 
conflict by going back by a different route ; but the 
mob, discovering his purpose, rushed in pursuit, and 

' ' Wlen he entered the Govern- ' most unusual and sorrowful treat- 
' ment House he took a two-pound ' ment Her Majesty's representative 
' stone -with him which he had picked ' had received.' — Mac Mullen, p. 511. 
* up in his carriage, as evidence of the 

G 2 

84 CANADA. Ch. IV. 

affain assailed his carriaoje with various missiles, and it 
was only by rapid driving that he escaped unhurt.^ 

None but those who were in constant intercourse 
with him can know what Lord Elgm went through 
during the period of excitement which followed these 
gross outrages. The people of Montreal seemed to 
have lost their reason. The houses of .some of the 
Ministers and of their supporters were attacked by mobs 
at night, and it was not safe for them to appear in the 
streets. A hostile visit was threatened to the house in 
Avhich the Governor -General resided at a short distance 
from the city ; all necessary preparation was made to 
defend it, and his family were kept for some time in a 
state of anxiety and suspense.^ 

For some weeks he himself did not go into the town 
of Montreal, but kept entirely within the bounds of his 
country seat at Monklands, determined that no act of 
his should offer occasion or excuse to the mob for fresh 
outrage.' He knew, of course, that the whole of French 
Lower Canada was ready at any moment to rise, as one 
man, in support of the Government ; but his great ob- 
ject was to keep them quiet, and ' to prevent collision 
' between the races.' 

' ' Cabs, calechea, and everytHng who was christened Victor Alex- 

' that would run were at once launched ander. 

' in pursuit, and crossing his route, the ' The motives, he afterwards said, 

' Governor-General's carriage was which induced him to abstain from 

' bitterly assailed in the main street of forcing his way into Montreal, might 

' the St.Lawrence suburbs. The good be correctly stated in the words of 

' and rapid driving of his postilions the Duke of Wellington, who, when 

' enabled him to clear the desperate asked why he did not go to the 

' mob, hut not till the head of his city in 1830, is reported to have 

' brother, Colonel Bruce, had been answered, ' I would have gone if the 

' cut, injuries inflicted on the chief of ' law had been equal to protect me, 

' police. Colonel Ermatinger, and on ' but that was not the case. Fifty 

' Captain Jones, commanding the es- ' dragoons would have done it, but 

' cort, and every panel of the carriage ' that was a military force. If firing 

' driven in.' — Mac Mullen, p. ."ill. ' had begun, who could tell when it 

^ In the midst of this time of ' would end P one guilty person would 

anxiety and even of danger to him- ' fall and ten innocent be destroyed, 

self and hia family, his eldest son ' Would this have been wise or hu- 

was born at Monklands, on May 16. ' mane for a little bravado, or that 

Her Majesty was graciously pleased ' the country might not be alarmed 

to become godmother to the child, ' for a day or two P ' 


' Througliout tlie whole of this most trying time,' Krmnesa 
"writes Major Campbell/ ' Lord Elgin remained per- Governor, 
'fectly calm and cool ; never for a moment losing his 
' seF-possession, nor failing to exercise that clear fore- 
' sight and sound judgment for which he was so remark- 
' aHe. It came to the knowledge of his Miaisters that, 
' if he went into the city again, his life would be m. great 
'danger; and they advised that a commission should 
' issue to appoint a Deputy-Governor for the purpose of 
' proroguing Parliament. He was urged by irresponsible Refuses 
' advisers to make use of the mihtary forces at his com- use force, 
'mand, to protect his person in an official visit to the 
'city; but he declined to do so, and thus avoided what 
' tLese infatuated rioters seemed determined to bring on 
' — ^the shedding of blood. " I am prepared," he said, 
' " to bear any amount of obloquy that may be cast upon 
' " me, but, if I can possibly prevent it, no stain of blood 
' " shall rest upon my name." ' 

As might have been expected, the Montreal press 
attributed this wise and magnanimous self-restraint to 
fear for his own safety. But he was not to be moved 
from his resolve by the paltry imputation ; nor did he 
even care that his friends should resent or refute it on 
his behalf. 

So little was he affected by it that on finding, some 
years afterwards, that Lord Grey proposed to introduce 
some expression of indignation on the subject in his 
work on the colonies, he dissuaded him from doing so. 
'I do not beheve,' he said, 'that these imputations were 
'hazarded in any respectable quarter, or that they are 
'entitled to the dignity of a place in your narrative.' 

But if neither the entreaties of ' irresponsible ad- °^ ^Xn^e 
'visers,' nor the taunts of foes, could move him to 
the use of force, he was equally firm in his determi- 
nation to concede nothing to the clamour and violence 

^ His valued Secretary, to whose personal recollections most of these 
details are due. 

«6 CANADA. Ch. IV. 

of the mob. Writing officially to Lord Grey on the 
30th of April, when the fury of the populace was at its 
height, he said : — 

It is my firm conviction that if this dictation be submitted 
to, the government of this province by constitutional means 
will be impossible, and that the struggle between overbearing 
minorities, backed by force, and majorities resting on legality 
and estabhshed forms, which has so long proved the bane of 
Canada, driving capital from the province, and producing a 
state of chronic discontent, will be perpetuated. 

Tenders re- At the Same time, he thought it his duty to suggest, 
signation. ^-^^^ j ^ -j^^ should be unablc to recover that position of 
' dignified neutrahty between contending parties which 
' it had been his unremitting study to maintain,' it might 
be a question whether it would not be for the iuterests 
of Her Majesty's service that he should be removed, 
to make way for some one ' who should have the advan- 
' tage of being personally unobnoxious to any section of 
' Her Majesty's subjects within the province.' 
Approval The reply to this letter assured him, in emphatic 
Govern- terms, of the cordial approval and support of the Home 
™^"'' Government. ' I appreciate,' wrote Lord Grey, ' the 
' motives which have induced your Lordship to offer the 
' suggestion with which your despatch concludes, but I 
' should most earnestly deprecate the change it contem- 
' plates in the government of Canada. Your Lordship's 
' relinquishment of that office, which, under any circum- 
' stances, would be a most serious loss to Her Majesty's 
' service, and to the province, could not fail, in the 
' present state of affairs, to be most injurious to the 
' pubhc welfare, from the encouragement which it would 
' give to those who have been concerned in the violent 
' and illegal opposition which has been offered to your 
' Government. I also feel no doubt that when the pre- 
' sent excitement shall have subsided, you will succeed 
' in regaining that position of " dignified neutrality " 
' becoming your office, which, as you justly observe, it 


'has hitherto been your study to maintain, and from 
' wMch, even those who are at present most opposed to 
' you, will, on reflection, perceive that you have been 
* driven, by no fault on your part, but by their own 
' unreasoning violence. 

' Relying, therefore, upon your devotion to the in- 
' terests of Canada, I feel assured that you will not be 
'induced by the unfortunate occurrences which have 
' taken place, to retire from the high of&ce which the 
' Queen has been pleased to entrust to you, and which, 
' from the value she puts upon your past services, it is 
' Her Majesty's anxious wish that you should retain.' 

"While awaiting, in his retreat at Monklands, the con,' support in 
trecoup from the mother-country of the storm which had ^^^ colony. 
harst over the colony. Lord Elgin found a great source 
of consolation in the nimierous sympathetic addresses 
-which poured in from every part of the province : for- 
tifying him in the conviction that the heart of the colony 
■was with him, and that the bitter opposition at Montreal 
•was chiefly due to local causes ; especially ' to commer- 
'cial distress, acting on religious bigotry and national 
'hatred.' One of these addresses, comiag from the 
county of Glengarry, an ancient settlement of Scottish 
loyalists, appears to have touched the Scotsman's heart 
■ffithin the statesman's. In reply to it he said : — 

JMen of Glengarry — My heart warms within me when I 
listen to your manly and patriotic address. 

I recognise in it evidence of that vigorous understanding 
Tfhich enables men of the stock to which you belong to prize, 
as they ought to be prized, the blessings of well-ordered free- 
dom, and of that keen sense of principle which prompts them 
to recoil from no sacrifice which duty enjoins. 

The men of Glengarry need not recapitulate their services. 
- He must be ignorant indeed of the history of Canada who does 
not know how much they have done and suffered for their 
Sovereign and their country. 

You inhabit here a goodly land. A land full of promise, 

88 CANADA. Ch. IV, 

where your children have room enough to increase and to 
multiply, and to become, with God's blessing, greater and more 
prosperous than yourselves. But I am confident that no spell 
less potent than the gentle and benignant control of those 
liberal institutions which it is Britain's pride and privilege to 
bestow on her children, will insure the peaceful development 
of its unrivalled resources, or knit together into one happy 
and united family the various races of which this community 
is composed. 

On this conviction 1 have acted, in labouring to secure for 
you, during the whole course of my administration, the full 
benefit of constitutional government. It is truly gratifying to 
me to learn that you appreciate my exertions. Depend upon 
it, they will not be relaxed, I claim to have something of 
your own spirit : devotion to a cause which I believe to be a 
just one — courage to confront, if need be, danger and even 
obloquy in its pursuit — and an undying faith that God protects 
the right. 

Debates in In the meantime the unhappy Bill, which had 

the British t ^ ^ • • J.^ ^ 

Pariia- caused such an explosion m the colony, was running 
™''°^- the gantlet of the British Parliament. On June 14 it 
was vehemently attacked in the House of Commons by 
Mr. Gladstone, as being a measure for the rewarding of 
Rebels.^ He, indeed, contented himself with ' calling 
' the attention of the House to certain parts ' of the Bill 
in question; but Mr, Herries, following out the same 
views to their legitimate conclusion, moved an Address 
to Her Majesty to disallow the Act of the Colonial 
Legislature, The debate was sustained with great 
vigour for two nights ; in the course of which the Act 
was defended not only by Lord John Russell as leader 
of the Government, but also, vdth even more force, 
by his great opponent Sir Robert Peel, Speaking with 
all the weight of an impartial observer, he showed that 

' Some years afterwards, in the even tten, either as to the inten- 

' Address ' already quoted, Mr. Glad- tion with which the Act was framed, 

stone made something of an amende or aa to the manner in which it had 

for this attack ; but he does not ap- been carried out. 
pear to have been fully informed, 


it -was not the intention of tlie measure, and would 
not be its eflfect, to give compensation to anyone who 
could "be proved to have been a rebel ; that it was only 
an. inevitable sequel to other measures which had been 
passed without opposition ; and, further, that its rejec- 
tion at this stage would be resisted by all parties in the 
colony alike, as an arbitrary interference with their 
right of self-government. On a division the amend- 
ment of Mr. Herries was thrown out by a majority of 
141. And though, a few nights later, a resolution 
somewhat in the same sense, moved by Lord Brougham 
in the Upper House, was only negatived, with the aid 
of proxies, by three votes, the large majority in the 
House of Commons, and the firm attitude of the 
Grovernment on the subject, did much to quiet the 
excitement in the colony. 

The news from England (wrote Lord Elgin) has produced 
a marked, and, so far as it goes, a satisfactory change in the 
tone of the Press ; in proof of which I send you the leading 
articles of the Tory papers of Saturday. . . . The party, 
it would appear, is now split into three ; but on one point all 
are agreed. We must have done, they say, with this habit of 
abusing the French ; we must live with them on terms of 
amity and affection. Such is the firstfruit of the policy which 
was to bring about, we were assured, a war of races. 

This satisfactory result was also due in part to the 
wise measures adopted by the Ministry, under direction 
of the Governor- General, for giving effect to the pro- 
visions of the much-disputed BUI. 

We are tak'ng steps (he wrote on June 17) to carry out the 
Rebellion Losses Bill. Having adopted the measure of the 
late Conservative Government, we are proceeding to re- 
appoint their own Commissioners ; and, not content with that, 
we are furnishing them with instructions which place upon the 
Act the most restricted and loyalist construction of which the 
terms are susceptible. Truly, if ever rebellion stood upon a 
rickety pretence, it is the Canadian Tory Rebellion of 1849. 

90 CANADA. Oh. IV; 

FreshriotB. Unliappily the flames, which at this time had nearly 
died out, were re -kindled two months later on occasion 
of the arrest of certain persons concerned in the former 
riots ; and though this fresh outbreak lasted but a few 
days, it was attended in one case with fatal conse- 
quences.^ Writing on August 20, Lord Elgin says : — 

"We are again in some excitement here. M. Lafontaine's 
house was attacked by a mpb (for the second time) two nights 
ago. Some persons within fired, and one of the assailants was 
killed. The violent Clubbists are trying to excite the passions 
of the multitude, alleging that this is Aoglo-Saxon blood shed 
by a Frenchman. 

The immediate cause of this excitement is the arrest of 
certain persons who were implicated in the destruction of the 
Parhament buildings in April last. I was desirous, for the 
sake of peace, that these parties should not be arrested until 
indictments had been laid before the grand jury, and true bills 
found against them. Unfortunately, in consequence of the 
cholera, the requisite number of jurors to form a court was 
not forthcoming for the August term. The Government 
thought that they could not, without impropriety, put oif 
taking any steps against these persons till November. They 
were, therefore, arrested last week ; all except one, who was 
committed for arson, were at once bailed by the magistrates ; 
and he too was bailed the day after his committal by one of 
the judges of the Supreme Court. 

All this is simple enough, and augurs no very vindictive 
spirit in the authorities. Nevertheless it affords the occasion 
for a fresh exhibition of the recklessness of the Montreal mob, 
and the demoralisation of other classes in the community. 

Again on the 27th he writes : — 

We have had a fortnight of crisis consequent on the arrests 
which I reported to you last week ; which may perhaps be the 
prelude (though I do not like to be too sanguine) to better 
times, A most violent excitement was got up by the Press 
against M. Lafontaine more especially, as the instigator of 

' _' This,' observes Lord Grey, ' the only life lost throughout these 
owing to the extreme forbearance ' unhappy disturbances.' 
' of Lord Elgin and his advisei's, was 

1849. FRESH RIOTS. 91' 

tie arrests and the cause of the death of the young man who 
■was shot in the attack on his house. A vast number of men, 
■wearing red scarfs and ribands, attended the funeral of the 
youth. The shops ■were shut on the line of the procession ; 
fires occurred during several successive nights in different 
parts of the town, under circumstances warranting the sus- 
picion of incendiarism. 

Upon this tlie stipendiary magistrates, charged by 
the Government with the preservation of the peace of 
the city, represented officially to the Governor that 
nothing could save it but the proclamation of Martial 
La-w. But he told his Council that he ' ■would neither 
' consent to Martial La^w, nor to any measures of in- 
' creased -vigour vrhatsoever, until a further appeal had 
' been made to the Mayor and Corporation of the city.' 

This appeal was successful. A proclamation, issued Q^^i^' , 


by the Mayor, -was responded to by the respectable 
citizens of all parties ; and a large number of special 
constables turned out to patrol the streets and keep the 
peace. Meanwhile the coroner's jury, after a very 
rigorous investigation, agreed unanimously to a verdict 
acquitting M. Lafontaine of all blame, and finding 
fa^ult ■mth the civic authorities for their remissness. 
This verdict was important, for two of the jury were 
Orangemen, who had marched in the procession at the 
funeral of the young man who was shot. The public 
acknowledged its importance, and two of the most 
violent Tory newspapers had articles apologising to La- 
fontaine for having so unfairly judged him beforehand. 
' From these and other indications (wrote Lord Elgin) 
' I begin to hope that there may be some return to 
' common sense in Montreal.' 

My advisers, however (he proceeds), now protest that it ■Removal of 
will he impossible to maintain the seat of Government here. *^°^f;^oni 
We had a long discussion on this point yesterday. All seem Montreal. 
io be agreed, that if a removal from this town takes place, it 
must be on the condition prescribed in the address of the 

92 CANADA. Ch. IV. 

Assembly presented to me last Session, viz. that there shall 
henceforward be Parliaments held alternately in the Upper 
and Lower Provinces. A removal from this to any other fixed 
point would be the certain ruin of the party making it. 
Therefore removal from Montreal implies the adoption of the 
system (which, although it has a good deal to recommend it, 
is certainly open to great objections) of alternating Parliaments. 
But this is not the only difficulty. The French members of 
the Administration . . . are willing to go to Toronto for 
four years at the close of the present Parliament, but they 
give many reasons, which appear to have in a great measure 
satisfied their Upper Canada colleagues, for insisting on 
Quebec as the first point to be made. Now I have great 
objection to going to Quebec at present. I fear it would be 
considered, both here and in England, as an admission that the 
Government is under French-Canadian influence, and that it 
cannot maintain itself in Upper Canada. I, therefore, con- 
cluded in favour of a few days more being given in order to 
see whether or not the movement now in progress in Montreal 
may be so directed as to render it possible to retain the seat of 
Government there. 

This hope was disappointed, and he was obhged to 
admit the necessity of removal. On September 3 he 
wrote again : — 

We have had, since I last wrote, a week of unusual tran- 
quillity. . . . but I regret to say that I discover as yet 
nothing to warrant the belief that the seat of Government can 
properly remain at Montreal. 

The existence of a perfect understanding between the more 
outrageous and the more respectable fractions of the Tory 
party in the town, is rendered even more manifest by the 
readiness with which the former, through their organs, have 
yielded to the latter when they preached moderation in good 
earnest. Additional proof is thus furnished of the extent to 
which the blame of the disgraceful transactions of the past 
four months falls on all. All attempts, and several have been 
made, to induce the Conservatives to unite in an address, 
inviting me to return to the town, have failed ; which is the 
more significant, because it is well known that the removal of 


the seat of Government is under consideration, and that I have 
deprecated the abandonment of Montreal. 

The existence of a party, animated by such sentiments, 
po-werful in numbers and organisation, and in the station of 
some who more or less openly join it — owning a qualified 
allegiance to the constitution of the province — professing to 
regard the Parliament and the Government as nuisances to be 
tolerated within certain limits only — raising itself whenever 
the fancy seizes it, or the crisis in its judgment demands it, 
into an ' imperium in imperio,^ — renders it, I fear, extremely 
doubtful whether the functions of Legislation or of Govern- 
ment can be carried on to advantage in this city. ' Show 
vigour and put it down,' say some. You may and must put 
down those who resist the law when overt acts are committed. 
But the party is unfortunately a national as well as a political 
one; after each defeat it resumes its attitude of defiance; and, 
whenever it comes into collision with the authorities, there is 
the risk of a frightful race feud being provoked. All these 
dangers are vastly increased by Montreal's being the seat of 

There were other arguments also of no little force. 
He was assured that some Members had declared that 
nothing would induce them to come again to Montreal ; 
and he himself felt that it must do great mischief to 
the members from other parts of the Province, to pass 
some months of each year in that ' hot-bed of prejudice 
and disaffection.' Moreover, so long as Montreal re- 
tained the prestige of being the Metropohs, it was 
impossible to prevent its press from enjoying a fac- 
titious importance, not only within the provhice, but 
also in England and in the States, where it would be 
looked upon as the exponent of the sentiments of the 
community at large. 

Ultimately, on November 18, Lord Elgin reported 
to the Home Government, that after full and anxious 
dehberation he had resolved, on the advice of his 
Council, to act on the recommendation of the Assembly 
that the Legislature should sit alternately at Toronto 
and Quebec, and with that view to summon the Pro- 

94 CANADA, Oh. IV. 

vincial Parliament for the next session at Toronto. 
This step, ' decided upon in this deliberate and unim- 
' passioned manner,' gave a useful lesson, which was not 
lost either upon Montreal or the rest of the Province. 
Nor was this its only good effect. ' The arrangement,' 
wrote Lord Grey in 1852, ' by which the seat of Govern- 
' ment ajid the sittings of the Legislature .were fixed 
' alternately at Toronto and Quebec, has contributed not 
' a little towards removing the feelings of ahenation 
' from each other of the inhabitants of French and of 
' British descent. The French Canadians have thus been 
' brought into closer communication than formerly with 
' the inhabitants of the Western division of the pro- 
' vince, and an increase of mutual esteem and respect, 
' with the removal of many prejudices by which they 
' were formerly divided, have been the result of the 
' two classes becoming better acquainted with each 
' other.' 1 
Visit to WhUe these arrangements were under discussion, in 

Canada *^® autumn following the stormy events above de- 
scribed, in spite of the threats thrown out by the ex- 
treme party. Lord Elgin, after a progress in Upper 
Canada in which he was accompanied by his family, 
made a short tour in the Western districts, the strong- 
hold of British feeling, attended only by one aide-de- 
camp and a servant, 'so as to contradict the allega- 
' tion that he required protection.' Everywhere he was 
received with the utmost cordiality; the few indica- 
tions of a different feeling, on the part of Orangemen 
and others, having only the effect of heightening the 
enthusiasm with which he was greeted by the majority 
of the population. 

' Lord Grey's Colonial Policy, to name Ottawa, the present capital 

&c. i. 234. In 1858, however, this of the Dominion ; and the selection 

' perambulating system ' having of this central spot, with its singu- 

proved expensive and inconvenient, lar facilities of communication, has 

the Queen was asked to designate a greatly aided in the consolidation 

permanent abode for the Legislature. of the province, 
Her Majesty was graciously pleased 


From this time we hear no more of such disgraceful Continued 
scenes as it has been necessary to record ; but it was tfties.' 
long before the old ' Family-Compact ' party forgave the 
Governor who had dared to be impartial. By many 
kinds of detraction they sought to weaken his influence 
and damage his popularity ; detractions probably re- 
peated in all sincerity by many who were honestly 
incapable of understanding his real motives for forbear- 
ance. And as the members of this party, though 
they had lost their monopoly of political power, still 
remaiaed the dominant class in society, the disparaging 
tone which they set was taken up not only in the 
colony itself, but also by travellers who visited it, and 
by them carried back to infect opinion in England. 
The result was that persons at home, who had the 
Hghest appreciation of Lord Elgin's capacity as a 
statesman, sincerely believed him to be deficient in 
nerve and vigour ; and as the misapprehension was 
one which he could not have corrected, even if he had 
been aware how widely it was spread, it continued to 
exist in many quarters until dispelled by the singular 
energy and boldness, amounting almost to rashness, 
■which he displayed in China. 

The more we remember the vehemence with which Forbear- 
these injurious reports were circulated, the more re- ^rd°^ 
markable appears the resolution not to yield to the ^ig'"- 
provocation they involved, and the determination to 
accept the whole responsibility of the situation at what- 
ever personal cost. 

The following letters are among those which disclose 
the motives of his resolute forbearance. The last of 
them, written to an intimate friend nearly two years 
later, and summing up the feelings with which he 
looked back on the struggles of 1849, may close the ' 

personal records of this troubled year. 

I do not at all wonder that you should be disposed to ques- its 
tion the wisdoin of my course in respect to Montreal ; I think motives. 

96 CANADA. Oh. IV. 

it was the best I could have taken under the circumstances ; 
hut I do not presume to say that it may not be criticised — 
justly criticised. My choice was not between a clearly right and 
a clearly wrong course : how easy is it to deal with such cases, 
and how rare are they in life ! But between several difficulties, 
I think I chose the least. I think, too, that I am beginning to 
reap the reward of my policy. I do not believe that such 
enthusiasm was ever manifested towards anyone in my situation 
in Canada, as has been exhibited during my recent tour. But 
more than this. I do not believe that the function of the 
Governor-General under constitutional government as the mo- 
derator between parties, the representative of interests which 
are common to all the inhabitants of the country, as distinct 
from those which divide them into parties, was ever so fully 
and so frankly recognised. Now, I do not believe that I could 
have achieved this if I had had blood upon my hands. I might 
have been quite as popular, perhaps more so ; for there are 
many, especially in Lower Canada, who would gladly have 
seen the severities of the law practised upon those from whom 
they believe that they have often suffered much, unjustly. 
But my business is to humanize — not to' harden. At that 
task I must labour, through obloquy and misrepresentation if 
needs be. At the same time I admit that I must, not for the 
miserable purpose of self-glorification, but with a view to the 
maintenance and establishment of my moral influence, recover 
the prestige of personal courage of which some here sought 
to deprive me. Before I have travelled unattended through 
the towns and villages of Upper Canada, and met ' the bhoys,' 
as they are called, in all of them on their own ground, I think 
I shall have effected this object, in so far as the province is 
concerned. To right myself in England will be more difficult ; 
but doubtless, if I live, the opportunity of so doing, even 
there, will sooner or later present itself. Hitherto any im- 
pertinences which have reached me from the other side have 
been anonymous. 

Aftpr- I believe that the sentiments expressed in the newspaper 

""'^ '' extract of which you acknowledge the receipt in your last, 
with respect to the merits of the policy of forbearance adopted 
by me at the great crisis, are beginning to obtain very gene- 
rally among the few who trace results to their causes. But 

- 1849. RETROSPECT. 97 

none can know what that crisis was, and what that decision 
cost. At the time I took it, I stood literally alone. I alien- 
ated from me the adherents of the Government, who felt, or 
imagined (having been generally, in times past, on the anti- 
Government side), that if the tables had been turned — if they 
and not their adversaries had been resisting the law of the 
land, and threatening the life of the Queen's representative — 
a very different course of repressive policy would have been 
adopted. At the same time I gained nothing on the other 
side, who only advanced in audacity ; and added the charge of 
personal cowardice to their other outrages. At home, too, I 
zforfeited much moral support; for although the Government 
sustained me with that honourable confidence which entitles a 
Government to be well served, they were puzzled. The logic 
of the case was against me. Lord Grey and Lord J. Russell 
nboth felt that either I was right or I was wrong. If the latter, 
I ought to be recalled ; if the former, I ought to make the 
Haw respected. And, lastly, I lost any chance of moral support 
—from the opinion of our neighbours in the States ; for, like 
:^11 primitive constitutionalists, the ideas of government they 
^old. in that quarter are very simple. I have been told by 
Americans, ' We thought you were quite right ; but we could 
—not understand why you did not shoot them doicn!^ 

I do not, as you may suppose, often speak of these matters ; 
nbut the subject was alluded to the other day by a person (now 
^Dut of politics, but who knew what was going on at the time, 
«Dne of our ablest men), and he said to me, ' Yes ; I see it all 
"== now. You were right— a thousand times right — though I 
^^ thought otherwise then. I own that I would have reduced 
•= Montreal to ashes before I would have endured half what you 
^ did ; and,' he added, ' I should have been justified, too.' ' Yes,' 
H answered, ' you would have been justified, because your course 
*^ would have been perfectly defensible ; but it would not have 
^ been the best course. Mine was a better one.' And shall 
"J" tell you what was the deep conviction on my mind, which, 
^part from the reluctance which I naturally felt to shed blood 
(['particularly in a cause in which many who opposed the 
Cljrovernment were actuated by motives which, though much 
Et,lloyed with baser metal, had claims on my sympathy), con- 
firmed me in that course ? I perceived that the mind of the 
IE3ritish population of the province, in Upper Canada especially. 

98 CANADA. Oh. IV. 

was at that time the prey of opposing impulses. On the one 
hand, as a question of blood and sensibility, they were inclined 
to go with the anti-French party of Lower Canada ; on the 
other, as a question of constitutional principle, they felt that 
I was right, and that I deserved support. Depend upon it, if 
we had looked to bayonets instead of to reason for a triumph, 
the sensibilities ot the great body of which I speak would soon 
have carried the day against their judgment. 

And what is the result? 700,000 French reconciled to 
England — not because they are getting rebel money — I believe, 
indeed, that no rebels will get a farthing ; but because they 
believe that the British Governor is just. ' Yes ;' but you 
may say ' this is purchased by the alienation of the British.' 
Far from it ; I took the whole blame upon myself ; and I will 
venture to affirm that the Canadian British never were so 
loyal as they are at this hour ; and, what is more remarkable 
still, and more directly traceable to this policy of forbearance, 
never, since Canada existed, has party-spirit been more mode- 
rate, and the British and French races on better terms than 
they are now ; and this, in spite of the withdrawal of protec- 
tion, and of the proposal to throw on the colony many charges 
which the Imperial Government has hitherto borne. 

Pardon me for saying so much on this point ; but ' magna 
'est Veritas.'' 







'BThe disturbances wHcli followed the passing of the 

' Eebellion Losses Bill ' have been described in the pre- 

c-eding chapter chiefly as they affected the person of 

tlHae Governor. But it may be truly said that this was 

tStie aspect of them that gave him least concern. He 

f^lt, indeed, deeply the indignities offered to the Crown 

o=f England through its representative. But there was 

s<i3me satisfaction in the reflection that, by taking on 

L^mself the whole responsibility of sanctioning the ob- 

n.-oxious Bill, he had drawn down upon his own head 

ttne chief violence of a storm which might otherwise 

h^Te exploded in a manner very dangerous to the 

ELi-mpire. 'I think I might say,' he writes, 'with less 

^^oetry but with more truth, what Lamartine said when 

-fchey accused him of coquetting with the Rouges under 

-^Le Provisional Government: " (9m, fai conspire! 

'—^■J^ai conspire comme le paratonnerr-e conspire avec le 

' '■nuage pour desarmer la foudreP ' But the thunder- Annex- 

cL-oud was not entirely disarmed; and it burst in a ^*o°ement. 

direction which popular passion in Canada has always 

b^ea too apt to take, threats of throwing off England 

arad joining the American States. As far back as March 

l^Br^ 1849, we find Lord Elgin drawing Lord Grey's 

at— teation to this subject. 

H 2 

1 00 CANADA. Ch. V. 

There has been (he writes) a vast deal of talk about ' an- 
nexatloB,' as is unfortunately always the case here when there 
is anything to agitate the public mind. If half the talk on 
this subject were sincere, I should consider an attempt to keep 
up the connection with Great Britain as Utopian in the ex- 
treme. For, no matter what the subject of complaint, or what 
the party complaining ; whether it be alleged that the French 
are oppressing the British, or the British the French — that 
Upper Canada debt presses on Lower Canada, or Lower 
Canada claims on Upper ; whether merchants be bankrupt, 
stocks depreciated, roads bad, or seasons unfavourable, annex- 
ation is invoked as the remedy for all ills, imaginary or real. 
A great deal of this talk is, however, bravado, and a great 
deal the mere product of thoughtlessness. Undoubtedly it is 
in some quarters the utterance of very sincere convictions ; 
and if England will not make the sacrifices which are abso- 
lutely necessary to put the colonists here in as good a position 
commercially as the citizens of the States — in order to which 
free navigation and reciprocal trade with the States are indis- 
pensable— \i not only the organs of the league but those of 
the Government and of the Peel party are always writing as 
if it were an admitted fact that colonies, and more especially 
Canada, are a burden, to be endured only because they cannot 
be got rid of, the end may be nearer at hand than we wot of. 

In these sentences we have the germs of views and 
feelings which time only made clearer and stronger ; — 
indignation at that tendency, so common in all minor- 
ities, to look abroad for aid against the power of the 
jnajority; faith in the idea of Colonial Government, if 
based on principles of justice and freedom ; and, as 
regards the particular case of Canada, the conviction 
that nothing waa wanted to secure her loyalty but a 
removal of the commercial restrictions which placed her 
at a disadvantage in competing vdth her neighbours of 
the Union. To understand the scope of his policy 
during the next few years, it will be necessary to dwell 
at some length on each of these points ; but for the 
present we must return to the circumstances which 
gave occasion to the letter which we have quoted. 


While ready, as that letter shows, to rriake every 
allowance for the utterances of thoughtless folly, or of 
well-founded discontent on the part of the people, Lord 
Elgin felt the necessity of checking at once such de- 
monstrations on the part of paid servants of the Crown. 
Accordingly, when an elaborate manifesto appeared in Manifesto. 
favour of ' annexation,' bearing the signatures of several 
persons — magistrates. Queen's counsel, militia officers, 
and others — holding commissions at the pleasure of the 
Crown, he caused a circular to be addressed to all such 
persons with the view of ascertaining whether their 
names had been attached with their own consent. 
Some of these letters were answered in the negative, 
some in the affirmative, and others by denying the 
right of the Government to put the question, and 
declining to reply to it. Lord Elgin resolved, with 
the advice of his executive council, to remove from 
such offices as are held during the pleasure of the 
Crown, the gentlemen who admitted the genuineness 
of their signatures, and those who refused to disavow 

' In this course,' says Lord Grey,^ ' we thought it 

' right to support him ; and a despatch was addressed to 

' him signifying the Queen's approval of his having dis- 

' missed from Her service those who had signed the 

' address, and Her Majesty's commands to resist to the 

' utmost any attempt that might be made to bring about 

' a separation of Canada from the British dominions.' 

But the necessity for such acts of severity only in- Eemediai 

creased Lord Elgin's desire to remove every reasonable ^''^^^'^^■■ 

ground of complaint and discontent ; to shut out, as he 

said, the advocates of annexation from every plea which 

could grace or dignify rebellion. He felt, indeed, an 

assured confidence that, by carrying out fearlessly the 

principle of self-government, he had ' cast an acorn into 

time,' which could not fail to bring forth the fcuit of 

» Colonial Policy, i. 232. 

102 CANADA. Oh. V. 

political contentment. But, in the meantime, for the 
immediate security of the connection between the colony 
and the mother-country he thought, as we have already 
seen, that two measures were indispensable, viz. the 
removal of the existing restrictions on navigation, and 
the establishment of reciprocal free trade with the 
United States. 

Judging after the event we may, perhaps, be inclined 
to think that the importance which he attached to the 
latter of these measures was exaggerated ; especially as 
the annexation movement had died away, and content, 
commercial as well as political, had returned to the 
Province long before it was carried. But we cannot 
form a correct view of his policy without giving some 
prominence to a subject which occupied, for many years, 
so large a share of his thoughts and of his energies. 

Writing to Lord Grey on November 8, 1849, he 

says : — 

The fact is, that although both the States and Canada 
export to the same neutral market, prices on the Canada side 
of the line are lower than on the American, by the amount of 
the duty which the Americans levy. So long as this state of 
things continues there will be discontent in this country ; deep, 
growing discontent. You will not, I trust, accuse me of hav- 
ing deceived you on this point. I have always said that I am 
prepared to assume the responsibility of keeping Canada quiet, 
with a much smaller garrison than we have now, and without 
any tax on the British consumer in the shape of protection to 
Canadian products, if you put our trade on as good a footing 
as that of our American neighbours ; but if things remain on 
their present footing in this respect, there is nothing before us 
but violent agitation, ending in convulsion or annexation. It 
is better that I should worry you with my importunity, than 
that I should be chargeable with having neglected to give you 
due warning. You have a great opportunity before you — 
' Keci- obtain reciprocity for us, and I venture to predict that you 
procity.' will be able shortly to point to this hitherto turbulent colony 


with satisfaction, in illustration of the tendency of self-govern- 
ment and freedom of trade, to beget contentment and material 
progress. Canada will remain attached to England, though 
tied to her neither by the golden links of protection, nor by 
the meshes of old-fashioned colonial office jobbing and chicane. 
But if you allow the Americans to withhold the boon which 
you have the means of extorting if you wiU, I much fear that 
the closing period of the connection between Great Britain and 
Canada will be marked by incidents which will damp the ardour 
of those who desire to promote human happiness by striking 
shackles either off commerce or off men. 

Even when tendering to the Premier, Lord John 
Russell, his formal thanks on being raised to the 
British peerage — an honour which, coming at that 
moment, he prized most highly as a proof to the world 
that the Queen's Government approved his policy — he 
could not forego the opportunity of insisting on a topic 
which seemed to him so momentous. 

It is (he writes) of such vital importance that your Lordship 
should rightly apprehend the nature of these difficulties, and 
the state of public opinion in Canada at this conjuncture, 
that I venture, at the hazard of committing an indiscretion, to 
add a single observation on this head. Let me then assure 
your Lordship, and I speak advisedly in offering this assurance, 
that the disaffection now existing in Canada, whatever be the 
forms with which it may clothe itself, is due mainly to com- 
mercial causes. 1 do not say that there is no discontent on 
political grounds. Powerful individuals and even classes of 
men are, I am well aware, dissatisfied with the conduct of 
affairs. But I make bold to affirm that so general is the belief 
that, under the present circumstances of our commercial con- 
dition, the colonists pay a heavy pecuniary fine for their fidelity 
to Great Britain, that nothing but the existence to an unwonted 
decrree of political contentment among the masses has j)revented 
the cry for annexation from spreading, like wildfire, through 
the Province. This, as your Lordship will perceive, is a new 
feature in Canadian politics. The plea of self-interest, the 
most powerful weapon, perhaps, which the friends of British 
connection have wielded in times past, has not only been 

104 CANADA. Ch. V. 

wrested from my hands, but transferred since 1846 to those of 
the adversary. I take the liberty of mentioning a fact, which 
seems better to illustrate the actual condition of affairs in these 
respects than many arguments. I have lately spent several 
weeks in the district of Niagara. Canadian Niagara is separated 
from the state of New York by a narrow stream, spanned by 
a bridge, which it takes a foot passenger about three minutes to 
cross. The inhabitants are for the most part U. E. loyalists,' 
and differ little in habits or modes of thought and expression 
from their neighbours. Wheat is their staple product — the 
article which they exchange for foreign comforts and luxuries. 
Now it is the fact that a bushel of wheat, grown on the Cana- 
dian side of the line, has fetched this year in the market, on 
an average, from 9d. to Is. less than the same quantity and 
quality of the same article grown on the other. Through 
their district council, a body elected under a system of very 
extended suffrage, these same inhabitants of Niagara have 
protested against the Montreal annexation movement. They 
have done so (and many other district councils in Upper 
Canada have done the same) under the impression that it would 
be base to declare against England at a moment when Eng- 
land has given a signal proof of her determination to concede 
constitutional Government in all its plenitude to Canada. I 
am confident, however, that the large majority of the persons 
who have thus protested, firmly believe that their annexation 
to the United States would add one-fourth to the value of the 
produce of their farms. 

I need say no more than this to convince your Lordship, that 
while this state of things subsists (and I much fear that no 
measure but the establishment of reciprocal trade between 
Canada and the States, or the imposition of a duty on 
the produce of the States when imported into England, will 
remove it), arguments will not be wanting to those who seek 
to seduce Canadians from their allegiance. 

Shortly afterwards he writes to Lord Grey : — 

It is not for me to dispute the point with free-traders, when 
they allege that all parts of the Empire are suffering from the 
effects of free-trade, and that Canadians must take their chance 

* ' United Empire Loyalists,' i.e. descendants of the original Loyalists 
of the American War. 

1849. FREE-TRADE. 105 

with others. But I must be permitted to remark, that the 
Canadian case differs from others, both as respects the imme- 
diate cause of the suffering, and still more as respects the 
means which the sufferers possess of finding for themselves a 
way of escape. As to the former point I have only to say that, 
however severe the pressure in other cases attendant on the 
transition from protection to free-trade, there is none which 
presents so peculiar a specimen of legislative legerdemain as 
the Canadian, where an interest was created in 1843 by a 
Parliament in which the parties affected had no voice, only to 
be knocked down by the same Parliament in 1846. But it is 
the latter consideration which constitutes the specialty of the 
Canadian case. What in point of fact can the other suffering 
interests, of which the Times writes, do ? There may be a 
great deal of grumbling, and a gradual move towards repub- 
licanism, or even communism ; but this is an operose and 
empirical process, the parties engaged in it are full of mis- 
givings, and their ranks at every step in advance ^re thinned 
by desertion. Not so with the Canadians. The remedy offered 
to them, such as it is, is perfectly definite and intelligible. 
They are invited to form a part of a community, which is 
neither suffering nor free- trading, which never makes a bargain 
without getting at least twice as much as it gives ; a com- 
munity, the members of which have been within the last 
few weeks pouring into their multifarious places of worship, 
to thank God that they are exempt from the ills which 
afflict other men, from those more especially which aflSict 
their despised neighbours, the inhabitants of North America, 
who have remained faithful to the country which planted 

Now, I believe, that if these facts be ignored, it is quite 
impossible to understand rightly the present state of opinion 
in Canada, or to determine wisely the course which the British 
Government and Parliament ought to pursue. It may suit 
the policy of the English free-trade press to represent the 
difficulties of Canada as the consequence of having a fool for a 
Governor-General ; but, if it be permitted me to express an 
opinion on a matter of so much delicacy, I venture to doubt 
whether it would be safe to act on this hypothesis. My con- 
viction on the contrary is, that motives of self-interest of a 
very gross and palpable description are suggesting treasonable 


106 CANADA. Ch. V. 

courses to the Canadian mind at present, and that it is a 
political sentiment, a feeling of gratitude for what has been 
done and suffered this year in the cause of Canadian self- 
government, which is neutralising these suggestions. 

Again, on December 29, 1849, lie writes as follows : — 

Free na-ri- I believe that the operation of the free navigation system 
will be what you anticipate, to a great extent at least, and that 
it wiU tend materially to equalise prices on the two sides of the 
line. At the same time I do think, that there are circum- 
stances in this country which falsify, in some degree, the 
deductions at which one arrives from reasoning founded on the 
abstract principles of political economy. One of these circum- 
stances is the power which the farmers in the "Western States, 
having no rents to pay, have of holding back their grain 
when prices do not suit them. You must have observed what 
hoards they poured forth when they were tempted by the 
famine prices of 1847 ; and I cannot but think that this power 
of hoarding, coupled with an indifferent harvest, must account 
for the great disparity of price, which has obtained during 
the course of the present year in the New York market for 
bonded grain, and grain for the home consumption. I fully 
expect, however, to see the price of Canadian grain, bonded at 
New York, rise, now that it can be exported to Liverpool in 
the New York liners, which will carry it for ballast. Never- 
theless, I think that Sir Robert Peel's dictum with respect to 
the Repeal of the Corn Laws, on the day on which he retired 
last from office, when he observed that thenceforward, even 
when the poor suffered from the high price of bread, they 
would not ascribe that suffering to the fact, of their bread 
being taxed, applies with at least equal force to the recipro- 
city question as affecting the Canadian farmers. For sure am 
I that, so long as there is a duty on their produce when it 
enters the States, and none on the introduction of United 
States produce into England, they will ascribe to this cause 
alone the differences of price that may occasionally rule to 
their disadvantage. 

The history of the two measures which Lord Elgin 
so ardently desired, and which in the foregoing and 

1849—1853. REOEPROCITY. 107 

many similar letters lie so urgently pressed, was emi- 
nently characteristic of the two Legislatures, through 
which they had respectively to be carried. 

In England, the repeal of restrictive Navigation Laws nepeai of 
was contended for by thoughtful statesmen on grounds ^avigation 
of public policy. The protective and conservative ia- 
stiacts of the old country, fortified by the never-absent 
spirit of party, resisted the change. "When fairly beaten 
by force of argument in the House of Commons, they 
entrenched themselves ia the House of Lords ; and it 
was only after a hot struggle that the Act was passed 
in June 1849, of which one effect was, by lowering 
freights, to increase the profits of the Canadian trade in 
wheat and timber, and thus to advance, in a very im- 
portant degree, the commercial prosperity of the 

The delays which retarded the settlement of the Eedpro- 
Reciprocity Treaty were due to causes of another kind. <=ity treaty. 
The difficulty was to induce the American Congress to 
pay any attention at aU to the subject. In the vast 
multiplicity of matters with which that Assembly has 
to deal, it is said that no cause which does not appeal 
strongly to a national sentiment, or at least to some 
party feelmg, has a chance of obtaining a hearing, 
unless it is taken up systematically by 'organizers' 
outside the House. The Reciprocity Bill was not a 
measure about which any national or even party feeling 
could be aroused. It was one which required much 
study to understand its bearings, and which would 
afiect different interests in the country in different 
ways. It stood, therefore, especially in need of the 
aid of professional organizers ; a kind of aid of which 
it was of course impossible that either the British or 
the Canadian Government should avaU itself. Session 
after session the BUI was proposed, scarcely debated. 

108 CANADA. Ch. V. 

and set aside. At last, in 1854, after the negotiations 
had dragged on wearily for more than six years. Lord 
Elgin himself was sent to Washington in the hope — ' a 
' forlorn hope,' as it seemed to those who sent him. — of 
bringing the matter to a successful issue. It was his 
first essay in diplomacy, but made under circumstances 
unusually favourable. He was personally popular with 
the Americans, towards whom he had always entertained 
and shown a most friendly feeling. They appreciated, 
moreover, better perhaps than it was appreciated at 
home, the consummate ability, as well as the rare 
strength of character, which he had displayed in the 
government of Canada ; and the prestige thus attach- 
ing to his name, joined to the influence of his presence, 
and his covu'tesy and bonhomie^ enabled him in a few 
days to smooth all difficulties, and change apathy 
into enthusiasm. Within a few weeks from the time 
of his landing he had agreed with Mr. Marcy upon 
the terms of a Treaty of Reciprocity, which soon after- 
wards received the sanction of aU the Governments 

The main concessions made by the Provinces to the 
United States in this treaty were, (1) the removal of 
duties on the introduction, for consumption in the Pro- 
vinces, of certain products of the States; (2) the ad- 
mission of citizens of that country to the enjoyment of 
the in-shore sea-fishery ; (3) the opening-up to their 
vessels of the St. Lawrence and canals pertaining 

A good deal of misconception prevailed at the time as 
to the amount of the concession made under the second 
head. The popular impression on this point was, that a 
gigantic monopoly was about to be surrendered ; but 
this was far from being the case. The citizens of the 
United States had already, under the Convention of 
1818, access to the most important cod-fisheries on the 
British coasts. The new treaty maintained in favour of 

1850—1854. DUTY OF IVnNORITIES. 109 

Britisli subjects the monopoly of the river and fresh- 
water fisheries ; and the concession which it made to the 
citizens of the United States amounted in substance to 
this, that it admitted them to a legal participation in 
the mackerel and herring fisheries, from illegal en- 
croachments on which it had been found, after the 
experience of many years, practically impossible to 
exclude them.-' 

The duration of the Treaty was limited to ten years, 
and has not been extended ; but it is not too much 
to hope that it has had some effect in engendering 
feelings of friendliness, and of community of interest, 
which may long outlast itself. 

It has been already noticed that the ' annexation viows of 
movement ' of 1849 died away without serious conse- ment. ' 
quences ; and extracts which have been given above 
sufficiently show to what cause Lord Elgin attributed 
its extinction. The powerful attraction of the great 
neighbouring republic had been counteracted and over- 
come by the more powerful attraction of self-govern- 
ment at. home. The centrifugal force was no longer 
equal to the centripetal. To create this state of feeluig 
had been his most cherished desire; to feel that he had 
succeeded in creating it was, throughout much obloquy 
and misunderstanding, his greatest support. 

From the earliest period of his entrance into political Duty of 
life he had always had the strongest sense of the duty authority, 
incumbent on every public man of supporting, even in 
opposition, the authority of Government. The bitterest 
reproach which he cast upon the Whigs, in his first 
Tory ' Letter to the Electors of Great Britain ' in 1835, 
was that when they found they could not carry on the 
government themselves, they tried to make it impos- 
sible for any other party to do so. Nor was he less 

' Despatch of the Earl of Elgin, Dec. 18, 1854. 

110 CANADA. Ch. V. 

severe, on another occasion, in his reprehension of ' a 
' certain high Tory clique who are always cavilling at 
' royalty when it is constitutional; circulating the most 
' miserable gossip about royal persons and royal enter- 
' tainments,' &c. ; busily ' engaged in undermining the 
' foundations on which respect for human institutions 
' rests.' Writing, in May 1850, to Mr. Gumming Bruce, 
a Tory and Protectionist, he said — 

"4/- I shall not despair for England whether Free-traders or Pro- 
1 tectionists be in the ascendant, unless I see that the faction 
out of power abet the endeavours of those who would make 
the Government of the country contemptible. E.ead Mont- 
I alembert's speeches. They are very eloquent and instructive. 
He had as full a faith in his religion, and what he considered 
due to his religion, as you can have in your Corn Laws. Yet 
observe how bitterly he now repents having aided those who 
have undermined in the French public all respect for authority 

and the powers that be. 

-'^If all that your Protectionist friends want to do is to put 
themselves, or persons in whom they have greater confidence 
than the present Ministry, in office, their object is, I confess, 
a perfectly legitimate one. What I complain of is the system 
of what is termed damaging the Government, when resorted 
to by those who have no such purpose in view ; or at least no 
honest intention of assuming responsibilities which they are 
endeavouring to render intolerable to those who are charged 
with them. — ) 

eepeciaUy; But if this ' political profligacy ' was, in his judg- 
nies. ment, the bane of party government at home, a still 

stronger ' but, perhaps, more excusable tendency to it 
threatened to defeat the object of responsible govern- 
ment in Canada. Accustomed to look abroad for the 
source and centre of power, a beq,ten minority in the 
Colonial Parliament, instead of loyally accepting its 
position, was never without a hope of wresting the 
victory from its opponents, either by an appeal to 
opinion in the mother-country, always ill-informed. 

1850—1863. DUTY OF MINOEITIES. , HI 

and therefore credulous, in matters of colonial politics, 
or else by raising a cry of ' separation,' or ' annexation.' 

The evil effects of this state of things need hardly 
be pointed out. On the one hand the constant refer- 
ence to opinion in England, not in the shape of consti- 
tutional appeal but by ex-parte statements, produced a 
state of chronic irritation against the mother -country. 
' There is nothing,' wrote Lord Elgin, ' which makes 
' the colonial statesman so jealous as rescripts from the 
' Colonial Office, suggested by the representations of 
' provincial cliques or interests, who ought, as he con- 
' tends, to bow before the authorities of Government 
' House, Montreal, rather than those of Downing Street.' 
On the other hand it was not easy to know how to deal 
with politicians who did not profess to own more than 
a qualified and provisional allegiance to the constitution 
of the Province and the Crown of England; The one 
hope in both cases was to foster a ' national and manly 
tone ' of political morals ; to lead all parties alike to 
look to their own Parliament, and neither to the London 
press nor the American hustings, for the solution of all 
problems of Provincial government. 

But while thus zealously defending the fortress of 
British connection committed to his care. Lord Elgin was 
dismayed to find that its walls were crumbling round 
him, undermined by the operations of his own friends ; 
that there had arisen at home a school of philosophic 
statesmen, strong in their own abihty, and strengthened 
by the support of the Radical economists, according 
to whom it was to be expected and desired that every 
colony enjoying constitutional government should aim 
at emancipating itself entirely from allegiance to the 
mother -country, and forming itself into an independent 
Republic. With such views he had no sympathy. The 
' Sparta ' which had fallen to his lot was the position of 
a colonial governor, and that position he felt it his 
duty to ' adorn ' and to maintain. Moreover, believing 

112 CANADA. Ch. V. 

firmly in the vitality of the monarchical principle, as 
well as in its value, he contended that it is an error to 
suppose that a constitutional monarchy, in proportion 
as it becomes more liberal, tends towards republicanism ; 
and further, that if such tendency existed it would be 
retrograde rather than progressive. 

The views of Colonial Government, its objects and 
its difficulties, which have been here briefly epitomised, 
are displayed in full in the following letters, together 
with a variety of opinions on kindred topics. They are 
given as characteristic of Lord Elgin 5 but they may, 
perhaps, have an interest of their own, as bearing on 
important questions which still await solution. 

To the Earl Grey. 

November 16, 1849. 

Mainten- Very much, as respects the result of this annexation move- 
anceof ment, depends upon what you do at home. I cannot say what 
connection, the effect may be if the British Government and press are 
lukewarm on the subject. The annexationists will take heart, 
but in a tenfold greater degree the friends of the connection 
will be discouraged. If it be admitted that separation must 
take place, sooner or later, the argument in favour of a present 
move seems to be almost irresistible. I am prepared to con- 
tend that with responsible government, fairly, worked out 
with free-trade, there is no reason why the colonial relation 
should not be indefinitely maintained. But look at my present 
difBculty, which may be increased beyond calculation, if in- 
discreet expressions be made use of during the present crisis. 
The English Government thought it necessary, in order to 
give moral support to their representative in Ireland, to assert 
in the most solemn manner that the Crown never would consent 
to the severance of the Union ; although, according to the 
O'Connell doctrine, the allegiance to the Crown of the Irish 
was to be unimpaired notwithstanding such severance. But 
when I protest against Canadian projects for dismembering 
the empire, I am always told ' the most eminent statestoen in 
* England have over and over again told us, that whenever we 
' chose we might separate. Why, then, blame us for discussing 
' the subject ? ' 



To the Earl Grey. 

January 14, 1850. 

I am certainly less sanguine than I was as to the probability 
of retaining the colonies under free-trade. I speak not now 
of the cost of their retention, for I have no doubt but that, if 
all parties concerned were honest, expenses might be gradually 
reduced. I am sure also that when free-trade is fairly in 
operation it will be found that more has been gained by re- 
moving the causes of irritation which were furnished by the 
constant tinkering incident to a protective system, than has 
leen lost by severing the bonds by which it tied the mother- 
country and the colonies toa:ether. What I fear is, that Colonial 
■when the mystification in which certain questions of self- the sport of 
interest were involved by protection is removed, factions both ^°"^ 
at home and in the colonies will be more reckless than ever in 
hazarding for party objects the loss of the colonies.' Our 
system depends a great deal more on the discretion with which 
it is worked than the American, where each power in the 
state goes habitually the full length of its tether : Congress, 
tlie State legislatures. Presidents, Governors, all legislating 
and vetoing, without stint or limit, till pulled up short by a 
judgment of the Supreme Court. With us factions in the 
colonies are clamorous and violent, with the hope of producing 
effect on the Imperial Parliament and Government, just in 
proportion to their powerlessness at home. The history of 
Canada during the past year furnishes ample evidence of this 
truth. Why was there so much violence on the part of the 
opposition here last summer, particularly against the Governor- 
General? Because it felt itself to be weak in the province, 
and looked for success to the effect it could produce in England 

And how is this tendency to bring the Imperial and Local 
Parhameiits into antagonism, a tendency so dangerous to the 
permanence of our system, to be counteracted ? By one expe- 
dient as it appears to me only ; namely, by the Governor's 

' Compare Junius : — ' Unfortu- ' were in opposition. Their declara- 

' Bately for hie country, Mr. Grenville ' tion gave spirit and argument to the 

' -was at any rate to be distressed, ' Colonies ; and while, perhaps, they 

' because he was Minister; and Mr. 'meant no more than the ruin of a 

' Pitt and Lord Camden were to be ' Minister, they in effect divided one 

' the patrons of America, because they ' half of the empire from the other.' 

114 CANADA. Ch. V. 

acting with some assumption of responsibility, so that the shafts 
of the enemy, which are intended for the Imperial Govern- 
ment, may fall on him. If a line of demarcation between the 
questions with which the Local Parliaments can deal and those 
which are reserved for the Imperial authority could be drawn, 
(as was recommended last session by the Radicals), it might 
be different ; but, as it is, I see nothing for it but that 
the Governors should be responsible for the share which the 
Imperial Government may have in the policy carried out in 
the responsible-government colonies, with the liability to be 
recalled and disavowed whenever the Imperial authorities 
think it expedient to repudiate such policy. 

To the Duke of Newcastle. 

Quebec : February 18, 1853. 
Distribu- Now that the bonds formed by commercial protection and 

honours ^^® disposal of local offices are severed, it is very desirable that 
the prerogative of the Crown, as the fountain of honour, 
should be employed, in so far as this can properly be done, as 
a means of attaching the outlying parts of the empire to the 
throne. Of the soundness of this proposition as a general 
principle no doubt can, I presume, be entertained. It is not, 
indeed, always easy to apply it in these communities, where 
fortunes are precarious, the social system so much based on 
equality, and public services so generally mixed up with party 
conflicts. But it should never, in my opinion, be lost sight of, 
and advantage should be taken of all favourable opportunities 
to act upon it. 

There are two principles which ought, I think, as a general 
rule to be attended to in the distribution of Imperial honours 
among colonists. Firstly, they should appear to emanate 
directly from the Crown, on the advice, if you will, of the 
Governors and Imperial Ministers, but not on the recommend 
ation of the local executives. And, secondly, they should be 
conferred, as much as possible, on the eminent persons who 
are no longer actively engaged in political life. If these prin- 
ciples be neglected, such distinctions will, I tear, soon lose 
their value. 

1860—1853. NO SEPARATION! 115 

To the Earl Grey, 

Toronto : March 23, 1850. 
Lord John's speech on the colonies seems to have been Speech of 
eminently successful at home. It is calculated too, I think, to ^^^Jii 
do good in the colonies ; but for one sentence, the introduction 
of which I deeply deplore — the sting in the tail. Alas for 
that sting in the tail ! I much fear that when the liberal and 
enlightened sentiments, the enunciation of which by one so 
high in authority is so well calculated to make the colonists 
sensible of the advantages which they derive from their con- 
nection with Great Britain, shall have passed away from their 
memories, there will not be wanting those who will remind 
them that, on this solemn occasion, the Prime Minister of Eng- 
land, amid the plaudits of a full senate, declared that he looked 
forward to the day when the ties which he was endeavouring 
to render so easy and mutually advantageous would be severed. 
A^nd wherefore this foreboding ? or, perhaps, I ought not to 
nse the term foreboding, for really to judge by the comments 
of the press on this declaration of Lord John's, I should be 
led to imagine that the prospect of these sucking democracies, 
after they have drained their old mother's life-blood, leaving 
her in the lurch, and setting up as rivals, just at the time when 
tieir increasing strength might render them a support instead 
of a burden, is one of the most cheering which has of late 
presented itself to the English imagination. But wherefore 
then this anticipation — if foreboding be not the correct term ? 
^Because Lord John and the people of England persist in 
assuming that the Colonial relation is incompatible with ma- 
turity and full development. And is this really so incontestable 
a truth that it is a duty not only to hold but to proclaim it ? 
Consider for a moment what is the effect of proclaiming it in 
our case. We have on this continent two great empires in 
presence, or rather, I should say, two great Imperial systems. 
Jn many respects there is much similarity between them. In 
so far as powers of self-government are concerned it is certain 
that our colonists in America have no reason to envy the 
citizens of any state in the Union. The forms differ, but it 
may be shown that practically the inhabitants of Canada have 
a greater power in controlling their own destiny than those of 
]Vliehigan or New York, who must tolerate a tariff imposed by 
twenty other states, and pay the expenses of war undertaken 

I 3 



Oh. V 

not pro- 

for objects which they profess to abhor. And yet there is a 
difference between the two cases ; a difference, in ray humble 
judgment, of sentiment rather than substance, which renders 
the one a system of life and strength, and the other a system 
of death and decay. No matter how raw and rude a territory 
may be when it is admitted as a state into the Union of the 
United States, it is at once, by the popular belief, invested with 
all the dignity of manhood, and introduced into a system which, 
despite the combativeness of certain ardent spirits from the 
South, every American believes and maintains to be immortal. 
But how does the case stand with us ? No matter how great 
the advance of a British colony in wealth and civilisation ; no 
matter how absolute the powers of self-government conceded 
to it, it is stiU. taught to believe that it is in a condition of 
pupilage from which it must pass before it can attain maturity. 
For one I have never been able to comprehend why, elastic 
as our constitutional system is, we should not be able, now 
more especially when we have ceased to control the trade of 
our colonies, to render the links which bind them to the 
British Crown at least as lasting as those which unite the 

component parts of the Union One thing is, 

however, indispensable to the success of this or any other 
system of Colonial Government. You must renounce the 
habit of telling the Colonies that the Colonial is a provisional 
existence. You must allow them to believe that, without 
severing the bonds which unite them to Great Britain, they 
may attain the degree of perfection, and of social and political 
development, to which organised communities of free men have 
a right to aspire. 

Since I began this letter I have, I regret to say, con- 
firmatory evidence of the justice of the anticipations I had 
formed of the probable effect of Lord John's declaration. I 
enclose extracts from two newspapers, an annexationist, the 
Herald of Montreal, and a quasi annexationist, the Mirror 
of Toronto. You will note the use they make of it. I was 
more annoyed however, I confess, by what occurred yesterday 
in council. We had to determine whether or not to dismiss 
from his offices a gentleman who is both M.P.P., Q.C., and 
J. P., and who has issued a flaming manifesto in favour, not of 
annexation, but of an immediate declaration of independence 
as a step to it. I will not say anything of my own opinion on 

1850—1853. NO SEPARATION! 117 

the case, but it was generally contended by the members of 
the Board, that it would be impossible to maintain that per- 
sons who had declared their intention to throw off their alle- 
giance to the Queen, with a view to annexation, were unfit to 
retain offices granted during pleasure, if persons who made a 
similar declaration with a view to independence were to be 
differently dealt with. Baldwin had Lord John's speech in 
his hand. He is a man of singularly placid demeanour, but 
he has been seriously ill, so possibly his nerves are shaken — 
at any rate I never saw him so much moved. ' Have you 
' read the latter part of Lord J. Russell's speech ? ' he said to 
me. I nodded assent. ' For myself,' he added, ' if the an- 
' ticipations therein expressed prove to be well founded, my 
' interest in public affairs is gone for ever. But is it not hard 
' upon us while we are labouring, through good and evil report, 
'to thwart the designs of those who would dismember the 
' Empire, that our adversaries should be informed that the 
' difference between them and the Prime Minister of England 
' is only one of time ? If the British Government has really 
' come to the conclusion that we are a burden to be cast off 
' whenever a favourable opportunity offers, surely we ought to 
' be warned.' 

I replied that while I regretted as much as he could do 
the paragraph to which he referred, I thought he somewhat 
mistook its import: that I believed no man living was more 
opposed to the dismemberment of the Empire than Lord J. 
Russell : that I did not conceive that he had any intention 
nf deserting the Colonies, or of inviting them to separate from 
England ; but that he had in the sentence in question given 
utterance to a purely speculative, and in my judgment most 
fallacious, opinion, which was shared, I feared, by very many 
persons both in England and the Colonies : that I held it to 
be a perfectly unsound and most dangerous theory, that British 
Colonies could not attain maturity without separation, and 
that my interest in labouring with them to bring into full play 
the principles of Constitutional Government in Canada would 
entirely cease if I could be persuaded to adopt it. I said all 
this I must confess, however, not without misgiving, for I 
could not but be sensible that, in spite of all my allegations to 
the contrary, my audience was disposed to regard a prediction 
of this nature, proceeding from a Prime Minister, less as a 

118 CANADA. Ch. V. 

speculative abstraction than as one of that class of prophecies 
which work their own fulfilment. I left the Council Chamber 
disheartened, with the feeling that Lord J. Russell's reference 
to the manhood of Colonies was more likely to be followed by 
practical consequences than Lamartine's famous ' quand Vheure 
aura sonne ' invocation to oppressed nationaliti es. It is pos- 
sible, indeed, that I exaggerate to myself the piol. able effects 
of this declaration. Politicians of the Baldwin stamp, -with 
distinct views and aims, who having struggled to obtain a 
Government on British principles, desire t o preserve it, are 
not, I fear, very numerous in Canada; the great mass move 
on with very indefinite purposes, and not much inquiring 
whither they are going. Of one thing, however, I am con- 
fident ; there cannot be any peace, contentment, progress, or 
credit in this colony while the idea obtains that the connection 
with England is a millstone about its neck which should be 
cast off, as soon as it can be conveniently managed. What 
man in his senses would invest his money in the public secu- 
rities of a country where questions affecting the very founda- 
tions on which public credit rests are in perpetual agitation; 
or would settle in it at all if he could find for his foot a more 
stable resting-place elsewhere ? I may, perhaps, be expressing 
myself too unreservedly with reference to opinions emanating 
from a source which I am no less disposed than bound to 
respect. As I have the means, however, of feeling the pulse 
of the colonists in this most feverish region, I consider it to 
be always my duty to furnish you with as faithful a record as 
possible of our diagnostics. And, after all, may I not with all 
submission ask. Is not the question at issue a most momen- 
tous one ? What is it indeed but this : Is the Queen of 
England to be the Sovereign of an Emj)ire, growing, expanding, 
strengthening itself from age to age, striking its roots deep 
into fresh earth and drawing new supplies of vitality from 
virgin soils ? Or is she to be for all essential purposes of 
might and power. Monarch of Great Britain and Ireland 
merely — her place and that of her line in the world's history 
determined by the productiveness of 12,000 square miles of a 
coal formation, which is being rapidly exhausted, and the dura- 
tion of the social and political organization over which she 
presides dependent on the annual expatriation, with a view to 
its eventual alienization, of the surplus swarms of her born 

1850—1853. NO SEPARATION I 119 

subjects? If Lord J. Kussell, instead of concluding his ex- 
cellent speech with a declaration of opinion which, as I read 
it, and as I fear others wiil read it, seems to make it a point of 
honour with the Colonists to prepare for separation, had con- 
tented himself with resuming the statements already made in 
its course, with showing that neither the Government nor 
Parliament could have any object in view in their Colonial 
policy but the good of the Colonies, and the establishment of 
the relation between them and the mother-country on the basis 
of mutual affection ; that, as the idea of maintaining a Colonial 
Empire for the purpose of exercising dominion or dispensing 
patronage had been for some time abandoned, and that of 
regarding it as a hot-bed for forcing commerce and manu- 
factures more recently renounced, a greater amount of free 
action and self-government might be conceded to British 
Colonies without any breach of Imperial Unity, or the vio- 
lation of any principle of Imperial Policy, than had under 
any scheme yet devised fallen to the lot of the component 
parts of any Federal or Imperial system ; if he had left 
these great truths to work their effect without hazarding 
a conjecture which will, I fear, be received as a suggestion, 
with respect to the course which certain wayward members of 
the Imperial family may be expected to take in a contingency 
still confessedly remote, it would, I venture with great deference 
to submit, in so far at least as public feeling in the Colonies is 
concerned, have been safer and better. 

You draw, I know, a distinction between separation with a 'Separa- 
view to annexation and separation with a view to independ- .'annex- 
ence. You say the former is an act of treason, the latter a ation.' 
natural and legitimate step in progress. There is much plausi- 
bility doubtless in this position, but, independently of the fact 
that no one advocates independence in these Colonies except 
as a means to the end, annexation, is it really tenable ? If you 
take your stand on the hypothesis that the Colonial existence 
is one with which the Colonists ought to rest satisfied, then, I 
think, you are entitled to denounce, without reserve or measure, 
those who propose for some secondary object to substitute the 
Stars and Stripes for the Union Jack. But if, on the contrary, 
you assume that it is a provisional state, which admits of but 
a stunted and partial growth, and out of which all communities 
ought in the course of nature to strive to pass, how can you 

120 CANADA. Oh. V. 

refuse to permit your Colonies here, when they have arrived 
at the proper stage in their existence, to place themselves in a 
condition which is at once most favourable to their security 
and to their perfect national development ? What reasons can 
you assign for the refusal, except such as are founded on 
selfishness, and are, therefore, morally worthless ? If you say 
that your great lubberly boy is too big for the nursery, and 
that you have no other room for him in your house, how can 
you decline to allow him to lodge with his elder brethren over 
the way, when the attempt to keep up an establishment for 
himself would seriously embarrass him ? 

To the Earl Grey. 

Toronto : November 1, 1850. • 
Sir H. Bulwer spent four days with us, and for many 
reasons I am glad that he has been here. He leaves us know- 
ing more of Canada than he did when he came. I think too 
that both he and Sir E. Head return to their homes re-assured 
on many points of our internal policy, on which they felt 
doubtful before, and much enlightened as to the real position 
of men and things in this province. 
Self-gov- With one important truth I have laboured to impress them, 

n™™™' ^^^ ^ hope successfully. It is this : that the faithful carrying 
publican, out of the principles of Constitutional Government is a de- 
parture from the American model, not an approximation to 
it, and, therefore, a departure from republicanism in its only 
workable shape. Of the soundness of this view of our case I 
entertain no doubt whatever; and though I meet with few 
persons to whom it seems to have occurred (for the common 
belief of superficial observers is that we are republicanising 
the colonies), I seldom fail in bringing it home to the under- 
standing of any intelligent person with whom I have occasion 
to discuss it. The fact is, that the American system is our old 
Colonial system with, in certain cases, the principle of popular 
election substituted for that of nomination by the Crown. Mr. 
Filmore stands to his Congress very much in the same relation 
in which I stood to my Assembly in Jamaica. There is the 
same absence of effective responsibility in the conduct of legis- 
lation, the same want of concurrent action between the parts 
of the political machine. The whole business of legislation in 


the American Congress, as well as in the State Legislatures, 
IS conducted in the manner in which railway business was con- 
ducted ia the House of Commons at a time when it is to be 
feared that, notwithstanding the high standard of honour in 
the British Parliament, there was a good deal of jobbing. For 
instance our Reciprocity measure was pressed by us at Wash- 
ington last session, just as a Railway Bill in 1845 or 1846 
would have been pressed in Parliament. There was no Go- 
Ternment to deal with. The interests of the Union, as a 
whole and distinct from local and sectional interests, had no 
organ in the representative bodies ; it was all a question of 
canvassing this member of Congress or the other. It is easy 
to perceive that, under such a system, jobbing must become not 
the exception but the rule. 

Now I feel very strongly, that when a people have been once 
thoroughly accustomed to the working of such a Parliamentary 
system as ours, they never will consent to revert to this clumsy 
irresponsible mechanism. Whether we shall be able to carry 
on the war here long enough to allow the practice of Constitu- 
tional Government and the habits of mind which it engenders 
to take root in these provinces, may be doubtful. But it may 
be worth your while to consider whether these views do not 
throw some light on affairs in Europe. If you part with con- 
stitutional monarchies there, you may possibly get something 
much more democratic ; but you cannot, I am confident, get 
American republicanism. It is the fashion to say, ' of course 
' not ; we cannot get their federal system ;' but this is not the 
only reason, there are others that lie deeper. Look at France, 
w^liere they are trying to jumble up the two things, a head of 
the State responsible to the people who elect him, and a 
ministry responsible to the Parliament. 

To the Diike of Newcastle. 

March 26, 1853. 

It is argued that, by the severance of the connection, 
British statesmen would be relieved of an onerous responsi- 
bility for colonial acts of which they cannot otherwise rid 
themselves. Is there not, however, some fallacy in this ? If 
W conceding absolute independence the British Parliament 
call acquit itself of the obligation to impose its will upon the 
Colonists, in the matter, for instance, of a Church Establish- 

122 CANADA. Ch. y. 

mentj can it not attain the same end by declaring that, as 
respects such local questions, the Colonists are free to judge 
for themselves ? How can it be justifiable to adopt the former 
of these expedients, and sacrilegious to act upon the latter ? 

The true policy, in my humble judgment, is to throw the 
whole weight of responsibility on those who exercise the real 
power, for, after all, the sense of responsibility is the best 
security against the abuse of power ; and, as respects the 
connection, to act and speak on this hypothesis — that there is 
nothing in it to check the development of healthy national life 
in these young communities. I believe that this policy will be 
found to be not only the safest, but also (an important con- 
sideration in these days) the most economical. 

To the Earl Grey. 

Toronto : December 17, 1850. 
Although, as you observe, it seems to be rather idle in us to 
correspond on what may be termed speculative questions, when 
we have so much pressing business on hand, I venture to say 
a few words in reply to your letter of the 23 rd ult, firstly, 
because I presume to dissent from some of the opinions which 
you advance in it ; and, secondly, because I have a practical 
object of no small importance in view in calling your attention 
to the contrasts which present themselves in the working of 
our institutions, and those of our neighbours in the States. 
My practical object is this : when you concede to the Colonists 
Constitutional Government in its integrity, you are reproached 
vrith leading them to Republicanism and the American Union. 
The same reproach is hurled with anathemas against your 
humble servant. Lord Stanley, if I rightly remember, in the 
debate on Ryland's case last year, stated amid cheers, that if 
you were in the habit of consulting the Ministers of the Crown 
in the Colony before you placed persons on the colonial 
pension list, he had no hesitation in saying you had already 
established a republic in Canada ! Now I believe, on the con- 
trary, that it may be demonstrated that the concession of Con- 
stitutional Government has a tendency to draw the Colonists 
the other way; firstly, because it slakes that thirst for self- 
government which seizes on all British communities when they 
approach maturity ; and, secondly, because it habituates the 


Colonists to the working of a political mechanism, which is 
both intrinsically superior to that of the Americans, and more 
unlike it than our old Colonial system. 

Adopting, however, the views with respect to the superiority 
of the mechanism of our political system to that of our neigh- 
bours, which I have ventured to urge, you proceed to argue 
that the remedy is in their hands ; that without abandoning 
their republicanism they and their confreres in France have 
nothing to do but to dismiss their Presidents and to substitute 
ou. constitution without a King, the body without the head, 
for ttieir own, to get rid of the inconveniences which they now 
experience ; and you quote with approbation, as an embodi- 
ment of this idea, the project submitted by M. Grevy and the 
Red Republicans to the French Constituent Assembly. 

Now here I confess I cannot go along with you, and the Value of 
diflference between us is a very material one ; for if the archk°a ' 
monarch be not an indispensable element in our constitu- principl'^. 
tional mechanism, and if we can secure all the advantages 
of that mechanism without him, I have drawn the wrong 
moral from the facts. You say that the system the Red 
Republicans would have established in France would have 
been the nearest possible approach to our own. It is possible, 
I think, that we may be tending towards the like issues. It is 
possible, perhaps probable, that as the House of Commons 
becomes more democratic in its composition, and consequently 
more arrogant in its bearing, it may cast off the shackles 
which the other powers of the State impose on its self-will, 
and even utterly abolish them ; but I venture to believe that 
those who last till that day comes, will find that they are 
living under a very different constitution from that which we 
now enjoy ; that they have traversed the interval which 
separates a temperate and cautious administration of public 
affairs resting on the balance of powers and interests, from a 
reckless and overbearing tyranny based on the caprices and 
passions of an absolute and irresponsible body. You talk 
somewhat lightly of the check of the Crown, although you 
acknowledge its utility. But is it indeed so light a matter, 
even as our constitution now works ? Is it a light matter that 
the Crown should have the power of dissolving Parliament ; in 
other words, of deposing the tyrant at will? Is it a light 
matter that for several months in each year the House of 

124 CANADA. Ch. V. 

Commons should be in abeyance, during which period the 
nation looks on Ministers not as slaves of Parliament but 
servants of the Crown ? Is it a light matter that there should 
still be such respect for the monarchical principle, that the 
servants of that visible entity yclept the Crown are enabled to 
carry on much of the details of internal and foreign adminis- 
tration vrithout consulting Parliament, and even without its 
cognisance ? Or do you suppose that the Red Republicans, 
when they advocated the nomination of a Ministry of the 
House of Assembly with a revocable mandat, intended to 
create a Frankenstein endowed with powers in some cases para- 
mount to, and in others running parallel with, the authority 
of the omnipotent body to which it owed its existence ? My 
own impression is, that they meant a set of delegates to be 
appointed, who should exercise certain functions of legislative 
initiation and executive patronage so long as they reflected 
clearly, in the former the passions, and in the latter the in- 
terests of the majority for the time being, and no longer. 

It appears to me, I must confess, that if you have a repub- 
lican form of government in a great country, with complicated 
internal and external relations, you must either separate the 
executive and legislative departments, as in the United States, 
or submit to a tyranny of the majority, not the more tolerable 
because it is capricious and wielded by a tyrant with many 
heads. Of the two evils I prefer the former. 

Consider, for a moment, how much more violent the proceed- 
ings of majorities in the American Legislatures would be, how 
much more reckless the appeals to popular passion, how much 
more frequently the permanent interests of the nation and the 
rights of individuals and classes would be sacrificed to the 
object of raising political capital for present uses, if debates or 
discussions affected the tenure of office. I have no idea that 
the executive and legislative departments of the State can be 
made to work together with a sufficient degree of harmony to 
give the maximum of strength and of mutual independence to 
secure freedom and the rights of minorities, except under the 
presidency of Monarchy, the moral influence of which, so long 
as a nation is monarchical in its sentiments, cannot, of course, 
be measured merely by its recognised power. 

Influence Those who are most ready to concur in these views"of 
ofaGover- Colonial Government, and to admire the vigour with 

nor, under ' o 


■which they were defended, and the consistency Avith respon- 
■which they were carried out, may still be inclined to Ternment. 
ask whether the maintenance of them did not involve 
a species of official suicide :■' whether the theory of the 
responsibiHty of provincial Ministers to the provincial 
Parliament, and of the consequent duty of the Governor 
to remain absolutely neutral in the strife of political 
parties, had not a necessary tendency to degrade his 
office into that of a mere Roi faineant. He had in 
1849, as Sir C. Adderley expresses it, ' maintained the 
' principle of responsible Government at the risk of his 
'life.' Was the result of his hard-won victory only to 
empty himself of all but the mere outward show of 
power and authority? 

Such questions he was always ready to meet with an 
uncompromising negative. ' I have tried,' he said, 
' both systems. In Jamaica there was no responsible 
' Government : but I had not half the power I have 
' here with my constitutional and changing Cabinet.' 
Even on the Vice-regal throne of India, he missed, at 
first, at least, something of the authority and influence 
vhich had been his, as Constitutional Governor, in 
Canada.^ He was fully conscious, however, of the 
difficult nature of the position, and that it was only 
tenable on condition of being penetrated, or possessed, 
as he said, with the idea of its tenabUity. In this 
strain he wrote to his intimate friend, Mr. Cumming 
Bruce, in September 1852, with reference to a report 
that he was to be recalled by the Ministry which had 
recently come into power. 

As respects the matter of the report, I am disposed to 
Relieve that, viewing the question with reference to personal 

1 ' Perhaps I may pee reason after ' governed on strictly constitutional 

'a. little more experience here to ' principles, and with a free Parlia- 

' modify my opinion on these points. ' ment, as compared with that which 

'If I were to tell you what I now 'the Governor-General wields in 

' think of the relative amount of in- ' India lohm at peace, you would 

'iluence which I exercised over the ' accuse nie of paradox. — Letter to 

' march of affairs in Canada, where I Sir C. Wood, Deccmhey '3 1 8C2. 

126 CANADA. Ch. V. 

interests exclusively, my removal from hence would not be any 
disadvantage to me. But, as to my work here — there is the 
rub. Is it to be all undone? On this point I must speak 
frankly. I have been possessed (I use the word advisedly, for 
I fear that most persons in England still consider it a case of 
possexsioii) with the idea that it is possible to maintain on this 
soil of North America, and in the face of Republican America, 
British connection and British institutions, if you give the 
latter freely and ti'ustingly. Faith, when it is sincere, is always 
catching; and I have imparted this faith, more or less thoroughly, 
to all Canadian statesmen with whom I have been in official 
relationship since 1848, and to all intelligent Englishmen with 
whom I have come in contact since 1850 — as witness Lord 
WharnclifFe, Waldegrave, Tremenheere, &c. &c. Now if the 
Governor ceases to possess this faith, or to have the faculty of 
imparting it, I confess I fear that, ere long, it will become 
extinct in other breasts likewise. I believe that it is equally 
an error to imagine with one old-fashioned party, that you can 
govern such dependencies as this on the antiquated bureau- 
cratic principle, by means of rescripts from Downing Street, 
in defiance of the popular legislatures, and on the hypothesis 
that one local faction monopolises all the loyalty of the 
Colony ; and to suppose with the Radicals that all is done 
when you have simply told the colonists ' to go to the devil 
' their own way.' I believe, on the contrary, that there is 
more room for the exercise of influence on the part of the 
Governor under my system than under any that ever was 
before devised ; an influence, however, wholly moral — an 
influence of suasion, sympathy, and moderation, which softens 
the temper while it elevates the aims of local politics. 

It is true that on certain questions of pubHc policy, es- 
pecially with regard to Church matters, views are propounded 
by my ministers which do not exactly square with my pre-con- 
ceived opinions, and which I acquiesce in, so long as they do 
not contravene the fundamental principles of morality, from a 
conviction that they are in accordance with the general senti- 
ments of the community. 

It is true that I do not seek the commendation bestowed 
on Sir F. Head for bringing men into his councils from the 
liberal party, and telling them that they should enjoy only a 
partial confidence ; thereby allowing them to retain their position 

1850—1853. INFLUENCE OF A GOVERNOR. 127 

as tribunes of the people in conjunction with the prestige of 
advisers of the Crown by enabling them to shirk responsibility 
for any acts of government which are unpopular. It is true 
that I have always said to my advisers, ' while you continue 
' my advisers you shall enjoy my unreserved confidence ; and en 
' revanche you shall be responsible for all acts of government. ' 

But it is no less certain that there is not one of them who 
does not know that no inducement on earth would prevail with 
me to bring me to acquiesce in any measures which seemed to 
me repugnant to public morals, or Imperial interests ; and I 
must say that, far from finding in my advisers a desire to entrap 
me into proceedings of which I might disapprove, I find a 
tendency constantly increasing to attach the utmost value to 
my opinion on all questions, local or general, that arise. 

The deep sense which he entertained of the im- 
portance of a correct understanding on this point is 
shown by his devoting to it the closing words of the 
last official despatch which he wrote from Quebec, on 
December 18, 1854. 

I readily admit that the maintenance of the position and due 
influence of the Governor is one of the most critical problems 
that have to be solved in the adaptation of Parliamentary 
Government to the Colonial system ; and that it is diflBcult to 
over-estimate the importance which attaches to its satisfactory 
solution. As the Imperial Government and Parliament gra- 
dually withdraw from legislative interference, and from the 
exercise of patronage in Colonial aifairs, the office of Governor 
tends to become, in the most emphatic sense of the term, the 
link which connects the Mother-country and the Colony, and 
his influence the means by which harmony of action between 
the local and imperial authorities is to be preserved. It is not, 
however, in my humble judgment, by evincing an anxious 
desire to stretch to the utmost constitutional principles in his 
favour, but, on the contrary, by the frank acceptance of the 
conditions of the Parliamentary system, that this influence can 
be most surely extended and confirmed. Placed by his position 
above the strife of parties — holding office by a tenure less 
precarious than the ministers who surround him — having no 
political interests to serve but that of the community whose 
affairs he is appointed to administer — his opinion cannot fail. 

128 CANADA. Ch. V. 

when all cause for suspicion and jealousy is removed, to 'have 
great weight in the Colonial CouncUsj while he is set at liberty 
to constitute himself in an especial manner the patron of those 
larger and higher interests — such interests, for example, as 
those of education, and of moral and material progress in all its 
branches — which, unlike the contests of party, unite instead 
of dividing the members of the body politic. The mention of 
such influences as an appreciable force in the administration of 
public affairs may provoke a sneer on the part of persons who 
have no faith in any appeal which is not addressed to the lowest 
motives of human conduct ; but those who have juster views of 
our common nature, and who have seen influences that are 
purely moral wielded with judgment, will not be disposed to 
deny to them a high degree of efi&cacy. 

Defence of Closelj akin to the question of the maintenance of 
e CO ony, ^^^ connection between the Colony and Great Britain, 
especially when viewed as affected by the commercial 
and financial condition of the former, was the question 
of throwing upon it the expense of defending itself; a 
problem which was then only beginning to attract the 
attention of liberal statesmen. For thoiigh it may be 
true that the practice of defending the Colonies with 
the troops and at the cost of the mother-country was 
an innovation upon the earlier Colonial system, intro- 
duced at the time of the great war, it is not the less 
certain that to the generation of colonists that had 
grown up since that time the abandonment of it had 
all the effect of novelty. It was a question on which, 
as affecting Canada, Lord Elgin was in a peculiar degree 
' between two fires ;' exposed to pressure at once from 
the Government at home and from his own Ministers, 
and seeing much to agree with in the views of both. 
against In the first place, as regards the preservation of order 

disorder ; withiu the proviuce, he thought it clear that, as a general 
rule, the cost of this should fall on the Colony itself 
wherever it enjoyed self-government; but there were 
pecuhar circumstances in Canada which made him hesi- 
tate to apply the doctrine unreservedly there. Owing 


to tKe contiguity of the ITnited States, the abettors of 
any mischief in the Colony might count on help con- 
stantly at hand, not indeed from the Government of 
the Union, which never acted disloyally,^ but from 
the unruly spirits that were apt to infest the borders ; 
and it seemed to him at least doubtful, whether both 
justice and policy did not require that Great Britain 
should afford to the supporters of order some material 
aid to counterbalance this. Again, the peculiar social 
and political state of Lower Canada, arising mainly 
from the conditions under which it had passed into 
the hands of England, and from the manner in which 
England had fulfilled those conditions, created special 
difficulties as to the maintenance of internal quiet. On 
the one hand England's respect for treaty obHgations 
had induced her to resist all attempts to break down by 
fraud or violence those rights and usages of the French 
population, which had tended to keep alive among them 
feelings of distinctive nationality; while on the other 
hand the effect of the working of the old system of 
colonial administration had been to confer upon British 
or American settlers a disproportionate share in the 
government of the province. It followed that the 
French- Canadian majority and the Anglo-Saxon mi- 
nority were dwelling side by side in that section of the 
Colony without, to any sensible extent, intermingling, 
and under conditions of equilibrium which could never 
have been established but for the presence on the same 
scene of a directing and overrulmg power. In this 
state of things, whUe confidently hoping that an im- 
partial adherence to the principles of constitutional 
government would by degrees obhterate all national 
distinctions, he saw reason to fear that the sudden with- 
drawal of Britain's moderating control, whether as 
the result of separation or of a change of Imperial 

I Vide infra, p. 159. 

130 CANADA. Ch. V. 

policy, wotild be followed at no distant period by a 
serious collision between the races, 
against Similarly, as regards defence against foreign attack, 

attack. while agreeing that a self-governing colony should be 
self-dependent. Lord Elgin felt that the pecuUar posi- 
tion of Canada, having no foreign attack to apprehend 
except in quarrels of England's making, made her case 
somewhat exceptional. And any wholesale withdrawal 
of British troops he strongly deprecated, as likely to 
imperil her connection with the mother-country, if it 
took place suddenly, before the old notion — the ' axiom 
' affirmed again and again by Secretaries of State and 
' Governors, that England was bound to pay all ex- 
' penses connected with the defence of the Colony ' — 
had lost its hold on men's minds, and a feeling of the 
responsibilities attaching to self-government had had 
time to grow up. 

His first letter on the subject is to Lord Grey, written 
so early as April 26, 1848 : — 

The question which you raise in your last letter respecting 
the military defence of Canada is a large one, and, before 
irrevocable steps be taken, it may be well to look at it on all 

The first consideration which offers itself in connection with 
this subject is this, ' Why does Canada require to be defended, 
and against whom ? ' A very large number of persons in this 
community believe that there is only one power from which 
they have anything to dread, and that this power would be 
converted into the fastest friend, bone of their bone, and flesh 
of their flesh, if the connection with Great Britain were aban- 

In this respect the position of Canada is peculiar. When 
you say to any other colony ' England declines to be longer at 
the expense of protecting you,' you at once reveal to it the 
extent of its dependence and the value of Imperial support. 
But it is not so here. Withdraw your protection from Canada, 
and she has it in her power to obtain the security against 
aggression enjoyed by Michigan or Maine: about as good 

1850—1853. DEFENCES OP THE COLONY. 131 

security, I must allow, as any which is to be obtained at the 
present time. 

But you may observe in reply to this, ' You cannot get the 
security which Michigan and Maine enjoy for nothing ; you 
must purchase it by the surrender of your custom houses and 
public lands, the proceeds of which will be diverted from their 
present uses and applied to others, at the discretion of a body 
in which you wiU have comparatively little to say.' The 
argument is a powerful one, so long as England consents to 
hear the cost of the defence of the Colony, but its force is 
much lessened when the inhabitants are told that they must 
look to their own safety, because the mother country can no 
lono-er afford to take care of them. 

On the other hand very weighty reasons may be adduced in 
favour of the policy of requiring the province to bear some 
portion at least of the charge of its own protection. The 
adoption of free-trade, although its advocates must believe 
that it tends to make the Colonies in point of fact less charge- 
able than heretofore, will doubtless render the English people 
more than ever jealous of expenditure incurred on their behalf. 
1 am, moreover, of opinion, that the system of relieving the 
colonists altogether from the duty of self-defence is attended 
with injurious effects upon themselves. It checks the growth 
of national and manly morals. Men seldom think anything 
worth preserving for which they are never asked to make a 

My view, therefore, would be that it is desirable that a 
movement in the direction which you have indicated should 
take place, but that it ought to be made with much caution. 

The present is not a favourable moment for experiments. 
British statesmen, even Secretaries of State, have got into the 
habit lately of talking of the maintenance of the connection 
between Great Britain and Canada with so much indifference, 
that a change of system in respect of military defence in- 
cautiously carried out, might be presumed by many to argue, 
on the part of the mother-country, a disposition to prepare 
the way for separation. Add to this, that you effected, only 
a few years ago, a union between the Upper and Lower 
Provinces by arbitrary means, and for objects the avowal of 
■which has profoundly irritated the French population ; that 
still more recently you have deprived Canada of her principal 

s. 2 


Ch. V. 

of forces. 

advantages in the British markets ; that France and Ireland 
are in flames, and that nearly half of the population of this 
Colony are French, nearly half of the remainder Irish. 

That Canada felt no need of bulwarks except against 
England's foes was a point on which he constantly in- 
sisted. On one occasion he wrote : — 

Only one absurdity can be greater, pardon me for saying so, 
than the absurdity of supposing that the British Parliament 
will pay ^200,000 for Canadian fortifications ; it is the ab- 
surdity of supposing that Canadians will pay it themselves. 

£200,000 for defences ! and against whom ? against the 
Americans. And who are the Americans ? Your own kindred, 
a flourishing swaggering people, who are ready to make room 
for you at their own table, to give you a share of all they 
possess, of all their prosperity, and to guarantee you in all 
time to come against the risk of invasion, or the need of 
defences, if you will but speak the word ! 

On the whole he was of opinion that the Government 
should quietly, and sans phrase, remove their troops 
altogether from some points, reduce them in others, 
and ' aim at the eventual substitution of a Major- 
' General's command for that of a Lieutenant-General 
' in Canada ; bvit that nothing should be done hastily or 
^ per saltum, so as to alarm the Colonists with the idea 
' that some new and strange principle was gomg to be 
' applied to them.' 

You may if you please (he wrote) largely reduce the stafl", 
and more moderately the men, leaving the remainder in the 
best barracks. I think you may do this without, in any 
material degree, increasing the tendency towards annexation ; 

provided always that you make no noise about it 

But, I repeat it, you must not, unless you wish to drive the 
Colony away from you, impose new burdens upon the Colonists 
at this time.' 

' In entire accordance -with this 
■view, lie recommended that Great 
Britain should take upon herself the 
payment of the Governor's salary, 
' with a view to future contingencies, 

' and to calls which at a period mora 
' or less remote we may have to make 
'on the loyalty and patriotism of 
' Canadians.' 

1850—1853, DEFENCES OF THE COLONY. 133 

The course thus sketched out he himself steadily- 
pursued; and his last letters on the subject, written 
early in 1853 to the Duke of Newcastle, who had re- 
cently become Secretary for the Colonies, were occupied 
in recommending a continuance of the same quietly 
progressive policy : 

When I came here we had a Commander-in-Chief and two 
Major-Generals. We have now only one General on the 
station, and the staff has undergone proportional diminution. 
If further reductions are to be made, let them be effected in 
the same quiet way without parade or the ostentatious adoption 
of new principles as applicable to the defence of colonies which 
are exposed, as Canada is by reason of their connection with 
Great Britain, to the hazard of assaults from organised powers. 

Continue then, if you will pardon me for so freely tendering 
advice, to apply in the administration of our local affairs the 
principles of Constitutional Government frankly and fairly. 
Do not ask England to make unreasonable sacrifices for the 
Colonists, but such sacrifices as are reasonable, on the hypo- 
thesis that the Colony is an exposed part of the empire. In- 
duce her if you can to make them generously and without 
appearing to grudge them. Let it be inferred from your 
language that there is in your opinion nothing in the nature of 
things to prevent the tie which connects the Mother-country 
and the Colony from being as enduring as that which unites 
the different States of the Union, and nothing in the nature of 
our very elastic institutions to prevent them from expanding 
so as to permit the free and healthy development of social, 
political, and national life in these young communities. By 
administering colonial affairs in this spirit you will find, I 
believe, even when you least profess to seek it, the true secret 
of the cheap defence of nations. If these communities are 
only truly attached to the connection and satisfied of its per- 
manence (and, as respects the latter point, opinions here will 
be much influenced by the tone of statesmen at home), elements 
of self-defence, not moral elements only but material elements 
likewise, will spring up within them spontaneously as the pro- 
duct of movements from within, not of pressure from without. 
Two millions of people, in a northern latitude, can do a good 
deal in the way of helping themselves when their hearts are in 
the right place. 



ch. Arr. 







' Clergy 

History of 
the ques- 

We have had freqvient occasion to observe that the 
guiding principle of Lord Elgin's policy was to let the 
Colony have its own way in everything which, was not 
contrary either to public morality or to some Imperial 
interest. It was in this spirit that he passed the 
Rebellion Losses Act ; and in this spirit he watched 
the contest which raged for many years on the memo- 
rable qiiestion of the ' Clergy Reserves.' 

By the Canada Act of 1791 one-seventh of the lands 
then ungranted had been set apart for the support of a 
' Protestant Clergy.' At first these reserves were re- 
garded as the exclusive property of the Church of 
England; but in 1820 an opinion was obtained from 
the Law Officers of the Crown in England, that the 
clergy of the Church of Scotland had a right to a share 
in them, but not Dissenting Ministers. In 1840 an 
Act was passed in which the claims of other denomi- 
nations also were distinctly recognised. By it the 
Governor was empowered to sell the reserves ; a part 
of the proceeds was to be applied in payment of the 
salaries of the existing clergy, to whom the faith of 
the Crown had been pledged ; one-half of the remamder 
was to go to the Churches of England and Scotland, in 

1850—1854. TKE ' CLERGY RESERVES.' 135 

proportion to their respective numbers, and the other 
half was to be at the disposal of the Governor-General 
for the benefit of the clergy of any Protestant denomi- 
nation willing to receive public aid. 

But the old inveterate jealousy of Anghcan as- 
cendency, aggravated, it is said, by the political conduct 
of Bishop Strachan, who had identified his Church with 
the obnoxious rule of the Family Compact, was not 
content with these concessions. Allying itself with 
the voluntary spirit, caught from the Scottish Free 
Church movement in 1843, it took the shape of a 
fanatical opposition to everything in the nature of a 
public provision for the support of religion ; and the 
cry was raised for the ' Secularisation of the Clergy 
Eeserves.' Eagerly taken up, as was natural, by the 
Ultra-radicals, or ' Clear-grits,' the cry was echoed by 
a considerable section of the old Tory party, from 
motives which it is less easy to analyse ; and so violent 
■was the feeling that it threatened to SAveep away at one 
stroke all the endowments in question, without regard 
to vested interests, and without even waiting for the 
repeal of the Imperial Act by which these endowments 
were guaranteed. More loyal and moderate counsels 
however prevailed, owing chiefly to the support which 
they received from the Koman Cathohcs of Lower 
Canada, at one time so violently disaifected. In 1850 
the Assembly voted an Address to the Queen, praying 
that the Act referred to might be repealed, and that 
the Local Legislature might be empowered to dispose 
of the reserved lands, subject to the condition of secur- 
ing to the existing holders for their lives the -stipends 
to which they were then entitled. To this Address a 
favourable answer was returned by Lord Grey; who, 
■while avowing the preference of Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment for the existing arrangement, by which a certain 
portion of the public lands of Canada were applied to 
relie-ious uses, admitted at the same time that the 

136 CANADA. Oh. VI. 

question of maintaining it was one so exclusively affect- 
ing the people of Canada, that its decision ought not 
to be Y/ithdrawn from the Provincial Legislature. 

A Bill for granting to the Colony the desired powers 
was intended to be introduced into Parliament during 
the session of 1:51, but owing to the pressure of other 
business it was deferred to the next year. It was to 
have been brought forward in a few days, when the 
break-up of Lord John Russell's Ministry caused it to 
be again postponed; and it was not till May 9, 1853, 
that the long looked-for Act received the Queen's assent. 
No action could be taken in the matter by the 
Coloaial ParHament for that j^ear, as its session closed 
on June 14; and when it met again next year a minis- 
terial crisis, followed by a dissolution and a change of 
Ministers, caused a postponement of all legislation. 
Finally, on October 17, 1854, a Bill for the ' Seculari- 
' sation of the Clergy Reserves ' was introduced into the 
Assembly. The more moderate and thoughtful men of 
every party are said to have been at heart opposed to 
it ; but it was impossible for them to stand against the 
current of popular feehng. The Bill speedily became 
law; the Clergy Resei'ves were handed over to the 
various municipal corporations for secular uses; and 
though by this means ' a noble provision made for the 
' sustentation of religion was frittered away so as to 
' produce but few beneficial results,' ^ a question which 
had long been the occasion of much heart-burning was 
at least settled, and settled for ever. A slender pro- 
vision for the future was saved out of the wreck by the 
commutation of the reserved life-interests of incum- 
bents, which laid the foundation of a small permanent 
endowment ; but, with this exception, the equality of 
destitution among all Protestant communities was com- 

' Mac Mullen's History of Canada, ° It is a singular fact, as illus- 

p- 527. tratiDg: the tenacity and coherence 

1850—1854. THE 'CLERGY RESERVES.' 137 

The various stages througli wMch tMs question 
passed may be traced in the following letters, of which 
the first was written to Lord Grey on July 5, 1850 : 

Two addresses to the Queen were voted by the Assembly a 
few days ago and brought up by the House to me for trans- 
mission. The one is an address, very loyal in its tone, depreca- 
ting all revolutionary changes. 

The other address is not so satisfactory. It prays Her Address to 
Majesty to obtain the repeal of the Imperial Act on the Clergy 
Reserves passed in 1840, and to hand them over to the Canadian 
Parliament to deal with them as it may see fit — guaranteeing, 
however, the lite interests of incumbents. Tlie resolutions 
on which this address was founded were introduced by a 
member of the Government, which has treated the question as 
an open one. 

You are sufficiently acquainted with Canadian history to be 
aware of the fact, that these unfortimate Clergy Reserves have 
been a bone of contention ever since they were set apart. I 
know how very inconvenient it is to repeal the Imjjerial Act 
which was intended to be a final settlement of the question ; 
but I must candidly say I very much doubt whether you will 
be able to preserve the Colony if you retain it on the Statute 
Book. Even Lafontaine and others who recognise certain 
vested rights of the Protestant churches under the Consti- 
tutional Act, advocate the repeal of the Imperial Act of 1840 : 
partly because Lower Canada was not consulted at all when 
it was passed; and, secondly, because the distribution made 
under that Act is an unfair one, and inconsistent with the 
views of the Upper Canadian Legislature, as expressed at the 
time but set aside in deference, as it is alleged, to the remon- 
strances of the English bishops. Some among the Anglo- 
Saxon Liberals, and some of the Orange Tories, I suspect, 
share these views. 

A considerable section is for appropriating the proceeds of 
the reserves at once, and applying them to education, without 
any regard to the rights either of individuals or of churches. 
These, persons are furious with the supporters of the address 

of the Church of Rome, that while the Roman Catholic clergy, of the 

all Protestant endowments were thu3 vast poEsessions left to them bj' the 

indiscriminately swe-jit away, no voice old French capitulation. — Mac Mid- 

■was raised against the retention, by len, p. 528. 

for agree- 

138 CANADA. Ch. VI. 

for proposing to preserve the life interests of incumbents. The 
sentiments of the remainder are pretty accurately conveyed 
by the terms of the address. 

To the Earl Grey. 

Toronto, July 19, 1850. 
Reasons The ' Clear Grit ' organs, which have absorbed a large 

portion of the ' Annexationists,' talk very big about what they 
will do if England steps in to preserve the ' Clergy Reserves.' 
That party would be only too glad to get up a quarrel with 
England on such a point. It is, of course, impossible for you 
to do anything with the Imperial Act till next session. A 
little delay may perhaps enable us to see our way more clearly 
with respect to this most perplexing subject. 

Lord Sydenham's despatch of January 22, 1840, is a curious 
and instructive one. It accompanies the Act on the ' Clergy 
Reserve ' question, which he induced the Parliament of Upper 
Canada to pass, but which was not adopted at home ; for the 
House of Lords concocted one more favourable to the Estab- 
lished Churches. He clearly admits that the Act is against 
the sense of the country, and that nothing but his own great 
personal influence got it through, and yet he looks upon it as 
a settlement of the question. I confess I see few of the con- 
ditions of finality in measures which are passed under such 

To the Earl Greij. 

Toronto, March 18, 1851. 

I am far from thinking that the ' Clergy Reserves ' will 
necessarily be diverted from religious purposes if the Local 
Parliament has the disposal of them. I should feel very confi- 
dent that this would not be the case, were it not that the tone 
adopted by the Church of England here has almost always 
the efi^ect of driving from her even those who would be most 
disposed to cooperate with her if she would allow them. 

To the Earl Grey. 

Toronto, June 14, 1851. 

On the whole the best chance for the Church interest as 

regards the question, in my judgment, is that you should carry 

your empowering bill through the Imperial Parliament this 

session, and that we should get through our session and the 

1850—1854. THE ' CLERGY RESERVES.' 139 

general election, whicli is about to follow, with as little 
excitement as possible. The province is prosperous and the 
people contented ; and at such a time, if no disturbing cause 
arise, moderate and reasonable men are likely to be returned. 
At the same time the ' Clergy Reserve ' question is sufiBciently 
before the public to insure our getting from the returns to 
Parliament a pretty fair indication of what are the real senti- 
ments of the people upon it. I need not say that there can 
be no security for the permanence of any arrangement which 
is not in tolerable conformity with those sentiments. 

To the Earl Grey. 

July 12, 1851. 

As to the insinuation that the movement against the endow- Movement 
ments of the Church of England is prompted by the Romans, prompted 
events will give the lie to it ere long. The following facts, by Eoman 
however, seem to be wholly irreconcilable with this hypothesis. ^ ° "^^* 
Before the Union of the Provinces there were very few, if 
any, Roman Catholic members in the Upper Canada Parlia- 
ment; they were all-powerful in the Lower. Now it is 
recorded in history, that the Upper Canadian Legislative 
Assembly kept up year after year a series of assaults on the 
' Clergy Reserves; ' in proof of which read the narrative part 
of the Address to Her Majesty on the ' Clergy Reserves ' from 
the Legislative Assembly last year. And it is equally a fact 
that the Lower Canadian Legislative Assembly never meddled 
with them, except I think once, when they were invited to do 
so by the Government. 

Some montlis later, in the beginning of 1852, Lord 
Tnbn Russell's Administration was broken up, and 
Lord Grey banded over tbe seals of tbe Colonial Office 
to Sir Jobn Pakington. One of tbe first subjects on 
wbicb tbe new Secretary asked to be furnished with 
confidential information was as to tbe state of public feel- 
ing in Canada upon tbe question of tbe future disposal 
of the ' Clergy Reserves.' Lord Elgin rephed as follows : 

You require, if I rightly understand your letter, that I Feeling in 
should state, in the first place, whether I believe that the senti- "?® ■^™" 
ments of the community in reference to the subject-matter of 

140 CANADA. Ch. VI. 

this Address are faithfully represented in the votes of the 
Assembly. I cannot answer this question otherwise than 
affirmatively. Not that I am by any means disposed to under- 
rate the importance of the petitions which may have been sent 
home by opponents of the measure. The clergy of the Church 
of England and of that portion of the Presbyterian Church 
which preserves its connection with the Established Church of 
Scotland, are generally unwilling that the question of the 
reserves should be left to the decision of the Local Legislature. 
They are, to a considerable extent, supported by their flocks 
when they approach the throne as petitioners against the 
prayer of the Assembly's Address, although it is no doubt 
an error to suppose that the lay members of these communions 
are unanimous, or all alike zealous in the espousal of these 
views. From this quarter the petitions which appear to have 
reached Lord Grey and yourself have, I apprehend, almost 
exclusively proceeded. Other bodies, even of those v,'hich 
participate in the produce of the reserves, as for example the 
Wesleyans and the Roman Catholics of Upper Canada, have 
not, that I am aware of, moved in the matter, unless it be in 
an opposite direction, 
in Upper Can it then -be inferred from such indications tliat public 

Canada; opinion in the province does not support the cause taken by the 
Assembly in reference to the ' Clergy Reserves '? or, what is 
perhaps more to the purpose, that a provincial administration, 
formed on the principle of desisting from all attempts to induce 
the Imperial Government to repeal the Impeiial statute on 
this subject, would be sustained ? I am unable, I confess, to 
bring myself to entertain any such expectation. It is my 
opinion, that if the Liberals were to rally out of office on the 
cry that they were asserting the right of the Provincial Govern- 
ment to deal with the question of the ' Clergy Reserves ' against 
a Government willing, at the bidding of the Imperial authorities, 
to abandon this claim, they would triumph in Upper Canada 
more decisively than they did at the late general election. I 
need hardly add, that if, after a resistance followed by such a 
triumph, the Imperial Government were to give way, it would 
be more than ever difficult to obtain from the victorious party 
a reasonable consideration for Church interests. These remarks 
apjjly to Upper Canada. It is not so ensy to foresee what is 
likely to be the course of events in Lower Canada. Tlie 

1860—1854. THE ' CLERGY RESERVES.' 141 

party which looks to M. Papineau as its leader adopts on all in Lower 
points the most ultra-democratic creed. It professes no very '' ' 
warm attachment to the endowments of the Roman Catholic 
Church, and is, of course, not likely to prove itself more tender 
with respect to property set apart by royal authority for the 
support of Protestantism. The French-Canadian Represents 
atives vcho do not belong to this paity are, I believe, generally 
disinclined to secularisation, and would be brought to consent 
to any such proposition, if at all, only by the pressure of some 
(Supposed political necessity. They are however, almost with- 
out exception, committed to the principle that the ' Clergy 
' Reserves ' ought to be subject to the control of the Local Legis- 
lature. While the battle is waged on this ground, therefore, 
they will probably continue to side with the Upper Canada 
Liberals, unless the latter contrive to alienate them by some 
act of extravagance 

I am aware that there lie, beyond the subjects of which 
I have treated, larger considerations of public policy affecting 
tliis question, on which I have not ventured to touch. On the 
one hand there are persons who contend that, as the ' Clergy 
' Reserves ' were set apart by a British Sovereign for religious 
uses, it is the bounden duty of the Imperial authorities to 
maintain at all hazards the disposition thus made of them. 
This view is h:rdly, I think, reconcilable with the provisions 
of the statute of 1791 ; but, if it be correct, it renders all dis- 
cussion of subordinate topics and points of mere expediency, 

On the other hand, even among the most attached friends of in tie 
the Church, some are to be found who doubt whether on the ^liiiich ; 
whole the Church has gained from the Reserves as much as she 
has lost by them — whether the ill-will which they have engen- 
dered, and the bar which they have proved to private munifi- 
cence and voluntary exertion, have not more than counter- 
balanced the benefits which they may have conferred ; and who 
look to secularisation as the only settlement that will be final 
and put an end to strife. 

Up to this time Lord Elgin appears to have enter- 
tained at least a hope, that, if the Colony were left to 
itself, it would settle the matter by distributing the 
reserved funds according to some equitable proportion 

142 CANADA. Ch. VI. 

among the clergy of all denominations. But as time 
■went on, this hope became fainter and fainter. In his 
next letter he recounts a conversation with a person 
(not named) ' of much intelligence, and well acquainted 
with Upper Canada,' not a member of the Church of 
England, but favourable to the maintenance of an 
endowment for religious purposes, who, after remarking 
on the infatuation shown by the friends of the Church 
in 1840, expressed a decided opinion that the vantage 
ground then so heedlessly sacrificed was lost for ever, 
so far' as colonial sentiment was concerned; and that 
' neither the present nor any future Canadian Parlia- 
' ment would be induced to enact a law for perpetuating 
' the endowment in any shape.' The increasing likeli- 
hood, however, of a result which he regarded as in 
itself undesirable could not abate his deske to see the 
matter finally settled, or shake his conviction that the 
Provincial Parliament was the proper power to settle 
it. With his correspondent it was not so; nor can it 
be wondered at tliat the organ of a Tory Government 
should have declined to accede to the prayer of an 
Address, which could hardly have any other issue than 
secularisation. But the decision was not destined to 
be left in the hands of the Tories. Before the end of 
1852 Lord Derby was replaced by Lord Aberdeen, and 
Sir J. Pakington by Lord Elgin's old friend the Duke 
of Newcastle, who saw at once the necessity of conced- 
ing to the Canadian Parliament the power of settling the 
question after its own fashion. Accordingly on May 21, 
1853, Lord Elgin was able to write to him as follows : 

Empower' J -(yas certainly not a little surprised by the success with 
passed. which you carried the Clergy Reserves Bill through the House 
of Lords. I am assured that this result was mainly due to 
your own personal exertions. I am quite confident that both 
in what you have done, and in the way you have done it, you 
have best consulted the interests of the Province, the Church, 
and the Empire. I trust that what has happened will have 

1850—1854. THE ' CLERGY RESERVES.' 143 

here the favourable moral eiFect which you anticipate. It 
cannot fail to have this tendency. 

As respects the measures which will be ultimately adopted 
on this vexed subject, I do not yet venture to write with con- 
fidence. If the representation of the Bishop of Toronto, as to 
the feelings which exist among ihe great Protestant denomi- 
nations on the question, were correct, there could be no doubt 
whatsoever in regard to the issue. For you may depend upon 
it the Eoman Catliolics have no wish to touch the Protestant 
endowment ; although, when they are forced into the con- 
troversy, they will contend that it does not rest on the same 
basis as their own. But I confess that I place no reliance 
whatsoever on these calculations and representations. Almost 
the greatest evil which results from the delegation to the 
Imperial Parliament of the duty of legislating on Colonial 
questions of this class, is the scope which the system affords to 
exaggeration and mystification. Parties do not meet in fair 
conflict on their own ground, where they can soon gain a 
knowledge of their relative strength, and learn to respect each 
other accordingly ; they shroud themselves in mystery, and 
rely for victory on their success in outdoing each other in hard 
swearing. Many men, partlj^ from goodnature and partly 
from political motives, will sign a petition spiced and peppered 
to tickle the palate of the House of Lords, who will not move 
a yard, or sacrifice a shilling, on behalf of the object petitioned 
for. I much fear that it will be found that there is much 
division of opinion even among members of the laity of the 
Church, with respect to the propriety of maintaining the 
' Clergy Reserves ; ' and that, even as regards a certain section 
of the clergy, owing to dissatisfaction with the distribution of 
the fund and with the condition of dependence in which the 
missionaries are kept, there is greater lukewarmness on the 
subject than the fervent representations you have received 
would lead you to imagine. 

Meanwhile there is a very good feeling in the Province — a 
great absence of party violence. Your course has tended to 
confirm these favourable symptoms. We must prevent any- 
thing being done during this session of the Provincial Parlia- 

DO C3 

ment to commit parties with respect to the ' Clergy Keserves,' 
and as respects the future we must hope for the best. 

144 CANADA. Ch. VI. 

The The result has been already stated. The ' Clergy 

secular-' ' Reserves ' were secularised, contrary, no doubt, to the 
^^^- individual wishes of Lord Elgin; but the general prin- 

ciple of Colonial self-government had signally triumphed, 
and its victory more than outweighed to him the loss of 
any particular cause. 

One other measure remains to be noticed, on which 

Lord Elgin had the satisfaction of inducing the Home 

Government to yield to the wishes of the Colony, viz. 

the Reform of the Provincial Parliament. 

Eeformof ^7 '^^6 Constitution of 1840 the legislative power 

theProTin- ^^s divided between two chambers: a councO., consist- 

cial Par- . ■„ , ■ i i i /-i 

liament. ]ng of twenty persons, who were nominated by the Go- 
vernor, and held their seats for life ; and a House of 
Assembly, whose eighty-four members were elected in 
equal proportions from the two sections of the province. 
As the population of the Colony grew — and between 1840 
and 1853 it nearly doubled itself — it was natural that 
the number of legislators should be increased ; and 
there were other reasons which made an increase 

Increase of The Legislative Assembly (wrote Lord Elgin early in 
repreeont- ^gssi ig hqyv eno-afred on a measure introduced by tlie Govern- 

ation. p. ., . ^,. 

ment for increasing the representation or the province. 1 
consider the object of the measure a very important one ; for, 
with so small a body as eighty members, when parties are nearly 
balanced, individual votes become too precious, which leads to 
mischief. I have not experienced this evil to any great extent 
since I have had a liberal administration, which has always 
been strong in the Assembly ; but, with my first administration, 
I felt it severely. 

To this change no serious opposition was offered, 
either in the Colony or in the Imperial Parliament ; and 
the members of the two Houses were raised to one hun- 
dred and thirty, and seventy-two, respectively. It was 
otherwise, however, with the proposal to make the 

in favour. 

1850—1854. REPEESENTATION. 145 

Upper House elective; a measure certainly alien to 
English ideas, but one which Lord Elgin appears to 
have thought necessary for the healthy working of the 
constitution under the circumstances then existing in 
the province. As early as March, 1850, he wrote to 
Lord Grey : — 

A great deal is said here at present about rendering our Proposal 
second branch of the Legislature elective. As the advocates the°Upper 
of the plan, hovsrever, comprise two classes of persons, with House 
views not only distinct but contradictory, it is difficult to fore- 
see how they are to agree on details, when it assumes a prac- 
tical shape. The one class desire to construct a more efficient 
Conservative body than the present Council, the other seek an 
instrument to aid them in their schemes of subversion and 
pillage. For my own part, I believe that a second legislative Reasons 
tody, returned by the same constituency as the House of 
Assembly, under some differences with respect to time and 
mode of election, would be a greater check on ill-considered 
legislation than the Council as it is now constituted. Baldvnn 
is very unwilling to move in this matter. Having got what 
he imagines to be the likest thing to the British constitution 
he can obtain, he is satisfied, and averse to further change. 
In this instance I cannot but think that he mistakes the 
shadow for the substance. I admire, however, the perse- 
verance with which he proclaims, ' H faut jeter Cancre de la 
' constitution,^ in reply to proposals of organic change ; though 
I fully expect that, like those who raised this cry in 1791, he 
Tvill yet, if he lives, find himself and his state-ship floundering 
among rocks and shoals, towards which he never expected to 

Three years later he held the same language to the 
Duke of Newcastle. Writing on March 26, 1853, to 
inform him that the Bill for increasing the represen- 
tation had been carried in the Assembly by a large 
majority, he adds : — 

The Lords must be attended to in the next place. The 
position of the second chamber in our body politic is at present 
■wholly unsatisfactory. The principle of election must be 
introduced in order to give to it the influence which it ought 


146 CANADA. Oh. YI. 

to possess ; and that principle must be so applied as to admit 
of the working of Parliamentary Government (which I for 
one am certainly not prepared to abandon for the American 
system) with two elective chambers. I have made sorne 
suggestions with this view, which I hope to be able to induce 
the Legislature to adopt. 

When our two legislative bodies shall have been placed on 
this improved footing, a greater stability will have been 
imparted to our constitution, and a greater strength, I believe, 
if England act wisely, to the connection. 

The Act The question did not come before the British Parlia- 

^^^^ ■ ment till the summer of 1854, after Lord Elgin's visit 
to England, during which he had an opportunity of 
stating his views personally to the Government. At 
his instance they brought in a Bill to enable the 
Colonial Legislature to deal with the subject ; and the 
measure was carried, with few dissentients, although 
vehemently denounced by Lord Derby in the House of 
Lords. The principles of colonial policy which Lord 
Durham had expressed so powerfully in 1838, and on 
which Lord Grey and Lord Elgin had been acting so 
consistently for many years, had at last prevailed ; and 
many of those who most deprecated the proposed 
reform as a dovmward step towards pure democracy, 
yet acknowledged that, as it had been determined upon 
by the deliberate choice of the Colony, it ought not to 
be thwarted by the interference of the mother-country. 
Speech of In the course of the speech above referred to, Lord 
Derby. Derby made use of the following eloquent words : — 

I have dreamed — perhaps it was only a dream — that the 
time woTjld come when, exercising a perfect control over, 
their own internal affairs. Parliament abandoning its right to 
interfere in their legislation, these great and important colo- 
nies, combined together, should form a monarchical govern- 
ment, presided over either by a permanent viceroy, or, as an 
independent sovereign, by one nearly and closely allied to the 
present royal family of this country. 

I have believed that, Jin such a manner, it would be possible 

1850—1854. REPRESENT ATION. 147 

to uphold the moBarchical principle; to establish upon that 
great continent a monarchy free as that of this country, even 
freer still with regard to the popular influence exercised, but 
yet a monarchy worthy of the name, and not a mere empty 
shadow. I can hardly believe that, under such a system, the 
friendly connection and close intimacy between the colonies 
and the mother-country would in any way be affected ; but, on 
the contrary, I feel convinced that the change to which I have 
referred would be productive of nothing, for years and years 
to come, but mutual harmony and friendship, increased and 
cemented as that friendship would be by mutual appreciation 
of the great and substantial benefits conferred by a free and 
regulated monarchy. 

But pass this Bill, and that dream is gone for ever. Nothing 
like a free and regulated monarchy could exist for a single 
moment under such a constitution as that which is now pro- 
posed for Canada. 

, From the moment that you pass this constitution, the proi 
gress must be rapidly towards republicanism, if anything 
could be more really republican than this BiU. 

■ The dream has been realised, at least in one of its 
most important featm-es ; the gloomy forebodings have 
hitherto happily proved groundless. But the speaker 
of these words, and the author of the measure to which 
they refer, would probably have been alike surprised 
at the course which events have taken respecting the 
particular point then in question. For once the stream 
that sets towards democracy has been seen to take a 
backward direction ; and the constitution of the Do- 
minion of Canada has returned, as regards the Legisla- 
tive Council, to the Conservative principle of nomina- 
tion by the Crown. 

It does not fall within the scope of this memoir to 
give an account of the numerous administrative measures 
which made the period of Lord Elgin's Government so 
marked an epoch in the history of Canadian prosperity. 
It may be well, however, to notice a few points to which 

L 2 

148 CANADA. Ch. yi. 

he himself thought it worth while to advert in official 
despatches, written towards the close of his sojourn in 
the country, and containing a statistical review of the 
marvellously rapid progress which the Colony had made 
in all branches of productive industry. 

The first extracts bear upon questions which have 
lost none of their interest or importance — the kindred 
questions of emigration, of the demand for labour, and 
of the acquisition and tenure of land. 

Emigra- The sufferings of the Irish during that calamitous period 

[1847] induced philanthropic persons to put forward schemes 
of systematic colonisation, based in some instances on the as- 
sumption that it was for the interest of the emigrants that they 
should be as much as possible concentrated in particular por- 
tions of the territories to which they might proceed, so as to 
form communities complete in themselves, and to remain subject 
to the influences, religious and social, under which they had 
lived previously to emigration. It was proposed, if I rightly 
remember, according to one of those schemes, that large num- 
bers of Irish with their priests and home associations should be 
established by Government in some unoccupied part of Canada. 
I believe that such schemes, however benevolent their design, 
rest on a complete misconception of what is for the interest 
both of the Colony and of the emigrants. It is almost in- 
variably found that emigrants who thus isolate themselves, 
whatever their origia or antecedents, lag behind their neigh- 
bours ; and I am inclined to think that, as a general rule, in 
the case of communities whose social and political organisation 
is as far advanced as that of the North American Colonies, it 
is for the interest of all parties that new comers, instead of 
dwelling apart and bound together by the affinities whether of 
sect or party, which united them in the country which they 
have left, should be dispersed as widely as possible among the 
population already established in that to which they transfer 

It may not be altogether irrelevant to mention, as bearing on 
this subject, that the painful circumstances which attended the 
emigration of 1847 created for a time in this Province a cer- 
tain prejudice against emigration generally. The poll tax 

1850—1854. EMIGRATION. 149 

on emigrants was increased, and the opinion widely dissemi- 
nated that, however desirable the introduction of capitalists 
might be, an emigration of persons of the poorer classes was 
likely to prove a burden rather than a benefit. Commercial 
depression, and apprehensions as to the probable effect of the 
Free-trade policy of Great Britain on the prosperity of the 
Colonies, had an influence in the same direction. To counter- 
act these tendencies which were calculated, as I thought, to be 
injurious in the long run both to the Mother-country and the 
Province, public attention was especially directed, in the Speech 
delivered from the Throne in 1849, to emigration by way of 
the St. Lawrence, as a branch of trade which it was most de- 
sirable to cultivate (irrespective altogether of its bearing on 
the settlement of the country) in consequence of the great ex- 
cess of exports over imports by that route, and the consequent 
enhancement of freights outwards. These views obtained very 
general assent, and the measures which have been adopted 
since that period to render this route attractive to emigrants 
destined for the West (the effect of which is beginning now to 
be visible in the yearly increasing amount of emigration by 
way of Quebec from the continent of Europe), are calculated 
not only to promote the trade of the Province, but also to make 
settlers of a superior class acquainted with its advantages.' 

This important region (the valley of the Ottawa) takes the Ottawa 
name by which it is designated in popular parlance from the ^^^^V- 
mighty stream which flows through it, and which, though it be 
but a tributary of the St. Lawrence, is one of the largest of the 
rivers that run uninterruptedly from the source to the discharge 
within the dominions of the Queen. It drains an area of about 
80,000 square miles, and receives at various points in its course 
the waters of streams, some of which equal in magnitude the 
chief rivers of Great Britain. These streams open up to the 
enterprise of the lumberman the almost inexhaustible pine 
forests with which this region is clothed, and afford the means 
of transporting their produce to market. In improving these 
natural advantages considerable sums are expended by private 
individuals. :fi50,000 currency was voted by Parliament last 
session for the purpose of removing certain obstacles to the 

' Despatch of December 18, 1854, 



Oh. VI. 




navigation of the Upper Ottawa, by the construction of a canal 
at a point which is now obstructed by rapids. 

From the nature of the business, the lumbering trade falls 
necessarily in a great measure into the hands of persons of 
capital, who employ large bodies of men at points far removed 
from markets, and who are therefore called upon to make con- 
siderable advances in providing food and necessaries for their 
labourers, as well as in building slides and otherwise facilita- 
ting the passage of timber along the streams and rivers. Many 
thousands of men are employed during the winter in these 
remote forests, preparing the timber which is transported during 
the summer in rafts, or, if sawn, in boats, to Quebec when 
destined for England, and up the Richelieu River when in- 
tended for the United States. It is a most interesting fact, 
both in a moral and hygienic view, that for some years past 
intoxicating liquors have been rigorously excluded from almost 
all the chantiers, as the dwellings of the lumbermen in these 
distant regions are styled ; and that, notwithstanding the expo- 
sure of the men to cold during the winter and wet in the spring, 
the result of the experiment has been entirely satisfactory. 

The bearing of the lumbering business on the settlement of 
the country is a point well worthy of notice. The farmer who 
undertakes to cultivate unreclaimed land in new countries, 
generally finds that not only does every step of advance which 
he makes in the wilderness, by removing him from the centres 
of trade and civilisation, enhance the cost of all he has to pur- 
chase, but that, moreover, it diminishes the value of what he 
has to sell. It is not so, however, with the farmer who follows 
in the wake of the lumbermen. He finds, on the contrary, in 
the wants of the latter, a ready demand for all that he produces, 
at a price not only equal to that procurable in the ordinary 
marts, but increased by the cost of transport from them to the 
scene of the lumbering operations. This circumstance, no 
doubt, powerfully contributes to promote the settlement of 
those districts, and attracts population to sections of the country 
which, in the absence of any such inducement, would probably 
remain for long periods uninhabited.' 

Wild land. The large amount of wild land held by individuals and cor- 
porations, renders the disposal of the public domain a question 

> Despatch of August 16, 1853. 

1850—1854. TENURE OF LAND. 151 

of less urgency in this than in some other colonies. Opinion 
in the Province runs strongly in favour of facilitating its 
acquisition in small lots by actual settlers, and of putting all 
possible obstacles in the way of its falling into the hands of 
speculators. This opinion is founded no doubt in part on a 
jealousy of great landholders ; but it is mainly, I apprehend, 
attributable to a sense of the inconvenience and damage which 
are experienced in young countries, when considerable tracts 
of land are kept out of the market in the midst of districts that 
are in course of settlement. To this feeling much of the hos- 
tility to the ' Clergy Reserves ' was originally due. The upset 
price of Government wild land in Canada varies from 7s. 6d. 
currency to Is. currency an acre, according to quality, and by 
the rules of the Crown Land Department now in force, it is 
conceded at these rates, except in special cases, in lots of not 
more than 200 acres, on condition of actual settlement, of erect- 
ing a dwelling-house, and clearing one-fourth of the lot before 
the patent can be obtained. The price is payable in some 
parts of the country in ten yearly instalments ; in others in 
five ; with interest in both cases from the date of sale. 

I have little faith in the efEcacy of such devices to compel 
actual settlement. They hinder the free circulation of capital, 
are easily evaded, and seem to be especially out of place where 
wild lands are subject to taxation for municipal purposes, as is 
the case in Upper Canada.' 

A good deal of land in Lower Canada is held in seigniory. Seigniorial 
under a species of feudal tenure, with respect to the conditions t^"""^^- 
of which a controversy has arisen which threatens, unless some 
equitable mode of adjusting it be speedily devised, to be pro- 
ductive of very serious consequences. A certain class of jurists 
contend, that by the custom of the country, established before 
its conquest by Great Britain, the seigniors were bound to 
concede their lands in lots of about 100 acres to the first 
applicant, in consideration of the payment of certain dues, and 
of a rent which never, as they allege, exceeded one penny an 
acre ; and they quote edicts of the French monarchs to show 
that the governor and intendant, when the seignior was con- 
tumacious, could seize the land, and make the concession in 

' Despatch of December 18, 1864. 



Ch. yi. 

spite of him, taking the rent for the Crown. The seigniors, 
on the other hand, plead the decisions of the courts since the 
conquest in vindication of their claim to receive such rents as 
they can bargain for. Independently of this controversy, the 
incidents of the tenure are in other respects calculated to exer- 
cise an unfavourable influence on the progress of the Province ; 
and its abolition, if it could be effected without injustice, would, 
no doubt, be a highly beneficial measure.' 

Still more important and interesting at this time is 
the following sketch of the Educational System of 
Upper Canada ; the ' Common Schools ' and ' Public 
' School Libraries,' which have attracted so much the 
attention of our own educationists. Nor is it uninstruc- 
tive to note the contrast between what had been 
achieved in the colony nearly twenty years ago, and 
the still unsettled condition of similar questions in the 
mother-country : a contrast which may perhaps call to 
mind the remarks of Lord Elgin already quoted, as to 
the rapid growth which ensues when the seeds that fall 
from ancient experience are dropped into a virgin soil.''' 

Education. In 1847 the Normal School, which may be considered the 
foundation of the system, was instituted, and at the close ot 
1853, the first volume issued from the Educational Depart- 
ment to the Public School Libraries, which are its crown and 
completion. . . . The term school libraries does not imply 
that the libraries in question are specially designed for 
the benefit of common school pupils. They are, in point of 
fact, public libraries intended for the use of the general popu- 
lation ; and they are entitled school libraries because their 
establishment has been provided for in the School Acts, and 
their management confided to the school authorities. 

Public School Libraries then, similar to those which are 
now being introduced into Canada, have been in operation for 
several years in some states of the neighbouring Union, and 
many of the most valuable features of the Canadian system 
have been borrowed from them. In most of the States, how- 

' Despatcli of December 18, 1854 The abolition was sbortlj' afterwards, 
satisfactorily effected. ^ 

' '\"ide supra, p. 48. 


1850—1854. EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. 153 

ever, which have appropriated funds for library purposes, the 
selection of the books has been left to the trustees appointed 
by the diiFerent districts, many of whom are ill-qualified for the 
task ; and the consequence has been, that the travelling pedlars, 
who offer the most showy books at the lowest prices, have had 
the principal share in furnishing the libraries. In introducing 
the system into Canada, precautions have been taken which 
will, I trust, have the effect of obviating this great evil. 

In the School Act of 1850, which first set apart a sum of 
money for the establishment and support of school libraries, 
it is declared to be the duty of the chief superintendent of 
education to apportion the sum granted for this purpose by 
the legislature under the following condition : ' That no aid 
' should be given towards the establishment and support of 
' any school library unless an equal amount be contributed or 
' expended from local sources for the same ; ' and the Council 
of Instruction is required to examine, and at its discretion 
recommend or disapprove of text books for the use of schools, 
or books for school libraries ; ' provided that no portion of 
' the legislative school grant shall be applied in aid of any 
' school in which any book is used that has been disapproved 
' of by the Council, and public notice given of such disap- 
' proval.' 

The system of public instruction in Upper Canada is en- Common 
grafted upon the municipal institutions of the Province, to ^° °° ^' 
which an organisation very complete in its details, and admi- 
rably adapted to develope the resources, confirm the credit, and 
promote the moral and social interests of a young country, was 
imparted by an Act passed in 1849. The law by which the 
common schools are regulated was enacted in 1850, and it 
embraces all the modifications and improvements suggested by 
experience in the provisions of the several school Acts passed 
subsequently to 1841, when the important principle of granting 
naoney to each county on condition that an equal amount were 
raised within it by local assessment, was first introduced into 
the statute-book. 

The development of individual self-reliance and local exer- Local 
tion, under the superintendence of a central authority exercising supenn- 

.' , ' 1.1 1 • 1 !• • • 1 tendenee. 

an influence almost exclusively moral, is the ruling principle 
of the system. Accordingly, it rests with the freeholders and 
householders of each school section to decide whether they 

154 CANADA. Oh. VI. 

■will support their school by voluntary subscription, by rate 
bill for each pupil attending the school (which must not, how- 
ever, exceed Is. per month), or by rates on property. The 
trustees elected by the same freeholders and householders are 
required to determine the amount to be raised within their re- 
spective school sections for all school purposes whatsoever, to 
hire teachers from among persons holding legal certificates of 
qualification, and to agree with them as to salary. On the 
local superintendents appointed by the county councils is 
devolved the duty of apportioning the legislative grant among 
the school sections within the county, of inspecting the 
schools, and reporting upon them to the chief superintendent. 
The county boards of public instruction, composed of the local 
superintendent or superintendents, and the trustees of the 
county grammar school, examine candidates for the office 
of teacher, and give certificates of qualification which are 
valid for the county; the chief superintendent giving certi- 
ficates to normal school pupils which are valid for the Pro- 
vince ; while the chief superintendent, who holds his appoint- 
ment from the Crown, aided in specified cases by the Council 
of Public Instruction, has under his especial charge the normal 
and model schools, besides exercising a general control over 
the whole system. 
Eeligiou The question of religious instruction as connected with the 

tion!"'^' common school system, presented even more than ordinary 
difficulty in a community where there is so much diversity of 
opinion on religious subjects, and where all denominations are 
in the eye of the law on a footing of entire equality. It is laid 
down as a fundamental principle, that as the common schools 
are not boarding but day schools, and as the pupils are under 
the care of their parents or guardians during the Sunday, and 
a considerable portion of each week day, it is not intended that 
the functions of the common school teacher should supersede 
those of the parent and pastor of the child. Accordingly, the 
law contents itself with providing on this head, ' that in any 
' model or common school established under this act, no 
' child shall be required to read or study in or from any reli- 
' gious book, or to join in any exercise of devotion or religion, 
' which shall be objected to by his or her parents or guardians ; 
' provided always, that within this limitation pupils shall be 
' allowed to receive such religious instruction as their parents 

1850—1854 EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. 155 

' or guardians shall desire, according to the general regulations 
' which shall be provided according to law.' And it authorises 
under certain regulations the establishment of a separate 
school for Protestants or Roman Catholics, as the case may 
be, when the teacher of the common school is of the opposite 

Clergymen recognised by law, of whatever denomination, are 
made ex officio visitors of the schools in townships, cities, towns, 
or villages where they reside, or have pastoral charge. The 
chief superintendent, Dr. Eyerson, remarks on this head : 

' The clergy of the county have access to each of its Tjjg 
' schools ; and we know of no instance in which the school clergy. 
' has been made the place of religious discord, but many 
' instances, especially on occasions of quarterly public exa- 
' minations, in which the school has witnessed the assemblage 
' and friendly intercourse of clergy of various religious per- 
' suasions, and thus become the radiating centre of a spirit of 
' Christian charity and potent cooperation in the primary work 
' of a people's civilisation and happiness.' 

He adds with reference to the subject generally, ' The more 
' carefully the question of religion in connection with a system 
' of common schools is examined, the more clearly, I think, it 
' will appear, that it has been left where it properly belongs — 
' with the local school municipalities, parents, and managers 
' of schools ; the Government protecting the right of each 
' parent and child, but beyond this, and beyond the principles 
' and duties of morality common to all classes, neither com- 
' pelling nor prohibiting ; recognising the duties of pastors and 
' parents as well as of school trustees and teachers, and con- 
' sidering the united labours of all as constituting the system 
' of education for the youth of the country.' 

Lord Elgin himself had alvyays shown a profound 
sense of the importance of thus making religion the 
groundwork of education. Speaking on occasion of the 
opening of a normal school, after noticing the zealous 
and wisely- directed exertions which had ' enabled 
' Upper Canada to place itself in the van among the 
' nations, in the great and important work of providing 

156 CANADA. Ce. VT. 

' an efficient system of general education for the whole 
' community,' he proceeded : — 

What ia And HOW let me ask this intelligent audience, who have so 

education? tindly listened to me up to this moment — let me ask them to 
consider, in all seriousness and earnestness, what that great 
work really is. I do not think that I shall be chargeable with 
exaggeration when I affirm, that it is the work of our day and 
generation ; that it is the problem in our modern society which 
is most difficult of solution ; that it is the ground upon which 
earnest and zealous meu unhappily too often, and in too many 
countries meet, not to co-operate but to wrangle ; while the poor 
and the ignorant multitudes around them are starving and 
perishing for lack of knowledge. Well, then, how has Upper 
Canada addressed herself to the execution of this great work ? 
How has she sought to solve this problem — to overcome this 
difficulty ? Sir, I understand from your statements — and I 
come to the same conclusion from my -own investigation and 
observation — that it is the principle of our common school 
educational system, that its foundation is laid deep in the firm 
rock of our common Christianity. I understand, sir, that while 
the varying vieAvs and opinions of a mixed religious society 
are scrupulously respected, while every semblance of dictation 
is carefully avoided, it is desired, it is earnestly recommended, 
it is confidently expected and hoped, that every child who 
attends our common schools shall learn there that he is a 
being who has an interest in eternity as well as in time ; that 
he has a Father, towards whom he stands in a closer and 
more affecting, and more endearing relationship than to any 
earthly father, and that Father is in heaven ; that he has a 
hope, far transcending every earthly hope — a hope full of 
immortality — the hope, namely, that that Father's kingdom 
may come ; that he has a duty which, like the sun in our 
celestial system, stands in the centre of his moral obligations, 
shedding upon them a hallowing light, which 'they in their 
turn reflect and absorb — the duty of striving to prove by his 
life and conversation the 'sincerity of his prayer, that that 
Father's will may be done upon earth as it is done in heaven. 
I understand, sir, that upon the broad and solid platform which 
is raised upon that good foundation, we invite the ministers of 
religion, of all denominations — the de facto spiritual guides 

1850—1854. ABORIGINAL TRIBES. 157 

of the people of the country — to take their stand along with 
us ; that, so far from hampering or impeding them in the 
exercise of their sacred functions, we ask and we beg them to 
take the children — the lambs of the flock which are committed 
to their care— aside, and to lead them to those pastures and 
streams where they will find, as they believe, the food of life 
and the waters of consolation. 

One more extract must be given from the despatch 
already quoted, because it illustrates a feature in his 
character, to which the subsequent course of his life 
gave such marked prominence — his generous and tender 
feeling of what was due to subject or inferior races; a 
sad feeling in this case, and but faintly supported by 
any hope of being able to do anything for their benefit. 

It is painful to turn from reviewing the progress of the Aboriginal 
European population and their descendants established in this 
portion of America, to contemplate the condition and prospects 
of the aboriginal tribes. It cannot, I fear, be affirmed with 
truth, that the difficult problem of reconciling the interests of 
an inferior and native race with those of an intrusive and su- 
perior one, has as yet been satisfactorily solved on this conti- 
nent. In the United States, the course of proceeding generally 
followed in this matter has been that of compelling the Red 
man, through the influence of persuasion or force, to make way 
for the White, by retreating farther and farther into the wilder- 
ness ; a mode of dealing with the case which necessarily 
entails the occasional adoption of harsh measures, and which 
ceases to be practicable when civilisation approaches the 
limits of the territory to be occupied. In Canada, the tribes 
have been permitted to dwell among the scenes of their early 
associations and traditions, on lands reserved from the advan- 
cing tide of White settlement, and set apart for their use. But 
this system, though more lenient in its operation than the other, 
is not unattended with difficulties of its own. The laws en- 
acted for their protection, and in the absence of which they 
fall an easy prey to the more unscrupulous among their ener- 
getic neighbours, tend to keep them in a condition of perpetual 
pupillage, and the relation subsisting between them and the 
Government, which treats them, partly as independent peoples. 



Ch. VI. 

and partly as infants under its guardianship, involves many- 
anomalies and contradictions. Unless there be some reason- 
able ground for the hope that they wUl be eventually absorbed 
in the general population of the country, the Canadian system 
is probably destined in the long run to prove as disastrous to 
them as that of the United States. In 1846 and 1847 the 
attempt was first made to establish among them industrial 
boarding schools, in part supported by contributions from 
their own funds. If schools of this description be properly 
conducted, it may, I think, be expected that, among the youth 
trained at them, a certain proportion at least will be so far 
civilised, as to be capable of making their way in life without 
exceptional privileges of restraints. It would be, I am inclined 
to believe, expedient that any Indian, showing this capacity, 
should be permitted, after sufficient trial, to receive from the 
common property of the tribe of which he was a member (on 
the understanding of course that neither he nor his descendants 
had thenceforward any claim upon it), a sum equivalent to 
his interest in it, as a means to enable him to start in indepen- 
dent life. The process of transition from their present semi- 
barbarous condition could hardly fail to be promoted by a 
scheme of this description if it were judiciously carried out. 

with the 

No sketch of a Governor's life in Canada would be 
complete w^hich did not contain some account of his 
relations with the great neighbouring republic. 

We have seen that, at the beginning of his govern- 
ment, Lord Elgin's cares were increased by threats, and 
more than threats, of interference on the part of ' sym- 
pathisers ' from some of the American States ; and that 
he looked upon the likelihood of lawless inroad, not to 
speak of the possibility " of lawful war, as affording 
solid reason for England's maintaining a body of troops 
in the Colony. But it must not be supposed that his 
attitude towards the Government or peojDle of the 
States was one of jealousy or hostility. The loyal 
friendliness of the Government in repressing the intem- 
perate sympathies of certain of its citizens, he cordially 


acknowledged ; and with the people he did his utmost 
to encourage the freest and friendliest intercourse, 
social and commercial, not only in order that the inha- 
bitants of the two countries might provoke one another 
to increased activity in the good work of civilisation, 
but also that they might know and understand one 
another ; and that he might have iu the public opinion 
of the United States that intelligent support which he 
despaired of finding in England, owing to the strange 
ignorance and indiiFerence which so unfortunately pre- 
vails there on all colcaiial subjects. 

The following letters refer to some of the occasions 
on which mutual civilities were interchanged : 

To Mr. Crampton, British Minister at Washington. 

Montreal, May 21, 1849. 
I am much indebted to you for your letter of the lOth, Their 
conveying an intimation of the intentions of the American ?'^\ ^°^' 

•J o duct )n 

Government with reference to improper interference on the 1849. 
part of American citizens in Canadian affairs, which is so 
honourable to General Taylor and his cabinet. If I should 
receive any information leading me to believe that any such 
interference is contemplated, I shall not fail to communicate 
with you at once on the subject. My impression is, that there 
is not at present much to be apprehended on that score ; for, 
although there is unhappily considerable excitement and irrita- 
tion in Canada, the subject in dispute' is not one which is 
likely to conciliate much sympathy among our neighbours. 
I do not, however, less highly appreciate the good feeling and 
cordiality evinced by the Executive Government of the United 

To the Earl Grey. 

Toronto, June 14, 1850. 
Our expedition to the Welland Canal went off admirably, Mutiial 
the only drawback being that we attempted too much. Mr. courtesies. 
Merritt, who planned the affair, gave it out that we were to 
pass through the canal, and to touch at Buffalo on our way 
from Lake Erie to the Falls of Niagara, in one day. On 

1 The Rebellion Losses Bill. 

160 CAJiTADA. Ci3. VI. 

this hint the BufFaloraans made preparations for our reception 
on the most magnificent scale. . . . As might have been ex- 
pected, however, what with addresses, speeches, and mishaps oi 
various hinds, such as are to be looked for in canal travelling 
on a large scale (for our party consisted of some three hun- 
dred), night overtook us before we reached Lake Erie, and 
Buffalo had to be given up. I very much regret this, as I 
fear the citizens were disappointed. Some of our party went 
there the next day, and were most hospitably received. 

To the Earl Grey. 

Toronto, August 16, 1850. 

Our Session has closed with great eclat. On Thursday 
week our Buffalo friends, with other persons of distinction 
from different parts of the Union, arrived here, to the number 
of about two hundred. They were entertained that evening 
at a ball in the City Hall, which did great credit to the good 
taste and hospitality of the hosts. Next day there was a 
review in the forenoon and a fete at my house, which lasted 
from half-past four to twelve. I succeeded in enabling a party 
of five hundred to sit down together to dinner ; and, what 
with a few speeches, fireworks, and dances, I believe I may 
say the citizens went away thoroughly pleased.' On Saturday, 
at noon, many of the party assisted at the prorogation. 

These matters may seem trivial to you among the graver 
concerns of state ; nevertheless, I am sanguine enough to hope 
that the courtesies which have passed this year between the 
Buffalonians and us will not be without their fruit. The bulk 

' Some years afterwards, when ' " fellow ! He ouf^lit to be on our side 

speaking of these festivities, the ' " of the line I We would make him 

Mayor of Buffalo said : ' Never shall ' " mayor of our city ! " As some new 

' I forget the admiration elicited by ' burst of eloquence breaks from the 

' Lord Elgin's beautiful speech on ' speaker's lips, my worthy friend 

' that occasion. Upon the American ' exclaims, " How magnificently he 

' visitors (who, it must be confessed, ' " talks I Yes, by George, we'd make 

' do not look for the highest order of '"him governor — governor of the 

'intellect in the appointees of the ' "state 1" As the noble Earl, by some 

' Crown) the effect was amusing. A ' brilliant hit, carries the assemblage 

'sterling Yankee friend, while the 'with a full round of applause, "AhT" 

'Governor was speaking, sat by my 'cries my Yankee friend, with a 

' side, who occasionally gave vent to ' hearty 9lap_ on my shoulder, " by 

'his feelings as the speech progressed, '"Heaven, if he were on our side, 

' each sentence increasing in beauty ' " we'd make him President — no- 

' and eloquence, by such approving ' " thing less than President ! " ' 
* exclamations as " He's n glorious 


of those who came here from Buffalo, including the Mayor — 
a very able man and powerful speaker— are of the democratic 
party, and held some years ago very different views from those 
which they expressed on this visit. They found here the 
warmest and most cordial welcome from all, Her Majesty's 
representative not excepted. But they saw, I venture to say 
almost with certainty, nothing to lead them to suppose that 
the Canadians desire to change their political condition : on 
the contrary, the mention of Her Majesty's name evoked on 
all occasions the most unbounded enthusiasm ; and there was 
every appearance of a kindly feeling towards the G-overnor- 
General, which the Americans seemed not disinclined them- 
selves to share. 

' To render annexation by violence impossible, and by any 
' other means as improbable as may be,' is, as I have often 
ventured to repeat, the polar star of my policy. In these 
matters, small as they may appear, I beheve we have been 
steering by its light. Again, as respects ourselves. I trust 
that the effects of this Buffaloniau visit will be very beneficial. 
I took occasion in my sjoeeches, in a joking way which pro- 
voked nothing but laughter and good humour, to hint at some 
of the unreasonable traits in the conduct of my Canadian 
friends. I am sure that the Americans go home with very 
correct views as touching our politics, and with the best senti- 
ments towards myself. It is of very great importance to me 
to have the aid of a sound public opinion from without, to help 
me through my difficulties here ; and, as I utterly despair of 
receivmg any such assistance from England (I allude not to 
the Government but to the public, which never looks at us 
except when roused by fear ignorantly to condemn), it is of 
incalculable importance that I should obtain this support from 

In the autumn of 1851, the inhabitants of Boston Boston 
held a Three Days' Jubilee, to celebrate the completion " ' ^^' 
of various lines of communication, by railroad and 
steamship, destined to draw closer the bonds of union 
between Canada and the United States ; and Lord Elgin 
gladl)'' accepted an invitation to be present. Writing 
on September 26, 1851, he mentions having 'met 
' there all the United States, President included ;' and 


162 ' CANADA. Ch. VI. 

describes a 'dinner on the Boston Common for 3,500 
' persons, at which many good speeches were made, 
' Everett's especially so.' He adds: — 

Nothing certainly could be more cordial than the conduct 
of the Bostonians throughout; and there was a scrupulous 
avoidance of every topic that could wound British or Canadian 

To the general harmony and good feeling no one 
contributed more than Lord Elgin himself, by his 
general courtesy and affability, and especially by his 
speeches, full of the happiest mixture of playfulness and 
earnestness, of eloquence and sound sense, of ardent 
patriotism with broad international sympathies. ' It 
' was worth something,' he wrote afterwards, ' to get the 
' Queen of England as much cheered and lauded in New 
' England as in any part of Old England ; ' and the 
reflection faithfully represents the spirit of expansive 
loyalty which characterised all his dealings with his 
neighbours of the States. 

These qualities, added to the reputation of a wise and 
liberal Governor, won for him an unusual amount of 
regard from the American people. At a dinner given 
to him in London, during his short visit to England in 
the spring of 1854 — a dinner at which the Colonial 
Secretaries of five different Governments, Lord Mont- 
eagle, Lord John Russell, Lord Grey, Sir J. Paldngton, 
and the Duke of Newcastle met to do him honour- — no 
one spoke more warmly or more discriminatingly in his 
praise than the American Minister, Mr. Buchanan. 

Speech of ' Lord Elgin,' he said, ' has solved one of the most difficult 
^nan" problems of statesmanship. He has been able, successfully 
and satisfactorily, to admiuister, amidst many difficulties, a 
colonial government over a free people. This is an easy task 
where the commands of a despot are law to his obedient 
subjects ; but not so in a colony where the people feel that 
they possess the rights and privileges of native-born Britons. 
Under his enlightened government Her Majesty's North 


American provinces have realised the blessings of a wise, 
prudent, and prosperous administration ; and we of the neigh- 
bouring nation, though jealous of our rights, have reason to be 
abundantly satisfied with his just and friendly conduct towards 
ourselves. He has known how to reconcile his devotion to Her 
Majesty's service with a proper regard to the rights and 
interests of the kindred and neighbouring people. Would to 
Heaven we had such governors-general in all the European 
colonies in the vicinity of the United States ! ' 

A signal proof of his popularity and influence in Recipro- 
America was given a few months later, on the occasion Treaty, 
already referred to, when he visited Washington for the 
purpose of negotiating the Reciprocity Treaty ; and, 
chiefly by the effect of his personal presence, carried 
through, in a few weeks, a measure which had been in 
suspense for years. 

In returning from this visit he was received with 
special honours at Portland, the terminus of the 
international railway which he had exerted himself so 
much to promote ; and he used the opportunity not 
only to please and conciliate his entertainers, but also to 
impress them with the respect due to the Canadians, as 
a flourishing and progressive, above all as a loyal, 
people. Speaking of the aUenation which had existed, 
a few years earlier, between the Provinces and the 
States, he said : ^ 

When I look back to the past, I find what tended in some Speech at 
degree to create this misunderstanding. In the first place, as "'^ ^° ' 
I believe, the government of these provinces was conducted 
on erroneous principles, the rights of the people were some- 
what restrained, and large numbers were prevented from 
exercising those privileges which belong to a free people. 
From this arose, very naturally, a discontent on the part of 
the people of the Provinces, with which the people of the 
States sympathised. Though this sympathy and this discontent 
was not always wise, it is not wonderful that it existed. 

' The report of his words is oh- stance is prohahly given with suffi- 
viously imperfect, hut their suh- cient accuracy. 

M 2 

164 CANADA. Ch. VI. 

What have we now done to put an end to this ? We have 
cut oflF the source of all this misunderstandiDg by granting to 
the people what they desired — the great principle of self- 
government. The inhabitants of Canada at this moment 
exercise an influence over their own destinies and government 
as complete as do the people of this country. This is the only 
cause of misunderstanding that ever existed ; and this cannot 
arise when the circumstances which made them at variance 
have ceased to exist. 

The good feeling which has been so fully established between 
the States and the Provinces has already justified itself by its 
works. In the British Provinces we have already had many 
evidences to prove your kindness towards us ; and within the 
last seven years, more than in any previous seven years since 
the settlement of the two countries. 

Let me ask you, who is the worse off for this display of 
good feeling and fraternal intercourse ? Is it the Canadas ? 
sir, as the representative of Her Majesty, permit me to say 
that the Canadians were never more loyal than at this moment. 
Standing here, on United States ground, beneath that flag 
under which we are proud to live, I repeat that no people was 
ever more loyal than are the Canadas to their Queen ; and it 
is the purpose of the present Ministers of Her Majesty's 
Government to make the people of Canada so prosperous and 
happy, that other nations shall envy them their good fortune. 

This was the last occasion of his addressing American 
citizens on their own soil ; nor did the course of his 
after-life bring him often in contact with them. But 
tlie personal regard which he had won from them 
descended, some years later, as a valuable heritage to 
his brother, Sir Frederick, when appointed to the diffi- 
cult post of Minister at Washington after the close of 
the Americar Civil War.' 

' The great abilities of Sir F. announced his death, after comment- 
Bruce, and the nobility of his cha- ing on the calamitous fate by -which, 
racter, fitted him in a singular man- ' within a period of four years, the 
ner for this post. He died suddenly ' nation had lost the seryices of three 
at Boston, on September 19, 1807, ' members of one family, each en- 
too early for extended fame, but ' dowed with eminent qualifications 
not unrecognised as a public servant ' for the important work to which 
of rare value. The Tinus, which ' they severally devoted their lives,' 




The parting of Lord Elgin from Canada was spread, Parting 
so to speak, over several years ; for though he did not camda. 
finally quit its shores till the end of 1854, from 1851 
onwards he was continually in expectation of bemg 
recalled ; and, towards the end of 1853, he came to 
England, as we have already seen, on leave of absence. 
The numerous speeches made, and letters written on 
the occasion of these different leave-takings, contain 
ample proof how cordial was the feeling which had 
grown up between the Colony and its Governor. It 
may be enough to give here two specimens. The 
first is an extract from a farewell speech at Montreal, 
listened to with tears by a crowded audience in the 
very place where, a few years before, he had been so 
scandalously outraged and insulted.-' 

For nearly eight years, at the command of our beloved ^^^''^J^ 
Queen, I have filled this position among you, discharging its real. 

proceeded thus -with regard to the 
youngest of the three brothers. ' The 
' country would have had much 
' reason to deplore the death of Sir 
' Frederick Bruce whenever it had 
' happened ; but his loss is an especial 
' misfortune at a time when nego- 
' tiations of the utmost intricacy and 
' delicacy are pendiug with a Go- 
' vernment which is not always dis- 
' posed to approach Great Britain in 
' a spirit of generosity and forbear- 
' ance. Seldom has a citizen of 
' another country visited the United 
' States who possessed so keen an 
'insight into the political working 
' of the Great Republic, and at the 
' same time ingratiated himself so 
' thoroughly with every American 
' who approached him. . . . Although 
' naturally somewhat impulsive in 
' temperament, he invariable exhi- 
' bited entire calmness and self- 
' command when the circumstances 
' of his position led him into trial. . . 
' This imperturbable temperament 
' in all his official relations served 
' him well on many occasions, from 
' the day when he succeeded to the 

' laborious duties relinquished by 
' Lord Lyons ; but never was it 'of 
' greater advantage than in the pro- 
' tracted and difficult controversy 
' concerning the Alabama claims. 
' This discus.sion it fell to the lot of 
' Sir F. Bruce to conduct on the part 
' of Her Majesty; and we divulge no 
' secret when we state that it was in 
' accordance with the late Minister's 
' repeated advice and exhortations 
' that a wise overture towards a set- 
' tlement was made by the present 
' Government. He had succeeded in 
' establishing for himself relations of 
' cordial friendship with Mr. Seward 
' and the President, and probably 
' there are few outside the circle of 
' his own family who will be more 
' shocked at the tidings of his death 
' than the astute and keen-eyed old 
' man with whom he had sustained 
' incessant diplomatic fence.' 

' It certainly was not without 
truth, that one of the local papers most 
opposed to him remarked that ' Lord 
' Llgin had, beyond all doubt, a re- 
' markable faculty of turning enemies 
' into friends.' 

166 CANADA. Ch. VI. 

duties, often imperfectly, never carelessly, or with indifference. 
"VYe are all of us aware that the period is rapidly approaching 
when I may expect to be required by the same gracious 
authority to resign into other, and I trust worthier, hands, 
the office of Governor-General, with the heavy burden of 
responsibility and care which attaches to it. It is fitting, 
therefore, that we should now speak to each other frankly and 
without reserve. Let me assure you, then, that the severance 
of the formal tie which binds us together will not cause my 
earnest desire for your welfai'e and advancement to abate. 
The extinction of an official relationship cannot quench the 
conviction that I have so long cherished, and by which I have 
been supported through many trials, that a brilliant future is 
in store for British North America ; or diminish the interest 
with which I shall watch every event which tends to the fulfil- 
ment of this expectation. And again permit me to assure you, 
that when I leave you, be it sooner or later, I shall carry away 
no recollections of my sojourn among you except such as are 
of a pleasing character. I shall remember — and remember 
with gratitude — the cordial reception I met with at Montreal 
when I came a stranger among you, bearing with me for my sole 
recommendation the commission of our Sovereign. I shall re- 
member those early months of my residence here, when I learnt 
in this beautiful neighbourhood to appreciate the charms of a 
bright Canadian winter day, and to take delight in the cheer- 
ful music of your sleigh bells. I shall remember one glorious 
afternoon — an afternoon in April — when, looking down from 
the hill at Monklands, on my return from transacting business 
in your city, I beheld that the vast plain stretching out before 
me, which I had alwaj s seen clothed in the white garb of 
winter, had assumed, on a sudden, and, as if by enchantment, 
the livery of spring ; while your noble St. Lawrence, bursting 
through his icy fetters, had begun to sparkle in the sunshine, 
and to murmur his vernal hymn of thanksgiving to the 
bounteous Giver of light and heat. I shall remember my 
visits to your Mechanics' Institutes and Mercantile Library 
Associations, and the kind attention with which the advice 
which I tendered to your young men and citizens was received 
by them. I shall remember the undaunted courage with 
which the merchants of this city, while suffering under the. 
pressure of a commercial crisis of almost unparalleled severity, 


urged, forward that great work which was the first step towards 
placing Canada in her proper position in this age of railway 
progress. I shall remember the energy and patriotism which 
gathered together in this city specimens of Canadian industry, 
from all parts of the province, for the World's Fair, and which 
has been the means of rendering this magnificent conception of 
the illustrious Consort of our beloved Queen more serviceable 
to Canada than it has, perhaps, proved to any other of the 
countless communities which have been represented there. 
And I shall forget — but no — what I might have had to forget 
is forgotten already ; and therefore I cannot tell you what I 
shall forget. 

The remaining extract is from parting words, spoken 
after a ball vsrhich he gave at Quebec on the eve of his 
final departure in December, 1854. 

I wish I could address you in such strains as I have some- Farewell 
times employed on similar occasions, strains suited to a festive *° Quebec, 
meeting ; but I confess I have a weight on my heart, and that 
it is not in me to be merry. For the last time I stand before 
you in the official character which I have borne for nearly 
eight years. For the last time I am surrounded by a circle of 
friends with whom I have spent some of the most pleasant 
days of my life. For the last time I welcome you as my 
e-uests to this charming residence which I have been in the 
habit of calling my home.' 1 did not, I will frankly confess it, 
know what it would cost me to break this habit, until the 
period of my departure approached ; and I began to feel that 
the great interests which have so long engrossed my attention 
and thoughts, were passing out of my hands. I had a hint of 
what my feelings really were upon this point — a pretty broad 
hint too — one lovely morning in June last, when I returned to 
Quebec after my temporary absence in England, and landed 
in the Coves below Spencerwood (because it was Sunday, 
and I did not want to make a disturbance in the town), and 
when with the greetings of the old people in the Coves who 
put their heads out of the windows as I passed along, and 
cried ' Welcome home again,' still ringing in my ears, I mounted 
the hill and drove through the avenue to the house door. I saw 

1 Spencerwood, tlie Governor's private residence. 

168 CANADA. Cn. VI. 

the dropping trees on the lawn, with every one of which I was 
so familiar, clothed in the tenderest green of spring, and the 
river beyond, calm and transparent as a mirror, and the ships 
fixed and motionless as statues on its surface, and the whole 
landscape bathed in a flood of that bright Canadian sun which 
so seldom pierces our murky atmosphere on the other side of 
the Atlantic. I began to think that persons were to be envied 
who were not forced by the necessities of their position to quit 
these engrossing interests and lovely scenes, for the purpose of 
proceeding to distant lands, but who are able to remain among 
them until they pass to that quiet corner of the Garden of 
Mount Hermon, which juts into the river and commands a 
view of the city, the shipping, Point Levi, the Island of 
Orleans, and the range of Lawrentine ; so that through the dim 
watches of that tranquil night, which precedes the dawning of 
the eternal day, the majestic citadel of Quebec, with its noble 
train of satellite hills, may seem to rest for ever on the sight, 
and the low murmur of the waters of St. Lawrence, with 
the hum of busy life on their surface, to fall ceaselessly 
on the ear, I cannot bring myself to believe that the future 
has in store for me any interests which will fill the place of 
those I am now abandoning. But although I must hence- 
forward be to you as a stranger, although my official connec- 
tion with you and your interests will have become in a few 
days matter of history, yet I trust that through some one 
channel or another, the tidings of your prosperity and progress 
may occasionally reach me ; that I may hear from time to time 
of the steady growth and development of those principles of 
liberty and order, of manly independence in combination with 
respect for authority and law, of national life in harmony with 
British connection, which it has been my earnest endeavour, 
to the extent of my humble means of influence, to implant 
an(| to establish. I trust, too, that I shall hear that this house 
continues to be what I have ever sought to render it, a neutral 
territory, on which persons of opposite opinions, political and 
religious, may meet together in harmony and forget their dif- 
ferences for a season. And I have good hope that this wUl be 
the case for several reasons, and, among others, for one which 
I can barely allude to, for it might be an impertinence in me 
to dwell upon it. But I think that without any breach of 
delicacy or decorum I may venture to say that many j-ears 

1865. AT HOME. 169 

ago, -when I was tniii;^! younger than I am now, and when we 
stood towards each other in a relation somewhat different from 
that which has recently subsisted between us, I learned to 
look up to Sir Edmund Head with respect, as a gentleman of 
the highest character, the greatest ability, and the most varied 
accomplishments and attainments.' And now. Ladies and Gen- 
tlemen, I have only to add the sad word Farewell. I drink 
this bumper to the health of you all, collectively and indivi- 
dually. I trust that I may hope to leave behind me some who 
will look back with feelings of kindly recollection to the period 
of our intercourse ; some with whom I have been on terms of 
immediate official connection, whose worth and taknts I have 
had the best means of appreciating, and wlio could bear 
witness, at least, if they please to do so, to the spirit, inten- 
tions, and motives with which I have administered your 
affairs ; some with whom I have been bound by the ties of 
personal regard. And if reciprocity be essential to enmity, 
then most assuredly I can leave behind me no enemies. I am 
aware that there must be persons in so large a society as this, 
who think that they have grievances to complain of, that due 
consideration has not in all cases been shown to them. Let 
them believe me, and they ought to believe me, for the testi- 
mony of a dying man is evidence, even in a court of justice, 
let them believe me, then, when I assure them, in this the last 
hour of my agony, that no such errors of omission or commis- 
sion have been intentional on my part. Farewell, and God 
bless you. 

The two years which followed Lord Elgin's return At homo, 
from Canada were a time of complete rest from official 
labour. For though, on the breaking up of Lord 
Aberdeen's Ministry in the spring of 1855, he was 
offered by Lord Palmerston the Chancellorship of the 
Duchy of Lancaster, with a seat in the Cabinet, he 
declined the oiFer, not on any ground of difference from 

' Sir Edmund Head, who sue- ship in 1833. Those who knew him 
ceeded Lord Elgin as Governor- will recognise how singularly appro- 
General of Canada in 1854, had priate, in their full force, are the 
examined him for a Merton Fellow- terms in which he is here spoken of. 

170 AT HOME. Ch. VI. 

the new Ministry, which, he intended to support ; but 
because, having only recently taken his seat in the 
House of Lords, after a long term of foreign service, 
during which he had necessarily held aloof from home 
politics, he thought it advisable, for the present at least, 
to remain independent. He found, however, ample and 
congenial occupation for his time in the peaceful but 
industrious discharge of home duties at BroomhaU. 
Still his thoughts were constantly with the distant 
Provinces in which he had laboured so long. 

Whenever he appeared in public, whether at a din- 
ner given in his honour at Dunfermline, or on occasion 
of receiving the freedom of the city of Glasgow, or 
in delivering a lecture at the annual opening of the 
Edinburgh Philosophical Institute — it was with the 
same desire of turning to account the knowledge gaioed 
abroad, for the advantage of the Colonies, or of the 
mother- country, or for the mutual benefit of both ; 
with the same hope of drawing closer the bonds of 
union between them, and dispelling something of that 
cloud of ignorance and indifference which has often 
made the public opinion of Great Britain a hindrance 
rather than a support to the best interests of her depen- 
In the It was only very rarely that he took any part in the 

L^Tdl °^ business of legislation ; and of the two occasions on 
which he was induced to break silence, one was when 
the interests of Canada appeared to him to be imper- 
illed by the rumoured intention of Government to send 
thither large bodies of troops that had just returned 
from the Crimea. He thought it his duty to protest 
earnestly against any such proceeding, as likely, in the 
first place, to complicate the relations of Canada with 
the United States, and, in the second place, to arrest 
her progress in self-dependence. 
Crimpan The Other occasion of his speaking was in May 1855, 

when Lord EUenborough had moved an Address to the 


1856. THE CRIMEAN WAR. 171 

Crown, condemnatory of the manner in which the 
Crimean War had been and was being conducted. 
Having been out of England when hostilities were 
begun, he had not to consider the question whether it 
was a glorious, or even a necessary, war in which we 
were engaged ; and his one feeling on the subject was 
that which he had previously expressed to the citizens 
of Glasgow. 

My opinion (he then said) [on the question of the war] I 
can easily state, and I have no hesitation in avowing it. I 
say that now we are in the war, we must fight it out like men. 
I don't say, throw away the scabbard ; in the first place, 
because I dislike all violent metaphors ; and, in the second place, 
because the scabbard is a very useful instrument, and the 
sooner we can use it the better. But I do say, having drawn 
the sword, don't sheathe it until the purpose for which it was 
drawn is accomplished. 

In the same spirit he now defended the Mmistry 
against Lord EUenborough's attack ; not on party 
gi'ounds, which he took pains to repudiate, but on 
what he conceived to be the true patriotic principle — 
^dz. to strengthen, at such a time, the hands of the 
existing Government, unless there be a distinct prospect 
of replacing it by a stronger. 

After mentioning that he had not long before in- 
formed Lord Palmerston, that ' while he was resolved 
' to maintain an independent position m Parliament, it 
' was nevertheless his desire and intention, subject to 
' that qualification and reserve, to support the Govern- 
' ment,' he proceeded : 

I formed this resolution not only because I had reason to 
believe that on questions of public policy my sentiments would 
o-enerally be found to be in accordance with those of the pre- 
sent Government, nor yet only because I felt I owed to the 
noble Viscount himself, and many at least of his colleagues, a 
debt of obligation for the generous support they uniformly 
n-ave me at critical periods in the course of my foreign career ; 

172 AT HOME. Ch. yj. 

but also, and principally, because In the critical position in 
which this country was placed — at a time when we had only 
recently presented to the astonished eye of Europe the dis- 
creditable spectacle of a great country left for weeks without a 
Government, and a popular and estimable ^lonarch left with- 
out councillors, during a period of great national anxiety and 
peril; when there was hardly a household in England where 
the voice of wailing was not to be heard, or an eye which was 
not heavy with a tear — it appeared to me, I say, under such 
circumstances, to be the bounden duty of every patriotic man, 
Avho had not some very valid and substantial reason to assign 
for adopting a contrary course, to tender a frank and generous 
support to the Government of the Queen. 

Having come to that determination, he had now to 
ask himself whether circumstances were so altered as 
to make it his duty to revoke the pledge sponta- 
neously given ? To this conclusion he could not bring 

It seems to me (he said) these Resolutions divide themselves 
naturally into two parts. The first part has reference to what 
I may call the general policy of the Government with respect 
to the war; and that portion of them is conceived in strains of 
eulogy and commendation — I may almost say in strains of 
exultation. The Resolutions speak of firm alliances, of bro- 
therhood in anns, of a sympathetic and enthusiastic people ; 
but not a word of regret for national friendships of old stand- 
ing broken — desolation carried into thousands of happy homes 
— Europe in arms — Asia agitated and febrile — America sul- 
lenly expectant. 

This exuberance of exultation, he said, was amply 
met by the exuberance of denunciation which charac- 
terises the latter part of the Address ; but it was to his 
mind even less just than the former. 

But even (he continued) if I could bring myself to believe, 
which I have failed in doing, that censure might be passed in 
the terms of these Resolutions upon Her Majesty's present 
Government without injustice, I should still be unwilling to 


concur in them, unless I could find some better security than 
either the Resolutions themselves afford, or, as I regret to be 
obliged to add, the antecedents and recorded sentiments of 
Noble Lords opposite afford, that by bringing about the 
change of administration which these Resolutions are intended 
to promote, I should be doing a benefit to the public service. 
My Lords, I cannot but think that at a time when it is most 
important that the GoYernment of this country should have 
weight and influence abroad, frequent changes of administra- 
tion are prima facie most objectionable. I happened to be 
upon the Continent when the last change of Government in 
this country took place ; and I must say it appeared to me, that 
a most painful impression was created in foreign states with 
respect to the instability of the administrative system of this 
country by these frequent changes of administration. I do 
think, indeed, that not the least of the many calamities which 
this war has brought upon us is the fact, that it has had a 
tendency in many quarters to throw discredit on that con- 
stitutional system of Government of which this country has 
hitherto been the type and the bright example among the 

After all, what is chiefly valuable to nations as well as to 
individuals, and the loss of which alone is irreparable, is cha- 
racter ; and it appears to me that, viewed in this light, many 
of the other calamities which we have had to deplore during 
the course of this war have been already accompanied by a 
very large and ample measure of compensation. To take, for 
instance, the military departments : notwithstanding the com- 
plaints we have heard of deficiencies in our military organisa- 
tion, I believe we can with confidence afiirm, that the character 
of the British soldier, both for moral qualities and for powers 
of physical endurance, has been raised by the instrumentality 
of this war to an elevation which it had never before attained. 
In spite of the somewhat unfavourable tone which, I regret to 
say, has been adopted of late by a portion of the press -of 
America, I have myself seen in influential journals in that 
country commentaries upon the conduct of our soldiers at 
Alma, at Balaklava, and at Inkerman, which no true-hearted 
Eno-lishman could read without emotion : and I have heard a 
tribute not less generous and not less unqualified borne to the 

174 AT HOME. Ch. VI. 

qualities of our troops by eminent persons belonging to that 
great military nation with which we are now so happUy allied. 
To look to another quarter — to contemplate another class of 
virtues not less essential than those to which I have referred 
to the happiness and glory of nations — I have heard from en- 
thusiastic, even bigoted, votaries of that branch of the Christian 
Church which sometimes prides itself as having alone retained 
in its system room for the exercise of the heroic virtues of 
Christianity, — I say I have frequently heard from them the 
frank admission, that the hospitals of Scutari have proved that 
the fairest and choicest flowers of Christian charity and devotion 
may come to perfection even in what they are pleased to call 
the arid soil of Protestantism. But, my Lords, can we flatter 
ourselves with the belief that the character of our statesmen, 
of our public men, and of our Parliamentary institutions has 
risen in a like proportion ? Is it not, on the contrary, notorious 
that doubts have been created in quarters where such doubts 
never existed before as to the practical efficiency of our much- 
vaunted constitution, as to its fitness to carry us unscathed 
through periods of great difficulty and danger ? I believe, my 
Lords, that there is one process only, but that a sure and cer- 
tain process, by which these doubts may be removed. It is 
only necessary that public men, whether connected with the 
Government or with the Opposition, whether tied in the bonds 
of party or holding independent positions in Parliament, should 
evince the same indifference to small and personal motives, the 
same generous patriotism, the same disinterested devotion to 
duty, which have characterised the services of our soldiers in 
the field, and of the women of England at the sick-bed. 
And, my Lords, I cannot help asking in conclusion, if — which 
God forbid — it should unhappily be proved that, in those whom 
fortune, or birth, or royal or popular favour has placed in the 
van, these qualities are wanting, who shall dare to blame the 
joress and the people of England, if they seek for them else- 
where ? 

From the tone of this speech it will be seen that 
Lord Elgin had not at this time joined either of the 
two parties in the State. He was, in truth, still feeling 
his way through the mazes of home politics to whicla 

1855. AT HOME. 175 

he had been so long a stranger, and from which, as 
he himself somewhat regretfully observed, those an- 
cient landmarks of party had been removed, ' which, if 
'not a whoUy sufficient guide, are yet some sort of 
'direction to wanderers in the political wilderness.' 
While he was still thus engaged, events were happening 
at the other ends of the earth which were destined to 
divert into quite another channel the current of his life. 









' The earlier incidents of the political rupture -with 
' the Chinese Commissioner Yeh, which occurred at 
' Canton during the autumn of 1856, and which led to 
' the appointment of a Special Mission to China, were 
' too thoroughly canvassed at the time to render it 
' necessary to renew here any discussion on their merits, 
' or recall at length their details. - As the " Arrow " case 
' derived its interest then from the debates to which it 
' gave rise, and its eifects on parties at home, rather than 
' from any intrinsic value of its o\vn, so does it now 
' mainly owe its importance to the accidental circum- 
' stance, that it was the remote and insignificant cause 
' which led to a total revolution in the foreign policy 
' of the Celestial Empire, and to the demolition of most 
' of those barriers which, while they were designed to 
' restrict all intercourse from without, furnished the 
' nations of the West with fruitful sources of quarrel and 
' perpetual grievances.' 

These words form the preface to the ' Narrative 
' of the Earl of Elgin's Mission to China and Japan,' by 
Laurence Oliphant, then private secretary to Lord 
El (Tin. To that work we must refer our readers for a 


full and complete, as well as authentic, account of the 
occurrences wHcli gave occasion to the following letters. 
A brief sketch only will here be given. 

On October 8, 1856, a lorcha named 'Arrow,' Origin 
registered as a British vessel, and carrying a British Mission. 
flag, was boarded by the authorities of Canton, the flag 
torn down, and the crew carried away as prisoners. 
Such was the English account. The Chinese denied 
that any flag was flying at the time of the capture : the 
British ownership of the vessel, they maintained, was 
never more than colourable, and had expired a month 
before : the crew were all their own subjects, appre- 
hended on a charge of piracy. 

The English authorities refused to listen to this. 
They insisted on a written apology for the insult to 
their flag, and the formal restitution of the captured 
sailors. And when these demands were refused, or 
incompletely fulfilled, they summoned the fleet, in the 
hope that a moderate amount of pressure would lead to 
the required concessions. Shortly after, finding arms 
in their hands, they thought it a good opportunity to 
enforce the fulfilment of certain 'long-evaded treaty 
' obhgations,' including the right for all foreign repre- 
sentatives of free access to the authorities and the city 
of Canton. With this view, fort after fort, suburb after 
suburb, was taken or demolished. But the Chinese, 
after their manner, would neither yield nor fight ; and 
contented themselves with off"ering large rewards for 
the head of every Englishman. 

When this state of matters was reported to England, 
it was brought before the House of Commons on a 
motion by Mr. Cobden, condemnatory of ' the violent 
' measures resorted to at Canton in the late afi'air of the 
' " Arrow." ' The motion, supported by Mr. Gladstone in 
one of his splendid bursts of rhetoric, was carried against 
the Government by a majority of sixteen, in a full and 
excited house, on the morning of February 26, 1857. 



But Lord Palmerston refused to accept the adverse vote 
as expressing the will of the people. He appealed to 
the constituencies, candidly telling the House that, 
pending that appeal, ' there would be no change, and 
' could be no change, in the policy of the Government 
' with respect to events in China.' At the same time 
he intimated that a special Envoy would be sent out to 
supersede the local authorities, armed with full powers 
to settle the relations between England and China on 
a broad and solid basis. 
Appoint- But where was the man who, at a juncture so critical, 
Lord in face of an adverse vote of the House of Commons, 
^■^^ on the chance of its being rescinded by the country, 
could be trusted with so delicate a mission ; who 
could be relied on, in the conduct of such an expe- 
dition against a foe alike stubborn and weak, to go far 
enough, and yet not too far — to carry his point, by 
diplomatic skill and force of character, with the least 
possible infringement of the laws of humanity ; a man 
with the ability and resolution to insure success, and 
the native strength that can afford to be merciful ? 
After 'anxious deliberation,' the choice of the Govern- 
ment fell upon Lord Elgin. 

How, on the voyage to China, he was met half-way 
by the news of the Indian Mutiny; how promptly and 
magnanimously he took on himself the responsibility of 
sacrificing the success of his own expedition by divert- 
ing the troops from China to India; how, after many 
weary months of enforced inactivity, the expedition was 
resumed, and carried through numberless thwartings 
to a successful issue — these are matters of history 
with which every reader must be acquainted. But 
those who are most familiar with the events may find 
an interest in the following extracts fi'om private 
letters, written at the time by the chief actor in the 
drama. They are taken almost exclusively from a 
Journal, in which his first thoughts and impressions on 

1857. MALTA. EGYPT. 179 

every passing occurrence were hurriedly noted down, 
from day to day, for transmission to Lady Elgin. 

H.M.S. ' Caradoc.^ — May 2nd. — I have just returned to my Malta. 
ship after spending a few hours on shore and visiting Lord 
Lyons in his magnificent Prince Albert. . . . How beautiful 
Malta is with its narrow streets, gorgeous churches, and 
impregnable fortifications. I landed at about six, and walked 
up to the Palace, and wrote my name in the Governor's book, 
who resides out. of town. I then took a turn through the. 
town, and went to the inn to breakfast. . . . By way of Chance 
conversation with the waiter, I asked who were in the house : '"^'^'"^S^- 
' Only two families, one of them Lord Balgonie' and his sisters.' 
I saw the ladies first, and, at a later hour, their brother, in his 
bed. Poor fellow ! the hand of death is only too visibly upon 
him. There he lay ; his arm, absolutely fleshless, stretched 
out: his large eyes gleaming from his pale face. I could 
not dare to oifer to his broken-hearted sisters a word of 
comfort. These poor girls ! how I felt for them ; alone ! with 
their brother in such a state. They go to Marseilles by the 
next opportunity, probably by the packet which will convey 
to you this letter, and they hope that their mother will meet 
them there. What a tragedy ! . . . I had been incog, at the 
hotel till Sir W. Raid ^ found me there. When the innkeeper 
learned who 1 was, he was in despair at my having been put 
into so small a room, and informed me that he was the son of 
an old servant at Broomhall, Hood by name, and that he had 
often played with me at cricket ! How curious are these 
strange rencontres in life ! They put me in mind of Heber's 
imace, who says that we are hke travellers journeying through 
a dense wood intersected by innumerable paths : we are con- 
stantly meeting in unexpected places, and plunging into the 
forest again ! 

Alexandria.— May 6th.- — I made up my letter last night, 
not knowing how short the time of my sojourn at Alexandria 
mio-ht be. But at about one in the morning I received a 
letter from Frederick,' telling me that the steamer due at Suez 
had not yet arrived, that an official reception was to be given 

1 One of his Fireshire neigtlDours. 

^ The Governor of the island. 

' His brother, then Consul-general of Eg-ypt. 

N 2 



me, and that I had better not land too early. . . . Notwith- 
standing which, washing decks, the morning gun, and a bright 
sun, broke my slumbers at an early hour, and I got up and 
dressed soon after daybreak. At about 6.30 a.m. a boat of 
the Pacha's, with a dignitary (who turned out to be a very 
gentleman-like Frenchman), arrived, and from him I learnt 
Alex- that the Governor of Alexandria, with a cortege of dignitaries 

and a carriage and four, was already at the shore awaiting 
my arrival ; but Frederick did not come till about half-past 
nine, and it was nearly ten before I landed. I was then 
conducted by the authorities to the palace ia which I am 
now writing, consisting of suites of very handsome rooms, 
and commanding a magnificent view of the sea. About 
a dozen attendants are loitering about and watching every 
movement, not curiously, but in order to supply any pos- 
sible want. At this very moment a mild-looking Turk is 
peeping into my bed-room where I am vrriting this letter, and 
supposing that I may wish to be undisturbed, has drawn a red 
cloth portiere across the open doorway. This palace, which is 
set apart for the reception of distinguished strangers, is situated 
in the Turkish quarter of the town, and all the houses around 
are inhabited by Mussulmans. The windows are all covered 
with latticed wooden shutters, through which the wretched 
women may, I suppose, peer as they do through the grating at 
the House of Commons, but which are at least as impermeable 
to the mortal eye from without. The streets are very empty, 
as it is the Ramadan, during which devout Turks fast and 
sleep throughout the day, and indemnify themselves by eating, 
drinking, and amusing themselves all night. 

Cairo. — May 7th. — Most of yesterday afternoon was spent 
in drinking coffee and smoking long pipes, two ladies par- 
taking of the latter enjoyment after dinner at Mr. Green's. 
One of them told me that she had dined with the Princess (the 
Pacha's wife) a few days ago. She went at seven and left at 
half-past twelve, and with the exception of a half hour of 
dinner, all the rest of the time was spent in smoking and 
drinking coffee. After dinner, the mother of the Pacha's only 
child came in and joined the party. She was treated with a 
certain consideration as being the mother of this child, although 
she was not given a pipe. The Princess seemed on very good 
terms with her. This child (a boy three years old) has an 

1857. EGYPT. 181 

English nurse, and this nurse has persuaded the Pacha to 
allow her to take the child to England on a visit. The 
mother, who has picked up a little English from the nurse, 
said to Mrs. Green, ' I am very unhappy ; young Pacha ' (her 
boy) ' is going away.' The mother is no more thought of in 
this arrangement than I am. What a strange system it is ! 
. . . We passed through the wonderful Delta to-day, and 
certainly the people looked more comfortable than those of 
Alexandria. The beasts too, camels, oxen, donkeys, showed 
signs of the fertility of the soil in their sleekness. What 
might not be made of this country if it were wisely guided ! 

Steamer ' Bentinck.^ — Sunday, May \Qth. — I write to you 
from the neighbourhood of Mount Sinai, which we passed 
at an early hour this morning, gliding through a sea of most 
transparent glass, with so little motion that there is hardly an 
excuse for bad vn-iting. ... I must, however, take you back 
to Cairo. We began to move at a very early hour, about Crossing 
three, on Saturday (yesterday) morning. We were actually '^^ Desert. 
in the railway carriages at half-past four. I was placed in a 
coupe before the engiae, in order that I might see the road ; 
and in this somewhat formidable position ran over about forty 
miles of the Desert in about an hour and a half. It is a 
wonderful sight this strange barren expanse of stone and 
gravel, with here and there a small encampment of railway 
labourers, after passing through the luxuriant Valley of the 
Nile, teeming with production and life, animal and vegetable. 
In the morning air there was a healthy freshness, which was 
very delightful. At the end of our hour and a half we 
reached the termination of the part of the railway which is 
already completed, and embarked in two-wheeled four-horse 
vans (such as you see in the Illustrated News), to pass over 
about five miles of trackless desert, lying between the said 
terminus and a station on the regular road across the Desert, 
at which we were to breakfast. This part of our journey was 
rough work, and took us some time to execute. Our station 
was really a very nice building ; and while we were there a 
caravan of pilgrims to Mecca, some women in front and the 
men following, all mounted on their patient camels, passed by. 
After we were refreshed we started for Suez ; and you will 
hardly believe me when I tell you, that we travelled forty- 
seven miles over the Desert in a carriage as capacious and 



ch. vn. 

of Egypt. 



commodious as a London town coach, in four hours and a 
half, including seven changes of horses and a stoppage of half 
an hour. In short, we got over the ground in about three 
hours and three-fourths. We had six horses to our carriage, 
and a swarthy Nubian, with a capital seat on horseback, rode 
by us aU the way, occasionally reminding our horses that it 
was intended they should go at a gallop. 

May Wth. — I am glad to have had two days in Egypt. It 
gave one an idea at least of that country ; in some degree a 
painful one. I suppose that France and England, by their 
mutual jealousies, will be the means of perpetuating the abomi- 
nations of the system under which that magnificent country is 
ruled. They say that the Pacha's revenue is about 4,000,000?., 
and his expenses about 2,000,000Z. ; so that he has about 
2,000,000/. of pocket-money. Yet I suppose that the Fellahs, 
owing to their own industry, and the incomparable fertility of 
the country, are not badly off as compared with the peasantry 
elsewhere. We passed, at one of our stopping-places between 
Cairo and Suez, part of a Turkish regiment on their way to 
Jeddah. These men were dressed in a somewhat European 
costume, some of them with the Queen's medal on their breasts. 
There was a hareem, in a sort of omnibus, with them, contain- 
ing the estabhshmeut of one of the officers. One of the ladies 
dropped her veil for a moment, and I saw rather a pretty face; 
almost the only Mahommedan female face I have seen since I 
have reached this continent. They are much more rigorous, it 
appears, with the ladies in EgyjDt than at Constantinople. There 
they wear a veil which is quite transparent, and go about 
shopping : but in Egypt they seem to go very little out, and 
their veil completely hides everything but the eyes. In the 
palace which I visited near Cairo (and which the Pacha offered, 
if we had chosen to take it), I looked through some of the 
grated windows allowed in the hareems, and I suppose that it 
must require a good deal of practice to see comfortably out of 
them. It appears that the persons who ascend to the top of 
the minarets to call to prayer at the appointed hours are blind 
men, and that the blind are selected for this office, lest they 
should be able to look down into the hareems. That is cer- 
tainly carrying caution very far. 

Steamship ' Bentinck,^ off Socntra. — May \%th. — I left my 
last letter at Aden. We lauded there at about four p.m.. 

1857. ADEN. 183 

under a salute from an Indian man-of-war sloop and the fort, 
to which latter place I was conveyed in a carriage which 
the Governor sent for me. It was most fearfully hot. The 
hills are rugged and grand, but wholly barren ; not a sign of 
vegetation, and the vertical rays of a tropical sun beating upon 
them. The whole place is comprised in a drive around the hills 
of some three or four miles, beyond which the inhabitants cannot 
stray without the risk of being seized by the Arabs. I cannot 
conceive a more dreary spot to dwell in, though the Governor 
assured me that the troops are healthy. He received me very 
civilly, and insisted that I should remain with him until the 
steamer sailed, which involved leaving his abode (the canton- 
ment) at about half-past three in the morning. He took me to 
see some most extraordinary tanks which he has recently dis- 
covered, and which must have been constructed with great care 
and at great expense, at some remote period, in order to collect 
the rain-water which falls at rare intervals in torrents. These 
tanks are so constructed that the overflow of the upper one 
fills the lower, and in this way, when the fall is considerable, a 
great quantity can be gathered. They were all filled with 
rubbish, and it is very possible that there may be many besides 
these which have been already discovered, but when they are 
cleared out they are in perfect preservation. Some of them 
are of great capacity, and it is difficult to understand how they 
come to have been filled up so completely. The Governor told 
me that he had, a few months before, driven in his gig over the 
largest, which I went with him to see. At that time he had 
no idea of its existence. 

May 22nd. — As each of these wearisome days passes, I can- Gloomy 
not help being more and more determined that, in so far as it P^'^P^'^tB' 
rests with me, this voyage shall not have been made for 
nothing. However, the issues are in higher hands. 

Sunday, 24<A. — "We are now told we shall reach Ceylon 
in two days. ... I have got dear Bruce's * large speaking eyes 
beside me while I am writing, and mine (ought I to confess it) 
are very dim, while all these thoughts of home crowd upon me. 
There is nothing congenial to me in my present life. I have 
no elasticity of spirits to keep up with the younger people 
around me. It may be better when the work begins ; but I 

* His eldest son. 


cannot be sanguine even as to tliat, for the more I read, of the 
blue-books and papers with which I have been furnished, the 
more . embarrassing the questions with which I have to deal 

First news It "was at Ceylon that he caught the first ominous 
Indian mutterings of the terrible storm which was about to 
Mutiny. buTst over India, and which was destined so power- 
fully to affect his own expedition. The news of the 
first serious disturbance, the mutiny of a native Regi- 
ment at Meerut on the 11th of May, had just been 
brought by General Ashbunxham, the commander of 
the expeditionary force, who had left Bombay a few 
hours after the startling tidings had been received 
through the telegraph. Lord Elgin's first feeling was 
that these disturbances in India furnished an additional 
reason for settling affairs in China with all possible 
speed, so as to be free to succour the Indian Govern- 
ment. It was only when fuller intelligence came from 
Lord Canning, with urgent entreaties for immediate 
help, that he determined, in consultation with General 
Ashburnham, who cordially entered into all his views 
on the subject, to sacrifice for the present the Chinese 
expedition, in order to pour into Calcutta all the troops 
that had been intended for Canton. 

Galle, Ceylon. — May 26th. — This is a very charming place, 
so green that one almost forgets the heat. Ashburnham is 
here ; we go on together to Singapore this evening. Bad news 
from India. I think that I may find in this news, if confirmed, 
a justification for pressing matters with vigour in China, and 
hastening the period at which I may hope to see you again. 

Bteamship ' Singapore.'' — May 27th. — General Ashburnham 
brought with him a report of a most serious mutiny in the 
Bengal army. Perhaps he sees it in the worst light, because 
he has always (I remember his speaking to me on the subject 
at Balbirnie) predicted that something of the kind would occur ; 
but, apart from his anticipations, the matter seems grave enough. 
The mutineers have murdered Europeans, seized the fort and 
treasure of Delhi, and proclaimed the son of the Great Mogul. 


There seems to be no adequate European force at hand to put 
them down, and the season is bad for operations by Europeans. 
Such is the sum and substance of this report, as conveyed by 
telegraph to Elphinstone, the evening before Ashburnham left 
Bombay. I was a good deal tempted to remain at Galle for a 
few hours, in order to await the arrival of the homeward-bound 
steamer from Calcutta, and to get further news ; but, on re- 
flection, I came to the conclusion, that the best course to take 
was to view this grave intelligence as an inducement to press 
on to China. I wrote officially to Clarendon to say, that if 
this intelligence was confirmed, it might have a tendency to 
lower our prestige in the East, and to increase the influence of 
the party opposed to reason in China ; that this state of aflPairs 
might make it more than ever necessary that I should endeavour 
to bring matters in China to an issue at the earliest moment, 
so as to anticipate this mischief, and to place the regiments 
destined for China at the disposal of Government for service 

May 29th. — We are now near the close of our voyage, 
and the serious work is about to begin. Up to this point I 
have heard nothing to throw any light upon my prospects. It 
is impossible to read the blue-books without feeling that we 
have often acted towards the Chinese in a manner which it is 
very difficult to justify ; and yet their treachery and cruelty 
come out so strongly at times as to make almost anything 
appear justifiable. 

Penanff. — June 1st. — We have just returned to our vessel P™ang. 
after a few hours spent on shore ; or, rather, I have just 
emerged from a bath in which I have been reclining for half an 
hour, endeavouring to cool myself after a hot morning's work. 
We made this place at about eleven last night, running into 
the harbour by the assistance of a bright moon. The water 
was perfectly smooth, and I stood on the paddle-box for some 
hours, watching the distant hills as they rose into sight and faded 
from our view, and the bright phosphorescent light of the sea 
cut by our prow, and which, despite the clearness of the night, 
was sometimes almost too brilliant to be gazed at. When we 
dropped our anchor, the captain still professed to doubt whether 
or not he would have to proceed immediately ; but he gave 
me to understand that, if he could not accomplish this, he would 
not wish to leave until twelve to-day, so that I should in that 



Cn. vn. 

Bishop of 

of Chinese. 

case have an opportunity of landing and ascending the moun- 
tain summit. On this hint I had a bed prepared on deck 
(fearing the heat of the cabins), and tried, though rather in 
vain, to take a few hours' sleep. At five a.m. I was told that 
the Resident, Mr. Lewis, was on board, that carriages and 
horses were ready ,^and that, if I wished to mount the hill, the 
time had arrived for the operation. I immediately made a 
hasty toilette, and set forth accompanied by the General, some 
of the others following. We were conveyed in a carriage three 
miles, to the foot of the hill, and on pony -back as much more 
up it, through a dense tropical vegetation which reminded me 
of my Jamaica days. At the end of the ride we arrived at the 
Government bungalow, and found one of the most magnificent 
views I ever witnessed ; in the foreground this tropical luxu- 
riance, and beyond, far below, the glistening sea studded with 
ships and boats innumerable, over which again the Malay 
peninsula with its varied outline. I had hardly begun to ad- 
mire the scene, when a gentleman in a blue flannel sort of dress, 
with a roughish beard and a cigar in his mouth, made his ap- 
pearance, and was presented to me as the Bishop of Labuan ! 
He was there endeavouring to recruit his health, which has 
suffered a good deal. He complained of the damp of the 
climate, while admitting its many charms, and seemed to think 
that he owed to the dampness a very bad cold by which he was 
afilicted. Soon afterwards his wife joined us. They were 
both at Sarawak when the last troubles took place, and must 
have had a bad time of it. The Chinese behaved well to them; 
indeed they seemed desirous to make the Bishop their leadei-. 
His converts (about fifty) were stanch, and he has a school at 
which about the same number of Chinese boys are educated. 
These facts pleaded in his favour, and it says something for 
the Chinese that they were not insensible to these claims. 
They committed some cruel acts, but they certainly might have 
committed more. They respected the women except one (Mrs. 
C., whom they wounded severely), and they stuck by the 
Bishop until they found that he was trying to bring Brooke 
back. They then turned upon him, and he had to run for his 
life. The Bishop gave me an interesting description of his 
school of Chinese boys. He says they are much more like 
English boys than other Orientals : that when a new boy 
comes they generally get up a fight, and let him earn his place 


by his prowess. But there is no managing them without 
pretty severe punishments. Indeed, he says that it' a boy be in 
fault the others do not at all like his not being well punished ; 
they seem to think that it is an injustice to the rest if this is 
omitted. I am about to do with a strange people ; so much to 
admire in them, and yet with a perversity of disposition which 
makes it absolutely necessary, if you are to live with them at 
all, to treat them severely, sometimes almost cruelly. They 
have such an overweening esteem for themselves, that they 
become unbearable unless they are constantly reminded that 
others are as good as they. . . . The Bishop seemed to think 
that it would be a very good thing if the Rajah were to go home 
for a time, and leave the government to his nephew, whom he 
praises much. . . . When we came down from the mountain 
we went to the house of the Resident on the shore, and there I 
found all the world of Penang assembled to meet me ; among 
them a quantity of Chinese in full mandarin costume. It was 
not easy, under the circumstances, to make conversation for 
them, but it was impossible not to be pleased with their good- 
humoured faces, on which there rests a perpetual grin. We 
had a grand ' spread,' in which fresh fish, mangosteen, and a 
horrible fruit whose name I forget (^dorian), but whose smell 
I shall ever remember, played a conspicuous part. After break- 
fast we returned to our ship to be broiled for about an hour, 
then to bathe, and now (after that I have inserted these words 
in my journal to you) to finish dressing. 

June Srd. — Just arrived at Singapore. Urgent letters from Singapore. 
Canning to send him troops. I have not a man. ' Shannon' not 

Singapore. — June 5th. — I am on land, which is at any rate 
one thing gained. But I am only about eighty miles from 
the equator, and about two hundred feet above the level 
of the sea. The Java wind, too, is blowing, which is the hot 
wind in these quarters, so that you may imagine what is the 
condition of my pores. I sent my last letter immediately after 
landing, and had little time to add a word from land, as I 
found a press of business, and a necessity for writing to Claren- 
don by the mail ; the fact being, that I received letters from 
Canning, imploring me to send troops to him from the number 
destined for China. As we have no troops yet, and do not well 
know when we may have any, it was not exactly an easy 


Diversion matter to Comply with this request. However, I did what I 
of troops to (.Quld, and, in concert with the General, have sent instructions 

far and wide to turn the transports back, and give Canning the 

benefit of the troops for the moment. 

The importance of the determination, thus simply 
announced, can hardly be exaggerated. ' Tell Lord 
Elgin,' wrote Sir William Peel, the heroic leader of the 
celebrated Naval Brigade, after the neck of the. re- 
bellion was broken, ' tell Lord Elgin that it was the 
' Chinese Expedition that reheved Lucknow, relieved 
' Cawnpore, and fought the battle of the 6th December.' 
Nor would it be easy to praise too highly the large and 
patriotic spirit which moved the heads of the Expedi- 
tion to an act involving at once so generous a renunci- 
ation of all selfish hopes and prospects, and so bold an 
assumption of responsibility. Proofs were not want- 
ing afterwards that the sacrifice was appreciated by 
the Queen and the country ; but these were necessarily 
deferred, and it was all the more gratifying, therefore, 
to Lord Elgin to receive, at the time and on the spot, 
the following cordial expressions of approval from a 
distinguished public servant, with whom he was him- 
self but slightly acquainted — Sir H. Ward, then Go- 
vernor of Ceylon : — 

' You may think me impertinent in volunteering an 
opinion upon what in the first instance only concerns 
you and the Queen and Lord Canning. But having 
seen something of public life during a great part of my 
own, which is now fast verging into the " sere and 
" yellow leaf," I may venture to say that I never knew 
a nobler thing than that which you have done in prefer- 
ring the safety of India to the success of your Chinese 
negotiations. If I know anything of English public 
opinion, this single act will place you higher, in general 
estimation as a statesman, than your whole past career, 
honourable and fortunate as it has been. For it is not 

1857. SINGAPORE. 189 

' every man who would venture to alter the destination of 
' a force upon the despatch of which a Parliament has been 
' dissolved, and a Government might have been super- 
' seded. It is not every man who would consign himself 
' for many months to political inaction in order simpl}^ to 
' serve the interests of his country. You have set a bright 
' example at a moment of darkness and calamity; and, if 
' India can be saved, it is to you that we shall owe its 
' redemption, for nothing short of the Chinese expedi- 
' tion could have supplied the means of holding our 
' ground untO. further reinforcements are received.' 

For the time the disappointment was great. His 
occupation was gone, and with it all hope of a speedy 
end to his labours. Six weary months he waited, 
powerless to act and therefore powerless to negotiate, 
and feeling that every week's delay tended to aggravate 
the difficulties of the situation in China. 

Singapore. — June 5th. — It is, of course, difficult to conjecture 
how this Indian business may affect us in China, and I shall 
await our next news from India with no little anxiety. Await 
it, I say, for there is no prospect of my getting on from here 
at present. There is no word of the ' Shannon,' and till she 
arrives I am a fixture. 

June 6th. — This morning the Governor took me on foot to Conyict es- 
the convict establishment, at which some 2,500 murderers, &c., ^^l^f^' 
from India are confined, and some fifty women, who are gene- 
rally, after about two years of penal servitude, let out on con- 
dition that they consent to marry convicts. I cannot say that 
their appearance made me envy the convicts much, although 
some of them were perhaps better-looking than the women 
one meets out of the prison. In truth, one meets very few 
women at all, and those that one sees are far from attractive. 
Au rente, the convicts go about apparently very little guarded, 
with a chain round the waist and each leg. The church, which 
we afterwards visited, is rather an imposing edifice, and is 
beino- built by convict labour, at the cost of the Indian 

June 8th. — This morning I visited, in my walk, some of the Opium- 
horrid opium-shops, which we are supposed to do so much to ^^°V^- 


encourage. They are wretched dark places, with little lamps, 
in which the smokers light their pipes, glimmering on the 
shelves made of boards, on which they recline and puiF until 
they fall asleep. The opium looks like treacle, and the smokers 
are haggard and stupefied, except at the moment of inhaling, 
when an unnatural brightness sparkles from their eyes. After 
escaping from these horrid dens, I went to visit a Chinese 
merchant who lives in a very good house, and is a man of con- 
siderable wealth. He speaks English, and never was in China, 
having been born in Malacca. I had tea, and was introduced 
to his mother, wife, and two boys and two girls. He intends 
to send one of his sons to England for education. He de- 
nounces opium and the other vices of his countrymen, and their 
secret societies. All the well-to-do Chinese agree in this, but 
they have not moral courage to come out against them. In- 
deed, I suppose they could hardly do so without great risk. 
. . . Alas ! still no sign of the ' Shannon.' 
Captain June Wth. — At half-past four this morning the 'Shannon' 

^^ ■ arrived. Captain Peel came up to breakfast. He has made 

a quick passage, as he came almost all the way under canvas : 
such were his orders from the Admiralty. He says that his 
ship is the fastest sailer he has ever been on board of; that he 
has the best set of officers ; in short, all is very cheery with 
him. I told him I sliould not start till after the arrival of the 
steamer from England, and he requires that time to get ready, 
as it appears that he had only twelve hours' notice that he 
was to take me when he left England. On Tuesday, at noon, 
the Chinese arrived with an address to me. I had a reply pre- 
pared, which was translated into Malay, and read by a native. 
Ignorance I* is a most extraordinary circumstance that, in this place, 
of the where there are some 60,000 or 70,000 Chinese, and where the 

lang^iagp. Europeans are always imagining that they are plotting, &c., 
there is not a single European who can speak their language. 
No doubt this is a great source of misunderstanding. The last 
row, which did not end in a massacre, but which might have 
done so, originated in the receipt of certain police regulations 
from Calcutta. These regulations were ill translated, and 
published after Christmas Day. The Chinese, believing that 
they authorised the police to enter their houses at all periods, 
to interfere with their amusements at the New Year, &c., shut 
up their shops, which is their constitutional mode of expressing 

1857. SINGAPORE. 191 

dissatisfaction. It was immediately inferred in certain c[uarters 
that the Chinese intended, out of sympathy with the Cantonese, 
to murder all the Europeans. Luckily the Governor thought 
it advisable to explain to them what the obnoxious ordinances 
really meant before proceeding to exterminate them, and a few 
hours of explanation had the effect of inducing them to re-open 
their shops, and go on quietly with their usual avocations. 
Just the same thing happened at Penang. There too, because 
the Chinamen showed some disinclination to obey regulations 
of police which interfered with their amusements and habits, a 
plot against the Europeans was immediately suspected, and 
great indignation expressed because it was not put down with 
vigour ! 

June \Zth. — I have just been interrupted to go and see the The 
Sultan of Johore. These princes in this country, and indeed V"!'^^" 
all over the East, are spoilt from their childhood, all their 
passions indulged and fostered by their parents, who say, 
' What is the use of being a prince, if he may not have more 
' ghee, &c. &c. than his neighbours ? ' I do not see what can be" 
done for them. At the school I visited this morning are two 
sultan's sons (of Queddah), but they were at home for some 
holidays, when they will probably be ruined. During my 
morning's walk I heard something like the sound of a school 
in a house adjoining, and I proposed to enter and inspect. I 
found an establishment of Freres chretiens, and one of them Freres 
(an Irishman) claimed acquaintance, as having been with Bishop cArcCiens. 
Phelan when he visited me in Canada. We struck up a friend- 
ship accordingly, and I told him that if there were any Sceurs 
I should like to see them. He introduced me to the Vicar 
Apostolic, a Frenchman, and we went to the establishment of 
the Saurs. I found the Superieure a very superior person, Somrs. 
evidently with her heart in the work, and ready for any fate 
to which it might expose her, but quiet and cheerful. I told 
her that a devout lady in Paris had expressed a fear that my 
mission to China would put an end to martyrdom in that 
country. She smiled, and said that she thought there would 
always be on this earth martyrdom in abundance. The Sistei's 
educate a number of orphan girls as well as others. All the 
missionary zeal in these quarters seems to be among the 
Erench priests. Some one once said that it was not wonderful 
that young men took away so much learning from Oxford as 



Ch. vn. 

View from 


board the 
' Shannon. 

they left so little beMnd them. The same may, I think, be 
said of the French religion. It seems all intended for ex- 

June \^th. — I see from my window that a French steamer 
has just come into the harbour and dropped her anchor. This 
reminds me that I have not yet told you what I see from 
this window — if I may apply the term window to a row of 
Venetian blinds running all round the house or bungalow, for 
this residence is not dignified by the title ' house.' I am on an 
eminence about 200 feet above the sea ; immediately below 
me the town ; on one side a number of houses with dark red 
roofs, surrounded with trees, looking very like a flower-garden, 
and confirming me in my opinion of the beauty of such roofs 
when so situated ; on the other, the same red-roofed houses 
without trees, which makes all the difference. Beyond, the 
harbour, or rather anchorage, filled with ships, the mighty 
' Shannon' in the centre — a triton among the minnows. Beyond, 
again, a wide opening to the sea, with lowish shores, rocky, 
and covered with wood, running out on either side. Such is 
the prospect ever before me, a very fine one during the day, 
still more interesting at night when it all sparkles with 
lights, and the great tropical moon looks calmly down on the 

H. M. S. 'Shannon.^ — June 2ith. — I daresay you will consider 
me an object of envy when I describe to you where I am, — on 
board of a magnificent ship-of-war, carrying sixty 68-pounders, 
our foreaiast and mainmast sails set, and gliding through the 
water with just motion enough to tell us that the pulse of the 
great sea is beating. The temperature of the air is high, but 
the day is somewhat cloudy, and the sails throw a shadow on 
the deck. The only thing I regret is, that having no poop, 
the high bulwarks close us in and shut out both the air and 
prospect. One can only get these by climbing up on a sort of 
standing-place on the side. . . . Our departure from Singapore 
was very striking. . . . Not only were all the troops and 
volunteers under arms, with Chinamen and merchants in crowds, 
hut (may I mention it) the fair ladies of Singapore were drawn 
up in a row to give us a parting salute. We moved off in our 
boats, under a salute from the battery, which was repeated by 
the ' Spartan ' as I passed her, and by the ' Shannon ' when I 
got on board, both these vessels manning yards. The French 

1857. CHANGE OF PLANS. 193 

admiral honoured me also with a salute as I passed him after 
getting under weigh, although the sun had already set. 

July \st. — Another month begun. Last night, at dinner, we 
were startled by hearing that we seemed to be running on a 
rock or shoal, where no rock or shoal was known to exist. We 
backed our screw, and finally went over the alarming spot, and 
on sounding found no bottom. The sea was discoloured, but 
whether it was by the spawn of fish or sea-weed we could not 
discover. Peel took up water in a bucket, but could discover 
nothing. If we had not been a screw, and had had nothing 
but sails to rely on, we should have kept clear of this apparent 
danger, and the result would have been that a shoal would have 
been marked on the (iharts, where, in point of fact, no shoal 
exists. Captain Keppel's adventure makes captains cautious. 

Hong-lamg. — JuJy Srd. — I am headachy and fagged, for I Anival at 
have had some hours of the most fatiguing of all things— a Hongkong. 
succession of interviews, beginning with the Admiral, General, 
&c. ... 1 found the Admiral strong on the point that Canton 
is the only place where we ought to fight. . . . However, I 
hope we may get off to the North in about ten days, — as soon 
as we have sent off these letters, and got (as we ought) two 
mails from home. 

July 9th. — An interval . . . during which I have been doing 
a good many things, my greatest enjoyment and pleasure being 
the receipt at last of two sets of letters from home. ... I 
have a great heap of despatches, some of which seem rather 
likely to perplex me. I daresay, however, that I shall see my 
way through the mist in a day or two. ... I had a levee last 
evening, which was largely attended. The course which I am 
about to follow does not square with the views of the mer- 
chants, but I gave an answer to their address, which gave them 
for the moment wonderful satisfaction. ... A document, 
taken in one of the Chinese junks lately captured, states that 
' Devils' heads are fallen in price,' — an announcement not 
strictly complimentary, but reassuring to you as regards our 

Up to this time Lord Elgin had not entirely given change of 
up the hope that the troops which he had detached 
to Calcutta might be restored to him before the setting 
in of winter should make it impossible to proceed, 



as his instructions required, to 'the mouth of the 
Peiho, and there open negotiations with the Court of 
Pekin. But on the 14th of July came letters from 
Lord Canning, written in a strain of deeper anxiety 
than any that had preceded ; and giving no hope that 
any troops could be spared from India for many months 
to come. At the same time Lord Elgin learned that 
the French, on whose co-operation he counted, could 
not act until the arrival of the chief of the mission, 
Baron Gros, who was not expected to reach China till 
the end of September. In this state of things, to 
remain at Hong-Kong was worse than useless The 
sight of his inaction, and the knowledge of the reasons 
which enforced it, could not fail to damage the position 
of England with the public of China, both Chinese and 
foreign. He formed, therefore, the sudden resolution 
to proceed in person to Calcutta, where he would be 
withm easier reach of telegraphic instructions from 
England; where he would have the advantage of per- 
sonal communication with Lord Canning, and of learn- 
ing for himself at what time he might expect to have 
any troops at his command; and where, moreover, his 
appearance might have a moral effect in support of the 
Government greater than the amount of any material 
force at his disposal. 

Sails for JL M. S. ' Shannoii.'' — July I9th. — I wonder what you will 

V" ^' think when you receive this letter; that is, if I succeed in 
despatching it from the point where I wish to post it. Will 
you think me mad ? or what will your view of my proceedings 
be ? . . . Here I am actually on my way to Calcutta ! To 
Calcutta! you will exclaim in surprise. The reasons for this 
step are so numerous, that I can hardly attempt to enumerate 
them. I found myself at Hong-kong, without troops and 
without competent representatives of our allies (America and 
France) to concert with ; doomed either to alorder the Court 
of Pekin alone, without the power of acting vigorously if I 
met a repulse, or to spend three months at Hong-kong doing 
nothing, and proclaiming to the whole world that I am waiting 

1857. CHANGE OF PLANS. 195 

for the Frenchman; i.e. that England can do nothing -without 
France. I considered the great objections which existed to 
either of these courses. Sur ces ent.refaites, came further letters 
from Canning, begging for more help from me, and showing 
that things are even worse with him than they were when I first 
heard from him. It occurred to me that I might occupy the 
three months well in running up to Calcutta, taking with me 
what assistance I can collect for him, and obtaining thereby an 
opportunity of conferring with him, and learning from him what 
chance I have of getting before the winter the troops which I 
have detached to his support. Sir M. Seymour approved the 
plan warmly. It occurred to me on Tuesday evening, and on 
Thursday I was under weigh. Alas ! Vhomme propose, mais 
Dieu dispose ! The monsoon is against us, and as this ship is 
practically useless as a steamer, as she can only carry coals for 
five days, we are beating against the wind, and making little 
progress. Perhaps my whole plans may fail, because I have 
the misfortune to be in one of H. M.'s ships instead of in a 
good merchant steamer, which would be going at ten miles an 
hour in a direct line, while we are going at six in an oblique 
one. However, we must hope for the best. 

Whether we are to have peace or war with China, either 
object will be much more eifectually accomplished, when the 
European forces are acting together, than when we are alone ; 
the Russians meanwhile, no doubt, hinting to the Emperor that 
we are in a bad way in India. The plan, then, if we can ac- 
complish it, is this : To run up as fast as I can to Calcutta, and 
to return so as to meet Baron Gros, who is not expected till 
the middle of September. There will just be time to commu- 
nicate with the Court of Pekin before winter. I have men- 
tioned the reasons for these proceedings, derived from my own 
position ; but, of course, I am mainly influenced by a considera- 
tion for Canning. In both his letters he has expressed a desire 
to see me, and I am told that my appearance there with what 
the Indian public will consider the first of a large force, will 
produce a powerful moral effect. I ought to be there at least 
two months before he can receive a man from England. 

July 20^A.' — Would that I were at home to-day ! You say Birthday. 
that I do not appreciate anniversaries, but it is chiefly because 
it is so sad when the days come when they cannot be celebrated 

' His birthday, and also his father's. 


as of yore. ' IVessun maggior dolore.'' Do not anniversaries stir 
this great fountain of sadness ? I feel sad when I look at this 
inhospitable sea, and think of the smiling countenances with 
•which I should have been surrounded at home, and the joyous 
laugh when papa, with aifected surprise, detected the present 
wrapped up carefully in a paper parcel on the breakfast table. 
Is it not lawful to be sad ? 

July 25th. — The consequences of being at so great a dis- 
tance from head-quarters are very singular, e.g. in this case 
I shall not hear whether the Government approve or not of this 
move of mine until it has become matter of history; until, in all 
probability, I have carried out my plan of visiting the Peiho 
with the French Ambassador. It certainly contrasts very 
strongly with the position of a diplomatic functionary in 
Europe now, when reference is made by telegraph to head- 
quarters in every case of difficulty. . . . This seems a very 
solitary sea. We have passed in all, I think, two ships. This 
morning once or twice we have met a log floating with one or 
two birds standing upon it. Yesterday great excitement was 
created by the discovery of a cask floating on the surface of the 
sea. Telescopes were hraqtds from every part of the ship upon 
this unhappy cask, which went bobbing up and down, very 
unconscious of the sensation it was creating. This incident wiU 
convey to you an idea of how monotonous our life is. 

July 27th. — At about four yesterday another excitement, 
greater than that created by the floating cask. Peel informed 
me that there was a steamer in sight, coming towards us. 
Many were the speculations as to what she could be. It was 
generally agreed that she was the ' Transit,' as she was due 
about this time. As we neared her, however, she dwindled in 
size, and proved a rather dirty-looking merchant-craft with an 
auxiliary screw. On asking whence she came, she informed 
us that she was from Calcutta, and that she had a letter for 
me. It proved to be from Canning, in no respect more en- 
couraging than his former letters, and therefore, in so far, con- 
firmatory of the propriety of my present move. 

July 31st. — En route for Calcutta. "We reached Singapore 
on the 28th, at about two p.m. I landed and went to my old 
quarters at the Governor's. I found it deliciously cool, much 
more so than it was during my former visit. . . . My friends 
at Singapore were very cordial in their welcome of me, and the 

185f. CALCUTTA. 197, 

merchants immediately drew up an address expressive of their 
satisfaction at my move on Calcutta. We have taken on board 
100 men of the detachment of the 90th which was on board the 
' Transit,' and put the remainder into the ' Pearl,' so that we are 
crammed to the hilt. Please God we may reach Calcutta in 
about a week or less, and then a new chapter begins. Just as we 
were starting yesterday, an opium-ship from Calcutta arrived, 
and brought me a letter and despatch from Canning, more urgent 
and gloomy than any of the preceding ones. The ' Simoom ' 
and ' Himalaya ' had both arrived, but he was clamorous for 
more help, and broadly tells me that I must not expect to get 
any of my men back. So here I am deprived of the force 
on which I was to rely in China ! . . . Canning's letter is dated 
the 21st, and therefore contains the latest intelligence. Nothing 
can be worse. I am happy to say that I have already sent to 
him even more than he has asked. ... I trust that I may do 
some good, but of course things are so bad that one fears that 
it may be too late to hope that any great moral eifect can be 
produced by one's arrival. However, I have with me about 
1,700 fighting men, and perhaps we may have more, if we find 
a transport in the Straits, and take it in tow. 

On the 8th August the ' Shannon ' reached Calcutta. Arrival at 
Her arrival is thus described by Mr. Oliphant^ : — 

' As we swept past Garden Reach, on the afternoon 
' of the 8th August, the excitement on board was in- 

* creased by early indications of the satisfaction with 
'■ which our appearance was hailed on shore. First our 
' stately ship suddenly burst upon the astonished gaze 
' of two European -gentlemen taking their evening walk, 
' who, seeing her crowded with the eager faces of men 
' ready for the fray, took off their hats and cheered 
' wildly ; then the respectable skipper of a merchant- 
' man worked himself into a state of frenzy, and made 
' us a long speech, which we could not hear, but the 
' violence of his gesticulations left us in little doubt as 

* to its import ; then his crew took up the cheer, which 

I Narrative of the Earl of Elgin's Mission, i. 65. 


' was passed en at intervals until the thunder of our 68- 
' pounders drowned every other sound; shattered the 
' windows of sundry of the ' palaces ; ' attracted a crowd 
' of spectators to the Maidan, and brought the contents 
' of Fort William on to the glacis. 

' As soon as the smoke cleared away, the soldiers of 
' the garrison collected there sent up a series of hearty 
'cheers; a moment more arid our men were clustered 
' like ants upon the rigging, and, in the energy which 
' they threw into their ringing response, they pledged 
' themselves to the achievement of those deeds of valour 
' which have since covered the Naval Brigade with glory. 
' After the fort had saluted, Lord Elgin landed amid the 
' cheers of the crowd assembled at the ghaut to receive 
' him, and proceeded to Government House, gratified to 
' learn, not merely from the popular demonstrations, but 
' from Lord Canning himself, that though happily the 
' physical force he had brought with him was not re- 
' quired to act in defence of the city, still that the pre- 
' sence of a man of war larger than any former ship that 
' ever anchored abreast of the Maidan, and whose guns 
' commanded the cit}', was calculated to produce upon 
' both the European and native population a most whole- 
' some moral effect, more especially at a time when the 
■' near approach of the Mohurrum had created in men's 
' minds an unusual degree of apprehension and excite- 
' ment.' 

Speaking aftenvards of this scene". Lord Elgin him- 
self said, ' I shall never forget to my dying day — 
' for the hour was a dark one, and there was hardly a 
' countenance in Calcutta, save that of the Governor- 
' General, Lord Canning, which was not blanched with 
' fear — I shall never forget the cheers with which the 
' " Shannon " was received as she sailed up the river, 
' pouring forth her salute from those 6 8 -pounders' 
' which the gallant and lamented Sir William Peel sent 
' up to Allahabad, and from those 24-pounders which. 

1857. CALCUTTA. 199 

' according to Lord Clyde, made way across the 
* country in a manner never before witnessed.' 

Calcutta. — August llth. — Here I am, writing to you from 
the Governor-General's palace at Calcutta I Altogether it is 
one of the strangest of the peripeties of my life. ... I think 
my yisit has entirely answered as regards the interests of 
India. I have every reason to believe that it has had an Peel's 
excellent effect here. I have agreed to give up the ' Shannon,' ?'^™^. 
in order that Peel and his men may be formed into a naval 
brigade, and march with some of their great guns on Delhi. 
Peel, for this work, is, I believe, the right man in the right 
place, and I expect great things from him. He is delighted, 
and Canning and Sir P. Grant have signified in strong terms 
their appreciation of the sacrifice I am making, and the service 
I am rendering. They are in great want of artillery, and no 
such guns as those of the ' Shannon ' are in their possession. 
The vessel itself, with a small crew, will remain in the river 
opposite Calcutta, able, if need were, to knock all the city to 
bits. I shall get a steamer for myself, probably one of the 
Peninsular and Oriental Company's, to convey me to Hong- 
kong, and to remain with me tiU I am better suited. Canning Lord 
is very amiable, but I do not see much of him. He is at work 
from five or six in the morning till dinner-time. No human 
being can, in a climate like this, and in a situation which has 
so few delassements as that of Governor-General, work so 
constantly without impairing the energy both of mind and 
body, after a time. . . . Neither he nor Lady C. are so much 
oppressed by the difficulties in which they find themselves as 
might have been expected. 

August 2\st. — It is a terrible business, however, this Treatraent 
livins amonsr inferior races. I have seldom from man or rior races. 
woman since I came to the East heard a sentence which was 
reconcilable with the hypothesis that Christianity had ever 
come into, the world. Detestation, contempt, ferocity, ven- 
geance, whether Chinamen or Indians be the object. There 
are some three or four hundred servants in this house. When 
one first passes by their salaaming one feels a little awkward. 
But the feeling soon wears off, and one moves among them 
with perfect indifference, treating them, not as dogs, because 
in that case one would whistle to them and pat them, but as 
machines with which one can have no communion or sympathy. 



Of course those who can speak the language are somewhat 
more en rapport with the natives, but very sHghtly so, I take 
it. When the passions of fear and hatred are engrafted on 
this indifference, the result is frightful ; an absolute callousness 
as to the sufferings of the objects of those passions, which 
must be witnessed to be understood and believed. 

August 22nd. tells me that yesterday, at dinner, 

the fact that Groverament had removed some commissioners 
who, not content with hanging all the rebels they could lay 
their hands on, had been insulting them by destroying their 
caste, telling them that after death they should be cast to 
the dogs to be devoured, &c., was mentioned. A rev. gentle- 
man could not understand the conduct of Government ; 
could not see that there was any impropriety in torturing 
men's souls ; seemed to think that a good deal might be said in 
favour of bodily torture as well I These are your teachers, 
Israel ! Imagine what the pupils become under such leading ! 
Fears for August 26th. — The great subject of anxiety here now ■ 
is Lucknow, where a small party of soldiers, with some two 
hundred women and an equal number of children, are be- 
leaguered by a rebel force of 15,000. The attempts hitherto 
made to relieve them have failed ; and General Havelock, who 
commands, says he can do nothing unless he gets the 5th and 
90th Regiments, the two I sent from Singapore on my own 
responsibility. The men of the ' Pearl ' and ' Shannon ' and 
the marines are guarding Calcutta, or on their way up to Alla- 
habad, so that it is impossible to say what would have become 
of Bengal if these reinforcements had not come. 

August SOth. — The mail from England has arrived. No 
letters, of course, for me. I gather from the newspapers and 
Canning's letters that some troops, though only to a small 
extent, I fear, are to be sent to Hong-kong, to replace those 
which have been diverted to India. From Palmerston's speecrhes 
I gather that he adheres to the policy of my first visiting the 
North, and making amicable overtures ; and, secondly, taking 
Canton, if these overtures fail, I believe I have adopted the 
only mode of can-ying out that policy. It is rather perplexing, 
however, and sometimes a little amusing, to be working at such 
a distance from head-quarters, as one never knows what is 
thought of one's proceedings until it is so much too late to turn 
to account the criticisms passed upon them. 

1857.. RETURN TO CHINA. 201 

There remained now nothing to keep him longer at Eeturn to 
Calcutta ; a body of troops was on its way to Hong- 
kong, to take the place of those that had been diverted 
to India, and the end of September was the time at 
which he had arranged to meet Baron Gros in "the 
China seas. On the 3rd of September, therefore, he 
turned his face once more eastward, to resume the. 
proper duties of his mission. 

Steamer 'Ava.^ — September lOth. — I have had a very bad Fever. 
time of it since I finished my last letter on my way down the 
Hooghly. Probably it may have been something of the Calcutta 
fever brought with me. . . . But on the second night after our 
departure, it came on to blow hard towards morning. I was in 
my cot on the windward side. First, I got rather a chill, and 
then the ports were shut, leaving me very hot. I remained 
all day in a state of feverish lethargy, unable to rise, and con- 
stantly falling off into dreamy dozes ; kaleidoscopes, with the 
ugliest sides of everything perpetually twirling before my eyes. 
I panted so for air that they opened my ports towards evening 
as an experiment. It turned out better than might have been 
expected. A sea washed in, and filled my cot half full of water, 
which decided me on rising. No gentler hint would have 
mastered my lethargy. After I got on deck, as you may 
imagine, it was about as difficult, or rather more so, to over- 
come the vis inertice which fixed me there. So a bed was made 
for me under the awning. 1 remained on deck for four nights ; 
the fourth, in a cot slung up to the boom, and though I slept 
little, it was cool. Last night I came down to the cabin again. 
I have taken the turn, and am on the mend, though I do not 
yet feel the least inclination for food, and my nerves are so 
shaky that I can hardly write. That little pretty book ' of 
Guizot's which you sent me, I have been trying to read, but I 
find that it is too touching for me, and I have been obliged to 
lay it aside. 

September Wth. — I am now at Singapore again, which is my 
kind of oasis in this desert of the East ; the only place where I 
have felt well or comfortable, and where there has been a sort 
of cordiality in the people, which makes one feel somewhat at 

• Life of Lady Rachel Riiasell. 


home. I shall stay here two days, to gain a little strength 
before plunging again into the sea. 

Hong-kong. — September 20th. — I did not attempt to write on 
my way from Singapore to this place, because, though we were 
much favoured by the weather (as this is the worst month in 
the China seas and the most subject to typhoons), the motion 
of the screw in the ' Ava ' is so bad, that it Ls almost impossible 
to write when she is going at full speed. However, I may now 
tell you that we made out our voyage in six days of beautiful 
weather, and that I have gone on gradually recovering my 
health, which I lost between Calcutta and Singapore. I believe 
I do not look quite as blooming as usual ; but it is of no use 
my claiming sympathy on this score, for, as the Bishop of 
Labuan appears to have said, I always have a more florid 
appearance than most people, and never therefore get credit for 
being ill, however ill I may feel. I found two mails from home. 

Perplexi- _ _ _ ipjjg (Jovemment approves of my having sent my troops to 
India, and Clarendon's letter seems to imply that they are not 
quite insensible to the difficulties of my position. . . . As it is, 
I now find myself in a very puzzling position. If I go to the 
North I shall lose prestige, and perhaps also time ; it is even 
possible that I may force the Emperor to declare himself against 
us, and to direct hostilities against us at the northern ports, 
where hitherto we have been trading in peace. On the other 
hand, if I do not go to the North, and make pacific overtures to 
the Emperor, I shall go dead against my instructions, and 
against the policy which Palmerston has over and over again 
told Parliament I am to pursue. 

Hong-kong. — September 25th. — I used to dislike to begin 
writing a letter, when I thought I should receive one from 
my correspondent before it was finished ; but I have got 
over all these scruples now. Our correspondence is kept up 
in a kind of constant flow, and our letters so cross each other, 
that we hardly know where one is begun or ended. Therefore, 
although 1 sent off one this forenoon, and although I may 
calculate on hearing from you agaiu before this is despatched, 
I feel that it is quite natural to take up my pen, and to have 
some talk with you this evening before I retire to my cot. I 
have been dining with the Admiral quietly, at 3 p.m., and 

Hong- I went on shore with him afterwards to take a walk. We 
stroUed through the Chinese part of the town, crowded with 


Chinese all returning from their work, and looking good- 
humoured as usual. The town is more extensive than I had 
supposed it to be ; but it was close and hot, and I was rather 
glad when we got into our boat again to pull off to our ship, 
which is lying about 2^ miles from the shore. It was cllm 
and cool on the water ; and after reaching my ship, I have 
sat down to my writing desk, having placed one of the ship's 
attendants (a disbanded sepoy, 1 believe) at the punkah which 
has lately been fitted up in my cabin. It is wonderful what a 
comfort these punkahs are ! I was suffocated with heat before 
my sepoy began to pull, and every now and then I have to 
halloo to him when he seems disposed to take a nap. . . . 

October 1st. — What a climate ! after raining cats and doss for Caprices 
forty-eight hours incessantly, it took to blowing at about twelve '="™*''«- 
last night, rain still as heavy as ever. Our captain, who is a 
man of energy, apprehending that he might run ashore or foul 
of some ship, got up steam immediately, and set to work to 
perform the goose step at anchor in the harbour. You may 
imagine the row, — wind blowing, rain splashing, ropes hauled, 
spars cracking, everybody haHooing: — ' A stroke a-head ! ease 
her ! faster ! stop her ! ' and other variations of the same tune. 
All this immediately over my head ! After expending the con- 
ventional number of hours in my cot, in the oi)eratic)n of what 
is facetiously called sleeping, I mounted on deck at about 5 
A.M. ... I wish I could send you a sketch of that gloomy hill 
at the foot of which Victoria lies, as it loomed sullenly in 
the dusky morning, its crest wreathed with clouds, and its 
cheeks wrinkled by white lines that marked the track of the 
descending torrents. It was still blowing and raining as hard 
as ever, but I took my two hours' exercise notwithstanding, 
clad in Mackintosh. Frederick and Oliphant, who went on 
shore the day before yesterday to dine with Sir J. Bowring, 
have not yet returned. 

Seven P.M. — The weather cleared about noon. I remained After the 
in my cabin as usual till after five, when I ordered my boat 
and went on shore. There were signs of the night's work 
here and there. Masts of junks sticking out of the water, and 
on land verandahs mutilated, &c. Loch accompanied me, and 
we walked up the hill to a road which runs above the town. 
The prospect was magnificent — Victoria below us, running down 
the steep bank to the water's edge ; beyond, the bay, crowded 



Oh. Vn. 



with ships and junks, and closed on the opposite side by a semi- 
circle of hills, bold, rugged, and bare, and glowing in the bright 
sunset. . . . When we got beyond the town, the hill along 
which we were walking began to remind me of some of the 
scenery in the Highlands — steep and treeless, the water gushing 
out at every step among the huge granite boulders, and dashing 
with a merry noise across our path. After somewhat more than 
an hour's walk we turned back, and began to descend a long 
and precipitous path, or rather street, for there were houses on 
either side, in search of our boat. By the time we had embarked 
the tints of the sunset had vanished, a moon nearly full rode 
undisputed mistress in the cloudless sky, and we cut our way 
to our ship through the ripple that was dancing and sparkling 
in her beams. 

Hong-kong. — October 8th. — On the 6th, I went to the an- 
chorage of the French fleet, about twelve miles off. On our 
way back we made the tour of the island. Every spot at the 
foot of the hills on which anything will grow is cultivated by 
the industrious Chinese, whose chief occupation in these parts 
seems, however, to be fishing. Hast evening I dined with our 
own admiral. An opium-ship from India had just arrived, so 
we had a plentiful crop of topics of conversation. The news 
from India is rather better. The whole of Bengal was de- 
pendent not only on the China force, but on that portion of it 
which I took or sent them on my own responsibility. The 
5th and 90th regiments are marching to the relief of Lucknow. 
The crews of the ' Shannon ' and ' Pearl ' are protecting other 
disturbed districts, and the marines garrisoning Calcutta. . . . 
It cannot therefore be said that I have not done Canning a 
good turn. I think, however, that there is a disposition, both 
in Calcutta and in England, to underrate our needs in China, 
and I am disposed to write to Canning a despatch which will 
brino- this point out. ... If we take Canton by naval means 
alone, we shall probably not be able to hold the city ; in which 
case we shall probably occasion a great deal of massacre and 
bloodshed, without influencing in the slightest degree the 
Court of Pekin. 

October 9fh. — I do not think that the naval actions here have 
really done anything towards solving our questions, and per- 
haps they may have been injurious, in so far as they have 
enabled the Government and the Press to take up the tone 


that we could settle our affairs without troops. All these 
partial measures increase the confidence of the Chinese in them- 
selves, and confirm them in the opinion that we cannot meet 
them on land. They have never denied our superiority by sea. 
October \Zth. — No steamer from England yet. I have just 
despatched letters to Canning, in the sense I have already 
explained to you. . . . General Ashburnham's position is a 
rery cruel one, — at the head of a whole lot of doctors and 
staff-oflScers of all kinds, without any troops. The enormous 
amount of supplies sent out passes belief. Oceans of "porter, 
soda-water, wine of all sorts, and delicacies that I never even 
heard of, for the hospitals. / am told, even tea and sugar, 
but that may be a calumny. This is the reaction, after the 
economies practised in the Crimea, and will be persevered in, I 
suppose, till Parliament gets tired of paying, and then we 
shall have counteraction the other way. 

On the 16th of October the French ambassador 
reached Hong-kong, having been delayed by the break- 
ing down of an engine, which made it necessary for him 
to stay at Singapore to refit. The relations of the two 
ambassadors, at first somewhat distant and diplomatic, 
soon ripened into mutual feelings of cordial regard. 

October 18^A.— The instructions brought by the last mail Arrival of 
give me much greater latitude of action ; in fact, untie my 
hands altogether. I hope I shall get Baron Gros to go with 
me ; but if not, I shall go at Canton alone. The Admiral is 
quite ready for the attempt, as soon as his marines arrive. 

October 30th. — How little was I prepared for the sadintelli- A sister's 
gence brought to me by your last ! ' How constantly we shall ^''^^^• 
all feel the absence of that good genius ! — that Providence 
always on the watch to soothe the vnretched and to console the 
afflicted. I had never thought of her early removal by death ; 
and yet one ought to have done so, for she complained much 
of suffering last year, and all who knew her well must have 
felt that to make her complain her sufferings must have been 
great. She is gone ; and she will leave behind her a blank in 
many existences. . . . Many years ago we were much together. 
She was then in the full vigour of her faculties. ... I had 

' The death of his elder sister, Lady Matilda Maxwell. 




ample opportunity then of appreciating tlie remarkable union 
of heart and head and soul which her character presented. 
Many of her letters written in those days were of rare ex- 
cellence. ... I feel for you. 

October Z\st. — I shall hardly recognise Scotland without 
her, so much did she, in her unobtrusive and quiet way, make 
herself the point to which, in all difiSculties and joys, one 
looked. . . . Poor Maxwell has the satisfaction of knowing 
that all that was great and lovable in her flourished under his 
protection and with his sympathy. Perhaps that is the best 
consolation which a person bereaved as he is can enjoy. It is 
not a consolation which will arrest his progress along the path 
which she has trodden before, but it is one which will strew it 
with flowers. . . . Already, when this letter reaches you, the 
green weeds will have begun to creep over the new-made 
grave, and the crust of habit to cover wounds which at first 
bled most freely. It is also a soothing reflection that hers was 
a life of which death is rather the crown than the close ; so 
that it will not be in gloom, but in the soft sunset light of 
memory that they who have been wont to walk with her, and 
are now deprived of her companionship, will have henceforward 
to tread their weary way. I see in that sunset light the days 
when we were much together — when she used to call herself 
my wife. In those days her nervous system was stronger than 
it was when you became acquainted with her. Her soul spoke 
through more obedient organs. Nothing could exceed the 
eloquence and beauty of her letters in those days, when 
written under the influence of strong feeling. She is gone. I 
do not expect ever to see her like again. 

November \st. — Poor Balgonie, too. It is another loss ; 
very sad, though different in its character. When I saw him 
at Malta, I had not a conception that he would last so long. 
. . . On November \st I am reading your thoughts of Septem- 
ber \st. How far apart this proves us to be ! ... I sympathise 
deeply in all those feelings. ... To whatever side one looks 
there is the sad blank effected by her removal ; even in my 
public interests, I cannot say how much, since I returned 
home, I owed to her thoughtfulness and affection. . , . Cut off' 
as we are here at present from all immediate contact with 
home interests, it is difficult to realise her removal and its 
consequences to the full. It is a stunning blow from which 

1857. HONG-KONG. 207 

one recovers gradually to a consciousness of a great and un- 
defined loss. God bless you ! . . . and grant that you may 
share her inexpressible comfort. 

November 8th. — I have been absent for four days on a tour. Visit to 
... I liked Macao, because there is some appearance about '"'*°' 
it of a history, — convents and churches, the garden of Camoens, 
&c. The Portuguese have been in China about three hundred 
years. Hong-kong was a barren rock fifteen years ago. Macao 
is Catholic, Hong-kong Protestant. So these causes combined 
give the former a wonderful superiority in all that is antique 
and monumental. 

November 14^A. — I have received your letters to September 
24th. . . . The Government approve entirely of my move to 
Calcutta, and Lord Clarendon writes very cordially on the 

November I5th. — I have seen the Russian Plenipotentiary. 
. . . He has been at Kiachta and the mouth of the Peiho, 
asking for admission to Pekin, and got considerably snubbed 
at both places, as I should have been if I had gone there. It 
will devolve on me, I apprehend, to administer the return, 
which is not, I think, a bad arrangement for British, prestige 
in the East. 

Steamer ' Ava,' Hong-kong. — November \lth. — My serious Beginning 
work is about to beffin. I must draw up a challenge for °^ serious 

y 1 o work. 

Yeh, which is a delicate matter. Gros showed me a projet 
de note when I called on him some days ago. It is very long, 
and very well written. The fact is, that he has a much better 
case of quarrel than we ; at least one that lends itself much 
better to rhetoric. An cpium-ship came in from Calcutta 
yesterday. It brought me nothing from Canning. It is clear, 
however, that things are getting better with him. I think it 
probable that my despatch anticipating a favourable turn of 
affairs there, and founding on that anticipation a demand for 
reinforcements, will reach England at the very time when 
the news from India justifying that anticipation will be re- 
ceived. . . . The Government and public in England would 
not believe there was any danger in India for a long time, and 
consequently allowed the season for precautionary measures to 
pass by, and then made up for their apathy by the most ex- 
aggerated apprehensions. My mind has been more tranquil, 
for it has not presented these phases. As soon as I heard of 


Canning's difficulties, I determined to do what I could for 

him; but it never occurred to me that we were to act as if 

the game was up with us in the East. 

How to The secret of governing a democracy is understood by 

govern a jjjgn in power at present. Never interfere to check an e^dl 

democracy. . _ * . ^ 

until it has attained such proportions that all the world see 
plainly the necessities of the case. You will then get any 
amount of moral and material support that you require ; but 
if you interfere at an earlier period, you will get neither 
thanks nor assistance ! I am not at all sure but that the time 
is approaching when foresight will be a positive disqualification 
in a statesman. But to return to our own matters. The 
Government and public are thinking of nothing but India at 
present. It does not however follow, that quite as strong a feel- 
ing might not be got up for China in a few months. If we met 
with anything like disaster here, that would certainly be the case. 
Descrip- Head- Quarters House, Hong-hong. — November '22nd. — I 

tiuu of y;\^]x you could take wings and join me here, if it were even 
kong. for a few hours. We should first wander through these 

spacious apartments. We should then stroll out on the 
verandah, or along the path of the little terrace garden which 
General Ashburnham has surrounded with a defensive wall, and 
from thence I should point out to you the harbour, bright as a 
flower-bed with the flags of many nations, the jutting promon- 
tory of Kowloon, and the barrier of bleak and jagged hills that 
bounds the prospect. A little later, when the sun began to 
sink, and the long shadows to fall from the mountain's side, 
we should set forth for a walk along a level pathway of about 
a quarter of a mile long, which is cut in its flank, and connects 
with this garden, and from thence we should watch this same 
circle of hills, now turned into a garland, and glovring in the 
sunset lights, crimson and purple, and blue and green, and 
colours for which a name has not yet been found, as they 
successively lit upon them. Perhaps we should be tempted to 
wait (and it would not be long to wait, for the night follows in 
these regions very closely on the heels of day), until, on these 
self-same hills, then gloomy and dark and sullen, tens of 
thousands of bright and silent stars were looking down calmly 
from heaven, 

Macao. — December 2nd. — Baron Gros and I have been 
settling our plans of proceeding, which we are conducting with 
a most cordial entente. ... As he is well versed in all the 


forms and usages of diplomacy, he is very useful to me in such 
points. ... I have been living here in the house of Mr. Dent, 
oCe of the merchant priaces of China. He is very obliging, 
axid I have remained at his request a day longer than I in- 
tended. I return, however, to-day. I like Macao with its air 
of antiquity, in some respects almost of decadence. It is more 
ioteresting than Hong-kong, which has only existed fifteen 
years, and is as go-a-head and upstart and staring as ' one of 
our cities,' as my American friend informed me a few days a^o. 

Hong-kong. — December 5th. — When I went out to walk with 
OHphant, I was informed by a person I met in a very public 
walk just out of the town, that a man had been robbed very 
near where we were. I met the person immediately afterwards. 
lie was rather a mesquin-loohmg Portuguese, and he said that 
three Chinamen had rushed upon him,knockedhimdown, thrown 
a quantity of sand into his eyes, and carried off his watch. This 
sort of affair is not uncommon. I have bought a revolver, and 
am beginning to practise pistol-shooting. 

December 9th. — Baron Gros came here on Monday. We Prepara- 
have been busy, and all our plans are settled. I sent up this 
evening to the Admiral my letter to Yeh, which is to be de- 
livered on Saturday the 12th. He is to have ten days to think 
over it, and if at the end of that time he does not give in, the 
city will be taken. We are in for it now. I have hardly 
alluded in my ultimatum to that wretched question of the 
' Aj-row,' which is a scandal to us, and is so considered, I have 
reason to know, by all except the few who are personally 
compromised. I have made as strong a case as I can on gene- 
ral grounds against Yeh, and my demands are most moderate. 
If he refuses to accede to them, which he probably will, this 
-w-ni, I hope, put us in the right when we proceed to extreme 
measures. The diplomatic position is excellent. The Russian 
has had a rebuff at the mouth of the Peiho ; the American 
at the hands of Yeh. The Frenchman gives us a most valu- 
able moral support by saying that he too has a sufficient ground 
of quarrel with Yeh. We stand towering above all, using 
calm and dignified language, moderate in ouf demands, but 
resolute in enforcing them. If such had been our attitude 
from the beginning of this controversy it would have been well. 
However, we cannot look back ; we must do for the best^ 
and trust in Providence to carry us through our difiiculties. 


tion for 


rmsT MISSION to china. 

ch. vni. 








On the same day on which the ultimatum of the 
Envoys was delivered to Yeh, i.e. on the 12th of 
December, 1857, the glad news reached Lord Elgin that 
Lucknow had been relieved : the more welcome to 
him as carrying with it the promise of speedy rein- 
forcement to himself, and deliverance from a situation 
of extreme difficulty and embarrassment. ' Few people,' 
he might weU say, ' had ever been in a position which re- 

* quired greater tact — four Ambassadors, two Admirals, 
' a General, and a Consul-general; and, notwithstanding 

* this luxuriance of colleagues, no sufficient force.' And 
what he felt most iu the insufficiency of the force was 
not the irksomeness of delay, still less any anxiety as to 
the success of his arms. ' My greatest difficulty,' he 
wrote, ' arises from my fear that we shaU be led to 
' attack Canton before we have all our force, and led 
' therefore to destroy, if there is any resistance, both life 
' and property to a greater extent than would otherwise 
' be necessary.' The prospects of immediate reinforce- 
ments from India diminished his fears on this score, and 
sent him forward with a better hope of bringing the 
painful situation to a speedy and easy close. 

H. M. 8. 'Furious,' Canton River. — December 17 th. — You 
see from my date that I am again in a new lodging. It pro- 
mises to be, I think, more agreeable than any of our previous 


marine residences. "We have paddles instead of a screw. Then 
the captain has not only given up to me all the stem accommo- 
dation, hut he has also done everything in his power to make 
the place comfortable. . . . He is the Sherard Osborn of 
Arctic regions notoriety. I am on my way to join Gros, in 
order to decide on our future course of action. I mentioned 
yesterday that Honan was occupied, and that I had received a 
letter from Yeh, which must, I suppose, be considered a re- 
fusal. This was the fair side of the medal. The reverse was 
an ugly quarrel up the river, which ended in the loss of the 
lives of some sailors and the destruction of a village, — a 
quarrel for which our people were, I suspect, to some extent 
responsible. I fear that, under cover of the blockade instituted 
by the Admiral, great abuses have taken place. ... It makes 
one very indignant, but unfortunately it is very difficult to 
bring the matter home to the culprits. All this, however, makes 
it most important to bring the situation to a close as soon as 
possible. It is clear that there will be no peace till the two 
parties fight it out. The Chinese do not want to fight, but 
they will not accept the position relatively to the strangers 
under which alone strangers will consent to live with them, 
till the strength of the two parties has been tested by fighting. 
The Eno;lish do want to fight. 

December 18 th. — This does not promise to be a lively sojourn. 
"We are anchored at present at a point where the river forks 
into the "Whampoa and Blenheim reaches. "We have the Blen- 
heim reach, and my suite wish me to go up it to the Macao 
Fort, from which they think they would have a good view of 
what goes on when the city is attacked. I wish, however, to 
be with Gros, and he will go up the "Whampoa reach as far 
as his great lumbering ship will go. Meanwhile we are here 
confined to our ships, as it would not of course do for me to go 
on shore to be caught. Poor Yeh would think me worth having 
at present. "What will he do ? His answer is very weak, and Yeh's 
reads as if the writer was at his wits' end ; but with that sort of ^'^^ ^' 
stupid Chinese policy which consists in never yielding anything, 
he exposes himself to the worst consequences without making 
any preparations (so far as we can see) for resistance. Among 
other thino-8 in his letter he quotes a long extract from a Hong- 
kong paper describing Sir G. Bonham's investiture as K.C.B., 
and advises me to imitate him for my own interest, rather than 

p 2 


Sir J. Davis, who was recalled. Davis, says Yeh, iusisted on 

getting into the city, and Bonham gave up this demand. Hence 

his advice to me. All through the letter is sheer twaddle. 

Advance December 22nd.— On the afternoon of the 20th, I got into 

on (Janton. -n ■ i i 

a gunboat with Commodore Elliot, and went a short way up 
towards the barrier forts, which were last winter destroyed by 
the Americans. When we reached this point, all was so quiet 
that we determined to go on, and we actually steamed past the 
city of Canton, along the whole front, within pistol-shot of the 
town. A line of English men-of-war are now anchored there 
in front of the town. I never felt so ashamed of myself in my 
life, and Elliot remarked that the trip seemed to have made me 
sad. There we were, accumulating the means of destruction 
under the very eyes, and within the reach, of a population of 
about 1,000,000 people, against whom these means of de- 
struction were to be employed ! ' Yes,' I said to Elliot, ' I am 
' sad, because when I look at that town, I feel that I am earning 
' for myself a place in the Litany, immediately after " plague, 
' " pestilence, and famine." ' I believe however that, as far as 
I am concerned, it was impossible for me to do otherwise than 
as I have done. I could not have abandoned the demand to 
enter the city after what happened last winter, without com- 
promising our j)osition in China altogether, and opening the 
way to calamities even greater than those now before us. I 
made my demands on Yeh as moderate as I could, so as to give 
him a chance of accepting ; although, if he had accepted, I 
knew that I should have brought on my head the imprecations 
both of the navy and army and of the civilians, the time 
being given by the missionai-ies and the women. And now 
Yeh having refused, I shall do whatever I can possibly do to 
secure the adoption of plans of attack, &c., which will lead to 
the least destruction of life and property. . . . The weatlier 
is charming ; the thermometer about 60° in the shade in the 
morning; the sun powerful, and the atmosjjhere beautifully 
clear. When we steamed up to Canton, and saw the rich 
alluvial banks covered with the luxuriant evidences of un- 
rivalled industry and natural fertility combined ; beyond them, 
barren uplands, sprinkled with a soil of a reddish tint, which 
gave them the appearance of heather slopes in the Highlands ; 
and beyond these again, the white cloud mountain rancre, 
standing out bold and blue in the clear sunshine, — I thought 


bitterly of those who, for the most selfish objects, are trampling 
under foot this ancient civilisation. 

December 24?A.— My letter telling Yeh that I had handed Summons 
the affair over to the naval and military commanders, and 
Gros's to the same effect, were sent to him to-day ; also a joint 
letter from the commanders, giving him forty-eight hours to 
deliver over the city, at the expiry of which time, if he does 
not do so, it will be attacked. I postponed the delivery of 
these letters till to-day, that the expiry of the forty-eight 
hours might not fall on Christmas Day. Now I hear that the 
commanders will not be ready till Monday, which the Calendar 
tells me is ' the Massacre of the Innocents ! ' If we can take 
the city without much massacre, I shall think the job a good 
one, because no doubt the relations of the Cantonese with the 
foreign population were very unsatisfactory, and a settlement 
was sooner or later inevitable. But nothing could be more 
contemptible than the origin of our existing quarrel. 

We moved this evening to the Barrier Forts, within about 
two miles of Canton, and very near the place where the troops 
are to land for the attack on the city. I have been taking 
walks on shore the last two or three days on a little island 
called Dane's Island, formed of barren hills, with little patches 
of soil between them and on their flanks, cultivated in terraces 
by the industrious Chinese. The people seemed very poor and 
miserable, suffering, I fear, from this horrid war. The French 
Admiral sent on shore to Whampoa some casks of damaged 
biscuit the other day, and there was such a rush for it, that 
some people were, I believe, drowned. The head man came 
afterwards to the officer, expressed much gratitude for the gift, 
but said that if it was repeated, he begged notice might be given 
to him, that he might make arrangements to prevent such dis- 
order. The ships are surrounded by boats filled chiefly by 
women, who pick up orange-peel and offal, and everything that 
is thrown overboard. One of the gunboats got ashore yester- 
day, within a stone's-throw of the town of Canton, and the 
officer had the coolness to call on a crowd of Chinese, who were 
on the quays, to pull her oflP, which they at once did ! Fancy 
having to fight such people ! 

Christmas Day. — Who would have thought, when we 
were spending that cold snowy Christmas Day last year at 
Howick, that this day would find us separated by almost as great 

214 FIRSX fflSSION TO CHINA.- Ch. Vin. 

a distance as is possible on the surface of our globe ! and that 
I should be anchored, as I now am, within two miles of a great 
city, doomed, I fear, to destruction, from the folly of its own 
rulers and the vanity and levity of ours. We have moved a 
little farther up the river this morning, and as we are, like 
St. Paul, dropping an anchor from the stern, I have had over 
my head for several hours the incessant dancing about and 
clanking of a ponderous chain-cable, till my brains are nearly 
all shaken out of their place. 

December 26th. — I have a second letter from Yeh, which is 
even more twaddling than the first. They say that he is all 
day engaged in sacrificing to an idol, which represents the God 
of Physic, and which is so constructed that a stick in its hand 
traces figures on sand. In the figures so traced he is supposed 
to read his fate. 

Early on Monday the 28th the attack began ; and 
Lord Elgin was reluctantly compelled to witness what 
he had been reluctantly compelled to order — the bom- 
bardment of an unresisting town. Happily the damage 
both to life and property proved to be very much less 
serious than at the time he supposed it to be. 

Bombard- December 28th, Noon. — We have been throwing shells, etc., 
™®°'' into Canton since 6 A.M., without almost any reply from the 

town. I hate the whole thing so much, that I cannot trust 
myself to write about it. 

December 29th. — The mail was put off, and I add a line to 
say that I hope the Canton afi'air is over, and well over. . . . 
When I say this affair is over, perhaps I say too much. But 
the horrid bombardment has ceased, and we are in occupation 
of Magazine Hill, at the upper part of the city, within the 

H.M.S. 'Furious,^ Canton River, — January 2nd, 1858. — 
The last week has been a very eventful one : not one of unmixed 
satisfaction to me, because of course there is a great deal that is 
painful about this war, but on the whole the results have been 
successful. On Monday last (the 28th) I was awakened at 6 
A.M. by a cannon-shot, which was the commencement of a bom- 
bardment of the city, which lasted for 27 hours. As the fire 
of the shipping was either not returned at all, or returned only 

1858. TAKING OF CANTON. 215 

by a very few shots, I confess that this proceeding gave me 
great pain at the time. But I find that much less damage has 
been done to the town than I expected, as the fire was confined 
to certain spots. I am on the whole, therefore, disposed to think 
that the measure proved to be a good one, as the terror which 
it has excited in the minds of the Cantonese is more than in 
j)roportion to the injury inflicted, and therefore it will have the 
effect, I trust, of preventing any attempts on their part to dis- 
lodge or attack us, which would entail very great calamities on 
themselves. At 10 a.m. on Monday the troops landed at a 
point about two miles east of the city, and marched up with 
very trifling resistance to Lin Fort, which they took, the French 
entering first, to the great disgust of our people. Next morning 
at 9 A.M. they advanced to the escalade of the city walls, and 
proceeded, with again very slight opposition, to the Magazine 
Hill, on which they hoisted the British and French flags. They ^^P*"^'"* "^ 
then took Gough I'ort with little trouble, and there they were 
by 3 r.M. established- in Cahton. The poor stupid Chinese 
had placed some guns in position to resist an attack from the 
opposite quarter — the quarter, viz. from which Gough attacked 
the city ; and some people suppose that if we had advanced 
from that side we should have met with some resistance. My 
own opinion is, that the resistance would have been no great 
matter in any case, although, no doubt, if we had made the 
attempt in summer, and with sailors only, as some proposed 
when I came here in July, we should probably have met with 
disaster. As it is, my difficulty has been to enforce the adop- 
tion of measures to keep our own people in order, and to prevent 
the wretched Cantonese from being plundered and bullied. This 
task is the more difiicult from the very motley force with which 
vfe have to work, composed, firstly, of French and English ; 
secondly, of sailors to a great extent — they being very imper- 
fectly manageable on shore ; all, moreover, having, I fear, a 
very low standard of morality in regard to stealing from the 
Chinese. There is a word called ' loot,' which gives, unfor- Looting. 
tunately, a venial character to what would, in common English, 
be styled robbery. . . . Add to this, that there is no flogging in 
the French army, so that it is impossible to punish men com- 
mitting this class of offences. ... On the other hand, these 
incomprehensible Chinese, although they make no defence, do 
not come forward to capitulate ; and I am in mortal terror lest 


the French Admiral, who is in the way of looking at these matters 
in a purely professional light, should succeed in inducing our 
chiefs to engage again in offensive operations, which would lead 
to an unnecessary destruction of life and property. I proposed to 
Gros that we should land on the first day of the year, and march 
up to Magazine Hill. He consented, and the chiefs agreed, so 
we landed about 1 P.M. at a point on the river bank imme- 
diately below the south-east angle of the city wall, which is now 
our line of communication between the river and Magazine Hill. 
As we landed, all the vessels in the river hoisted English and 
French flags, and fired salutes. We walked up to the hiU along 
the top of the wall, which is a good wide road, and which was 
all lined with troops and sailors, who presented arms and cheered 
as we passed. We reached the summit at about three. The 
British quarter, which is a sort of temple, stands on the highest 
point, the hill falling pretty precipitously from it on all sides. 
The view is one of the most extensive I ever saw. Towards the 
east and north barren hills of considerable height, and much of 
the character of those we see from Hong-kong. On the west, 
level lands cultivated in rice and otherwise. Towards the south, 
the town lying stiU as a city of the dead. The silence was quite 
painful, especially when we returned about nightfall : but it is 
partly owing to the narrowness of the streets, which prevents 
one from seeing the circulation of population which may be 
going on within. We remained at the top of the hill till about 
half-past five, during which time we blew up the Blue Jacket 
Fort and Gough Fort, and got back to our ships about 8 P.M., 
having spent a very memorable first of January, and made a 
very interesting expedition ; although I could not help feeling 
melancholy when I thought that we were so ruthlessly destroy- 
ing the prestige of a place which had been, for so many cen- 
turies, intact and undefiled by the stranger, and exercising our 
valour against so contemptible a foe. 

January 4:th. — I have not given you as full a description as 
I ought to have done of the views and ceremony of Friday, 
because I saw ' Our own Correspondent ' there, and I think 
I can count on that being well done in the Times. . . . This 
day is a pour of rain, rather unusual for the season. . . . Some 
of the Chinese authorities are beginning to show a desire to 
treat, and some of the inhabitants are presenting petitions to 
us to protect them against robbers, native and foreign. 

1858. ■ CAPTURE OF YEH. 217 

January 6th. — Yesterday was a great day. The chiefs made Capture 
a move which was very judicious, I think, and which answered ° ® ' 
remarkably well. They sent bodies of men at an early hour into 
the city from different points, and succeeded in capturing Yeh, 
the Lieutenant-Governor of the city, and the Tartar General, 
&c. This was done without a shot being fired, and I believe the 
troops behaved very well, abstaining from loot, &c. Altogether 
the thing was a complete success, and I give them great credit 
for it. Yeh has been carried on board the ' Inflexible' steamer 
as a prisoner of war. He is an enormous man. I can hardly 
speak to his appearance, as I only saw him for a moment as he 
passed me in a chair on his way to his vessel. Morrison, who 
has taken a sketch of him, speaks favourably of him ; but it is 
the fashion to abuse even his looks. The Lieutenant- General 
has been allowed to depart, but the Lieutenant-Governor and 
Tartar General are still in custody at head-quarters. At my 
suggestion a proposal was made to the Lieutenant-Governor to- 
day to continue to govern the city under us ; but the stolidity 
of the Chinese is so great that there is no saying what he may 
do. We have given him till to-morrow to determine whether 
he will accept. My whole efforts have been directed to pre- 
serve the Cantonese from the evils of a military occupation ; 
but their stupid apathetic arrogance makes it almost impossible 
to effect this object. Yeh's tone when he was taken was to be 
rather bumptious. The Admiral asked him about an old man 
of the name of Cooper, who was kidnapped. At first he pre- 
tended that he knew nothing about him. When pi-essed he 
said, ' Oh ! he was a prisoner of war. I took him when I drove 
* you away from the city last winter. I took a great deal of 
' trouble with him and the other European prisoners, but I could 
' not keep them alive. They all died, and if you like I'll show 
' you where I had them buried.' Morrison says that when he 
saw him on board the ' Inflexible,' he was very civil and piano. 
He takes it easy, eats and drinks well, &c. He said to his 
captain, that if it was not an indiscreet question, he would 
be glad to know whether it was likely that we should kill 
him. The captain had no difficulty in re-assuring him on that 

January 8th. — We had rather an important day's work yes- 
terday. The Lieutenant-Governor showed some symptoms of 
a willingness to govern on our conditions. This gives some 



Oh. Vni. 

ment of 
a joint 

chance of our getting out of the difficulties of our situation. 
You may imagine what it is to undertake to govern some mil- 
lions of people (the province contains upwards of 20,000,000), 
when we have in all two or three people who understand the 
language I I never had so difficult a matter to arrange. . . . 
Each man has his own way of seeing things, and the real diffi- 
culties of the question being enormous, and the mysteries of the 
Chinese character almost unfathomable, . . . the problem is 
well nigh insoluble. However yesterday we seemed to make 
some progress towards an understanding. We walked up to the 
front along the wall as usual, and very hot it was ; but we 
returned through the town itself with the General and Admiral 
and a large escort. I rode on a pony. It was a strange and 
sad sight. The wretched-looking single-storied houses on 
either side of the narrow streets almost all shut up, only a few 
people making their appearance, and these for the most part 
wan and haggard, and here and there places which the fire 
from our ships had destroyed, all presented a very melancholy 
spectacle ; and one could hardly help asking one's self, with 
some disgust, whether it was worth while to make all the row 
which we have been making, for the sake of getting into this 
miserable place. However, I presume that the better part of 
the population have either fled or hid themselves. I daresay 
if they had returned, and the shops had been opened, the aspect 
of the town would have been different. 

January 9th. — Yesterday I went up again to the front with- 
out Gros, and pressed matters forward towards a solution. The 
result was, that my plan of getting the Governor of the province 
to consent to return to his Yamun and resume his functions, a 
board of our officers, supported by a large body of troops, being 
appointed to inhabit his Yamun with him, and to aid him in 
the maintenance of order, prevailed. . . . To-day we went, 
Gros and I, in great procession to the Governor's Yamun, to 
reinstate him in his office on the above conditions. We were 
carried in chairs through the town, attended by a large escort. 
The city seemed fuller of people than on the occasion of my 
former visit, and they looked more cheerful. 

January lOih. — By a ludicrous mistake, no orders had been 
given to release the Governor and Tartar General, so that, after 
waiting for them for an hour, we heard that the sentry would 
not let them leave the room in which they were confined. The 

1858. JOINT TRIBUNAL. 219 

consequence was that it was getting late, and as I wished to 
get my escort out of the streets before it was dark, we were 
obliged to hurry through the ceremony a little. We began with 
a kind of squabble about seats ; but after that was over, I 
addressed the Governor in a pretty arrogant tone. I did so out 
of kindness, as I now know what fools they are, and what 
calamities they bring upon themselves, or rather on the wretched 
people, by their pride and trickery. Gros followed, in a few 
words endorsing what I had said. The Governor answered very 
satisfactorily. I then rose, saying that we must depart, and 
that we wished him and the Tartar General all sorts of felicity. 
They were good-natured-looking men, the General being of 
great size. They conducted us to the front door, where we 
ought to have found our chairs ; but they had disappeared, to 
the infinite wrath of Mr. Parkes. ... I say the front door ; but 
in fact the house consisted of a series of one-storied pavilions, 
placed one behind the other, and connected by a covered way 
with trellis-work panels running through a sort of garden. 
We got at last into the chairs, and hastened off to the city wall, 
which we reached just as it was getting dark, having thus ter- 
minated about the strangest day which has yet occurred in 
Chinese history, — the Governor of this arrogant city of Canton 
accepting office at the hand of two barbarian chiefs ! 

Wednesday, January \?>th. — You get the least agreeable pic- 
ture of the concerns in which I am engaged ; because, as I write 
this record from day to day, all my anxieties and their causes 
are narrated. On the whole I think the last fortnight has 
been a very successful one. I walked through the city to-day 
with the Admiral and an escort, and saw evident signs of 
improvement in the streets. The people seemed to be resuming 
their avocations, and the shops to be re-opening. My ' Tribunal ' 
is working well. In short, I hope that the evils incident to the 
capture of a city, and especially of a Chinese city, have been in 
this instance very much mitigated. The season is very 
changing. Three nights ago the thermometer did not fall below 
72°, and last nr'ght it fell to 40°. There is a cold wind ; and it 
was necessary to walk briskly to-day to keep one's-self warm. 

January \%th. — Though I was able to send off the last 
despatches with something of a satisfactory report, we are by 
no means, I fear, yet out of the wood. I took a long walk in 
the city of Canton yesterday. I visited the West Gate, where EKodus. 


I found a stream of people moving outwards, and was told hj 
the officer that this goes on from morning to night. They say, 
when asked, that they are going out of town to celebrate the 
New Year, but my belief is that they are flying from us. Tlie 
streets were full, and the people civil. Quantities of eating 
stalls, but a large proportion of the shops still shut. As we 
got near the wall in our own occupation, some people ran up to 
us complaining that they had been robbed. We went into the 
houses and saw clearly enough the signs of devastation. I have 
no doubt, from the description, that the culprits were French 
sailors. If this goes on one fortnight after we have captured 
the town, when is it to stop ? ... It is very difficult to remedy. 
. . . Nothing could, I believe, be worse than our own sailors, 
but they are now nearly all on board ship, and we have the 
resource of the Cat. . . . All this is very sad, but I am 
not yet quite at the end of my tether. If things do not mend 
within a few days I shall startle my colleagues by proposing to 
abandon the town altogether, giving reasons for it which will 
enable me to state on paper all these points. No human 
power shall induce me to accept the office of oppressor of the 

January 20th. — I hinted at my ideas as to the evacuation of 
the city, and it has had an excellent effect. . . . There is a 
notable progress towards quiet in the city. Still, I fear the tide 
of emigration is going on. Parkes is exerting himself with 
considerable effect, and he is really very clever. There were 
a great many more shops open in the streets yesterday than I 
had seen before. . ; . What a thinor it is to have to deal with 
A eoter ^ sober population ! I have wandered about the streets of 
population. Canton for some seven or eight days since the capture, and I 
have not seen one drunken man. In any Christian town we 
should have had numbers of rows by this time arising out of 
drunkenness, however cowed the population might have been. 
The Tribunal convicted a Chinaman the other day for selling 
' samshoo ' to the soldiers. I requested Parkes to hand him 
over to the Governor Pehkwei for punishment. This was done, 
and the arrangement answered admirably. The Governor was 
pleased, he presented himself before the Chinese as the executor 
of our judgments, and at fhe same time we, to a certain extent, 
seemed to be conceding to the Chinese the principle of ex- 
territoriality which we assert as against them. ... I have no 


' responsible ministers ' here, though the presence of a colleague, 
and, since military operations began, the position of the naval 
and military Commanders-in-Chief, have required me to act with 
some caution, in order to make the wheels of the machine work 
smoothly and keep on the rails. For this reason it was that I 
suggested a few days ago the plan of evacuation. The mainten- Mainten- 
ance of order in a city under martial law was, 1 felt, an aifair ^°?® °^ 
rather for the Commander-in-Chief than for me, therefore I was 
in a false position when I meddled with it directly. But the 
question of remaining in the city or not was a political one. 
By letting it be known that I had there my lines of Torres 
Vedras, upon which I should fall back if necessary, I obtained 
the influence I required for insuring, as far as possible, the 
adoption of satisfactory arrangements within the city. I must 
add that this evacuation plan was not intended by me to be a 
mere threat. I have it clearly matured in my mind as a thing 
feasible, and which would be under certain circumstances an 
advisable plan to adopt. In taking Canton we had, as I under- 
stand it, two objects in view : the one to prove that we could 
take it ; the other to have in our hands something to give up 
when we come to terms with the Emperor, — ' a material guaran- 
tee.' I believe that the capture of the city, followed by the 
capture of Yeh, has settled the former point. Indeed, from all 
that I hear, I infer that the capture of Yeh has had more effect 
on the Chinese mind than the capture of the city. I believe, 
therefore, that we might abandon the city without losing much 
if anything on this head. No doubt we should lose on the 
second head ; we should not have Canton to give up when a 
treaty was concluded, if we had given it up already. Even then 
however we might, by retaining the island of Honan, the forts, 
&c., do a good deal towards providing a substitute ; so that you 
see my threat was made bona fide. I certainly should have 
preferred the loss to which I have referred, to the continuance 
of a state of things in which the Allied troops were plundering 
the inhabitants. 

January 2^th. — Baron Gros and I were conversing together 
yesterday on affairs in this quarter, and among other things he 
told me 1;hat we were both much reproached for our laxity, and 
that I wis more blamed on that account than he. I said to 
him : ' I can praise you on many accounts, my dear Baron, but 
' I cannot compliment you on being a greater brute than I am.' 

222 FIRST mssioN to china. ch. vm. 

Whatever was the feeling of the British residents, 
and whatever excuses may be made for it, the consistent 
humanity shown both in the taking and in the occupa- 
tion of the city did not fail to strike Mr. Reed, the 
Plenipotentiary of the United States, who wrote to 
Lord Elgin : ' I cannot omit this opportunity of most 
' sincerely congratulating you on the success at Canton, 
' the great success of a bloodless victory, the merit of 
' which, I am sure, is mainly due to your Lordship's 
' gentle and discreet counsels. My countrymen will, I 
' am sure, appreciate it.' ' This,' observes Lord Elgin, 
' from the representative of the United States, is grati- 
' fying both personally and politically.' 

January 28th. — I am glad to say that this mail conveys, 
on the whole, a satisfactory report of the progress of affairs, 
though this letter puts you in possession of all the ehbs and 
flows which have taken place during the fortnight. I send 
a leaf of geranium, which I culled in the garden of the Tartar 
Canton January 31 sf. — I visited yesterday two of the Canton prisons, 

and witnessed there some sights of horror beyond what I could 
have pictured to myself. Many of the inmates were so re- 
duced by disease and starvation, that their limbs were not as 
thick as my wrist. One man who was in this condition was in 
the receptacle for untried prisoners, and said he had been there 
seven years. In one of the courts which we entered, there was 
a cell closed in by a double row of upright posts, which is the 
common style of gate at Canton, and I was attracted to it by 
the groans of its inmates. I desired it to be opened, and such 
a spectacle as it presented I The prisoners were covered with 
sores, produced by severe beatings ; one was already dead, and 
the rats, — but I cannot go further in description. The others 
could hardly crawl, they were so emaciated, and my conviction 
is that they were shut in there to die. The prison authorities 
stated that they had escaped at the time of the bombardment 
for which they had been punished as we saw. If the statement 
was true, they must have been systematically starved since 
their recapture. Our pretext for visiting the prisons was to 
discover whether any Europeans, or persons who had been in 



the service of, or had had relations with Europeans, were con- 
fined in them. "We toot out some who professed to belong to 
the latter classes. I went a step further, by taking out a poor 
boy of fifteen, whom we found in chains, but so weak that 
when we took them off he was unable to stand. I told Mr. 
Parkes to take him to Pehkwei from me, as a sample of the 
manner in which his prisons are managed. 

February '2nd. — Pehkwei was very indignant at our visit 
to his prisons, and hinted that he would make away with him- 
self, in a letter which he wrote to me on the subject. How- 
ever, he was obliged to admit that some of the things we found 
were very bad, and quite against the Chinese law. On re- 
viewing the whole I must admit, that, except in the case of the 
one cell that I have described, it was rather neglect, want of 
food, medical care, cleanliness, &c., than positive cruelty, of 
which one found evidence in the prisons. 

Canton tlie impregnable liad been taken, and v^^as in 
the mUitaiy occupation of the allied forces ; Yeh, the 
Terror of Barbarians, was a captive beyond the seas ; 
so completely v^as all resistance crushed, that it was 
found possible to raise the blockade of the Canton 
River, and to let trade return to its usual channels. 
Still nothing was achieved so long as the Emperor 
remained aloof, and could represent the affair as a local 
disturbance not affecting the imperial power. To any 
permanent settlement it was essential that he should be 
a party ; the next step, therefore, was to move north- ^^o|'«_ 
wards to Shanghae, and there open direct negotiations wards. 
with the Court of Pekin ; and, for the success of these 
negotiations, it was obviously of great importance that 
the envoys of England and France should have the 
co-operation of the representatives of Russia and the 
United States.' 

February ith. — Still no letters. To-morrow, Frederick is to 
go to Macao, to take to Messrs. Reed and Putiatine copies of 
all my diplomatic correspondence with Yeh, &c., and an invita- 


tion to each that he will join us in an attempt to settle matters 
by negotiation at Shanghae. It is the commencement of the 
third act in this Chinese affair. 

February 6th. — I have a letter from Mr. Reed, saying that 
he is going to the North this day, so that perhaps Frederick 
will not find him. This would be a great disappointment. 

Sunday, February 1th. — A month without news is very long 
to wait. Perhaps time passes a little more quickly than when 
one was dawdling and doing nothing at Hong-kong; but still 
this life is tiresome enough. I do not suppose that there ever 
was a town of the same extent, or a population of the same 
number, more utterly uninteresting than the town and popula- 
tion of Canton — low houses, narrow streets, temples contain- 
ing some hideous idols, which are not apparently in the least 
venerated by their own worshippers. The only other resource 
is the curiosity shops, and, as you know, I have not the genius 
for making collections. 

February 9th. — Things have taken a better turn. F. by 
steaming at night from Macao to Hong-kong caught Keed 
about an hour before that fixed for his departure for the North. 
He was delighted with my communication, and has written 
undertaking to co-operate cordially with us. This is, I think, 
a very great diplomatic triumph, because it not only smooths 
the way for future proceedings, but it greatly relieves our 
anxiety about Canton, as the Americans are the only people 
who would be likely to give us trouble during the military 

February lOth. — "We have got Putiatine's letter for Pekin. 
It is very good ; perhaps better than any of the lot. . . . How- 
ever, the entente is now established. My mind, too, is a good 
deal relieved to-day by seeing the wretched junks, which have 
been shut up so long by the blockade, with their sails set, 
gliding down the river. I sent Mr. Wade to visit Yeh yester- 
day, to see how he took the notion of being sent out of the 
country to Calcutta or elsewhere. He adhered to his policy of 
indifference, real or affected, I cannot tell which. I suppose it 
is a point of pride with him never to complain. 
Canton." ^- ^^■' S. ' Furious.'— February 20th.— 1 am now off from 

Canton, never I hope to see it again. Two months I have 
been there— engaged in this painful service— checking, as I 
have best been able to do, the disjjosition to maltreat this un- 


fortunate people. . . . On the whole I think I have heen suc- 
cessful. There never -was a Chinese town which suffered so 
little by the occupation of a hostile force ; and considering the 
difficulties which our alliance with the French (though I have 
had all support from Gros, in so far as he can give it) has oc- 
casioned, it is a very signal success. The good people at 
Hohg-kong, &c., do not know whether to be incredulous or 
disgusted at this policy. ... I am told a parcel^ of ridiculous 
stories about arming of Braves, &c. I hear^ that in the 
western suburb the people ' looked ill-natured,f so I have been 
the greater part of my two last days in that suburb, looking in 
vain into faces to discover these menacing indications. Yester- 
day, I walked through very out-of-the-way streets and crowded 
thoroughfares with Wade and two saUors, through thousands 
and thousands, without a symptom of disrespect. ... I know 
that our people for a long time used to insist on every China- 
man they met taking his hat off. Of course it rather astonished 
a respectable Chinese shopkeeper to be poked in the ribs by a 
sturdy sailor or soldier, and told, in bad Chinese or in panto- 
mime, to take off his hat, which is a thing they never do, and 
which is not with them even a mark of respect. I only men- 
tion this as an instance of the follies which people commit when 
they know nothing of the manners of those with whom they 
have to deal. . . . We are steaming down to Hong-kong on a 
beautiful fresh morning. I feel as if I was a step on my way 

At Hong-kong he remained nearly a fortniglit, that 
his ship might be fitted to go to the North : his letter 
for Pekin being sent on, in the meantime, to Shanghae, 
by the hands of his secretary, Mr. Oliphant.^ 

February 26iA.— To-morrow this letter goes, and still no 
mailfrom England. I think of starting in a few days, and call- 
ing at the other ports — Foochow, Amoy, and Ningpo. I have 
a line from Oliphant, who took up my letter to Shanghae, and 
made a quick though rough passage. We shall be a good deal 
lono-er on the way, and my captain advises me to be off, to 
anticipate the equinox. I have just written a despatch to 
Lord Clarendon, to tell him that perhaps I may go direct 

^ Mr. Oliphanfa ' Narrative ' con- places which he visited in the exe- 
tains an interesting account of the cution of this mission. 




Oh. \TII. 



from Shanghae to Japan, and so home. It is almost too good 
a prospect to be realised. 

February 21 th. — I had Reed to dine with me yesterday. He 
is off this morning to Manila, en route for Shanghae. The 
Russian returns on Monday, and we are going to Shanghae by 
the same route most fraternally. . . . Your accounts of the 
boys make me feel as if I had been an age away from home. 
God grant that I may get through this business soon, and 
return to find you all flourishing ! 

March 1st. — I received your letters yesterday. . . . How I 
wish that I had joined that merry dance on Christmas Day at 
Dunmore, and seen B. and R. performing their reel steps, and 
F.' snapping his fingers ! You know now how differently my 
New Year was passed — traversing that vast city of the dead 
— meditating over that 28th December which Herod had 
already hallowed. . . . These letters are my conscience and 
memory, the only record I keep of passing emotions and 
events. . . . Depend upon it the true doctrine is one I have 
before propounded to you : Do nothing with which your own 
conscience can reproach you ; nothing in its largest sense ; 
nothing, including omission as well as commission ; not nothing 
only in the meaning of having done no ill, but nothing also in 
the meaning of having omitted no opportunity of doing good. 
You are then well with yourself. If it is worth while to be 
well with others — SUCCEED. 

H.M.S. ' Furious,^ Swatoio. — March 5th. — I am again on the 

wide ocean, though for the moment at anchor. 

The settle- 

ment here is against treaty. It consists mainly of agents of 
the two great opium-houses. Dent and Jardine, with their 
hangers-on. This, with a considerable business in the coolie 
trade — which consists in kidnapping wretched coolies, putting 
them on board ships where all the horrors of the slave-trade 
are reproduced, and sending them on specious promises to such 
places as Cuba — is the chief business of the 'foreign' mer- 
chants at Swatow. Swatow itself is a small town some miles 
up the river. I can only distinguish it by the great fleet of 
junks lying off it. The place where the foreigners live is a 
little island, barren, but nicely situated at the mouth of the 
river. A number of Chinese are resorting to it, and putting 

' Bruce, Robert, and Frederick, his three sons. 

1858. MR. BURNS. 227 

up rather good houses for Chinese. The population has a 
better appearance than the Cantonese. The men powerful and 
frank-looking, and some of the women not quite hideous. Our 
people get on very well with the natives here. They have no 
consuls or special protection ; so they act, I presume, with mode- 
ration, and matters go on quite smoothly. I went into the house 
of one of the ' ShroiFs ' (bankers or money-dealers) connected 
with Jardine's house, and I found the gentleman indulging 
in his opium-pipe. He gave us some delicious tea. . . . The 
Shroffs here are three brothers. They came from Canton, their 
father remained behind. The mandarins wanting money to 
carry on the war with us, called upon him to pay 12,000 taels 
about 4,000Z. They used him as the screw to get this sum 
from his sons who were in foreign employ. Though the old 
man had resolved to leave his home and his patch of ground 
rather than pay, his sons provided the money and sent him 
back. Such cases are constantly occurring here, and they show 
how strong the family affections are in China. 

Another case was mentioned to me yesterday, which illustrates Rough 
the very roundabout way in which justice is arrived at among J^*^''^- 
ns all here. The coolies in a French coolie ship rose. The 
master and mate jumped overboard, and the coolies ran the 
ship on shore, where the crew had their clothes, &c., taken 
from them, but were otherwise well treated. On this a French 
man-of-war comes, proceeds to Swatow, which is fifty miles 
from the scene of the occurrence, and informs the people that 
they will bombard the place immediately unless 6,000 dollars 
are paid. They got the money, but the mandarins at once 
squeezed it out of these same Shroffs, saying, that as they 
brought the barbarians to the spot, they must pay for the 
damages they inflicted. Meanwhile, the ' foreigners ' have it, 
I apprehend, much their own way. They are masters of the 
situation, pay no duties except tonnage dues, which are paid 
by them at about one-third of the amount paid by native vessels 
of the same burthen ! 

Hearing that Mr. Burns, a missionary, whose case is Mr. Burns. 
narrated in the series of ' insults by the Chinese authorities ' 
submitted to Parliament (he having been in fact very kindly 
treated, as he himself acknowledges), was at the island, I 
invited him to breakfast. I found him a very interesting 
person, really an enthusiastic missionary, and kindly in his 



feelings towards the Chinese. He wears the Chinese attire, 
not as a disguise, but to prevent crowds being attracted by his 
appearance. He does not boast of much success in converting, 
but the Chinese are very willing to listen to him and to take 
books. They approve of all books that inculcate virtue, morality, 
&c., but they have no taste for the distinctive doctrines of 
Christianity. As Yeh said, when a Bible was presented to 
him from the Bishop : — ' I know that book quite well, a very 
' good book. It teaches men to be virtuous, like the Budd- 
' histic books ;' and then turning very politely to his captain, 
' WiU you be good enough to take care of this book till I 
* want it.' 

The country in this neighbourhood is very lawless. Burns, a 
few days before he was arrested, slept with his two companions, 
two native Christians, in a large village. During the night 
the house he was in was broken into, and all they had stolen. 
Nothing remained but a few of their books, which they carried . 
tied to sticks over their shoulders. A peasant came up to him 
and said, ' I see you are not accustomed to carry loads,' and 
took his burden and carried it for him six miles, asking for 
nothing in return. Other natives bought the books (they had 
previously given them gratuitously), and thus they got money 
enough to go on with. When they got into this principal 
town, and were arrested by the police, the authorities seemed 
rather to regret it. They underwent some interrogatories 
which Burns seems to have turned into a sort of sermon, for 
he went at length into Christian teaching, and the judges 
listened most complacently. They confined them in prison, 
but did everything they could to make Burns himself comfort.- 
able. His companions were not so well treated. Pie joined 
them at one time at his own request, under circumstances 
curiously illustrative of Chinese manners. A subordinate of 
the gaoler with whom he was lodged died from swallowing 
opium. The gaoler was at once held responsible, and his 
house was mobbed. On which Mr. Burns, not knowing the 
cause of the disturbance, asked to rejoin his companions. He 
found them shut up in a very loathsome cell, with several 
other prisoners ; a place something like my Canton prisons ; 
but he said they did very well while there, for they were able 
to preach to the other prisoners. At one of the interrogatories. 

1858. FOOCflOW. 229 

one of his companions, the more zealous of the two, on being 
asked why he had brought a foreigner to the place, answered 
that it was because he was a Christian, and that their books 
said, ' It is better to die with the wise than to live with fools.' 
This sentiment was not considered complimentary by the man- 
darins, who immediately ordered him to be beaten, upon which 
he got ten blows on each side of his face with an instrument 
like the sole of a shoe. Mr. B. told this story, but added that 
he believed the beating had been determined on before, for his 
other companion, who was the more worldly of the two, and 
who had probably found his way to the heart of the gaoler, 
was told that he too would be beaten that day, but that the 
blows would be laid on by a friendly hand, and that if he kept 
his cheek loose, he would not feel them much. 

March 8th. — We are entering Foochow ; a most beautiful A.moj. 
day ; the sea smooth as glass. We left Amoy last night. I 
went to church in the forenoon at the Consulate. An American 
missionary preached. There are several missionaries at Amoy. 
They have, as they say, about 300 converts. The foreigners 
and natives get on very well there. The town is a poor 
enough place, and the island seems rocky and barren. How it 
can sustain the great population which inhabits the villages 
that cover it is a mystery. 

March I4:th. — A vessel from Shanghae brought me this 
morning a letter from Oliphant, which shows that he has got 
well through the business which I entrusted to him.' He went 
with my letter for the Prime Minister of the Emperor to a 
city named Soochow, which is not open to foreigners, and 
which is moreover the seat of beauty and fashion in the empire, 
and he seems to have been well received. This is a good sign. 
An edict has moreover been issued by the Emperor degrading 
Yeh, and moderate in its tone as regards foreigners. All this 
looks as if there would be at Pekin a disposition to settle 
matters. God grant that it may be so, that I may get home, 
and not be required to do farther violence to these poor people. 

The scenery of Foochow and its neighbourliood Foochow. 
struck him as singularly beautiful. Even in an official 
despatch vre find him writing of it as follows ; — 

^ See Us ' Narrative/ vol. i. c. xi. 


With the exception perhaps of Chusan, I have as yet seen 
no place in China which, in point of beauty of scenery, rivals 
Foochow. The Min river passes to the sea between two 
mountain ranges, which, wherever the torrents have not washed 
away every particle of earth from the surface, are cultivated by 
the industrious Chinese in terraces to their very summits. 
These mountain ranges close in upon its banks during the last 
part of its course : at one time confining it to a comparatively 
narrow channel, and at another suffering it to expand into a 
lake ; but in the vicinity of the Pagoda Island they separate, 
leaving between them the plain on which Foochow stands. This 
plain is diversified by hill and dale, and comprises the Island of 
Nantai, which is the site of the foreign settlement. At the 
season of my visit, both hills and plain were chiefly covered 
with wheat ; but I was informed that the soil is induced, by 
irrigation and manure applied liberally, to yield in many cases, 
besides the wheat crop, two rice crops during the year. We 
walked with perfect freedom, both about the town and into the 
surrounding country. Nothing could be more courteous than 
the people of the villages, or more quaint than the landscape, 
consisting mainly of hillocks dotted with horseshoe graves, 
and monuments to the honour of virtuous maidens and faith- 
ful widows, surrounded by patches of wheat and vegetables. 
Kensal Green or P^re la Chaise, cultivated as kitchen gardens, 
would not inaptly represent the general character of the rural 
districts of China which I have visited. 

In some respects, however, the iinpression was not 
so satisfactory. In his journal he says : — 

The people whom we met in our peregrinations were per- 
fectly civil. The Consul, too, and Europeans were civil like- 
wise. They were willing to give me information. I do not 
know that I carried much away with me, except the general 
impression, that our trade is carried on on principles which 
are dishonest as regards the Chinese, and demoralising to our 
own people. 
American At Foochow, I saw one of the American missionaries, a very 
worthy man I should think, but not of the stamp of Mr. Bums. 
He had been about eight years at Foochow, and he computed 
the converts made by himself and his brother missionaries at 
fifteen. He said that they were particular as to the conduct 


1858. CHINHAE. NINGPO. 231 

of their converts ; but I cannot affirm that he satisfied me that 
they accepted in any very earnest way the peculiar doctrines 
of Christianity. However, I daresay that these missionaries 
do good, for the Chinese are not fanatics, and it must do them 
a benefit to see among them some foreigners who are not en- 
gaged exclusively in money-making. 

March \6th. — We are at anchor off Chinhae at the mouth of Chinhae. 
the river which leads to Ningpo. We have just returned from 
a walk on shore. We passed through a small walled town, and 
climbed up a hill to a temple on the summit, from which we 
had a magnificent prospect. On the east and north, the sea 
studded with the islands of the Chusan group ; on the west, a 
rich plain, through which the river meanders on its way from 
Ningpo ; on the north, a succession of mountain ranges. We 
were accompanied by some curious but good-natured Chinamen, 
who seemed anxious to give us information. A very dirty lad, 
without a tail, proved to be the piiest. After looking about us 
for some time, we entered the building ; which contained a sort 
of central shrine, in which were some gilt figures of large size, 
besides rows of smaller gilt figures round the walls. I observed 
a number of slips of paper with Chinese characters upon them ; 
and being told that they were used for diviuation purposes, I 
asked how it was done : upon which one of the Chinamen took 
from before the shrine a thing like a match-holder, full of bits 
of stick like matches, and kneeling down on a hassock, began 
to shake this case till one of the bits of stick fell out. He 
picked it up, and finding a single notch upon it, selected from 
the slips of paper which I had noticed the one which had a 
corresponding mark. We carried it away, and I intend to get 
Mr. Wade to translate it that I may send it to you. The other 
Chinamen present seemed very much amused at what was going 
on. They do not appear to have a particle of reverence for 
their religion, and yet they spend a good deal of money on their 

Wade's teacher (so the Chinaman who aids him in the work 
of interpretation is styled) has told him that the lot which fell to 
me at the Buddhist temple is the No. 1 lot, the most fortunate 
of all. Their system of divination is rather complicated, but, 
as I understand it, it appears to be that Noah, or some one who 
lived about his time, discovered eight symbols on the back of 
a tortoise. These, multiplied into themselves, make sixty-four. 


which constituted the Book of Fate. It appears that my lot is 
the first of the eight, and therefore the best that can be got ! 
Ningpo. Ningpo. — March 18^A. — We arrived here yesterday, and I 

have been walking both days about the town with Mr. Meadows, 
the author, who is vice-consul here. I am disappointed with 
the city, of which I had heard a great deal. But the people 
are even more amiable than at any other place I have visited. 
Oliphant has rejoined us in high spirits, after his visit to Soo- 
chow. I cross-examined a Church of England clergyman about 
his converts. When pressed, he could only name one who 
seemed to be conscious of the want which we believe to be 
supplied by the Atonement. About 100, however, including 
children, attend churches in Ningpo, of whom thirty have been 

Ningpo was one of the places which had been treated 
with more than ordinary severity in the last war. It 
was also one of the places in which the natives showed 
the most friendly disposition towards foreigners. To 
the resident traders the inference was obvious : the 
severity was the cause of the friendly disposition, and it 
had only to be applied elsewhere to produce the like 
results. With evident satisfaction Lord Elgin sets him- 
self, in an official despatch, to refute this reasoning. 
After observing that the natives showed rather an ex- 
aggeration than a defect of the desire to live peaceably 
with foreigners, he proceeds : — 

The state of Ningpo in this respect furnishes their favourite 
and, perhaps, most plausible argument, to that class of persons 
who advocate what is styled a vigorous policy in China ; in 
other words, a policy which consists in resorting to the most 
violent measures of coercion and repression on the slenderest 
provocations. They say, ' Eemember what happened at Ningpo 
' during the last war, and observe the consideration and respect 
' which is evinced towards you there. Treat other towns in 
' China likewise, and the result will be the same.' I question 
the soundness of this inference. Ningpo is situated on the 
south-eastern verge of the mighty valley of the Yang-tze-kiang, 
which is inhabited by a population the most inoffensive, per- 
haps, both by disposition and habit, of any on the surface of 

1858, NINGPO. CHL'SAN. 233 

the earth. Their amenity towards the foreigner is due, I appre- 
hend, to temperament, as much, at least, as to the recollection 
of the violence which they may have sustained at his hands. 

I have made it a point, whenever I have met missionaries or 
others who have penetrated into the interior from Ningpo and 
Shanghae, to ask them what treatment they experienced on 
those expeditions, and the answer has almost invariably been 
that, at points remote from those to which foreigners have 
access, there was no diminution, but on the contrary rather an 
enhancement, of the courtesy exhibited towards them by the 

H. M. 8. 'Furious.'' — March 20^^. — Yesterday, I called on Mission- 
a clergyman to see Miss Aldersey, — a remarkable lady, who ^T i 
came out here immediately after the last war, and has been de- 
voting herself and her fortune to the education and Christian- 
isation of the Chinese at Ningpo. She seems a nice person, but 
I could not get as much conversation with her as I wished, 
because the Bishop, &c., were present all the time. She has 
to, pay the girls a trifle, as an equivalent for what their labour 
is worth, for coming to her school, or to board them and keep 
them, as it is not at all in the ideas of the Chinese that women 
should be educated. She does not seem to have got the entree 
into Chinese houses of the richer class. Mrs. Russell (wife of 
the English clergyman), who speaks the language, has obtained 
it a little. I cannot make out that, when she visits them, they 
ever talk of anything except where she got her dress, &c. ; but 
on great occasions, when they assemble for ceremonies in the 
temples, they seem very devout. In private they treat these 
matters with great indifference. I had some of the missionaries 
to dinner. They put the converts at a larger number than I 
understood Mr. Russell to do, but otherwise their report did 
not differ materially from his. 

Chusan. — March 2\st. — This is a most charming island. Chusan. 
How any people, in their senses, could have preferred Hong- 
kong to it, seems incredible. The people too, that is to say, 
the lower orders, seem really to like us. We walked through 
the town of Tinghae, and asked at the shop of a seller of per- 
fumed sticks for the ' Mosquito tobacco,' but in vain. We 
then passed through the further gate of the city into the coun- 
try beyond, and seeing something like a chapel, made towards 



Oh. YBI. 





it. A man, dressed as a Chinaman, came out to meet us. He 
addressed us in French, and proved to be a Roman Catholic 
priest. He was very civil, and asked us into his house, where 
he gave us some tea, grown on his own farm. He has been 
here two years quite alone, and he was ten years before in the 
province of Kiangsii. He says that he has some 200 converts. 
Some twenty boys, deserted children, he brings up, and works 
on his farm. I saw them, and I must say I never beheld a 
more happy and well-conditioned set of boys. In the town 
was an establishment for younger children, chiefly girls, under 
the charge of a Chinese female convert. After he had given us 
tea, the missionary accompanied us in our walk. He first took 
us to a sort of cottage-villa, belonging to one of the rich in- 
habitants, consisting of about a couple of acres of ground, 
covered by kiosks and grottos and dwarf-trees, and ups and 
downs and zigzags, — all in the most approved Chinese fashion. 
From thence we clambered up a mountain of, I should think, 
some 1,200 feet in height, from which we had a very extensive 
view, and beheld ranges of hills, separated by cosy valleys, 
on one side ; on the other, the walled city of Tinghae, sur- 
rounded by rice-fields ; beyond, the sea studded with islands of 
the Chusan group. It was a beautiful view, and we returned 
to the ship very much pleased with our scramble. 

March 22nd. — I have just returned from a walk to the top 
of a hill, on the opposite side of the flat on which the town is 
situated from that which we mounted yesterday. The day is 
charming, clear, with a fanning, bracing air. We had a finer 
view almost than yesterday. The same character of scenery 
all round the island. Spacious flats on the sea-board under 
irrigation ; about one-half of the fields covered (now) with 
water, and the other half in crop, chiefly beans, wheat, and 
rape, which, with its yellow flower, gives warmth to the colour- 
ing of the landscape ; these flats, fringed by hills of a goodly 
height— say from 600 to 1,200 feet, — which cluster together as 
they recede from the sea- board, compressing the flats into 
narrow valleys, and finally extinguishing them altogether. The 
hills tJiemselves barren, with patches here and there of Chinese 
cultivation and fir plantations, the first I have seen in China. 
Turn your eyes to the sea, and you have before you innume- 
rable islands dotting its surface, the same in character, though 
smaller in size, than that on which you are standing. I have 

1858. POTOU. 235 

seldom seen a more delightful spot. In going on our walk, we 
passed by the burying-ground of the British who died while 
we occupied the island, and we did something to put order 
among their neglected graves. On our return, we passed by a 
cottage where an old lady was seated at her spinning-wheel. 
I entered. She received us most courteously, placed chairs 
for us, and immediately set to work to prepare tea. When 
she found that one of the party was a doctor, a son (grown up) 
was produced who was suffering from ague. We brought him 
on board, and gave him some quinine. He showed us the 
medicine he was taking. It appeared to be a sort of mash of 
bits of bamboo and all sorts of vegetable ingredients. The 
doctor who tried it said it had no taste. I should mention that 
at the landing-place we met some of the French missionary's 
boys, who brought me a present of eggs and fowls and salad 
from the farm, in return for a dollar which I gave them yes- 
terday to buy cakes withal. 

March 23rrf.-7-We set off this morning to visit Potou.' After Potou. 
landing on the beach, we proceeded along a spacious paved path 
to a monastery, in a very picturesque spot under the grey granite 
hills. We entered the buildings, which were like all other 
Buddhistic temples — the same images, &c. — and were soon sur- 
rounded by crowds of the most filthy and miserable-looking 
bonzes, some clad in grey and some in yellow. All were very Bonzes. 
civil, however, and on the invitation of the superior — who had 
a much more intelligent look than the rest — we went into an 
apartment at the side of the temple and had some tea. After a 
short rest we proceeded on our way, and mounted a hill about 
1,500 feet in height, passing by some more temples on the way. 
I never saw human beings apparently in a lower condition than 
these bonzes, though some of the temples were under repair, and 
on the whole tolerably cared for. The view from the top of the 
hill was magnificent, and there was glorious music here and 
there, from the sea rolling in upon the sandy beach. We met 
some women (not young ones) going up the hill in chairs to ^ 
worship at the temples, and found, in some, individuals at their 
devotions. In one there was a monk, hidden behind a great 
drum, repeating in a plaintive tone, over and over again, the 
name of Buddha, ' ameta fo,' or something like that sound. I 
observed some with lumps on the forehead, evidently produced 

' A sacred island, in the ' sea of water-lilies.' 


by knocking it against the ground. The utter want of respect 
of these people for their temples, coupled with this asceticism 
and apparent self-sacrifice in their religion, is a combination 
which I cannot at present understand. It has one bad effect, 
that in the plundering expeditions which we Christians dignify 
with the name of war in these countries, idols are ripped up in 
the hope of finding treasure in them, temple ornaments seized, 
and in short no sort of consideration is shown for the religious 
feelings of the natives. 

The following notice of the sarae sacred island occurs 
in one of his despatches : — 

I trust that I may be permitted to offer one remark in re- 
ference to Potou, an islet adjoining Chusan, which I touched 
at on my way from the latter place to Chapoo. Little inform- 
ation, of course, was to be gathered there on questions di- 
rectly affecting trade or politics, for it is a holy spot, exclusively 
appropriated to temples in tinsel and bonzes in rags ; but it 
was impossible to wander over it as I did, visiting with entire 
impunity its most sacred recesses, without being forcibly re- 
minded of the fact that one, at least, of the obstacles to inter- 
course between nations, which operates most powerfully in 
many parts, especially of the East, can hardly be said to exist 
in China. The Buddhistic faith does not seem to excite in the 
popular mind any bigoted antipathy to the professors of other 
creeds. The owner of the humblest dwelling almost invariably 
offers to the foreigner who enters it the hospitable tea-cup, 
without any apparent apprehension that his guest, by using, will 
defile it; and priests and worshippers attach no idea of pro- 
fanation to the presence of the stranger in the joss-house. 
This is a fact, as I humbly conceive, not without its signifi- 
cance, when we come to consider what prospect there may be 
of our being able to extend and multiply relations of commerce 
and amity with this industrious portion of the human race. 

The private journal proceeds : — 

March 24:th. — We are gliding through a perfectly smooth 
sea, with islands on both sides of us, on a beautifully calm and 
clear day, warmer than of late, but still tart enough to feel 
healthy. We passed a fleet of some hundreds of junks, pro- 
ceeding northward under convoy of some lorchas of the 'Arrow' 

1858. CHAPOO. SHANGHAE. 237 

class, carrying flags which they probably have no right to. 
These lorchas exact a sort of black mail from the junks, and 
plunder them whenever it is more profitable to do so than to 
protect them. They often have Europeans on board. Poor 
Yeh has suffered severely for our sins in respect to this descrip- 
tion of craft. We are on our way to Chapoo now, a port not 
opened to trade, but one which I am ordered by the Govern- 
ment to induce the Chinese to open. As it is very little out of 
the way to Shanghae, I wish to look at it in passing. 

March 25th. — We reached Chapoo at about 5 p.m. I did Chapoo. 
not land, but some of the party did, and mounted a hill from 
whence they looked down upon a walled town of no great size, 
and a plain, perfectly flat, stretching for any number of miles 
beyond it. The people, as usual, were civil, and made no 
difliculties, although we have no right to land there. The bay 
in which we anchored is open, and not in any particular way 
interesting. At about three this morning we started, and have 
been favoured with as good a day as yesterday. We have had 
nothing of the bold coasts of previous days, and passed occa- 
sionally islands flatter than those seen before. We are now in 
the mouth of the Yang-tze-kiang, with a perfectly flat and low 
shore on one side, and an equally flat one just discoverable 
with the aid of the telescope on the other. A good many 
junks are sailing about us, their dark sails filled with a lively 
breeze. Before us is a large man-of-war, which I am just told 
is the American ' Minnesota.' So our cruise is coming to an 
end, which I regret, as it has been a very pleasant break, and 
at least for the time has kept me out of reach of the bothers of 
my mission. We have reason too to be most thankful for the 
weather with which we have been favoured, and if Mr. Reed 
is before me he cannot complain, as I am here on the very day 
on which I said T should reach Shanghae. This is a very 
strange coast. The sea seems to be filling up with the de- 
posits of the rivers. We have an island (inhabited) beside us, 
which did not exist a few years ago. We have not during 
all yesterday and to-day had ever more than eight fathoms of 

Shanghae had been named as the rendezvous for the shanghae. 
Allied Powers. There, as he had written to the Em- 
peror's Prime Minister, 'the Plenipotentiaries of Eng- 


' land and France would be prepared to enter into 
' negotiations for the settlement of all differences ex- 
' isting between their respective Governments and that 
' of China with any Plenipotentiary, duly accredited by 
' the Emperor, who might present himself at that port 
' before the end of the month of March.* There he still 
fondly hoped to find his Hercules' Pillar. ' If I can 
' only conclude a treaty at Shanghae,' so he wrote when 
starting from Canton, ' and hasten home afterwards ! ' 

The place was well chosen for the purpose ; not only 
as the most northerly of the Treaty ports, and therefore 
nearest to the capital, but also as the most flourishing 
stronghold of European influence and civilisation then 
existing in China. ' I was struck,' wi-ote Lord Elgin in 
one of his despatches, ' by the thoroughly European ap- 
' pearance of the place ; the foreign settlement, with its 
' goodly array of foreign vessels, occupying the fore- 
' ground of the picture ; the junks and native town lying 
' up the river, and dimly perceptible among the shadows 
' of the background ; spacious houses, always well, and 
' often sumptuously, fnrnished ; Europeans, ladies and 
' gentlemen, strolling along the quays ; English pohce- 
' men habited as the London police ; and a climate very 
' much resembling that which I had experienced in 
' London exactly twelve months before, created illusions 
' which were of course very promptly dissipated.' 

Dissipated too was the hope in which he had in- 
PeSn. dulo-ed, of a speedy termination to his labours ; for he 
was met by a message from the Prime Minister, that 
' no Imperial Commissioner ever conducted business at 
' Shanghae ; that a new Commissioner had been sent to 
' Canton to replace Yeh ; and that it behoved the Enghsh 
' Minister to wait in Canton, and there make his arrange- 
' ments.' This, of course, was not to be thought of; and 
nothing remained but to move onwards towards Pekin, 
and apply some more direct pressure to the Emperor 
and his capital. 


1858. SHANaHAE. 239 

March 29^A. — Shanghae. — Here I am in the Consul's house, 
a very spacious mansion. The climate, character of the rooms, 
&c., all make me feel in Europe again. I reached this har- 
bour on the 26th, but only landed to-day. Mr. Reed and 
Count Putiatine arrived before me, but Baron Gros has not 
yet made his appearance. The Prime Minister of the Em- 
peror says that he cannot write to me himself, but sends me a 
message through the Governor-General of the province to say 
that a Commissioner has been sent to Canton by the Emperor 
to replace Yeh, and that I must go there and settle matters 
with him. This will never do, so I must move on to the 
mouth of the Peiho. I am only waiting for Gros and the 
Admiral before I start. The Shanghae merchants presented 
an address to me to-day, and as I was obliged to say some- 
thing in reply, I thought that I might as well take advantage 
of the opportunity to let the Chinese (who are sure to get a 
translation of my answer) know, that there is no chance of my 
going back to Canton. I also endeavoured to give the British 
manufactvirers a hint that they must exert themselves and not 
trust to cannon if they intend to get a market in China. 

The views to which he here refers were expressed in 
his reply in the following forcible language : — 

In my communication with the functionaries of the Chinese Eeply to 
Government, I have been guided by two simple rules of action : ^^(^gtt°'^ 
I have never preferred a demand which I did not believe to 
be both moderate and just, and from a demand so preferred I 
have never receded. These principles dictated the policy 
which resulted in the capture and occupation of Canton. The 
same principles will be followed by me, with the same deter- 
mination, to their results, if it should be necessary to repeat 
the experiment in the vicinity of the capital of the Emperor of 

The expectations held out to British manufacturers at the 
close of the last war between Great Britain and China, when 
they were told ' that a new world was opened to their trade so 
' vast that all the mills in Lancashire could not make stocking- 
' stuff suflScient for one of its provinces,' have not been realised ; 
and I am of opinion that when force and diplomacy shall have 
done all that they can legitimately effect, the work which has 
to be accomplished in China will be but at its commencement. 



Ch. vin. 

Baths for 
the mil- 

lence to- 

When the barriers which prevent free access to the interior 
of the country shall have been removed, the Christian civilisa- 
tion of the West will find itself face to face, not with bar- 
barism, but with an ancient civilisation in. many respects effete 
and imperfect, but in others not without claims on our sym- 
pathy and respect. In the rivalry which will then ensue. 
Christian civilisation will have to win its way among a sceptical 
and ingenious people, by making it manifest that a faith which 
reaches to Heaven furnishes better guarantees for public and 
private morality than one which does not rise above the earth. 

At the same time the machina-facturing West will be in 
presence of a population the most universally and laboriously 
manufacturing of any on the earth. It can achieve victories 
in the contest in which it will have to engage only by proving 
that physical knowledge and mechanical skill, applied to the 
arts of production, are more than a match for the most perse- 
vering efforts of unscientific industry. 

Tte journal proceeds as follows, under date of the 
29tli of March:— 

I shall be a little curious to see my next letters. The 
truth is, that the whole world just now are raving mad with a 
passion for killing and slaying, and it is difficult for a person 
in his sober senses like myself to keep his own among them. 
However I shall be glad to see what Parliament says about 

March 30th. — Baron Gros arrived to-day. I forgot to men- 
tion that I visited the town of Shanghae yesterday, and among 
other things went into a bathing establishment, where coolies 
were getting steamed rather than bathed at rather less than a 
penny a head, which penny includes, moreover, a cup of tea. 
So that these despised Chinamen have bathing-houses for the 
million. With us they are a recent invention : they have had 
them, I believe, for centuries. I am told that they are much 
used by the labouring class. I was struck by an instance of 
the malevolence towards the Chinese, which I met with to-day. 
Baron Gros told me that a boat with some unarmed French 
officers and seamen got adrift at a place called the Cape of 
Good Hope, as he was coming up from Hong-kong. They 
found themselves ofif an island, on the shore of which a crowd 
of armed Chinese collected. Their situation was disagreeable 


enough. Next day, however, the body of the Chinese dis- 
persed, and a few who remained came forward in the kindest 
manner offering them food, &c. They stated that they came 
down in arms to defend themselves, fearing that they were 
pirates, but that as they were peaceful people they were glad 
to serve them. I have heard the first part of this story from 
two other quarters, hut the latter part was in both cases 

April 3rd. — I took another walk yesterday into the country. Burial 
and saw a kind of tower where dead children, whom the parents P^'^'^'"^^^- 
are too poor to bury, are deposited. It is a kind of pigeon- 
house about twenty feet high, and the babies are dropped 
through the pigeon-holes. After that I walked into a spacious 
buildinff where cofEns containing dead bodies are stored, 
awaiting a lucky day for the burial, or for some other reason. 
The cofEns are so substantial and the place so well ventilated 
that there was nothing at all disagreeable in it. There is some- 
thing touching in the familiarity with which the Chinese treat 
the dead. 

Slianghae. — Easter Sunday. — I have been at church. . . . Roman 
In the afternoon I walked to the Roman Catholic cathedral, mission.'' 
which is about three miles from the Consulate. I found a 
really handsome, or at any rate spacious, building, well de- 
corated. The priests were very civil. They count 80,000 
converts (a considerable portion, I take it, descendants of the 
Christian converts made by the missionaries ages ago) in this 
province. ' It is impossible to help contrasting their proceeds 
ings with those of the Protestants. They come out here to 
pass the whole of their lives in evangelising the heathen, never 
think of home, live on the same fare and dress in the same 
attire as the natives. The Protestants (generally) hardly 
leave the ports, where they have excellent houses, wives, 
families, go home whenever self or wife is unwell, &c. I 
passed an American missionary's house yesterday. It was a 
great square building, situated in a garden, and at the en- 
ti-ance gate there was a modest barn-like edifice, large enough 
to hold about twenty sitters, which on inquiry I found to be 
the church. These people have excellent situations, good 
salaries, so much for every child, allowances for sickness, 
&c. They make hardly any converts, but then they console 
themselves by saying, that the Roman Catholics who make all 



these sacrifices do it from a bad motive, teach idolatry, &c. 
I cannot say, but I must admit that the priests whom I met 
to-day talked like very sensible men, and that the appearance 
of the youno- Chinamen [seminaristes) whom I saw was most 
satisfactory. They had an intelligent, cheerful look, greatly 
superior to that of the Roman Catholic seminarists generally 
in Europe. The priests bear testimony to their aptitude in 
learning, their docility and good conduct. They have an 
organ in the cathedral, the pipes of which are all made of 
bamboo. It seems to have an excellent tone, 
and April 1th. — I went on Monday to visit a college which the 

college. priests have about six miles off, with about seventy scholars. 
It appeared to be in good order. I walked back with a priest 
who had been in Canada in our time. He was talkative, and 
gave me a good deal of information about the Jesuits. It came 
on to rain very hard as we returned, but we found our letters 
from home to reward us on our arrival. . . . No doubt, as you 
say, one cannot help sometimes regretting that one is mixed up 
with so bad a business as this in China, but then in some 
respects it is a great opportunity for doing good, or at least lor 
mitigating evil. 
American I had a visit to-day from Dr. B., who is, I believe, the 
m^sion- most eminent of the American missionaries in China. He 
began by expressing his gratitude to me for the merciful way 
in which matters had been conducted at Canton, adding that 
they were bad people, that they insulted foreigners. He had 
lived among them fifteen years, and had never been insulted 
when alone. He always went about without even a stick, 
and they knew that he did not wish to injure them, &c. I 
then asked him whether there was not some inconsistency in 
what he had said about their treatment of himself and the 
epithet ' bad ' which he had applied to them. He said that 
perhaps the word was too strong, that he was much attached 
to the Chinese, but that certain classes at Canton were no 
doubt very hostile to foreigners, and that the chastisement they 
had received was quite necessary. I really believe that what 
Dr. B. said is pretty nearly the truth of the case, and it is 
satisfactory to me that the fact that I laboured to spare the 
people should be known, known not only by those who ap- 
prove, but by those who abhor clemency. 


1858. MTSSIONARIES. 243 

From the foregoing and similar extracts, it will be 
seen how much interest he took in the labours of the 
missionaries, and at the same time with what breadth 
and calmness of view he handled a subject peculiarly 
liable to exaggei'ation on one side or the other. During 
his stay at Shanghae, it was brought before him offi- 
cially in the shape of an address from the Protestant 
missionaries of the port, praying him, in the first place, 
to obtain a separate decree of toleration in favour of 
Protestantism, distinct from that which the French had 
already obtained for the 'Religion of the Lord of Heaven ; ' 
and, in the second place, to procure for them greater 
liberty of travelling and preaching in all parts of China. 
His reply contained words of grave warning, which 
have a special interest when read by the light of recent 
events. Aftet saying that ' it certainly appeared to 
' him to be reasonable and proper that the professors of 
' difi^erent Christian denominations should be placed in 
' China on a footing of equality,' he proceeded as fol- 
lows : — 

I should be wanting in candour, however, if I were not to Eeply to 
state that, in my opinion, the demands which you prefer in- p^otestant 
volve, in some of their details and consequences, questions of miBsion- 
considerable nicety. 

Christian nations claim for their subjects or citizens, who so- 
journ in the East under heathen Governments, privileges of 
exterritoriality. They are bound, therefore, when they seek 
to extend their rights of residence and occupation, to take care 
that those exceptional privileges be not abused, to the preju- 
dice of the countries conceding them. 

I cannot say that I think that the Christian nations who have 
established a footing in China, under the sanction of treaty 
stipulations obtained by others, or in virtue of agreements 
made directly by the Chinese Governments with themselves, 
have in all cases duly recognised this obligation. 

Unless I am greatly misinformed, many vile and reckless 
men, protected by the privileges to which I have referred, and 
still more by the terror which British prowess has inspired, are 

E 2 


now infesting the coasts of China. It may be that for the 
moment they are able, in too many cases, to perpetrate the 
worst crimes with impunity ; but they bring discredit on the 
Christian name ; inspire hatred of the foreigner where no such 
hatred exists ; and, as some recent instances prove, teach occa- 
sionally to the natives a lesson of vengeance, which, when once 
learnt, may not always ba applied with discrimination. 

But if the extension of the privileges of foreigners in China 
involves considerations of nicety, still more delicate are the 
questions which arise when it is proposed to confer by treaty 
on foreign Powers the right to interfere on behalf of natives 
who embrace their religion. It is most right and fitting that 
Chinamen espousing Christianity should not be persecuted. It 
is most wrong and most prejudicial to the real interests of the 
Faith that they should be tempted to put on a hypocritical 
profession in order to secure thereby the advantages of ah- 
normal protection. 







The establishment of the principle of direct commu- 
nication with the Imperial Government at the capital 
had always been regarded as one of the most important 
objects of Lord Elgin's mission. When, therefore, in 
reply to his letter addressed to the Prime Minister, 
there came an answer from a provincial officer, he re- 
turned it at once, and wrote again to the Prime Minister, 
pointing out that, by refusing to correspond with him 
directly, the Minister had broken the existing treaty, by 
which it was agreed that ' Her Britannic Majesty's 
' Chief High Officer shall correspond with the Chinese 
' High Officers, both at the capital and in the provinces, 
'under the term " communication ;" ' and announcing 
that he should proceed at once to the North, in order 
that he might place himself in more immediate commu- 
nication with the High Officers of the Imperial Govern- 
ment at the capital. Accordingly, he arranged with 
Baron Gros that they should meet in the Gulf of Pecheli, 
at the mouth of the Peiho, backed by their respective 
fleets, and with the moral support of the presence of the 
Russian and American Plenipotentiaries. 

In carrying out these plans everything depended, in 
his judgment, on acting promptly ; and he was thei-e- 
fore most desirous that the supporting force should 


collect at once at the appointed spot, and that it should 
include a considerable number of gunboats of light 
draught, capable of passing over the mud-banks which 
form a bar at the mouth of the Peiho river. In this, 
however, he was disappointed, and many weeks elapsed 
before any vigorous measures could be taken. The 
delay, as may be supposed, caused him much annoyance 
and anxiety at the time ; and he especially regretted it 
afterwards, because it prevented him from personally 
visiting Pekin, as he might have done "at this time under 
circumstances peculiarly favourable ; and thus left the 
delicate question of access to the capital to be settled 
by his successor, with no such advantage.^ 

Advance H.M.8. 'Furious,^ at sea. — April llth. — Here we are, gliding 

^ ^^^ through the smoothest possible sea, with a gentle wind, and 
this time favourable, which relieves us of all the smoke and 
ashes of the funnel, — an advantage for our eyes as well as con- 
ducive to our comfort. We are in the midst of the Yellow 
Sea, going about eight knots, dragging a gunboat astern to 
save her coal. This is the only gunboat I have got. I trust, 
both on private and public grounds, that we may succeed, 
because otherwise the consummation might be put oiF for a 
year, or at least till the autumn, and God knows what might 
happen in the interval. The Russian Plenipotentiary, with 
his own small vessel — dragging behind him, however, a junk 
well laden with coals and provisions — sailed the day before 
me. I followed on the 10th (yesterday). The French and 
American are to follow. It is amusing to see how we play 
our parts. Putiatine and I are always together, visiting 
every port, looking into everything with our own eyes. Our 
colleagues, with their big ships, arrive sooner or later at the 
great places of rendezvous. 

' Those who rememher the some- having no desire to rake up an ex- 

what angry discussion which arose tinot controversy which he would 

afterwards about this delay, its have been the last to wish to see 

causes and its consequences, may be revived, and respecting which they 

struck with the fact that the subject have nothing to add to — as they 

is scarcely alluded to in any of the have nothing to withdraw from — 

extracts here given. The omission what he himself stated in the House J "f 

is intentional ; Lord Elgin's friends of Lords on February 21, 1860. 


April IZth, Nine p.m. — We had an adventure this after- Aground. 
noon. I was on the paddle-box bridge watching, as we passed 
between the town of Tung-Chow Foo (a long wall, as it seemed, 
stretching for about four miles, with a temple at the nearest 
end) and the island of Meantau, when I felt a shock, — and, be- 
hold ! we were aground. Our gunboat, which we towed, not 
being able to check its speed at a moment's notice, ran foul of 
us, and we both suffered a little in the scuffle. We got oif in 
about two hours. On the whole, I am rather glad that we have 
a gunboat with us, for if anything serious did happen, it would 
be rather awkward, under existing circumstances, to be cast 
on the coast of China. It is as well to have two strings to 
one's bow. 

April \Ath. — -This morning it was thick and pretty rough. 
It is now (4 P.M.) very bright and comparatively smooth. 
We have seen no land to-day, nor, indeed, anything but sea 
and a few junks. Shall we meet any vessels at the rendez- 
vous ? A few hours will tell. 

April \5th. — We saw, at about 5 p.m. yesterday, the Thereu- 
Eussian at anchor, and went towards her, but were after- ^'^'^^°^^- 
wards obliged to remove to some distance, as we had not water 
enough where she is. While we were going to our berth, the 
' Pique ' came in sight. So here we are — ' Pique' ' Furious ' and 
' Slaney ' (gunboat), in an open sea, land not even visible. Cap- 
tain Osborn started off this morning, in the gunboat, to sound 
and find out what chance we have of getting over the bar at 
the mouth of the Peiho. Putiatine came on board this morn- 
ing. He has sent to the shore a note announcing his arrival. 
I am not disposed to do anything of the kind. The best plan, 
as it appears to me, is to move steadily up the river as soon as 
we can get over the bar, and let the Chinese stop us if they 
dare. Putiatine says that he will follow me, if I pass without 
any resistance being offered, but that he must not go first, 
as his Government forbids him to provoke hostilities. This 
division of labour suits me very well. 

April \%th. — I have nothing to write about. You may 
imagine what it is to be at anchor in this gulf with nothing to 
do. . . . If i hf^d had my gunboats, I might have been up the 
Peiho ere this. I might perhaps have brought the Emperor 
to his senses. . . . Meanwhile Reed is arrived. Gros is last, 
but he is bringing his Admiral and force with him. 

the fortg. 


April 21 St. — Gros arrived last evening. He is very well 
disposed, and ready to act with me. The French Admiral 
may be expected any day. We are going to make a com- 
munication to Pekin to invite a Plenipotentiary to meet us 
here, as we cannot go up to Tientsin. 

About a week afterwards the bar was crossed; but 
it was not until three more weeks had passed that the 
forts at the mouth of the river were taken, in order to 
secure the passage of the Envoys up to Tientsin. 

Taking of Mai/ 2lst. — I have spent during the last three weeks the 
worst time I have passed since 1849, and really I have not 
been capable of writing. The forts were taken yesterday. 
The Chinese had had 'several weeks to prepare, and their 
moral was greatly raised by our hesitations and delays. The 
poor fellows even stood at their guns and fired away pretty 
steadily. But as they hardly ever hit, it is of very little con- 
sequence how much they fire. As soon as our men landed 
they abandoned the forts and ran oif in all directions. We 
have hardly had any loss, I believe ; but the French, who 
blundered a good deal with their gunboats, and then contrived 
to get blown up by setting fire to a powder magazine, have suf- 
fered pretty severely. I fancy that we have got almost all the 
artillery which the Chinese Empire possesses in this quarter. 
. . . This affair of yesterday, in a strategical point of view, 
was a much more creditable affair than the taking of Canton. 


Our gunboats and men appear to have done well, and though 
they were opposed to poor troops, still they were troops, and 
not crowds of women and children, who were the victims of the 
bombardment at Canton. 

Mai/ 22nd. — Would that you had been a true prophet ! 
Yet there is something of inspiration in your writing on the 
1st of March : ' I was fancying you even now, perhaps, ascend- 
ing the Peiho with a train of gunboats ! ' 

May 23rd. — These wretched Chinese are for the most part 
unarmed. When they are armed, they have no notion of 
directing their firearms. They are timorous, and without either 
tactics or discipline. I will venture to say that twenty- four 
determined men, with revolvers and a sufficient number of 
cartridges, might walk through China from' one end to another. 

Mai/ 25th. — No news since I began this letter, except a 


vague report that, the Admirals are mo-ving up the river slowly, 
meeting with no resistance, rather a friendly reception, from the 
people. I am surprised that we have not yet heard anything 
from Pekin. I hope the Emperor will not fly to Tartary, 
because that would be a new perplexity. I am not quite in 
such bad spirits as last week, because at least now there is 
some chance of our getting this miserable war finished, and 
thus of my obtaining my liberty again. . . . We ought to have 
a mail from England any day. . . . Changes of Grovernment 
have this inconvenience, that of course the new-comers cannot 
possibly take time to read over previous correspondence, so 
that they must be but partially informed on many points, . . . 
but no doubt at this distance it is practically impossible for 
Government to give instructions, and all the responsibility 
must rest on the agent on the spot. At this moment, when I 
am moving up to Pekin, I am receiving the despatches of the 
Government commenting upon the Canton proceedings, and 
asking me : What do you intend to do next ? 

May 27th. — I have been pacing the deck looking at the 
dancing waves sparkling under a bright full moon. It is the 
third time, I think, that I have seen it since I have been in 
this gulf. I had a lAessage last night late from the Admiral, 
stating that he is within two miles of Tientsin ! I sent 
Frederick up that he might see what is going on, and let me 
know when I ought to advance. I had also a communication 
from the Chinese Plenipotentiaries, but it was not of much 
importance. I do not think that these poor, timorous people 
have any notion of resisting. I only trust that they may make 
up their minds to concede what is requisite at once, and enable 
us all to have done with it. 

May 28th. — The last news from Canton shows that the kind 
of panic which had been, in my opinion most needlessly, got 
up, is subsiding, and the General has sent up a few men — for 
which I ought to thank him, as he had only been asked 
whether he could supply any if wanted. 

May 29th. — I have a short despatch from the new Govern- 
ment, giving me latitude to do anything I choose if I will only 
finish the aifair. Meanwhile Frederick writes from Tientsin 
to recommend me to proceed thither, and I intend to be off this 
afternoon. There appears to be on the part of the Chinese no 
attempt at resistance, but on the other hand no movement to 



Oh. IX- 

On the 


treat. This passivity is, of course, our danger, and it is one 
which slowness on our part tends to increase. However, we 
must hope for the best. 

Yamun, Tientsin. — May SVth. — Only look at my date, does 
it not astonish you ? I hardly yet realise to myself where I 
am. I started at about 4.30 P.M. yesterday from the ' Furious,' 
crossed the bar, at the forts at the entrance of the river, picked 
up Gros and the French mission, whose vessel could not get 
on, and moved on to this place. The night was lovely — a 
moon nearly full. The banks, perfectly flat and treeless at 
first, became fringed with mud villages, silent as the grave, 
and trees standing like spectres over the stream. There we 
went ceaselessly on through this silvery silence, panting and 
breathing flame. Through the night-watches, when no China- 
man moves, when the junks cast anchor, we laboured on, 
cutting ruthlessly and recklessly through the waters of that 
glancing and startled river, which, until within the last few 
weeks, no stranger keel had ever furrowed ! Whose work are 
we engaged in, when we burst thus with hideous violence and 
brutal energy into these darkest and most mysterious recesses 
of the traditions of the past ? I wish I could answer that 
question in a manner satisfactory to myself. At the same 
time, there is certainly not much to regret in the old civilisa- 
tion which we are thus scattering to the winds. A dense 
population, timorous and pauperised, such would seem to be 
its chief product. I passed most of the night on deck, and 
at about 4 a.m. we reached a point in the centre of the 
suburb of Tientsin, at which the Great Canal joins the Tien- 
tsin or Peiho river. There I found the Admirals, Frederick, 
&c. Frederick had got this yamun for us, half of which I 
have had to give to my French colleague. It consists of a 
number of detached rooms, scattered about a garden. I have 
installed myself in the joss-house, my bedroom being on one 
side, and my sitting-room on the other, of the idol's altar. "We 
have a letter informing us that the Emperor has named two 
great Officers of State to come here and treat, and our Admirals 
are in very good humour, so that matters look well for the 

June 1st. — I found my joss-house so gloomy and low, that I 
have returned to my first quarter in the garden, on a mound 
overlooking the river. It consists of a single room, part of 

1858. TIENTSIN. 251 

whicli is screened oiF by a curtain for a bedroom. It is hot 
during the day, but nothing much to complain of. I took a 
walk yesterday. The country is quite flat, cultivated in wheat, 
millet, &c. Instead of the footpaths of the southern parts of 
China, there are roads for carriages, and wheeled carts dragged 
by mules in tandem going along them. I have not been in the 
town, but some of the party were there this morning, and one 
had his pocket picked, which is a proof of civilisation. They 
say it is a poor place, the people stupid-looking and curious, 
but not as yet unfriendly. 

June \.th. — I am to have an interview with the Chinese 
Plenipotentiaries to-day. I devoutly hope it may lead to a 
speedy and satisfactory pacific settlement ; but I am sending 
to Hong-kong for troops, in order to be prepared for all 
eventualities. In sum, my policy has resulted in this : — I 
have complete military command of the capital of China, 
without having broken off relations with the neutral Powers, 
and without having interrupted, for a single day, our trade at 
the different ports of the empire. 

Tientsin. — June bth. — After sending off your letter yester- Negotia- 
day, I went to have my first official interview with the Chinese 
Plenipotentiaries. I made up my mind, disgusting as the part 
is to me, to act the role of the ' uncontrollably fierce barbarian,' 
as we are designated in some of the confidential reports to the 
Chinese Government which have oome into our hands. These 
stupid people, though they cannot resist, and hardly even 
make a serious attempt to do so, never yield anything except 
under the influence of fear ; and it is necessary therefore to 
make them feel that one is in earnest, and that they have 
nothing for it but to give way. Accordingly I got a guard of 
150 marines and the band of the ' Calcutta,' and set off with all 
my suite in chairs, tambour hattant, for the place of rendezvous. 
It was about two-and-a-balf miles off, and the heat of the sun 
very great. The road carried us through several narrow streets 
of the suburb, then across a plain, till we reached a temple at 
which the Plenipotentiaries were awaiting us. A dense crowd 
of Chinese men — I saw not one woman — lined the route. 
Curiosity chiefly was depicted on their countenances ; some 
looked frightened; but I observed no symptoms of ill-will. 
At the entrance of the temple were two blind musicians, play- 
ing something like squeaking bagpipes. This was the Chinese 



band. We marched in with all our force, which drew up in a 
sort of court before an open verandah, where refreshments were 
set out, and the dignitaries awaited us. I was received by the 
Imperial Commissioner, and conducted to a seat at a small 
table covered with little plates of sweetmeats, &c. One of the 
Chinese Plenipotentiaries sat on either side of me. It was a 
very pretty scene, and the place was decorated in very good 
taste with flowers, &c. As my neighbours showed no disposi- 
tion to talk, I began by asking after their health and that of 
the Emperor. They then said that they had received the Em- 
peror's orders to come down to treat of our affairs. I answered, 
that although I was much grieved by the neglect of the Prime 
Minister to answer the letters I had addressed to him, yet as 
they had on their cards stated that they had ' full powers,' I 
had consented to have this interview in order that we might 
compare our powers, and see whether we could treat together. 
I told them that I had brought mine, and I at once exhibited 
them, giving them a translation of the documents. They'said 
they had not powers of the same kind, but a decree of the 
Emperor appointing them, and they brought out a letter which 
was wrapped up in a sheet of yellow paper. The chief Pleni- 
potentiary rose and raised the paper reverentially over his head 
before unfolding it. I thought the terms of this document 
rather ambiguous, besides which I was desirous to produce a 
certain effect ; so when it had been translated to me, I said that 
I was not sufficiently satisfied with it to be able to say on the 
spot whether I could treat with them or not ; that I would, if 
they pleased, take a copy of it and consider the matter ; but 
that I would not enter upon business with them at present. 
So saying I rose, moved to the front of the stage, and ordered 
the escort to move and the chairs to be brought. Tliis put the 
poor people into a terrible fluster. They made great efforts to 
induce me to sit down again, but I acted the part of the ' un- 
' controllably fierce ' to perfection, and set off for my abode. I 
had hardly reached it when I received two cards from my poor 
mandarins, thanking rae for having gone so far to meet them, &c. 
June \2th. — I have gone through a good deal since we 
parted. Certainly I have seen more to disgust me with my 
fellow-countrymen than I saw during the whole course of my 
previous life, since I have found them in the East among 
populations too timid to resist and too ignorant to complain. 

1858. NEGOTIATIONS. 253 

I have an instinct in me which loves righteousness and hates 
iniquity, and all this keeps me in a perpetual boil. 

June 29th. — I have not written for some days, but they 
have been busy ones. . . . "We went on fighting and bullying, 
and getting the poor Commissioners to concede one point after 
another, tiLl Friday the 25th, when we had reason to believe 
all was settled, and that the signature was to take place on the 
following day. . . . On Friday afternoon, however, Baron 
Gros came to me with a message from the Russian and Ame- 
rican Ministers, to induce me to recede from two of my 
demands — 1. A resident minister at Pekin; and, 2. Permis- 
sion to our people to trade in the interior of China ; because, 
as they said, the Chinese Plenipotentiaries had told them that 
they had received a decree from the Emperor, stating that they 
should infallibly lose their heads if they gave way on these 
points. . . . The resident minister at Pekin I consider far the 
most important matter gained by the Treaty ; the power to 
trade in the interior hardly less so. ... I had at stake not 
only these important points in my treaty, for which I had 
fought so hard, but I know not what behind. For the Chinese 
are such fools, that it was impossible to tell, if we gave way on 
one point, whether they would not raise difficulties on every 
other. I sent for the Admiral ; gave him a hint that there 
was a great opportunity for England ; that all the Powers were 
deserting me on a point which they had all, in their original 
applications to Pekin, demanded, and which they all intended 
to claim if I got it ; that therefore we had it in our power to 
claim our place of priority in the East, by obtaining this when 
others would not insist on it ? Would he back me ? . . . This 
was the forenoon of Saturday, 26th. The Treaty was to be 
signed in the evening. I may mention, as a proof of the state 
of people's minds, that Admiral Seymour told me that the 
French Admiral had urged him to dine with him, assuring 
him that no Treaty would be signed that day ! Well, I sent 
Frederick to the Imperial Commissioners, to tell them that I was 
indignant beyond all expression at their having attempted to 
communicate with me through third parties ; that I was ready to 
sign at once the Treaty as it stood ; but that, if they delayed or 
retracted, I should consider negotiations at an end, go to Pekin, 
and demand a great deal more, &c. . . . Frederick executed this Treaty 
most difficult task admirably, and at 6 p.m. I signed the Treaty s'g°e<3- 



Oh. is. 

Articles of 
the Treaty. 

for mode- 

of Tientsin. ... I am now anxiously waiting some communi- 
cation from Pekin. Till the Emperor accepts the Treaty, I 
shall hardly feel safe. Please God he may ratify without 
delay I I am sure that I express the wish just as much in the 
interest of China as in ours. Though I have been forced to 
act almost brutally, I am China's friend in all this. 

It may be well here to recapitulate the chief articles 
of the Treaty thus concluded, which may be briefly 
summed up as follows : — 

The Queen of Great Britain to be at liberty, if she 
see fit, to appoint an Ambassador, who may reside per- 
manently at Pekin, or may visit it occasionally, at the 
option of the British Government; 

Protestants and Roman Catholics to be alike entitled 
to the protection of the Chinese authorities ; 

British subjects to be at liberty to travel to all parts 
of the interior, under passports issued by their Consuls ; 

British ships to be at liberty to trade upon the Great 
River (Yangtze) ; 

Five additional ports to be opened to trade ; 

The Tariff fixed by the Treaty of Nankin to be 
revised ; 

British subjects to have the option of clearing their 
goods of all transit duties by payment of a single 
charge, to be calculated as nearly as possible at the rate 
of 2}^ per cent, ad valorem ; 

The character 'I' (Barbarian) to be no longer 
applied in official documents to British subjects ; 

The Chinese to pay 2,000,000 taels (about 650,000?.) 
for losses at Canton, and an equal sum for the expenses 
of the war. 

In bringing this Treaty to a conclusion Lord Elgin 
might have said of himself as truly as of the brother 
who had so abl)' helped him. in arranging its terms, that 
he ' felt very sensibly the painfulness of the position of 
' a negotiator, who has to treat with persons who yield 
' nothing to reason and everything to fear, and who are 

1868. THE TREATY. 255 

' at the same time profoundly ignorant botli of tlie sub- 
'jects nnder discassion and of their own real interests.' 
Moreover he had constantly to recollect that, under the 
' most favoured nation ' clause, every concession made 
to British subjects would be claimed by the subjects, or 
persons calling themselves the subjects, of other Powers, 
by whom they were only too likely to be employed for 
the promotion of rebellion and disorder within the 
empire, or for the estabHshment of privileged smug- 
gling and piracy along its coasts and up its rivers. In 
all these circumstances he saw grounds for exercising 
forbearance and moderation ; and his forbearance and 
moderation were rewarded by the readiness with which 
the Emperor sanctioned the Treaty, and the amicable 
manner in which its details were subsequently settled. 
One exception there was to this moderation on his part, Eight of 
and to this readiness on theirs ; ^dz. his insisting, arTamfas- 
against the earnest remonstrances of the Imperial Com- ^^'^''^> 
missioners, backed by the intercession of the Russian 
and American envoys, on the right of sending an am- 
bassador to Pekin. But it was an exception of that 
kind which is said to prove the rule ; for the stipulation 
was one which could not lead to abuses, and which 
would be conducive, as he believed, in the highest 
degree to the true interests of both the contracting 
parties. He was convinced that so long as the system 
of entrusting the conduct of foreign affairs to a Pro- 
vincial Government endured, there could be no security 
for the maintenance of pacific relations. On the one 
hand the Provincial Governors were entirely without 
any sentiment of nationality, caring for nothing but the 
interests of their own provinces : nor were they in a 
position to exercise any independence of judgment, 
their lives and fortunes being absolutely at the disposal 
of a jealous Government, so that it was generally 
their most prudent course to allow any abuses to pass 
unnoticed rather than risk their heads by reporting 


unwelcome truths. On the other hand the central 
Government, in which alone a national feeling and an 
independent judgment were to be looked for, was pro- 
foundly ignorant on all questions of foreign poHey, 
and must continue to be so as long as the Department 
for Foreign Affairs was established in the provinces. 
For these reasons he regarded the principle that a 
British minister might henceforth reside at Pekin, and 
hold direct intercourse with imperial ministers at the 
capital, as being, of all the concessions in the Treaty, 
the one pregnant with the most important conse- 
to be But, the right once secured, he was very desirous 

''®^l™ that it should be exercised with all possible consider- 
ation for the long-cherished prejudices of the Chine;se 
on the subject, who looked forward with the utmost 
horror to the invasion of their capital by foreign 
ministers, with their wives and establishments; these.' 
latter being, as it appeared, in their eyes more formid- 
able than the ministers themselves. Accordingly, when, 
the Imperial Commissioners addressed to him a very 
temperate and respectful communication, urging that 

1 Another article of the Treaty, ' of roads and canals toll-free, and 
thouo-h of less importance in itself, ' should, moreover, be relieved alto- 
has been brought by recent events ' gether from charges to which they 
into so much prominence that it may 'would be liable if the property of 
be desirable to give in full the views ' natives. On the other hand, ex- 
of its author respecting it. In his ' perience had taught us the incon- 
despatch of July 12, having men- ' venience of leaving the amount of 
tioned, as one of the principal com- ' duties payable under the head of 
mercial advantages obtained by Bri- ' transit-duties altogether undeter- 
tish subjects, the settlement of the ' mined. By requiring the rates of 
vexed question of the transit duties, 'transit-duty to be published at each 
he proceeds: — 'This subject pre- 'port; and by acquiring for the Bri- 
' sented considerable difficulty. As ' tish subject the right to commute 
' duties of octroi are levied univer- ' the said dutie.s for a payment of 2^ 
' sally in China, on native as well as ' per cent, on the value of hia goods 
' foreign products, and as canals and ' (or rather, to speak more correctly, 
' roads are kept up at the expense of ' for the payment of a specific duty 
' the Government, it seemed to be ' calculated at that rate), I hope that 
' unreasonable to require that articles, ' I have provided for the latter as ef- 
' whether of foreign or native pro- ' fectual a guarantee against undue 
' duction, by the simple process of ' exactions on this head as can be obf 
' passing into the hands of foreigners, ' tained without an entire subversion 
' should become entitled to the use ' of the financial system of China.' 


the exercise of the Treaty-right in question would be 
of serious prejudice to China, mainly because, in the 
present crisis of her domestic troubles it would tend to 
cause a loss of respect for their Government in the 
minds of her subjects, he gladly forwarded their me- 
morial to the Government in England, supporting it 
with the strong expression of his own opinion, that ' if 
' Her Majesty's Ambassador should be properly received 
' at Pekin when the ratifications were exchanged next 
' year, it would be expedient that Her Majesty's Repre- 
' sentative in China should be instructed to choose a 
' place of residence elsewhere than at Pekin, and to make 
' his visits either periodical, or only as frequent as the 
' exigencies of the public service might require.' With 
much shrewdness he pointed out that the actual presence 
of a minister in a place so uncongenial, especially dur- 
ing the winter months, when the thermometer falls to 
40° below zero, might possibly be to the Mandarin mind 
less awe-inspiring than the knowledge of the fact that 
he had the power to take up his abode there whenever 
the conduct of the Chinese Government gave occasion; 
and that thus the pohcy which he recommended would 
' leave in the hands of Her Majesty's Government, to 
' be wielded at its will, a moral lever of the most power- 
' fill description to secure the faithful observance of the 
' Treaty in all time to come.' 

At Sea, Gulf of Pecheli.—Juhj 8th. — At last I am actually Return 
ofF— on my way home ? May I hope that it is so ? I got on <'°''^'^'^-'"'^- 
Sunday the Emperor's assent to the Treaty, in the form in which 
I required it ; sent immediately down to stop the troops, and 
set off myself on Tuesday at noon for the Gulf. We sailed 
yesterday afternoon, with the intention, if possible, of seeiag 
the great Wall of China on our way to Shanghae, hut we have 
not been very successful, and have now put about, and are 
moving southwards. . . . Frederick is going home with the 
Treaty, and I proceed via Japan. . . . 

Jtdy lAth. — Frederick embarks to-night, and sails to-morrow 



morning at four. I shall not know all that I lose, publicly 
and privately, by his departure, till he is gone. . . . 

Shanghae, Sunday, July \9ith. — I have just returned from 
church. Such an ordeal I never went through. If a benevo- 
lent lady, sitting behind me, had not taken compassion on me, 
and handed me a fan, I think I should have fainted. . . . Every 
one says that the heat here surpasses that felt anywhere else. 
They also affirm that this is an exceptional season. 

July \9th. — Writing has been an almost impossible task 
during these few last days. The only thing I have been able to 
do has been to find a doorway, or some other place, through 
which a draught was making its way, and to sit there reading. 
... In sending Frederick away, I have cut off my right arm, 
but I think, on the whole, it was better that he should take the 
Treaty home, . . . and of course he is better able than anyone 
else to explain what has been the real state of affairs here. . . . 
It is impossible to acknowledge too strongly the obligation I 
am under to him for the way in which he has helped me in my 
^^^- July 2\st. — As for Yeh, I cannot say very much for him ; but 

the account given of him by the Captain of the ' Inflexible,' 
who took him to Calcutta, differs as widely as possible from 
that of the Times' Correspondent. He was very courteous 
and considerate, civil to everybody, and giving no trouble. I 
suppose that there is no doubt of the fact that he executed a 
vast number of rebels, and I, certainly, who disapprove of all 
that sort of thing, am not going to defend that proceeding. 
But it is fair to say that rebels are parricides by Chinese law, 
and that, in so far as we can judge, nothing could have been 
more brutal or more objectless than this Chinese rebellion. 
They systematically murdered all — men, women, and children 
— of the dominant race, and their supporters, on whom they 
could lay their hands. Certain Americans and Europeans took 
them up at first because they introduced a parody of some 
Christian doctrines into their manifestoes. But these sentle- 


men are now, I think, heartily ashamed of the sympathy which 
they gave them. 

July 2Qth. — I heard yesterday a good piece of news. The 
Emperor has named my friends, the Imperial Commissioners, to 
come down here to settle the tariff, &c. This, I think, proves 
that the Emperor has made up his mind to accept the Treaty 

1858. SAILS TO JAPAN. 259 

and carry it out. I hope also that it will enable me to settle 
the Canton affair. 

A few days later, finding that some weeks must 
elapse before the Imperial Commissioners could arrive, 
he sailed for Nagasaki, in order to turn the interval to 
account by endeavouring to negotiate a treaty with the 
Japanese Government in accordance with the instruc- 
tions which he had received when leaving England, 

s S 



Ch. X, 



for Japan. 



' On the last day of July, 1858,' writes Mr. Oliphant, 
' we embarked on board the " Furious," delighted, 
' under any circumstances, to escape from the summer 
' heats of Shanghae, were it only for a few weeks ; but 
' our gratification increased by the anticipation of 
' visiting scenes which had ever been veiled in the 
' mystery of a jealous and rigid seclusion.' . . . There 
was a charm also in the very indefiniteness and un- 
certainty of the objects of the expedition. ' I do not 
' exactly know,' wrote Lord Elgin, ' what I shall do 
'when I get to Nagasaki; but, at any rate, I shall 
' ascertain what my chances are of making a satisfac- 
' tory treaty with Japan.' 

The ' Furious ' was accompanied by the ' Retribution ' 
and by the ' Lee ' gunboat ; and it was arranged that 
the Admiral should join them at Nagasaki. 

Nagasaki. — August Zrd. — "We have had beautiful weather, and 
have reached this point, — a quiet, small-looking town, fringing 
the bottom of a bay, which is itself the close of a channel pass- 
ing between ranges of high volcanic hills, rugged and bold, but 
luxuriant with vegetation and trees, and cultivated in terraces 
up to their summits. I have seen nothing so beautiful in point 
of scenery for many a long day. No sort of difficulty has been 
made to our progress up to the town. The only symptom of 


objection I observed was an official in a boat, who waved, a fan, 
and when he saw we took no notice, sat down again and went 
on with a book which he seemed to be reading. On both sides 
of the channel, however, there is a very formidable display of 
cannons and works of defence, which I apprehend would not 
be very forra-dable in action. I have heard little in the way of 
news yet, but I am disposed to believe that nothing can be 
accomplished here, and that if anything is to be done we must 
oro on to Yeddo. It is still hot, but the air, which comes down 
from these lofty hills, is, I think, fresher than that which passes 
over the boundless level in the vicinity of Shanghae. 

August 4cth.—\ have just had a visit from the Vice-Governor 
of Nagasaki. One of his own suite did the interpretation. These 
are the nicest people possible. None of the stifiness and bigotry 
of the Chinese. I gave them luncheon, and it was wonderful 
how nicely they managed with knives and forks and all other 
strange implements. The Admiral arrived this forenoon. He 
now finds that his instructions direct him to send the ' Emperor ' 
yacht (which is to be a present) to Yeddo. I shall take 
advantage of this and go to Yeddo myself at once. I may do 
somethins, or find out what I can do. 

August 5th. ~ Four 7. M. — The heat yesterday, and for the 
two nights at Nagasaki, was very great. It must be a charm- 
ing place when the temperature is low enough to admit of 
walks into the country. As it is, we have just passed into the 
sea, through what Captain Osborn calls a succession of Mount 
Edo-ecumbes. I went ashore yesterday and this morning, 
chiefly to make purchases. Things here are really beautiful 
and cheap. The town is wonderfully clean after China. Not 
a beggar to be seen. The people clean too; for one of the \ 
commonest sights is to see a lady in the front of her house, or 
in the front-room, wide open to the street, sitting in a tub 
washincr herself. I never saw a place where the cleanliness of 
the fair sex was established on such unimpeachable ocular 

August 6th. — Four p.m. — At anchor oif the southernmost Gales. 
point of Japan. It has been blowing hard all day, and our 
captain proposed, that instead of rounding this point and 
facing the sea and wind, against which we should not be able 
to make any way, we should creep in under it and anchor. 
We intend to remain till the gale abates. Nothing can be 


finer than the coast. We have passed to-day some very high' 
hills, one especially on an island to the right, and a conical- 
shaped one on the left, on the Japan mainland. I see little 
sign of population on this coast off which we are anchored : 
only one little fishing village. There were a good many 
junks yesterday. It is very hot though, and I find it difficult 
to sit at my table and write. 

August 7th. — Three p.m. — Still at anchor in the same spot. 
The storm has not abated, and the wind is dead against us. 
My time is so short that I cannot well aflFord to lose any. 

August \Oth. — Ten a.m. — I wonder if I shall be able to write 
a few lines legibly. There is still a good dear of motion, but 
a cool breeze, which is such a relief after the sweltering six 
weeks we have spent. Ahead of us is a great conical-shaped 
mountain, the sacred mountain of Fusiama (etymologically ' the 
matchless mountain '), and somewhere nearer on the long rangfe 
of bold coast which we are approaching, we expect to find 
Simoda. But I must tell you of our two past days — days of 
suffering. At about twelve during the night of the 7th, the 
wind shifted and began to blow into our anchorage, so as to 
make it unsafe to stay there, and to promise us a fair wind if 
we proceeded on our way ; so off we started. We have had our 
fair wind, but a great deal of it ; and as the ' Furious ' is both 
a bad sailer and a good roller, we have passed a very wretched 
time, — every hole through which air could come closed. How- 
ever, we have made good progress and burnt little coal, which 
is good for the public interest. We see now in the distance 
two sails, which we suppose may be our consorts, the ' Em- 
peror ' and .' Retribution.' We have travelled some 1000 miles 
since we left Shaiighae, besides spending two days at Nagasaki. 
Coast Same day. — Nuon. — It is a magnificent prospect which 

view. ^g have from the paddle-box. Immediately before us a 

bold junk, its single large sail set, and scudding before the 
breeze. Beyond, a white cloud, slight at the base, and 
swelling into the shaj)e of a balloon as it rises. We have dis- 
covered that it rests on a mountain dimly visible in the distance, 
and which we recognise as the volcanic island of Oosima. To- 
wards the right the wide sea dotted with two or three rocky 
islets. On the left of the volcano island a point of land rising 
into a bold and rocky coast, along which the eye is carried till 
it encounters a mighty bank of white clouds piled up one upon 

1858. simoda: 263; . 

another, out of which rises clear and blue, with a white streak 
upon the side which seems to tell of perpetual snow, the cone- 
shaped top of Fusiama. Passing on the eye from this magnifi- 
cent object to the left still farther, the rocky coast is followed 
till it loses itself in the distance. What is almost more charm- 
ing than the scene is the fresh breeze which is carrying off the 
accumulated fever of weeks. 

August \2th. — At sea again. (Grouse day. I am following Simoda. 
different game.) We dropped anchor in the harbour of Simoda 
on the 10th at about 3 p.m. I went off immediately to see 
the American Consul-General, Mr. Harris, the only foreigner 
resident at Simoda. I found him living in what had been a 
temple, but what in point of fact makes a very nice cottage, 
overlooking the bay. As soon as we anchored we began to feel 
the heat, though not so great as at Shanghae. I found that the 
Consul had contrived to make a pretty good treaty with Japan, 
evidently under the influence of the contrecoup of our proceed- 
ings in China. He had had an interview with the Emperor, 
but it transpired that he had a letter of credence, which 1 have 
not, and that Putiatine, not having one, is not permitted to go 
to Yeddo. I also learnt that there is no way of communicating 
with the Japanese officials except through the Dutch language. 
Being without a Dutch interpreter, and without letters of cre- 
dence, my case looked bad enough. However, I made great 
friends with the American, and the result is that he has lent 
me his own interpreter, who is now beside me translating into 
Dutch a letter from me to the Foreign Minister of the Japanese 
Emperor. You see how I was situated. The problem I had to 
solve was : — How to make a treaty without time (for I cannot 
stay here above a few days), interpreter, or credentials ! ! When 
I say credentials, I do not mean fidl powers. These I have, 
but prestige is everything in the East, and I should not like to 
be prevented from seeing the Emperor, now that the American 
has been received. We shall see how we can get out of all this. 

The lack of credentials was practically supplied hj 
the steam-yacht ' Emperor,' which he had to present to 
the Tycoon as a gift from her Majesty; and the duties 
of interpreter were discharged for him throughout in 
the most efficient manner by the gentleman aboA^e re- 
ferred to, Mr. Heusken, the American Secretary, whom 


he found ' not only competent for his special work, but 
' also in the highest degree intelligent and obliging.' 

Same date. — Simoda is a pretty place, lying on flat ground 
at the head of a short bay, with rocky volcanic-looking 
hills, covered with fine trees and intersected by valleys all 
Amia- around. The people seem the most amiable on earth. Crime 
bihty. 2inA pauperism seem little known. All anxious to do kindnesses 

to strangers, and steadily refusing pay. There are innumer- 
able ofiicials with their double-swords, but they appear to be 
on the most easy terms with the people. To judge from the 
amount of clothing worn by both sexes, it does not seem likely 
that there will be any great demand for Manchester cotton 
goods. I cannot say what it may be in winter, but in summer 
Cleanli- they seem to place a very filial reliance on nature. They are 
ness. ^}jg cleanest people too. The floors of their houses are covered 

with mats which are stuff^ed beneath, and which serve for beds, 
floors, tables, &c. It is proper to take oflF the shoes or sandals 
on entering the houses or temples, I looked into one or two 
bathing-houses, which are most unlike those I saw at Shang- 
hae; — an inner room which is a kind of steam-bath, and an 
outer room where the process of drying goes on. The differ- 
ence in China is, that it is only the men that clean themselves 
there, whereas the rights of the fair sex on this point are fuUy 
recognised in Japan, and in order that there may be no in- 
equality in the way they are exercised, all bathe together. I 
Temples, visited some temples. Though Buddhistic, they had not the 
hideous figures which are seen in the Chinese temples. They 
were generally prettily situated near the foot of the rocky and 
wood-covered clifis, with flights of steps running up to shrines 
among the rocks. They were surrounded by numerous monu- 
ments to the departed, consisting generally of little pilasters, 
squared on the sides, and bearing inscriptions, surrounded by 
a coping or ball. On the pedestal, &c., in front of the pilaster, 
generally, were one or two branches of what looked like myrtle 
stuck into pieces of bamboo which serve for flower-pots. These 
monuments, crowded together around the temples ajid over- 
shadowed by the lofty trees, had a very graceful eflPect. 

We have just committed an act of vigour. In place of going 
into the harbour of Kanagawa where Count Putiatine is at 
anchor, I have determined to proceed to a point several miles 
higher up nearer to Yeddo. We completely foil by our audacity 

1858. OFF YEDDO. 265 

all the poor Japanese officials. I have said nothing of the bazaar 
of Simoda, where there were a great many pretty things, of 
which I bought some, nor of a visit which the Governor paid 
to me. He was a very jolly fellow, liked his luncheon and a 
joke. He made the conventional protests against my going 
on, &c., but when he saw it was of no use, he dropped the 
subject. The Japanese are a most curious contrast to the 
Chinese, so anxious to learn, and so prkvenants. God grant 
that in opening their country to the West, we may not be 
bringing upon them misery and ruin. 

Off Yeddo. — August \Ath. — "We moved yesterday to within Off Yeddo. 
about one mile of the shore off the suburb of Yeddo. The shore 
is flat, and the buildings of the town, interspersed with trees 
and enclosures, seem to stretch to a great distance along the 
crescent-shaped bay. Immediately in front of the town and 
opposite to us are five large batteries. Four Japanese men-of- 
war built on European models are anchored beside us. Three 
princes came off to see me yesterday. They were exceedingly 
civil, but very anxious to get me to go back to Kanagawa, a 
port about ten miles down the bay, from which they said they 
would convey me by land to Yeddo. Of course I would not 
agree to this. They were very much puzzled (and no wonder) 
by my two names. I complimented the prince on the beauti- 
ful Fusiama, calling it a high mountain. ' Oh I ' he said at 
once, ' I have seen a scale of mountains, and I know that there 
' are many much higher than Fusiama.' There were persons in 
the suite taking Sown in shorthand every word that passed in 
conversation, and I thought I saw in one of their note-books 
a sketch of my face. No doubt these were spies also, to watch 
and report on the proceedings of the officials, for that seems to 
be the great means of government in Japan. Still there is no 
appearance of oppression or fear anywhere. It seems to be a 
matter of course that every man should fill the place and per- 
form the function which custom and law prescribe, and that he Sanctity of 
should be denounced if he fail to do so. The Emperor is never 
allowed to leave the precincts of his palace, and everybody, 
high and low, is under a rigid rule of convenances, which does 
not seem to be felt to be burdensome. I am afraid they are 
•not much disposed to do things in a hurry, and that I must 
discover some means of hastening them, if I am to get my 
treaty before returning to Shanghae. 

August \&th. — Princes, five in number, arrived on board 


yesterday at about 3 p.m. Among them was the Lord High 
Admiral, a very intelligent well-bred man. It was agreed that 
I was to land to-day, and some discussion took place as to the 
house I was to inhabit. They said that they could give me 
the choice of two, but that they recommended the one farthest 
from the palace as being in best repair. I chose the one nearest 
the palace, because one is always obliged to be on one's guard 
against slights, but it has rained so much to-day that I have 
sent to say that I will not land till to-morrow, and to inquire 
where I can really be best lodged. I have handed to the au- 
thorities a draft of my treaty. The chief interpreter, by name 
Moriama (the ' wooded mountain '), a very acute and smooth- 
spoken gentleman, who told one of my party yesterday that the 
princes who have come off to me are Free Traders, and that 
this is the spirit of the Government, but that some of the 

Hereditary hereditary princes are very much opposed to intercourse with 
foreigners, and that some little time ago it was apprehended 
that they would raise a rebellion against the Government, in 
consequence of the concessions it is making. The official 
princes are named by the Emperor for Ufe, but the hereditary 
ones are great feudal chiefs owing rather a qualified allegiance 
to the Emperor. Moriama pretended that he and his friends 
had seen the arrival of our ship with pleasure, but of course 
one never knows whether to believe a word they say. 

Yeddo. Yeddo. — August I8th, Seven a.m.— Here I am installed in a 

building which forms the dependence of a temple. It consists 
of some small rooms forming two sides of a square, with a ve- 
randah running in front of them. From the verandah you step 
into a garden not very well kept, with a pond and trees, and 
some appearance of care in laying it out. In the centre is the 
temple, with a back-door opening into the garden. I entered 
it yesterday, and found a ' buddha ' coming out of the lotus, 
looking very freshly gilt and weU cared for. There were in the 
temple two or three priests, who seem to live there ; at any 
rate, one was asleep on the matting, which, as I told you, is in 
Japanese houses laid on the top of a bed of straw. They are 
charmingly soft and clean, as all shoes are put off on entering. 
The natives use neither tables, chairs, nor beds. They he, sit, 
and feed on this matting. They have made considerable exer- 
tions, however, to fit up our houses on European principles. We 
landed yesterday at noon. The day was fine, and the procession 

1858. YEDDO. 267 

of boats imposing. An immense crowd of good-natured, curious 
people lined both sides of tbe streets along whicli we passed. 
The streets are wide and handsome. We were preceded and 
accompanied by officers to keep off the crowd, but a blow with 
a fan was the heaviest penalty that I saw inflicted on anyone 
breaking the line. At every fifty yards, or so, the street was 
crossed by large gates, which were closed as soon as our pro- 
cession passed through, which prevented a rush after us. On 
arriving, as I had nothing else to do, I proposed a ride through 
the town, to the considerable consternation of our attendants. 
We set off on saddles made of hard and rather sharp bits of 
wood, stirrups which I can't undertake to describe, and our 
knees in our mouths. However, we made our way to the 
quarter of the Palace or Castle. As we approached it, we 
passed through streets inhabited by princes. I did not enter 
any of their houses, but they seem to be constructed somewhat 
on the principle of the entre cour et jardln houses in parts of 
Paris. On the street front the offices, substantially built, and 
often with very handsome gateways. The 'Castle' is sur- The 
rounded by three concentric enclosures, consisting of walls and ' Castle.' 
moats. They are at a considerable distance from each other, 
and the Emperor resides in the innermost enclosure, from which 
he never goes out. The intervals between the enclosures are 
filled up with handsome houses, &c. We passed over the first 
moat, and rode up to the second. When we came up to the 
second we discovered a spectacle which was really very grand. 
The moat was some forty or fifty yards wide ; beyond it a high 
bank of grass nicely kept, with trees rather like yews every 
here and there dropped upon it. The crest of the bank seemed 
to be crowned by a temple, surrounded by trees. The stone 
wall was on a grand scale, and well finished. In short, the 
whole thing would have been considered magnificent anywhere. 
After China, where everything is mesquin, and apparently 
en decadence, it produces a great effect. I did not see a single 
beggar in the streets ; and as in this ride of yesterday we took 
our own way, without giving any notice, we must have seen 
the streets in their usual guise. 

My poor, dear friends, the Japanese, object to everything 
and always give way.' It is a bad plan, because it forces 

' Not so, however, in tlie actual of later date he writes : ' I was 
work of negotiating. In a despatch ' much struck by the business-like 



Ch. X. 


A country 

one to be very peremptory and overbearing. Nothing can be 
milder than their objections, but they lose time. I have told 
them that I must see the Foreign Minister to-day, and that 
I must have another house, as the situation of this one is not 
sufficiently aristocratic. I do not know, however, whether I 
shall press the latter point, as it will put myself to much in- 

August \dth. — In the evening, I visited the Foreign Minister, 
or rather, the two Foreign Ministers (I believe there are three, 
but one is unwell). I took my whole staff, but only my secre- 
tary and interpreter remained in the room when we came to 
talk of business. There has been a change of Government, 
and the present Foreign Secretaries seem stupid enough. The 
Government seems to be a sort of oligarchy in the hands of the 
hereditary princes. Count Putiatine, who has just been with 
me, tells me that he does not consider the officers, with whom 
we are negotiating, princes at all. They have the title oi Kami, 
but it is not hereditary, and they are altogether inferior to the 
others. Both have the title of Kami, but the hereditary 
princes are also called Da.imios. 

August 2 \st. — On the 1 9th, the Plenipotentiaries appointed to 
treat with me came. They are six in number. We exchanged 
our full powers, and I made some difficulty about theirs, but 
was satisfied by their explanations. After the seance, I went 
out riding through the streets. I had not given notice, and 
we went through a densely peopled quarter, which gave me an 
opportunity of seeing something of the popular feeling. We 
were followed by immense crowds, among whom some boys 
took to hooting, and by degrees to throwing stones. This got 
rather disagreeable, so at length we took to stopping at the 
gates, turning right about, and facing the mob with our horses, 
until the gates were shut. It proves to me, however, that it 
is not prudent to go about without a good Japanese escort. 
Yesterday we had a most charming expedition into the country. 

' manner in wliich they did their 
' work ; making very shrewd observa- 
' tions, and putting very pertinent 
' questions, hut by no means in a 
' captious or cavilling spirit. Of 
* course their criticisms were some- 
' times the result of imperfect ac- 
' quaintance with foreign affairs, and 
' it was occasionally necessary to re- 

' move their scruples by alterations in 
' the text which were not improve- 
' ments ; but on the whole, I am 
' bound to say that I never treated 
' with persons who seemed to me, 
' within the limits of their know- 
' ledge, to be more reasonable.' — See 
also infra, p. 270. 

1858. PEACE AND PLENTY. 269 

"We started at about 1 1 a.m., rode first to tlie road I have 
already described, and which runs along the moat of the second 
enclosure of the Emperor's domain. We passed alongside of 
this enclosure. The effect of the domain within, with its 
droi)ping trees (not yews, I see, but pinea of some sort, many 
of them with spreading branches like cedars), being somewhat 
that of a magnificent English park. This, mind you, in the 
centre of a city of two or three millions of inhabitants. 

Sunday, August 22nd. — We then passed through the gate of 
the outermost enclosure on the opposite side, and entered some 
crowded streets beyond, through which we made our way, 
passing on our right the palace of the greatest of the hereditary 
princes, really an imposing mass of building. Beyond, we got 
into the country, consisting at first of a sort of long street of 
quaint cottages with thatched or tiled roofs, embosomed in 
gardens, and interspersed with avenues conducting to temples. 
Further on were cultivated fields, with luxuriant crops of great 
variety : rice, sweet potato, egg-plant, peas, millet, yams, taro, 
melons, &c. &c. At last, we reached a place of refreshment, 
consisting of a number of kiosques, on the bank of a stream, 
with a waterfall hard by, and gardens with rock-work (not 
mesquin, as in China, but really pretty and in good taste) 
opposite. Here we had luncheon. Fruits, and a kind of 
Julienne soup ; not bad, but rather maigre, served to us by 
charming young ladies, who presented on their knees the trays 
with the little dishes upon them. The repast finished, we set 
out on our return (for we had overshot our mark), and visited 
the gardens, which were the object of our expedition. They 
had the 'appearance of nursery gardens, with rows of pots 
containing dwarf-trees and all manner of quaint products ; 
all this, moreover, in a prettily accidente country, abounding in 
forest trees and luxuriant undergrowth. We got back at 
about 7 P.M., having met with no mishap. 

On the whole, I consider it the most interesting expedition Peace and 
I ever made. The total absence of anything like want among ^ ^^ ^' 
the people ; their joyous, though polite and respectful de- 
meanour ; the combination of that sort of neatness and finish 
which we attain in England by the expenditure of great 
wealth, vnth tropical luxuriance, made me feel that at last I 
had found something which entirely surpassed all the expecta- 
tions I had formed. And I am bound to say, that the social 


and moral condition of Japan has astonished me quite as much 
as its material beauty. Every man, from the Emperor (who 
never leaves his palace) to the humblest labourer, lives under 
a rigid rule, prescribed by law and custom combined ; and the 
Government, through its numerous agents, among whom are 
hosts of spies, or more properly inspectors (for there is no 
secresy or concealment about this proceeding), exercises a close 
surveillance over the acts of each individual ; but, in so far as 
one can judge, this system is not felt to be burdensome by any. 
All seem to think it the most natural thing in the world that 
they should move in the orbit in which they are placed. The 
agents of authority wear their two swords ; but, as they never 
use them except for the purpose of ripping themselves up, the 
privilege does not seem to be felt to be invidious. My inter- 
Good preter, a Dutchman, lent to me by the United States Consul- 
temper. >i 1 1 1 • 1 

(jreneral, has been two years m the country, and he assures me 

that he never saw a Japanese in a passion, and never saw a 
parent beat a child. An inexhaustible fund of good temper 
seems to prevail in the community. Whenever in our discus- 
sions on business we get on rough ground, I always find that 
a joke brings us at once upon the level again. Yesterday, at a 
formal audience with the Foreign Ministers (to settle about the 
handing over of the yacht), they began to propose that, in 
addition to the Commissioners, I should allow some other 
officers (probably spies or inspectors) to be present at our 
discussions on the clauses of the Treaty. After treating this 
seriously for some moments, without settling it to their satis- 
faction, I at once carried the day, by saying laughingly, that 
as they were six to one already, they ought not to desire to 
have more chances in their favour. This provoked a counter- 
laugh and a compliment, and no more was said about the spies. 
When the Commissioners came yesterday afternoon to go 
through the clauses of the Treaty with me, I was much pleased 
with the manner in which they took to their work, raising 
questions and objections in a most busiaess-like manner, but 
without the slightest appearance of captiousness or a desire to 
make difficulties. Their interpreter, Moriama, is a very good 
Dutch scholar, and, of course, being a remarkably shrewd 
gentleman withal, has a leading part in the proceedings ; but 
all seem to take an intelligent share. 
Temples. I Went into the temple of which this building forms a part, 

1858. FEUDAL SYSTEH. 271 

this morning. Two priests came up to me, knelt down, and before me two pages of paper, holding out to me at the 
some time the painting-brush and Indian inkstand, which is 
the inseparable companion of every Japanese, and making 
signs which I interpreted into a request that I would write 
down my name. I sa* down on the floor, and complied with 
their request, which seemed to please them. The priests 
appear by no means so wretched here as in China, and the 
temples are in much better case. I have not, however, seen 
many of them. 

It is difficult, of course, to speak positively of the political Political 
condition of a country of which one knows so little ; but '^°^ '°°' 
there seems to be a kind of feudal system in vigour here. 
The hereditary princes (Daimios), some 360 in number (I 
doubt much their being all equally powerful), exercise exten- 
sive jurisdiction in their respective domains. A Dutch officer, 
who visited one of these domains in a Japanese man-of-war, 
found that the chieftain would not allow even the officers of 
the Japanese Emperor to land on his territory. The only 
control which the Emperor exerts over them is derived from 
his requiring all their wives and families to live at Yeddo per- 
manently. The Daimios themselves spend half the year in 
Yeddo, and the other half at their country places. The Su- 
preme Council of State appears to be in a great measure 
named by the Daimios, and the recent change of Government 
is supposed to have been a triumph of the protectionist or 
anti-foreign party. There is no luxury or extravagance in any 
class. No jewels or gold ornaments even at Court ; but the 
nobles have handsome palaces, and large bodies of retainers. 
A perfectly paternal government ; a perfectly filial people ; a 
community entirely self-supporting ; peace within and without ; 
no want ; no ill-will between classes. This is what I find in 
Japan in the year 1858, after one hundred years' exclusion of 
foreign trade and foreig-uers. Twenty years hence, what will 
be the contrast ? 

August 27th.— Here I am at sea again. It is 9 p.m. I 
have just been on deck. A lovely moon, nearly full, gliding 
through cloudless blue, spangled here and there with bright 
twinkling stars. I begin to feel as if at last I was really on 
my way home. Both my treaties are made, and I am steering 
westwards ! Is it so or am I to meet some great disappoint- 


ment when I reach China ? I feel a sort of terror when I 
contemplate my return to that place. My trip to Japan has 
been a green spot in the desert of my mission to the East. 

But I must tell you how I have been spending my days since 
the 22nd, when I last added a word to this letter. On the 
afternoon of that day, I had a long sitting with the Japanese 
Plenipotentiaries, and we went over the clauses of the Treaty 
which we had not reached on the previous day. On the 23rd 
they returned, and we agreed finally on all the articles. It 
was also settled that the signature should take place on the 
26th (the very day two months after the signature of the 
Treaty of Tientsin), and that the delivery of the yacht should 
take place on the same day ; the Japanese agreeing to salute 
the British flag with twenty-one guns from their batteries— a 
proceeding unheard of in Japan. On the 24th, we took a ride 
into the country, in the opposite direction to our former ride. 
We passed through a long suburb on the shore of the sea, and 
eventually emerged into a rural district, rich and neat as that 
we had formerly visited ; but as the country was flat, it was 
A temple, hardly so interesting. The object of our visit was a temple, 
far the finest I have seen either in China or Japan. We 
had some luncheon in a tea-house, and got back at about 7 
P.M. On the 25th, we went to another temple, through the 
most crowded part of the city (where we were stoned before). 
We were followed by large multitudes, but nothing disagree- 
able took place. At the temple we found a scene somewhat 
resembling Greenwich Fair. Immense numbers of people 
amusing themselves in all sorts of ways. Stalls covered with 
toys and other wares ; kiosques for tea ; show places, &c. &c. 
Life seems an aflair of enjoyment in Japan. We made some 
purchases, and got home by about 5 P.M., in order to receive 
a party. I had invited the Imperial Commissioners to dine 
A juggler, with me, and requested that they would send a juggler to 
perform before dinner. They tried to fight shy after having 
accepted, I suppose because they considered it infra dig. to 
attend at the performance of the juggler ; but they came at last, 
and enjoyed the dinner part of the affair thoroughly. The 
juggler was good, but one particular feat was beyond praise. 
He twisted a bit of paper into the shape of a butterfly, and 
kept it hovering and fluttering, lighting here or there, on a 
fan which he held in his other hand, on a bunch of flowers, 


&c., — :all by the action on the air, produced by a fan -which he 
held in the right hand. At onetime he started two butterflies, 
and kept them both on the wing. It was the most graceful 
trick I ever saw, and entirely an affair of skill, not trick. The 
juggler was succeeded by the dinner, which I wound up by 
giving sundry toasts, with all the honours, to the great amuse- 
ment of my Commissioners. Thursday morning was occupied 
in paying bills, which was a most difficult matter, as the Go- 
vernment will not allow the people to take money in the shops, 
and the complication of accounts was very great. The accuracy 
of the Japanese in tliese matters is, however, very great. 

At 1 P.M. the Commissioners came to sign the Treaty. Signing 
We have agreed to make the Dutch copy the original, as it '"'^■'■^'^'^'7 
is the language both parties understand. The Dutch copy, 
written by their man Moriama, was so beautifully written, 
that I have kept it to send to England. After the signature, 
I lunched on a dinner sent me by the Emperor ; not so bad, 
after all. About 3 p.m. I set off to go on board the 
' Emperor ' yacht, which I reached at about 5 ; imnaediately 
after which the Japanese fort saluted the British flag with 
twenty-one guns (ten-inch guns) ; as good a salute as I ever 
heard, an exact interval of ten seconds between each gun. 
The Japanese flag was then hoisted on the ' Emperor,' and 
saluted by the 'Retribution' and 'Furious' with twenty- one guns 
each. We ended the day ^=\dth a collation on board the ' Retri- 
bution,' and trip in the ' Emperor ; ' and as I was pacing the 
deck of the ' Furious,' before retiring to rest, after my labours 
wei-e over, to my great surprise I observed that the forts were 
illuminated ! Imagine our daring exploit of breaking through 
every consigne, and coming up to Yeddo, having ended in an 
illumination of the forts in our honour ! At 4 a.m. this 
morning we weighed anchor, and are now some 140 miles on 
our way to Shanghae. 

The principal advantages secured to England by this Articles 
Treaty, so amicably and rapidly settled, were the follow- ireatsr. 

Power to appoint a Diplomatic Agent to reside at 
Yeddo, and Consuls at the open ports ; 

Ample recognition of Consular jurisdiction and of 
the immunities of exterritoriality ; 


The opening to Britisti subjects, at specified periods, 
of sevei'al of the most important ports and cities of 
Japan ; 

Power to land and store supplies for the use of the 
British navy at Kanagawa, Hakodadi, and Nagasaki, 
without payment of duty ; 

Power to British subjects to buy from and sell to 
Japanese subjects directly, without the intervention of 
the Japanese authorities ; 

Foreign coin to pass for corresponding weights of 
Japanese coin of the same description ; 

Abolition of tonnage and transit dues; 

Reduction of duties on exports from 35 per cent, to 
a general rate of 5 per cent, ad valorem. 

The concessions obtained from the Japanese by the 
Treaty of Yeddo were not, in some important parti- 
culars, so considerable as those which had been made by 
China in the Treaty of Tientsin. It was, however, a 
material advance on all previous treaties with Japan, 
and it opened the door to the gradual establishment of 
relations of commerce and amity between the people of 
the West and that of Japan, which might become, as 
Lord Elgin hoped and believed, of the most cordial 
and intimate character, ' if the former did not, by inju- 
' dicious and ago-ressive acts, rouse ao;ainst themselves 
' the fears and hostility of the natives.' 

Eetrospect, August 30th. — Eleven A.M. — We are again plunging into 
the China Sea, and quitting the only place which I have left 
with any feeling of regret since I reached this abominable 
East, — abominable, not so much in itself, as because it is 
strewed all over with the records of our violence and fraud, 
and disregard of right. The exceeding beauty external of 
Japan, and its singular moral and social picturesqueness, 
cannot but leave a pleasing impression on the mind. One 
feels as if the position of a Daimio in Japan might not be a bad 
one, with two or three millions of vassals ; submissive, but not 
servile, because there is no contradiction between their sense 
of fitness and their position. 

1858. DELAYS. 275 









Arriving at Sliangliae on the 2nd of September, Lord Delays, 
Elgin found that the Imperial Commissioners whom he 
came to meet had not yet appeared, and were not ex- 
pected for four or five weeks. All this time, therefore, 
he was obliged to remain idle at Shanghae, hearing from 
time to time news from Canton which made his presence 
there desirable, but unable to proceed thither till the 
arrangements respecting the Treaty were completed. 

Shanffhae. — Sunday, September 5th. — I wish to be off for 
England : but I dread leaving my mission unfinished. ... I 
feel, therefore, that I am doomed to a month or six weeks 
more of China. 

September 6th. — It is very weary work staying here really 
doing for the moment little. But what is to be done? It will 
not do to swallow the cow and worry at the tail. I have been 
looking over the files of newspapers, and those of Hong-kong 
teem with abuse ; — this, notwithstanding the fact that I have 
made a Treaty which exceeds everything the most imaginative 
ever hoped for. The truth is, they do not really like the 
opening of China. They fear that their monopoly will be 
interfered with. 

September 1 1 th. — I am amused with the confident way in 

I 2 


which the ladies here talk of going home after five years with 
fortunes made. They live in the greatest luxury, — in a tole- 
rable climate, and think it very hard if they are not rich enough 
to retire in five years. ... I do not know of any business in 
any part of the world that yields returns like this. No wonder 
they dislike the opening of China, which may interfere with 

Arrival of It was not till the 4th of October that the arrival 
simelT "^"^as annonnced of the Imperial Commissioners, includ- 
ing among their number his old friends Kweiliang and 
Hwashana. While they were on the road, circumstances 
had come to Lord Elgin's knowledge which gave him 
reason to fear that they might be disposed to call in 
question some of the privileges conceded under the 
Treaty, and that they might found on the still un- 
settled state of affairs in the South a hope of succeed- 
ing in this attempt. He thought it better to dispel all 
such illusions at once, by taking a high and peremptory 
tone upon the latter subject. Accordingly, when his 
formal complaint against Hwang, the Governor-General 
of the Two Kiang, for keeping up hostiUties in spite of 
the Treaty, was met by a promise to stop this for the 
future by proclamation, he refused to accept this 
promise, and demanded the removal of Hwang and the 
suppression of a Committee which had been formed 
for the enrolment of volunteers ; intimating at the 
same time, through a private channel, that unless he 
obtained fuU satisfaction on the Canton question, it was 
by no means improbable that he might return to Tien- 
tsin, and from that point, or at Pekin itself, require the 
Emperor to keep his engagements. This had the de- 
sired effect. The Commissioners at once undertook, 
not only to issue a pacific proclamation couched in be- 
coming terms, but also to memorialise the Emperor for 
the recall of the Governor-General, and the withdrawal 
of all powers from the Committee of Braves. It may be 
added, that the immediate success which attended the 


proclamation aflforded striking confirmation of what 
Lord Elgin had always said, that the best way of sup- 
pressing provincial disturbances was by bringing pres- 
sure to bear on the Imperial power. 

Shanghae. — Sunday, October lOth. — We have not done 
much yet, which is the cause of my having written less than 
usual during the last few days. I have reason to suspect Subter- 
that the Commissioners came here with some hope that they ^^^^' 
might make difficulties about some of the concessions obtained 
in the Treaty, with a kind of notion perhaps that they might 
continue to bully us at Canton. If I had departed, I think it 
probable enough that everything would have been thrown into 
confusion, and the grand result of proving that my Treaty 
was waste paper might have been attained. I have thought it 
necessary to take steps to stop this sort of thing at once, so I 
have sent some very peremptory letters to the Commissioners 
about Canton, refusing to have anything to say to them till I 
am satisfied on this point, &c. I have also, through a secret defeated 
channel, had the hint conveyed to them, that if they do not give ^^ ^^^' 
me ful Isatisfaction at once I am capable of going off to Tien- 
tsin again, — a move which would no doubt cost their heads to 
both Kweiliang and Hwashana. I have already extorted from 
them a proclamation announcing the Treaty, and I have now 
demanded that they shall remove the Governor-General of the 
Canton provinces from office, and suppress the "War Committee 
of the gentry. 

October I6th. — Yes, the report of the conclusion of a Treaty 
which was conveyed so rapidly overland to St. Petersburg 
was true, and yet I am not on my way home ! . . . Do not 
think that I am indifferent to this delay. It is however, for 
the moment, inevitable... Everything would have been lost if 
I had left China. The violence and ill-will which exist in 
Hong-kong are something ludicrous. ... As it is, matters 
are going on very fairly with the Imperial Commissioners, and 
I expect an official visit from them this day at noon. The 
English mail arrived yesterday. . . . The visit of the Com- 
missioners went off very well. I think that they have accepted 
the situation, and intend to make the best of it. 

October I9th. — Yesterday I returned the visit of the Com- 
missioners, going in state, with a guard, &c., into the city. 

278 FIRST mssioN to china. Ch. XI. 

We had a Chinese repast — birds'-nest soup, sharks' fins, &c. 
I tried to put them at their ease, after our disagreeable en- . 
counters at Tientsin. They seemed disposed to be conversable 
and friendly. The Go-vemor-General of this province, who is 
one of them, is considered a very clever man, and he appears 
to have rather a notion of taking a go-ahead policy with 

The The chief matter that remained to be arranged was 

tariff. . . 

the settlement of certain trade-regulations, supplemental 
to the Treaty, involving a complete revision of the 

The A tariff is not usually a matter of general interest ; 

Sad^ but this tariff is of more than mere commercial import- 
ance, as having for the first time regulated, and there- 
fore legalised, the trade in opium.^ Hitherto this article 
had been mentioned in no treaty, but had been left to 
the operation of the Chinese municipal law, which pro- 
hibited it altogether. But the Chinese would have it ; 
there was no lack of foreign traders, chiefly British and 
American, ready to run the risk of smuggling it for the 
sake of the large profits to be made upon it ; and the 
custom-house officials, both natives and foreign in- 
spectors, hardly even kept up the farce of pretending 
to ignore the fact. At one port, indeed, the authorities 
exacted from the opium traders a sort of hush-money, 
equivalent to a tax about 6 per cent, ad valorem. It 
might well be said that ' the evils of this illesral, connived 
' at, and corrupting traffic could hardly be overstated; 
' that it was degrading alike to the producer, the im- 

' The text of the Article respect- ' which British subjects areauthorised 

ing opium is as follows : — ' Opium ' to proceed into the interior with 

'will henceforth pay thirty taels ' passports to trade, will not extend to 

'per picul import duty. The im- ' >t, nor will those of Article XXVIII. 

' porter will sell it only at the ' of the same Treaty, by which the 

'port. It will be carried into the 'transit-dues are regiilated; the tran- 

' interior by Chinese only, and only ' sit-dues on it will be arranged as the 

'as Chinese property; the Foreign ' Chinese Government see fit; nor, in 

' trader will not be allowed to aocom- ' future revisions of the Tariff, is the 

'mnyit. The provisions of Article 'rule of revision to be applied to 

' IX. of the Treaty of Tientsin, by ' opium as to other goods.' 

1858. REVISED TARIFF. 279 

' porter, the official, whether foreign or Chinese, and the 
' purchaser.' 

To remedy these evils two courses were open. One 
was effective prohibition, with the assistance of the 
Foreign Powers; but this, the Chinese Commissioners 
admitted, was practically hopeless, mainly owing to the 
inveterate appetite of their people for the drug. The 
other remained : regulation and restriction, by the impo- 
sition of as high a duty as could be maintained without 
giving a stimulus to smugghng. It was not without 
much consideration that Lord Elgin adopted the latter 
alternative ; and it was a great satisfaction to him that 
his views on this subject were ultimately shared by Mr. 
Reed, the Envoy of the United States, who had come 
to the country with the intention of supporting the 
opposite opinion. 

In the course of the conferences on these points, 
which were carried on in the most friendly spirit, Lord 
Elgin induced the Commissioners to make a separate 
agreement that he should be permitted, irrespectively 
of the conditions imposed by the Treaty, to make an 
expedition up the great river Yangtze Kiang; a permis- 
sion of which he gladly availed himself, not only for the 
sake of exploring a new and most interesting country, 
but even more with the view of marking how entirely 
and cordially his Treaty was accepted. 

Shanghae. — November 2nd. — You will, I am sure, see how 
necessary it has been for me to protract my stay to this 
time. The systematic endeavour to make it appear that my 
work was a failure could be counteracted only by my own 
presence. The papers, &c., from England are complimentary 
enough about the Treaty, but some of the accounts which have 
gone home are somewhat exaggerated, and perhaps there will 
be a reaction. . . . More particularly, I find a hope expressed 
that we have plundered the wretched Chinese to a greater ex- 
tent than is the case. . . . Meanwhile, I have achieved one 
object, which will be, I think, the crowning act of my mission. 
I have arranged with the Imperial Commissioners that I am to 


jiroceed up the river Yangtze. The Treaty only provides that 
it shall be open when the Rebels have left it. I daresay this 
■will give rise to comments. If so, I shall have anticipated 
them, by going up the river myself. I shall take with me my 
own squadron (what I had in Japan). The weather is beauti- 
ful ; quite cool enough for comfort. We shall visit a region 
which has never been seen, except by a stray missionary. I 
shall lose by this move some three weeks, but I do not think 
they will be really lost, because it will give so very complete a 
demonstration of the acceptance of the Treaty by the Chinese 
authorities, that even Hong-kong will be silenced. 

November 6 th. — I hoped to have started to-day, but am 
obliged to put off till Monday, as the tariff is not yet ready for 
signature. 1 grieve over every day lost, which protracts our 
separation. I see that in the very flattering article of the Times 
of September 7th, which you quote, it is implied that when I 
signed the Treaty, I had done my work, and that the responsi- 
bility of seeing that it was carried out rests with others. If 
this be true — and you will no doubt think so — I might have 
returned at once, at least after Japan. But is it true ? Could 
I, in fairness to my country, or, in what I trust you believe 
comes second in the rank of motives with me, to my own repu- 
tation, leave the work which I had undertaken unfinished ? 
. . . Besides, I own that I have a conscientious feeling on the 
subject. I am sure that in our relations with these Chinese we 
have acted scandalously, and I would not have been a party to 
the measures of violence which have taken place, if I had not 
believed that T could work out of them some good for them. 
Could I leave this, the really noblest part of my task, to be 
worked out by others ? Anyone could have obtained the 
Treaty of Tientsin. What was really meritorious was, that it 
should have been obtained at so small a cost of human suffer- 
ing. But this is also what discredits it in the eyes of m,any, of 
almost all here. If we had carried on war for some years ; if 
we had carried misery and desolation all over the Empire ; it 
would have been thought quite natural that the Emperor should 
have been reduced to accept the terms imposed upon him at 
Tientsin. But to do all this by means of a demonstration at 
Tientsin ! The announcement was received with a yell of derision 
by connoisseurs and bafiled speculators in tea. And indeed 
there was some ground for scepticism. It would have been 


very easy to manage matters here, so as to bring into question 
all the privileges which we had acquired by that Treaty. Even 
then we should have gained a great deal by it ; because when 
we came to assert those rights by force, we should have had a 
good, instead of a bad casus belli. But I was desirous, if pos- 
sible, to avoid the necessity for further recurrence to force ; 
and it required some skill to do this. This has been my 
motive for protracting my stay. 

H. M. S. 'Furious.' — November 8th. — I write a line to tell The tariff 
you that I got over the signature of my tariff, &c., very ^'e'^'^'i- 
satisfactorily this morning, and set oiF in peace with all men, 
including Chinese Plenipotentiaries, and colleagues European 
and American, on my way up the Yangtze Kiang. We are 
penetrating into unknown regions, but I trust shortly to be 
able to report to you my return, and all the novelties I shall 
have seen. 

This morning at ten, I went to a temple which lies exactly 
between the foreign settlement and the Chinese town of Shang- 
hae, to meet there the Imperial Commissioners, and to sign 
the tariff. We took with us the photographs which Jocelyn 
had done for them, and which we had framed. They were 
greatly delighted, and altogether my poor friends seemed in 
better spirits than I had before seen them in. We passed 
from photography to the electric telegraph, and I represented 
to them the great advantage which the Emperor would derive 
from it in so extensive an empire as China ; how it would make 
him present in all the provinces, &c. They seemed to enter 
into the subject. The conference lasted rather more than an 
hour. After it, I returned to the consulate, taking a tender 
adieu of Gros by the way. I embarked at 1, and got undei 
weigh at 2 p.m. , . . The tide was very strong against us, 
so we have not made much way, but we are really in the 
Yangtze river. We have moored between two flats with trees ^^°f* 

. ~ . oil *"6 

upon them; the mainland on the left, and an island (Bush Yangtze 
Island), recently formed from the mud of the river, on the ^^'^'^S- 
right. Though the earth has been uninteresting, it has not 
been so with the sky, for the dark shades of night, which have 
been gathering and thickening on the right, have been con- 
fronted on the left by the brightest imaginable star, and the 
thinnest possible crescent moon, both resting on a couch of deep 
and gradually deepening crimson, I have been pacing the 


bridge between the paddle-boxes, contemplating this scene, 
until we dropped our anchor, and I came down to tell you of 
this my first experience of the Yangtze. And what will the 
sum of those experiences be ? We are going into an unknown 
region, along a river which, beyond Nankin, has not been navi- 
gated by Europeans. We are to make our way through the 
lines of those strange beings the Chinese E.ebels. We are to 
penetrate beyond them to cities, of the magnitude and popula- 
tion of which fabulous stories are told ; among people who have 
never seen Western men; who have probably heard the wildest 
reports of us ; to whom we shall assuredly be stranger than 
they can possibly be to us. What will the result be ? Will it 
be a great disappointment, or will its interest equal the expec- 
tations it raises ? Probably before this letter is despatched to 
you, it will contain an answer more or less explicit to these 

Sunday, November 14f/j. — Six P.M. — We have just dropped 
anchor, some eighty miles from Woosung. I wish that you 
had been with me on this evening's trip. You would have 
enjoyed it. During the earlier part of the afternoon we were 
going on merrily together. The two gunboats ahead, the 
' Furious ' and ' Retribution ' abreast, sometimes one, sometimes 
the other, taking the lead. After awhile we (the ' Furious ') put 
out our strength, and left gunboats and all behind. When the 
sun had passed the meridian, the masts and sails were a pro- 
tection from his rays, and as he continued to drop towards the 
water right ahead of us, he strewed our path, first with glitter- 
ing silver spangles, then with roses, then with violets, through 
all of which we sped ruthlessly. The banks still flat, until the 
last part of the trip, when we approached some hills on the left, 
not very lofty, but clearly defined, and with a kind of dreamy 
softness about them, which reminded one of Egypt. Alto- 
gether, it was impossible to have had anything more charming 
in the way of yachting ; the waters a perfect calm, or hardly 
crisped by the breeze that played on their surface. We rather 
wish for more wind, as the ' Cruiser ' cannot keep up without a 
little help of that kind. 
AgrouBd. November IQth. — Noon. — A bad business. We were running 

through a narrow channel which separates Silver Island from 
the mainland, in very deep water, when all of a sudden we 
were brought up short, and the ship rolled two or three times 

1858. SILVER ISLAND. 28 3' 

right and left, in a way which reminded me of a roll which we 
had in the ' Ava' immediately after starting from Calcutta. On 
that occasion we saw beside us the tops of the masts of a ship, 
and were told it had struck on the same sand-bank, and gone 
down about an hour before. Our obstacle on this occasion is 
a rock ; a very small one, for we have deep water all around 
us. However, here we are. I hope our ship will not suffer 
from the strain. It is curious that in this narrow pass, where 
fifty ships went through and returned in 1842, this rock should 
exist and never have been discovered. Six p.m. — The sun 
has just set among a crowd of mountains which bound the 
horizon ahead of us, and in such a blaze of fiery light that 
earth and sky in his neighbourhood have been all too glorious 
to look upon. Standing out in advance on the edge of this sea 
of molten gold, is a solitary rock, about a quarter of the size of 
the Bass, which goes by the name of Golden Island, and serves 
as the pedestal of a tall pagoda. I never saw a more beautiful 
scene, or a more magnificent sunset ; but alas ! we see it under 
rather melancholy circumstances, for after six hours of trying 
in all sorts of ways to get off, we are as fast aground as ever. 
We are now lightening the ship. Silver Island is a kind of Silvep 
sacred island like Potou, but very much smaller.' I went 
ashore, and walked over it with a bonze, who conversed with 
Lay. He told us that the people in the neighbourhood are 
very poor, and will be glad that foreigners should come and 
trade with them. The bonzes here are much like their brethren 
of Potou, the most wretched-looking of human beings. Our 
friend told us that they have no books or occupation of any 
kind. Four times a day they go through their prayers. He 
had twelve bald spots on his head, which were the record 
of so many vows he had taken to abstain from so many vices, 
which he enumerated. I gave them five dollars when I left 
the island, which seemed to astonish them greatly. I asked 
him what would happen if he broke his vows. He said that he 
would be beaten and sent away. If he kept them he hoped to 
become in time a Buddha. 

1 In an official despatch lie de- ' groups of bonzes, in tteir grey and 

scribes it aa ' a solitary rock of about ' yellow robes, devoutly lounging, and 

'300 feet in height, picturesquely 'conscientiously devoting themselves 

' clothed with natural timber and ' to the duty of doing absolutely no- 

' ruined temples, around which are ' thing.' 
' to be seen, at all hours of the day, 


284 FmsT MISSION to china. Oh, XI., 

November 17 th. — SixF.u. — After taking 150 tons out of the 
ship, we ha-ve Just made an attempt to get her off — in vain. 
The glorious sun has again set, holding out to us the same 
attractions in the west as yesterday, in vain ! Here we remain, 
as motionless as the rock on which we are perched. I have not 
been quite idle, however. I landed about noon on the shore 
opposite Silver Island, and walked about three miles to the town 
of Chin-kiang. It was taken by us ia the last war, and sadly 
maltreated, but since then it has been captured by the Rebels 
and re-captured by the Imperialists. I could hardly have 
imagined such a scene of desolation. I do not think there is a 
bouse that is not a ruin. I believe the population used to be 
about 300,000, but now I suppose it cannot exceed a few hun- 
dreds. The people are really, I believe, glad to see us. They 
hope we may give them free trade and protection from the 
Rebels. A commodore and post-captain in the Chinese navy 
came off to us this afternoon. They were very civil, offering 
to do anything for us they could. They tell us we can go in 
this ship to Hankow and the Poyang Lake. We have found 
another rock beside us, and only think tbat this should not 
have been known by our Navy ! 
Afloat November I8th. — Eight P.M. — At about 6 p.m. 1 was cross- 

^S^'°' ing on a plank over a gully, on my return from an expedition 

to Golden Island, when three rounds of cheers from the 
' Furious,' about a mile off, struck my ear. Three rounds of 
cheers, followed by as many from the otber ships. She was 
off the rock ! Some 250 tons were taken out, and when the tide 
rose she came off — nothing the worse I and our time has not 
been quite lost, for this is an interesting place, if only because 
of the insight which it gives into the proceedings of the Rebels. 
Golden Island is about five miles from here. It was a famous 
Buddhist sanctuary, and contained their most valuable library. 
Its temples are now a ruin. 

November 20th. — Noon. — Yesterday I took a long walk, not 
marked by any noteworthy incidents. We went into some of 
the cottages of the small farmers. In one we found some men 
smoking opium. They said that they smoked about 80 cash 
(fourpence) worth a day : that their wages when they worked 
for hire were 120 cash (sixpence). The opium was foreign 
(Indian) : the native was not good. I asked how they could 
provide for their wives and families if thej spent so much on 


opium. They said they had land, generally from two to three 
acres apiece. They paid about a tenth of the produce as a 
tax. They were very good-humoured, and delighted to talk 
to Wade and Lay. They appear to welcome us more here 
than in other places I have visited in China. 

Eight P.M. — We have been under fire. The orders given Fired 
on our approach to Nankin were, that the ' Lee ' should go in NanS™ 
advance ; that if fired on, she should hoist a flag of truce ; if 
the flag of truce was fired on, she was not to return the fire 
until ordered to do so. It was a lovely evening, and the sun 
was sinking rapidly as we approached Nankin, the ' Lee ' about 
a mile in advance. I was watching her, and saw her pass the 
greater part of the batteries in front of the town. I was just 
making up my mind that all was to go oflF quietly, when a 
puff of smoke appeared from a fort, followed by the booming 
of a cannon. The ' Lee ' on this hoisted her white flag in vain ; 
seven more shots were fired from the forts at her before she 
returned them. Then, to be sure, we began all along the line, 
all the forts firing at us as we came within their range. I was 
on the paddlebox- bridge till a shot passed very nearly over our 
heads, and Captain Osborn advised me to go down. We were 
struck seven times ; one of the balls making its way into my 
cabin. In our ship nobody was hit; but there was one killed 
and two badly wounded in the ' Retribution.' We have passed 
the town ; but I quite agree with the naval authorities, that 
we cannot leave the matter as it now stands. If we were to 
do so, the Chinese would certainly say they had had the best 
of it, and on our return we might be still more seriously 
attacked. It is determined, therefore, that to-morrow we shall 
set to work and demolish some of the forts that have insulted 
us. I hope the Rebels ivill make some communication, and 
enable us to explain that we mean them no harm ; but it is 
impossible to anticipate what these stupid Chinamen will do. 

November 2\st. — Eleven A.M. — We had about an hour and a Retribu- 
half of it this morning. We began at 6 a.m. at the nearest ^^°^' 
fort, and went on to two or three others. We pounded them 
pretty severely, and very few shots were fired in return. They 
seemed to have exhausted themselves in last night's attack. 
As soon as my naval chiefs thought that we had done enough 
for our honour, I begged them to go on, as I did not want 
to have to hand over the town to the Imperialists, who are 



Ch. XI. 




hemming it round on every side. I am sorry that we should 
have been forced to do what we have done ; hut I do not think 
we could have acted with greater circumspection. ... A set 
of Imperialist junks set to work to fire at the town as we 
were leaving off, throwing their shot from a most wonderfully 
safe distance. 

November 22nd. — Last night a letter came off from our 
' humble younger brother ' (the Rebel chief), praying us to 
join them in annihilating .the ' demons ' (Imperialists). I sent 
them in reply a sort of proclamation which I had prepared in 
the morning, intimating that we had come up the river pa- 
cifically; had punished the ISTankin forts for having insulted 
us, from which persons repeating the experiment would learn 
what they had to expect. Later at night a present of twelve 
fowls and two pieces of red bunting came to the river bank, 
from some villagers, I believe. When Captain Ward was on 
shore surveying, two Chinamen came to him, stating that an 
express had come from Nankin to say that the attack on us 
was a mistake, and we were taken for Imperialists, &c. &c. I 
hope, therefore, that we shall have no more trouble of this 

November 2Zrd. — Six P.M. — Arrived off Woohoo at about 
3 P.M. We passed the town, and anchored just above it. 
It is in the hands of the Rebels, but no hostility was shown to 
us. Wade has been on shore to communicate with the chiefs, 
who are very civil, but apparently a low set of Cantonese. 
The place where he landed is a kind of entrenched camp ; the 
town about three miles distant. An Imperialist fleet is moored 
a few miles up the river. I sent Lay to communicate with 
the commanding ofiicer, and he recommends the 'Retribution' 
to go a little farther on to a place in the possession of the 

November 2ith. — Ten A.M. — We set off this morning at about 
6 A.M. In passing the fleet we begged from the commander 
the loan of a pilot. He proves to be a Cantonese, so that the 
active spirits on both sides seem to come from that quarter. 
We asked him why the Imperialists do not take Woohoo. He 
says they have no guns of a sufficient size to do anything against 
the forts, but that about twice a month they have a fight on 
shore. They cut off the heads of Rebels, and vice versd, when 
they catch each other, which does not seem to happen very 


often. The war, in short, seems to be carried on in a very soft 
manner, but it must do a great deal of mischief to the country. 
While I was dressing I was called out of my cabin to see a 
fight going on, on the right bank of the river. The Kebels 
occupied some hills, where they were waving flags gallantly, 
and the Imperialists were below them in a plain. We saw 
only two or three cannon shots fired while we passed. As 
things are carried on, one does not see why this war should not 
last for ever. My friends, the Commissioners, seem to have 
acted in good faith towards me, for the Chinese naval author- 
ities all inform me that they had been forewarned of our coming, 
and ordered to treat us with every courtesy. 

November l^th. — Ten A.M. — We have just passed a bit of 
scenery on our left, which reminds me of Ardgowan, — a range 
of lofty hills in the background, broken up by deep valleys 
and hillocks covered with trees ; dark-green fir, and hard wood 
tinted with Canadian autumn colours, running up towards it 
from the river. With two or three thousand acres — what a 
magnificent situation for a park ! There are so many islets in 
this river that it is not easy to speak of its breadth, but its 
channel still continues deep, and, with occasional exceptions, 
navigable without difficulty. Bix p.m. — A very pretty spec- 
tacle closed this day. The sun was dropping into the western 
waters before us as we approached a place called Tsong-yang, 
on the left bank. We knew it was the station of an Imperial The 
fleet, and as we neared it we found about thirty or forty war- ^^^^_ 
junks, crowded with men and dressed in their gaudiest colours. 
Flags of every variety and shape. On one junk we counted 
twenty-one. You cannot imagine a pi-ettier sight. We anchored, 
supposing that the authorities might come off to us. As yet, how- 
ever, they have shown no disposition to do so. I presume, how- 
ever, that the disj^lay is a compliment. Figure to yourself the 
gala I have described at the mouth of a broad stream running at 
right angles to the river Yangtze, and up which the town lies, 
about two miles off — the river, plains, town and all, surrounded 
by an amphitheatre of lofty hills — and you will have an idea of 
the scene in the midst of which we are anchored, and from 
which the golden tints of sunset are now gradually fading away. 

November 26th. — Noon. — We have just had another sample 
of this very unedifying Chinese warfare. About an hour ago Under 
we came off the city of Nganching, the capital of the province ^ ''°°'™' 


of Agantoci — the last station (so we are assured) in the hands 
of the Rebels. As we neared a pagoda, surrounded by a crene- 
lated wall, we were fired upon two or three times. We thought 
it necessary to resent this affront by peppering the place for 
about ten minutes. We then mo'ved slowly past the town, 
unassaulted till we reached the farther corner, when the idiots 
had the temerity to fire again. This brought us a second time 
into action. It is a sorry business this fighting with the people 
who are so little a match ; but I do not suppose we did them 
much harm, and it was, I presume, necessary to teach them that 
they had better leave us alone. Osborn, who was aloft, saw 
from that point a curious scene. The Imperialists (probably 
taking advantage of our vicinity) were advancing on the town 
from the land side in skirmishing order, waving their flags and 
gambolling as usual. The Pagoda Rebels ran out of it as soon 
as we began to fire, and found themselves tumbling ipto the 
arms of the Imperialists. We passed this morning a narrow 
rocky passage, otherwise the navigation has been easy. 
A pUot. Six P.M. — Anchored off Tunglow, a walled town, nicely situ- 

ated on the river. The sun is sinking to his repose through a 
mist, red and round, like a great ball of fire. The pilot is the 
most vivacious Chinaman I have seen, — inquiring about every- 
thing, proposing to go to England, like a Japanese. It was 
from the naval commander at Kiewhein that we got him. Lay 
was present when the commodore sent for him. He fell on his 
knees. The chief informed him that he must go up the river 
with us, and pilot us. ' That is a public service,' says the 
man, ' and if your Excellency desires it I must go ; but I 
' would humbly submit that I have a mother and sibter who 
' must be provided for in my absence.' ' Certainly,' said the 
chief. ' Then,' answered our man, ' I am ready ;' and without 
further a-do he got into the boat with Lay and came off to us. 
November 11th. — Eight a.m. — AVe started well, but there is 
such a fog that we are obliged to stop till it clears. Our pilot 
went ashore last night at Tunglow, and has returned with the 
front part of his head cleanly shaved. I asked him what the 
people had thought of our appearance. He answered that 
they were greatly afraid lest we should fire upon them, and 
their hearts at first went pit-a-pat ; but when they heard from 
him how well we treated him, and that we were no friends to 
the Rebels, they said ' Poussa ' (' that's Buddha's doing ' or 
' thank God '). 

1858. THE 'HEN BARRIER.' 289 

November 28th. — Eleven A.M. — The morning began as usual : Sand 
calm, fair, and hazy. At about nine it began to blow, and gra- '^™" 
dually rose to a gale, causing our river ripple to mimic ocean 
waves, and the dust and sand to fly before us in clouds, obscur- 
ing earth and sky. About ten we approached a mountain range, 
which had been for some time looming on the horizon. We 
found we had to pass through a channel of about a quarter of a 
mile wide ; on our left, a series of barren hills, bold and naajestic- 
looking in the mist ; on the right, a solitary rock, steep, conical- 
shaped, and about 300 feet high. On the side of it a Buddhist 
temple, perched like a nest. The hills on the left were crowned 
by walls and fortifications built some time ago by the Hebels, 
and running over them in all manner of zigzag and fantastic 
directions. I have seldom seen a more striking bit of scenery. 
When we had passed through we found more hills, with inter- 
vals of plains, in one of which lay the district city of Tongtze, 
enclosed by walls which run along the top of the hills surround- 
ing it. The inhabitants crowded to the shore to witness the 
strange apparition of foreign vessels. 

I mentioned a rocky passage through which we passed on The ' Hen 
the morning of the 26th. Ellis, in his account of Lord 2^™'*'^-' 
Amherst's Embassy, speaks of it as a place of great difficulty. 
A series of rocks like stepping-stones run over a great part, 
and the passage is obtained by sticking close to the left bank. 
Our pilot tells us that it is named the ' Hen Barrier,' and for 
the following reason : Once on a time, there dwelt on the 
right bank an evil spirit, in the guise of a rock, shaped like a 
hen. This evil spirit coveted some of the good land on the 
opposite side, and proceeded to cross, blocking up the stream 
on her way. The good spirits, in consternation, applied to a 
bonze, who, after some reflection, bethought himself of a plan 
for arrestinof the mischief. He set to work to crow like a 
cock. The hen rock, supposing that it was the voice of her 
mate, turned round to look. The spell was instantly broken. 
She dropped into the stream, and the natives, indignant at her 
misdeeds, proceeded into it and cut off her head ! 

I have been skimming over a Chinese book, translated by 
Stanislas Julien: the travels of a Buddhist. It is full of legends 
of the character of that which I have now narrated. 

November 29th. — 12.30 p.m. — We have been very near the 
bank this morning. I see more cattle on the farms than in 




Ch. XI. 




other parts of China. They are generally buffaloes, used for 
agricultural purposes ; and wheu out at pasture, a little boy is 
usually perched on the back of each to keep it from straying. 
Six P.M. — I went ashore to pass the time, and got into conversa- 
tion with some of the peasants. One man told us that he had 
about three acres of land, which yielded him about twenty piculg 
(1^ ton) of pulse or grain annually, worth about forty dollars. 
His tax amounted to about three-fourths of a dollar. There was 
a school in the hamlet. Children attending it paid about two 
dollars a year. But many were too poor to send their children 
to school. We went into another cottage. It was built of 
reeds on the bare ground. In a recess screened off were two 
young men lying on the ground, with their lamp between 
them, smoking opium. 

Novemher 30th. — We are now in waters which no English- 
man, as far as is known, has ever seen. Lord Amherst passed 
into the Poyang Lake through the channel I described yester- 
day, and so on to Canton. We are proceeding up the river 
Yangtze. Hue came down this route, but by land. I men- 
tioned the sand-drifts two days ago. Some of the hills here 
look like the sand-hills of Egypt, from the layers of sand with 
which they are covered. What with inundations in summer 
and sand-drifts in winter, this locality must have some draw- 
backs as a residence. Noon. — Anchored again. We have 
before us in sight the pagoda of Kew-kiang ; one of the prin- 
cipal points which we proposed to reach when we embarked on 
this expedition. . . . We have not much to hope for from our 
Chinese pilot. Our several mishaps have disheartened him. 
He said to-day with a sigh, when reminded that we had found 
no passage in the channel he had specially recommended: 
' The ways of waters are like those of men, one day here, 
another there, who can tell!' — a promising frame of mind for 
one's guide in this intricate navigation ! Five p.m. — We found 
a channel in about an hour, and came on swimmingly to Kew- 
kiang. From the water it looked imposing enough. An 
enclosing wall of about five miles in circuit, and in tolerable 
condition. I landed at 3 p.m. What a scene of desola- 
tion within the wall! It seems to have suffered even more 
than Chin-kiang Foo. A single street running through a 
wilderness of weeds and ruins. The people whom we ques- 
tioned said the Rebels did it all. The best houses we found 

1858, UNKNOWN WATERS. 291 

were outside the city in the suburb. We were of course very- 
strange in a town where the European dress has never been 
seen, but the people were as usual perfectly good-natured, 
delighted to converse with Lay, and highly edified by his 
jokes. We did some commissariat business. We had with us 
only Mexican dollars, and when we offered them at the first 
shop the man said he did not like them as he did not know 
them. Lay said, ' Come to the ship and we wiU give you 
Sycee instead.' 'See how just they are,' said a man in the 
crowd to his neighbour ; ' they do not force their coin upon 
him.' This kind of ready recognition of moral worth is quite 
Chinese, and nothing will convince me that a people who have 
this quality so marked are to be managed only by brutality 
and violence. 

December \st. — 1.30 P.M. — We have just anchored. About Difficult 
an hour ago, we turned sharply to our left, and found on that tjon. 
hand a series of red sand-bluffs leading to a range of consider- 
able blue hills which faced us in the distance ; the river, as 
has been the case since we left the Rebel country, was 
covered with small country junks, and here and there a man- 
darin one, covered with flags, and with its highly-polished 
brass gun in the prow. The scene had become more interest- 
ing, but the navigation more difficult, for the gunboats began 
hoisting ' 3 ' and ' 4,' and all manner of ominous numbers. So 
we had : ' Hands to the port anchor,' ' slower,' and ' as slow 
as possible,' ' a turn astern,' and after a variety of fluctuations, 
'drop the anchor.' Six P.M. — We had to go a short way 
back, and to pass, moreover, a very shallow bit of the river ; 
that done we went on briskly, and bore down upon the moun- 
tain ranse which we descried in the forenoon. At about four 
we came up to it and turned to the right, with the mountains 
on our left and the town of Wooseuh on our right, while the 
setting sun, glowing as ever, was throwing his parting rays 
over one of the most beautiful scenes I ever witnessed. The 
whole population crowded to the river bank to see this won- 
derful apparition of the barbarian fire-ships. The hills rising Highland 
from the water had a kind of Loch Katrine look. We have ^'^^''''y- 
made some thirty-five miles to-day, but have still, I fear, about 
100 to go. 

December Id. — Eleven A.M. — A very prosperous forenoon. 
Mountains soon rose to the right, similar to those on the left. 

TJ 2 


We cut our way through deep calm water, amid these hills 
of grey rock and fir woods, for some three hours, and might 
really have imagined ourselves in the finest loch scenery of the 
Highlands. Numbers of little boats dotted the river, and 
moved off respectfully to the right and left as we approached. 
At about ten we passed out of the mountain range, and soon 
after neared Chechow, from which the population seemed to be 
moving, as we inferred from the numbers of small-footed 
women hobbling along the bank with their household effects. 
We were boarded by a mandarin-boat, the officer of which 
informed me that he had been sent by the Governor-General 
to pay his respects. He said that the Rebels were at no great 
distance, and the people were flying for fear of their attacking 
the town. He added, however, that they (the Imperialists) 
had a large force of cavalry in the neighbourhood, and that 
they would check the exodus of the inhabitants. Between 
Imperialists and Rebels, the people must have a nice time of 
it. His best piece of news was that we are only about fifty 
miles from Hankow. I trust that it may be so, for, despite 
my love of adventure, I shall be glad when we are able to 
turn back and proceed homewards. 
Popular The reason which the pilot assigns for the destruction of 

the reli- *^6 temples by the Rebels is the following : ' At present,' says 
^v,°'t?°1 ^®' ' ^^^ ^"^^ have a great advantage over the poor. They 
' can afford to spend a great deal more in joss-sticks and other 
' offerings, so that, of course, the gods show them a very undue 
' allowance of favour. The Rebels, who do not approve of 
' these invidious distinctions, get rid of them by destroying the 
' temples altogether.' This is evidently a popular version of 
the religious character of the Rebel movement. A Buddhist 
priest, whom I saw at Kew-kiang, said that the Rebels had 
destroyed some forty temples there. ' They do not worship 
' in temples,' he said, ' but they have a worship of their own.' 
The room in which Mr. Wade saw the Rebel chief at Woo- 
how was said to be their place of worship. It had no altar, 
nor anything to distinguish it as such. 

December 4th. — Six P.M. — Anchored again for the night, not 
half a mile farther than yesterday. An island in process of 
formation, covered at high water, separates the two anchorages. 
We had to go back, &c., and ended the day's work by getting 
through a very tight place in a most masterly manner ; leads- 

1858. HANKOW. 293^ 

men sounding at the bow and stern, as well as at the two 
paddles, and the ' Lee' and ' Cruiser ' stationed as pivots at the 
edges of the shoal. We had to perform a sort of letter S round 
them, and we passed by the latter so near, that we might have 
shaken hands with the crew. I should be amused with these 
triumphs, were it not for the reflection that we have to repeat 
them all in returning, with a favouring current, which will 
make our task more difficult. 

December Qth. — TlireeV.M. — At Hankow; four weeks, almost Hankow. 
to a minute, since we left Shanghae. We have brought this 
ship to a point about 600 miles from the sea, — a feat, I should 
think, unprecedented for a vessel of this size. We have reached 
the heart of the commerce of China. At first sight, I am 
disappointed in the magnitude of the place. I am anchored 
oif the mouth of the river Han, which separates Hankow and 
Han-yang on the left bank of the Yangtze. On its right bank 
is Ouchang Foo. I do not see room for the eight millions of 
people, at which rumour puts the population of these three 
towns. The scene is very animated. We are surrounded by 
hundreds of boats, and the banks are a sea of heads. My 
gentlemen are gone ashore. I think I shall get through the 
streets more conveniently to-morrow morning. 

December 1th. — Four r.M. — I have just returned from a walk 
through Hankow. Like all the places we have visited on this 
trip, it seems to have been almost entirely destroyed by the 
Rebels ; but it is recovering rapidly, and exhibits a great deal 
of commercial activity. The streets are wider and shops larger 
than one generally finds them in China. When ' foreign ' 
parties landed yesterday, they wei-e a good deal pestered by 
officious mandarin followers, who, by way of keeping order, kept 
bambooing all the unhappy natives who evinced a desire to see 
the foreigners. In order to defeat this plan, which was mani- 
festly adopted with the view of preventing us from coming in 
contact with the people, I landed near Han-yang, on the side 
of the river Han opposite to Hankow, and walked in the first 
instance to the top of a hill where there is a kind of fortress, 
from which we had a good view of Ouchang, Han-yang, and 
Hankow. The day was rather misty, but we saw enough to 
satisfy us that there must have been great exaggeration in pre- 
vious reports of the magnitude of these places. Some of the 
mandarin satellites tried to accompany us on our walk, but 


we soon sent them about their business. After seeing all we 
wished of the view, we descended and crossed the river Han in 
a sanpan to Hankow, where we walked about for some hours, 
followed by a crowd of perfectly respectable people- As some 
hint was conveyed to me implying that it was hoped we would 
not go to Ouchang, I have sent a letter to the Governor-General 
of the Two Hoo, who resides there, informing him that I intend 
to call upon him to-morrow. I shall go with as large an escort 
as I can muster. These Chinamen are such fools that, with all 
my desire to befriend them, I find it sometimes difficult to keep 
patience with them. They are doing all they can to prevent us 
from having any dealings with the people ; refusing our dollars, 
sending us supplies as presents, &c. I have sent back the 
presents, stating that I must have supplies, and that I will pay 
for them. 

December 8th. — Eleven a.m. — An officer has been off from 
the Governor-General, proposing that my visit should take place 
to-morrow, in order that there may be sufficient time for the 
preparations. He was very profuse in his protestations of 
good-will, but as usual there were a number of little points on 
which it was necessary to take a half-bullying tone. ' I could not 
' have a chair vnth eight bearers ; such a thing had never been 
' seen at Ouchang. There were not thirty chairs (the number 
' for which we had applied) in the whole place.' ' Lord Elgin 
' won't land with less, do as you please,' was the answer given. 
Of course, the difficulties immediately vanished. Considerable 
indignation was expressed at the fact that some of our officers 
had been prevented from entering the town of Ouchang yester- 
day. A hope was expressed that nobody would land on the 
Ouchang side to-day ; all would be arranged by to-morrow to 
our satisfaction, &c. &c. So, after an interview, in which there 
was the necessary admixture of the bitter and the sweet, the 
oflBcer was sent back to his master. Supphes are coming off in 
abundance to the ships. In short, the people are most desirous 
to buy and sell, if the authorities will only leave them alone. 
Six P.M. — I have had a long walk on the same side of the river 
as yesterday. We first went through the whole depth of Han^ 
kow, on a line parallel with the river Han. We estimated our 
walk in this direction at about two miles, but a good deal of it 
was along a single street flanked on both sides by ruins. We; 


then embarked in a sanpan and came down the Han, passing 
through a multitude of junks of great variety in shape and cargo. 
We landed near its mouth on the Han-yang side, and walked 
to that town, which is a Foo or prefectoral city, and walled. It 
contains the remains of some buildings of pretension, triumphal 
arches, &c., which imply that it must have been a place of 
some distinction, but it has been sadly maltreated by the 

December 9ih. — Four P.M. — The day is rainy, and the purser 
complains of difficulty in making his purchases yesterday, and 
that coal is not coming off to us as promised, &c. ; so I thought 
it expedient to do a little in the bullying line to keep all straight. 
When the Governor-General therefore sent off this morning to 
say that he was ready to receive me, I despatched Wade and 
Lay to inform him in reply that the day was too bad for me to 
land, and that I had to complain of the difficulties put in my 
way about money, &c. He received them in person, and was 
very gracious; said that he had been at Canton; that he under- 
stood all about us ; that if he had been there, Yeh would never 
have behaved as he did ; that in former days the Chinese 
Government had bullied us ; that we had bullied them of late 
years ; that it was much better that henceforward we should 
settle matters reasonably; that he was desirovis to show me every 
attention in his power ; that .when the port should be open he 
would do all he could to promote commerce and good under- 
standing. In short, he spoke very sensibly. It is exceedingly 
probable that if he had not got a little check, he might have 
kept us at as great a distance as possible ; but, be that as it may, 
it is just another proof of how easy it is to manage the Chinese 
by a little tact and firmness. We are now loading coal, flour, 
&c., as fast as we can take it on board. 

December 10th. — Six P.M. — This day broke fine and clear, so Visit to 
I sent off to the Governor- General to tell him that if he would ^enerar" 
receive me I would visit him at 2 p.m. We went with con- 
siderable pomp. A salute going and returning. A guard of 
eighty marines and sailors, and a party of about thirty in chairs. 
We passed through about a mile of the town of Ouchang Foo, 
and were received by the Governor-General and his suite, dressed 
in their best. The ceremony was as usual ; conversation and 
tea in the front room, followed by a more substantial repast in 



Oh. XI. 



the second. I have never, however, seen a reception in China 
so sumptuous, the authorities so well got up, and the- feeding 
so well arranged. The Governor-General is a good-looking man, 
less artificial in his manner than Chinese authorities usually 
are. He is a Mantchoo. It is rather hard to make conversa- 
tion when one is seated at the top of a room surrounded by- 
some hundred people, and when, moreover, one has nothing to 
say, and that nothing has to be said through an interpreter. 
However, the ceremony went off very well. After it, I got rid 
of my ribbon and star, and took a stroll incog, through Han- 
kow, where we bought some tea. Ouchang seems a large town 
-with some good houses and streets, but sadly knocked about 
by the Rebels. We are getting all our supplies, &c., on board, 
and hope to start to-morrow evening. 

December Wth. — Six P.M. — This day the Governor-General 
paid me a return visit. We received him -with all honour; 
manned yards of all four ships, and gave him a salute of three 
guns from each. It has been a beautiful day, and the scene 
was a striking one when he came off in a huge junk like a 
Roman trireme, towed by six boats, bedizened by any number 
of triangular flags of all colours. A line of troops, horse and 
foot, lined the beach along which he passed from the gate of 
the city to the place of embarkation ; quaint enough both in 
uniform and armament, but still with something of a preten- 
sion to both about them. I have seen nothinsr in China -with 
SO much display and style about it as the turn-out of the 
Governor-General of the Two Hoo, both to-day and yesterday. 
We showed him the ship, feasted him, photographed him, and 
entertained him one way or another for upwards of three hours. 
After he had departed, I landed on the Ouchang side, and 
walked through the walled city. Some objection was made 
to our entering, as we went through a side instead of the main 
gate, but we persevered and carried our point. The city is a 
fine one, about the size of Canton, but much in ruins. To- 
morrow at six, please God, we set forth on our return. I may 
mention as an illustration of the state of Ouchang, that in 
walking over a hill in the very centre of the walled town, we 
put up two brace of pheasants ! 

December \2th. — Eleven A.M. — We are on our way back to 
Shanghae. I am very glad of it, because we have accomplished 
all the good we could possibly expect to eflTect at Hankow, and 

1858. THE PEASANTRY. 297 

I am becoming very tired of the length of time which our ex- 
pedition has lasted. It is a feat to have reached this point with 
these big ships at this season of the year, and I think the effect 
of our visit will be considerable. The people evidently have no 
objection to us, and the resistance opposed by the authorities 
can always be overcome by tact and firmness. 

December \^th. — Nine A.M. — At about eight we heaved 
anchor, having carefully buoyed this very awkward passage. 
The current ran about four miles an hour, and at some points 
where the leadsmen were calling out sixteen and seventeen 
feet, the channel was not much greater than the width of the 
ship, and we draw about fifteen and a half feet of water, so it 
was a nervous matter to get through. To make the vessel 
answer the helm it was necessary to go faster than the current, 
and difficult to do this without proceeding at such a rapid rate 
as would, if we had chanced to take the ground, have stuck us 
upon it immovably. We skirted our several buoys in a most 
masterly manner, and are now anchored till they have been 
picked up. . . . Six p.m. — ' Where we had eighteen feet 
as we came up, we cannot find fourteen now,' are the ominous 
words which Captain Osborn has just addressed to me as he 
reached the deck from a surveying expedition. ... It looks 
a little serious, for I fear there is a worse place beyond. 

December I4th. — Six p.m. — I went on shore this morning PeaBantry. 
when there was no prospect of moving. . . . We took a long 
walk, conversing with the peasants who live in a row of cottages 
with their well-cultivated lands in front and rear of their dwell- 
ings ; the lands are generally their own, and of not more than 
three or four acres in extent I should think, but it is difficult 
to get accurate information from them on such points. We 
found one rather superior sort of man, who said he was a 
tenant, and that he paid four out of ten parts of the produce of 
his farm to the landlord. They gave me the impression of 
being a well-to-do peasantry. Afterwards I walked through 
the country town of Paho, which is built of stone, and seem- 
ingly prosperous. The Kebels had destroyed all the temples. 

December I5th. — Four P.M. — At about one we had passed 
the village of Hwang-shih-kiang, and were entering that part 
of the river I described as a fine site for a Highland deer 
forest, when the ' Lee ' hoisted the ' negative ' (the signal to 
stop). She had got on a rock, where, on our way up, we had 


found no bottom at ten fathoms. I landed immediately, and 
found the people engaged in quarrying and manufacturing lime 
from the hills on the right bank. We had a pleasant walk ; 
the day being beautiful, and the scenery very fine. They sell 
their lime at about 17s. per ton (200 cash a picul), and buy 
the small coal which they employ in their kilns at about 25s. 
(300 cash a picul). I wish I could do as well at BroomhaU 1 
Himting December 11th. — Ten A.M. — The gunboats are hunting for 

channel. ^ channel. ... I am going ashore. On this day last year I 
embarked on board this ship for the first time. What an 
eventful time I have spent since then ! Four p.m. — I have 
returned from my walk, but, alas ! no good news to greet me. 
Only eleven feet of water, where we found seventeen on the 
way up. . . . Our walk was pleasant enough, though it rained 
part of the time. Some of the gentlemen shot, for the whole 
of China is a preserve, the game hardly being molested by the 
natives. We went into the house of a small landowner of 
some three or four acres ; over the door was a tablet to the 
Litera^ honour of a brother who had gained the highest literary degree, 
and was therefore eligible for the highest offices in the State. 
The owner himself was not so literary, and had bought the 
degree of bachelor for 108 taels (about 35/.). If he tried to 
purchase the degree of master he would have, he said, 1,000 
taels to pay, besides passing through some kind of examination. 
We asked him about the Rebels. He said that when they 
visited the rural districts, they took whatever they pleased, 
saying that it belonged to their Heavenly Father. Before 
meat they make a prayer to the Heavenly Father, ending with 
a vow to destroy the ' demons ' (Imperialists). ' But,' added 
my informant, ' they are poor creatures, and their Heavenly 
' Father does not seem to do much for them.' We also visited a 
manufactory where they were extracting oil from cotton-seed. 
December I8th. — Six p.m. — -We are to try a channel, such 
as it is, to-morrow morning. I landed for a walk. Wade took 
a gun with him. We saw quantities of waterfowl of all kinds. 
The plain on the left bank of the river is bounded on the other 
side by a pretty lake. The plain is subject to inundations, 
and seems to be covered by a bed of sand of about five feet in 
thickness. The people cultivate it by trenching for the clay 
beneath, and mixing it with the sand. 

December I9th. — 10.30 A.M. — The ' Cruiser ' went through 


this bad passage safely. We followed^ and are now aground. 
Anchors are being laid out in hopes of dragging the ship over. 

December 20th. — Eleven A.M.. — Our difficulty yesterday was Pressing 
not unexpected, . . . but we were compelled to make the t^°^^^ 
attempt. The mud was very soft, and as we pressed against it, 
kept breaking away ; but the difficulty was, that as we moved 
the shoal, the tide was forcing us towards it, and preventing 
our getting clear of it. At night we fixed the ship securely by 
three anchors, and left it to make its own way, which it did so 
effectually, that at 4 a.m. we slipped into deep water. We 
did not get off till 10 a.m., and the first thing we had to do 
was to turn in a channel which was exactly the length of the 
ship, and not a foot more. This very clever feat we performed 
with the help of an anchor dropped from the stern, and are 
now in the main river. . . . Two p.m. — We have anchored 
below Kew-kiang, at the spot where we anchored on Novem- 
ber 30th. The ' Dove ' met us an hour ago with the ominous 
signal, ' Afraid there is no passage.' Six p.m. — Captain Osborn 
*has returned from an exploration, which will be continued 
to-morrow. It would be very sad if the ' Furious ' had to be 
left behind. Meanwhile I landed and took a walk. It is a 
pretty country, on the right bank, consisting of wooded hillocks 
with patches of cultivated valley, and sometimes lakes of consi- 
derable size. Cosy little hamlets nestle in most of the valleys ; 
the houses built of sun-dried bricks, and much more substantial 
than those we saw yesterday, &c., where the walls generally 
were made of matting, probably because of the inundations. 

December 23rd. — Noon. — At about six Captain Osborn re- 
turned from an exploration of the north channel, which he found 
rocky, and twelve feet of water the utmost that could be found. 
Captain Bythesea was disposed to try and lighten the ' Cruiser ; ' 
but I determined that I would run no risk of the kind As 
yet no harm has happened to any of our ships, and the delay 
at this point of some of the squadron for three months, is more 
an inconvenience to me than a disadvantage in any other way. 
On public grounds it will even be attended with benefit, as it 
vpill insure the Yangtze being kept open ; for supplies vdll be 
sent up to them from Shanghae, and they will have an oppor- 
tunity of examining the Poyang Lake besides. If any of the 
vessels were lost or seriously injured, it would be a very dif- 
ferent matter. I have therefore resolved that we shall all pack 



Ch. XI. 

to the 


into the ' Lee ' (the ' Dove ' being crammed already), and 
with the aid of two junks for servants and baggage, make our 
way to the ' Retribution.' "We shall have to pass Nganching, 
but it is to be hoped that the Rebels will not repeat the experi- 
ment they made when we were on our way up. Au reste, Dieii 

December 24:th. — Noon. — On board the ' Lee.' — We have just 
passed the shallow behind which we were anchored for three 
days ; but we have passed it only by leaving our big ships 
behind us. At 10 a.m. I had all the ship's company of the 
' Furious ' on deck, and made a short farewell speech to them, 
which was well received by a sympathetic audience. The 
whole Mission is on board this gunboat, pretty closely packed 
as you may suppose : the servants in a Chinese boat astern, 
and the effects in another, astern of the ' Dove.' The ' Dove ' 
leads, and we follow. It is raining and blowing unpleasantly. 
I am very sorry to have left the ' Furious.' ... If the Rebels 
let us pass them unattacked, it will be well ; if they do not, 
we shall be obliged in self-defence to force a passage through , 
their lines, in order to carry supplies to our ships. Either way, 
the object of opening the Yangtze will be attained. Yesterday 
the Prefect of Kew-kiang came on board the ' Furious.' He 
was very civil, and undertook to supply Captain Osborn with 
all he wanted. ... In the little cabin where I am now writing, 
five of us are to sleep ! 

Christmas Day. — Many happy returns of it to you and the 
children ! ... It is the second since we parted. . . . We are 
now (3 P.M.) approaching Nganching. I have resolved to 
communicate with the authorities to express my indignation at 
what happened when we passed up the river, and tell them that 
if it is repeated I shall be obliged reluctantly to take the town. 
This may seem rather audacious language, considering that my 
whole force now consists of two gunboats. However, I think 
it is the proper tone to take with the Chinese. 

December 26th. — One T.M.- — It grew so dark before we an- 
chored near Nganching last night, that we abandoned the 
idea of communicating till this morning, and found, when day 
broke, that we were nearer the town than we had anticipated. 
It was raining heavily, with a slight admixture of sleet, and 
some of the heights in rear of the town were covered with snow. 
We heaved anchor at about seven, and dropped it again at 

1858. NANKIN. 301 

about half a mile from the wall of the city. "VYade went oflF 
in a boat. He steered to a point where there was an officer 
-waving a flag somewhat ominously, and a crowd behind him, 
generally armed with red umbrellas. When he got to the 
shore, he was informed that the officer was third in command, 
and a Canton man, as the other chiefs also appeared to be. 
He told them that it was our intention to pass up and down 
the river; that I had come with a good heart (i.e. without hos- 
tile intentions) ; that nevertheless we had been scandalously 
fired at, &c. &c. They at once, in the manner of Chinamen, 
confessed their error, and said that the firing had been a mis- 
take ; that it was the act of some of the local men, who did not 
know the ships of ' your great nation ; ' that it should not 
happen again, &c. Wade told them that the same thing had 
occurred at Nankin, and that we had destroyed the peccant 
forts. They answered that they were aware of what had then 
happened. He added, that we did not wish to interfere in 
their internal disputes, but that they must know, if we were 
driven to it, we should find it an easy matter to sweep them 
out of the city. They admitted the truth of all he said, oifered 
presents, begged him to go into the city and see their chief 
(both which proposals he declined); in short, they were con- 
trite and humble. On his return to the ' Lee,' she and her 
consort lifted their anchors, and we steamed quietly past the 
city, under the very walls, and within easy gingall shot, for so 
we were compelled to do by the narrowness of the channel. 

December 2dth. — 11 A.M. — We are now approaching Nan- Nankin. 
kin. I have sent Oliphant, Wade, Lay, and a Mr. W. (a mis- 
sionary) ahead in the ' Dove,' to land, if possible, at the first 
fort, with the view of going into the town and calling on the 
authorities. The ' Dove ' will then proceed past the other 
forts to an anchorage on the farther side of the city, to which 
point the ' Lee ' and ' Retribution ' will follow her. My emis- 
saries will inform the Nankin authorities that I am pleased that 
they should have apologised for their scandalous conduct 
towards us on our way up ; that we have no intention of 
meddling with them if they leave us alone ; but that we intend 
to move ships up and down the river, and that they must not 
be molested. They have sent me a letter written on a roll of 
yellow silk, about three fathoms long. It seems to be a sort of 
rhapsody, in verse, with a vast infusion of their extraordinary 



Oh. XI. 


once moro. 

theology. It is now snowing heavily, so we cannot see far 
ahead. It would, I think, be awkward for me to have any 
intercourse with the Eebel chiefs, so I do not, as at present 
advised, intend to land. 

December 30tk. — About 7 P.M., the ' Dove ' rejoined us with 
the emissaries. It appears that they had a long way to go on 
horseback, — some seven or eight miles — before they reached 
the Yamun of the chief, who received them. They do not 
seem to have learnt much from him. He professed to be third 
in the hierarchy of the Kebel Government of Nankin, but was 
a rather commonplace person. He said that our bombard- 
ment had killed three officers and twenty men, and that they 
had beheaded the soldiers who fired at us ! Arrangements 
were made for the free passage of vessels communicating with 
the ' Furious.' They describe their ride through Nankin as if 
it had been one through a great park, — trees, and the streets 
wider than usual in China ; but no trade is allowed, and the 
place seems almost deserted. There was not quite so much 
appearance of destruction, but more of desolation, than in any 
town previously visited by us. The officer who guided them 
to the Yamun asked Wade to take him away with us, and on 
being told that was impossible, applied for opium, saying that 
he smoked himself, and that about one in three of the force in 
Nankin did the same. Whether the original Taiping chief, 
' Hung-Seu-Cheun,' is still alive or not, we have not been 
able to discover. Some say he remains shut up with about 
300 wives. At any rate he is invisible. . . . The only thing 
remarkable which I have observed to-day is the quantity of 
wildfowl. I saw one flock this mornins: which was several 
miles long. It literally darkened the sky. I suppose the 
cold weather is driving them inwards from the sea. 

December Z\st. — Five p.m. — I hardly expected to have to 
record another grounding, but so it is. We have been going 
on gallantly all day, leaving the other ships some ten miles 
behind us. We had passed the Lunshan Hills, off which we 
spent two days, and from which I sent you my last letter. 
We were abreast of Plover Point, when suddenly the water 
shoaled so much that we had to drop anchor. Alas ! the 
ebbing tide was too strong for us, and drove us on a bank, 
where we are now sticking. If we get off before morning it 
will not matter much ; but if the ' Eetributlon ' comes down 
and finds us here, we shall look horribly small. 

1859. REACH SHANGHAE. 303 

January \st, 1859. — Many, many returns of the New Year ! Eeach 
It is a beautiful day, and we are just anchoring at Shanghae, Shanghae. 
at 3 P.M. As soon as the tide rose (about midnight) it 
lifted us oiF our shoal. "We had to go cautiously sometimes 
to-day ; but we have closed this eventful expedition success- 

The general results and chief incidents of the interest- 
ing expedition thus happily completed, were reported to 
the Government in England in a despatch, dated January 
5th, 1859, from which are taken the following extracts : — 

The knowledge of the Chinese language possessed by Messrs. Difficulty 
Wade and Lay enabled me to enter, without difficulty, into at facts. 
communication with the inhabitants of the towns and rural 
districts which we visited. At various points in our progress 
we wandered, unarmed and unattended, in parties of three or 
four, to a distance of several miles from the banks of the river, 
and we never experienced at the hands of the natives anything 
but courtesy, mingled with a certain amount of not very ob- 
trusive curiosity. Notwithstanding, however, these favourable 
opportunities, the budget of statistical facts which I was able 
to collect was hardly as considerable as I could have desired. 
Chinamen of the humbler class arc not much addicted to re- 
flection, and when subjected to cross-examination by persons 
greedy of information, they are apt to consider the proceeding 
a strange one, and to sus.pect that it must be prompted by 
some exceedingly bad motive. Moreover, having been civilised 
for many generations, they carry politeness so far, that in 
answering a question it is always their chief endeavour to say 
what they suppose their questioner will be best pleased to 
hear. If, therefore, the knowledge of a fact is to be arrived 
at, it is, above all things, necessary that the inquiry bear a tint 
so neutral that the person to whom it is addressed shall find it 
impossible to reflect its colour in his reply. He will then 
sometimes, in his confusion, blunder into a truthful answer, 
but he does so generally with a bashful air, indicative of the 
painful consciousness that he has been reluctantly violating 
the rules of ffood breeding. A search after accurate statistics, 
under such conditions, is not unattended with difficulty. 

I am confirmed, by what I have witnessed on this expedi- 
tion, in the doubts which I have long entertained as to the 



Ch. XI.- 

reports of 




accuracy of the popular estimates of the amount of the town 
population of China. The cities which I have visited are, 
no doubt, suffering at present from the effects of the rebel- 
hon; but I cannot bring myself to believe that, at the best of 
times, they can have contained the number of inhabitants 
usually imputed to them. M. Hue puts the population of the 
three cities of Woo-chang-foo, Han-yang--foo, and Hankow, at 
8,000,000. I doubt much whether it now amounts, in the 
aggregate, to 1,000,000 ; and even when they were flourishing, 
I cannot conceive where 3,000,000 of human beings could have 
been stowed away in them. 

What I have seen leads me to think that the rural popula- 
tion of China is, generally speaking, well-doing and contented. 
I worked very hard, though with only indifferent success, to 
obtain from them accurate information respecting the extent 
of their holdings, the nature of their tenure, the taxation which 
they have to pay, and other kindred matters. I arrived at the 
conclusion that, for the most part, they hold their lands, which 
are of very limited extent, in full property from the Crown, 
subject to certain annual charges of no very exorbitant 
amount ; and that these advantages, improved by assiduous 
industry, supply abundantly their simple wants, whether in 
respect of food or clothing. In the streets of cities in China 
some deplorable objects are to be met with, as must always 
be the case where mendicity is a legalised institution ; but I 
am inclined to think that the rigour with which the duties 
of relationship are enforced, operates as a powerful clieck on 
pauperism. A few days ago a lady here informed me that 
her nurse had bought a little girl from a mother who had 
a surplus of this description of commodity on hand. I asked 
why she had done so, and was told that the little girl's hus- 
band, when she married, would be bound to support the 
adopting mother. By the judicious iuvestment of a dollar in 
tliis timely purchase, the worthy woman thus secured for 
herself a provision for old age, and a security, which she pro- 
bably appreciates yet more highly, for decent burial when 
she dies. 

My general impression is, that British manufacturers will 
have to exert themselves to the utmost if they intend to sup- 
plant, to any considerable extent, in the native market, the 
fabrics produced in their leisure hours, and at inte^'vals of rest 


from agricultural labour, by this industrious, frugal, and sober 
population. It is a pleasing but pernicious fallacy to imagine, 
that the influence of an intriguing mandarin is to be presumed 
whenever a buyer shows a preference for native over foreign 

In returning to Shanghae, Lord Elgin had hoped to 
find the objects of his mission so far secured, that there 
would be nothing to prevent his sailing for England at 
once : but nearly two more months elapsed before he 
was able to turn his back on the Celestial Empire. 

iShanghae. — January \1th. — The 'Furious' and 'Cruiser' ar- 
rived here safely on the 10th. ... I have just accomplished 
the Herculean task of looking over a two-months' supply of 
newspapers, and this occupation, interlarded with a certain 
number of letters and visits to and from the Imperial Com- 
missioners, and, to-day, an address from the British community 
of Shanghae, has pretty fully occupied my time.' The home 
mail is due to-day, and 1 am anxiously waiting to learn from 
it what the Government intends to do about relieving me. . . . 
I trust that your many disappointments as to my return may 
have been somewhat relieved by the conviction that I am fol- 
lowing the right course. This opening up of the East is not 
a light matter. . . . The comet was most magnificent here. 
Did I ever mention it in my letters ? During the whole 
period of its visit in this quarter it had night after night a 
clear blue cloudless sky, spangled with stars innumerable, to 
disport itself in. . . . Canton is coming round to tranquillity 
as fast as we ever had any right to expect ; but the absurd 
thing is that these funny people at Hong-kong are beginning 
to praise me ! 

' His reply to the Mereliants' ad- ' bamers behind which these ancient 

dress contained the following passage: ' nations sought to conceal from the 

' Allow me to express the satisfaction ' world without the mysteries, perhaps 

' which it gives me to find that you ' also, in the case of China at least, 

' specify the benefits that are likely to ' the rags and rottenness of their wan- 

' accrue to the inhabitants of these ' ing civilisations. Neither our own 

' countries themselves, as among the ' consciences nor the judgment of 

' most important of the results to be ' mankind will acquit us if, when we 

' expected from our recent treaties ' are asked to what use we have 

' with China and Japan. On this ' turned our opportunities, we can 

' head we have no doubt incurred very 'only say that we have filled our 

' weighty responsibilities. Uninvited, ' pockets from among the ruins which 

'and by methods not always of the ' we have found or made.' 
' gentlest, we have broken down the 



Oh. XL 

at Canton. 

Town of 

January 20th. — I had hardly written the words ' Canton is 
coming round to tranquillity,' when I heard that there had 
been fighting there again. It is a good thing in my opinion, 
as it will enable us to demonstrate our superiority to the 
Braves, if the General and Admiral improve the opportunity 
properly ; not by a great deal of slaughter, that is quite un- 
necessary, but by promptitude, and striking a blow at the 
right moment. The Chinese do not care much about being 
kiUed, but they hate being frightened, and the knowledge 
of this idiosyncrasy of theirs is the key of the position. I 
have just written a letter to my friends the Imperial Com- 
missioners here, which will, I think, shake their nerves con- 
siderably, and bring them to a manageable frame of mind. 

In fact, vrhen he found that Governor- General Hwang 
had not been recalled, nor the Committee of Gentry 
suppressed, and that the Canton Braves were still making 
war upon our troops, he felt that the Chinese were try- 
ing to evade the performance of their promises, and 
that there was nothing for it but to ' appeal again to 
' that ignoble passion of fear which was unhappily the 
' one primum mobile of human action in Chma.' ^ Accord- 
ingly he wrote to the Imperial Commissioners that, as 
the Emperor did not carry out what they undertook, he 
would have nothing more to say to them on the sub- 
ject; that the English soldiers and sailors would take 
the Braves into their own hands ; and that he or his 
successor would in a month or two have an opportunity 
of ascertaining at Pekin itself whether or not the Em- 
peror was abetting the persons who were creating dis- 
tnrbances in the South. 

The journal continues, under date of January 20: — 

Yesterday I took a walk through the town of Shanghae 
with a missionary who is a very good cicerone. We went into 
a good many ateliers of silversmiths, ribbon-makers, tobacco- 
manufacturers, carvers in wood, and the like. The Chinese 
are skilful manipulators, but they are singularly uninventive. 

Despatch of Jan. 22, 1859. 


Nothing can be more rude than their labour-saving processes. 
TVe visited also a foundling establishment. There was a 
drawer at the entrance in which the infants are deposited, as 
is, I believe, the case at Paris. The children seem tolerably 
cared for, but there were not many in the house. The greater 
portion are given out to nurse. We went also into a large 
inn or lodging-house, frequented by a respectable class of 
visitors — silk merchants, &c. The rooms seemed comfortable, 
quite as good as the accommodation provided for commercial 
travellers at an English inn. A good many books seemed to 
form part of the luggage of the occupant of each room that we 
entered. It is curious that I should have been engaged in so 
many enterprises of rather an out-of-the-way character since 
I have been out here. I confess that in my own opinion the 
voyage up the Yangtze is not the least important one. 

January 22nd. — Mail arrived. Frederick's appointment' is 
Tery satisfactory, and I am sure it is the best the Government 
could have made for the public interest. It is a great comfort 
to me to know that he will wind up what I cannot finish. 

Shanghae. — January 25th. — After full consideration I have Eehirn 
resolved to go at once to Hong-kong, and take the Canton tong. 
difficulty in hand. A variety of circumstances lead me to the 
conclusion that the Court of Pekin is about to play us false. 
Ho, the Governor-General of the Two Kiang ; the Tautai of 
this port ; and the Treasurer of the district, all well-disposed 
to foreigners, have been gradually removed from the councils 
of the Commissioners. Some papers which we have seized also 
indicate that the Emperor is by no means reconciled to some 
of the most important concessions obtained in the Treaties. 
This row at Canton is therefore very opportune. I have taken 
a high tone, informed the Commissioners that I am oiF to the 
South to punish disturbers of the peace there, and that when I 
have taught them to respect treaties, I (or my successor) will 
return to settle matters still pending here, pacifically or other- 
wise as the Emperor may prefer. It is to be hoped that this 
language will bring them to their senses, or rather bring the 
Court to its senses, for I do not suppose that the Commis- 
sioners are so much to blame. I had already asked all the 
society here to a party this evening, so it will be a farewell 
entertainment, and I shall embark as soon as it is over. 

' As Minister at the Court of Pekin. 
X 2 


rmsT MISSION to china. 

Gs. XI. 


intx) the 

At Sea, near Hong-kong. — Tuesday, February Isf. — Two 
■war-steamers and a gunboat have just passed us on some ex- 
pedition after pirates. It may be all right, but I fear we do 
some horrible injustices in this pirate-hunting. The system of 
giving our sailors a direct interest in captures is certainly a 
barbarous one, and the parent of much evil ; though perhaps it 
may be diflScult to devise a remedy. The result, however, is, 
that not only are seizures often made which ought not to be 
made at all, but also duties are neglected which do not bring 
grist to the mill. B. once said to me, in talking of the diffi- 
culty of exercising a police over even English vessels which 
carry coolies to foreign ports : — ' Men-of-war have orders to 
' seize vessels breaking the law ; but as they are not prizes, 
' and the captain if he seizes them wrongfully is liable to an 
' action for damages, how can you expect them to act ? ' 

February Wth. — I ought to tell you that on the 8th, a body 
of troops about 1,000 strong started on an expedition into the 
interior, which was to take three days. I accompanied or 
rather preceded them on the first day's march, about twelve 
miles from Canton. We rode through a very pretty country, 
passing by the village of Sheksing, where there was a fight a 
fortnight ago. The people were very respectful, and apparently 
not alarmed by our visit. At the place where the troops were 
to encamp for the night, a cattle fair was in' progress, and our 
arrival did not seem to interrupt the proceedings. 

February \Zth. — The military expedition into the country 
was entirely successful. The troops were received everywhere 
as friends. Considering what has been of yore the state of 
feeling in this province towards us, I think this almost the 
most remarkable thing which has happened since I came here. 
"Would it have happened if I had given way to those who 
wished me to carry fire and sword through all the country 
villages ? Or if I had gone home, and left the winding-up of 
these affairs in the hands of others ? . . . I say all this because 
I am anxious that you should appreciate the motives which 
have made me prolong my stay in this quarter. 

On the 15th he started, intending to join General 
Straubenzee in an expedition up the West River ; but 
finding that his presence wouhl be of no use, and might 
be an embarrassment, he resolved instead to spend the 

1859. mSSION COMPLETED. 309 

time in visiting the port of Hainan, the southernmost 
port opened by the new Treaty. Unfortunately, when 
he arrived off Hainan, a wind blowing on shore, and 
very imperfect charts, prevented his entering the port ; 
but on his way he had an opportunity of revisiting one 
of the few places on the coast possessing any historical 
interest, namely Macao, the residence of Camoens ; and 
also of touching at St. John, the scene of the labours and 
death of Francis Xavier. 

February \1tli. — We reached Macao yesterday morning. Macao. 
I visited the garden of Camoens, and wandered among the 
narrow up-and-down streets, which with the churches and con- 
vents, and air of quiet vetuste, remind one of a town on the 
continent of Europe. 

February 20th. — Sunday. — We have just anchored in a St. John, 
quiet harbour, on the island of St. John, or Sancian, as Hue 
calls it ; the first place in China where the Portuguese settled. 
Here, too, St. Francis Xavier died. I should land and look 
at his tomb if I thought it was in this part of the island, but 
it is late (5 p.m.), and a long way to pull. 

On returning to Hong-kong he found that his letter 
to the Chinese Government had had the effect which he 
desired and anticipated. 

Hong-kong. — February 23rd. — 1 have good news from the Mission 
North. As I was walking on the deck this morning at 8 "^"^^ ^^ ' 
A.M., Mr. Lay suddenly made his appearance. He had come 
by the mail-packet from Shanghae, with a letter from the 
Imperial Commissioners, announcing that the seal of Imperial 
Commission had been taken from Hwang, the Grovernor- 
General of this proviace, and given to Ho, the Governor-Gene- 
ral of the provinces in which Shanghae is situated. Lay 
further states that his friend the Tautai informed him that 
they are prepared to receive the new Ambassador peacefully at 
Pekin, when he goes to exchange ratifications. If so, I think 
that I shall be able to return with the conviction that the 
objects of my mission have been accomplished. 

The details of his Treaty having been now defini- 
tively arranged. Canton pacified, and its neighbourhood 


overawed by the peaceful progress through it of a mili- 
tary expedition, there remained nothing to detain him 
in the East.^ 

HomeTjrard Canton River. — March Zrd. — I am really and truly off on 
bound. jjjy. ^^y ^Q England, though I can hardly believe that it is so. 
The last mail brought me not a word either from Frederick or 
about his plans ; only, what was very satisfactory, the ap- 
proval of the Government of my arrangement respecting the 
residence of the British Minister in China. I have, however, 
determined to start, and to take my chance of meeting him 
somewhere en route. Unless I were to go back to Shanghae, 
I could not do much more here now ; and if I put off, I shall 
have the monsoon against me, and great heat in the Red Sea. 
Hong-kong Having resolved on this course, I invited the Hong-kong mer- 
*° ^' chants to come up with me to Canton, to look at the several 
factory sites. In their usual way they have been dictating the 
choice of a site to me, abusing me for not fixing upon it ; and 
I found out that very few of them had even taken the trouble 
of looking at the ground. In short I found that, in my short 
visits, I had seen a great deal more of the sites than they had 
done, who live constantly on the spot, and are personally inte- 
rested in the matter. I started from Hong-kong yesterday 
morning, and to-day I went over the ground with them. The 
rain poured, and I got a good wetting. . . . As I was starting 
from the town in a gunboat to rejoin my ship, I met the 
military and naval expedition, which has been absent for more 
than two weeks, returning. I had not time to communicate 
with the ofiBcers, but they seemed in good spirits. It is a 
curious wind-up of this most eventful mission, that as I am 
starting from China, I should meet an Anglo-French force 
returning from a pacific invasion into the very heart of the 
province of Kwan-tung ! — the pepiniere of the Canton Braves, 
of whom we have heard so much. 

March Ath. — Eleven a.m. — I have been calculating that if 
Frederick does not leave England till the mail of the 25th of 
February, I may, by pushing on, catch him at Galle. This 
would be a great point. I must push on and take my chance. 

' In a parting letter he pointed ported by an imposing force, and 

out to the Admiral how desirable it suggested that with this view a 

was that the ambasaador who went sufficient fleet of gunboats should 

to Pekin to exchange the ratifica- be concentrated at once at Shanghae. 
tions of the Treaty should be sup- 


March 6th. — We are passing Pulo Sapata, a bald, solitary Puio 
rock, standing in the midst of the China Sea, the resort of sea- Sapata. 
fowl, as is indicated by its guano-like appearance. There it 
stands day after day, and year after year, affronting the scorch- 
ing beams of this tropical sun. All ships pass by it between 
Singapore and China. So I am looking at it for the fourth 
time — the last time, we may hope. We have made fuUy 200 
miles a day — a great deal for this ship. 

March lOth. — We are now very near the Line, and the 
breeze has nearly failed us ; so you may imagine we are not 
very cool, but we hope to reach Singapore to-morrow. These 
Tropics are very charming when they do not broil one ; and I 
passed a pleasant hour last night on the top of the paddle-box, 
with a balmy air floating over my face from the one side, a 
crescent moon playing hide-and-seek behind a cloud on the 
other, and right above me a legion of bright stars, shining 
through the atmosphere as if they could pierce one with their 

March 11 th. — We have passed the Horsburgh lighthouse, 
and entered the Straits. Wooded banks on either side, diver- 
sified by hillocks, and a ship or two, give some animation to the 
scene. It is very hot, and I have been on the paddle-box 
getting what air I can, and watching a black wall of cloud 
covered with fleecy masses, which rests on the bank to our 
right, and seems half inclined to sweep over us with one of 
those refreshing pelts of which we had a succession last night. 
It is this habit of showers which renders the vicinity of the 
Line more bearable than the summer heat of other parts 
within the Tropics. However, the cloud sticks to the shore, 
so I have come down to write this line to you. 

Singapore. — Sunday, March IZth, Seven A.M. — This place Singapore. 
looks wonderfully green and luxuriant after China. The 
variety of costumes and colours too, Malay, Indian, Chinese, 
&c., and the pretty villas perched on each hillock among 
flowering trees, give it a festival air. Heavy showers of rain 
also keep the temperature down. . . . 3.30 p.m. — I went to church 
and embarked immediately after ; and here we are, about ten 
miles from Singapore, going well through a calm sea, vnth a 
slight breeze rather against us. Twenty months ago I left 
this place at about the same hour with poor Peel for Calcutta. 

March 2\st. — Six A.M. — I have been an hour on deck 


watching the great bright stars eclipse themselves, and the 
sun break through the clouds right astern of us. It is a lovely 
day, and we are a little bent over by a breeze from the shore 
of Ceylon, along which we are now running. Noon. — Just 
anchored at Galle, after a run of about 270 miles in twenty- 
four hours. . . . We are surrounded by curious boats about 
two feet wide, prevented from capsizing by outriggers — beams 
of woodi floating on the water on one side of them, and attached 
to them by poles of about eight feet in length. I believe these 
boats are wonderfully fast and safe. 
Ceylon. Colombo. — Sunday, March 27th. — We came yesterday to 

this place. A drive of seventy-two miles through an almost 
uninterrupted grove of cocoa-nut trees, interspersed with 
bread-fruit, jack-fruit, and other foliage, with occasional gleams 
of the Gloriosa superba. The music of the ocean waves hiss- 
ing and thundering on the shore accompanied us all our 
journey. The road was good and the coach tolerable, so it 
was pleasant enough. To-day the heat is very great; hardly 
bearable at church. All Sir H. Ward's family are on the hill 
— Newra Elyia — some 6,000 feet above the sea ; this being the 
hottest season in Ceylon. My writing is not very good, for I 
cannot sit stiU for the heat. I am walking about the room in 
very light attire, taking up my pen from time to time to iadite 
a few words. 

H. M. S. 'Furious.' — At Sea, April 9th.— Will this letter 
be delivered to you by the post or by the writer in person ? 
Chi sa? . . . You will like to have a complete record of my 
experiences during my long absence. I am now again at sea, 
and I cannot say how this fact rejoices me. I was tired of 
Ceylon ; and my longing to get home increases as the prospect 
of my doing so becomes more real. I was iU, too, at Ceylon. 
The heat was very great ; and I was, I fear, somewhat im- 
prudent. On the day after I despatched my last letter to you 
from Colombo, I started for Kandy, a pretty little country 
town seated in the centre of a circle of hills. I reached it 
at 5 P.M., time enough to walk about the very beautiful 
grounds of the 'Pavilion,' the Governor's residence. Next 
day, after seeing the shrine which contains the famous tooth of 
Buddha, I set off for the mountains, and reached a coffee estate 
of Baron Delmar's at about 6 p.m. We found ourselves in a 
fine cool climate, at about 3,000 feet above the sea. That 

1859. HOME. 313 

night, however, I felt a shiver as I went to bed. I had a bad 
headache next morning, and when I arrived at Newra Elyia, 
the famous sanatarium, 6,000 feet above the sea, I was obliged 
to go to bed, and send for the doctor. I could not remain 
quiet, however, as the packet from England might be at Galle 
on the 3rd ; so I had to hurry down on Friday from the moun- 
taia ta Kandy and Colombo, where I arrived on Saturday 
evening more dead than alive. Sir H. Ward's doctor declared 
me to be labouring under an attack of jungle fever. ... I 
sent for the ' Furious,' which conveyed me from Colombo to 
Galle on Monday the 4th. Frederick did not arrive till the 
6th ; so all ended well. It was an unspeakable comfort to me 
to meet Frederick at last. We had a day to talk over our 
affairs, as he did not proceed till the afternoon of the 7th. . . . 
I am pleased with Ceylon, notwithstanding my mishaps. For 
a tropical climate it is healthy and bearable ; but we happened 
to be there at the very hottest season. At Newra Elyia it is 
really cold, and, at the height of the coffee estates, very tolerable 
to vegetate in. 

The rapid homeward journey along a beaten route 
offered little of interest to write about, especially as lie 
was likely to be the bearer of his own letter. On 
the 19th of May he reported to the Foreign Office his 
arrival in London. 








LordEigin When Lord Elgin returned, in 1854, from the Govem- 
land?^' ment of Canada, there were comparatively few persons 
in England who knew or cared anything about the great 
work which he had done in the colony. But his bril- 
liant successes in the East attracted public interest, 
and gave currency to his reputation ; and when he re- 
turned from China in the spring of 1859 he was received 
with every honour. Two great parliamentarychiefs, 
Lord Derby and Lord Grey, from opposite sides of the 
House of Lords, contended for the credit of having first 
introduced him into public life. Lord Palmerston, who 
was at the time engaged in forming a new Administra- 
tion, again offered him a place in it, and he accepted the 
office of Postmaster-General. The students of Glasgow 
paid him the compliment of electing him as their Lord 
Rector; and the merchants of London showed their 
sense of what he had done for their commerce, first by 
the enthusiastic reception which they gave him at a 
dinner at the Mansion House, and afterwards by con- 
feriing upon him the freedom of their city. 

Lord Elgin was not one of those men, if any such 
there be, who are indifferent to the appreciation of their 
fellows. He could, indeed, in a mock-cynical humour, 
write of what a man must do ' if he thinks it worth 


' while to stand well with others : ' ' but in himself there 
was nothing of the cynic, and to stand well with others 
was to his genial nature a source of genuine and 
undisguised gratification. It was well said of him 
afterwards in reference to the honours paid to him at 
this period, that while he did not require the stimulus 
of praise, or even sympathy, to keep him to his work, 
but would have worked on for life, whether appre- 
ciated or overlooked, still ' he whose sympathies were 
' always ready and warm enjoyed himself being under- 
' stood and valued ; and that welcome in the City was 
' very cheering to him after his long experience of 
' English indiflFerence about Canada and what he had 
' done there.' 

He was not destined, however, to enjoy for long 
either the tranquil dignities of his new position or 
the comfortable sense of a work accomplished and com- 
pleted. Fresh troubles broke out in the East ; and, on 
the 26th of April, 1860, within less than a year after his 
arrival in England, he was again crossing the Channel 
on his way back to China. 

The Chinese Government, tractable enough under origin 
the present influence of a bold and determined spirit, ^ifg^o""*^ 
had returned to its old ways when that pressure was to China. 
removed. It had been agreed that the Treaty of Tien- 
tsin should be formally ratified within the year, that is, 
before the 26th of June, 1859 ; and, when the time 
approached, Mr. Bruee was commissioned to proceed to 
Pekin for the purpose of exchanging the ratifications. 
On arriving, however, at the mouth of the Peiho, he 
found the Taku forts, which guard the mouth of the 
river, fortified against him ; and when the men-of-war 
which accompanied him went forward to remove the 
barriers that had been laid across the river, they were 
fired upon from the forts. As no such resistance had 
been expected, no provision had been made for over- 

' Vide supra, p. 226. 


coming it ; and Mr. Bruce had no choice but to return 
to Shanghae, and report to the Government at home 
what had occurred. 

For some time it seems to have been hoped that the 
Emperor of China, when fully informed of the miscon- 
duct of his officers in firing upon British ships without 
notice, would have been ready to make the proper 
amende ; but when this hope was dispelled, it became 
clear that such an outrage must be summarily dealt 
with. A large force, both naval and military, was 
ordered from England and India to the China seas, 
to co-operate there with forces sent by the French, who 
felt themselves scarcely less aggrieved than the Enghsh 
by the repudiation of the common Treaty. 

For the command of this expedition there was one 
man whom all parties alike regarded as marked out at 
once by character and ability, and by previous experi- 
ence. On the 17th of April, 1860, Lord Russell, who 
was then Foreign Secretary, wrote officially to Lord 
Elgin that ' Her Majesty, resolved to employ every 
' means calculated to establish peace with the Emperor 
' of China, had determined to call upon him again to 
' give his valuable services to promote this important 
' object, and had signified her intention of appointing 
' him to proceed to China as her Ambassador Extraor- 
' dinary to deal with these matters.' His instructions 
were necessarily of the vaguest. After touching upon 
some of the awkward contingencies that might arise, 
Lord Russell proceeded : ' In these circumstances your 
' Lordship and your enlightened colleague. Baron Gros, 
' wUl be required to exercise those personal quahties 
' of firmness and discretion which have induced Her 
' Majesty and her Ally to place their confidence in you 
' and the French Plenipotentiary.' The only conditions 
named as indispensable were, (1) an apology for the 
attack on the Allied forces at the Peiho; (2) the rati- 
fication and execution of the Treaty of Tientsin ; (3) 


the payment of an indemnity to the Allies for the ex- 
penses of naval and military preparations. 

To be called away from the happy home which he 
so rarely enjoyed and enlightened, and to be sent out 
again to the ends of the world on such a service, was 
no light sacrifice even to his patriotic spirit ; and the 
feeling of this was perhaps aggravated by the half- 
hope cherished during the first few weeks, that any 
day he might be met by tidings that the Chiaese had 
made the required concessions, and that the affair was 
settled. The following extracts from his Journal reflect 
something of this. 

Sunday, April 29th. — Off Sardinia. — So much for my chro- Gloomy 
nicle ; but I write it with a certain feeling of repugnance and P'^°^P®'=''^' 
self-reproach. It was very well on the occasion of my first 
voyage, when I wished to share with you whatever charm the 
novelty of the scenes through which I was passing might 
supply to mitigate the pain of our separation. But this time 
there is no such pretext for the record of our daily progress. I 
am going through scenes which I have visited before, on an 
errand of which the issue is almost more than doubtful. When 
I see my friend Gros I feel myself doubly guilty, in having 
consented to undertake this task, and thus compelled him to 
make the same sacrifice. And Frederick — what will he 
think of my coming out ? It is a dark sky all around. There 
is only one bright side to the picture. It is very unlikely that 
my absence can be of long duration. If such ideas were to 
prevail in England as those which are embodied in an article 
on China, which is to appear in the forthcoming Blackwood, t 
might be detained long enough in that quarter ; but these 
are not the views of the public or the statesmen of England. 
What is desired is a speedy settlement, on reasonable terms — 
as good terms as possible ; but let the settlement be speedy. 
This, I think, is the fixed idea of all. Gros tells me that when 
he took leave the Emperor grasped both his hands, thanked 
him with effusion, and said that not one man in fifty would 
make such a sacrifice as he (Gros) was doing. 

Monday, 2>Qth. — I do not know whether I shall do much 
more to this letter before I reach Malta, for we are both rolling 
and pitching, which is not favourable to writing, the climate 


has now changed. It is very near perfection in point of tem- 
perature. If we could only keep it so all the way ! We 
expect to reach Malta this evening, and remain about four 
hours. Where are you now ? . . . Have you returned to 
your desolate home ? I think I see B. looking up to you with 
his thoughtful eyes, and dear little L. putting pointed ques- 
tions, and, in her arch way, saying such kind and tender 
words ! . . . You must continue to write, as you did last time, 
all you are doing and thinking, that I may reproduce, as faith- 
fully as I can, the life which you are living. I do the same hy 
you, though it is with a more leaden pen than formerly. . . . 
Poor Gros has retired to his cabin in order to take a horizontal 
position. Many of my companions are in the same way. 

May 3rd. — Are you still shivering in the cold, while I am 
gliding through the calm sea under an awning, and going 
against a breeze sufficiently light to do no more than fan us 
pleasantly ? If it would never go beyond this, there is cer- 
tainly something very delightful in such a climate ; the clear 
atmosphere, bright stars, light nights, and soft air ; and to be 
wafted along through all this, as we now are, at the rate of 
some twelve miles an hour, with so little motion that we hardly 
know that we are making progress. It will be a different 
story, I fear, when we get into the Eed Sea, where we may 
expect a wind behind us, and around us the hot air of the 
Desert! ... I have been employing myself for a good part of 
Old letters, to-day in a sad work. I took with me a number of letters of 
very old date, and have been looking over them, and tearing 
up a great part of them, and throwing them overboard. I 
thought it would be an occupation suited to this heavy tropical 
gea-life. I shall be sorry when it is over, as it is also soothing, 
and brings back many pleasing memories which had nearly 
faded away. Some few I keep, because they are landmarks 
of my past life. 
ThePyra- Steamer 'Simla.' — May 9th. — I had only a few moments to 
"' ■ write before we left Suez, and my writing, such as it was, I 

performed under difficulties, as the bustle of passengers finding 
their cabins, and conveying to them their luggage, or such por- 
tions of it as they could rescue from its descent into the hold, 
was going on all around me. I had, therefore, only time to tell 
you that our visit to the Pyramids has been a success. It was 
one of the greatest which I ever achieved in that line. It 

1860. THE PYRAMIDS. 319 

came about in this way. When Baron Gros and I, accom- 
panied hy- Betts Bey, the chief director of the railway, were 
journeying in our pachalic state-carriage from Alexandria to 
Cairo, a question arose as to how we were to spend the few 
hours which we should have to remain at the latter place, I 
expressed a desire to see the Pyramids, as I had witnessed all 
the other lions of Cairo. But Betts Bey observed, that to go 
there during the day, at this season of the year, was a service 
of considerable danger, the risk of sunstroke being more than 
usually great. We were, in fact, traversing Egypt during 
the period (of about six weeks' duration) when the wind from 
the south blows, and the only air one receives is like the blast 
of a furnace heavily charged with sand. He added, however, 
that it was not impossible to go to the Pyramids at night, 
remain there tiU dawn, see the sunrise from the summit, and 
return before the great heats of the day. When I found 
myself at Cairo, I proposed to my entourage that we should 
undertake this expedition. My proposal was eagerly accepted, 
especially by ' Our own Correspondent,' Mr. Bowlby, who is 
a remarkably agreeable person, and has become very much 
one of our party. It was arranged that we should dine 
at the table cCliote at 7 p.m., start at 9, in carriages to the 
crossing of the Nile (about four miles), and on donkeys from 
Gieja (about six miles). The Pasha's state-coach came to the 
door at the appointed hour; we started, our own party, Mr. 
Bowlby, Captain F., and M. de B., Gros' secretary. Gros 
himself, having twice seen the Pyramids, declined going with 
us. The moon was very nearly full, and but for the honour 
of the thing we might have dispensed with the torch-bearers, 
who ran before the carriage and preceded the donkeys, after 
we adopted that humbler mode of locomotion. Our row across 
the river to the chant of the boatmen invoking the aid of a 
sainted dervish, and our ride through the fertile borders of the 
Nile, covered with crops and palm-trees, were very lovely, and, 
after about an hour and a half from Cairo, we emerged upon 
the Desert. The Pyramids seemed then almost within reach 
of our outstretched arms, but lo I they were in fact some four 
miles distant. We kept moving on at a sort of ambling walk ; 
and the first sign of our near approach was the appearance of 
a crowd of Arabs who poured out of a village to offer us their 
aid in various ways. We had been told before we started, that 


a party who had visited the Pyramids the night before had 
been a good deal victimised by these Arabs, who, alas ! in these 
degenerate days, have no other mode of indulging their pre- 
datory propensities than by exacting the greatest possible 
amount of ' backshish ' from travellers who visit the Pyramids. 
We pushed on over the'heaps of sand and debris, or probably 
covered-up tombs, which surround the base of the Pyramids, 
when we suddenly came in face of the most remarkable object 
The on which my eye ever lighted. Somehow or other I had not 

Sphinx. thought of the Sphinx till I saw her before me. There she 
was in all her imposing magnitude, crouched on the margin of 
the Desert, looking over the fertile valley of the Nile, and her 
gaze fixed on the East as if in earnest expectation of the sun- 
rising. And such a gaze ! The mystical light and deep 
shadows cast by the moon, gave to it an intensity which I 
cannot attempt to describe. To me it seemed a look, earnest, 
searching, but unsatisfied. For a long time I remained trans- 
fixed, endeavouring to read the meaning conveyed by this 
wonderful eye ; but I was struck after a while by what seemed 
a contradiction in the expression of the eye and of the mouth. 
There was a singular gentleness and hopefulness in the lines of 
the mouth, which appeared to be in contrast with the anxious 
eye. Mr. Bowlby, who was a very sympathique inquirer into 
the significancy of this wonderful monument, agreed with me 
in thinking that the upper part of the face spoke of the in- 
tellect striving, and striving vainly, to solve the mystery — ■ 
(What mystery ? the mystery, shall we say, of God's universe 
or of man's destiny ?) — while the lower indicated a moral con- 
viction that all must be well, and that this truth would in good 
time be made manifest. 

We could hardly tear ourselves away from this fascinating 
spectacle to draw nearer to the Great Pyramid, which stood 
beside us, its outline sharply traced in the clear atmosphere. 
We walked round and round it, thinking of the strange men 
whose ambition to secure immortality for themselves had ex- 
pressed itself in this giant creation. The enormous blocks of 
granite brought from one knows not where, built up one knows 
not how ; the form selected solely for the purpose of defying 
the assaults of time ; the contrast between the conception em- 
bodied in these constructions and the talk of the frivolous race 
by whom we were surrounded, and who seemed capable of no 

18C0. THE PYEAMIDS. 321 

thought beyond a desire for daily ' backshish,' — all this seen 
and felt under the influence of the dim moonlight was very 
striking and impressive. We spent some time in moving from 
place to place along the shadow cast by the Pyramid upon the 
sand, and observing the effect produced by bringing the moon 
sometimes to its apex and sometimes to other points on its out- 
line. I felt no disposition to exchange for sleep the state of 
dreamy half-consciousness in which I was wandering about ; 
but at length I lay down on the shingly sand, with a block of 
granite for a pillow, and passed an hour or two, sometimes 
dozing, sometimes wakeful, till one of our attendants informed 
me that the sun would shortly rise, and that it was time to 
commence to ascend the Pyramid, if we Intended to witness 
from its summit his first appearance. AVe had intended to 
spend the night in the tombs, but it was so hot that we were 
only too glad to select the spot in which we could get the 
greatest amount of air. A very soft and gentle breeze, wafted 
across the Desert from an unknown distance, fanned me as I 
slept. The ascent was, I confess, a much more formidable 
undertaking than I had anticipated ; and our French friend 
gave in after attempting a few steps. The last words 
which had passed between him and me before we retired to 
rest, were interchanged as we were standing in front of the 
Sphinx, and were characteristic: Ah! que c'est drOle ! was the 
reassuring exclamation which fell from his lips while we were 
there transfixed and awestruck. As far as the ascent of the 
Pyramid was concerned, I am not sure but that I was some- 
times tempted to follow his example, when I found how great 
was the effort required to mount up, in the hot air, the huge 
blocks of granite, and the unpleasantness of feeling every now 
and then with what facility one might topple downwards. 
This sensation was most disagreeably felt when, as generally 
happened at any very critical place, my Arab friends, who 
were helping me up, began to talk of ' backshish,' and to in- 
sinuate that a small amount given at once, and before the 
ascent was completed, would be particularly acceptable. How- 
ever, after a while the summit was reached. I am not sure 
that it repaid the trouble; at any rate, I do not think I should 
ever wish to make the ascent again. We had a horizon all 
around tinted very much like Turner's early pictures, and be- 
comino- bri"-hter and more variegated as the dawn advanced, 


322 SECOND rassiON to china. Ch. xn. 

until it melted into day. Behind, and on two sidea of us, was 
the barren and treeless Desert, stretching out as far as the eye 
could reach. Before us, the fertile valley of the Nile ; the river 
meandering through it, and, in the distance, Cairo, with its 
mosques and minarets, the highest, the Citadel Mosque, stand- 
ing out boldly upon the horizon. It was a fine view, and had 
a character of its own, but still it was not in kind very differ- 
ent from other views which I have seen from elevated points 
in a flat country. It does not stand forth among my recollec- 
tions as a spectacle unique, and never to be forgotten, as that 
of the night before does. Very soon after the sun rose the 
heat became painful on our elevated seat, and we hastened to 
descend — an operation somewhat difficult, but not so serious as 
the ascent had been. We mounted our donkeys, and after 
I)aying a farewell visit to the Sphinx, v^e returned to Cairo as 
we had come, all agreeing that our expedition was one of the 
most agreeable and interesting we had ever made. I confess 
that it was with something of fear and trembKng that I re- 
turned to the Sphinx that morning. I feared that the im- 
pressions which I had received the night before might be 
effaced by the light of day. But it was not soj The lines 
were fainter, and less deeply marked, but I found, or thought 
I found, the same meaning in them still. 

May 10th. — We are now passing some islands, nearly opposite 
to Mocha : to morrow at an early hour we shall probably reach 
Aden. Shall we find any Chinese news there? And if we 
do, what will be its character? We have not yet heard a 
syllable to induce us to think that matters will be settled with- 
out a conflict, but then we have seen nothing official. We 
boundT^'^'^ met, at the station-house on the Nile, between Alexandria and 
Cairo, the passengers by the last Calcutta mail-steamer. There 
were some from China among them, but I could gather from 
them nothing of any interest. It was a curious scene, by 
the way, that meeting: 2G0 first-class passengers, including 
children, pale and languid-looking, thrown into a great barn- 
like refectory, in which were already assembled our voyage 
companions (we ourselves had a separate room), jovial-looking, 
and with roses in their cheeks, which they are doubtless hasten- 
ing to offer at the shrine of the sun. These two opposing 
currents, bearing such legible records of the climes from which 
they severally came, met for a moment on the banks of the 

1860. PERIM. ADEN. 323 

Nile, time enough to interchange a few hasty words, and then 
rushed on in opposite directions. As I am not like the 
Englishman in ' Eothen,' who passes his countryman in the 
Desert without accosting him, I had as much talk as I could 
with all the persons coming from China whom I could find, 
though, as I said, without obtaining any information of value. 

May Wth. — Seven A.M. — Before I retired last night, I saw, Perim. 
through the starlight (we have little moon now) Perim. On 
the right is an excellent safe channel, eleven miles wide ; so 
that it will be impossible to command the entrance of the Red 
Sea from Perim. There is a good anchorage on this side, so 
says our captain ; but of course we could not see it. I am 
sorry we passed it so late, as I should have liked Gros to have 
seen it, in order that he might calm the susceptibilities of his 
Government in respect to its formidable character. I enclose 
a little bit of a plant which I gathered on my return from the 
Pyramids. The botanist on board says it is a species of 
camomile. It is a commonplace plant, with a little blue 
flower, but I took a fancy to it, because it had the pluck to 
venture farther into the Desert, and to approach nearer the 
Pyramids than any other which I saw. 

On Shore at Aden. — Noon. — I am at the house of Captaiu Aden. 
Playfair, who represents the Resident during his absence. A 
very pleasant breeze is blowing through the wall of reeds or 
bamboo, which encloses the verandah in which I am writing. 
I am most agreeably disappointed by the temperature ; and, 
strange to say, both Captain P. and his wife do not complain 
of Aden ! So it is with all who live here. And yet, when 
one looks at the place, dry as a heap of ashes, glared upon by 
a tropical sun, without a single blade of grass to repose the 
eye, or a drop of moisture from above to cool the air, save 
only about once in two years, when the sluices of Heaven are 
opened, and the torrents come down with a fury unexampled 
elsewhere, one feels at first inclined to doubt whether it can be 
possible for human beings to live here. I suppose that it is 
the reaction, j)roduced by finding that it is not quite so bad as 
it appears, that reconciles people to their lot, and makes them 
so contented. AA^e have got some scraps of China news ; and 
what there is, seems to be pacific. 

At Sea. — May \5th. — If we go on to China, if we take the 
matter in hand, then I think, coute que coute, we must finish 

Y 2 


it, and finish it thoroughly. I do not believe that it will take 
us long to do so ; hut the indispensable is, that it should be 
done. This is my judgment on the matter, and I tell it to 
you as it presents itself to my own mind; but how much 
wiser is Gros, who does not peer into the dim future, but 
awaits calmly the dispersion of the mists which surround it ! 

Books. . . . He has been reading the book on Buddhism (St. Hi- 
laire's), which I got on your recommendation, and have lent 
him. I have myself read Thiers ; the Idylls over again ; some 
other poems of Tennyson's, &c. &c. The first of these is very 
interesting. The passion of the French nation for the name of 
Napoleon seems more and more wonderful when one peruses 
the record of the frightful sufferings which he brought upon 
them ; and yet, at the time when his reign was drawing to its 
close, the disgust occasioned by his tyranny seemed to be the 
ruling sentiment with all classes. As to the Idylls, on a 
second perusal I like ' Enid ' better than on the first ; 'Vivien' 
better ; ' Elaine ' less ; and ' Guinevere ' still best of all. No- 
thing in the volume can approach the last interview between 
Arthur and the Queen. 

May I9th. — We are to reach Galle to-morrow or next day. 
... 1 think of j'ou and the dear small ones, to whom I feel 
myself drawn more closely than ever ; for, in spite of my pre- 
occupations, I became better acquainted with them during my 
last eleven months at home, than ever before — dear B.'s full 
and thoughtful eye ; L.'s engaging and loving ways. Oh that 
I could be at home and at peace to enjoy all this ! 

Ceylon. Ceylon, May 21 st. — Last night was black and stormy, and 

when I came on deck this morning, I was told that we did not 
know exactly where we were ; that we had turned our ship's 
head homewards, and were searching for Ceylon. We found 
it after a while, and landed in a pelt of rain at about noon. . . . 
On landing, I asked eagerly for China news. Hardly any to 
be obtained ; little more than vague surmises. Nothing to 
justify an arrest of our movements, so we must go on. I do 
not know how it is, but I feel sadder and more depressed 
than I have felt before. I cannot but contrast my position 
when In this house, a year ago with my present position. 
Then I was returning to you, looking forward to your dear 
welcome, complete success ha^'iQg crowned my mission to 
China. I am now going from you on this difficult and unwel- 

1860. SHIPWRECK. 325 

come en-and. ... I feel as if I knew every stone of the place 
where I passed so many weary hours, waiting for Frederick, 
with a fever on me, or coming on. Gros is in the next room 
bargaining for rubies and sapphires ; but I do not feel disposed 
to indulge in such extravagances. . . . The steamer in which 
we are to proceed to-morrow looks very small, with diminutive 
portholes. We shall be a large party, and, I fear, very closely 

May 22nd. — Have you read Russell's book on the Indian Eussell ou 
Mutiny ? I have done so, and I recommend it to you. It has Ja^J ""^'"^^ 
made me very sad ; but it only confirms what I believed before 
respecting the scandalous treatment which the natives receive 
at our hands in India. I am glad that he has had courage to 
speak out as he does on this point. Can I do anything to prevent 
England from calling down on herself God's curse for brutalities 
committed on another feeble Oriental race ? Or are all my 
exertions to result only in the extension of the area over which 
Englishmen are to exhibit how hollow and superficial are both 
their civilisation and their Christianity ? . . . The tone of the 
two or three men connected with mercantile houses in China 1 
whom I find on board is all for blood and massacre on a great 
scale. I hope they will be disappointed ; but it is not a cheer- 
ing or hopeful prospect, look at it from what side one may. 

Galle, May 23rd. — Uhomme propose, mats . . . . — I ended my Shipwreck, 
letter yesterday by telling you that I was about to embark for 
Singapore amid torrents of rain and growlings of thunder ; but 
I little thought what was to follow on this inauspicious em- 
barkation. We got on board the Peninsular and Oriental 
steamer ' Malabar ' with some difficulty, there was so much sea 
where the vessel was lying; and I was rather disgusted to 
find, when I mounted the deck, that some of the cargo or 
baggage had not yet arrived, and that we were not ready for a 
start. I was already half wet through, and there was nothing 
for it but to sit still on a bench under a dripping awning. 
About twenty minutes after I had established myself in this 
position, the wind suddenly shifted, and burst upon us with 
great fury from the north-east. The monsoon, now due, comes 
from the south-west, and therefore a gale from the north-east 
was unexpected, though I must say that, as we were being 
assailed by constant thunderstorms, we had no right, in my 
opinion, to consider ourselves secure on any side against the 


assaults of the wind. Be this however as it may, the gale was 
so violent that I observed to some one near me that it reminded 
me of a typhoon. I had hardly made this remark, when a 
severe shock, accompanied by a grating sound, conveyed to me 
the disagreeable information that the stern of the vessel was 
on the rocks. Whether we had two anchors out or one; 
whether our cables were hove taut or not ; whether we had 
thirty fathoms out or only fifteen, are points still in dispute; 
but at any rate we had no steam ; so, after we once were on 
the rock, we had for some time no means of getting off It. 
During this period the thumping and grating continued. It 
seemed, moreover, once or twice, to be probable that we should 
run foul of a ship moored near us. However, after a while, 
the engines began to work, and then symptoms of a panic 
manifested themselves. The passengers came running up to 
me, saying that the captain was evidently going to sea, that 
there were merchant captains and others on board who declared 
that the certain destruction of the ship and all on board would 
be the consequence, and begging me to interfere to save the 
lives of all, my own included. At first I declined to do any- 
thing, — told them that I had no intention of taking the com- 
mand of the ship, and recommended them in that respect to 
follow my example. At last, however, as they became im- 
portunate, I sent Crealock' to the captain, with my compliments, 
to ask him whether we were going to sea. The answer was 
not encouraging, and went a small way towards raising the 
spirits of my nervous friends around me. ' Going to sea,' said 
the captain, ' why, we are going to the bottom.' The fact is 
that we were at the time when that rejjly was given going 
pretty rapidly to the bottom. Tlie water was rising fast in 
the after- part of the ship, and to this providential circumstance 
I ascribe our safety. The captain started with the hope that 
he would be able to pump into his boilers all the water made 
by the leak. If he had succeeded, the chances are that by 
this time the whole concern would have been deposited some- 
where in the bed of the ocean. The leak was, however, too 
much for him, and he had nothing for it but to run over to the 
opposite side of the anchorage, where there is a sandy bay, and 
there to beach his ship. We performed this operation success- 
fully, though at times it seemed probable that the water would 
' Colonel Ci-aalock, military aecretnry to the Embassy. 


gain upon us so quickly as to stop the working of the engines 
before we reached our destination. If this had happened we 
should have drifted on some of the rocks with which the har- 
bour abounds. When we had got the stern of the vessel into 
the sand we discovered that we had not accomplished much, 
for the said sand being very loose, almost of the character of 
quicksand, and the sea running high, the stern kept sinking 
almost as rapidly as when it had nothing but water below it. 
The cabins were already full of water, and the object was to 
land the passengers. As usual, there was the greatest diffi- 
culty in launching any of the ship's boats, and none of the 
vessels in the harbour, except one Frenchman (and one English 
I have since heard, but its boat was swamped, and therefore I 
did not see it), saw fit to send a boat to our assistance. In 
order to prevent too great a rush to the boats, I thought it ex- 
pedient to announce that the women must go first, and that, 
for my own part, I intended to leave the ship last.' This I 
was enabled to do without unnecessary parade, as the first boat 
lowered was offered to me, — and no doubt the announcement 
had some effect in keeping things quiet and obviating the risk 
of swamping the boats, which was the only danger we had then 
to apprehend. Such were our adventures of yesterday after- 
noon. I had a presentiment that something would happen at 
Galle, though I could hardly have anticipated that I should 
be wrecked, and wrecked within the harbour ! . . . , Five P.M. 
• — I have just been on the beach looking at our wreck. The 
stern, and up to the funnel is now all under water. A jury 
of ' experts ' have sat on the case, and their decision is, that 
nothing can be done to recover what is in the after part of the 
vessel (passenger's luggage and specie) until the next monsoon 
sets in — some five or six months hence ! A wardrobe which 
has spent that period of time under the sea will be a curiosity ! 

This untoward accident detained him for a fort- 
night at Galle, occupied in superintending and press- 
incr on the operation of fishing up what could be 

' ' The absence of any panic, was 'conversing together, as if no danger 

' very creditable to tbe passengers. It, 'impended.' — Personal Narrative of 

'however was mainly due to the Occurrences during Lord Elgin s Se- 

' conduct 'of the two Ambassadors, cond Embassy to China, by H. B. 

'who during the whole time, re- Loch, Private Secretary. 
' mained q^uietly seated on the poop 

328 SECOiSfD mssioN to chika. Ch. xn. 

saved from the wreck. By the aid of divers, his ' Full 
Powers ' and his decorations were recovered, together 
with most of his wearing apparel ; but his ' letter of cre- 
' dence ' was gone, and he had to telegraph to the 
Foreign Office for a duplicate. 
SewB In the meantime the lingering hope which he had 

^°™ cherished of an immediate return to Enoiand was dis- 

China. . . o ^ 

pelled by accounts from China, which made it clear that 
he must proceed thither and go through with the ex- 

Mai/ 28th. — Seven a.m. — This will be a sad letter to you, and 
I write it with a heavy heart, though we have much to be 
thankful for in the issue of this adventure. ... I trust that 
Providence reserves for us a time of real quiet and enjoyment. 
I go to China with the determination, God willing ! to bring 
matters there to a speedy settlement. I think that this is as 
indispensable for the public as for my own private interest. 
Gros is of the same opinion. I still hope, therefore, that with 
the change of the monsoon we may be wending our way 
Mis- Jtcne 3rd. — Nothing has occurred to mark the lapse of time 

stati(m. except a visit we paid two days ago to a place called Ballagam, 
some ten miles from here. It is a missionary station, built by 
the money of the Church Missionary Society, or by funds 
raised through the Society. It is situated on rising ground, 
and consists of an excellent bungalow for the missionary, a 
church, and a school. A good part of the building is upon an 
artificial terrace supported by masonry, and must have cost 
a great deal of money. It appears that at one time, while the 
work was going on, and cash was al)undant, the congregation 
of so-called Christians numbered some 400. It is now reduced 
to thirty adults and about fifty children. The European mis- 
sionary has left the place, and it is in the hands of a native 
missionary. It gave me a lively idea of the way in which good 
peojDle in England are done out of their money for such schemes. 
June 4 f A.— This morning I was awakened by the appearance 
of Loch in my room, carrying a bag with letters from England. 
I jumped up and opened yours, ended on the 10th of May. 
Your letter is a great compensation for our shipwreck and 
delay, and it is at once a strange coincidence and contrast 

1860. PENANG. 329 

to wliat happened on the last occasion. Then your first letters 
to me were shipwrecked, and delayed a month in reaching me. 
This time I have been shipwrecked myself almost in the same 
place, and I have got your dear letter a month sooner than I 
had anticipated. How differently do events turn out from our 
expectations !....! suppose we shall get off to-morrow, 
though the steamer for China is not yet arrived. ... I have 
saved a considerable portion of my effects, some a good deal 
damaged. But some of my staff have lost much more, as they 
travel with a greater quantity of clothing, &c., than I do. 

At last, on the 5tli of June, they were able to leave 
Ceylon ; and they reached Penang, after a rough pas- 
sage, on the 11th. 

Steamer 'Peldn,'' Straits of Malacca. — June \2th. — You may Penang. 
perhaps remember that, when I first visited Penang in 1857, 
the Chinese established there mustered in force to do me 
honour. There was a sketch in the ' Illustrated News,' which 
portrayed our landing. No similar demonstration took place 
on this occasion ; whether this was the result of accident or 
design, I cannot tell. ... I have every inducement to labour 
to bring my work to a close ; to reach sooner that peaceful 
home-life towards which I am always aspiring. ... I think 
that I have a duty to perform out here ; but as to any advan- 
tage which will accrue to myself from its performance, I am, I 
confess, very little hopeful. ... It is terrible to think how 
long I may have to wait for my next letters. If we go on to 
the North at once, we shall be always increasing the distance 
that separates us. It is wearisome, too, passing over ground 
which I have travelled twice before. No interest of novelty 
to relieve the mind. Penang and Ceylon are very lovely, but 
one cares little, I think, for revisiting scenes which owe all 
their charm to the beauties of external nature. It is different 
when such beauties are the setting, in which are deposited his- 
torical associations, and the memories of great deeds or events. 
I do not feel the slightest desire to see again any even of the 
most lovely of the scenes I have witnessed in this part of the 
world. Indeed, so tired am I of this route, that I sometimes 
feel tempted to try to return by way of the Pacific, if I could 
do so without much loss of time. . . . This is only a passing 
idea, however, and not likely to be realised. 



ch. xn. 



June \2>th. — Singapore. — We arrived at about noon, I find 
a new governor, Colonel Cavanagh. ... I am to take up my 
abode at the Government House. Not much news from China, 
but a letter from Hope Grant, asking me to order to China a 
Sikh regiment, which has been stopped here by Canning's 
orders, and I think I shall take the responsibility of reversing 
C.'s order, with which the men were very much disgusted. 

The next day he was afloat again, on his way to 

June 14M. — When you receive this, you will be thinking 
of dear Bruce'a school plans. Would that I could share your 
thoughts and anxieties 1 ... I have been reading a rather 
curious book — the ' Life of Perthes,' a Hamburg bookseller. 
It reveals something of the working of the inner life of Ger- 
many during the time of the first Napoleonic Empire. It 
might interest you. 

June nth. — Another Sunday. How many since we parted? 
I cannot count them. It seems to me as if a good many years 
had elapsed since that sad evening at Dover. Hut here I am 
going on farther and farther from home I We hope to reach 
Hong-kong on Thursday next ; but that is not the end of my 
voyage, though it is the beginning of my work. I am still 
comparatively idle, ransacking the captain's cabin for books. 
The last I have read is Kingsley's ' Two Years Ago.' I do 
not wonder that you ladies like Kingsley, for he makes all his 
women guardian angels. 

Ju7Le I9th. — I have read Trench's 'Lectures on Eno-lish' 


since yesterday. I think you know them, but I had not done 
more than glance at them before. They open up a curious 
field of research if one had time enough to enter upon it. The 
monotony of our life is not broken by many incidents. Tenny- 
son's poem of the ' Lotus-Eaters ' suits us well, as we move 
noiselessly through this polished sea, on which the great eye of 
the sun is glaring down from above. We passed a ship yester- 
day with all sails set. This was an event ; to-day a butterfly 
made its appearance. In two days I may be forming decisions 
on which the well-being of thousands of our fellow-creatures 
may be contingent. 

June 20th. — Still it is sad, sometimes almost overwhelming, 
to think of the many causes of anxiety from which you may 

1880. SHANGHAE. 331 

be suffering, of which for months I can have no knowledge, 
and with which these letters when you receive them may 
seem to have no sympathy. ... 1 can only pray that you 
may have in your troubles a protection and a guidance more 
effectual than any which I could afford when I was with 
you. . . . As to my own particular interests, I mean those 
connected with my mission, I can hardly form any conjectures. 
.... I am glad that the time for work is arriving, though I 
cannot but feel a little nervous anxiety until I know what 
I shall learn at Hong-kong respecting our prospects with the 
Chinese, &c. &c. 

Arrived at Hong-kong on the following day, he 
found letters from his brother Frederick — ' generous 
' and magnanimous as ever ' — giving him some hope of 
there being an opening for diplomacy, and a chance of 
settling matters speedily. In this hope he pressed on 
to Shanghae, vs^hither the naval and military authorities 
with whom he was to act had preceded him. 

Steamship 'Ferooz.' — At Sea. — June 27th. — We are rolling 
a great deal and very uncomfortably, — a more disagreeable 
passage than I made last time in the month of March. So 
much for all the talk about the monsoon. . . . Writing is no 
easy matter ; and I shall probably also have little time after 
reaching Shanghae to-morrow, as the mail is likely to leave on 
Saturday next, and I may have despatches to send which will 
occupy my time. ... I cannot go much farther, for already 
I am separated from you by nearly one-half of the globe. I 
sometimes think of how I am to return for a change, — by the 
Pacific, by Siberia. It would be rather a temptation to take 
this overland route. Thurlow,' it appears, has already written 
to St. Petersburg to ask leave for himself and Crealock to 
return through Russia. Alas ! these are castles in the air, 
very well to indulge in before we reach Shanghae and the 
stern realities of the mission. 

At Shanghae he had the happiness of meeting his Shanghae. 
brother, and the benefit of hearing from his own lips a 
full account of the past, and discussing with him their 

' The Honourable T. J. Hovell Thurlow, attache to the Embassy. 


common plans for the future. The noble qualities of 
that brother, shining out the more brightly in adverse 
circumstances, filled him with admiration which his 
affectionate nature delighted to express. 

Mr. Brace. Shanghae. — June ZOth. — Frederick is a noble-tearted man ; 
perhaps the noblest I have ever met with in my experience of 
my fellows. . . . He has had a most difficult task here to 
perform, and to the best of my judgment has performed it with 
great ability. 

Shanghae, July \st. — Frederick, partly from generosity of 
character, and partly from sympathy with the Admiral and 
admiration of his valour, abstained from stating in his own 
justification all the circumstances of the unfortunate affair at 
the Peiho last year. Moreover, Frederick's policy at the 
mouth of the Peiho was one which required success to justify 
it in the eyes of persons at a distance. After the failure, no 
matter by vehose fault, he could not have escaped invidious 
criticism, however clear might have been his demonstration 
that for that failure he was not directly or indirectly respon- 
sible. Therefore I think it probable that the result will prove 
that, in following the dictates of his own generous nature, he 
adopted the course which in the long-run will be found to have 
been the wisest. ... I do not like to speak too confidently 
of the future. Of course their victory of last year h&a in- 
creased the self-confidence of the Chinese Government, and 
rendered it more arrogant in its tone. Nevertheless, I am of 
opinion that the result will prove that I estimated correctly 
their power of resistance ; that we have spent in our arma- 
ments against them three times as much as was necessary; 
and that, if we have difficulties to encounter, they are likely to 
be due not to the strength of the enemy, but to the cumbrous 
preparations of ourselves and allies, and the loss of time and 
hazards of climate, and other embarrassments which we are 
creating for ourselves. My last remark to Lord Palmerston 
was, that I would rather march on Pekin with 5,000 men than 
with 25,000. 

On board the ' Ferooz.'' — July 5th. — Four P.M. — We have 
passed out of the Shanghae river into the Yangtze-kiang. 
It is delightfully cool, and the wind which is now against us 
will be with us when we get out to sea, and direct our course 

1800. TALIEN-T\TIAN. 333 

to the North. . . . Frederick's conduct has won for him, and 
most justly, general admiration. A hint was given to me 
before I started, that an ambassador would meet me at the 
mouth of the Peiho as soon as I arrived. If a proceeding of 
this nature on the part of the Court of Pekin precedes our 
capture of the forts, it will be a great embarrassment to me. 
The poor old ' Furious ' was lying at anchor at Shanghae. 
To see her brought back many feelings of ' auld lang syne.' 
Shanghae altogether excited in my mind a good deal of a 
home feeling. It was the place at which, during my first 
mission, I had enjoyed most repose. . . . Frederick remains 
there until I have completed my work in the North, and I 
think he is right in doing so, although I should have been glad 
of his company and assistance. 

July 6th. — It does not do to be sanguine in this world, still 
I have cause to hope that our business in the North will be 
speedily settled, if we can only get the French to begin at 
once. What I have to consider is how best to prevent my 
mission from impairing in any degree Frederick's authority 
and prestige. As regards his own countrymen there is little 
danger of this result ; he already stands so high in their esteem. 
With the Chinese there may be more fear of this result ; but 
it is so much in accordance with their notions that an elder 
brother should take the part which I am now doing, that I do 
not think the risk is great, and were it so, even, I should find 
some means of counteracting the evil. 

The place appointed for the assembling of the English Taiien- 
forces was the bay of Talien-Whan, near the southern 
extremity of a promontory named Regent's Sword, 
which, running down from the north into the Yellow 
Sea, cuts off on its western side a large gulf, of which 
the northern part is known by the name of Leao-Tong, 
the southern by the name of Pecheli. The rendezvoiis 
of the French was at Chefoo, about eighty miles south 
of Talien-Whan, on the opposite side of the strait 
which forms the entrance of the large gulf already 
mentioned. Both places are about 200 miles distant 
from the mouth of the Peiho, which is at the western 
extremity of the gulf. 


It was on the 9th of July that Lord Elgin reached 
the shores where lay already congregated the formidable 
force, for the employment of which, as the secular arm 
of his diplomacy, he was henceforth to be responsible. 

July 9th. — Eight A.M. — It is a calm sea and scorching sun, 
very hot, and it looks hotter still in that bay, protected by bare 
rocky promontories and islets, and backed by hills, -within 
which we discover a fleet at anchor. What wiU this day bring 
forth ? How much we are in the hand of Providence, ' rough- 
' hew our ends as we may ! ' In little more than an hour we 
shall probably be at our journey's close for the time. 

Country- I have just heard a story of the poor country-people here. 

peop e. ^ £g^ days ago, a party of drunken sailors went to a village, 
got into a row, and killed a man by mistake. On the day fol- 
lowing, three ofiicers went to the village armed with revolvers. 
The villagers surrounded them, took from them the revolvers 
(whether the officers fired or not is disputed), and then con- 
ducted them, without doing them any injury, to their boat. 
An officer, with an interpreter, was then sent to the village 
to ask for the revolvers. They were at once given up, the 
villagers stating that they had no wish to take them, but that 
as one of their number had been shot already, they objected to 
people coming to them with arms. 

July IQth. — What will the House of Commons say when 
the bill which has to be paid for this war is presented ? The 
expense is enormous : in my opinion, utterly disproportionate 
to the objects to be effected. The Admiral is doing things 
excellently well, if money be no object. 

July \2th. — We are in a delightful climate. Troops and all 
in good health. I shall not, however, dilate "on these points, 
because I am sure you will read all about it in the Times. 
' Our Own Correspondent ' is in the next cabin to me, com- 
pleting his letter. I leave it to him to tell all the agreeable 
and amusing things that are occurring around us. My letters 
to you are nothing but the record of incidents that happen to 
affect me at the time ; trifling things sometimes ; sometimes 
things that irritate ; things that pass often and leave no im- 
pression, as clouds reflected on a lake. 

Cavalry Talien-Whan Bay. — July lith. — Yesterday, at an early 

«amp- hour, the French Admiral and General arrived. It was agreed 

1860. SIR HOPE GRANT. 335 

that they should go over to the cavalry camp on the other side 
of the bay, some ten miles off, and that I should accompany 
them. No doubt you will see in the Times a full account of 
all that took place on the occasion. Nothing could be more 
perfect than the condition of the force, both men and horses. 
The picturesqueness of the scene ; the pleasant bay, with its 
sandy margin and background of bleak hills, seamed by the 
lines of the cavalry tents ; the troops drawn up in the fore- 
ground in all their variety of colour and costume, from the 
two squadrons of H.M.'s Dragoon Guards on the right to the 
two squadrons of Fane's light-blue Sikh Irregulars on the left ; 
the experiments with the Armstrong guns — from one of which 
a shell was fired which went over the hills and vanished into 
space, no one knows whither — will all be described by a more 
graphic pen than mine. The weather was excellent. Enough 
covering over the sky to prevent the rays of the sun from 
striking us too fiercely, and yet no rain. The proceedings of 
the day terminated by some tours de force of the Sikh cavalry 
and their officers ; wrenching tent-pegs from the ground with 
their lances, and cutting oranges with their sabres when at 
full gallop. Everything went to confirm the favourable 
opinion of the state of the army here which I expressed in my 
last letter. Hope Grant seems very much liked. It can hardly sir Hope 
be otherwise, for there is a quiet simplicity and kindliness '^^^'''• 
about his manner which, in a man so highly placed, must be 
most winning. I am particularly struck by the grin of deliglit 
with which the men of a regiment of Sikhs (infantry) who 
were with him at Lucknow, greet him whenever they meet 
him. I observed on this to him, and he said : ' Oh, we were 
' always good fi-iends. I used to visit them when they were 
' sick, poor fellows. They are in many ways different from the 
' Mohammedans. Their wives used to come in numbers, and 
' walk over the house where Lady Grant and I lived.' The 
contrast with what I saw when I was in China before, in 
regard to the treatment of the natives, is most remarkable. 
There seems to be really no plundering or bullying. In so 
far as I can see, we have here at present a truly model army 
and navy : not however, I fear, a cheap one. 

The Admiral told me last night he had written to the Ad- 
miralty to say that, looking to the future, he believed there 
were two distinct operations by which the Pekin Government 


could be coerced, — either by a military force on a large scale 
such as this, or by a blockade of the Gulf of Pecheli, under- 
taken early in the year, &c. I was glad to hear him say this, 
because I recommended the latter course immediately after 
we heard of the Peiho disaster, with a view to save all this 
expenditure ; and I still think that if the measures which I 
advised had been adopted, including the sending up to the 
north of China two or three regiments (enough, with the 
assistance of the fleet, to take the Taku Forts), much of this 
outlay might have been spared. 

Sunday, July 15th. — I have been on board the Admiral's 
ship for church. Afterwards 1 had some talk with him in 
regard to future proceedings. . . . The problem we have to 
solve here is a very difficult one ; for while we are up here for 
the purpose of bringing pressure to bear on the Emperor, as a 
means of placing our relations with China on a proper footing, 
we have news from the South which looks as if the Government 
of the Empire was about to pass out of his feeble hands into 
those of the Rebels, who have upon us the claim that they 
profess a kind of Christianity. 
A birth- July 20th.^ — I know that you will not forget this day, 

^y- though it can only remind you of the declining years and fre- 

quent wanderings of one who ought to be your constant pro- 
tector, and always at your side. It is very sad that we should 
pass it apart, but I can say something comforting upon it. 
The Admiral and General came here yesterday, and agreed 
with the French authorities that the two fleets are to start for 
the rendezvous on the 26th. IgnatiefF, the Russian, who made 
his appearance here to-day, said, ' After your force lands, I 
'give you six days to finish everything.' If he says what he 
thinks, it is a promising view of things. Six days before we 
start, six days to land the troops, and six days to finish the 
war ! Eighteen days from this, and we may be talking of 
peace. Alas ! what resemblance will the facts bear to these 
anticipations ? 
Chefoo. Talien-Whan. — July 2\st. — Now for a word about Chefoo. 

I had agreed to dine with the General, Montauban, on the 
night of my arrival, so, after visitiug Gros, I went to his head- 
quarters. I found him in a very well-built, commodious 
Chinese house, I must tell you that, as we were entering the 

' His birthday. 


bay, we descried a steamer a-head of us, and it turned out to 
be a vessel sent by the French to examine the spot (south of 
the Peiho Forts), which had been selected for the place of 
their debarkation when the attack comes off. On the evening Pluns for 
of our dinner, the General did not enter into particulars, but ''''^"°S- 
gave me to understand that the result of the exploration had 
been very unsatisfactory, and that his scheme for landing was 
altogether upset. I heard this with considerable dismay, as I 
feared that it might be employed as a reason for delay. Before 
we parted that night, I agreed to land next morning, to see 
his artillery, &c. He read me the unfavourable report of his 
exploring party, which was headed by Colonel Schmid, a great 
friend of the Emperor's, and the best man (so they say) they 
have got here. He contends that all along the line of coast 
there is a band of hard sand, at a considerable distance from 
low-water mark ; that the water upon it is very shallow ; and 
that, beyond, there is an interval of soft mud, over which 
cannon, &c., could not be carried. The French are no doubt 
very much behind us in their preparations, but then it is fair 
to say that they have not spent a tenth part of the money, 
and with their small resources they have done a good deal. It 
was wonderful how their little wild Japanese ponies had been 
trained in a few days to draw their guns. After the review 
we took a ride to the top of a hill, from whence we had a very 
fine prospect. It is a much more fertile district than this, 
beautifully cultivated, and the houses better than I have seen 
anywhere else in China. The people seemed very comfort- 
able, and their relations with the French are satisfactory, as 
we may infer from the abundant supplies brought to market. 
On the following moming the English Admiral and General 
arrived. They had their interview with the French author- 
ities, and settled that on the 26th the fleets should sail from 
Talien-Whan and Chefoo respectively to the rendezvous, some- 
where opposite Taku. From that point the Admirals and 
Generals are to proceed on a further exploration, and to effect 
a disembarkation on the earliest possible day. So the matter 
stands for the present. The state of Europe is very awkward, 
and an additional reason for finishing this affair.' For if Kussia 
and France unite against us, not only will they have a pretty 

' The reference apparently is to the uneasiness produced in Europe by 
the annexation of Savoy to France. 



large force here, but they will get news via, Russia sooner than 
we do, which may be inconvenient. 

July 22nd, Sunday. — The thirteenth since we parted. It 
seems like as many months or years. Some one said to-day at 
breakfast that it is the last quiet one we are likely to have for 
a while. In one sense I hope this may turn out to be true. 
. . . To-morrow our cavalry and artillery are to be embarked. 
This takes place on the other side of this bay, and I intend to 
go over to see the operation. 

July 26th. — Noon. — I am now starting (having witnessed 
the departure of the fleet) for the scene of action in tho Gulf 
of PecheU. The sight of this forenoon has been a very striking 
one, just enough breeze to enable the vessels to spread their 
sails. We have about 180 miles to go to the point of rendez- 
vous. . . . Meanwhile, one has as usual one's crop of small 
troubles. The servants threatened to strike yesterday, but 
they were soon brought to reason. 
The' July 27 til. — Ten A.M. — We have reached our destination 

rendcz- after a most smooth passage, during which we have followed 
close in the wake of the Admiral. ... I am reading the 
Jesuit ' Lettres edifiantes et curieuses,' which are the reports of the 
^ ®'^^' Jesuit missionaries who were established in China at the com- 
mencement of the last century. They are very interesting, 
and the writers seem to have been good and zealous people. 
At the same time one cannot help being struck by their 
puerility on many points. The doctrine of baptismal regenera- 
tion pushed to its extreme logical conclusions, as it is by them, 
leads to rather strange practical consequences. Starting from 
the principle that all unbaptized children are certainly eternally 
lost, and all baptized (if they die immediately) as certainly 
saved, they naturally infer that they do more for the kingdom 
of heaven by baptizing dying children than by any other work 
of conversion in which they can be engaged. The sums which 
they expend in sending people about the streets, to administer 
this sacrament to all the moribund children they can find ; the 
arts which they employ to perform this office secretly on 
children in this state whom they are asked to treat medically ; 
and the glee with which they record the success of their tricks, 
are certainly remarkable. From some passages I infer that, in 
the Roman Catholic view of the case, the rite of baptism may 
be administered even by an unbeliever. 

1860. PLANS FOR LANDING. ' 339 

Two P.M. — Hope Grant has been on board. He tells me The Pey- 
that the mouth of the Pey-tang is not staked, and that the **^°°' 
' Actseon's ' boat went three miles up the river. This river is 
seven or eight miles from the Peiho, and the Chinese have 
had a year to prepare to resist us. It appears that there is 
nothing to prevent the gunboats from going up that river. 

July 28th — Eleven a.m. — The earlier part of last night was 
very hot, . . . and I got feverish and could not sleep. To- 
wards morning the good luck of the leaders ia this expedition 
came again into play ; a breeze sprang up from the right 
qiiarter, so that the whole of the sailing ships have been helped 
marvellously on their way. When I went on deck the whole 
line of the French fleet — it consists almost exclusively of 
steamers — was coming gallantly on, Gros at the head. He is 
quite cutting me out this time. The farther distance was fiUed 
by our sailing transports scudding before the wind. They 
have been filing past us ever since, dropping into their places, 
which are rather difiicult to find, as the Admiral has changed 
all his dispositions since his arrival here. The captain of the 
' Actason ' dined here yesterday. He told me he had gone a 
mile or two up the Pey-tang river, been allowed to land, seen 
the fort, which is quite open behind, and contains about a 
hundred men. Thirty thousand English (fleet and army) and 
ten thousand French ought to be a match for so far-sighted 
an enemy. However, I suppose we must not crow till we 
see what the Tartar warriors are. Three p.m. — The French 
Admiral has just been here. He tells me that we are to move 
from the anchorage to a place nearer Pey-tang on Monday, 
and that on Tuesday a reconnaissance in force is to be made on 
that place, with the intention, I presume, of taking it. 











The On the 1st of August the lauding of the allied troops 

was effected in perfect order, without the slightest op- 
position on the part of the inhabitants, at the point 
already mentioned, viz. near the little town of Pey-tang 
which is situated at the mouth of a river of the same 
name, about eight miles north of the mouth of the 
Peiho. What Lord Elgin saw of the operations is de- 
scribed in the following letter : — 

August 2nd.- — There have been a few days' interval since I 
•wrote, and I now date from Pey-tang, and from the General's 
ship the ' Granada,' a Peninsular and Oriental steamer ; for I 
owe it to him that I am here. I need hardly tell you the events 
that have occurred— public events I mean — since the 28th, as 
they will all be recorded by ' Our Own.' "We moved on the 29th 
to a different anchorage, some five miles nearer Pey-tang. . . 
All the evidence was to the effect that the Pey-tang Forts were 
undefended, at least that there were no barricades in the river, 
and therefore that the best way of taking them would be to 
pass them in the gunboats as we did the Peiho Forts in 1858, 
and as we also passed Nankin that year ... . but it was 
resolved that we should land a quantity of men in the mud 

1860. THE LANDING. 341 

about a mile and a half below them. This was to have taken 
place on the SOth, and those of my gentlemen who intended to 
leave me, as better fun was to be found elsewhere, kept up a 
tremendous bustle and noise from about 4 a.m. However, 
at about 6, they were informed that the orders for landing 
were countermanded, on the plea that there was too much sea 
to admit of the horses being transferred from the vessels to the 
gunboats. Next day, the 31st, it was raining, and the sea 
seemed rougher in the morning. However, at about 9, the 
gunboats began to move. The Genei-al had agreed that I 
should have his ship, and that I should move either over the 
bar or as near to it as I could manage. ... I anchored 
the ' Granada' outside the bar, and as I did net choose to 
lose the sight of the landing, I got into my row-boat .... 
going at last on board the ' Coromandel,' the Admiral's 
ship. The landing went on merrily enough. It was a lovely, 
rather calm evening. We were within a long-range shot of 
the Forts ; and if shot or shell had dropped among the boats 
and men who were huddled up on the edge of the mud-bank, 
it would have been inconvenient. Our enemy, however, had 
no notion of doing anything so ungenerous ; so the landing 
went on uninterruptedly, the French carrying almost all they 
wanted on their backs, our men employing coolies, &c., for 
that purpose. We saw nothing of the enemy except the 
movements of a few Tarlar horsemen out of and into the 
town, galloping along the narrow causeway on which our 
troops were to march. At midnight eight gunboats — six 
English and two French — steamed past the Forts. It was a 
moment of some excitement, because we did not know whether 
or not they would be fired at. However, nothing of the kind 
took place ; and, about an hour after they had started, three 
rockets that soared and burst over the village intimated that 
they had reached the place appointed to them. Having wit- 
nessed this part of the proceedings I lay down on the deck 
with my great-coat over me ; but not for long, for at half-past 
two, Captain Dew (ray old friend)' arrived with the announce- 
ment that, having been on an errand to the lines of the troops, 
he had met a party of French soldiers who ivere obliging some 
Chinese to carry a wooden gun which they had captured in the 

^ Captain Roderick Dew had been December, 1857, and also in May, 
engaged at the capture of Canton in ]868, at the taking of the Taku forts. 


fort, declaring that they had entered it, found it deserted, and 
possessed of no defences but two wooden guns. It turned out 
that they had not entered first, but that an English party, 
headed by Mr. Parkes, had preceded them. This rather pro- 
mised to diminish the interest of the attack on the forts which 
had been fixed for half-past four in the morning. But there 
was another fort on the opposite side of the riA'er, perhaps 
there might be some resistance there. Alas ! vain hope. 
Three shots were fired at it from the gunboats which had passed 
through during the night, and some twenty labourers walked 
out of it to seek a more secure field for their industry in some 
neighbouring village. Afterwards our troops went in and 
found it empty as the other ; so ended the capture of Pey-tang. 
We came over the bar in the evening, and I went to see 
Hope Grant at the captured fort, where he has fixed his abode. 
While there we discovered a strongish body of Tartar cavalry, 
at a distance of about four miles along the causeway which 
leads from this to Tientsin and Taku. I urged the General to 
send out a party to see what these gentry were doing, lest they 
should be breaking up the causeway, or doing any other mis- 
chief; and I heard from him this morning that he had arranged 
with General Montauban to do so, and that a party of 2,000 
men started on that errand early. The Tartars seem to be in 
greater force than was supposed. The oflSioer in command 
(rightly or wrongly, I know not -which) resolved to consider 
the expedition merely a reconnaissance, and to retire after 
staying on the ground a short time. Of course the Tartars 
will consider this a victory, and will be elated by it; but 
perhaps this is a good thing, as it may induce them to face us 
on the open. The ground on which they were Ibund is firm 
and fit for cavalry, and is about four miles from the Peiho 
Forts. This is a very nasty place. The country around is 
all under water, and it is impossible to get through it except 
by moving along the one or two causeways that intersect it. 
The military are, therefore, glad to find sound footing at no 
great distance. 

Up to this timfc no communication of any kind had 
passed between the Special Ambassadors and any Chinese 
officials. An ultimatum had been presented by Mr. 
Bruce in March, demanding an apology for the attack 


on our ships of war, the immediate ratification of the 
Treaty, and prompt payment of the indemnity of 
4,000,000 taels, as therein stipulated. As these demands 
had been formally refused by the Chinese Government, 
there was no room for diplomacy. Even the bare an- 
nouncement of his arrival Lord Elgin feared they 
might interpret as an invitation to treat, and use as 
an excuse for dilatory and evasive negotiations. The 
justice of this view was proved by what took place on 
the 5th of August. Ha^dng occasion to station one of 
his ships near the shore for the purpose of getting 
water, the Admiral sent a flag of truce to warn some 
Tartar troops posted near the spot, that 'his ship had 
' not gone there with the view of making an attack, but Chinese 
' that it would fire on the Tartars if they approached too '^^'^'■'"^^^• 
' near it.' The Governor-General at once took advantage 
of the opening this gave him. Affecting to believe that 
the flag of truce came from Lord Elgin, he addressed 
to him a despatch full of professions of amity, and say- 
ing that he 'had received instructions to discuss and 
' dispose of all questions with the British Minister,' but 
containing no mention of the ultimatum. To this and 
numerous similar missives, which came for a time in 
rapid succession, Lord Elgin had but one reply — that he 
could discuss nothing until the demands already made 
had been satisfied. 

August 9t/i. — My diplomacy began yesterday, for I received 
in the mornine a communication from the Governor-General of 
the province, not frankly conceding our demands, but making 
tolerably plausible proposals for the sake of occasioniBg delay. 
I have refused to stay the march of the military on such over- 
tures ; but the great slowness of our operations is likely to 
lead me into diplomatic difficulties. The Chinese authorities, 
if they become frightened, are clever enough to advance pro- 
positions which it may be impossible to accede to without com- 
promising the main objects of this costly expedition, and by 
refusing which I shall, nevertheless, expose myself to great 
animadversion. There was a reconnaissance again this morn- 

the forts. 


ing, and I hope from the report of Crealock (who accompanied 
it, and who is doing very well) that the enemy will prove 
quite as little formidable as I have always expected. The 
serious advance was positively to have taken place to-morrow, 
but I almost fear there will be another delay. I am anxious to 
conclude peace as soon as possible after the capture of the 
Peiho Forts, because, from what I have seen of the conduct of 
the French here, I am sure that they will commit all manner 
of atrocities, and make foreigners detested in every town and 
village they enter. Of course their presence makes it very 
difficult to maintain discipline among our own people. 

Taking of The ' senous advance' took place on the 12th, and 
was completely successful. On that day the Allies took 
possession of the little town of Sinho : two days later 
they occupied Tangkow. The forts, however, which 
guarded the entrance of the Peiho — the Taku Forts, 
from which the British forces had been so disastrously 
repulsed the year before — remained untaken. Opinions 
were divided as to the plan of operations. The French 
were for attacking first the great foi-titi cations on the 
right or southern bank of the river; but Sir Robert 
Napier urged that the real key to the enemy's position 
wa,s the most northerly of the forts, on the left or 
northern bank. Happily his counsels prevailed. On the 
21st this fort was taken by assault, with but little 
loss of life; and the soundness of the judgment which 
selected the point of attack was proved by the immediate 
surrender of all the renjaining defensible positions on 
both sides of the river. 

During the greater part of this time Lord Elgin was 
on board the ' Granada,' moored off Pey-tang, suiFering 
all the anxieties of an active spirit condemned to in- 
activity in the midst of action : responsible generally for 
the fate of the expedition, yet without power to control 
any detail of its operations; fretting especially at the 
delays which are, perhaps, necessarily incident to a 
divided and subdivided command. Writing after the 
surrender of the Taku Forts he said : — 


I have torn up the earlier part of this letter, because it is 
needless to place on record the anxieties I felt at that time. 
To revert to the portion of my history which was included 
in the part of my letter that I have destroyed, I must tell 
you that it was on the 12th that the troops first moved out 
of Pey-tang. I saw them defile past, and in the afternoon rode 
out to the camp, but was turned back by a large body of Tartar 
cavalry, who menaced my flank, and as some of my people had 
just discovered, in the apartment of the Tartar General at Sinho, 
a letter stating that they were determined to capture the ' big 
barbarian himself this time, I thought it better to retrace my 
steps. The second action took place on the 14th, and on the 
15th I rode out to see the General, and had a conference with 
him. On the 17th I went to the gulf to see Gros, I have 
had dozens of letters from the Chinese authorities, and I have 
answered some of them, not in a way to give them much plea- 
sure. All these details were given at full length in my annihi- 
lated letter, but already they seem out of date. 

Tangkow. — August 23rd. — Grant has been marvellously 
favoured by the weather, for the rain, which arrests all move- 
ments here, stopped the day before he moved out of Pey-tang, 
and becran asain about an hour after he had taken the Taku 
-Fort, which led to the surrender of the whole. I -must also 
say that the result entirely justified the selection which, he 
made of his point of attack, and, as this was against the written 
opinion of the French General, it is a feather in Grant's cap. 
The Chinese are just the same as they were when I knew 
them formerly. They fired the cannons with quite as little 
accuracy, but there was one point of difference in their pro- 
ceedings. On previous occasions we have always found their 
forts open on one side ; so that, when they were turned, the 
troops left them and escaped. In this instance they were en- 
closed with ditches, palisades, stakes, &c., so that the poor 
fellows had nothing for it but to remain in them till they were 
pushed out by bayonets. Almost all our casualties occurred 
during the escalade. I went through the hospitals yesterday, 
and found very few who had been struck by round shot. A 
very small portion of the force was engaged, sothat my opinion 
of its unnecessary magnitude is not shaken. I need not de- 
scribe the action for you, as you will no doubt see elsewhere 
a detailed account of it. My own personal history will not be 


indifferent to you. I left the ' Granada ' at about 5.30 p.m. 
on the 20th (Monday). Found some dinner and a tent at the 
camp at Sinho. Started next morning at about 5.30 a.m. ; 
rode into Tangkow, where I now am, and mounted to the top 
of the Head-quarters' House, whence I had a very good view 
of the operations. I was dislodged after a while, because a 
battery opened fire at about fifteen hundred yards from us, 
and some of the balls fell so near, that we began to think they 
were perhaps firing at me. On being dislodged from my 
Belvidere, I took some breakfast to console myself; and soon 
after, seeing the British flag on the fort which we had been 
attacking, I rode over to it. We met a good many of our 
own wounded, and all round the fort were numbers of the 
poor Chinamen, staked and massacred in all sorts of ways. I 
found the two Generals there, and soon after the Admiral came 
up from his ship under a flag of truce. Two letters came to 
me from the Chinese ; but, true to my policy of letting the 
fighting men have all the prestige of taking the Forts, I would 
not have anything to say to them. The messengers were told 
that they must give up the forts to the Commanders-in-Chief 
before I would Ksten to them ; and that, in the meantime, 
the army would proceed with its operations. They moved 
on accordingly, and I returned to my post of observation at 
Tangkow. I had hardly reached it when the rain began, and 
in about an hour the roads had become absolutely impassable 
for artillery, and nearly so for everything else. The troops 
met with no resistance at the second fort, and the indefatigable 
Parkes having gone over to the unfortunate Governor-General, 
extorted from him a surrender of the whole, which he brought 
to the Commanders-in-Chief on the morning of the 22nd, having, 
I believe, dictated its terms. Of course, Grant's triumph is 
complete, and deservedly so. . . . The system of our army 
involves such an enormous transportation of provisions, &c., 
that we make, however, but slow progress. I have, therefore, 
urged the Admiral, who has got through the barriers at the 
mouth of the Peiho (and who is not unwilling to go ahead), to 
proceed up the river with his gvraboats : if he meets with any 
obstructions which are serious, he can stop his progress, and 
await the arrival of troops. If he meets none, he will soon 
reach Tientsin. 

August 24th. — This morning, at about four, Grant awoke me 


with a letter from tte Admiral, saying that he had experienced 
in going up the river exactly what we did in 1858 — the poor 
people coming down in crowds to offer submission and provi- 
sions, and no opposition of any kind. He wrote from ten miles 
below Tientsin, which place he was going to occupy with his 
small gunboat force. The General has agreed to despatch a 
body of infantry in gunboats, and to make his cavalry march 
by land ; and I am only awaiting the return of the Admiral 
to jnove on. So all is going on well. Grant has also agreed 
to send a regiment to Shanghae in case there should be trouble 
there. ... It really looks now as if my absence would not 
be protracted much beyond the time we used to speak of before 
I started. . . . At the same time, I do not like to be too con- 

August 25th. — Noon.- — High and dry at about fifteen miles The Peiho. 
below Tientsin. This must remind you of some of my letters 
from the Yangtze, two years ago. We started this morning at 
6.30 in the ' Granada : ' the General and I, with both our 
staffs. We had gone on famously to this point, scraping 
through the mud occasionally with success. In rounding a 
comer, however, at which a French gunboat had already stuck 
before us, we have run upon a bank. It is very strange to me 
to be going up the Peiho river again. The fertility of the 
plain through which it runs strikes me more than it did 
formerly. The harvest is at hand, and the crops clothe it 
luxuriantly. The poor people in the villages do not appear to 
fear us much. We treated them well before, and they expect 
similar treatment again. The Admiral did his work of occupy- 
ing Tientsin well. . . . He has great qualities. 

Tientsin. — Sunday, August 26th. — We reached this place Tientsin. 
about midnight. It was about the most nervous operation at 
which I ever assisted, going round the sharp turns with this 
long ship by moonlight. I had a moment of painful saisisse- 
ment when I felt almost certain that we should run into my 
dear colleague Gros, who had grounded in a little gunboat at 
one of the worst bends of the river. We only saved him by 
dropping an anchor from the stern, and going backwards full 
speed. The Yangtze was bad enough, but we never used to go 
on at night, and there was no danger of collisions. This ship 
looks also as if she would go head over heels much more easily 
than the 'Furious.' I am waiting for Parkes and. the General 


before I decide aa to landing, &c. Is it not strange to be here ? 
Immediately ahead of us is the yamun where Groa and I 
spent the eventful weeks in 1858, which preceded the signa- 
ture of the treaties of Tientsin I Two p.m. — We are to have 
the yamun in which Reed and Putiatine were lodged in 1858 ; 
a much better quarter than our old one ; and the General, 
Gros, and I are all to lodge in it together. 
Chinese Tientsin. — August 27th. — I had a very bad headache after I 

yamun. j^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ j^^j| yesterday. . . . Our ship had, moreover, 

got aground, and was lying over so much on one side that it 
seemed possible that she might topple over altogether. Under 
these circumstances, and having the prospect of a very noisy 
night on board, I determined to land and sleep in my yamun. 
The portion of it dedicated to me consists of a regular Chinese 
garden, with rockwork and bridges, and ponds full of lotus 
leaves, and flowerpots of all dimensions with shrubs and flowers 
in them, surrounded on two sides by wooden buildings, con- 
taining rooms with carved woodwork and other Chinese neat- 
nesses. It is the only house of a Chinese gentleman I have 
ever inhabited, for when I was here before I dwelt in a temple. 
The mosquitoes were a little troublesome at first, but I got 
my net up, and slept tolerably, better than I should have done 
here ; for the iron ships get so heated by the sun during the 
day that they are never cool, however fresh the night air 
may be. 
Negoti- August 2dth. — I intended to have told you that I was send- 

ing a stiff letter to my old friend Kweiliang ; but, in fact, it 
has taken some time and consultation with Gros to settle its 
terms, and it is only now being translated. Yesterday after- 
noon the long-expected mail arrived. . . . Shall I really eat 
my Christmas dinner with you ? Really many things are 
more improbable than that. I hoped at one time that this 
letter might be despatched from Pekin ; but as we have to 
meet Commissioners here, and to make a kind of supplementary 
treaty before proceeding thither, it is doubtful whether we 
shall accomplish this. I am not sure that I like my present 
domicile as well as I did my domicile here in 1858, because, 
although it is a great deal more orn&, it is proportionably hotter, 
being surrounded by walls which we cannot see over. It is a 
great place, with an infinite number of courts and rooms of all 
sizes. I should think several families must live in it, unless 



the establishment of a Chinese gentleman is very large indeed. 
If Kweiliang and Co. come into our terms, my present inten- 
tion is to send at once to Frederick officially, and request him 
to come on to Pekin. . . . He has been having some very 
troublesome work at Shanghae with the Rebels ; indeed, there 
is at present work enough for both of us in China. 

September 1st. — Kweiliang arrived last night, and sent me a 
hint that he intended to call on me to-day. I sent one in return, 
to say that I would not see him until he had answered my letter. 
I fear a little more bullying will be necessary before we bring 
this stupid Government up to the mark. Both yesterday and 
to-day I took a ride in the morniug with Grant. I rode a horse 
of his, a very nice one. The sun becomes powerful very early, 
but it is a charming climate now. The abundance of all things 
wonderful : beef and mutton at about threepence a pound ; 
peaches, grapes, and all sorts of vegetables in plenty ; ice in 
profusion. I daresay, however, that in six weeks' time it may 
be very cold. 

At one moment, on the 2nd of September, it really 
seemed as if the object of the mission vras achieved; for 
the Imperial Commissioners — one of vrhom was the 
same Kweiliang who had conducted the negotiations in 
1858 — in a formal despatch gave a positive assurance 
that the Treaty of Tientsin should be faithfully ob- 
served, and that all the demands hitherto made should 
be conceded in full. A draft of convention was accord- 
ingly prepared on this basis ; but, when it came to the 
point, Kweiliang and his colleagues declared that they 
had no authority to sign it without referring to Pekin; 
and it became obvious that he either did not possess, 
or did not at that moment wish it to be supposed that 
he possessed, powers equal to those which he held in 
1858, although his pi-evious language had been calcu- 
lated to convey the opposite impression. 

Here was clearly a deliberate design to create delay, 
with the view of dragging on negotiations into the 
winter. It was indispensable. Lord Elgin thought, to 
check this policy by an act of vigour ; and accordingly, 


with the concurrence of Baron Gros, he intimated to 
Broken off. the Imperial Commissioners that, in consequence of the 
want of good faith exhibited by them in assuming the 
title of Plenipotentiaries when they could not exercise 
the authority which it implied, and of the delays which 
the alleged necessity of constant reference to Pekin 
would occasion, he had determined to proceed at once 
to Tung-chow, in the immediate neighbourhood of the 
capital, and to enter into no further negotiations with 
them until he should have reached that place. 

Septemler 8fh. — I am at war again ! My idiotical Chinamen 
have taken to playing tricks, which give me an excellent excuse 
for carrying the army on to Pekin. It ■would be a long affair 
to tell you all the ins and outs, but I am sure from what has 
come to pass during the last few days, that we must get nearer 
Pekin before the Government there comes to its senses. The 
blockheads have gone on negotiating with me just long enough 
to enable Grant to bring all his army up to this point. Here 
we are, then, with our base established in the heart of the 
country, in a capital climate, with abundance around us, our 
army in excellent health, and these stupid people give me a 
snub, which obliges me to break with them. No one knows 
whether our progress is to be a fight or an ovation, for in this 
country nothing can be foreseen. I think it better that the 
olive-branch should advance with the sword. I am afraid that 
this change in the programme — a hostile instead of a peaceful 
march on Pekin — will keep me longer here, because I cannot 
send for Frederick till peace is made ; and I cannot, I suppose, 
leave Pekin till he arrives there. 

Sunday, September 9th. — Kweiliang and Co. wanted very 
much to call on me yesterday, but I would not receive them. 
The junior Commissioner, who was at Canton with Parkes, 
and knows him well, told him that, in fact, the people here had 
been urging them to make an effort to prevent war, saying : 
' If we were sure that the foreigners would have the best of it, 
' we should not care ; but if they are worsted they will fall 
' back on us, and wreak their vengeance upon us.' This does 
not seem a very formidable state of mind as far as we are con- 
cerned. We have behaved well to the people, except at Pej-- 


tang and Sinho, and the consequence is that we can move 
through the country with comparative ease. If the people 
tried to cut off our baggage, and refused us suppUes, we should 
find it very difficult to get on. . . . Noon. — I have just 
returned from a service on board the ' Granada,' where the 
clergyman administered the sacrament to a small congregation. 
A-t four we march to the wars ; but as I go to bear the olive, it 
IS not so bad a Sunday's work. You may very likely hear 
through Siberia of the result of our march before you receive 
this letter announcing that it is to take place. I shall not, 
therefore, speculate upon it. 

Yang-tsun, about twenty miles above Tientsin. — September Yang- 
lO^A. — Two P.M. — This morning we started at about five, and 
reached this encampment soon after seven. A very nice ride, 
cool, and through a succession of crops of millet ; a stiff, reedy 
stem-, some twelve or fourteen feet high, with a tuft on the 
top, is the physiognomy of the millet stalk. It would puzzle 
the Tartar cavalry to charge us through this crop. As it is, 
we have seen no enemy ; and Mr. Parkes has induced the in- 
habitants to sell us a good many sheep and oxen. Our tents 
were not pitched till near noon ; so 1 sat during most of the 
forenoon under the shade of a hedge. There has been thunder 
since, and a considerable fall of rain. I hope it will not make 
the roads impassable ; but if it fills the river a little it will do 
us good, for we may then use it for the transport of our sup- 
plies, and it is now too low. We do not know much what is 
ahead of us, but we hear of Tartar troops farther on ; and at 
Tung-chow it is said that a large army is collected under Sang- 
ko-lin-sin himself (their great general). I am now enjoying 
the life of a camp ; writing to you seated on my portmanteau, 
with my desk on my only chair. It is perhaps better than my 
hothouse at Tientsin. 

September Wth. — Six A.M. — Parkes and Wade have just New Pie- 
been in my tent with a letter from two new Plenipotentiaries tUmes?' 
— really some of the highest personages in the empire — stating 
that they are under orders to come to Tientsin to settle every- 
thing, and deprecating a forward movement.' I shall of course 
stick by my programme, and decline to have anything to say 

^ The new Plenipotentiaries were the Board of War : with whom was 
Tsai, Prince of L, a cousin of the joined Hang-lii, a member of the 
Emperor, and Muh-yin, President of previous commission. 


to them till I reach Tung-chow. Of course this proceeding on 
their part augurs well for peace. It poured all last evening, 
and the General determined not to march this morning ; hut 
as it is fine now, I think we may start at noon, and make out 
our allotted march. It is cooler this morning, and I think it 
not improbable that the thunder of yesterday may close the 
hot season. However, the sun is coming out in his strength, 
so one cannot say what the day may bring forth. Ten a.m. — 
AU our cart-drivers, with their animals, disappeared during 
last night, leaving the carts behind them. Probably they got 
a hint from the Chinese authorities. I am sorry for it, for if 
we begin to resort to measures of violence to supply ourselves, 
we may entirely alter the footing on which we have hitherto 
stood with the people. We are putting all our surplus goods 
into junks, in order to reduce our baggage. 

Nan-tsai-tsun. — September I2tk. — Where will this letter be 
sent from ? It is begun at a small town on the close of our 
march of to-day, which ought to have been our march of yes- 
terday. It was a very mild one — about eight miles — through 
a nice country, more wooded than former marches, and with 
bright sunshine, and a fresh, almost frosty air. The sunshine 
we had not at first, for we started before the sun had appeared 
on the horizon. Instead of trusting to our tents, we have this 
Chinese day taken up our abode in the house of a Chinese gentleman- 
man-'^" farmer, the owner of about 1,000 acres. It is nearly as large 
fanner. as the house I occupied at Tientsin ; at least it has nearly as 
many courts. The gentleman has a good library, in which I 
have established myself; and he seems, poor man, very anxious 
to accommodate us, though his appearance is not that of a man 
entirely at his ease. As I was starting this morning I got a 
second letter from the new Plenipotentiaries, rather more 
defiant in its tone, and saying that there are troops at our 
next station, with whom we shall come into collision, if we 
advance with an army. Parkes is gone on with an escort, 
and we shall soon know from him what the state of the case 
really is. 
Ho-see- Ho-see-woo. — September I4th. — We had a charming march 

to this place yesterday moi-ning. The country much more 
beautiful than before, and hills in the distance. All around us 
the most luxuriant crops, and hamlets embosomed in clumps of 
willows. The temperature was delicious ; almost too cold at 


1830. AGKEEMENT MADE. 353 

starling, but, later, a fresh breeze in our faces gave the requi- 
site coolness and no more. Our march was about twelve miles, 
and on reaching its close I was conducted to a temple where I 
now am. It is a monastery, with very nice apartments, and Monas- 
quantities of stabling, grain, agricultural implements, &c., all ^" 
indicative of a very prosperous community. I have seen no 
honzerie on anything like so comfortable a scale. I had a 
second letter from my Commissioners in the evening of the 
last day on which I wrote a page of this journal, more humble 
in its tone then the preceding one, and as my General was 
getting uneasy about his supplies, &c., I thought it necessary 
to make a kind of proposition for an arrangement. . . . Our 
soldiers do so little for themselves, and their necessities are so 
great, that we move but slowly. Our present party consists of 
about 1,500 fighting men; but we count about 4,000 mouths, 
and all must have abundantly of the best. The French (I 
admit that they take more out of the country, and sometimes 
perhaps by rougher methods) carry on their backs several days' 
provisions. They work in all sorts of ways for the army. 
The contrast is, I must say, very striking. ... I therefore 
thought it better to send Wade and Parkes to the new 
Imperial Commissioners, to see whether they intended to resist 
or not, and to make a proposal to test this. They set out last 
night, and I have just heard from them, that, as they did not 
find the Commissioners at the place they expected (Matow), 
they are gone on to Tung-chow, the place where I intend 
to sign the Convention. Parkes is one of the most remark- 
able men I ever met ; for energy, courage, and ability com- 
bined, I do not know where I could find his match; and 
this, joined to a facility of speaking Chinese, which he 
shares only with Lay, makes him at present the man of the ' 

After eight hours' discussion the Chinese Commis- Terms 
sioners conceded every point ; agreeing among other ^^^^ 
things that the army should advance to a place called 
Fiye-H Point, within six miles of Tung-chow, and there 
remain while the Ambassador proceeded with an escort of 
1,000 men to Pekin. In the high character and standing 
of the two Commissioners, one the Minister of War, the 

A A 


other a Prince of the Blood Imperial, and in their re- 
peated assurances that ' what they signed was as though 
' the Emperor signed it,' and that ' no comparison could 
' be drawn between the authority vested in them and 
' that held ' by previous Commissioners, there appeared 
to be everything necessary to justify the belief that 
their word might be trusted. Unhappily the confidence 
which the AUies were thus led to repose in them was 
destined to be deceived ; not however, so far as appears, 
owing to bad faith on their part, but owing to the fact 
that their pacific influence at court was overborne on 
this occasion by that of the war party, headed by the 
Ci)inmander-in-Chief, Sang-ko-lin-sin.^ 

On the return of the two secretaries from the con- 
ference, Lord Elgin at once acquainted Baron Gros 
and Sir Hope Grant with its results ; and it was agreed 
that the Commanders-in-Chief should move forward on 
Monday the 17th from Ho-se-woo to the place already 
mentioned, Five-li Point, which they expected to reach 
in two days' march; and that, at the same time, or 
rather before the departure of the army, Mr. Parkes 
and some members of the Ambassador's suite should 
proceed to Tung-chow to prepare for his reception, and 
to procure means of transport, accompanied by an 
officer of the Quarter-master General's Department, 
and another of the Commissariat, and escorted by a 
small body of troops.^ 

1 ' A prisoner taken on the 21st of in mind, (1) that it was a matter of 

' Septeniber,inthecour8eofcouversa- necessity that some one should go 

' tion,yolunteered the remark that the forward to arrange with the Chinese 

' fighting was all the doing of Sang- authorities as to the place where the 

' ko-lin-sin, who was as anxious for Allied armies were to encamp ; (2) 

' it as Prince Tsai was opposed to it. that the practice of sending one or 

' This accords with other reports.' other of the Chinese scholars within 

— Mr. Wade's Memorandum. the enemy's lines had long been 

'_ In view of the tragic events habitual, having been followed, with 

which followed, the reflection will the best results, on many occasions, 

naturally arise that, if this party not only in this but in former expe- 

had not been thus sent forward in ditions ; and that the Chinese, what-, 

advance of the army, those events ever might be their faults, had never 

would not have occurred. On shown anv disposition to disregard a 

the other hand it must be borne flag of truce; (.3) that, accordingly,. 


Sunday, September \Qth. — "We have had service in my 
temple. The General and Staff attended. . . . Wade and 
Parkes did good work at Tung-chow. It is arranged now that 
the General and bulk of the force proceed to-morrow on their 
way to the point at which (if the Chinese Plenipotentiaries 
come in to all our terms) we are to stay the progress of the 
main body, going on from that point with an escort of 1,000 
men. This place is about five miles from Tung-chow, and 
twenty from Pekin ; and so I hope to effect my pacific entry 
into Pekin. . . . This place has been, I am sorry to say, much 
maltreated, for the people ran away, and when that takes place, 
it is impossible to prevent plundering. The present plan is, 
that I remain here till the army has taken up its new position, 
and all is arranged for my reception at Pekin and Tung-chow, 
when I shall move on. Gros is here. He has just been with 
me, and is in a great state because our soldiers, in their zeal 
to drive away all Chinese robbers, have driven away all his 

September \1th. — I rode out very early this morning to see 
my General before he started, and to give him a hint about 
the looting, which has been bad here. He disapproves of it as 
much as I do. . . . Parkes went off again this morning to 
Tung-chow, with another missive from me to my Prince 
(the new Plenipotentiary), rather stiff and plain-spoken ; and 
Loch is gone with him to get carts, &c., as I have no means 
of conveying my goods and chattels. I shall probably hear 
to-morrow whether there is any hitch ; but even if all be right, 
I hardly expect to get on before Thursday, for want of 

September I8th. — Noon. — There is firing in front of us; and Agreement 
I have a letter from Parkes from Tung-chow, stating that the '''■°'^™- 
Prince and his colleagues made great difficulties about an 
audience with the Emperor. If I was sure that Parkes and 

no one concerned appears to have ness and unrivalled knowledge of the 

had any idea that there was danger Chinese character, who was more- 

to be hraved ; and that, putting aside over fully cognisant of all the cir- 

Lord Elgin, Baron Gros, and Sir cumstances, there existed no ground 

Hope Grant, the readiness of Mr. for apprehension ; (4) lastly, that all 

Parlies, not only to go himself— that the evils that followed were due, so 

in one who ' knew not what fear far as it is possible now to judge, to 

was ' proves nothing — but to take a circumstance which no one could 

with him several friends who were have foreseen at the time, viz. to a 

not called by duty, shows that, in the change of policy and of party within 

judgment of a man of great shrewd- the Chinese Government. 

A A 2 

356 SECOND mssiON to china. cn. xm. 

Co. were well out of Tung-chow, and that we should "push on 
well, I should not regret the firing. Five P.M. — M. de Bas- 
tard, Groa' secretary, has just returned from Tung-chow. He 
reports that the Tartars this morning were in possession of the 
ground on which, according to the understanding entered into 
with the Prince and Co., we were to have encamped. He had 
to ride through their army, to his no small alarm ; but he met 
Partes (who knows not what fear is) riding back to Tung- 
chow to tell the Prince, &c., of the position of the Tartar 
army, and that they should be held responsible for the conse- 
quences. Loch was with the General. I wonder he is not 
come to inform me of what has happened. 

Treacher- At the time when these words were written, nearly 
of Mr.™^^ the whole of the party which had ridden forth the 
Parkesand morning before, ' in high spirits at the prospect of an 
' early and successful termination of the war,' had been 
treacherously seized by the soldiers of Sang-ko-hn-sin, 
and Mr. Parkes and Mr. Loch were being violently 
hurried off, with their hands tied behind their backs, in 
a rude springless cart, over a badly-paved road, to the 
prisons of Pekin. The details of their capture and im- 
prisonment, together with such particulars as could 
afterwards be ascertained of their companions' fate, 
may be read in the very interesting narrative of one 
of the victims." We can here touch only upon those 
points in which their story is mixed up with public 
Cause of As to the Origin and cause of the renewal of hosti- 
ee ange. jj^jgg^ j^ -g jmpossible to speak with certainty ; nor is it 
probable that we shall ever arrive at a better opinion on 
the subject, than that which was formed by Lord Elgin 
on the spot. In his report to the Government he 
wrote : — 

To hazard conjectures as to the motives by which Chinese 
functionaries are actuated is not a very safe undertaking ; and 

1 '1 

'Personal Narrative of Occur- Brougham Looh, Private Secretary 
rfinces during Lord Elgin's Second to the Earl of Elgin. 
Emhassv to China,' 1800. By Henry 


It is very possible that further information may modify the 
views which I now entertain on this point. I am, however, 
disposed at present to doubt there having been a deliberate 
intention of treachery on the part of Prince Tsai and his col- 
league ; but I apprehend that the General-in-Chief, Sang-ko- 
Un-sin, thought that they had compromised his military posi- 
tion by allowing our army to establish itself so near his hues at 
Chang-kia-wan. He sought to counteract the evil eifect of 
this by making a great swagger of parade and preparation to 
resist when the Allied armies approached the camping-ground 
allotted to them. Several of our jjeople, Colonel Walker, with 
his escort, my private Secretary, Mr. Loch, Baron Gros' Sec- 
retary of Embassy, Comte de Bastard, and others, passed 
through the Tartar army during the course of the morning on 
their way from Tung-chow without encountering any rudeness 
or Ul-treatment whatsoever. At about a quarter to ten, how- 
ever, a French Commissariat officer was assaulted by some 
Tartar soldiers under circumstances which are not very clearly 
ascertained ; and this incident gave rise to an engagement, 
which soon became general. On the whole, I come to the con- 
clusion that, in the proceedings of the Chinese Plenipotentiaries 
and Commander-in-Chief in this instance, there was that mix- 
ture of stupidity, want of straightforwardness, suspicion, and 
bluster, which characterises so generally the conduct of affairs 
in this country ; but I cannot believe that, after the experience 
which Sang-ko-lin-sin had already had of our superiority in 
the field, either he or his civil colleagues could have intended 
to bring on a conflict in which, as the event has proved, he was 
so sure to be worsted. 

Late on the night of the 18 th, Lord Elgin received Fi™ mea- 
at the same time the report of a successful engagement, 
and the intelligence of the capture of his friends. From 
this moment he felt that, until the prisoners were given 
up, there could be no further negotiation. A notifica- 
tion was at once issued, that ' all English and French 
' subjects were required to return to the head-quarters 
' of their respective armies ; and that if any impediment 
' was put in the way of their return, the city of Pekin 
' would forthwith be attacked and taken.' Even when 


offers came that they should be restored on condition 
of his withdrawing his troops, he refused to listen to 
such terms ; convinced that any sign of yielding on 
his part would be as dangerous to their safety as it 
would be fatal to all hope of success in the objects of 
his mission.-' 

September 23rd. — I have had a very busy time since I last 
wrote in this journal. I have, moreover, feeen separated from 
it, and from all my effects. On the 21st we had another 
battle with the Tartars. I accompanied the army, and saw 
it all. Considering that the Tartars are so wretchedly armed 
and led, they did pretty well. We are now about six miles 
from Pekin, but I believe the Generals will not move for a 
week. We learn that Parkes and his companions, viz. Loch, 
De Norman, Bowlby, Captain Brabazon, Lieutenant Ander- 
son, nineteen Sikhs, and one of the Dragoon Guards, are in 
Pekin, but we have had no communication with them yet. 
Pali-chiao Pali-chiao. — -September 21th. — I closed my last letter some- 
what in haste, for I had been separated for three days from it 
and my desk, and when we met again, I was busy with my 
despatches, &c. The arrest of Parkes and the others is a 
very disagreeable incident, and we do not yet know what it 
may lead to. I sent word yesterday to the Emperor's brother, 
who is now named to treat with me, that unless they are re- 
turned to the camp within three days' time, and a pledge is 
given that the Convention I drew up at Tientsin is signed, 
Pekin will be assaulted. We are anxious, until we receive an 
answer to this ultimatum. It was a reply to a letter from 
the Prince to me, in which he coolly stated that the prisoners 
should be returned when our army and fleet had retired from 
the country. . . . Meantime we have an army in excellent 
health, abundantly supplied, and which, in five actions with 
the enemy, has lost some twenty killed ! . . . I think I told 
you at the close of my last letter, that at midnight on the 18th 
I received a note in pencil from the General, telling me what 
had led to the conflict of that day. At 3.30 a.m. I sent an 
answer by Crealock, and at five set off with an escort of thirty 
Irregulars, to ride about twenty miles to the General's camp. 

' With generous candour, Mr. timouy to the correctness of this 
Loch, in his ' Narrative,' bears tes- view. 

1860. ADVANCE ON PEION. 359 

We then agreed that the Commanders-in-Chief should send a 
notification to the chief mandarin of Tung-chow, to the effect 
that, unless our countrymen were forthwith restored, Pekia 
would be assaulted. No notice was taken of this. So on the 
2l8t we advanced, and attacked a large body of Tartars, en- 
camped between Tung-chow and Pekin. I accompanied the 
infantry and artillery during the day's proceedings. We en- 
camped after the battle, where we now are, among some trees. 
We sleep in tents, but we have a house where we mess. I 
am Kving with the General, as my establishment has not yet 
been brought up from Ho-see-woo. T rode over yesterday to 
see the Russian Minister, who, with his sixteen Cossacks, is 
occupying the village, or rather town, of Chia-kia-wan, which 
was taken after the affair of the 18th. It is a sad scene of 
desolation. General Ignatieff was very obliging and friendly, 
as I have indeed found him to be throughout. He and I 
entirely agree as to how the Chinese should be fought. . . . 
I may be very near the close of this China business, or I 
may be at the commencement of a new series of difficulties. 
All is very uncertain at present. . . . The climate is pleasant 
here, were it not for the quantity of dust, which is overwhelm- 
ing. We have abundance of grapes, and some other good 

September 29th. — At midnight of the 27th I was roused 
by Wade, who brought me a letter from Prince Kung (the 
Emperor's brother), a good deal milder than the last, but still 
implying that Parkes, &c., were not to be returned until the 
treaty, &c., was signed. The comparative mildness of the 
tone of this communication was clearly attributable to the 
firmness of my last letter, and I therefore induced those with 
whom I act to agree to my adhering to it in my reply. I 
accordingly wrote to say that the army would advance unless 
the prisoners should return in the course of to-day ; but that 
I do not intend to add to the Convention which I have 
already furnished to the Chinese Plenipotentiaries, and that I 
will sign that at once, and close the war, if they choose. I 
hardly expect to see our friends to-day. The Generals will 
not advance to-morrow, but they say they will on Monday. 
Meanwhile it is raining ; a sort of English rain, not tropical ; 
and if we have not too much of it, it will do good. 

October Ist — Yesterday morning came another letter, pro- 



Ch. xin. 

on Peldn, 


posing that the army should retire to Chln-kia-wan, and that 
then the treaty should be signed and the prisoners restored. 
This was clearly inadmissible, as the Chinese would infer from 
it that whenever they had a difficulty with us they had only to 
kidnap some of our people to bring us to terms. So we have 
again handed the matter over to the Generals, from whose 
hands indeed it would not now have been taken if they had 
not urged me to make this last overture to Prince Kung. I 
do not know when they will advance. 

October 3rd. — We have moved about two miles, and are now 
lodged in a mosque — a nice building, a good deal ornamented 
— which is for the nonce turned to profane uses. The army was 
to have advanced to attack Sang-ko-lin-sin's force to-morrow, 
but now I am told the French are not ready. . . . These 
delays give the Chinese fresh heart, and they are beginning 
to send people to fire on our convoys, &c., coming up from 
Tientsin. . . . There was a letter sent to me yesterday by 
Prince Kung, signed by Loch and Parkes. Loch managed in 
hia signature to convey to us in Hindostanee that the letter 
was written under compulsion. As it was in Chinese the 
information was hardly necessary. It said that they two were 
well treated, complimented Prince Kung, and asked for some 
clothes. We have heard nothing about the others who are 

October 5th. — We left our mosque this morning at about 
seven. The whole army was drawn up in contiguous columns 
of regiments, and had a good appearance. The cavalry on the 
right, then the artillery, and then the infantry. The French 
were on our left. In this way we advanced about four miles, 
when we reached a place from which we saw one of the gates 
of Pekin at about a mile and a half distance. We met with 
no enemy, but we heard of him about three miles farther on. 
However^ the French declined to go any farther ; so here we 
remain for the night, and we have got into a joss-house, which 
is lucky, for we have no tents vrith us — only a very light kit 
and three days' provisions for each person. We hear that the 
Emperor has left for Tartary, which is very probable. We 
might have stopped him if we had marched on immediately 
after the 21st ultuno ; but that was, in the judgment of the 
Generals, impossible. 

October 6th.— Five p.m. — We are lodged in aLamaserie in (he 


north-west suburb of Pekin. Our move began at seven. We 
streamed along narrow roads in a long line. I got a scolding 
from the General for outflanking the skirmishers, which I did 
to get out of the dust. At about nine we reached a brick-kiln, 
from whence we had a view of Pekin, and of a mound, behind 
which, as we were assured, Sang-ko-lin-sin and his army were 
encamped. We halted for some time and then advanced ; we 
on the right, the French on the left, towards these supposed 
camps. The French were to attack in front, we were to take 
the enemy in flank. I was with the second division of our 
force. When we arrived abreast of the entrenchment we could 
see nothing of an enemy. After a while I rode to the top of 
the mound at the corner of the entrenchment, and found the 
French General and StaflT. The Tartars had all decamped the 
night before. I then rejoined our army and advanced with it 
to this point. With the exception of a few shots exchanged 
with a picket of the enemy, we know of no fighting which has 
taken place to-day ; but, strange to say, our cavalry which went 
off far to the right in the morning has not been heard of yet, 
and we cannot discover what has become of the French. It is 
a nice country, covered with clumps of trees and suburban 
villas. The temperature of the air is cool, but the sun was 
very hot all day. 

Sunday, October 1th. — We hear this morning that the French The 
and our cavalry have captured the Summer Palace of the paiace 
Emperor. All the big-wigs have fled, nothing remains but a 
portion of the household. We are told that the prisoners are 
all in Pekin. . . . Five P.M. — I have just returned from the^ 
Summer Palace. It is really a fine thing, like an English park 
— numberless buildings with handsome rooms, and filled with 
Chinese curios, and handsome clocks, bronzes, &c. But, alas ! 
such a scene of desolation. The French General came up fuU 
of protestations. He had prevented looting in order that all 
the plunder might be divided between the armies, &c. &c. 
There was not a room that I saw in which half the things had 
not been taken away or broken to pieces. I tried to get a 
regiment of ours sent to guard the place, and then sell the things 
by auction ; but it is diflScult to get things done by system in 
such a case, so some ofiicers are left who are to fill two or three 
carts with treasures which are to be sold. . . . Plundering and 
devastating a place like this is bad enough, but what is much 


1 worse is the waste and breakage. Out of 1,000,OOOZ. worth of 
I property, I daresay 50,000?. will not be realised. French soldiers 
were destroying in every way the most beautiful silks, break- 
ing the jade ornaments and porcelain, &c. War is a hateful 
\business. The more one sees of it, the more one detests it. 

Eetum of Pressed thus closely up to the walls of the capital, 
caiJiives. the Chinese Regent — for the Emperor had retired to 
Tartary, ' being obliged by law to hunt in the autumn ' 
-^jielded at last to save the storming of the city. In 
the afternoon of the 8th of October the English and 
French prisoners detained in Pekin, numbering eight in 
all, were sent into the camp.^ 

October 9th. — Yesterday at 4 P.M., Parkes, Loch, and one 
of Fane's Irregulars arrived. With them were four French 
soldiers and M. d'Escayrac (the head of a pcientific commission). 
The hands and wrists of the latter were in a sad condition, 
they had been so hurt by the cords tied round them. Bowlby, 
De Norman, and the rest, do not seem to be in Pekin as we had 
hoped. Parkes and Loch were very badly treated for the first 
ten days ; since then, conciliation has been the order of the 
day, and, I have no doubt, because I stood firm. If I had 
wavered, they would have been lost; because the Chinese, 
finding they had a lever with which they could move us, would 
have used their advantage unsparingly. Parkes and Loch 
have behaved very well under circumstances of great danger. 
The narrative of their adventures is very interesting, but I 
cannot attempt to give it in this letter. They seem to be in 
good health notwithstanding the hardships they have gone 

In a public despatch of the same date, announcing 
the restoratibn of the captives, he wrote : — 

To no one of their numerous friends is the return of these 
gentlemen a matter of more heartfelt gratification than it is to 
me. Since the period of their arrest, I have been compelled, 
by a sense of duty, to turn a deaf ear to every overture for 

' The British subjects thus re- cayrac de Lauture, who was at the 

stored were Mr. Parkes, Mr. Loch, head of a scientific mission, and four 

and a trooper of Probyn's Horse; soldiers, 
the French subjects were M. I'Es- 


their restoration which has involved the sligrhtest reti'ograde 
movement of our army, or the abandonment of any demands 
previously preferred by me against the Chinese Government. 
I have felt that any such concession on my part would have 
established a most fatal precedent, because it would have led 
the Chinese to suppose that by kidnapping Englishmen they 
might effect objects which they are unable to achieve by fair 
fighting or diplomacy. I confess that I have been moreover, 
throughout, of opinion, that in adopting this uncompromising 
tone, and boldly setting the national above the j)ersonal in- 
terest, I was in point of fact best consulting the welfare of 
our friends who were in durance. But it was not to be ex- 
pected that all persons would view in the same light a question 
of policy so obscure ; and apart from the warm personal 
interest which I feel in their safety, your Lordship can well 
understand that it relieves me from a great load of anxiety to 
learn from the result that the course which I have followed 
was not ill-calculated to promote it.' 

Later in the same despatch he expressed himself 
anxiously yet hopefully about the captives who M^ere 
still missing : — 

It is a matter of great concern to me, that we know as yet 
nothing certain respecting the fate of Mr. Bruce's Attache, 
Mr. de Norman, Mr. Bowlby, the special correspondent of 
the Times, and the nineteen troopers (consisting of eighteen 
Sikhs and one Dragoon) who formed the escort, and were 
under the command of Lieutenant Anderson, of Fane's Irre- 
gular Horse. This portion of the party became separated 
from Messrs. Parkes and Loch, when the latter, at tlie com- 
mencement of the conflict of the 18th ultimo, were taken up 
to Sang-ko-lin-sin, for the ostensible object of obtaining a safe- 
conduct from him. Since that time we have heard nothinji 
authentic about them, but we are assured that, though they are 
not now in Pekin, they will soon be restored to us. 

' In a sutaequent letter, Lord ' and devotion to the public interest ; 

Elgin paid to Mr. Parkes this well- ' and the course which he followed in 

merited tribute. 'Mr. Parlies' con- 'this respect, by leaving my hands 

' sistent refusal to purchase his own ' free, enabled me to work out the ' 

'safety by making any pledges, or 'policy which was best calculated to 

' even by addressing to rae any repre- ' secure his own release, as well as the 

'sentations which might have em- 'attainment of the national objects 

' barrassed me in the discharge of my ' entrusted to my care.' 
'duty, is a rare example of courage 


Unhappily the hopes thus raised were not destined 
to be realised. On the 12th of October nine more 
prisoners were returned to the camp — eight troopers of 
Fatoof the Fane's Irregular Horse and one French soldier ; but 
^^^ the evidence given by them left no doubt that two 

at least of the remainder, Lieutenant Anderson and 
Mr. De Norman had perished, having sunk under cir- 
cumstances of much suffering from the consequences of 
the maltreatment to which they were subjected. ' I was 
' not personally acquainted,' wrote Lord Elgin, ' with 
' Lieutenant Anderson, but he is spoken of by all who 
' knew him as an excellent officer. Mr. De Norman was 
' a young man of remarkable promise. With consider - 
' able abilities, great assiduity, singular steadiness of 
' character, and courage of no mean order, he had every 
' promise of achieving eminence in his profession. We 
' all mourn most bitterly his untimely end.' ' 

There were others whose fate remained at that time 
unknown ; among them Mr. Bowlby, the correspondent 
of the Times., whose corpse was afterwards recovered 
and recognised. The warmth of regard which Lord 
Elgin had learnt to feel for him, is shown in many 
passages of his journal. Officially he wrote, ' I deplore 
' his loss, not only because he was a highly-accompHshed 
' and well-informed gentleman, but also because, from the 

' The language used by Mr. ' ties, the good sense, and the indefa- 

Bruce, in reporting to the Foreigii ' tigable industry with which God 

OiEoe Mr. De Norman's death, is ' had endowed him. A character so 

still more striking; and it has an 'morally and intellectually consoi- 

additional interest as being emi- ' entious, striving to do everything in 

nently characteristic of the writer : ' the most perfect manner, neglecting 

' It has not been my fortune,' he ' no opportunity of acquiring fresh 

says, ' to meet with a man whose life ' and of consolidating previous know- 

' was so much in harmony with the ' ledge, promised a career honourable 

' Divine precept, " not slothful in ' to himself, and, what he valued far 

'"business, serving the Lord." With 'more, advantageous to the public, 

' a consistency unparalleled in my ei- ' had it pleased God to spare him. 

'perience he brought to bear on the 'Now there remains to those who 

' discharge of every duty, and to the 'knew him intimately only this con- 

' investigation of ev('ry subject how- 'soling conviclion, that death, how- 

'everminute,the complete and undi- 'ever sudden, could not find him 

' vided attention of the sound abili- 'unprepared.' 


' conscientious and liberal spirit in which he addressed 
' himself to the investigation of the singularly compli- 
' cated problems presented by the moral, social, political, 
' and commercial condition of China, I had conceived the 
' hope that he would be the means of diffusing sound 
' information on many points on which it is most impor- 
' tant for the national interests that the British public 
' should be correctly informed.' ^ 

The journal, during these anxious and troubled days, 
is naturally imperfect. One brief entry sums up his feel- 
ing on the main subject. 

Camp near Pekin. — October \4:th. — We have dreadful news 
respecting the fate of some of our captured friends. It is an 
atrocious crime, and, not for vengeance, but for future security, 
ought to be severely dealt with. 

The form which the retribution took is well known. Burning 
The Palace of Yuen-ming-yuen, the Summer-palace of summer 
the Emperor, the glory and boast of the Chinese Empire, I'^i^''"'- 
was levelled with the ground. 

The reasons which led Lord Elgin to decide upon this 
act are fully stated in a despatch dated the 25th of 
October. After dwelling on the necessity of inflicting 
some punishment at once severe and swift, that should 
leave Pekin untouched (for he had engaged not to harm 
the city) and should fall specially on the Emperor, who 
was personally responsible for the crimes that had been 
committed, he goes on to discuss the different courses 
that were open to him. He might inflict a tine ; but it 
could not be exacted except by appropriating a further 
portion of the Chinese revenue, already seriously trenched 
upon by our previous demands. Or he might require the 

' The only English prisoner ulti- country for the military operations, 

mately unaccounted for was Captain His body was never found ; tut it 

Brabazon, Deputy- Assistant Quarter- was believed that he had been be- 

Master-General of Artillery, an officer headed by order of a Chinese Ge- 

whose finished talent and skill in neral in his exasperation at a wound 

drawing had often been of thegreat- received in the action of the 21st of 

est service in taking sketches of the October. 


surrender of the individuals guilty of violating the flag 
of truce : but if he named no one, some miserable sub- 
ordinates would be given up ; if he specified the real 
culprit, Sang-ko-lin-sin, the demand would infallibly be 
refused and could not be enforced. Dismissing these 
alternatives he proceeds : — 

Having, to the best of my judgment, examined the question 
in all its bearings, I came to the conclusion that the destruction 
of Yuen-ming-yuen was the least objectionable of the several 
courses open to me, unless I could have reconciled it to my 
sense of duty to suffer the crime which had been committed to 
pass practically unavenged. I had reason, moreover, to believe 
that it was an act which was calculated to produce a greater 
effect in China, and on the Emperor, than persons who look on 
from a distance may suppose. 

It was the Emperor's favourite residence, and its destruction 
could not fail to be a blow to his pride as well as to his feel- 
ings. To this place he brought our hapless countrymen, in 
order that they might undergo their severest tortures within 
its precincts. Here have been found the horses and accoutre- 
ments of the troopers seized, the decorations torn from the 
breast of a gallant French officer, and other effects belonging 
to the prisoners. As almost all the valuables had already been 
taken from the palace, the army would go there, not to pillage, 
but to mark, by a solemn act of retribution, the horror and 
indignation with which we were inspired by the perpetration 
of a great crime. The punishment was one which would fall, 
not on the people, who may be comparatively innocent, but 
exclusively on the Emperor, whose direct personal responsibility 
fur the crime committed is established, not only by the treat- 
ment of the prisoners at Yuen-ming-yuen, but also by the 
edict, in which he offered a pecuniary rewai'd for the heads of 
the foreigners, adding, that he was ready to expend all his 
treasure in these wages of assassination. 


On Thursday, the 18th of October, the extensive 
buildings of the palace were given to the flames ; and 
during the whole of the 19th they were still burning. 
' The clouds of smoke,' says Mr. Loch, ' driven by the 
' wind, hung like a vast black pall over Pekm ;' Avell 

1860. IN PEKIN. 367 

calculated to enforce with their lurid gloom the lesson 
conveyed to the citizens in a proclamation which Lord 
Elgin had caused to be affixed in Chinese to all the 
buildings and walls in the neighbourhood, to the eiFect 
' that no individual, however exalted, could escape from 
' the responsibility and punishment which must always 
' follow the commission of acts of treachery and deceit ; 
' and that Yuen-ming-yuen was burnt as a punishment 
' inflicted on the Emperor for the violation of his word, 
' and the act of treachery to a flag of truce.' 

Five days later, on the 24th of October, the Conven- Conven- 
tion, which had been the subject of so much dispute, signed. 
was finally signed, and Lord Elgin exchanged with the 
Emperor's brother the ratifications of the Treaty of 

Camp near Pekin. — October 26fh. — This will be one of the 
shortest letters ■which, you have received from me since we 
parted, and yet perhaps it will not be the one which you will 
welcome the least, because it will convey to you the news 
that I have signed my treaty, and that the specific object 
for which I came out is therefore accomplished. I have not 
written my daily journal lately, because it would have been 
filled with my difficulties. . . . However, I have succeeded at 
last iu a sort of way. Loch is going home with the treaty, 
and will make a point of seeing you, and giving you all our 
news. ... I cannot decide as to my own return until I see 
Frederick. . . . The deaths of poor Bowlby and the others 
who were with him were very sad ! Loch's escape was most 
providential. With 5,000 men led on without delay, as ought 
to be done in China, nothing of this kind would have 
occurred. I told Palmerston so before I started; but the 
delays incident to conveying so large an army as ours without 
risking anything, have nearly made the whole thing break 

October 27th. — Nine a.m.— Loch tells me he must be off, so 
I must end my brief epistle. I take up my abode in Pekin 
to-day, in the palace of the Prince of I., who played me false 
at Tung-chow. 

Pekin, Prince of I. \^ Palace. — October 30th. — I have been 


in bed for two days with an attack of influenza, but I am 
better to-day, though not by way of going out. Here we- 
(the General and I) are occupying a great enclosure con- 
taining a series of one-storied wooden buildings with covered 
passages and verandahs. There is a good deal of aristo- 
cratic seclusion about the place, as it is surrounded by 
walls, and entirely cut off from the world without; but 
there is little appearance of luxury and comfort about it. 
It rained yesterday and the day before, and I had con- 
siderable difficulty in reading in my bed, as my paper win- 
dows, which keep out the cold pretty well, keep out also a 
good deal of light. They are not transparent, so the view 
through them is not lively. To-day there is a beautiful sun- 
shine, and I have been walking about a little in the court 
before my room door. The present arrangement is that we 
remain here till the 8th. I had some difficulty in obtaining 
this ; but it is of great importance that, before the army goep, 
I should get a decree from the Emperor sanctioning the pub- 
lication of the Treaty all over the empire. . . . The French 
General will not, however, consent to remain. 

October 2>\st. — Another fine day, but I have not left the 
house, partly from consideration for the remains of my cold, 
and partly because I have had letters to finish. I have had 
visits from both my colleagues, Gros and IgnatiefF. The latter 
and I are always very good friends. Perhaps he takes ad- 
vantage of my simplicity ; but at any rate we always seem to 
agree remarkably. He is wide awake to the Jesuit intrigues 
Funeral of here. By the way, I should mention that the French had a 
dpred^a - ^oii<^6rful funeral on Sunday, in honour of the murdered cap- 
tives, tives. I could not attend, being in bed at the time. Several 
speeches in bad taste were delivered, and a remarkable series 
of performances took place. Among other things, each soldier 
(this is, I believe, the French practice on such occasions) fired 
his musket into the grave, so that the coffins were covered 
with cartridges. The Chinese say that it was because they 
were not sure whether the occupants were really dead. On 
the day following, they inaugurated the old Jesuit cathe- 
dral, which they have recovered from the Chinese Govern- 
ment; and the bishop who preached, in order to make 
amends for the omission of all reference to us at the cere- 
mony of the funeral, complimented Queen Victoria and her 

1860. PRINCE KUNG. 369 

digne representant for having come to China to set up tTi6 
Roman Catholic cathedral in Pekin. This reflection will 

comfort ' when he comes to vote next year the balance 

of the £10,000,000 spent. I have no news of Frederick yet; 
so I am no further advanced with my own plans than I was 
when Loch left me. 

Pekin. — November 2nd. — Yesterday, after the mail had left. Imperial 
I mounted on horseback, and with an escort, and Parkes and "l^'^^- 
Crealock, proceeded to the Imperial City, within which is the 
Imperial Palace. We obtained access to two enclosures, forming 
part of the Imperial Palace appendages : both elevated places, 
the one ascended by a pathway in regular Chinese rockwork 
on a large scale, and really striking in its way ; and the other 
being a well-wooded park-like eminence, crowned by temples 
with images of Buddha. The view from both was magnificent. 
Pekin is so full of trees, and the houses are so low, that it 
hardly had the eifect of looking down on a great city. Here 
and there temples or high gateways rose above the trees, but 
the general impression was rather that of a rich plain densely 
peopled. In the distance the view was bounded by a lofty 
chain of mountains, snow-capped. From the park-like emi- 
nence we looked down upon the Imperial Palace — a large 
enclosure crowded with yellow-roofed buildings, generally low, 
and a few trees dotted among them. It is difficult to imagine 
how the unfortunates shut up there can ever have any exer- 
cise. I don't wonder that the Emperor preferred Yuen- 
ming-yuen. The yellow roofs, interspersed here and there 
with very deep blue ones, had, however, a very brilliant effect 
in the sunshine. After enjoying these views I went to the 
Russian Minister's, and found him installed in a house got up 
a VEuropeenne, and looking very comfortable, with his national 
stoves. He showed me his chapel also. This morning I got a 
letter from Gros telling me that, in opposition to my advice, he 
had been to see Prince Kung. I told him he ought to let the 
Prince come t« him first ; but the Jesuits think that they can 
curry favour with the Chinese by making him condescend. 
They are quite wrong, as I am sure the result will prove. 
The Prince came to see me to-day before returning Gros' Visit from 
visit, which goes for something in this land of ceremony. I ^^^' 
received the Prince with all honour, and had a good deal of 

^ A well-ltnown Protestant M.P. 
B B 


talk with him through the interpreters, in a style which re- 
minded me of the dialogue at the commencement of ' Eothen.' 
I have, I believe, secured the edict for which we have been 
waiting ; so I have done everything except see the Emperor, 
which I am not likely to do, as he is at Jehol. We ended by 
photographing the Prince, a proceeding -which I do not think 
he much liked. 
Ileturn November 1th. — There has not been much to report 

since the 2nd. I returned Kung's visit the next day, and we 
had a more coulant conversation than I have before had with 
any Chinese authority. It is something to get at men who 
are so high placed that they are not afraid — or at any rate are 
less afraid — of being denounced if they listen to foreigners. I 
dined the night before with the Russian Minister, who was 
very hospitable. On Sunday I went to see two temples in the 
Chinese city, the one being that to which the Emperor goes 
four times a year to offer sacrifices to Heaven, the other the 
Temple of Agriculture. 
J^^•ivalof November \Otli. — I had got so far when a note from Pred- 
Mr. Bruce. gj-Jd^ reached me, saying that he had started at 1 a.m. on 
the 6th from Tientsin to ride to Pekin, and had been obliged, 
by fatigue, to rest at Ho-see-woo. We were to have left 
Pekin on the 8th, so I was obliged to send to beg one day's 
respite from the General. It was impossible to make Frederick 
start back to Tientsin on the very day following his arrival. 
At about noon he reached Pekin. It was a great relief to me, 
because I had been choosing a house for him, and there were 
other matters concerning which it was most important that he 
should be consulted. I found him very well disposed to stay 
on at Pekin, but on finding that both Gros and Ignatieff were 
opposed to leaving their legations there for the moment, we 
both agreed that it would be better to act as they had resolved 
to do. I therefore wrote to Prince Kung acknowledging the 
good faith which he had shown about the Emperor's edict and 
the publication of the treaty (both of which things have been 
done in the most complete manner), and adding that the 
English army would, in accordance with the terms of the 
convention, retire at once from Pekin. I went on to inform 
him that I proposed to call on him to take leave, and at the 
same time to introduce to him Mr. Bruce, who had just arrived 
at Pekin. We proceeded, accordingly, to his palace, at 4 P.M. 

18G0. ' LEAVE PEKIN. 371 

on the 8th, with an imposing military escort. After we had Interview 

conversed some time together, I told Parkes to explain to the p'!^*^ 

Prince that in England the individual who represents the Kung. 

sovereign, whatever his personal rank, always takes precedence 

of all others ; that, as my task in China was completed, Mr, 

Bruce would henceforward occupy that position, and that, 

therefore, with the Prince's permission, I would give up to him 

the seat of honour on which I was placed and take his seat 

instead. I then rose and changed seats with Frederick. This 

little bit of acting answered very well. It put Frederick into 

direct relations with the Prince, and did away with the 

impression (if it existed) of my having superior rank to him. 

The Prince was civil, and said, rather neatly, that he hoped 

they would conduct business satisfactorily, not only because he 

was British Minister, but brother to Lord Elgin, with whom 

he had had such pleasant relations. On the following day (the 

9th), before we started, he came to our abode to return our 

visit. I made Frederick receive him, telling the interpreters 

to say that I had no business to speak of, but that I should 

come into the room before he left the house to take leave of 

him. The consequence was that Frederick had a long and, to 

all appearance, satisfactory conversation with him. 

After this we set out for Tung-chow. We had to wait there Leave 
all night, as our boats were not ready, and we are now {lOth 
November, noon) gliding down the river, each in a chop boat (a 
little boat with a very convenient cabin, in which one can sleep, 
read, write, &c.), on a lovely autumn day, low temperature, 
and bright sunshine. I think that this wind-up at Pekin was 
very promising. It is probable that there may be some re- 
action when the Emperor and the bad advisers whom he has 
about him return, and even IgnatiefF did not choose to remain 
at.Pekin during that moment of reaction. At the same time, 
it is evident that Kung, who is his brother, has committed him- 
self to the peace policy, and that his intercourse with us has been 
much more satisfactory to him than he at one time expected. 
It is probable that the Emperor will for once hear something 
of the truth. Kung will claim credit for having induced us to 
remove from Pekin to Tientsin, while the fact that we are 
still as near as Tientsin will be an in terrorem argument in 
support of his policy of conciliation. If Kung weathers the 
difficult moment which he will have to traverse when the Em- 



peror returns, I have hopes that all the benefit which I have 
expected to derive from our minister's residence at Pekin wOl 
be achieved. Our Sinologues are fine fellows. It Is refresh- 
ing to see their spirit and pluck. Wade, Parkes, and Morri- 
son, all put their services at our disposal, and offered to remain 
alone at Pekin. My choice, however, fell on a younger man, 
of whom I have a very good opinion, and who has been with 
me as assistant-interpreter.' I thought it better, for many 
reasons, to leave a person who had smaller pretensions than 
any of those I have named. The gossip is that the Emperor 
is occupying his time at Jehol by marrying a fourth wife (a 
rather expensive proceeding) and getting tipsy. I am afraid 
he is not much worth ; although, if the papers in the vermilion 
pencil, which we found in the Summer Palace, are his writing, 
he is not such a fool as people suppose. . . . Frederick brought 
with him your letters to September 10th. I pray that you 
may now be rejoicing in the belief that Bruce is getting on 
well and happily at school. 

Tientsin. Tientsin. — November lAth. — Here I am again in the house 

which I occupied two and a half months ago, and which is by 
far the nicest Chinese house I have seen, and its exposure to 
the sun is now most agreeable. The climate is at present 
charming. If nothing else had been done by these recent pro- 
ceedings, the fact of placing our troops and embassy here, 
instead of in the south of China, would have been almost 

Its climate, worth the trouble. It is also a much drier climate than that 
of Shanghae. We have had about seven days of rain in all, 
since I left Shanghae in July. Frederick had nineteen days con- 
secutively just before he left Shanghae. He was not well him- 
self then, but he is all right now. His ride to Pekin — eighty 
miles in thirty hours — set him up again. I found the Admiral 
very cordial. . . . Gros is not yet come, and I do not like J;o 
depart from here without seeing him. 

He was detained at Tientsin for several days, arran- 
ging a variety of matters of detail ; and it was not till 
the morning of tlie 26th of November that he found 
himself once more afloat on the Gulf of Pecheli, on 
board the ' Ferooz,' homeward bound. 

The general results obtained by the mission thus 

' Mr. Adkins. 


happily terminated cannot be better svimmed up than Results of 
in the words of the despatch in which the Foreign sio^n™'^" 
Minister, Lord J. Kussell, conveyed to Lord Elgin 
Her Majesty's ' full approbation of his conduct in the 
' various particulars ' above described. 

' The convention,' he Avrote, ' which you concluded 
' with, the Prince of Kung on the 24th of October is 
' entirely satisfactory to Her Majesty's Government. It 
' records the reparation made by the Emperor of China 
' for his disregard in the previous year of his Treaty 
' engagements ; it sets Her Majesty's Government free 
' from an implied engagement not to insist in all parti- 
' culars on the fulfilment of those engao-ements ; it im- 
' poses upon China a fine, in the shape of an augmented 
' rate of indemnit)'^ ; it affords an additional opening for 
' British trade ; it places on a recognised footing the 
' emigration of Chinese coolies, whose services are so 
' impoi'tant to Her Majesty's colonial possessions ; it re- 
' lieves Her Majesty's colony of Hong Kong from a 
' source of previous annoyance ; and it provides for 
' bringing generally to the knowledge of the Chinese the 
' engagements into which the Emperor has entered to- 
' wards Great Britain. 

' These are all solid advantages ; and, coupled with 
' the provisions of the Treaty of Tientsin, they will, it 
'may be hoped, place the relations between the two 
' countries on a sound footing, and insure the continu- 
' ance of peace for a long period to come.' 










The first part of the homeward voyage, along coasts 
already so well known, offered little to dwell upon 
except the thankful recollection of what had been ac- 
complished, and the joyful anticipation of happy meetings 
to come. The journal contains the following entries : — 

Leaving ' Ferooz,^ Gulf of Pecheli. — November 27th. — So far on 

the Gulf, jjjy. ^^y. home. I left Tientsin on the 25th at about 7 A.M. 
"We had to plough our way through ice until we reached the 
Taku Forts, at 8.30 p.m. We found the Admiral in the 'Coro- 
mandel.' He was very civil, and would have given me accom- 
modation for the night ; but I had so many people with me, . 
that I thought it better to push on ; so at about midnight we 
crossed the bar of the Peiho river. There was so much broken 
ice on the inner side of it, that it reminded one of some of the 
pictures of the arctic voyages. "We forced our vessel through 
— a little Indian river-boat — and found on the outside enough 
sea to make us very glad when we reached the ' Ferooz ' at 
2.30 A.M. It was about 4 A.M. when I was able to lie down 
to rest. Since then we have been waiting for Parkes, who 
stayed at Tientsin for a letter from Pekin about the opening 
of the Yangtze river, which I am anxious to take with me to 
Shanghae. . . . Yesterday was a lovely day ; a bright sun, 
and the air frosty enough to stimulate one to walk briskly. 
This morning there was a strong gale from the north-west, but 


it subsided after midday. I had a verj satisfactory time at 
Tientsin. "We got through a good deal of business ; and, what 
is most pleasant to me, Frederick seems perfectly satisfied with 
the whole aiFair, and the part I have taken in it. . . . The 
Admiral, who is very strong in support of me, had given orders 
that the whole fleet should be illuminated with blue lights, if 
I reached the ' Ferooz ' at night. This I did not know, or I 
should not have chosen so unseasonable an hour. The con- 
sequence was that the illumination was not complete, but it 
had a fine effect so far as it went. Scores of transports have 
taken their departure, which is a great blessing, for they have 
been costing fabulous sums. Too many troops are still left; 
but I hope soon to get them reduced. 

November 29sth. — Two v.'Hi. — We are off". All the vessels 
in the English fleet here manned yards and saluted as we 
passed ; and, when we reached the French fleet, all the yards 
were manned, and the Admiral saluted. I thought we could 
not do less than return the latter. It was all a very fine 
sight, the day being favourable. Parkes arrived last night 
while we were at dinner, but without the letter which he had 
waited for. The latter, however, reached me this morning, 
and is very satisfactory ; so that I shall have accomplished the 
great object of opening the Yangtze to trade. 

After a few days of ' lovely weather,' enjoyed to 
the full in the ' Ferooz ' — ' certainly a most splendid 
' yacht — such a fine deck, and quieter than a Royal 
' Navy vessel ' — he reached Shanghae on the 3rd of 

Shanghae. — December Ath. — We reached this place at 3 Shanghae. 
P.M. yesterday, I have received your letters to October 9th. 
How I grieve for your anxiety about Bruce's illness ! How 

glad I am he is near the 's. He could not be watched 

over by kinder friends. 

Eagerly as he desired to hurry homewards he found 
it necessary to stay at Shanghae for some weeks, in order 
to complete the detailed arrangements for opening the 
river Yangtze to British traders, and also to settle the 
awkward question of the relations which should subsist 



between the British residents, and the Chinese Rebels 
in their neighbourhood. 

Shanghae. — December Uth. — I am a good deal puzzled 
about my departure. The opening of the Yangtze and the 
Rebel question are serious matters, and I do not like to leave 
them unsettled : on the other hand, I can hardly, even if I 
were so inclined, remain here till they are settled. I think 
it will end in my staying till the next mail comes in from 
the North. 

Sunday, December l&tk. — Eight A.M. — The mornings are 
lovely here now ; a bright sun, rising about half-past six ; and 
not exactly frost, but a mere hint of its presence in the air. I 
take walks, and have just returned from one ; generally the 
tour of the race ground, which is the only walk here. While 
I humbly pace along, the clerks of the Hongs — such of them 
at least as are careful of their healths, and moderate in their 
supper arrangements — flaunt past me on their chargers. I 
march on, thinking whether it would not in a new existence be 
advisable to begin life as a tea-taster. 

December 2\st. — The wind has chaaged to the north, and 
my walk this morning was a colder one. Yesterday I 
made a tour of the town of Shanghae, and find that the 
French, by way of protecting it, burnt down about one-half of 
the suburbs during the summer. They have destroyed it to 
a greater extent than we destroyed Canton in 1857 by our 
bombardment. ' Save me from my friends,' the poor Chinaman 
may well say. The French have some method in their mad- 
ness, for they want the ground of the burnt district, and 
they insist on having it now at the cost of the land, 'as 
there are no houses upon it.' At Canton, in the same way, 
they have seized land in the most unjustifiable way, to build 
churches on. 

Shanghae. — December Z\st. — Yesterday was a torrent of 
rain, and I never left the house. As I have a comfortable 
room, and no great interruptions, I get through a good deal 
of my reading. . . . There was a fortnight of the 'Times' to 
begin with. The Reviews. . . . Trollope's novel of 'Dr. 
Thorne ; ' ' Aurora Leigh ' (which I admire greatly) ; then 
Sir Robert Wilson's ' Russian Campaign,' which contains some 
curious revelations ; Darwin's ' Origin of Species,' which is 

1861. KOWLOON. 377 

audacious ; &c, &c. In short, you will allow that I have not 
been quite idle during the fortnight, 

January \st, 1861. — This is the first time I sign the new 
year. May it bring much happiness to you ! ... It was 
introduced here by dancing. But I was not in a lively 
humour, and retired as soon as I could. . . . No mail yet, and 
I would start without it, were it not that I expect three mails 
by it. 

At length, on the 4th of January, he writes, ' Hurrah ! 
' I am off, with a fair wind.' On the ^th he reached 
Hong-kong, where he found little to detain him ; the Hong- 
most important matter being the formal taking pos- °''°" 
session, in the Queen's name, of the recently ceded 
peninsula of Kowloon. 

Hong-kong. — January lOtk. — I presume, from the apologetic 
tone of a speech (very civil in itself) made by Lord J. Bussell 
in the city, and quoted in the ' Home News,' that I was being 
well abused in England when the mail left. It is all miserable 
enough, but I had rather that it had blown over before I reach 
home, as I might seem to reflect on others if I defended myself, 
and you say truly that we have had enough of that kind of 

January I5th. — I find that the new Factory site [at Canton], 
about which I had such a fight with the merchants last time, 
is a great success.' Its merit is now acknowledged by the 

In a subsequent letter, referring to the last days of 
his stay at Hong-kong, he wrote : — 

We had a sort of ceremonial on Saturday the 1 9th. I went Kowloon. 
to Kowloon, and proclaimed formally the annexation of that 
territory to the dominions of the Queen. This acquisition, the 
good site at Canton, and the opening-up of the North of China 
and Japan, have added at least twenty per cent, to the value 
of European life in China. 

On the 21st of January he bade a final adieu to the Adieu to 
shores of China, and directed his course to Manila ; ^^"*' 
desiring to avoid this time the dreary line to Singa- 

' Vide supra, p, 310. 


pore which he had traversed so often, and attracted also 
by the new fields which the Spanish and Dutch colonies 
ofi^ered for his observation. 

Manila. -^^ 'S'^Qj near Manila. — January 2ith. — I wrote a very- 

shabby line to you as I was leaving Hong-kong, but it may 
not perhaps be an unwelcome one, as it informed you I had 
started. We have had rough weather, and I take up my pen 
to-day for the first time. We are now under the lee of some 
of the Philippines, so we get less of the great swell which has 
been rolling down from the north-east, and of the gale which 
blows during this monsoon down the channel that separates the 
island of Formosa from the Philippines as through a funnel. 

Manila. — January 26th, Eight A.M. — I sent off a few lines 
to you yesterday, to tell you of my very inopportune arrival 
off this town, at a moment when all the world, functionaries, 
&c., are on tiptoe expecting a new Captain-General to make 
his appearance at any hour. However, Castilian hospitality 
is not to be taken in default, and at 4 p.m. we landed with 
great ceremony, and after being conducted to the palace, and 
exchanging a few glances with the acting Governor, who can- 
not speak a word of any language known to me, I was shown 
a magnificent suite of apartments destined for me and my fol- 
lowing, and then conveyed for a drive in one of the carriages- 
and-four (vide Sir J. Bowring's book), escorted by a guard of 
lancers. It is very curious to see a state of things so different 
from ours. Such a number of troops ; gens-d'armes on horse- 
back ; not a person meeting us (the Governor-General was 
with me) who did not take off his hat. At dinner I sat next 
the Admiral, who also speaks nothing but Spanish ; so we 
passed our time in looking at each other unutterable things. 

Ten A.M. — I have just got rid of my uniform, in which 
I thought it proper to attire myself in order to receive all the 
officers, naval and military, who came at nine o'clock to pay 
their respects. I had strolled out much earlier incognito, and 

Churches, wandered into several churches. They abound here, as do 
monks of all orders. The decorations seemed tinselly enough, 
but there was the CathoHc ritual, with its sublime suggestions 
and trivial forms, repeating itself under the equator in the ex- 
treme East, as it repeats itself at Paris or Madrid, and under 
Arctic or Antarctic circles. And here, as there, at these early 

1861. ISLAND OF LUZON. 379 

morning services, were a few solitary women assisting ; some 
of them commonplace-looking enough, but others, no doubt, 
with a load of troubles to deposit at the altar, or in the ear 
of the monk in the box, heavy enough to furnish the burden of 
many such romances as those which thrill the public sensibilities 
in our days. After all, when the horrors which have brought 
about the result are past and forgotten, there is something 
gained by that truculent Spanish system which forces the faith 
upon all who come within its reach. Fais-toi chretienner, ou 
je farrache Fame, as Charlemagne (not a Spaniard, by the way, 
so there my illustration halts) said to his heathen enemies. 
There is something, I say, gained by it when the origin 
is forgotten, because the bond of a common creed does do a 
little towards drawing these different races together. They 
are not separated from each other by that impassable barrier 
of mutual contempt, suspicion, and antipathy, which alienates 
us from the unhappy natives in those lands where we settle 
ourselves among inferior orders of men. An administrative net 
of a not very flexible nature encloses all, and keeps each mem- 
ber of the body politic pretty closely to the post allotted to 
him; but the belief in a common humanity, drawn perhaps 
rather from the traditions of the early, than from the practice 
of the modern church, runs like a silken thread through the 
iron tissue. One feels a little softened and sublimated when 
one passes from Hong-kong, where the devil is worshipped in 
his naked deformity, to this place where he displays at least 
some of the feathers which he wore before he fell. So you 
must pardon me, if my letter reflects in some measure the 
phase through which my mind is passing. 

I found next me at breakfast the Chief of the Secretariat, an state of 
intelligent man, speaking French. He confirmed a good many '■'"' island, 
of the impressions which my own observations had led me to 
form respecting the state of affairs here. The army is com- 
posed of natives ; officers and non-commissioned officers, Spanish. 
The artillery, or a portion of it, also Spanish. The native 
Indians pay a capitation tax of /I a head ; half-castes double ; 
Chinese 150, ^30, or ^12. As usual, my poor Chinamen are 
hated and squeezed. They are not obliged to become Catho- 
lics, but the native Indian women -! ^^^ \ not marry them 
unless they are, and they are not allowed to make public pro- 



Ch. XIV. 


Cigar mak- 

The ca- 

fession of any other religion. . . . After breakfast came in an 
English merchant, who made the passage from Suez to Singa- 
pore with me in 1857. He says foreigners are very well 
treated here, but they have some difficulties about customs 
duties, which I have asked him to state in writing to me, that 
I may say a word about them if occasion offers. The greater 
part of the trade here is in English hands. 

To pass from the higher thoughts which suggested them- 
selves when I visited the churches this morning, I may tell 
you that I saw some of the devout Indian women when they 
left the churches on their return. They were generally very 
plain, to say the least of it. Round their waists and over their 
under-dress they pass a piece of silk, which is wrapped tight 
round the person. The result is as nearly as possible the oppo- 
site to the effect produced by a crinoline. 

I have returned from a very hot drive to visit a sugar refin- 
ery and a cigar manufactory. I saw little to interest at the 
former, except the process of making chocolate by mixing 
cocoa, cinnamon, and sugar. At the latter, some 8,000 girls 
were employed, not very pretty, but cheerful-looking. A 
skilful worker can make 200 a day, so that these young 
ladies can poison mankind to the tune of 1,600,000 cigars 
a day. 

Sunday, January 27th. — Ten A.M. — In my early morning's 
walk I again visited the churches, which were in greater 
activity than yesterday. In the cathedral I came in for a 
sermon which began ' Illustrissimo Senor,' so I suppose the 
Archbishop was present, and probably had me in his eye. I 
could understand very little, so I did not stay it out. It was 
delivered without notes (having evidently been learnt by 
heart), in rather a monotonous way ; with a sort of little 
action, all confined to a slight movement of the hands and 
flipping of the fingers. . . . The Archbishop is, I am told, 
very bigoted. He did not come to dinner yesterday (a grand 
full-dress dinner given in my honour), and some say it was 
because of my being a heretic. I take it I was in error yes- 
terday in speaking of the Spanish system of compelling con- 
formity of belief as necessarily beginning in harshness. I fancy 
the monks have won over the simple Indians here to a great 
extent by gentle methods. They protect them, and manage 
their affairs, and know all their secrets through the confesr 


sional, and amuse them with no end of feast-days, and gew- 
gaws, and puerile ceremonies. The natives seem to have a 
great deal of our dear old French Canadian habitans about 
them, only in a more sublime stage of infantine simplicity. 

January 2^th. — I drove this morning to a village {pueblo) A pueblo. 
about seven miles off, starting at 5.30. The weather nice and 
cool. The country very rich. The cottages of bamboo and 
leaves, and all raised on bamboo posts of about ten feet in 
height, seemed very comfortable. I never saw a more cheerful- 
looking rural population. All nicely and modestly dressed. 
The women completely emancipated from all eastern seclusion. 
I visited in this pueblo another great cigar manufactory ; 8,000 
girls employed. I must say that this colony appears to be a 
great success, as far as the natives are concerned, and I almost 
regret that I am not going to see something more of the in- 
terior. Crealock has been through the barracks, which he 
says are in admirable condition. The native soldiers appear 
to be very well treated. We dined yesterday with the Admiral. 
Just before we set out for this dinner, a procession was an- 
nounced, and I went to the balcony to see it. The students 
of a college, some 350 in number, were escorting about two 
spangled and sparkling images of the Virgin, and a variety of 
flags. Each carried a lighted torch, and they lined both sides 
of the road, the interval between their rows being occupied 
by the images, three or four bands of music, the flags, &c. 
As all the bands played at once, and as loud as they possibly 
could, the noise was tremendous, and the cathedral bell helped, 
by tolling its deepest tone as the procession passed. These 
processions are the great religious stimulant here, and they 
form another point of resemblance with the French part of 

After little more than three days' stay among the 
Spaniards of Luzon, he embarked again on the 29th on 
board the ' Ferooz,' and passing by Sarawak and the 
north-west coast of Borneo, crossed the Lme to visit the 
Dutch settlement of Java. 

February 6th. — A fine morning, and we are going through 
the Gaspar Strait in about 2° 30' south, not very far from 
where Lord Amherst was wrecked in the ' Alceste.' We 
anchored again last night, but in a calm. Yesterday morning 


Crossing Neptune made his appearance, and those of us who had not 
passed the Line had to pay the penalty. I compounded for his 
claims on me, and the crew had a good lark in shaving with 
tar and ducking some other novices. "We are now in mid- 
summer, having passed at a bound from mid-winter. There is 
little difference, however, in these latitudes, between one part 
of the year and another. The principal difference consists in 
the rainy and dry seasons, and as near the Line as this there is, 
I suppose, always more or less rain. Two p.m. — I went on 
deck this morning at eight, after writing, to discover why we 
were stopping, and I found that a squall had closed in all 
around us, and hid the land. It lasted only about an hour, 
when we set off again, passing through a great many little 
islets all covered with trees, so different from the barren Pulo 
Sapata and Pulo Condor, which we pass on the route between 
Singapore and Hong-kong ! The weather is delicious, and I 
am confirmed in my doctrine, that if you are compelled to be 
in or in the vicinity of the Tropics, the nearer the Line the 
better. You have not the interminably long summer days 
which you have at more remote points, and constant showers 
veil the sun and cool the air. This makes Singapore compara- 
tively so bearable, and I sujDpose Sarawak has some of the 
same advantages. 

Java. Java. — February Sth. Three P.M. — Here I am looking 

out from my -vvindow upon a piece of park-like scenery, — a 
sheet of water, drooping trees, and deer feeding among them. 
The only drawback is that it is raining, and this is not an un- 
qualified evil, because the rain cools the air. The place I am 
at is the residence of tlie Governor-General of Java (or of the 
Indies, I believe his title is), about fortj-- miles from Batavia, 
the chief town, at which I landed yesterday, at 5 P.M., with 
much honour in the way of salutes, &c. We were conveyed 
in carriages-and-six, with an escort, to the Governor's town 
palace, which I was told to consider placed at my disposal. 
It consists chiefly of a very spacious room on the ground-floor, 
paved in marble, and looking very brilliant, lit up with wax 
candles in chandeliers. Some of the high officials came to 
dinner, and we were waited on by black servants in state 
liveries and bare feet, who moved noiselessly over the marble 
floor. The original town of Batavia is unhealthy for Euro- 
peans, so they live in villas which extend from the town for 

1861. ISLAND OF JAYA. 383 

some miles, on both sides of the main road into the interior. 
The villas looked very nice, and white women seemed to 
abound in them. It was hinted to me that the Governor- Residence 
General would like to see me at his residence, so I set out for Govemor- 
this place at about seven this morning, performing thirty-six General. 
mUes in two hours and fifty minutes, in a comfortable car- 
riage drawn by six ponies, changed every five miles. I need 
hardly say that we always went at full gallop. The country 
was not very interesting, being chiefly low and rice-bearing, 
nor did I see the cheerful firm-looking maidens who struck me 
so much at Manila. This island is exploite entirely for the 
Government and dominant race, and with no little success, 
for I am told that the surplus revenue last year was :€6 ,000,000, 
:S4,000,000 of which were remitted to Holland. I shall end 
by thinking that we are the worst colonisers in the Eastern 
world, as we neither make ourselves rich, nor the governed 

February 9th. — 1 took a drive at six this morning, and then Botanic 
a walk through the botanic garden, which is attached to this 
house and has a great reputation. I am no judge, as you 
know, but everything seems in beautiful order, and it is of 
great extent. After a light repast I got a carriage to take me 
down to a spacious swimming-hath, paved with marble and 
shaded by magnificent trees, in which I felt rather tempted to 
spend the day. I should mention that, before dinner yesterday, 
when the rain slackened, I went into the garden, and was 
arrested as I wandered along the paths musingly, by a monu- 
ment with an English inscription. It is to the wife of Sir Monument 
Stamford Rafiles, who died here in 1814, while the colony was ^^^"^g*^^ 
in our hands ; died here, that is, at Buitenzorg, for this in- 
scription has taught me the name of the place, which I had 
not been able to catch before. I see little of my host. We 
dined at half-past six ; nobody but his staff" and daughter and 
my rather numerous following, who are not, I fear, all as well 
dressed as he approves of; a short seance after dinner, and 
then to our private apartments. To-day we met in the same 
stiff" way at twelve, for breakfast. I have not seen a book or 
a paper in the house, but that may be because I am not ad- 
mitted to the parts of the mansion where they are to be found. 
An expedition has been organised for me, and I start to- 
morrow morning. It will occupy four days, but it would be 



ch. rn-. 



absurd to come to such a place as this, and to leave it without : 
seeing anything. The Governor-General has spent thirty-one 
years of his life here, but for a time (six years) he was colonial 
minister in Holland. His daughter's husband was killed by 
a native running a^muck (this is a Javanese expression) some 
years ago. She seems a gentle person, and has a daughter 
eight years old. "We all speak French, which is an improve- 
ment on my Manila experiences. 

They started at six on the morning of the 10th, in 
three carriages-and-six, and slept the first night at a 
place called Chipana, where they ' were to have ascended 
' a mountain 9,000 feet high, but were prevented by the 
' rain.' The next day's journey brought them to the 
high table-land of Bantong. 

February Wth. — Bantong. — About 120 miles from Batavia, 
on a plain about 3,000 feet above the level of the sea. The 
weather comparatively cool, though this is the hot season. I 
have just (10 p.m.) returned from a Javanese soiree. The 
Regent (a sort of native lord-lieutenant) invited me to his 
house to see some dancing. This Regent is very rich, about 
£12,000 a year, which he receives from a tithe paid to him by 
all producers in his regency. The dancing was performed by 
four girls wearing strange helmet-shaped head-dresses, and 
garments of a close-fitting stiff character reaching to the 
ground. They swayed their bodies to and fro in a melan- 
choly way to a very monotonous plaintive sort of music, but 
their chief art consisted in the wonderful success with which 
they twisted their arms and fingers. In a second dance they 
carried bows and arrows, and went through a kind of panto- 
mimic fight. After this was over, as I had expressed a wish 
to see more of his house, I was taken across a court to another 
ground-floor room, and was startled by finding myself suddenly 
introduced to Madame la Regente, an odd little woman, with a 
wizened face, and mouth and teeth blackened by betel nut. I 
was rather put into a difficulty in finding conversation for her, 
for I did not know whether she would like being complimented 
on the ballet we had just seen. I then went to look at the 
musicians and their instruments, the latter consisting chiefly 
of coffee canes struck by a sort of gong-sticks. The sound 

1861. VOLCAJSTO. 385 

at a distance was bell-like and not unpleasing. I was 
informed that the Regent had paid £500 for his set of in- 
struments. After this I returned to my inn in my carriage. 
How I got to this place I shall tell later. I must now go to 
bed, as we start at 5 a.m. on an expedition to see an active 

February 12^A. — Six p.m. — "We started nearly as early as 
was proposed. Two hours of carriage work along a road made 
heavy by rain, and about two hours more of riding up a steep 
mountain side, covered with tall trees sinking under a load of 
creepers and orchldeous plants, not so wild and bold as the 
mountain scenery of Jamaica, but with somewhat of the same 
character. We ascended about 4,300 feet from our starting- 
point, so that when we reached our goal we were 6,500 
feet above the sea. Our goal was a covered shed over- A crater. ' 
looking a crater, not in a very active state, but puffing sul- 
phurous smoke from numerous chinks and chasms. Beyond 
this first crater was a second very similar to it ; and beyond 
both, far below, the plain of Bantong, where we now are, lay 
green and smiling. We could not see a great extent of it, for 
the heavy clouds were already mustering for the rain which 
at this season falls always in the afternoon. (It is now pour- 
ing, with thunder and lightning.) But the scene was very 
striking, and the clouds added to the mystery. We returned 
through a quinine plantation, which is an experiment, and 
promises to be a successful one, and then through a coffee 
plantation, different, and much prettier to look at than those 
of Ceylon and Jamaica, for here the bushes are allowed to 
grow to their full height (about twenty feet), and have a 
graceful pyramid-like shape ; whereas there they are all 
pruned down to about five feet in height. There are also here 
some large trees left to give shade to the coffee bushes. I can 
conceive nothing more lovely than these plantations must be 
at the time of flowering. We got back to our hotel at 2 p.m., 
since when I have had breakfast, bath, and reading, and am- 
now preparing for dinner. Ten P.M. — Another Javanese a second 
soiree. No ladies this time. To begin with: two kinds of "^'■^''' 
marionettes ; the first behind a kind of crape screen, — strange 
figures cut very beautifully out of buffalo hide, and jumping 
about to a very noisy vocal and instrumental accompaniment. 
The second, something like Italian marionettes, worked by a 

C C 


man's fingers, but without any attempt to conceal the operator. 
Both sets, I believe, represented historical subjects. When 
we had had enough of these, we went into another room, 
where were assembled a priest, and a whole lot of followers 
from a mosque. The amusement here consisted in seeing boys 
from the mosque stick into their cheeks, &c., daggers and 
pointed weapons, which the priest blessed, and which were 
therefore innocuous ; a milder specimen of the supernatural I 
certainly never witnessed. All took place at the Regent's 
palace, from which I have just returned. His son, a boy of about 
fourteen, was present to-night and last night. A rather nice- 
looking boy. He never came near his father without crouch- 
ing on his heels or knees, and putting his hands up to his face 
in an attitude of submission, if spoken to by him. 
Cbipana. February \2>th. — Ten P.M. — Chipana. — (The place we slept 

at on the night of the 10th.) On this, as on the former occa- 
sion, the population make a sort of festival of my visit, and 
turn out to perform dances, &c. The performances are not so 
refined as at the Regent's, but they are more picturesque and 
lively. The ladies move about in the same dreamy way 
about lamps, or rather torches, but here they have partners 
to dance with them. The noise is tremendous, and has not 
yet ceased, although I, have retired, on the understanding 
that the entertainment is to come to an end, as we asain 
start to-morrow at 6 A.M. To-night, all the dancing has 
been in the open air. It was a wild, barbarous-looking 
scene ; but I do not know that I should much care to see it 
again. We started this morning at six, and travelled, as we 
have always done, at full gallop on the level or down hill, 
and with the aid of four buffalos in front of our six ponies 
when we came to mount steep hills, of which there are many. 
.The roads are excellent. They are made by forced labour, 
and, what seems rather hard, the natives with their carts, &c., 
are not allowed to use them. I found here a bath formed by 
a hot iron or sulphur spring, into which I pluno-ed before 
dinner. These Javanese seem the most timorous of mankind. 
All, men and women, crouch on their heels and knees when 
our carriage approaches ; and they do this, I believe, to all 
white people, as well as to their own chiefs. But it is not 
only this crouching; they have, moreover (especially the 
women), a way of turning their heads aside, as if they were 


afraid to look at one. The natives of the eastern part of the 
island are said not to be so timid. 

Starting from Ckipana early on the following morn- 
ing, they continued their rapid descent by Buitenzorg 
to Batavia ; and on the 16th embarked again on board 
the ' Ferooz,' for Ceylon, where he expected to find an 
accumulation of four mails. ' Two months of news ! ' 
(he wrote). ' I always feel nervous as to what so long 
' an interval may bring forth.' 

'Ferooz^ at Sen. — February IGtk. — One p.m. — "We are en- Strait of 
tering the Strait of Sunda, which separates Java and Suma- S™'^*- 
tra. When through it we have a clear sea-way to Galle. 
Two P.M. — We have just passed the high land which forms the 
north-western point of Java, and is called Cape St. Nicholas. 
It is beautifully rich-looking ; the bright green of its grass and 
crops embroidered over by the darker green of the clumps of 
trees which are scattered upon it. Farther down to the south, 
on the same side, is the flat promontory known as Angen 
Point. On the other side we have the coast of Sumatra, 
wooded and broken, with mountains in the background, and 
green islets tossed out from it upon the ocean, in the fore- 
ground ; and a sailing ship moving along it in the same 
direction with ourselves, her sails flapping idly in the calm. 

Sunday, February 24:fh. — We have just had service on 
deck, under a double awning. A little fanning breeze from 
the north-east seemed to say that we are at last getting back 
into the region of that monsoon which we left when we went 
to the south of the Line. I have been some days without 
writing, for there has been nothing to tell, and we have had a 
good deal of bad weather, rain, and rolling and pitching ; but 
we must not complain, as it was more convenient to have it 
here in the open sea, than if we had encountered it in a narrow 
passage, such as we have passed through. We expect to reach 
Galle in three days, and I cannot but feel a little nervous as to 
the news I may find there. We are in God's hands, and this 
sort of doubt makes us feel the more that we are so. 

Altogether, I was much interested by Java. As I have said, Eetrospect 
it is ruled entirely for the interest of the governing race. No ^^^' 
attempt is made to raise the natives. I believe that the mis- 

c 3 

388 SECOND Mission to china. Ch. xiv. 

sionaries are not allowed to visit the interior. I 'asked about 
schools, and ascertained that in the province of which the 
regency of Bantong forms a part, and which contains some 
600,000 inhabitants, there were five ; not, I suspect, much 
attended. It was clear from the tone of the officials that there 
was no wish to educate the natives. There is a kind of forced 
labour. They pay a tithe of the produce of their rice-fields ; 
are obliged (in certain districts) to plant coffee, and to sell the 
produce at a rate fixed by the Government ; in others, to work 
on sugar estates, and, in all, to make roads. Nevertheless, I 
am not satisfied that they are unhappy, or that the system can 
be called a failure. In those districts which I visited there 
was no appearance of their being overworked ; and I was 
assured that, on the sugar estates, the proprietors have no 
power of punishing those who do not work ; that it rests with 
the officials exclusively to do so. The tone of the officials on 
the subject is, that no punishment is necessary, because, 
although they are so lazy that if they had the choice they 
would never do anything, they do not make any difficulty 
about working when they are told to do so. Economically it 
is a success. The fertility of the island is very great, so that 
the labour of the natives leaves a large surplus after their own 
subsistence is provided for. There are twenty provinces, in 
each of which the chief officer is the president — a Dutchman; 
but the native chief (Regent) has the more direct relations 
with the people, arranges about their labour, &c. The 
Dutch officials look after him, and see that he does not abuse 
his power. 

Ceylon. Pressing eagerly forward, he reached Ceylon, the 

scene of so many anxieties and disasters, on the last 
day of February. 

Ceylon, March 2nd. — I found here your letters to January 
10th, and am relieved. . . . Where is our meeting to be ? . . . 
If I can, I shall take the route through Trieste and Paris. 

On the 20th he writes from the neighbourhood of 
Mount Sinai : — 

Sinai. March 20th. — Noon. — "We are now in the Gulf of Suez. 

On the right side a row of arid mountains with serrated crests, 
and a margin of flat dry sand at the base, and behind them 

1861. RETURN TO EUROPE. 389 

what is reputed to be Mount Sinai. Only a glimpse of the 
latter can, however, be caught at one point, where there is a 
depression in the nearer range. On the left there are moun- 
tains of a similar character, overtopped by one 10,000 feet 
high. The sea is deeply blue and the sun scorching, but the 
air cool — almost cold. We have had a good deal of wind and 
sea against us for the last three days; but we passed the 
Straits of Jubal early this morning, and hope to be at Suez 
during the night. 

On the 24th he was once more enjoying the fresh 
and invigorating breezes of Europe : — 

Sunday, March 24:th.— On board H.M.S. 'Terrible: — TheMedi- 
Here is a change of scene ! The last words of this journal *^"'''°«*°- 
were written in the Gulf of Suez, on board the ' Ferooz.' I 
now WTite from the Mediterranean, off the island of Candia, 
whose snow-capped mountains are looking down upon us ; very 
different from the parched ranges of hills wrapped in perpetual 
heat haze, which I described to you four days ago. 

March 26th. — Seven a.m. — I have been about two hours on Greece. 
deck. A beautiful morning, and smooth sea. On our right 
the coast of Albania, hilly and wooded. On our left the land 
is low, and covered apparently with olive trees. Before us 
the southern end of Corfu, which we are approaching. Farther 
on, the channel along which we are gliding seems to be closed 
in as a lake, the Corfu mountains and those of Greece over- 
lapping each other. The snow-covered crests of some of the 
latter gleam in the sunshine. It is a lovely scene. Yesterday 
we passed Cape Matapan, Zante, &c., all on our right; but 
there was a good deal of wind and sea, and an unusual amount 
of motion for the ' Terrible.' Navarino, too, we passed ; but 
I did not know it at the time. We propose to call in at Corfu, 
take in coal, and see what can be seen during the day. But I 
hope to be off for Trieste to-morrow morning. 

March 27th. — We found at Corfu three line-of-battle ships Corfu. 
and Admiral Dacres, who came on board to see me. I landed 
at 1 1 A.M., and went to the Government House, where I 
found Sir H. Storks. He took me a drive of about thirteen 
miles, to the top of a pass in the mountains called Pantaleone, 
from which there is a very extensive view. It is a beautiful 
island. The day bright and sunny. Nothing can be more 



Ch. XIV, 


Warm re- 


picturesque than the town. The people, too, seem to me 
very handsome. I saw this morning the captain of a sloop-of- 
war who has been visiting various ports in the Adriatic. He 
was received at Ancona with a furore of enthusiasm, and ex- 
ceedingly well treated at Venice, Trieste, &c., by the Aus- 
trians, who are burning to revenge themselves on the French, 
and anxious to ally themselves with us for that purpose. . . . 
We have been steaming through a narrow channel, with the 
snow-covered mountains of Albania on our right ; but we are 
now emerging into the open Adriatic. 

By Trieste and Vienna lie travelled rapidly to Paris, 
where he was met by Lady Elgin; and on the 11th of 
April 1861, within a few days of the anniversary of 
his departure, he found himself once more on British 

The reception which awaited him at home was even 
warmer than that which he had met with two years 
before. What gratified him, perhaps, more than any 
of the many similar expressions of good-will was the 
cordial welcome with which he was greeted by his old 
friends and neighbours at Dunfermline : friends from 
whom he had been, as he told them, so long an unwilling 
absentee. His answer to their address was the simple 
and natural expression of this feeling. 

It is pleasant (he said) — perhaps it is one of the sweetest 
flowers we cull on the path of this rugged life — to find ourselves 
amonc old friends after a long absence, and to find their hearts 
beat as true and warm as ever. I am deeply gratified by the 
flattering terms in which my public services have been referred 
to in this address, but I am still more gratified by the welcome 
which you have tendered to me to-day. . . . Gentlemen, I 
have been for many years very much, perhaps too much of a 
wanderer, and it has been my fortune to receive from our 
countrymen established in diff'erent parts of the world tokens 
of their regard and consideration. The very last address of 
felicitation I received before I landed at Dover the other day 
was from a body of my countrymen established in the Philip- 
pines — a group of Spanish islands in the far East, near the 


equator. But allow me to say that among all these tokens, 
those most grateful and. agreeable to me are those which I 
receive from friends and neighbours at home. And, perhaps, 
I appreciate these tokens the more highly, because I am con- 
scious that the very fact of my having been so much of a 
wanderer, has prevented me from acquiring some of those 
titles to their personal regard which I might have hoped to 
establish if I had been constantly resident among them. 

About the same time lie was received with marked Eoyai 
distinction at the annual banquet of the Royal Academy dinne™^ 
in London ; and the words which he spoke on that 
occasion have more than a mere passing interest, as 
illustrating the speaker's frank and straightforward 
manner of dealing with a question of great delicacy, and 
also as contaming some striking and suggestive remarks 
on certain mental and moral peculiarities of the Chinese 

I am especially gratified (he said) by the great and very un- 
expected honour which you have done to me in drinking my 
health, because I trust that I may infer from it that in your 
judgment, Sir, and in that of this company, I am not so incor- 
rigibly barbarous as to be incapable of feeling the humanising 
influences which fall upon us from the noble works of art by 
which we are surrounded. And, as I have ventured to approach . 
so nearly to the margin of a burning question, I hope that I may 
be allowed to take one step more in the same direction, and to 
assure you that no one regretted more sincerely than I did the 
destruction of that collection of summer-houses and kiosks, 
already, and previously to any act of mine, rifled of their con- 
tents, which was dignifled by the title of Summer Palace of 
the Chinese Emperor. But when I had satisfied myself that 
in no other way, except, indeed, by inflicting on this country 
and on China the calamity of another year of war, could I 
mark the sense which I entertained, which the British army 
entertained — and on this point I may appeal to my gallant 
friend who is present here this evening, and who conducted 
that army triumphantly to Pekin with so much honour to him- 
self and to those under his command — and which, moreover, I 
make bold in the presence of this company to say, the people 


of this country entertained — of an atrocious crime, which, if it 
had passed unpunished, would have placed in jeopardy, the life 
of every European in China, I felt that the time had come 
when I must choose between the indulgence of a not unnatural 
sensibility and the performance of a painful duty. The alter- 
native is not a pleasant one ; but I trust that there is no man 
serving the Crown in a responsible position who would hesitate 
when it is presented to him as to the decision at which he 
should arrive.' And now, Sir, to pass to another topic, I have 
been repeatedly asked whether, in my opinion, the interests of 
art in this country are likely to be in any degree promoted by 
the opening up of China. I must say, in reply, that I do not 
think that in matters of art we have much to learn from that 
country, but I am not quite prepared to admit that even in this 
department we can gain nothing from them. The distinguish- 
ing characteristic of the Chinese mind is this — that at all points 
of the circle described by man's intelligence, it seems occasion- 
ally to have caught glimpses of a heaven far beyond the range 
of its ordinary ken and vision. It caught a glimpse of the path 
which leads to military supremacy when it invented gunpowder, 
some centuries before the discovery was made by any other 
nation. It caught a glimpse of the path which leads to mari- 
time supremacy when it made, at a period equally remote, the 
discovery of the mariner's compass. It caught a glimpse of 
the path which leads to literary supremacy when, in the tenth 
century, it invented the printing press ; and, as my illustrious 
friend on my right (Sir E. Landseer) has reminded me, it has 
caught from time to time glimpses of the beautiful in colour 
and design. But in the hands of the Chinese themselves the 
invention of gunpowder has exploded in crackers and harmless 
fireworks. The mariner's compass has produced nothing better 
than the coasting junk. The art of printing has stagnated in 
stereotyped editions of Confucius, and the most cynical repre- 
sentations of the grotesque have been the principal products of 
Chinese conceptions of the sublime and beautiful. Neverthe- 

' It may not be out of place here ' peror of China, I must say that I 

to quote the words used later in the ' do candidly think it was a necessary 

evening by Sir Hope Grant, in re- ' act of retribution for an abominable 

turning thanks for his own health : ' murder which had been committed, 

'With regard (he said) to what Lord 'and the armj', as well as myself, 

' Elgin has said about the destruction ' entirely concurred with him in what 

' of the Summer Palace of the Em- ' he did.' 

at the 


less, I am disposed to believe that under this mass of abortions 
and rubbish there lie hidden some sparks of a diviner fire, 
■yvhich the genius of my countrymen may gather and nurse into 
a flame. 

A few days afterwards, at a dinner given at the Dinner 
Mansion House in his honour, he was again greeted 
with more than common enthusiasm. In responding, House, 
after giving an account of the objects that had been 
sought and the results that had been achieved in the 
East, he concluded his speech by impressing on the 
merchants of England, in words which may be regarded 
as his final and farewell utterance on the subject, that 
with them must now chiefly lie the responsibility of 
aiding or retarding the development of China, and thus 
of determining the place she shall hold in the common- 
wealth of nations. 

My Lord Mayor (be said), I should be very much to blame if, 
havino; an opportunity of addressing an assembly in this place, 
I omitted to call attention to the fact that the occasional miscon- 
duct of our own countrymen and other foreigners in China is 
one of the greatest, perhaps the very greatest, difficulties with 
which the Queen's representatives there have to deal. We 
send out to that country honourable merchants and devout 
missionaries, who scatter benefits in every part of the land 
they visit, elevating and raising the standard of civilisation 
wherever they go. But sometimes, unfortunately, there slip 
out from among us dishonest traders and ruffians who dis- 
grace our name and set the feelings of the people against us. 
The public opinion of England can do much to encourage the 
one class of persons and discourage the other. I trust that the 
moral influence of this great city will always be exerted in that 
direction. In addressing the merchants of Shanghai some three 
years ago, at the time when I announced to them that it was 
my intention to seek a treaty in Pekin itself if I could not get 
it before I arrived there, I made this observation — that when 
force and diplomacy should have effected in China all that they 
could legitimately accomplish, the work which we had to do in 
that empire would still be only in its commencement. I repeat 
that statement now. My gallant friend who spoke just now 


has returned his sword to the scabbard. The diplomatist, as 
far as treaty-making is concerned, has placed his pen on the 
shelf. But the great task of construction — the task of bring- 
ing China, with its extensive territory, its fertile soil, and its 
industrious population, as an active and useful member, into 
the community of nations, and making it a fellow-labourer 
with ourselves in diffusing over the world happiness and well- 
being — is one that yet remains to be accomplished. No persons 
are more entitled or more fitted to take a part in that work 
than the merchants of this great city. I implore them, then, 
to devote themselves earnestly to its fulfilment, and from the 
bottom of my heart I pray that their endeavours towards that 
end may be crowned with success, 

1861.. INDIA. 395 






From this time forward the story of Lord Elgin's 
life is no longer a record of stirring incidents, of diffi- 
culties triumphantly overcome, or novel and entangled 
situations successfully mastered. The career indeed is 
stiU arduous, and the toU unremitting, but the course is 
well-defined. Compared with the varied conflicts and 
anxieties of the preceding period, there is something of 
the repose of declming day, after the heat and dust of 
a brilliant noon ; something even, young as he was m 
years, of the gloom of approaching night. It seems 
almost as if a shadow, cast by the coming end, rested 
upon his path. 

He had not been more than a month at home when vice- 
the Vice-royalty of India, about to be vacated by Lord iSSa.^ ° 
Canning, was offered to him, in the Queen's name, by 
Lord Palmerston. The splendid offer of the most 
magnificent Governorship in the world was accepted, 
but not without something of a vague presentiment 
that he should never return from it. This feeling was 
expressed with his usual frankness and simplicity, when 
in the course of an address delivered at Dunfermline, 
some months before his departure, after referring to 
former partings, uniformly followed by happy meetings, 
he said : — 

396 INDIA.: Oh.. XV. 

Fore- But, Gentlemen, I cannot conceal from myself, nor from 

'°ss- you, the fact that the parting which is now about to take 
place is a far more serious matter than any of those which 
have preceded it ; and that the vast amount of labour 
devolving upon the Governor-General of India, the insalubrity 
of the climate, and the advance of years, all tend to render 
the prospect of our again meeting more remote and uncertain. 

Independently of any such forebodings, there were 
sorrows on which it is hardly necessary to dwell, 
but which were felt keenly by one so devoted to ' that 
' peaceful home-life towards which he was always 
' aspiring ; ' ^ the pain of tearmg himself again from 
the children now growing up to need in an especial 
manner a father's presence, and of leaving the mother 
of these children, for a time at least, to contend alone 
with cares and anxieties from which it would have been 
his greatest happiness to shield and protect her. Some- 
thing, too, there may have been of the depression 
which breathes in the poet's complaint, ' the roU of 
mighty poets is made up ' — a feeling that the work 
of pacifying and settling India had been so thoroughly 
accomplished by Lord Dalhousie and Lord Canning, 
that the field no longer contained any laurels to be 
reaped by their successor. ' I succeed,' he used to say, 
' to a great man and a great war, with a humble task to 
' be humbly discharged.' 

But these thoughts and feelings, though they may 
have dimmed the brightness of his anticipations, could 
not for long overcloud that ' unfailing cheerfulness ' 
which contributed much to make him throughout life 
so successful himself, and so helpful to others: still 
less could they for a moment check the alacrity with 
which he set himself to prepare for his new duties. 
For some time he remained in London ; after which he 
spent several pleasant months in Scotland, laying up a 
store of happy recollections to which his thoughts in 

» Vide siipia, p. 329. 

1862.- OUTWARD VOYAGE. 397 

after days often tixrned. Early in January 1862, ac- Visit to 
companied by Lady Elgin, he went to Osborne on a ^ °™*' 
visit to the Queen; who even in those early days of 
widowhood, roused herself to receive the first Yiceroy 
of India ever appointed by the sole act of the Crown. 
On the 28th of the same month he quitted the shores of Sails for 
England ; and, after a rapid and uneventful journey, '"' » 
reached Calcutta on March 12. As Lady Elgin was 
unable to accompany him, he resumed the habit of 
conversing with her, so to speak, through the medium 
of a journal; from which some brief extracts are here 
given, less for the sake of the few incidents which they 
record, than for the glimpses which they give into the 
mind and heart of the writer : — 

H. M. S. ' Banshee.' — Marseilles. — January Slst. — Only Man over- 
think of my writing again from Marseilles ! I was break- 
fasting yesterday, when there was a cry of ' A man over- 
' board 1 ' We went on deck. After a while, the man — who 
had enormous water-boots on, hut who was fortunately a good 
swimmer — appeared on the surface, caught hold of a life-" 
preserver which had been thrown out to him, was picked up by 
a boat, and. hoisted on board. After a bumper of brandy, he 
seemed none the worse. But in the meantime we had sprung 
our rudder-head (the same sort of accident as befell the ' Great 
' Eastern '). It must have been bad, or it could not have gone 
as it did. The captain said to me : ' We may go on for a few 
' hours, and see what we can do, and then return if necessary.' 
I did not see the fun of this plan, and suggested that we had 
better at once find out what was the matter. We returned to 
port, and, after a long deliberation, a scheme of patching was 
resolved upon. . . . It is most vexatious to be doing 
nothing, when my moments have been of late so precious and 
so hurried. 

' Ferooz.' — Gulf of Suez.— February 9th. — When I got on 
board this morning my heart smote me a little for having dis- 
couraged your coming out with me, for nothing can be more 
comfortable than this ship has been made, with a view to the 
accommodation of poor Lady Canning and you. 

398 INDIA. CH.XV. 

Eight P.M. — It is very lonely to be spending this Sunday 
evening by myself, after the many happy ones I have enjoyed 
with you and the children during the past three months ; and 
yet I would not forego the recollection of those happy days 
though it deepens the gloom of the present. Surely, what- 
ever may happen to us all, it is something gained to have this 
retrospect in store. 

OldMSS. February \2th. — Going on as smoothly as ever. ... I 
have been reading over some old manuscript books, written 
from twenty to twenty-five years ago, and containing a record 
of my thoughts and doings at that remote time. It is very 
interesting and useful to look back. I was working very hard 
during those years, searching after truth and right, with no 
positive occupation but that of managing the BroomhaU 
aflPairs, and riding at a sort of single anchor with politics. 
"Would it have been better for me if I had had more en- 
grossing positive work ? There is something to be said on both 
sides in answering that question. However, these books will 
not be again read by me, for I shall consign them to the Red 

February \Zth. — The breeze is freshening and dead ahead. 
I have been thinking of the past, and remembering 
that just twenty years ago, at this same season, I set out on my 
first visit to the Tropics. What a strange career it has been ! 
How grateful I should be to Providence for the protection I 
have enjoyed ! How wild it seems, to be about, at the close 
of twenty years, to begin again. 

A gale. Sunday, February \Qth. — A bad time since I last wrote. 

We have had a very strong gale. . . . There is less 
motion to-day, probably because we are under the lee of the 
Arabian coast. I could not wish that you had been with me 
while we were undergoing this misery ; and we have made 
slow progress, but may reach Aden to-morrow. It has been a 
sad time. ... I could not read, and have been lying 
down, thinking over so many things ! . . . But there 
may, please God, be a good time beyond. I have been 
thinking of the little party in your room on this day, and 
endeavouring to join with you all. 

February IQth. — Gulf of Aden. — Seven a.m. — I have just 
had my first walk on deck for this day. It is fine, and the 
head wind keeps up a cool draught of air for us. The night 

1862. OUTWARD VOYAGE. 399 

was pleasant and cool, and I spent an hour before I went to A moon- 
bed, walking up and down the bridge, between the paddle- ^'?^ 
boxes, looking at a great moon, a little past the full, climbing 
up the heavens before us, and (as Coleridge says, I think in 
the notes to the Ancient Mariner, of the stars) entering 
unannounced among the groups of stars as a guest certainly 
expectedr — and yet there is a sdent joy on her arrival. 

February 27th. — Near Ceylon. — According to the account 
of our captain, who hails from Bombay, the Governor there 
must be very well off as regards climate. He has the sea air 
at Bombay itself; 2,000 feet of elevation at Poonah ; and 
5,000 on a mountain accessible in two days from Bombay. 
So that his family may always live in a cool climate, and he 
can join them when business permits. Perhaps at some future 
time the convenience of the situation of Bombay, its greater 
vicinity to England, &c., may place the Governor-General 
there ; but this will not happen in our time. 

As I went into my cabin yesterday before dinner, I observed Whita 
a swarm of white flies with long wings, by the side of one of 
my open ports. I found out that they were white ants which 
had burst through the wood-work, and which seem to be 
provided with wings under such circumstances, in order that 
they may migrate. The wood-work inside near the place 
from which they burst out, was completely destroyed by them, 
and reduced to a pulp. It appears that there are quantities 
of these creatures in this ship. It is believed that they are 
only in the scantling or upper wood-work. It is to be hoped 
that this may be so ; for they devour timber with wonderful 
rapidity, and ships have been lost by their eating away 
portions under water. 

March 1th. — Madras. — Reached the anchorage at 4-30 p.m. Madias. 
"We soon got into one of the country boats made for landing 
in the surf (without nails, and all the planks sewn together). 
We were hoisted by the waves upon the beach, and found 
there a considerable crowd, with the Governor, Sir W. 
Denison ; Sir H. Grant, etc., and a guard of honour, to receive 
us ; Sir W. D. drove me out to this place, Guindy, which is 
about eight miles from the town, and consists of a charming 
airy house, in a large park. There was a full-dress dinner 
party and reception last night. ... I have decided to 
proceed to Calcutta to-merrow. 

400 INDIA. Ch. XV. 

' Ferooz.'' — March 9th. — Sunday. — It was very hot during 
the service under the awning. But you and the little ones 
were remembered on this sweltering Bengal sea. . . . My 
visit to Madras was pleasant, and an agreeable change. . . . 
And I collected there papers and official documents enough to 
keep me going till I reach Calcutta. 

Calcutta. It was on the evenino: of March 11th that the 
' Ferooz ' anchored in ' Diamond Harbour,' the same 
anchorage at which, in the ' Shannon,' he had spent the 
night of August 8, 1857. The following day he was 

initaiia- formally installed as Viceroy and Governor-General; 

*'°"" receiving every kindness from Lord Canning, whom he 

describes as not looking so iU as he expected to find 
him, ' but,' he adds, ' those about him say he is far 
' from right in health.' Six days later Lord Canning 
took his departure, and Lord Elgin was left to enter 
upon his new duties. 

He had not been a fortnight in office when the un- 
certainty of life in Calcutta was brought home to him 

Death of in a striking and ominous manner by the sudden death 

^t«hio ^^ ^^ esteemed member of his Ijegislative Council, Mr. 
Ritchie. Writing on March 23 to Sir Charles Wood, 
who was then Secretary of State for India, he said: — 

We are truly here in the case of the women grinding at the 
mill. Who would have supposed a few days ago that poor 
Ritchie would have been the first summoned? About two 
days before Canning's departure, I asked him to come and see 
me ; he talked with me for an hour. In the evening a note 
was received from his wife to say that they could not dine at 
Government House, as he was seriously indisposed. He ap- 
pears to have felt the first symptom of his malady while he 
was sitting with me. This afternoon I attend his funeral. 
He is a great loss ; he seems to have been very much liked 
and esteemed. 

The death of Mr. Ritchie, followed by the appoint- 
ment of Sir B. Frere to the Government of Bombay, 
the promotion of Mr. Beadon to the Lieutenant- 
Governorship of Bengal, and the retirement of Mr. 

1803. SUDDEN DEATHS. 401 

Laing owing to ill health, left only Sir R. Napier re- 
maining of the five members of Council whom Lord 
Elgin found in office ; and, though the vacant places 
were soon afterwards most ably filled, the change of 
councillors necessarily added to the labours of a new 
Governor-General. He did not, however, during the 
first comparatively cool months, find the work too much 
for him. ' On the contrary,' he wrote, ' time would be 
' heavy on hand if 1 had not enough to fill it.' 

The days (he wrote to Lady Elgin) are very uniform in Mode of 
their round of occupations, so I have little to record that is 
interesting. As long as one has health, it is easy to do a good 
deal of work here, because for twelve hours in the day (from 
6 A.M to 6 P.M.) there is no inducement to leave the house. 
I have hitherto had a little exercise before and after those 
hours. I rush into the garden when I awake, and return when 
the sun appears, glowing and angry, above the horizon. 

In another letter he describes the plan, charac- 
teristic of his sociable and genial temperament, which 
he adopted in order at once to get through his work, 
and to obtain a competent knowledge of persons whose 
opinions were worth having. 

I have two or three people to dine with me on every day on 
which I have not a great dinner. By this means I get ac- 
quainted with individuals, and if my bees have any honey in 
them I extract it at the moment of the day when it is most 
o-ushing.* It is very convenient, besides, because it enables me 
to converse by candlelight with persons who want to talk to 
me about tlieir private affairs, instead of wasting daylight upon 
them. Unless I get out of sorts, I hope to become personally 
acquainted in this way mth everyone, whose views may be use- 
ful to me, before I leave Calcutta, even to go to Ban-ackpore. 

As the season went on, the heat became greater. 
' For the last few days,' he wrote on June 1, 'it has 

' It -was somelimes complained pressing his own. _ But it requires 
that on these occasions he was so very little reflection to see that 
little comnumioalive : drawing out this complnint is really a commen- 
the opinions of others, -whhout ex- dation. 

D D 

402 INDIA. Oh. XV. 

' been very hot ; quite as Lot, they say, as it ever is. I 
' am longing for the rains, which are to cool us, I am 
' told.' The rains came, and, so long as they continued 
to fall, the temperature was lower : but ' the heavy, 
' dull, damp, cahn heat between the falls,' he found 
most trying. 
Death of On July 6 came a fresh shock to his feelings — a fresh 
Canning, omeu of evil to himself — in a telegraphic report of the 
death of the friend whose place he had so recently taken. 
At first he could hardly bring himself to credit the news. 

Is it indeed true (he wrote to Lady Elgin)? The last 
rumour of the kind was the report of my death, when I was 
mistaken for Eglinton ; but this time I fear it is only too true ! 
It will add to the alarm which India inspires. But poor 
Canning certainly never gave himself a good chance ; at least 
not during the last year or two of his reign here. He took 
no exercise, and not even such relaxation of the mind as was 
procurable, though that is not much in the situation of Gover- 
nor-General. When I told him that I should ask two or three 
people to dine with me daily, in order to get acquainted with 
all the persons I ought to know, and to talk matters over with 
them by candlelight, so as to save daylight for other work, he 
said : ' I was always so tired by dinner-time that I could not 
* speak.' Perhaps he was only referring to his later experience ; 
but still it was enough to break down any constitution, to wear 
oneself out for ever by the same train of thought, and the 
same routine of business. I think there was more in all this 
than met the eye, for work alone could not have done it. "We 
shall have no confirmation of this rumour in letters for a fort- 
night or more. . . . Poor Canning ! He leaves behind him 
sincere friends, but no one who was much dependent on him. 

In another letter he wrote : — 

So Canning and his wife, as Dalhousie and his, have fallen 
victims to India ! Both however ruled here in stirring times, 
and accomplished great things, playing their lives against a 
not unworthy stake. I do not think that their fate is to be 

A few days later he wrote from Barrackpore, where 

1862. SUDDEN DEATHS. 403 

he had gone to seek the change of air which his health 
now began imperatively to require : — 

This place looks wonderfully green. At the end of the 
broad walk on which I am gazing from my window, is Lady 
Canning's grave ; it is not yet properly finished. Who will 
attend to it now ? Meanwhile, it gives a melancholy character 
to the place, for the walk which it closes is literally the only 
private walk in the grounds. The flower garden, park, &c., 
are all open to the public. . . . Although Canning did not die 
at his post, I thought it right, as his death took place so soon 
after his departure from India, to recognise it ofBcially, which 
I did by a public notification, and by directing a salute of 
minute guns to be fired. 

While still oppressed with these sad thoughts, he re-\ 
ceived a blow which went even deeper home, in the '• 
intelligence of the death of his brother Robert, so well- , 
known and so highly valued as Governor of the Prince' 
of Wales. 

Barrackpore. — JuIt/ 26tk. — I went into Calcutta on the Denth of 

morning of the 23rd, in time to write by the afternoon packet ; General 

. Bruce. 

but I did not write, for I was met on my arrival by a tele- 
graphic rumour, which quite overwhelmed me. ... I should 
hardly have allowed myself to believe that the sad report could 
be true, had it not been for the account of Robert's illness, 
which your last letters had conveyed to me. . . . Next day 
another telegram by the Bombay mail of the July 3rd left no 
doubt as to the name. ... A week, however, must elapse 
before letters arrive with the intelligence. ... I hurried over 
my business, and came back here yesterday evening. It is 
more quiet than Calcutta ; and sad, with its one walk terminat- 
ing (as I have told you) at Lady Canning's grave. Poor 
Robert, how little did I think when we parted that I was never 
to see him again ! How little at least, that he would be the 
defaulter! He has left few equals behind him: so true, so 
upright, so steady in his principles, and so winning in his 
manners. Of late years we have been much apart, but for 
very many we were closely together, and perhaps no two 
brothers were ever more mutually helpful. Strange, that with 
Frederick and me in these regions, he should have been carried 

B D 2 

404 INDIA. Ch. XV. 

off first, by a malady which belongs to them.^ ... I write at 
random and confusedly, for I have nothing to guide me but 
that one word. And yet how much in that one word ! It 
tells me that I have lost a wise counsellor in difficulties ; a 
stanch friend in prosperity and adversity ; one ou whom, if 
anything had befallen myself, I could always have relied to 
care for those left behind me. It tells, too, of the dropping of 
a link of that family chain which has always been so strong 
and unbroken. 

In writing to his second boy he touched the same 
chords in a different tone. 

You have lost (he said) a kind and good uncle, and a kind 
and good godfather, and you are now the only Robert Bruce 
in the family. It is a good name, and you must try and bear 
it nobly and bravely, as those who have borne it before you 
have done. If you look at tlieir lives you will see that they 
always considered in the first place what they ought to do, 
and only in the second what it might be most pleasant and 
agreeable to do. This is the way to steer a straight course 
through life, and to meet the close of it, as your dear Uncle 
did, with a smile on his lips. 

The hot From this time his journal contains more and more 

frequent notices of the oppressive heat of the weather, 
and its effects upon his own health and comfort. He 
remained, however, at his post at Calcutta, with the 
exception of a brief stay at a bmigalow lent to him by 
Mr. Beadon at Bhagulpore ; his pleasantest occupation 
being the arrangement of plans for smoothing the path 
of Lady Elgin, who had settled to join him in India. 

August 2nd. — Yesterday, I received your letter, with all the 
sad details. ... It was truly a lovely death. In harmony with 
the life that preceded it. ... It is indeed a heavy blow to all. 
. . . This is a sad letter, but my heart is heavy. It is diffi- 
cult to make plans, with such a break-down of human hopes 
in possession of all ray thoughts. 

Calcutta. — August 8tk. — It is now dreadfully hot. ... In 
search of something to stay my gasping, I mounted on to the 

■ He died in London from tlie effects of a fever caught in the East. 


1862. THE HOT SEASON. 405 

roof of the house this morning, to take my walk there, instead 
of in my close garden, where there are low shrubs which give 
no shade, but exclude the breeze. I made nothing, however, 
by my motion, for no air was stirring even there. I had a 
solitary and ghastly stroll on the leads, surrounded by the ad- 
jutants, — a sort of hideous and filthy vulture. They do the 
vrork of scavengers in Calcutta, and are ready to treat one as 
a nuisance, if they had a chance. . . . There is much sickness 
here now. 

August ^th. — . . . The 'Ferooz' will not reach Suez till 
about the middle of November, so you had better not arrive 
there till after that time. You will have the best season for the 
voyage, and time to rest here before we go up the country. 

Calcutta. — August I7th. — ... I told you that I was feel- 
ing the weather. ... I am going to-morrow for change of 
air, to a place about 300 miles from Calcutta, on the railway. 
It is not cooler, but drier, and the doctor strongly recommends 
the change. This is our worst season, and I suppose we may 
expect six weeks more of it. If this change is not enough, I 
may perhaps try and get a steamer, and go over to Burmah. 
But there is some difficulty in this at present. 

Bhagulpore. — August ig^A.— We made out our journey to Bhagul- 
this place very well yesterday. The morning was cloudy, with ^"®" 
drizzling rain, and much cooler than usual, and we had the 
great advantage of little sun and no dust all day. At the 
station of Burdwan, the inhabitants of the station, some of 
them ladies, met us, and in a very polite manner presented 
flowers. We kept our time pretty well in our special train, 
and reached our abode at about 7 p.m. The air here is sen- 
sibly fresher than at Calcutta. . . . The house is a regular 
bungalow, — a cottage, all on the ground-floor. It is situated 
on a mound overlooking the Ganges. There is no garden 
about it, but a grass field, with a few trees here and there. 
Between the window at which I am writing and the river is an 
open shed, in which two elephants are switching their tails, and 
knocking about the hay which has been given them for their 
breakfast. This is a much more quiet and rural place than 
any which I have visited since I have been in India; for 
Barrackpore is a great military station, and the park, &c., 
there are quite public. Here there are not altogether above 
five or six European families. ... We have a train twice a, 

406 INDIA. Ch. XV. 

day from Calcutta, so I can get my boxes as regularly as I do 
MoDghjT. Bhagulpore. — August 25th. — On Saturday, we made an ex- 
pedition to a place called Monghyr, about forty-five miles from 
here, where there is a hot spring, and something like hills. (I 
am told also, that on a particularly clear day I can see from 
here the highest mountain in the world.) We did not leave 
this till 3 P.M., and were back again by 8 p.m., having 
travelled some ninety miles by rail, and driven in carriages 
about ten or twelve more, — the fastest thing, I should think, 
ever done in India. There has been a good deal of rain, and 
I stiU feel well here, but I suppose on the 29th I must return 
to the Calcutta steam-bath. This forenoon I paid a visit to a 
school, one of the Government schools. The boys (upwards 
of 200) are not of the lowest class. They all read English 
very well, and when asked the meaning of words, gave 
synonymes or explanatory phrases with remarkable readiness. 
During their early years, I should certainly say that they are 
quicker than English children. They fall off when they get 

August 31 st. — Calcutta. — "We returned to this place on 
Thursday. It is cooler than when I left, but I fear we have 
not done with the heat yet. All agree that September is about 
the worst month in the year here. 

Calcutta. — September 8th. — I do not think that Dr. M. is 
particularly proud of the way in which I am beiiring up against 
this oppressive and depressing season. . . . I wish that we were 
going to the Ncilgherries instead of to Simla. The climate is, 
I believe, better, and the place more agreeable, but it is entirely 
out of the way of business for me now, whereas Simla is a na- 
tural stage to the most important part of my government. 

September 17 th. — . . . . I have given up my morning walks. 
It is now always sultry before sunrise, and the dulness of 
pacing up and down my garden at that hour is intolerable. So 
I walk till daylight in my verandah. . . . 

September 23rd. — . . . It seems strange to think that this 
is one of the last letters which you will receive from me in 
England, but yet it is still a long time before I can hope to 
see you here. The poor boys ! You will be preparing to 
part from them, and all will be sad. Give them my love and 


In the month of November the sittings of the Legis- Business 
lative Council, which had been suspended during the ''^"^^'^* 
hot weather, were resumed, and the monotonous routine 
of the autumn was exchanged for more active, though 
hardly more laborious, work in maturing legislative 
measures. As President of this Council Lord Elg-in 
threw himself with his usual zeal and assiduity into the 
discussion of the various administrative questions which 
demanded solution. 

As the cold weather came on, he suffered much from 
the transition. Writing on the 4th of November to 
Sir C. Wood, he says : ' At the commencement of the 
cool season, on which we are now entering, we suifer 
from all manner of minor ailments; so I hope you will 
excuse a short letter.' And again on the 9th : ' I am 
half blind and rather shaky from fever still, so that 
again I shall be brief in my epistle to you.' Soon, 
however, these ailments disappeared, and in the cooler 
temperature he regained to a great extent his usual 

A few weeks later the long dreary months of separa- Arrival of 
tion from all that he most loved were happily ended Elgin. 
by the arrival of Lady Elgin, who with his youngest 
daughter, Lady Louisa Bruce, reached Calcutta on the 
8th of January 1863. 

In passing from the personal narrative of these state of 
months, to their public history, it is necessary to bear 
in mind what was the state of the Indian Empire at the 
moment when Lord Elgin undertook its government. 

' India,' to use his own words, ' was at peace ; at peace Peace. 
' in a sense of the term more emphatic and compre^ 
' hensive than it had ever before borne in India. The 
' occurrences which had taken place during the period 
' of Lord Dalhousie's government had established the 
' prestige of- the British arms as against external foes, 
' Lord Canning's Vice-royalty had taught the same 

408 INDIA Ch. XV. 


lesson to domestic enemies. No military operations 
' of magnitude were in progress, to call for prompt and 
' vigorous action on the part of the ruling authority, or 
' to furnish matter for narrations of thrilling interest. 
' On the contrary, a hearty acquiescence in the belief 
' that no such opportunities existed, and that it was in- 
' cumbent upon him, by all practicable means, to pre- 
' vent their recurrence, was the first duty which the 
' situation of aiFairs prescribed to a new Governor- 
' General.' 

Questions There were indeed grave questions awaiting solution ; 

solved questions of great perplexity and embarrassment, though 
of a domestic and peaceful character; some of them 
the more perplexing because they bore upon ' those 
' jealousies of race which are the sources of almost all 
' our difficulties in India.' But as regards such ques- 
tions his habitual caution, as well as the philosophic 
turn of his mind, led him to study very carefully all 
the conditions of each problem before attempting to 
pi'opound any solution of his own; and in the mean- 
time he felt that his duty was to employ any personal 
influence which he could acquire in smoothing the 
course of such measures as had been set in operation by 
the authority of others. ' The first virtue,' he said to 
one of his colleagues, ' which you and I have to practise 
' here at present is Self-denial. We must, for a time at 
' least, walk in paths traced out by others.' 

But though, for the reasons above stated, it would be 
a mistake to look in the records of the time for any 
great measures, executive or administrative, on which 
he had set his mark, his various speeches and letters, 
more especially the full and frank communications which 
he addressed from time to time to the Secretary of State 
for India, Sir Charles Wood, show with what keeimess 
of interest, as well as with what sagacity, he approached 
the study of Indian questions. A few extracts from 
his correspondence are here given to illustrate this ; and 

1862. THE ARMY 409 

as affording some indication of the unremitting industry 
■with which, lie laboured at this period, searching into 
and maturing his views upon one difficult subject after 
another, as well as the whole plan of Indian govern- 

To Sir Charles Wood. 

Calcutta, April 9th, 1862. 

Now for the Army. I must observe, in the first place, that The Army. 
in the reasoning employed here in favour of the maintenance 
of a large army, native and European, there is a good deal 
that is circular, and puzzling to a beginner. 

When I ask why so considerable a native army is required, 
I am told that the native must bear a certain proportion to 
the European force ; that Europeans cannot undertake canton- 
ment duties, or, speaking generally, any of the duties which 
the military may from time to time be called to render in 
support of the civil power, during peace ; that in war, again, 
they are admirable on the battle-field, but that they cannot 
turn their victories to account by following up a discomfited 
foe, unless they have the aid of native troops, nor perform 
many other services which are not less indispensable than great 
battles to success against an enemy who knows the ground and 
is inured to the chmate. 

This line of argument very naturally raises the question, 
wherefore then is the maintenance of so large a European 
army necessary? Eebellion has been crushed, and European 
troops are not suited for the repression of such local disturb- 
ances as occasionally occur. There is little present prospect 
of war from without, though Persia is moving towards Herat, 
and apparently preparing for Dost Mohammed's death. The 
answer which I invariably receive is this — ' You cannot toll 
what will happen in India. Heretofore you have held the 
Sikhs in subjection by the aid of the Sepoys, and the Sepoys 
by means of the Sikhs. But see what is happening now. 
The Sikh soldiers are quartered all over India. They are 
fraternising with the natives of the South — adopting their 
customs and even their faith. Half the soldiers in a regiment 
lately stationed at Benares were converted to Hindooism be- 
fore they left that holy place. Beware, or you will shortly 
have to cope in India with a hostile combination moi'e formid- 

410 INDIA. Oh. XV. 

able than any of those which you have encountered before.' 
If you draw from all this the inference that what you really 
dread is your native army, you get into the vicious circle 

Do not suppose that I am tempted by these logical paradoxes 
to run to hasty conclusions. I am aware that for many reasons 
we must now entertain, and probably shall long find it neces- 
sary to entertain, a large army, native and European, in India. 
Practically, what we have to do is toendeavour, by a judicious 
system of recruiting, organisation, and distribution, to render 
our army as serviceable and as little a source of peril as may 
be. But I do think that they go far to prove that, notwith- 
standing our vast physical superiority to anything which can 
be brought against us, we should find it a difficult task to 
maintain our authority in India by the sword alone ; and that 
they justify a very jealous scrutiny of all schemes of expendi- 
ture for military objects which render necessary the imposition 
or maintenance of taxes which occasion general discontent, or 
deprive the Government of the funds requisite for carrying on 
works of improvement that have the double advantage of 
stimulating the growth of wealth in the country, and increasing 
the efficiency of the means of self-defence which we possess. 

To a Friend in Scotland, interested in the Cultivation of Cotton. 

Calcutta, May 21st, 1862. 

Cultira- I beg to assure you that I do not yield to yourself in my 

ion of desire to promote the extension of cotton cultivation in India, 
and, above all, improvement in the quality of the staple. I 
consider that the interests of India are involved in this improve- 
ment to a greater degree even than those of Great Britain; 
for, no doubt, if the quality of the Indian product were so far 
raised as to admit of its competing on terms approaching to 
equality with that of America, it would obtain a permanent 
footing in the great market to which it has access now only at 
moments of extraordinary dearth. 

Moreover, I do not scruple to confess to you that I am not 
so bigoted in my adhesion to the dogmas of political economy, 
as to be unwilling, at a season of crisis like the present, to 
entertain proposals for accelerating this result, merely because 
they contravene the principles of that science. On the con- 



trarj, I receive thankfully suggestions for accomplisliing an 
object which I have so much at heart, more especially when 
they emanate from persons deeply interested and thoroughly 
conversant with the subject, like yourself — even when they 
fall within the category of what you style ' extraordinary 
' measures.' 

But you will surely allow that the onus probandi lies very 
heavily on a Government which adopts measures of this class ; 
and that if, by abnormal interference, it checks the natural and 
healthy operation of the laws of demand on capitalists and 
cultivators, it incurs a weighty responsibility. 

Even as regards the specific recommendation which you have 
made, and which has much to justify it in my eyes — because I 
would go great lengths in the direction of aiding the Kyots to 
improve their staple, if I could see my way to effect this object 
without doing more harm than good — I must observe that there 
are questions which have to be very gravely and carefully 
examined before it can be acted upon. 

In the first place, it is right that I should tell you that the 
opinion which obtains here respecting the result of recent ope- 
rations in Dharwar, in so far as the case furnishes a precedent 
for the interference of Government officers in such matters, 
differs widely from that entertained by you. 

But, setting this point aside, and assuming for the sake of 
argument that the interposition at Dharwar was attended by 
unmixed benefit to all concerned, does it follow that corre- 
sponding silccess would accompany the mission of fifty military 
officers to the cotton districts of India for the purpose of in- 
ducing the Ryots to substitute exotic for native cotton in their 
cultivation ? 

In order to do this exotic cotton justice, it must be treated 
with some care, especially at the time of its introduction into 
districts where it has been previously unknown. Conditions 
of climate as well as of soil must be taken into consideration 
in determining the time and method of cultivation. The cli- 
mate of Dharwar, where the monsoons meet, differs widely 
from that of many parts of India, where the seasons are divided 
between a deluge of rain and a period of baking heat. Am I 
likely to find fifty young military officers who would be com- 
petent to advise the Eyots on points of so much delicacy? 
And if the Byots, following their counsels, were disappointed 



Ch. XV. 

in the expectations which they had been led to form, what 
would be the effect on the prospects of cotton cultivation in 
India ? 

I do not say all this in condemnation of your scheme, but in 
order to point out to you how much has to be thought of be- 
fore it can be acted upon. 

Meanwhile there are measures for promoting the interests of 
cotton cultivation in India, which the Government can adopt 
without abandoning its proper sphere of action ; not only with- 
out danger, but with a high probability, perhaps I might say a 
certainty, of benefit to the great cause which we have in hand. 

We can facilitate the establishment in India of European 
cultivators and landholders, who are the natural and legitimate 
advisers of the native peasantry on such questions as those to 
which I have been referring. 

We can improve communication so as to render the transport 
of the raw material to the ports of shipment more cheap and 

To these and similar measures the attention of the Govern- 
ment of India is earnestly directed ; with every disposition to 
take such further means of stimulating production as prudence 
may justify. 

I have written at some length, but the importance of the 
subject and my respect for your opinion are my excuse. 

not yatis- 
fied with 
show of 

To Sir Charles Wood. 

Calcutta, Ma3''9th, 1862. 

I know that it is customary with certain people whose 
opinions are entitled to respect, to act on the assumption that 
all Orientals are children, amused and gratified by external 
trappings and ceremonies and titles, and ready to put up with 
the loss of real dignity and power if they are only permitted 
to enjoy the semblance of it. I am disposed to question the 
correctness of this assumption. I believe, on the contrary, 
that the Eastern imagination is singularly prone to Invest out- 
ward things with a symbolic character ; and that relaxations on 
points of form are valued by them, chiefly because they are 
held necessarily to imply concessions on substantial matters. 

deDce of a 


To Sir Charles Wood. 

u Calcutta, June 2 1st, 1862. 

\ You may be interested by reading a letter (of which I en- Imprn- 
close a copy) written by the officer commanding the cavalry at 
Delhi on the subject of an alleged assault by a native trooper ary 
on a missionary. I should think that the cause of Christian, 
truth and charity would be as well served by preaching in a 
church or a building of some sort, as by holding forth in the 
streets in a city full of fanatical unbelievers. If I am told 
that the Apostles pursued the latter course, I would observe 
that they had the authorities as well as the mob against them, 
and took not only the thrashings of the latter, but also the 
judicial penalties inflicted by the former, like men. It is a 
very different matter when you have a powerful Government 
to fall back upon, and to quell any riots which j-ou may raise. 
However, these are burning questions, and one must handle 
them cautiously. 

To Mr. Edmonstone, Lieut.- Governor of the N. PV. Provinces. 

Calcutta, Mny 27th, 1862. 

I am much obliged to you for your letter of the 19th inst., Rumours 
and I beg that you will make a habit of writinsr to me when- °lj^'^r 

, . "^ . , . , °, . affection. 

ever anything occurs respecting which you may desire to com- 
municate with me confidentially. 

I do not, I confess, attach any great importance to such 
incidents as the circulation of the prophecy which you have 
enclosed to me. It is quite as probable that it may be the act 
of some mischievous person who desires to keep alive excite- 
ment in the popular mind, as the indication of an excitement 
already existing. 

It must, moreover, be observed that the Enp^iish press 
throughout India has taken advantage of the advance of Sool- 
tan Jan on Furrah to descant, at great length and with much 
fervour, on ail perils, present and prospective, to which British 
rule in India is, or may be, exposed. That the Mahommedan 
mind, thus stimulated and encouraged, should altogether eschew 
such speculations, could hardly be expected. 

It is impossible, however, to be too vigilant in watching 
these manifestations of opinion ; and I trust that you will not 

4]f4 INDIA. Ch. XV. 

fail to put me in possession of all the symptoms of disquietude 
which may reach you, however trivial they may seem to he. 

I need hardly point out to you how important it is that your 
inquiries should be so conducted as to give no countenance to 
the impression that they are prompted by any nervous anxiety, 
or that we should be much discomposed even if the 12th Imaum 
himself were to make his appearance. 

Tor my own part, I am firmly resolved to put down with 
promptitude and severity any attempt at disturbance which 
may be made in any part of India, and I do not care how 
generally my determination on this point is known. I shall 
pursue this policy, not because I fear for the stability of our 
empire in the East, but because tranquillity is essential to the 
progress of the country, and because lenity to the guilty ori- 
ginators of such machinations leads invariably to the severest 
punishment and suffering of misguided followers. 

To Sir Charles Wood. 

Calcutta, June 17th, 1862. 

Groundless The follies which are committed by the military panic- 
alarms at mongers in" the North-west are very vexatious, and pregnant 
with mischief of all kinds. ... 1 made up my mind yester- 
day to set off in person and go straight to Delhi, if the thing 
goes on. As a rising of troops against us in places where the 
Europeans have all the artillery, and at least equal the native 
forces in number, is rather too strong a dose even for the 
weakest nerves, the stock in trade now is the existence of 

designs for the assassination of Europeans These 

topics are probably the con'v ersation at every mess-table, in- 
dulged in before the native servants, who would be the agents 
in such plots if they were to be carried out. It is a remark- 
able fact that, although secret murder by poison and other- 
wise is not unknown among natives between themselves, as 
directed against Europeans, it is, I believe, almost entirely 
unexampled. It is not impossible, however, that constant 
discussions on the subject may familiarise the native mind 
with the idea. 

But talking is not aU. The commanding officer at Agra 
has acted on these suspicions, and, in the face of the native 
population, taken extraordinary precautions on the assumption 

1862. MUEDER OF A NATIVF. 415 

that the wells are poisoned. We have no report as yet on 
the subject. All we know is from the newspapers ; but of the 
fact, I fear, there can be little doubt. If there be disaifected 
persons in that locality (and no doubt there are many such), it 
■will be strange indeed if they do not profit by so broad a hint. 
Then again, this panic beginning with the officers spreads to 
the men. Some cases of terrorism have occurred at Delhi 
which are a disgrace to our race. And of course we know 
what follows. Cowardice and cruelty being twins, the man 
who runs terror-stricken into his barrack to-night because he 
mistook the chirp of a cricket for the click of a pistol, indemni- 
fies himself to-morrow by beating his bearer to within an inch 
of his life. 

All this is very bad, and very difficult to control. After 
the lesson of 1857 it will not do for me to adopt the happy-go- 
lucky tone, and to pooh-pooh what professes to be information. 
To preach common sense from a safe distance is equally futile. 
It therefore occurred to me that the only thing practically to 
do, would be to go to the head-quarters of the panic, surround 
rayself by native troops, and put a stop to the nonsense by 

If I had been anywhere else except in India, I should have 
acted upon this determination at once ; but here there are such 
enormous physical difficulties in the way, that one is obliged 
to think twice before setting out on such an expedition. 
However, I have not abandoned the intention, and shall cer- 
tainly carry it out, if this sort of thing goes on. We cannot 
afford to have the progress of the country arrested by such 
miseres. The alarmists succeeded in bringing down the price 
of our stocks a few days ago. 

By the bye, last night was fixed upon by my anonymous 
correspondents for my own assassination. 

To Sir Charles Wood. 

Calcutta, June 22nd, 1862. 

I have had, this week, a very painful matter to deal with. The mur- 
A man of the name of Budd, a soldier who had obtained his 'Isrof a 

/v' n 1 native. 

discharge m order to accompany an oincer of the name of 

to Australia, killed a native in the Punjab some months 

ago under the following circumstances. He was desired by 
to procure a sheep for him. He went to a native, from 

416 INDIA. Ch. XV. 

whom he appears to have procured sheep before, and took one. 
The native protested against his taking this particular sheep, 
because it was with lamb, but said he might take any other 
from the flock. Budd paid no heed to this remonstrance, put 
the sheep on the back of another native, and marched off. 
The owner followed, complaining and protesting. On this 
Budd first fired two barrels over his head, then threw stones 
at him, and finally went into the house, brought out another 
gun, fired at him, and killed him on the spot. Besides im- 
ploring that his sheep might be restored to him, it does not 
appear that the native did anything at all to provoke this 

The perpetrator of this outrage being a European, the case 
could not be tried on the spot. It was accordingly trans- 
ferred to Calcutta; witnesses, &c., being sent 1,000 miles at 
the public expense. Before it came on, however, the counsel 
for the defence requested a postponement in order to obtain 
further evidence. The request was granted, and the trial 
deferred till another terra. 

The trial came on a few days ago, and the jury, much to 
their honour, found the prisoner guilty. On this an agitation 
was got up to obtain a commutation of the sentence of death 
which had been passed by the judge. A jDetition, with a great 
number of signatures, was presented in the first instance to the 
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal ; but he was advised that, the 
crime having been committed in the Punjab, he had nothing 
to do with the case. It was then transmitted to me. There 
was quite enough doubt as to my power of acting, to have 
justified me in referring the case to the Lieutenant-Governor 
of the Punjab. But I felt that the delay, and, above all, the 
appearance of a desire to shrink from the responsibility of 
passing a decision on the case, which this step would involve, 
would be so mischievous, that, having obtained fro"m the Ad- 
vocate-General an opinion that I had the requisite authority, 
I determined to take the matter into my own hands. The 
Punished Verdict was clearly borne out by the evidence. The sentence 
by death, -y^^as in accordance with the law, and the judge, to whom I 
referred, saw no reason to question it. The decision of the 
Governor-General in Council was, that the law must take its 

It is true that this murder was not committed with previous 


preparation and deliberation. It had not, therefore, this special 
quality of aggravation. But it was marked by an aggravation 
of its own, not less culpable, and unfortunately only too fre- 
quently characteristic of the homicides perpetrated by Euro- 
peans on natives in this country. It was committed in wanton Little 
recklessness, almost without provocation, under an impulse ™ natwe 
vrhich would have been resisted if the life of the victim had life. 
been estimated at the value of that of a dog. Any action on 
my part which would have seemed to sanction this estimate of 
the value of native life, would have been attended by the most 
pernicious consequences. 

It is bad enough as it is. The other day a station-master, 
somewhere up country, kicked a native who was, as he says, 
milking a goat belonging to the former. The native fell dead, 
and the local paper, without a word of commiseration for the 
victim or his family, complains of the hardship of compelling 
the station-master to go to Calcutta, in this warm Aveather, 
to have the case inquired into. Other instances in which the 
natives have died from the effect of personal chastisement 
administered by Europeans have occurred since I have been 

I have gone at some length into this case, both because you 
may hear of it, and also because it exemplifies what is really 
our greatest source of embarrassment in this country — the 
extreme difficulty of administering equal justice between 
natives and Europeans. 

To Sir Charles Wood. 

July 16th, 1862. 

I am very much averse to any interference on our part in Against 
the quarrel which is now on foot in Affghanistan ; and, indeed, ence in 
I do not very well see my way as to how any such intei-- A^^han- 
ference can be managed without entailing responsibilities which 
we may regret at a later period. You are doubtless aware that 
we have no agent with the Dost. He particularly requested 
that no one should be sent to his court in that capacity, and we 
assented to his views on this point. All we know of what is 
going on there is derived from the reports of a native vakeel, 
who reports more or less faithfully what he hears and sees, 
but who is not, and I apprehend, could not be employed to 
speak on our behalf to the Ameer. In order, therefore, to 

E E 

418 INDIA. Oh. XV. 

communicate with him, we must either send a special agent, or 
write. Now it must be observed that in this affair the Dost 
has not been the aggressor. The Herat chief attacked him 
without any provocation. We offered him no assistance, made 
no remonstrance, and left him to take care of himself. He 
has asked us for nothing, and we have given him nothing. It 
is now proposed that we should inform the Dost that if he goes 
beyond a certain point, and Persia comes into the field to 
support Herat, he must not expect any assistance from us. If 
we had an agent there it would be easy to instruct him to 
make such an intimation ; and if the Dost were to ask us for 
any support, an answer which would convey this hint might be 
given. But situated as we are, we must move cautiously in 
this matter. If the Dost stops on our suggestion, and if 
(as is frequently the case with Orientals), the enemy, ascribing 
his moderation to weakness, presses him with increased vigour, 
what are we to do then ? Are we to stand by and laugh at 
our dupe, telling him that though our advice got him into the 
scrape, he must find his own way out of it? or are we to 
set to work to check his opponents ? and if we undertake the 
latter task, how far will it lead us ? 

It is quite impossible in these affairs, and with people of this 
description, to say what an hour may bring forth. A shower 
of rain may convert a victorious army into a baffled one, and 
an advance into a retreat. The death of a man of eighty 
years of age will probably throw all AfFghanistan into confu- 
sion, convert friends into foes and vice versa. Instructions 
framed in Calcutta to meet one set of circumstances may 
arrive in Affghanistan when the whole scene has changed. I 
own that I am strongly of opinion that our true policy is to 
leave these kinds of neighbours as much as possible alone ; to 
mix ourselves up as little as may be in their miserable intrigues, 
which generally entail obligations which bind us and not them, 
and not unfrequently lead to most unexpected issues. We 
should only speak when we have a case of self-interest so 
clear that we can speak with determination, and follow up our 
talk if necessary with a blow. 


To Sir Charles Wood. 

August 9th, 1862. 

After a good deal of consideration as to how I can, with With- 
least risk of getting this Government into trouble, put a spoke '^ak'^f °^ 
into the Dost's wheel in his progress towards Herat, I have 
despatched to Sir E. Montgomery the telegram of which I 
enclose a copy. The order sent to our vakeel, desiring him to 
leave the Ameer's camp, and return to India, if the Dost 
proceeds to extremities against Herat, will sufiSciently show 
that we discountenance any such proceeding ; while at the same 
time the measure commits us to nothing, gives the Dost no 
such claim upon us as he would naturally have if we tendered 
advice to him, and induced him to abandon his own projects in 
order to follow it, and leaves us free to shape our policy as the 
shifting current of events may prescribe. I pointed out to 
you in my letter of July 16, that we are awkwardly situated 
for interfering with the Ameer. -He is our friend, and we 
said nothing when he was attacked. He has set to work to 
redress his own injuries, asking us for no aid, and paying his 
own way. We are quite entitled to say, ' Your hostile advance 
' on Herat has not our approval, and we must show that you 
' are making it without our sanction.' This we do in the most 
emphatic manner, by withdrawing the only British official who 
is with him. But I do not like to go farther in the direction 
of interference. It is impossible to say how matters may ter- 
minate in Affghanistan. It is possible that the Ameer may 
get the whole country into his hands. It is possible that he 
may come to an understanding with Sultan Jan, who is his 
connection by marriage. It is very desirable that we should 
be free to accept the status in quo, whatever it may be. 

To Sir Charles Wood. 

Calcutta, September 9th, 1862. 

A doubt naturally suggests itself as to whether the received Lord 
notion respecting the relations which Canning sought to estab- poi°°^°^' 
lish between the native chiefs and the British Government 
in India be altogether correct, or, (as it perhaps would be more 
accurate to say) altogether complete — whether, in short, that 
portion of it which was a policy of circumstance has been duly 
distinguished from that which was a policy of principle : a 

B B 2 


420 INDIA. Oh. XV. 

doubt by no means unimportant, now that this policy, -n'hat- 
ever it be, is crowned by the double aureole of success and 
death ; so that while, on the one hand, it is naturally set up as 
an example for imitation, on the other, we have not the author 
to refer to when difficulties arise respecting its application. 
Clemency. In approaching the consideration of this very momentous 
question we must, in the first place, be careful lest we suffer 
ourselves to draw erroneous conclusions from the warm ex- 
pressions of gratitude and aifection lavished upon Canning by 
the natives generally. If I were to venture to compare great 
things with small, I should say that their feelings towards him 
were due to causes somewhat similar to those which earned for 
me the good will and confidence of the French Canadians in 
Canada. Both he and I adopted on some important points 
views more favourable to the subject races than those which 
had been entertained by our respective predecessors. So far 
we established legitimate and substantial claims on their regard. 
But it was not so much the intrinsic merit of those views, still 
less was it the extent to ivhich we acted upon them, which won 
for us the favour of those races ; we owed that mainly to the 
uncompromising hostihty, the bitter denunciations, and the 
unmeasured violence which the promulgation of those views 
provoked from those who were regarded by them as their 
oppressors. I used often to say to my Scotch friends in Lower 
Canada, when they were heaping every indignity upon me, 
and even resorting to open violence (for there they did not 
hold their hands ofi"), ' You are playing my game. I want 
' to win the confidence of the French Canadians ; but I know 
' the nature of that people : they are touchy and suspicious as 
' races who feel that they are inferior, and believe that they are 
' oppressed, invariably are. By measures of simple justice to- 
' wards them (and beyond that line I do not intend to proceed 
' an inch), I despair of being able to effect ray object; but if 
' you continue for a year to act as you are now acting, denoun- 
' cing me as your enemy and their friend, and proving the 
' sincerity of your belief by outrage and violence, you will end 
' by convincing them that I am to be trusted, and I shall win 
' the day.' — The result proved the accuracy of this prediction. 
The feeling of the natives of India towards Canning was in 
some measure due to a similar cause. The clamour for blood 
and mdiscriminate vengeance which raged around him, and the 


abuse poured upon him because he would not listen to it, im- 
parted in their eyes to acts which carried justice to the verge 
of severity the grace of clemency. 

I could give you plenty of proofs of this . . . The following 
sentences occur in a letter written from Delhi during our recent 
panic, by an officer . . ' The native force here is much too 
' small to be a source of anxiety, and unless they take the initia- 
' tive it is my opinion that there can be no important rising. 
' The Mussulmans of Delhi are a contemptible race. Fanatics 
' are very rare on this side of the Sutlej. The terrors of that 
' period when every man who had two enemies was sure to 
' swing are not forgotten. The people declare that the work of 
' Nadir Shah was as nothina; to it. His executions were com- 
' pleted in twelve hours. But for months after the last fall of 
' Delhi, no one was sure of his own life or of that of the being 
' dearest to him for an hour.' The natives not unnaturally 
looked with gratitude to the man who alone had the will and 
power to put an arrest on this course of proceeding, and to 
prevent its extension all over the land. No doubt, as I have (2) 
said. Canning earned a substantial claim to the gratitude of Consider- 
the native chiefs by adopting a more liberal and considerate native 
policy towards them than that pursued by his predecessor, chiefa. 
It was perhaps not surprising that he should have done so. 
Situated as we are in this country — a small minority ruling 
a vast population that differs from us in blood, civilisation, 
colour and religion, monopolising in our own territories all 
positions of high dignity and emolument, and exercising even 
over States ostensibly independent a paramount authority — 
it is manifest that the question of how we ought to treat that 
class of natives who consider that they have a natural right to 
be leaders of men and to occupy the first places in India, must 
always be one of special difficulty. If you attempt to crush 
all superiorities, you unite the native populations in a homoge- 
neous mass against you. If you foster pride of rank and 
position, you encourage pretensions which you cannot gratify, 
partly because you dare not abdicate your own functions as a 
paramount power, and, partly, because you cannot control the 
arrogance of your subjects of the dominant race. Scindiah 
and Holkar are faithful to us just in proportion as they are 
weak, and conscious that they require our aid to support them 
against their own subject's or neighbours: and among the 

422 INDIA. Ch. XV. 

bitterest of our foes during the Mutiny were natives who had 
been courted in England. . , . Canning saw the evils which 
the crushing policy of his predecessor was entailing, and he 
reversed it. It was a happily timed change of policy. The 
rebellion broke out while it was yet recent ; and no doubt, the 
hopes and gratification inspired by it had their effect in in- 
ducing a certain number of chiefs to pause and to require more 
conclusive proof that the British Kaj was to hick the beam, 
before they cast their weight into the opposite scale of the 

After the rebellion was suppressed, the inducement to per- 
severe in this line of policy was still more stringent. To 
grant to native Potentates who were trembling in their shoes, 
and ready to receive the boon on any tenns which you might 
prescribe, the reversion of States which had become vacant 
because you had, of your own authority and mere motion, 
hanged their chiefs, and declared them to be escheated, was a 
■wise, a graceful, and under the circumstances a perfectly safe 
policy. The same may be said of the measures taken to put 
the talookdars of Oude on their legs, and which were preceded 
by the confiscation of aU their properties. I believe that this 
policy, like the policy of Clemency, was sound and right in 
principle ; but in forming a just estimate of its success and of 
its applicability to all seasons and emergencies, it is necessary 
to take into account the specialities of the time to which I have 

What then was the scope and extent of application which 

Canning in action was prepared to give to this policy ? Here 

is the important question, and it is not altogether an easy one 

to answer. For like most -wise administrators, Cannins; dealt 

with the concrete rather than the abstract, and it would not be 

difficult to cull from his decisions sentiments and sentences 

which seem to clash. "When you meet with an individual 

ruling which appears not to tally with what you have assumed 

(3) to be his general principles, you say it is ' unnatural.' This is 

-^^^™>'.°° one way out of the difficulty. But is it the right way ? My 

sove- own opinion is, that Canning never intended to let the chiefs 

reignty. get the bit into their mouths, or to lose his hold over them. It 

is true that he rode them with a loose rein, but the pace was 

so killing during the whole of his time, that it took the kick 

out of them, and a light hand and silken thread were all that . 


was required. His policy of deference to the authority of 
native chiefs was a means to an end, the end being the es- 
tablishment of the British Raj in India ; and when the means 
and the end came into conflict, or seemed likely to do so, the 
former went to the wall. Even in the case of the chief- 
tainship of Amjherra, he looked, as the Yankees say, ' ugly,' 
when Scindiah, having got what he wanted, showed a disposi- 
tion to withhold the grants to loyal individuals which he had 
volunteered to make from the revenues of the chieftainship. 
It is true that the ostensible ground of Canning's dissatisfaction 
was the violation of a promise, but what title had he to claim 
this promise, or to exact its fulfilment, if the escheat belonged 
as of right to Scindiah ? Again, when I came to this country, 
1 found that he was walking pretty smartly into a parcel of 
people in Central India who were getting up a little rebellion 
on their own account, a tempest in a teapot, not against us, 
but against their own native rulers. In this instance he inter- 
fered, no doubt, as head policeman and conservator of the 
peace of all India. But observe, if we lay down the rule that 
we will scrupulously respect the right of the chiefs to do 
wrong, and resolutely suppress all attempts of their subjects to 
redress their wrongs by violence, which, in the absence of help 
from us, is the only redress open to them, we may find perhaps 
that it may carry us somewhat far — possibly to annexation — 
the very bugbear from which we are seeking to escape. 
Holkar, for instance, unless common fame traduces him, has 
rather an itching for what Mr. Laing calls ' hard rupees.' 
His subjects and dependents have decided, and not altogether 
unintelligible, objections to certain methods which he adopts 
for indulging this propensity. When they — those of them 
more especially who have Treaty claims to our protection, 
come to us to complain, and to ask our help — are we to say to 
them : — ' We have too much respect for Holkar 's independence 
' to interfere. Eight or wrong you had better book up, for we 
"■ are bound to keep the peace, and we shall certainly be down 
' upon you if you kick up a row ' ? In the anomalous position 
which we occupy in India, it is surely necessary to propound 
with caution doctrines which, logically applied, land us in 
such dilemmas. 

At a future time, if I live, and remain here, it is possible 
that I may take the liberty of submitting to you some views 



Oh. XV 

for a time 
of peace 

of my own on these questions. It may perhaps turn out that 
a time of peace is better fitted than one of revolution for the 
discovery of the true theory according to which our relations 
with native States ought to be conducted ; or, it may be, for 
the discovery that no theory can be framed suflSciently elastic 
to fit all those relations and the complications which arise out 
of them, and that, after all, we must in a great measure rely 
on the rule of common sense and of the thumb. When the 
circumstances of the time are such that it is deemed right and 
proper to abrogate all law, and to establish over the land a 
reign of terror and of the sword — to pour out, in deference to 
the paramount claims of the safety of the state, public money, 
whether obtained from present taxation or the mortgage of 
posterity, with profusion absolutely uncontrolled — to decree 
confiscation on a scale of unprecedented magnitude ; it is 
obvious that a reputation for clemency, economy, and respect 
for the native rights of property, is obtainable under condi- 
tions that are not strictly normal. If you want to ascertain 
whether your system will stand in all weathers, you must test 
it when the rule of law and order have replaced that of arbi- 
trary will — when men present themselves, not as the scared 
recipients of bounty, but as the assertors of admitted rights. 
We shall see how far, in such piping times, it may be possible 
for the Governor-General to enforce on the British local 
authorities the claims of public economy, without resorting to 
any interference which can be supposed to militate against the 
hypothesis that the said authorities understand a great deal 
better than he does what their wants are, and how they ought 
to be supplied; or to maintain the peace of India without 
questioning the indefeasible title of the native chiefs to do 
what they like with their own. 

Meanwhile all I want as regards this matter is, to learn what 
Canning's policy really was, and to follow it out faithfully. 
It is neither fair to him nor to the cause, that we should mis- 
judge its character by founding our estimate of it on a partial 
or incomplete induction. 

To Sir Charles Wood. 

Calcutta, December 23rd, 1862. 

Considera- As to consideration of the natives, I can only say that 
natiyes. ^ during a public service of twenty years I have always sided 


with the weaker party, and it is so strongly my instinct to do 
so, that I do not think the most stringent injunctions would 
force me into an opposite course of action. But I am quite 
sure that it is not true kindness to the weaker party, to give 
the stronger an excuse for using to the utmost the powers of 
coercion which they possess, by seeming to be umvilling to 
listen to any statement of grievances which they may desire 
to make, or to suspect their motives when they suggest reme- 
dies. ... It is quite possible that such views as you in- 
stance may prevail to a considerable extent with our agitat- 
ing people ; but it is equally certain that many who join them 
would indignantly repudiate the imputation of being actuated 
by any motives of the kind. My study always is, to keep 
those who profess moderate and reasonable views right, and to 
prevent them from going over arms and baggage to the enemy, 
by taking for granted that they mean what they profess, and, 
when they propose objectionable remedies, arguing against 
them on their own premises. Some, of course, would rather 
abandon their sound premises than their illogical conclusions, 
when they are driven in this way to the wall; but a large 
number come over to the right side when they find that the 
consideration of their alleged grievances is approached without 
any prepossession against them. Of course, this is all a matter 
of tact, and cannot be reduced to any definite formula. But 
you speak of our Press as hopeless on some of these subjects. 
Have you observed the comparative mildness of its tone lately, 
notwithstanding the action of Government in the matter of the 
Waste Lands, and Contract Law ? Does not that argue a 
better state of feeling in the European Community ; and do 
not you think that it is for the benefit of the Ryots, that their 
interloping landlords should not be in a humour to employ 
vindictively the vast powers which, whether you disallow Con- 
tract Laws or not, they, as proprietors, possess over them ? 

426 INDIA. Ch. xvi. 











Duty of a At a very early period of liis stay in India, Lord 
Generan^ Elgin formed the opinion, wliich was indeed strongly 
Tisitthe impressed upon him by Lord Canning, that it was 'of 

Provinces. ■'■ ^ -' , , . . , , 

' the greatest unportance to the public mterest that the 
' Governor-General should see as much as possible of 
' men and things, in all parts of the vast empire under 
' his control ; and that a constant residence in the nar- 
' row atmosphere of Calcutta had a tendency to impair 
' his etficiency.' Writing to Sir C. Wood on the 17th 
of September, 1862, he said : — 

No man can govern India in ordinary times, such as those 
in which we are living, if he is to be tied by the leg to Calcutta, 
and prevented from visiting other parts of the Empire. Can- 
ning, although he lived in times by no means ordinary,