Europe in China/Chapter 4

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The Mission of Lord Napier.

Years before the trade monopoly of the East India Company was actually dissolved, it was foreseen by both the British Cabinet and by the Cantonese Authorities, that the substitution of a heterogeneous and internally dissentient community of irresponsible free traders for a responsible and conservative Corporation like the East India Company would bring on a serious crisis in the relations existing between Great Britain and China.

When informed, by direction of the British Government, that the Charter of the East India Company would in all probability not be renewed, but British trade thrown open to all subjects of His Majesty, the then Viceroy of Canton (January 16, 1831) instructed the chief of the factory at Canton to send an early letter home, stating that, in case of the dissolution of the Company, it was incumbent to deliberate and appoint a chief-manager (tai-pan), who understood the business, to come to Canton for the general control of commercial dealings, by which means affairs might be prevented from going to confusion, and benefits secured to commerce.

This was the shrewd suggestion of a Viceroy holding his office for five years, and, as given informally, not necessarily binding upon his successor. It embodied, however, a recognized principle of Chinese policy, viz., that the traders of any given place must be formed into one or more guilds, each having a recognized headman who can be held solidarily responsible for the doings of every member of his guild. All that was here proposed was, to place British and foreign free traders in Canton under a tangible and responsible head, having the status of an ordinary private trader, such as was accorded (A.D. 1699) to Mr. Catchpoole, but corresponding, on the English side, with the position held, on the Chinese side, by the head of the Hong Merchants. The establishment of a Chamber of Commerce, formed by compulsory membership and controlled by a permanent British president, would have exhausted the meaning of the Viceroy's suggestion. What the Viceroy wanted was merely leverage for applying the screw of official control and exactions whenever desirable.

It is not likely, however, that the British Cabinet acted upon this informal message of a Canton Viceroy, or at any rate not without taking pains to ascertain its authoritative character and real purport. As China had for centuries tolerated and regulated foreign trade at Canton, the Cabinet may well have proceeded on the general assumption that British merchants had gained a status involving, on the part of China and England, reciprocal responsibilities and rights. At any rate a Bill was laid before Parliament to regulate the trade to China (and India) and in due course received the Royal assent on August 28, 1833. This Act (3rd and 4th Will. IV. ch. 93), whilst throwing open, from after April 22, 1834, the trade with China (and the trade in tea) to all subjects of His Majesty, declared it expedient, 'for the objects of trade and amicable intercourse with the Dominions of the Emperor of China,' to establish 'a British Authority in the said Dominions.' Accordingly the Government was authorized by this Act to send out to China three Superintendents of Trade, one of whom should preside over 'a Court of Justice with Criminal and Admiralty Jurisdiction for the trial of offences committed by His Majesty's subjects in the said Dominions or on the high sea within a hundred miles from the coast of China.' The Act also expressly prohibited the Superintendents, as the King's Officers, from engaging in any trade or traffic, and authorized the imposition of a tonnage duty to defray the expenses of their peace establishment in China. The will of the British nation thus off-hand decided what for two centuries the Chinese Government had persistently refused to grant, viz., that British subjects in China were entitled to the privileges of extra-territorial jurisdiction. The Chinese war of 1841 (wrongly styled the opium war) was the logical consequence of this British Act of 1833. The passing of this Act is one of the best illustrations of 'that superb disregard of consequences abroad which ever distinguishes British legislators when they try to meddle in foreign affairs of which they know nothing.'

In pursuance of this Act the Right Honourable William John Napier, Baron Napier of Merchistoun, Baronet of Nova Scotia and Captain in the Royal Navy, was selected by Lord Palmerston to proceed under a Royal Commission to China as Chief Superintendent of British Trade, and to associate with himself there, in the Superintendency of Trade, two members of the East India Company's Select Committee. By a special Commission under the Royal Signet and Sign Manual (dated January 26, 1834), Lord Napier, together with W. H. Ch. Plowden and J. F. Davis, were appointed 'Superintendents of the Trade of British Subjects in China,' empowered to impose duties on British ships, and directed to station themselves for the discharge of their duties within the port or river of Canton and not elsewhere (unless ordered), to collect trade statistics, to protect the interests of British merchants, to arbitrate or judge in disputes between British subjects, and to mediate between them and the Chinese Government. To these orders, distinctly investing the three Superintendents with extra-territorial, political and judicial power over British subjects, to be exercised within the dominions of the Emperor of China 'and not elsewhere,' there was added the special injunction 'to abstain from any appeal (for protection) to British military or naval forces, unless in any extreme case the most evident necessity shall require that any such menacing language should be holden or that any such appeal should be made.'

If we had to believe that both Lord Palmerston and his chief, Earl Grey, supposed, that the Chinese Government would concede or silently tolerate the merest shadow of extra-territorial rights to be exercised by the British Government in its proposed supervision of British merchants residing within the Dominions of the Emperor of China, we would have to assume that these experienced statesmen made an incomprehensible blunder. It seems much more probable that we have here one of those many cases which have caused historians to characterize Lord Palmerston's general policy as an incessant violation of the principle of non-intervention. There is reason to suppose that Lord Palmerston, with his keen political foresight, anticipated the probability that this attempt to establish quietly a mild form of extra-territorial jurisdiction would by itself, apart from any existing complications, be sufficient to provoke hostilities. But he no doubt anticipated also that in the end English public opinion would support him. In giving his final instructions to Lord Napier, Lord Palmerston (January 20, 1834) enjoined him 'to foster and protect the trade of His Majesty's subjects in China, to extend trade if possible to other ports of China, to induce the Chinese Government to enter into commercial relations with the English Government, and to seek, with peculiar caution and circumspection, to establish eventually direct diplomatic communication with the Imperial Court at Peking, also to have the coast of China surveyed to prevent disasters.' But Lord Palmerston added to all these peaceful instructions the significant direction, 'to inquire for places where British ships might find requisite protection in the event of hostilities in the China sea.' Surely we are justified in saying that Lord Palmerston then, as ever after, was determined that, to use his own words, like the civis Romanus of old, wherever he be, 'every British subject should feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong,'—even in China.

Assuming that the British Government could reasonably argue, on the ground of their interpretation of the Viceroy's invitation of 1831, and on the principle of established reciprocal responsibilities and rights, that the Chinese Government ought to be willing, or at any rate should be compelled, to admit into Canton a foreign Superintendent of British trade and accord to him an official status; no fault can be found with the Royal Instructions supplied to Lord Napier, except that these instructions associated with him, in the official superintendence of British trade in China, two former servants of the East India Company. Clearly it was the expectation of the Cabinet that Lord Napier should experience at the hands of the Cantonese Authorities a treatment different from that which the Chinese Government had, for two centuries, uniformly accorded to the Supercargoes of the East India Company, Mr. Catchpoole, the King's Minister or Consul, not excepted. The Cabinet desired the Chinese Government to dissociate, in mind, Lord Napier as the King's Officer from mere traders and therefore to accord to him the privilege of direct official intercourse. But at the same time the Cabinet associated him, in fact, with men who for years past had practically been the subordinates of the Hong Merchants. Mr. Plowden and Mr. Davis, though gentlemen of the highest character and refined culture, and best fitted in every respect to advise Lord Napier in his delicate mission, had in the eyes of the haughty Mandarins merely the status of peddling traders. It seems that all the lessons which the history of the East India Company's experiences in China had taught England, were entirely thrown away upon the British Cabinet Ministers, whose ignorance of the contempt in which Chinese officials hold all traders, however worthy or honoured, defeated the very object of the Royal Instructions.

But then, it would seem as if the Crown Lawyers who must have advised the Cabinet that the British Crown had an international right to plant Royal Superintendents at Canton, invested with political and judicial powers, and to do that without previous permission obtained from the Chinese Government, must have had rather peculiar notions of international law. It must be remembered, however, that the international law of those days held non-Christian States to be outside the comity of nations, and distinctly accorded to Christian communities, residing in non-Christian countries, the right of extra-territorial jurisdiction. It is possible, also, that there was, on the part of the Crown Lawyers and the Cabinet, no assumption of any positive right to establish a British Superintendent at Canton. Lord Palmerston specially enjoined upon Lord Napier, that 'in case of putting to hazard the existing opportunities of intercourse,' he was not to enter into any negotiations with the Chinese Authorities at all. These words, together with the subsequent condemnation of Lord Napier's action by the Duke of Wellington, who gave it as his opinion that Lord Napier ought to have been satisfied 'to keep the enjoyment of what we have got,' suggest the surmise that the British Cabinet did not mean forcibly to claim any right of stationing a British official at Canton or of exercising any extra-territorial jurisdiction over British subjects within the Dominions of the Emperor of China, but that their policy was merely to take the Chinese Government by surprise, to try it on, so to say, in Chinese fashion, to see how far the Chinese Authorities would yield; but, in case of failure, rather to be satisfied with what the Chinese were willing to concede, than to demand what could be obtained only by an appeal to force.

If such, however, was the intention of the British Cabinet, it was a kind of diplomacy unworthy of England, and moreover foolish, because such a continuation of the mistaken policy which the East India Company's Court of Directors had followed for two centuries, was, under the altered circumstances, impossible. A community of independent British free traders, knowing that Parliament had conceded to them the privilege of extra-territorial jurisdiction, was not likely to remain content with the enjoyment of what they had got, if that enjoyment was to be coupled with the continuance of the old regime, galling to personal and national self-respect.

Moreover, if such was the real policy of the British Government, it was unfair to Lord Napier to keep him in the dark. For he evidently had no notion of it, until perhaps at the very last moment, when he resolved to retreat from Canton. Possibly it was then that his eyes were opened to the strategies of the Cabinet, and, if so, it was this discovery, rather than the ignominious treatment he encountered at the hands of the Chinese, that broke his heart.

It seems very probable that, whatever the real aim of the British Government may have been, the Cabinet had been acting under the advice of the Directors of the East India Company, and if so, this was sufficient to ruin Lord Napier and his mission.

Immediately on his arrival at Macao (88 miles South of Canton), on July 15, 1834, Lord Napier, finding that Mr. Plowden had meanwhile left China, appointed Mr. (subsequently Sir) John F. Davis to be second, and Sir G. Best Robinson (another member of the East India Company's Select Committee) to be third Superintendent of British Trade in China. The three Superintendents then made the following appointments, viz., Mr. J. W. Astell to be Secretary to the Superintendents, the Rev. Dr. Robert Morrison (who unfortunately died a few weeks afterwards, when he was succeeded by Mr. J. R. Morrison) to be Chinese Secretary and Interpreter, Captain Ch. Elliot, R.N., to be Master Attendant (in charge of all British ships and crews within the Bogue), Dr. T. R. Colledge to be Surgeon, Dr. Anderson to be Assistant Surgeon, and the Rev. J. H. Vachell to be Chaplain to the Superintendents. Finally Mr. A. R. Johnston was appointed to be Private Secretary to Lord Napier. The Commission, after some interviews with messengers of the Viceroy, soon proceeded (July 25, 1834), without waiting for a passport, to Canton. On the very day of his arrival, however, Lord Napier was at once subjected by the Chinese Authorities to unprovoked insults, in the treatment of his baggage and his servants, and the Customs tide-waiters officially reported that 'some foreign devils' had arrived. To these indignities Lord Napier quietly submitted. But he endeavoured, without loss of time, to open direct official communication, first with the Viceroy and then with the Governor of Canton. His object was merely to inform the Provincial Authorities, in pursuance of his instructions, that he had arrived bearing the King's Commission and invested with political and judicial powers for the control of British subjects in China. But this information was couched in terms characteristic of a dispatch or official communication, and implying that the writer had an official status. By accepting the letter, the Chinese Government would have recognized Lord Napier as having such a status in China. Accordingly reception of the letter was peremptorily refused. The Viceroy, after sending Lord Napier word (through the Hong Merchants) 'that he could hold no communication with outside barbarians,' authorized the Prefect of Canton, the Prefect of Swatow, and the Deputy Lieutenant-General in command at Canton to go, together with the Hong Merchants, and interview Lord Napier in order to ascertain what he really wanted. This interview took place on August 23, 1834, and ended with the sage remark of the gallant Lieutenant-General, 'that it would be very unpleasant were the two nations to come to a rupture,' to which Lord Napier made the significant reply that England was perfectly prepared. The Hong Merchants offered to deliver the letter to the Governor of Canton, on condition that it should be rewritten in form of a humble petition, having on the outside a certain Chinese character (pien) which marks an application made by one of the common people (not having literary or official rank) to a Chinese official from a Magistrate upwards. But one of the Hong Merchants used the opportunity to heap a gratuitous insult upon Lord Napier. Addressing him in writing, he used characters which designated Lord Napier, by a pun, as 'the laboriously vile.'

Lord Napier's argument that a former Viceroy had by edict invited the British Government, in 1831, to send a chief to Canton to supervise trade, was met on the part of the Chinese Authorities by a denial of the meaning which Lord Napier attached to that invitation. They pointed out that in several proclamations issued by the Governor of Canton (August 18 and September 2, 1834), it was distinctly stated, that 'the commissioned officers of the Celestial Empire never take cognizance of the trivial affairs of trade,' that 'never has there been such a thing as official correspondence with a barbarian headman,' that 'the English nation's King has hitherto been reverently obedient,' that 'in the intercourse of merchants mutual willingness is necessary on both sides, wherefore there can be no overruling control exercised by officers,' and finally 'how can the officers of the Celestial Empire hold official correspondence with barbarians?'

Whilst declining to adopt the form of a petition, Lord Napier adopted a suggestion of the Hong Merchants to substitute another designation of the Governor of Canton, but otherwise Lord Napier's official message was left unaltered, in the form of a dispatch. But no messenger could be found to deliver it. So Mr. Astell, accompanied by the interpreters, proceeded with the latter to the city gates, where the party were detained for hours and subjected to every possible indignity. Various officials came, but one and all refused to deliver the letter to its address, unless it was couched in the form of a petition. It seemed to the Chinese preposterous that a barbarian official should claim an official status in China. It was with them not merely a question of etiquette and form of address, such as was subsequently settled by a special provision of the Treaty of Nanking, but it was a plain question of polity. The Chinese officials claimed supremacy over all barbarians, whether traders or officers, and the form of this letter was a deliberate denial of it. The one word 'petition' (pien) was now made the test of British submission to China's claim of supremacy.

Lord Napier continued firm in his refusal to 'petition' the Viceroy, nor would he accept the renewed offer of the Hong Merchants to act as his intermediaries in his communications with the Chinese Government. He remained in Canton, although the Hong Merchants had informed him that the Provincial Authorities would not receive any message from him, unless it was sent through the channel which had been constituted by Imperial Authority, and brought him an order by the Governor of Canton, dated August 18, 1834, directing him to leave Canton at once. Thereupon the Chinese Authorities resolved to drive him away by applying, to begin with, indirect force. A proclamation was issued calling upon the people to stop all intercourse with the British factory. The supply of provisions to British merchants was strictly prohibited and all Chinese servants were ordered to leave them forthwith. Next, the Hong Merchants were ordered to stop shipping cargo by any British vessel and to make an effort to induce the several British merchants to disown the assumed authority of Lord Napier and the other Superintendents and to declare their willingness to obey the orders of the Chinese Authorities, which would be conveyed to them, as formerly, by the Hong Merchants.

Foreseeing the danger of dissension, Lord Napier had called (August 16, 1834) a public meeting of British merchants, warned them against the intrigues of Hong Merchants and suggested the formation of a British Chamber of Commerce, to ensure joint action and to provide a medium of communication between the merchants and the Superintendents. This suggestion was now adopted and (August 25, 1834) a British Chamber of Commerce was formed by the following firms, viz., Jardine, Matheson & Co., R. Turner & Co., J. McAdam Gladstone, J. Innes, A. S. Keating, N. Crooke, J. Templeton & Co., J. Watson, Douglas, Mackenzie & Co., T. Fox, and John Slade (Editor of the Canton Register), The Committee of this first British Chamber of Commerce in China were J. Matheson, L. Dent, R. Turner, W. Boyd, and Dadabhoy Rustomjee.

When the Chinese Authorities found that the British merchants rejected all temptations offered to them individually through the Hong Merchants, and that the whole British community unanimously supported Lord Napier's pretensions, stronger measures were taken. Trade with British merchants and communication with Whampoa was now (September 2, 1834) stopped and the factories were surrounded by a cordon of Chinese soldiers. British merchants were informed that they were allowed to depart by way of Whampoa for Macao, but none would be allowed to return. Some Chinese compradors and shop-keepers, who had secretly supplied the British factories with provisions, were arrested and the British community found themselves in danger of being starved out. Seeing the critical position of affairs, Lord Napier, in the absence (at Macao) of the other two Superintendents, consulted the Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, and at their request dispatched an order for two frigates to come up to Whampoa and thence to send up a guard of marines for the protection of His Majesty's subjects. Accordingly H.M. Ships Imogene and Andromache sailed through the Bogue (September 5, 1834) under a rattling fire of the forts, to which they gallantly replied, silencing one battery after the other, until they reached Whampoa (September 11, 1834). A guard of marines also succeeded in forcing their way into the British factories.

Naturally enough, the Chinese now, instead of continuing hostilities, blandly recommenced negotiations through the Hong Merchants. The Provincial Authorities offered to resume trade with British merchants at Canton, on condition that the two frigates should leave the river and that Lord Napier should retire to Macao 'until the pleasure of His Majesty the Emperor of all under Heaven was known.' Recognizing now the official status of Lord Napier, they urged with some emphasis that 'it was a thing hitherto unknown for a barbarian official to reside at Canton.' But there was no room left to doubt the sincerity of the Chinese Authorities, both in their expressed willingness to resume trade and in their indignation at the attempt of the British Cabinet to establish extra-territorial jurisdiction without the previous consent of the Chinese Government.

Lord Napier turned again to his instructions, and now, perhaps, his eyes were opened as to the policy concealed under Lord Palmerston's words concerning 'the case of putting to hazard the existing opportunities of intercourse.' Sick in body and mind, separated from the other two Superintendents, Lord Napier now broke down completely and instructed his surgeon, Dr. Colledge, to make in his name what terms he could with the Chinese Authorities.

Accordingly Dr. Colledge wrote (September 18, 1834) to the Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, informing him that he had been authorized by Lord Napier 'to make the requisite arrangements with the Hong Merchants.' A meeting was arranged, Dr. Colledge and Mr. Jardine representing Lord Napier and the British community, whilst two Hong Merchants, Howqua and Mowqua, acted on behalf of the Chinese Authorities. Two contradictory statements of what took place at this meeting exist, and although there can be no doubt but that Dr. Colledge's account of the transaction is correct, the official report which the Hong Merchants made of this interview deserves some consideration as characteristic of the misunderstandings or misinterpretations which in subsequent years attached to all similar negotiations between Europeans and Chinese.

The words which Dr. Colledge used were these: 'I, T. R. Colledge, engage on the part of the Chief Superintendent, the Right Honourable Lord Napier, that His Lordship does grant an order for His Majesty's Ships at Whampoa to sail to Lintin, on my receiving a chop (stamped passport), from the Governor for His Lordship and suite to proceed to Macao, Lord Napier's ill state of health not permitting him to correspond with your Authorities longer on this subject. One condition I deem it expedient to impose, which is, that His Majesty's Ships do not submit to any ostentatious display on the part of your Government.' Howqua replied: 'Mr. Colledge, your proposition is one of the most serious nature, and from my knowledge of your character I doubt not the honesty of it. Shake hands with me and Mowqua, and let Mr. Jardine do the same.'

The Chinese official account of this meeting is as follows: 'The Hong Merchants, Woo Tun-yueu and others (Howqua and Mowqua) reported (to the Governor of Canton and his colleagues) that the said nation's private merchants, Colledge and others, had stated to them that Lord Napier acknowledged that, because it was his first entrance into the Central Kingdom, he was ignorant of the prohibitions, and therefore he obtained no permit; that the ships of war were really for the purpose of protecting goods and entered the Bogue by mistake; that now he (Lord Napier) was himself aware of his error and begged to be graciously permitted to go down to Macao, and that the ships should immediately go out (of the Central Kingdom), and he therefore begged permission for them to leave the port.'

The informality of the proceedings naturally opened the door for a variety of versions as to what actually transpired.. But the omission, on the part of Dr. Colledge, of any stipulation as to the resumption of trade consequent on the departure of Lord Napier and of the ships of war, indicates that, while determined to save the life of Lord Napier at any cost, he had reason to trust in the determination of the Chinese Government not to forego the profits of the British trade so long as their own exclusive supremacy was maintained.

Lord Napier received his passport and started (September 21, 1834) for Macao, after giving an order to the commanders of H.M. Ships Imogene and Andromache to retire beyond the Bogue. Lord Napier desired to travel in his own boat, but the Chinese insisted upon conveying him to Macao themselves, escorted him like a prisoner, did everything on the way to annoy him by the noise of gongs, crackers and firing salutes, which the Mandarins in charge of the escort persisted in, although Lord Napier repeatedly remonstrated against it, and they protracted the voyage, which need not have taken more than twenty-four hours, so as to last five days. By the time Lord Napier reached Macao (September 26, 1834), he was beyond recovery and died a fortnight later (October 11, 1834), worn out with the harassing and distressing annoyances which he experienced at the hands of the Chinese Authorities, as well as by the unnecessary delay interposed on his passage down to Macao, and especially also by the consciousness, that appears to have come over him at the last, that he had been placed in a false position by the ignorance of the Cabinet as to the real attitude preserved by the Chinese Government all along, and by the obscurity in which the Orders in Council and the instructions of Lord Palmerston enveloped the real policy of the British Government. Lord Napier died, like Admiral Hosier, 'of a grieved and broken heart.'

As soon as the Cantonese Authorities learned that the frigates had left the river and that Lord Napier had reached Macao, they reported to the Emperor that 'Napier had been driven out and his two ships of war dragged over the shallows and expelled,' but they eagerly resumed commercial intercourse with the British merchants (September 29, 1834), placing them, however, under fresh restrictions. They expressly stipulated that henceforth no barbarian official should presume to come to Canton but only persons holding the position of tai-pan (the vulgar term for the East India Company's Chief Supercargoes), and that all commercial transactions should be strictly confined to dealings with the Hong Merchants. Moreover, they published now (November 7, 1834) an Imperial Edict prohibiting the opium trade.

Thus ended the melancholy mission of Lord Napier. Its failure is clearly not due to any want of diplomatic tact or courage on the part of Lord Napier, but to the clashing of Chinese and British interests. Nor can we blame the Chinese Authorities, who, accustomed by the policy of abject servility, maintained by the East India Company for two consecutive centuries, to deal with Europeans willing to forego for the sake of trade all claims of national and personal self-respect, were entirely taken by surprise when they suddenly encountered, on the part of the British Government, the identical notions of national self-adequacy and political supremacy which had hitherto been the undisputed monopoly of the Chinese Government. The crowning misfortune of Lord Napier was that by the time (end of November) when the first news of the disastrous ending of his mission reached England, the administration of Lord Melbourne (who had taken Earl Grey's place in July) had come to an end (November 14), that Lord Palmerston was therefore out of office and the Duke of Wellington at the helm of affairs.

But the worst feature of this whole melancholy spectacle is the stolid apathy with which the English public received the news of the failure of Lord Napier's mission and the heartless cruelty with which the Duke of Wellington condemned Lord Napier's conduct. The silent acquiescence of the British public in the expulsion from Canton, in so degrading a manner, of the principal officer of their King and their country, lowered British reputation in the eyes of the Chinese and contributed to encourage them to venture upon future outrages. As to the Duke, he never had much respect for Lord Palmerston's or anybody's statecraft. With a belief in his own shrewd intuition of the right thing to be done at any critical moment, he combined a somewhat brusque manner of criticising supposed diplomatic blunderers. He looked upon this whole scheme of the fallen Whig leaders as a bungle from the beginning to the end and judged it, exactly as he judged the Cabul disasters eight years later, as a case of 'giving undue power to political agents.' The series of insults heaped upon Lord Napier, while alive, by the Chinese Authorities, was kindness compared with the cruel injustice with which the Duke of Wellington censured Lord Napier when dead. The man whose 'puissant arm could bind the tyrant of a world' proved childishly impotent in his encounter with Chinese mandarindom. The hero who, 'conquering Fate, enfranchised Europe,' entirely missed his opportunity of becoming also the liberator of European trade in Asia. The noble Duke entirely forgot himself when he gave it as his opinion (March 24, 1835) that Lord Napier had brought about the failure of his mission by assuming high-sounding titles, by going to Canton without permission, and by attempting an unusual mode of communication. Understanding that British trade in China was flourishing again, in spite of the defeat Lord Napier had sustained at Canton, the Duke recommended to keep the enjoyment of what we have got and to repress the ardour of British traders.

The British Government, having first disregarded the lessons afforded by the experiences of the East India Company, now misinterpreted the lessons to be derived from Lord Napier's fate. Clearly, the time for a British Colony in China had not come yet. Hongkong had to wait yet a little longer. Another and sharper lesson was needed.