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duct, befitting the superior knowledge and civilization of their visitors had been taken to enlighten them, such efforts, it cannot be supposed, would have been useless or unappreciated. By degrees the respectful fear of the Chinese passed into haughty contempt; and the resolution taken to exact as much as possible from those who were determined to trade, and of whose real condition and power, little or nothing was known. A fruitful source of difficulty between the Chinese and English, was the turbulent conduct of sailors. The French and English sailors at Whampoa, in 1754, carried their national hatred to such a degree, that they could not, even in China, pursue their trade without quarrelling; and a Frenchman having killed an English sailor, the Chinese stopped the trade of the former nation, until the guilty person was given up, though he was subsequently liberated. The Chinese allotted two different islands in the river at Whampoa, for the recreation of the seamen of each nation, in order that such troubles might be avoided in future. A similar case occurred at Canton, in 1780, when a Frenchman killed a Portuguese sailor at night, in one of the merchants' houses, and fled to the consul’s for refuge. The Chinese demanded the criminal, and after some days he was given up to them, and publicly strangled; this punishment he no doubt merited, although it was the first case in which they had interfered, where the matter was altogether among foreigners, and their success was considered as furnishing a bad precedent for interference on subsequent occasions. In 1784, a native was accidentally killed at Whampoa, by a ball left in a gun when firing a salute from the Lady Hughes, an English ship, and the Chinese on the principle of requiring life for life, demanded the man who had fired the gun. Knowing that the English were not likely to give him up, the police seized Mr. Smith, the supercargo of the vessel, and carried him a prisoner into the city, having previously succeeded in lulling their suspicions by protesting that they wished merely to examine the gunner concerning the affair. On the seizure of the supercargo, the ships' boats were ordered up from Whampoa with armed crews, to defend the factories; but the Chinese authorities dispatched a messenger to say that their intention in taking Mr. Smith was simply to ask him a few questions; who, on his part, requested the captain to send up the gunner or somebody else from the ship to be examined, which was ac
CHINESE ACTION IN CASE OF HOMICIDE. 455
cordingly done. Trusting too much to the promises of the Chinese, the man was allowed to go within the city walls, unattended by any of his countrymen, when Mr. Smith was immediately liberated, and he strangled by direct orders of the emperor, after about six weeks' confinement. The man, probably, underwent no form of trial intelligible to himself, and his condemnation was the more unjust, as by Sect. ccxcii. of the Chinese code, he was allowed to ransom himself by a fine of about $20. As a counterpart of this tragedy, the Chinese stated, and there was reason for believing them, that a native, who had accidentally killed a British seaman, about the same time, was executed for the casualty. The untoward result of this affair served as a caution and guide in dealing with the local authorities hereafter, for the Chinese of: ficers regarded it as incumbent on them in all such cases, to carry out if possible, the rule of life for life. Their mode of operations, however, when it was impracticable to get possession of the guilty or accused party, was well exhibited in the case of a homicide which occurred in 1807. A party of sailors had been drinking in one of the shops at Canton, when a scuffle ensued, and the sailors put the populace, who had begun to insult them, to flight, killing one of the natives in the onset. The trade was immediately stopped, and the hong-merchant, who had secured the ship, was held responsible for the delivery of the offender. Eleven men were arrested by the Company’s order, and a court instituted in their hall before Chinese judges, Captain Rolles of H. B. M. ship Lion being present with the committee. The actual homicide could not be found, but one man, named Edward Sheen, was detained in custody, which satisfied the Chinese while he remained in Canton ; but when the committee wished to take him to Macao with them, they resisted, until Captain Rolles declared that otherwise he should take the prisoner on board his own ship, which he actually did. Being now beyond their reach, the authorities gave up the case, and explained the affair to the supreme tribunal at the capital, by inventing a tale, stating that the prisoner had caused the death of a native by raising an upper window, and accidentally dropping a stick upon his head as he was passing in the street below. This statement was reported to his majesty, as having been concurred in by the English, after a full examination of witnesses, who attested to the circumstanc
the imperial rescript affirmed the sentence of the Board of Punishments, which ordered that the prisoner should be set at liberty, after paying the legal fine of about $20, provided to pay the funeral expenses. The trade was thereupon resumed. This case serves to illustrate the proceedings of the Chinese government, in many similar cases among themselves, where the interest or fear of the subordinate officers leads them to make out a fair statement, in utter disregard of truth and equity. It should be stated, however, in passing our judgment upon such conduct, that the governor and his colleagues were placed in an unpleasant dilemma. The laws peremptorily required life for life whenever foreigners were concerned; and they were liable to be denounced to their sovereign and degraded, if they did not execute the laws: a thing wholly impracticable, after he had been removed on board ship. They could not but be sensible that the man, though deserving of some punishment, was not guilty of murder, and their fabrication, though plain to all the local of. ficers, still had a merciful end in view for the prisoner; and was moreover, a safe expedient for themselves, as the relations who were the only parties likely to testify against them, had been pacified by a sum of fifty thousand pounds. Another inducement to hush the matter, was the suspension of trade, and conse. quent general inconvenience to all parties.* Another case of homicide occurred at Whampoa, in 1820, when the authorities showed their earnest desire to settle the af. fair by assuming that the butcher of the ship, who committed suicide soon after, was the guilty person; they held an inquest on board the ship, and a corresponding statement was made out. In 1822, a party of sailors watering at Lintin from H. B. M. ship Topaze was attacked by a crowd of natives, and in the affray two Chinese were killed and many wounded on both sides. The authorities at Canton demanded that two Englishmen should be given up, which the captain refused to do, at the same time explaining the affair, and showing that the inhabitants of the island were blameworthy. A long discussion ensued between the Company and the local authorities, which ended in the Committee stopping the trade and withdrawing from the river, until the governor agreed to release them, as merchants, from all partici
* Sir G. T. Staunton's Translation of the Penal Code, p. 516.
CASE OF Francis TERRANOVA. 457
pation or responsibility for the acts of British ships of war. This was finally done and the trade resumed. One reason for the tedious progress of these disputes may be found in the habitual tergiversation of the Chinese, which lead them to suspect others of falsehood, in the same degree that they are conscious of it themselves, and renders them unwilling to confess their mendacity when charged home upon them. The zeal of the Chinese in this affair of the Topaze, was no doubt increased by their success the year before in a case of homicide on board the American ship Emily, caused by an angry sailor, named Francis Terranova, throwing a jar at a woman, which knocked her overboard, though evidence was brought forward to show that she fell into the water partly through her own haste or carelessness. The district magistrate of Pwanyu came down to the ship with the hong-merchants and linguists, and held a trial upon the sailor, which the committee of American merchants present protested against as unjust and a mere mockery, inasmuch as the magistrate refused to accept the offered services of Dr. Morrison as interpreter, and employed his own wretched linguists to conduct the trial. The error of the Americans, according to the account drawn up by an eye-witness, and given in the North American Review for January, 1835, was in allowing the trial to take place without the aid of a well qualified interpreter, which they could probably have obtained by a little determination; and afterwards in permitting the man to be taken out of the ship before he had had a fair trial. They are stated, in this narrative, to have told Howqua, “We are bound to submit to your laws while we are in your waters, be they ever so unjust ; we will not resist them;” and it was on this principle that they suffered the unconvicted sailor to be carried to Canton, without resistance; but there is no evidence for Sir John Davis' assertion that he was put in irons by the Americans at the desire of his judges, or that he was personally delivered up to them. He was strangled very soon after he was in the hands of the Chinese, in opposition to all the delays and forms of even their own laws, no foreigner being allowed to be present. The government at Washington never made the least move or remonstrance respecting this tragical affair, but still left the commerce, lives and property of American citizens in China wholly unprotected, and at the mercy of its rulers. We are not preWOL. II. 21
pared to admit, however, that because the natives of one country live in another, they are bound thereby to submit to whatever injustice may be practised or inflicted upon them ; when, too, as was the case then in China, they are regarded as foreigners, and not permitted to live under, or be judged by the same laws as the natives. Other cases of murder and homicide have occurred in China since the two last mentioned, but no one has been executed by the Chinese. One of them was a captain Mackenzie, who was beaten so severely in a night affray with some Parsees, in 1832, as to cause his death; both the parties being British subjects, the matter was settled by the Committee sending the Parsees to Bombay for trial; the Chinese making one unsuccessful attempt to bring the case under their own jurisdiction. The other grew out of a fracas between the crews of the opium ships and the inhabitants of an island near Kumsing moon, in which a man was killed on each side. The relatives of the deceased Chinese complained to their rulers, and the hong-merchants hit upon an expedient to satisfy the forms of law, by persuading a black from Macao to personate the murderer, and give himself up to be tried, assuring him of a full acquittal. Some correspondence ensued between the authorities and the Committee, and the captive was finally set at liberty.” These cases are brought together in this place to illustrate the anomalous position which foreigners held in China, before the late war. They constituted a community by themselves, subject chiefly to their own sense of honor in their mutual dealings, but their relations with the Chinese were like what lawyers call a “state of nature.” The change of a governor-general, of a collector of customs, or senior hong-merchant, involved a new course of policy according to the personal character of these functionaries. The Committee of the East India Company had considerable power over British subjects, especially those living in Canton, and could deport them if they pleased; but the consuls of other nations had little or no authority over their countrymen. Trade was left at the same loose ends that politics were, and the want of an acknowledged tariff encouraged smuggling, and kept up a constant spirit of resistance and dissatisfaction between the
* Chinese Repository, Vol. II., pp. 513–515.