Friday, January 30, 2015

British Surrender Ultimatum, Amoy (8/26/1841)

Updated July 5, 2016

This was the first communication Henry Pottinger had accorded to any Ch'ing official since his arrival in China. He did, however, send George A. Malcolm, Secretary of Legation, to Canton to inform the Prefect his appointment as plenipotentiary as well as his presence in China. The request of the prefect for a meeting was summarily denied by Malcolm citing his rank was not sufficiently high to admit of such interview.

On Board HMS Wellesley, off Amoy,
August 26, 1841.

To His Excellency the Admiral, Commander-in-Chief of the Naval Forces of the Province of Fukien[1]:

"The undersigned, Sir Henry Pottinger, Bart, her Britannic majesty's plenipotentiary, Sir William Parker, commanding in chief the naval forces, and Sir Hugh Gough, commanding in chief the land forces of the British nation in these parts.

There being certain differences subsisting between the two nations of Great Britain and China, which have not been cleared up, the undersigned plenipotentiary, and the commanders-in-chief have received the instructions of their sovereign, that unless these be completely removed, and secure arrangement made, by accession to the demands last year presented at Tientsin, they shall regard it as their duty to resort to hostile measures for the enforcement of those demands. But the undersigned plenipotentiary and commanders-in-chief moved by compassionate feelings, are averse to causing the death of so many officers and soldiers as must perish, and urgently request the admiral commanding in chief in this province forthwith to deliver the town and all the fortifications of Amoy into the hands of the British forces, to be held for the present by them. Upon his doing so, all the officers and troops therein will be allowed to retire with their personal arms and baggage, and the people shall receive no hurt : and whenever these difficulties shall be settled, and the demands of Great Britain fully granted, the whole shall be restored to the hands of the Chinese."

Henry Pottinger,
Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary.

William Parker,
Rear Admiral.

Hugh Gough,
Major General.

Source: Bingham, John Elliot, Narrative of the expedition to China, from the commencement of the war, Volume 2, 1843, p.234. 韓栽茂,《廈門海防百年》,廈門大學出版社。
[1] Admiral Tow Chinpew (Dou Zhenbiao) 竇振彪, C-in-C of Ch'ing naval forces in Fukien 福建水師提督, at the time of the British attack, was away raiding pirates. The defense of Amoy were taken up, in his stead, by Commandant of Quemoy 金門鎮總兵, Keang Keyun (Jiang Jiyun) 江繼芸, and Xundao of Amoy 廈門巡道 [probably the equivalent of deputy magistrate], Liu Yaochun 劉耀椿. Keang's immediate transfer to Amoy was ordered by Yen Po-t'ao (Yan Botao) 顏伯燾, Viceroy of Fukien and Chekiang 閩浙總督. Keang, badly wounded, took his own life jumping off the cliff when cornered by British troops at dust on the first (and the last) day of engagement of the Battle of Amoy. The book "Narrative of the expedition to China, from the commencement of the war, Volume 2" gave this brief account of Keang.
"The Tsungping, Keang Keyun, whose proper station was Quemoy, but who, in consequence of the absence of Tow Chinpew, the naval Chinese commander-in-chief, had come from his own post to take the command, finding the day go against him, walked through one of the embrasures and drowned himself."


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