Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Imperial Rescript (9/6/1842)

The Chinese document is a decree written in the Emperor's office which was addressed to the Grand Council. Based on the decree, the Grand Council then issued an edict in the name of the Emperor, the contents of which were far more explicit. I wonder if the Emperor was shown the the edict before it was issued. The English document is an extract of the edict. I will find some time to translate the Chinese document. I hope I'll find the full text of the edict in Chinese one day.

Dated September 6, 1842 清宣宗道光二十二年(壬寅)八月二日(戊寅) (the second day of the eighth month in the twenty second year of the reign of Tao-kuang)


Source: 清實錄道光朝實錄 (Qing Shilu, Daoguangchao Shilu) [The Truthful Record of Qing Dynasty, The Truthful Record of the Reign of Daoguang]

Imperial Edict, dated eighth moon, second day (September 6, 1842), proclaiming to the empire and its dependencies the following important items:-

1. The Emperor withdraws his edict against Fow-chow-foo, and gives his full consent to its being one of the five ports where British merchants may dwell with their families. The imperial commissioners begged to be punished for representing the wishes of the English on the subject, but his Majesty exonerates them from all guilt.

2. The Hong merchants are alone held responsible for the debts they may have contracted without aid from Government.

3. The Hong merchants no longer allowed to monopolize the commerce, but both foreigners and natives permitted to trade with whom they please, and their mutual account to be settled between them at such times as they may choose, both parties being alone responsible for their own debts.

4. All English prisoners to be immediately benevolently and unconditionally released.

5. All kinds of intercourse allowed between the natives of China and the people of England, without fear of official interference

6. Natives who violate the laws of the empire, whether in the employment of foreigners or not, are to be tried without foreign interference.

7. As the barbarians are unacquainted with the language of the middle kingdom, interpreters will be allowed.

8. The natives of the empire everywhere to pay the usual custom-house dues.

9. Fixed duties are to be established at all the five ports.

10. All the British ships to leave the Yangtse-keang by the 10th day of the 8th moon (14th September).

11. Full assent is given for the occupation of Chusan and Koolangsu by the English until all the money be paid. His Majesty hopes for the final payment to be made with the least possibly delay, that Chusan and Koolangsu may be relieved, no more fighting may be excited, peace for ever firmly established, and the throes which agitate the imperial bosom may be at once allayed.

All the provinces are to consider this as the high imperial fiat, establishing honorable intercourse between the two nations.

[Originally published in the November 3, 1842 issue of Friend of China.]

Source: Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume II, Issue 53, March 11, 1843, p.211.


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