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Title: History of the Pirates Who Infested the China Sea From 1807 to 1810

Author: Yung-lun Yüan

Translator: Karl Friedrich Neumann

Release date: November 23, 2013 [eBook #44261]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Charlene Taylor and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)


[Pg i]
[Pg ii]

[Pg iii]

Book cover






From 1807 to 1810.







And Sold by






[Pg iv]

Printed by J. L. Cox, Great Queen Street,
Lincoln's-Inn Fields



[Pg v]


Conquerors are deemed successful robbers, while robbers are unsuccessful conquerors. If the founder of the dynasty of the Ming had failed in his rebellion against the Moguls, history would have called him a robber; and if any one of the various robber-chiefs, who in the course of the two last centuries made war against the reigning Manchow, had overthrown the government of the foreigners, the official historiographers of the "Middle empire" would have called him the far-famed, illustrious elder father of the new dynasty.

[Pg vi]

Robbers or pirates are usually ignorant of the principles concerning human society. They are not aware that power is derived from the people for the general advantage, and that when it is abused to a certain extent, all means of redress resorted to are legitimate. But they feel most violently the abuse of power. The fruit of labour is too often taken out of their hands, justice sold for money, and nothing is safe from their rapacious and luxurious masters. People arise to oppose, and act according to the philosophical principles of human society, without having any clear idea about them. Robbers and pirates are, in fact, the opposition party in the despotical empires of the East; and their history is far more interesting than that of the reigning despot.[1][Pg vii] The sameness which is to be observed in the history of all Asiatic governments, presents a great difficulty to any historian who wishes to write a history of any nation in Asia for the general reader.

The history of the transactions between Europeans and the Chinese is intimately connected with that of the pirate chiefs who appeared from time to time in the Chinese Sea, or Southern Ocean. The Europeans themselves, at their first appearance in the middle empire, only became known as pirates. Simon de Andrada, the first Portuguese who (1521) tried to establish any regular trade with[Pg viii] China, committed violence against the merchants, and bought young Chinese to use them as slaves; and it is known that it was the policy of the civilized foreigners from the "Great Western Ocean" (which is the Chinese name for Europe) to decry their competitors in trade as pirates and outlaws.

The footing which Europeans and Americans now enjoy in China, originated from the assistance given by the Portuguese to the Manchow against the Patriots, otherwise called pirates, who would not submit to the sway of foreigners. Macao, the only residence (or large prison) in which foreigners are shut up, is not considered by the Chinese Government as belonging exclusively to the Portuguese. The Dutch, on not being allowed to remain in Macao, complained to the Chinese Government, and the authorities of the middle empire commanded the[Pg ix] Portuguese to grant houses to the newly arrived Holan or Hollander, "since Macao was to be considered as the abode of all foreigners trading with China." The edicts concerning this transaction are stated to be now in the archives of the Dutch factory at Macao.

It is one of the most interesting facts in the history of the Chinese empire, that the various barbarous tribes, who subdued either the whole or a part of this singular country, were themselves ultimately subdued by the peculiar civilization of their subjects. The Kitans, Moguls, and Manchow, became, in the course of time, Chinese people; like the Ostro, and Visigoths, and Longobards—Romans. But we may remark, that both the Chinese and the Roman civilization under the Emperors recommended itself to the conquerors, as connected with a despotism which particularly suited the views of the[Pg x] conquerors. Though this large division of the human race, which we are accustomed to call Tatars, never felt a spark of that liberty which everywhere animated the various German nations and tribes, and the Khakhans, in consequence of this, were not in need of any foreign policy to enslave their compatriots; yet it may be said, that neither Moguls nor Manchow were able to establish a despotic form of government which worked so well for a large nation as that of the Chinese.

The extremes of both despotism and democracy acknowledge no intermediary power or rank. The sovereign is the vice-regent of heaven, and all in all; he is the only rule of right and wrong, and commands both what shall be done in this world and thought of concerning the next. It may be easily imagined, that the Jesuits, on their first arrival in China, were delighted with such a perfect specimen[Pg xi] of government according to their political sentiments. They tried all that human power could command to succeed in the conversion of this worldly paradise. The fathers disguised themselves as astronomers, watchmakers, painters, musicians, and engineers.[2] They forged inscriptions[3] and invented miracles, and almost went to the extent of canonizing Confucius. But this cunning deference to Chinese customs involved the Jesuits in a dispute with their more pious but less prudent competitors; and notwithstanding all the[Pg xii] cleverness of the Jesuits, the Chinese saw at last, that in becoming Roman Catholic Christians they must cease to be Chinese, and obey a foreign sovereign in the Great Western Ocean. Toland affirms, that the Chinese and the Irish, in the time of their heathen monarch Laogirius, were the only nations in which religious persecutions never existed;[4] this praise now refers exclusively to Ireland. Roman Catholicism is at this moment nearly[Pg xiii] extinguished in China. To become a Christian is considered high-treason, and the only Roman Catholic priest at Canton at the present time, is compelled to hide himself under the mask of shopkeeper. In their successful times, during the seventeenth century, the Roman Catholic Missionaries published in Europe, that no nation was more virtuous, nor any government more enlightened than that of the Chinese; these false eulogies were the source of that high opinion in which the Chinese were formerly held in Europe.

The merchants and adventurers who came to China "to make money" found both the government and people widely different from descriptions given by the Jesuits. They found that the Chinese officers of government, commonly called Mandarins, would think themselves defiled by the least intercourse with foreigners,[Pg xiv] particularly merchants; and that the laws are often interpreted quite differently before and after receiving bribes. The Europeans were proud of their civilization and cleverness in mercantile transactions, and considered the inhabitants of all the other parts of the world as barbarians; but they found, to their astonishment and disappointment, the Chinese still more proud and cunning. We may easily presume that these deluded merchants became very irritated, and in their anger they reported to their countrymen in Europe that the Chinese were the most treacherous and abandoned people in the world,[5] that "they were only a peculiar race of savages," and required to be chastised in one way or another; which would certainly be very easy. Commodore Anson, with a single weather-beaten sixty-gun ship, in fact,[Pg xv] set the whole power of the Chinese Government at defiance.

The Translator of the History of the Pirates ventures to affirm, that the Chinese system of government is by far the best that ever existed in Asia; not excepting any of the different monarchies founded by the followers of Alexander, the government of the Roman Prætors and of Byzantine Dukes, or that of Christian Kings and Barons who reigned in various parts of the East during the middle ages. The principles of Chinese government are those of virtue and justice; but they are greatly corrupted by the passions and vices of men. The greater part of their laws are good and just, though the practice is often bad; but unfortunately this is generally not known to the "Son of Heaven." It is the interest of the Emperor to deal out justice to the lowest of his subjects; but, supposing it[Pg xvi] were possible that one man could manage the government of such an immense empire, who either could or would dare to denounce every vicious or unjust act of the officers employed by government? The Chinese themselves are a clever shrewd sort of people; deceit and falsehood are, perhaps, more generally found in the "flowery empire" than any where else; but take them all in all, they rank high in the scale of nations, and the generality of the people seem to be quite satisfied with their government; they may wish for a change of masters, but certainly not for an entire change of the system of government.

There has existed for a long period, and still exists, a powerful party in the Chinese Empire, which is against the dominion of the Manchow; the different mountainous tribes maintain, even now, in the interior of China, a certain independence[Pg xvii] of the Tay tsing dynasty. The Meao tsze, who were in Canton some years ago, stated, with a proud feeling, that they were Ming jin, people of Ming; the title of the native sovereigns of China before the conquest of the Manchow. It is said, that the whole disaffected party is united in a society—generally called the Triade-Union—and that they aimed at the overthrow of the Tatars, particularly under the weak government of the late Emperor; but the rebels totally failed in their object both by sea and land.

It has been falsely reported in Europe, that it is not allowed by the laws of China to publish the transactions of the reigning dynasty. It is true that the history written by the official or imperial historians is not published; but there is no statute which prohibits other persons from writing the occurrences of their times. It may be easily imagined that[Pg xviii] such authors will take especial care not to state any thing which may be offensive to persons in power. There is, however, no official court in China to regulate the course of the human understanding, there is nothing like that tribunal which in the greater part of the Continent of Europe is called the Censorship. Fear alone is quite sufficient to check the rising spirits of the liberals in the middle empire. The reader, therefore, should not expect that either the author of the "History of the Rebellions in the Interior of China," or the writer of the "Pacification of the Pirates," would presume to state that persons whom government is pleased to style robbers and pirates, are in reality enemies of the present dynasty; neither would they state that government, not being able to quell these rebellions, are compelled to give large recompenses to the different chiefs who submit. These[Pg xix] facts are scarcely hinted at in the Chinese histories. The government officers are usually delineated as the most excellent men in the world. When they run away, they know before-hand that fighting will avail nothing; and when they pardon, they are not said to be compelled by necessity, but it is described as an act of heavenly virtue! From what we learn by the statements of a Chinese executioner, we should be led to form a bad opinion of the veracity of these historians, and the heavenly virtue of their government; for it is said, that one Chinese executioner beheaded a thousand pirates in one year.[6]

The author of the following work is a certain Yung lun yuen, called Jang sëen,[7] a native of the city or market town Shun tih, eighty le southerly from[Pg xx] Canton. The great number of proper names, of persons and places, to be found in the "History of the Pacification of the Pirates," together with the nicknames and thieves' slang employed by the followers of Ching yĭh, presented peculiar difficulties in the translation of Yuen's publication. The work was published in November 1830 at Canton; and it is to be regretted, for the fame of the author in the Great Western Ocean, that he used provincial and abbreviated characters. I will not complain that by so doing he caused many difficulties to his translator, for a native of Shun tih would not trouble himself on that point; but I have reason to believe that the head schoolmaster of Kwang tung will think it an abomination that Yung lun yuen should dare take such liberties in a historical composition. Schoolmasters have a greater sway in China than any where[Pg xxi] else, and they like not to be trifled with. These are particularly the men, who, above all others, oppose any innovation or reform; scholars, who presume to know every thing between heaven and earth: and they may certainly satisfy every man, who will rest satisfied by mere words. These learned gentlemen are too much occupied with their own philosophical and literary disquisitions, to have any time, or to think it worth their notice, to pay attention to surrounding empires or nations. If we consider the scanty and foolish notices which are found in recent Chinese publications regarding those nations with which the Chinese should be well acquainted, we cannot but form a very low estimate of the present state of Chinese literature. How far otherwise are the accounts of foreign nations, which are to be found in the great work of Matuanlin! It will, perhaps, be interesting[Pg xxii] to the European reader to learn, what the Chinese know and report concerning the nations of Ta se yang, or the Great Western Ocean. I therefore take an opportunity here to give some extracts from a Chinese publication relative to European nations, printed last year at Canton.

The fifty-seventh book of the Memoirs concerning the South of the Mei ling Mountains, contains a history of all the Southern barbarians (or foreigners); and here are mentioned—with the Tanka people and other barbarous tribes of Kwang tung and Kwang se—the Siamese, the Mahometans, the French, Dutch, English, Portuguese, Austrians, Prussians, and Americans. The work was published by the command of Yuen, the ex-Governor-General of Canton, who is considered one of the principal living literary characters of China, and it consists chiefly of extracts from the voluminous history of[Pg xxiii] the province Kwang tung, published by his Excellency:—

The Religion of the Hwy hwy, or Mahometans.

"This religion is professed by various sorts of barbarians who live southerly beyond Chen ching (Tséamba, or Zeampa), to the Se yu. Their doctrines originated in the kingdom of Me tih no (Medina). They say that heaven is the origin of all things; they do not use any images. Their country is close to Tëen choo (India); their customs are quite different from those of the Buddhists; they kill living creatures, but they do not eat indiscriminately all that is killed; they eat not hog's flesh, and this is the essence of the doctrine of Hwy hwy. They have now a foreign pagoda (fan tă), near the temple of the compassionate saint (in Canton), which exists since the time of the Tang. It is of a spiral form, and 163 cubits high.[8] They go every day therein to say prayers."

[Pg xxiv]

By the kindness of Dr. Morrison, the translator had the pleasure to converse with a member of the Mahometan clergy at Canton. He stated, that in the Mosque at Canton is a tablet, whereon it is written, that the religion of the Prophet of Mecca was brought to China, Tang ching yuen san nëen, that is, in the third year of the period called Ching yuen, under the Tang dynasty, i.e. 787 of our era.[9] The compilers of the Memoirs, &c. have taken their extract from the historical work of Ho (4051, M.); they seem not to have any knowledge of Matuanlin, where the Arabs are spoken of under the name of Ta she. See the notes to my translation of the Chronicle of Vahram, p. 76. During the time the translator[Pg xxv] was at Canton, there arrived a pilgrim from Pekin on his way to Mecca.

The Fa lan se, Francs and Frenchmen.

"The Fa lan se are also called Fo lang se, and now Fo lang ke. In the beginning they adopted the religion of Buddha, but afterwards they received the religion of the Lord of Heaven. They are assembled together and stay in Leu song (Spain?); they strive now very hard with the Hung maou or red-haired people (the Dutch), and the Ying keih le (English); but the Fa lan se have rather the worst of it. These foreigners, or barbarians (e jin) wear white caps and black woollen hats; they salute one another by taking off the hat. Regarding their garments and eating and drinking, they have the same customs as the people of Great Leu song and Small Leu song (Spain and Manilla)."

This extract is taken from the Hwang tsing chĭh kung too, or the Register of the Tribute as recorded under the present dynasty[Pg xxvi] (Memoirs, l. c. p. 10 v., p. 11 r.). I am not sure if Ke tsew (10,869) keu (6,063) Leu song, can really be translated by the words—they are assembled together and stay in Leu song. The use of tsew in the place of tseu (10,826) is confirmed by the authorities in Kang he; but does Leu song really mean Spain? The Philippinas are called Leu song (Luzon), from the island whereon Manilla is, and in opposition to Spain (Ta Leu song, the great L. s.), Seao Leu song, the small Leu song. It may be doubted whether Leu song without Ta, great, can be taken for Spain. The Chinese have moreover learned from Matthæus Ricci the proper name of Spain, and write it She pan ya. The Dutch, the English, and the Germans, are, from a reddish colour of their hair, called Hung maou. This peculiar colour of the hair found among people of German origin, is often spoken of by the ancient[Pg xxvii] Roman authors; as for instance in Tacitus, Germania, c. 4. Juvenal says, Sat. XIII. v. 164,

Cærula quis stupuit Germani lumina? flavam
Cæsariem, et madido torquentem cornua cirro?

It would carry us too far at present to translate the statements of the Chinese concerning the Portuguese and Dutch. Under the head of Se yang, or Portugal, may be read an extract of the account of Europe (Gow lo pa) the Chinese received by Paulus Matthæus Ricci (Le ma paou). The Chinese know that the European Universities are divided into four faculties; and his Excellency Yuen is aware of the great similarity between the ceremonies of the Buddhists and those of the Roman Catholic church (l. c. 17 v). The present Translator of the "History of the Pirates" intends to translate the whole of the 57th book of the often-quoted Memoirs, and to subjoin copious extracts of other works,[Pg xxviii] particularly from the Hae kwŏ hëen këen lăh, or "Memoirs concerning the Empires surrounded by the Ocean." This very interesting small work is divided into two books; one containing the text, and the other the maps. The text consists of eight chapters, including a description of the sea-coast of China, with a map, constructed on a large scale, of the nations to the east, the south-east, and the south; then follows a topography of Portugal and Europe generally. Concerning England we find:—

The Kingdom of the Ying keih le, or English.

"The kingdom of the Ying keih le is a dependent or tributary state[10] to Ho lan (Holland).[Pg xxix] Their garments and manners in eating and drinking are the same. This kingdom is rather rich. The males use much cloth and like to drink wine. The females, before marriage, bind the waist, being desirous to look slender; their hair hangs in curls over the neck; they use a short garment and petticoats, but dress in a larger cloth when they go out. They take snuff out of boxes made from gold and threads."

This extract is taken from the "Register of the Tribute as recorded under the present dynasty."

"Ying keih le is a kingdom composed of three islands: it is in the middle of four kingdoms,[Pg xxx] called Lin yin:[11] Hwang ke, the yellow flag (Denmark), Ho lan, and Fo lang se. The Great Western Ocean (Europe) worships the Lord of Heaven; and there are, firstly, She pan ya (Spain), Poo keăh ya (Portugal), the yellow flag, &c.; but there are too many kingdoms to nominate them one by one. Ying keih le is a kingdom which produces silver, woollen cloths,[12] camlets, peih ke, or English cloth, called long ells,[13] glass, and other things of this kind."

This extract is taken from the Hae kwŏ hëen këen lăh, book i. p. 34 v. 35 r; and I am sorry to see that in the "Memoirs" it is abbreviated in such a manner that the sense is materially changed.

[Pg xxxi]

"Ying keih le," says the author of the Hae kwo hëen këen lăh (l. c.), "is a realm composed out of three islands. To the west and the north of the four kingdoms of Lin yin, the Yellow flag, Holan, and Fo lang se, is the ocean. From Lin yin the ocean takes its direction to the east, and surrounds Go lo sse (Russia); and from Go lo sse, yet more to the east, Se me le (Siberia?). Through the northern sea you cannot sail; the sea is frozen, and does not thaw, and for this reason it is called the Frozen Ocean. From Lin yin, to the south, are the various empires of the Woo and Kwei (Crows and Demons), and they all belong to the red-haired people of the Great Western Ocean. On the west and on the north there are different barbarians under various names;

* * * * * *

but they are, in one word, similar to the Go lo sse (Russians), who stay in the metropolis (Pekin). It is said that the Kaou chun peih mow (?) are similar to the inhabitants of the Middle Empire; they are of a vigorous body and an ingenious mind. All that they[Pg xxxii] produce is fine and strong; their attention is directed to making fire-arms. They make researches in astronomy and geography, and generally they do not marry. Every kingdom has a particular language, and they greet one another by taking off the hat. They worship," &c. (The same as p. xxx.)

My copy of the Hae kwŏ hëen këen lăh was printed in the province Che keang, in the year 1794.

"In the narrative regarding foreign countries, and forming part of the history of the Ming, the English are called Yen go le; in the Hae kwŏ hëen këen lŭh, Ying ke le (5272, 6950); but in the maps the name is now always written Ying keih le (5018, 6947). In expressing the sound of words we sometimes use different characters. This kingdom lies to the west of Gow lo pa (Europa), and was originally a tributary state to Ho lan (Holland); but in the course of time it became richer and more powerful than Ho lan, and revolted. These[Pg xxxiii] kingdoms are, therefore, enemies. It is not known at what time the Ying keih le grasped the country of North O mŏ le kea (America), which is called Kea no (Canada). Great Ying keih le is a kingdom of Gow lo pa (Europe.)[14] In the twelfth year of Yung ching (1735), they came the first time to Canton for trade. Their country produces wheat, with which they trade to all the neighboring countries. They are generally called Keang heŏ (that is, English ships from India, or country ships), and there arrive many vessels."

This extract is taken from the Tan chay hëen këen lăh, and it is all that we find regarding England in the Memoirs concerning the south of the Mei ling Mountains (p. 18 r. v.). In the latter extract, the author appears to confound the country trade of India and China with that of[Pg xxxiv] the mother country. England is again mentioned in the notice regarding Me le keih (America), taken out of Yuen's History of Canton. It is there said, that the Me le keih passed, in the 52d year of Këen lung (1788), the Bocca Tigris, and that they then separated from the Ying keih le (p. 19 r.) At the end of the extract concerning the Americans (p. 190) we read the following words:

"The characters which are used in the writings of these realms are, according to the statements of Ma lo ko, twenty-six; all sounds can be sufficiently expressed by these characters. Every realm has large and small characters; they are called La ting characters, and La te na (Latin) characters."

It is pleasing to observe that his Excellency Yuen had some knowledge of Dr. Morrison's Dictionary. In the third part of his Dictionary, Dr. Morrison has given, in Chinese, a short and clear notice[Pg xxxv] concerning the European alphabet. Yuen seems to have taken his statements from this notice, and to have written the name of the author, by a mistake, Ma lo ko, for Ma le so, as Dr. Morrison is generally called by the Chinese.

The Man ying, the Double Eagle, or

"The Man ying passed the Bocca Tigris the first time in the 45th year of Këen lung (1781), and are called Ta chen (Teutchen). They have accepted the religion of the Lord of Heaven. In customs and manners they are similar to the Se yang, or Portuguese; they are the brethren of the Tan ying, or Single eagle kingdom (Prussia); in difficulties and distress they help one another. Their ships which came to Canton had a white flag, on which an eagle was painted with two heads."

This extract is taken from the History of Yuen. I take the liberty to observe, that the Chinese scholar must be careful[Pg xxxvi] not to take the Sui chen, or Chen kwŏ (the Swedes), for the Ta chen (the Teutchen). In the Memoirs, l. c. p. 19 v., we read the following notice on the Chen kwŏ (the Swedes):

"The Chen realm is also called Tan (Denmark) realm, and now the yellow flag. This country is opposite to that of the Ho lan, and a little farther off from the sea. There are two realms called Sui chen, and they border both on the Go lo sse, or Russia. They passed the Bocca Tigris the first year of Këen lung (1765)."

The Tan ying, the Single Eagle or Prussians.

"The Tan ying passed the Bocca Tigris the 52d year of Këen lung (1788.) They live to the west and north of the Man ying (Austrians). In customs and manners they are similar to them. On their ships flies a white flag, on which an eagle is painted."

This last extract is also taken from[Pg xxxvii] the History of Canton, published by his Excellency Yuen.

If we consider how easily the Chinese could procure information regarding foreign countries during the course of the two last centuries, and then see how shamefully they let pass all such opportunities to inform and improve themselves, we can only look upon these proud slaves of hereditary customs with the utmost disgust and contempt. The ancient Britons and Germans had no books; yet what perfect descriptions of those barbarian nations have been handed down to us by the immortal genius of Tacitus! Montesquieu says, that "in Cæsar and Tacitus we read the code of barbarian laws; and in the code we read Cæsar and Tacitus." In the statement of the modern Chinese regarding foreign nations, we see, on the contrary, both the want of enquiry, and the childish[Pg xxxviii] remarks of unenlightened and uncultivated minds.[15]

[Pg xxxix]


In the summer of the year Ke sze (1809),[16] I returned from the capital, and having passed the chain of mountains,[17] I learned the extraordinary disturbances caused by the Pirates. When I came home I saw with mine own eyes all the calamities; four villages were totally destroyed; the inhabitants collected together[Pg xl] and made preparations for resistance. Fighting at last ceased on seas and rivers: families and villages rejoiced, and peace was every where restored. Hearing of our naval transactions, every man desired to have them written down in a history; but people have, until this day, looked in vain for such a work.

Meeting once, at a public inn in Whampo,[18] with one Yuen tsze, we conversed together, when he took a volume in his hand, and asked me to read it. On opening the work, I saw that it contained a History of the Pirates; and reading it to the end, I found that the occurrences of those times were therein recorded from day to day, and that our naval transactions are there faithfully reported. Yuen tsze supplied the defect I stated[Pg xli] before, and anticipated what had occupied my mind for a long time. The affairs concerning the robber Lin are described by the non-official historian Lan e, in his Tsing yĭh ke, viz. in the History of the Pacification of the Robbers.[19] Respectfully looking to the commands of heaven, Lan e[Pg xlii] made known, for all future times, the faithful and devoted servants of government. Yuen tsze's work is a supplement to the History of the Pacification of the Robbers, and you may rely on whatever therein is reported, whether it be of great or little consequence. Yuen tsze has overlooked nothing; and I dare to say, that all people will rejoice at the publication. Having written these introductory lines to the said work, I returned it to Yuen tsze.[20]

[Pg xliii]

Written at the time of the fifth summer moon, the tenth year of Tao kwang, called Kăng yin (September 1830).

A respectful Preface of Ying hing Soo, from Peih keang.

[Pg xliv]


My house being near the sea, we were, during the year Ke sze of Këa king (1809), disturbed by the Pirates. The whole coast adjoining to our town was in confusion, and the inhabitants dispersed; this lasting for a long time, every man felt annoyed at it. In the year Kăng yin (1830) I met with Yuen tsze yung lun at a public inn within the walls of the provincial[Pg xlv] metropolis (Canton). He showed me his History of the Pacification of the Pirates, and asked me to write a Preface to the work; having been a schoolfellow of his in my tender age, I could not refuse his request. Opening and reading the volume, I was moved with recollections of occurrences in former days, and I was pleased with the diligence and industry of Yuen keun[22] The author was so careful to combine what he had seen and heard, that I venture to say it is an historical work on which you may rely.

We have the collections of former historians, who in a fine style described things as they happened, that by such faithful accounts the world might be governed, and the minds of men enlightened.[Pg xlvi] People may learn by these vast collections[23] what should be done, and what not. It is, therefore, desirable that facts may be arranged in such a manner, that books should give a faithful account of what happened. There are magistrates who risk their life, excellent females who maintain their virtue, and celebrated individuals who protect their native places with a strong hand; they behave themselves valiantly, and overlook private considerations, if the subject concerns the welfare of the people at large. Without darkness, there is no light; without virtue, there is no splendour. In the course of time we have[Pg xlvii] heard of many persons of such qualities; but how few books exist by which the authors benefit their age!

This is the Preface respectfully written by King chung ho, called Sin joo min,[24] at the time of the second decade, the first month of the autumn, the year Kăng yin (September 1830) of Tao kwang.[25]

[Pg xlviii]
[Pg 1]



There have been pirates from the oldest(1 r.) times in the eastern sea of Canton; they arose and disappeared alternately, but never were they so formidable as in the years of Këa king,[26] at which time, being closely united together, it was indeed very difficult to destroy them. Their origin must be sought for in Annam.[27] In the [Pg 2] year fifty-six of Këen lung (1792), a certain Kwang ping yuen, joined by his two brothers, Kwang e and Kwang kwŏ, took Annam by force,(1 v.) and expelled its legitimate king Wei ke le.[28] Le retired into the province Kwang se, and was made a general by our government. But his younger brother Fuh ying came in the sixth year of Këa king (1802) with an army from Siam and Laos,[29] and killed Kwang ping in a great battle.[Pg 3] The son of the usurper, called King shing, went on board a ship with the minister Yew kin meih, and Meih joined the pirates, Ching tsih, Tung hae pa, and others, who rambled about these seas at this time. The pirate Ching tsih was appointed a king's officer, under the name of master of the stables. King shing, relying on the force of his new allies, which consisted of about two hundred vessels, manned(2 r.) with a resolute and warlike people, returned in the twelfth moon of the same year (1803) into that country with an armed force, and joined by Ching tsih, at night time took possession of the bay of Annam. The legitimate king Fuh ying collected an army, but being beaten repeatedly, he tried in vain to retire to Laos.

[Pg 4]

Ching tsih being a man who had lived all his life on the water, behaved himself, as soon as he got possession of the bay of Annam, in a tyrannical way to the inhabitants; he took what he liked, and, to say it in one word, his will alone was law. His followers conducted themselves in the same manner; trusting to their power and strength, they were cruel and violent against the people; they divided the whole population among themselves, and took their wives and daughters by force. The inhabitants felt very much annoyed at this behaviour, and attached themselves more strongly to Fuh ying. They fixed a day on which some of the king's officers should make an attack on the sea-side, while the king himself with his general was to fight the van of the enemy, the(2 v.) people to rise en masse, and to run to arms, in order that they should be overwhelming by their numbers. Fuh ying was delighted at these tidings, and on the appointed day a great battle was fought, in which Ching tsih not being able to superintend all from the rear-guard to the van, and the people pressing besides very hard[Pg 5] towards the centre, he was totally vanquished and his army destroyed. He himself died of a wound which he received in the battle. His younger brother Ching yĭh, the usurper, King shing, and his nephew Pang shang, with many others ran away. Ching yĭh, their chief, joined the pirates with his followers, who in these times robbed and plundered on the ocean indiscriminately. This was a very prosperous period for the pirates. So long as Wang pëaou remained admiral in these seas, all was peace and quietness both on the ocean and the sea-shore. The admiral gained repeated victories over the bandits;(3 r.) but as soon as Wang pëaou died, the pirates divided themselves into different squadrons, which sailed under various colours. There existed six large squadrons, under different flags, the red, the yellow, the green, the blue, the black, and the white. These wasps of the ocean were called after their different commanders, Ching yĭh, Woo che tsing, Meih yew kin, O po tai, Lëang paou, and Le shang tsing. To every one of these large squadrons belonged smaller ones, commanded by a deputy. Woo[Pg 6] che tsing, whose nick-name was Tung hae pa, the Scourge of the Eastern Sea,[30] was commander of the yellow flag, and Le tsung hoo his deputy. Meih yew kin and Nëaou shih, who for this reason was called Bird and stone, were the commanders of the blue flag, and their deputies Meih's brethren, Yew kwei and Yew këe. A certain Hae kang and another person Hwang ho, were employed as spies. O po tai, who afterwards changed his name to Lustre of instruction,[31] was(3 v.) the commander of the black flag, and Ping yung ta, Chang jih këaou, and O tsew he, were his deputies. Lëang paou, nicknamed Tsung ping paou, The jewel of the whole crew, was the commander[Pg 7] of the white flag. Le shang tsing, nicknamed The frog's meal, was the commander of the green; and Ching yĭh of the red flag. Every flag was appointed to cruise in a particular channel. There was at this time a gang of robbers in the province Fo këen, known by the name of Kwei këen (6760, 5822); they also joined the pirates, who became so numerous that it was impossible to master them. We must in particular mention a certain Chang paou, a notorious character in after-times. Under Chang paou were other smaller squadrons, commanded by Suh ke lan (nicknamed Both odour and mountain) Lëang po paou, Suh puh gow, and others. Chang paou himself belonged to the squadron of Ching yĭh saou, or the wife of Ching yĭh,[32] so that the red flag alone was stronger than all the others united together.

(4 r.)

There are three water passages or channels along the sea-shore, south of the Mei ling mountains;[33] one goes eastward to Hwy and[Pg 8] Chaou[34]; the other westward to Kao, Lëen, Luy,[Pg 9] Këung, Kin, Tan, Yae and Wan;[35] and a third between these two, to Kwang and Chow.[36] The[Pg 10] ocean surrounds these passages, and here trading vessels from all the world meet together, wherefore this track is called "The great meeting[Pg 11] from the east and the south." The piratical squadrons dividing between them the water passages and the adjoining coasts, robbed and carried away all that fell into their hands. Both the eastern and the middle passage have been retained by the three piratical squadrons, Ching yĭh saou, O po tae, and Leang paou; the western passage was under the three others, nicknamed Bird and stone, Frog's meal, and the Scourge of the(4 v.) eastern sea. Peace and quietness was not known by the inhabitants of the sea-coast for a period of ten years. On the side from Wei chow and Neaou chow[37] farther on to the sea, the passage was totally cut off; scarcely any man came hither. In this direction is a small island, surrounded on all sides by high mountains, where in stormy weather a hundred vessels find a safe anchorage; here the pirates retired when they could not commit any robberies. This land contains fine paddy fields, and abounds in all kinds of animals, flowers, and fruits. This[Pg 12] island was the lurking-place of the robbers, where they stayed and prepared all the stores for their shipping.

1807. (5 r.)

Chang paou was a native of Sin hwy, near the mouth of the river,[38] and the son of a fisherman. Being fifteen years of age, he went with his father a fishing in the sea, and they were consequently taken prisoners by Ching yĭh, who roamed about the mouth of the river, ravaging and plundering. Ching yĭh saw Paou, and liked him so much, that he could not depart from him. Paou was indeed a clever fellow—he managed all business very well; being also a fine young man, he became a favourite of Ching yĭh,[39] and was made a head-man or captain. It happened, that on the seventeenth day of the tenth moon, in the twentieth year of Këa king (about the end of 1807), Ching yĭh perished in[Pg 13] a heavy gale, and his legitimate wife Shĭh placed the whole crew under the sway of Paou; but so that she herself should be considered the Commander of all the squadrons together,—for this reason the division Ching yĭh was then (5 v.) called Ching yĭh saou, or the wife of Ching yĭh.[40] Being chief captain, Paou robbed and plundered incessantly, and daily increased his men and his vessels. He made the three following regulations:—


If any man goes privately on shore, or what is called transgressing the bars, he shall be taken and his ears be perforated in the presence of the whole fleet; repeating the same act, he shall suffer death.



Not the least thing shall be taken privately from the stolen and plundered goods. All shall be registered, and the pirate receive for himself, out of[Pg 14] ten parts, only two; eight parts belong to the storehouse, called the general fund; taking any thing out of this general fund, without permission, shall be death.


(6 r.)

No person shall debauch at his pleasure captive women taken in the villages and open places, and brought on board a ship; he must first request the ship's purser for permission, and then go aside in the ship's hold. To use violence against any woman, or to wed her without permission, shall be punished with death.[41]


That the pirates might never feel want of provisions, Chang paou gained the country people to their interest. It was ordered, that wine, rice, and all other goods, should be paid for to the villagers; it was made capital punishment to take any thing of this kind by force or without paying for it. For this reason the pirates were never in want of gunpowder, provisions, and all[Pg 15] other necessaries. By this strong discipline the whole crew of the fleet was kept in order.

The wife of Ching yĭh was very strict in every transaction; nothing could be done without a written application. Anything which had been taken, or plundered, was regularly entered on the register of the storehouse. The pirates received out of this common fund what they were in need of, and nobody dared to have private(6 v.) possessions. If on a piratical expedition any man left the line of battle, whether by advancing or receding, every pirate might accuse him at a general meeting, and on being found guilty, he was beheaded. Knowing how watchful Chang paou was on every side, the pirates took great care to behave themselves well.

The pirates used to call the purser, or secretary of the storehouse, Ink and writing master; and they called their piratical plunder only a transhipping of goods.


There was a temple in Hwy chow dedicated to the spirits of the three mothers,[42] near the sea-coast,[Pg 16] and many came thither to worship. The pirates visited this place whenever they passed it with their vessels, pretending to worship; but this was not the case—they thought of mischief, and had only their business to attend. Once they came with the commander at their head, as if to worship, but they laid hold on the image or statue to take it away. They tried in vain from morning to the evening,—they were all together not able to move it. Chang paou(7 r.) alone[43] was able to raise the image, and being a fair wind, he gave order to bring it on board a ship. All who were concerned in this transaction feared to find, from the wrath of the spirit, their death in the piratical expeditions. They all prayed to escape the vengeance of heaven.


On the seventh moon of the thirteenth year,[Pg 17] the naval officer of the garrison at the Bocca Tigris,[44] Kwŏ lang lin, sailed into the sea to fight the pirates.[45] Chang paou was informed by his spies of this officer's arrival, and prepared an ambush in a sequestered bay. He met Kwŏ lang on a false attack, with a few vessels only; but twenty-five vessels came from behind, and the pirates surrounded Kwŏ lang's squadron in three(7 v.) lines near Ma chow yang.[46] There followed a fierce battle, which lasted from the morning to the evening; it was impossible for Kwŏ lang to break through the enemy's lines, and he determined to die fighting. Paou advanced; but Lang fought exceedingly hard against him. He loaded a gun and fired it at Paou, who perceiving[Pg 18] the gun directed against him, gave way. Seeing this, the people thought he was wounded and dying; but as soon as the smoke vanished Paou stood again firm and upright, so that all thought he was a spirit. The pirates instantly grappled Kwŏ lang's ship; Paou was the foremost, and Leang po paou the first to mount the vessel; he killed the helmsman, and took the ship. The pirates crowded about; the commander Kwŏ lang engaging with small arms, much blood was shed. This murderous(8 r.) battle lasted till night time; the bodies of the dead surrounded the vessels on all sides, and there perished an immense number of the pirates. Between three and five o'clock the pirates had destroyed or sunk three of our vessels. The other officers of Kwŏ being afraid that they also might perish in the sea, displayed not all their strength; so it happened that the pirates making a sudden attack, captured the whole remaining fifteen vessels. Paou wished very much that Kwŏ lang would surrender, but Lang becoming desperate, suddenly seized the pirate by the hair, and grinned at him. The pirate[Pg 19] spoke kindly to him, and tried to soothe him. Lang, seeing himself deceived in his expectation, and that he could not attain death by such means, committed suicide,—being then a man of seventy years of age. Paou had really no intention to put Kwŏ lang to death, and he was exceedingly sorry at what happened. "We(8 v.) others," said Paou, "are like vapours dispersed by the wind; we are like the waves of the sea, roused up by a whirlwind; like broken bamboo-sticks on the sea, we are floating and sinking alternately, without enjoying any rest. Our success in this fierce battle will, after a short time, bring the united strength of government on our neck. If they pursue us in the different windings and bays of the sea—they have maps of them[47]—should we not get plenty to do? Who will believe that it happened not by my command, and that I am innocent of the death of this officer? Every man will charge me with the wanton murder of a commander, after he had[Pg 20] been vanquished and his ships taken? And they who have escaped will magnify my cruelty.[48] If I am charged with the murder of this officer, how could I venture, if I should wish in future times, to submit myself? Would I not be treated(9 r.) according to the supposed cruel death of Kwŏ lang?"


At the time that Kwŏ lang was fighting very bravely, about ten fisher-boats asked of the major Pang noo of the town Hëang shan,[49] to lend them the large guns, to assist the commander; but the major being afraid these fishermen might join the pirates,[50] refused their request.[Pg 21] And thus it happened, that the commander himself perished with many others. There were in the battle three of my friends: the lieutenant Tao tsae lin, Tseŏ tang hoo, and Ying tang hwang, serving under the former. Lin and Hoo were killed, but Hwang escaped when all was surrounded with smoke, and he it was who told me the whole affair.


On the eighth moon the general Lin fa went out as commander to make war against the pirates; but on seeing that they were so numerous, he became afraid, and all the other officers felt apprehensions; he therefore tried to retire, but the pirates pursued after, and came up with him near a place called Olang pae.[51] The vessels(9 v.) in the front attacked the pirates, who were not able to move, for there happened to be a calm. But the pirates leaped into the water, and came swimming towards our vessels. Our commander[Pg 22] not being able to prevent this by force, six vessels were taken; and he himself, with ten other men, were killed by the pirates.


A very large trading vessel called Teaou fa, coming back laden with goods from Annam and Tung king,[52] had a desperate skirmish with the pirates. Chang paou, knowing very well that he could not take her by force, captured two ferry boats, and the pirates concealed themselves therein. Under the mask of ferrymen the pirates pursued after, and called upon Teaou fa to stop. Fa, confident in her strength, and that victory would be on her side, let the ferrymen come near, as if she had not been aware of the(10 r.) deceit. But as soon as the pirates laid hold of the ropes to board her, the trader's crew made a vigorous resistance, and the pirates could not[Pg 23] avail themselves of their knives and arrows—guns they had not—the vessel being too large. There were killed about ten hands in attacking this vessel, and the pirates retired to their boat; a circumstance which never happened before.


On the second moon of the fourteenth year, the admiral Tsuen mow sun went on board his flag vessel, called Mih teng, and proceeded with about one hundred other vessels to attack the pirates. They were acquainted with his design by their spies, and gathered together round Wan shan;[53] the admiral following them in four divisions. The pirates, confident in their numbers, did not withdraw, but on the contrary spread out their line, and made a strong attack. Our commander looked very lightly on them,(10 v.) yet a very fierce battle followed, in which many were killed and wounded. The ropes and sails having been set on fire by the guns,[54] the pirates[Pg 24] became exceeding afraid and took them away. The commander directed his fire against the steerage, that they might not be able to steer their vessels. Being very close one to the other, the pirates were exposed to the fire of all the four lines at once. The pirates opened their eyes in astonishment and fell down; our commander advanced courageously, laid hold of their vessels, killed an immense number of men, and took about two hundred prisoners. There was a pirate's wife in one of the boats, holding so fast by the helm that she could scarcely be taken away. Having two cutlasses, she desperately defended herself, and wounded some soldiers; but on being wounded by a musket-ball, she(11 r.) fell back into the vessel and was taken prisoner.


About this time, when the red squadron was assembled in Kwang chow wan, or the Bay of Kwang chow, Tsuen mow sun went to attack them; but he was not strong enough. The wife of Ching yĭh remained quiet; but she ordered Chang paou to make an attack on the front of our line with ten vessels, and Leang po paou to come from behind. Our commander fought in the van[Pg 25] and in the rear, and made a dreadful slaughter; but there came suddenly two other pirates, Hëang shang url, and Suh puh king, who surrounded and attacked our commander on all sides. Our squadron was scattered, thrown into disorder, and consequently cut to pieces; there was a(11 v.) noise which rent the sky; every man fought in his own defence, and scarcely a hundred remained together. The squadron of Ching yĭh overpowered us by numbers; our commander was not able to protect his lines, they were broken, and we lost fourteen vessels.


Our men of war, escorting some merchant vessels, in the fourth moon of the same year, happened to meet the pirate nicknamed The Jewel of the whole crew, cruizing at sea near a place called Tang pae keŏ, outside of Tsëaou mun. The traders became exceedingly frightened, but our commander said: "This not being the red flag, we are a match for them, therefore we will attack and conquer them." Then ensued a battle; they attacked each other with guns and stones, and many people were killed and wounded. The fighting ceased[Pg 26] towards the evening, and began again next(12 r.) morning. The pirates and the men of war were very close to each other, and they boasted mutually about their strength and valour. It was a very hard fight; the sound of cannon and the cries of the combatants were heard some le[55] distant. The traders remained at some distance; they saw the pirates mixing gun-powder in their beverage,—they looked instantly red about the face and the eyes, and then fought desperately[56] This fighting continued three days and nights incessantly; at last becoming tired on both sides, they separated.


On the eighth day of the fifth moon the pirates left their lurking place, attacked Kan chuh han, and burned and plundered the houses. On the tenth they burned and plundered Kew këang,(12 v.) Sha kow, and the whole sea-coast; they then turned about to Këe chow, went on shore, and carried away fifty-three women by force. They[Pg 27] went to sea again the following day, burned and plundered on their way about one hundred houses in Sin hwy and Shang sha, and took about a hundred persons of both sexes prisoners.


On the sixth moon, the admiral Ting kwei heu went to sea. Wishing to sail eastward, but falling in with heavy rains for some days, he stopped near Kwei këa mun,[57] and engaged in settling concerning his ballast. On the eighth day of this moon, Chang paou, availing himself of the bad weather, explored the station in a small boat and passed the place. Ting kwei was right in thinking that the pirates would not undertake any thing during these heavy rains; but he was careless regarding what might happen after it. Indeed, as the weather cleared up on the morning of the ninth, Chang paou appeared suddenly before the admiral, and formed a line(13 r.) of two hundred vessels. Ting kwei having no sails ready, and all the ships being at anchor, could by no means escape the pirates. The[Pg 28] officers, being afraid of the large number of the enemy, stood pale with apprehension near the flagstaff, unwilling to fight. The admiral spoke to them in a very firm manner, and said: "By your fathers and mothers, by your wives and children, do your duty; fight and destroy these robbers. Every man must die: but should we be so happy as to escape, our rewards from government will be immense. Should we fall in the defence of our country, think that the whole force of the empire will be roused, and they will try by all means to destroy these banditti." They now all united together in a furious attack, and sustained(13 v.) it for a long time: Ting kwei fired his great guns,[58] and wounding the ringleader, nicknamed The Jewel of the whole crew, he fell down dead.


The pirates were now at a loss how to proceed; but they received succour, while the force[Pg 29] of our commander diminished every moment. About noon Paou drew nearer to the vessel of Ting kwei, attacked her with small arms, and sustained a great loss. But Leang po paou suddenly boarded the vessel, and the crew was thrown into disorder. Ting kwei seeing that he was unable to withstand, committed suicide; while an immense number of his men perished in the sea, and twenty-five vessels were lost.


Our former deputy-governor Pih ling was about this time removed from his situation in the three Këang to become governor-general of the two Kwang.[59] People said, now that Pih(14 r.) comes we shall not be overpowered by the pirates. Old men crowded about the gates of the public offices to make enquiries; the government officers appeared frightened and held consultations day and night, and the soldiers were ordered by a public placard to hold themselves ready to march. "Since the death of Wang pëaou," it was said, "all commanders[Pg 30] were unfortunate. Last year Kwŏ lang lin was killed in the battle at Ma chow; Tsuen mow sun was unlucky at Gaou kow, Url lin ran away like a coward at Lang pae, and now Ting kwei has(14 v.) again been routed at Kwei këa. If the valiant men let their spirits droop, and the soldiers themselves become frightened at these repeated defeats, the pirates will certainly overpower us at last; we can really not look for any assistance to destroy them. We must try to cut off all provisions, and starve them." In consequence of this, all vessels were ordered to remain, or to return into harbour, that the pirates might not have any opportunity to plunder, and thus be destroyed by famine. The government officers being very vigilant about this regulation, the pirates were not able to get provisions for some months; they became at last tired of it, and resolved to go into the river itself.[60]


The pirates came now into the river by three different passages.[61] The wife of Ching yĭh plundered about Sin hwy, Chang paou about[Pg 31] Tung kwan,[62] and O po tae about Fan yu[63] and Shun tih, and all other smaller places connected(15 r.) with Shun tih; they were together explored by the pirates, who guarded the passage from Fan to Shun.


On the first day of the seventh moon, O po tae came with about a hundred vessels and burnt the custom-house of Tsze ne. On the second day he divided his squadron into four divisions, extending to Peih këang, Wei yung, Lin yo, Shĭh peih, and other villages. The Chang lung division[64] surrounded the whole country from Ta wang yin to Shwy sse ying. The Ta chow, or large-vessel division, blockaded Ke kung shĭh, which is below the custom-house of Tsze ne.[Pg 32] The pirates sent to the village Tsze ne, demanding ten thousand pieces of money[65] as tribute; and of San shen, a small village near Tsze ne on the right side, they demanded two thousand.(15 v.) The villagers differed in opinion; one portion would have granted the tribute, another would not. That part who wished to pay the tribute said: "The pirates are very strong; it is better to submit ourselves now, and to give the tribute that we may get rid of them for awhile; we may then with leisure think on means of averting any misfortunes which may befall us. Our villages are near the coast, we shall be surrounded and compelled to do what they like, for no passage is open by which we can retire. How can we, under such circumstances, be confident and rely on our own strength?"


The other part, who would not grant the tribute, said: "The pirates will never be satisfied;[Pg 33] if we give them the tribute now, we shall not be able to pay it on another day. If they should make extortions a second time, when should we get money to comply with their demands? Why should we not rather spend the two thousand pieces of money to encourage government officers and the people? If we(16 r.) fight and happen to be victorious, our place will be highly esteemed; but if, what heaven may prevent, we should be unlucky, we shall be everywhere highly spoken of." The day drew to its end, and they could not agree in what they should determine on, when one villager arose and said: "The banditti will repeatedly visit us, and then it will be impossible to pay the tribute; we must fight."


As soon as it was resolved to resist the demands of the pirates, weapons were prepared, and all able men, from sixteen years and upwards to sixty, were summoned to appear with their arms near the palisades. They kept quiet the whole of the second day, and proceeded not to fighting; but the people were much disturbed, and did not sleep the whole night. On the following[Pg 34] day they armed and posted themselves on the sea-coast. The pirates, seeing that the(16 v.) villagers would not pay the tribute, became enraged, and made a severe attack during the night; but they could not pass the ditch before the village. On the morning of the fourth, O po tae headed his men, forced the ditch, took the provisions, and killed the cattle. The pirates in great numbers went on shore; but the villagers made such a vigorous resistance that they began to withdraw. O po tae therefore surrounded the village on both sides, and the pirates took possession of the mountain in the rear; they then threw the frightened villagers into disorder, pursued them, and killed about eighty. After this the pirates proceeded with their van to the sea-shore, without encountering any resistance from the front. The villagers were from the beginning very much alarmed for their(17 r.) wives and daughters; they collected them in the temple and shut it up. But the pirates being victorious, opened the temple, and carried the women by force all away on board ship. One pirate set off with two very fine women;[Pg 35] a villager, on seeing this, pursued after and killed him in a hidden place. He then took the women and carried them safe through the water,—this was a servant. A great number of the pirates were killed and wounded, and the villagers lost about two thousand persons. What a cruel misfortune! it is hard indeed only to relate it.


On the third day of the moon the people of Ta ma chow, hearing that the pirates were coming near, ran away. The pirates plundered all that was left behind, clothes, cattle, and provisions. On the sixth day they came so far as(17 v.) Ping chow and San shan. On the eighth they retired to Shaou wan, made an attack upon it on the ninth, but could not take it. On the tenth they ascended the river with the tide, went on shore, and burned Wei shih tun. On the eleventh day they came to our village, but retired again at night on command. On the twelfth they attacked Hwang yung, and left it again on the thirteenth. They retired on the fourteenth, and stopped at Nan pae. On the fifteenth they sailed out of the Bocca[Pg 36] Tigris,[66] and on the twenty-sixth attacked the ships which bring the tribute from Siam,[67] but were not strong enough to capture them. On the twenty-ninth they attacked the places Tung(18 r.) hwan and Too shin, and killed nearly a thousand men.


The pirates tried many stratagems and frauds to get into the villages. One came as a country gentleman to take charge of the government[Pg 37] guns; another came in a government vessel as if to assist the village; after which they on a sudden attacked and plundered all, when people were not aware of them. One pirate went round as a pedlar, to see and hear all, and to explore every place. The country people became therefore at last enraged, and were in future always on their guard. If they found any foreigner, they took him for a pirate and killed him. So came once a government officer on shore to buy rice; but the inhabitants thought he was a pirate and killed him. There was every where a degree of confusion, which it is impossible to explain.


On the sixteenth day of the seventh moon, the pirates attacked a village near Tung kwan.(18 v.) The villagers knowing what would happen, made fences and palisades, and obstructed the passage with large guns. Armed with lances and targets they hid themselves in a secret place, and selected ten men only to oppose the pirates. The pirates seeing that there were so few people, went on shore to pursue them. As soon as they came near the ambuscade the guns were[Pg 38] fired; the pirates became alarmed and dared not advance farther. Not being hurt by the fire, they again advanced; but three pirates presuming that there was an ambush, thought of retreating, and being very hard pressed by the enemy, they gave a sign to their comrades to come on shore. The ten villagers then retired near the ambush, and when the pirates pursued them, about a hundred were killed by their guns, and the whole force of the banditti was brought into disorder. The villagers pursued them killing(19 r.) many; those also who had been taken alive were afterwards beheaded. They captured one small and two large vessels.[68]


On the eighteenth day of the eighth moon the wife of Ching yĭh came with about five hundred vessels from Tung kwan and Sin hwy, and caused great commotion in the town Shun[Pg 39] tih, Hëang shan, and the neighbouring places. The squadron stopped at Tan chow, and on the twentieth Chang pao was ordered to attack Shaou ting with three hundred vessels. He carried away about four hundred people, both male and female; he came also to the palisades of our village, but could not penetrate inside. The twenty-first he came to Lin tow, and the twenty-second to Kan shin; he made an attack, but could not overpower the place; he then returned to Pwan pëen jow, and lay before its fence. The inhabitants of Chow po chin,(19 v.) knowing that the pirates would make an attack, assembled behind the wall to oppose them. The pirates fired their guns and wounded some, when the villagers ran away. The pirates then went on shore, but the villagers crowded together and fired on them; the pirates cast themselves on the ground, and the shots passed over their heads without doing any harm. Before the gunners could again load, the pirates sprang up and put them to death. Out of the three thousand men who were in the battle, five hundred were carried away by the pirates.[Pg 40] One of the most daring pirates, bearing the flag, was killed by the musket of a villager; a second pirate then took the flag, and he also was killed. The pirates now pressed against the wall and advanced. There was also a foreign pirate[69] engaged in the battle with a(20 r.) fowling-piece. The pirates assembled in great numbers to cut the wall with their halberts, but they were disappointed on seeing they could not attain their object in such a manner. The pirates lost their hold, fell down, and were killed. The engagement now became general, and great numbers were killed and wounded on both sides. The villagers at last were driven from their fortifications, and the pirates pursued them to Mih ke, or the rocks about Mih, where they were hindered from going farther by foggy weather; they retired and burned about twenty houses, with all they contained. On the following day the pirates appeared again on the[Pg 41] shore, but the inhabitants made a vigorous resistance, and being driven back, they retired to the citadel Chih hwa, where a thousand of them fought so hard that the pirates withdrew. It(20 v.) was reported that ten of them were killed, and that the villagers lost eight men. On the twenty-third the wife of Ching yĭh ordered O po tae to go up the river with about eighty vessels: he stopped at Show ke and Kung shih. On the twenty-fourth Chang paou and Po tae divided this district between themselves, and robbed and burned all. Pao had to plunder the north part to Fo shin; he carried away about ten thousand stones of rice,[70] and burned down about thirty houses; on the twenty-fifth he went to Se shin. O po tae came and burnt San heung keih; he then plundered Hwang yung, and came to Këen ke, but did not make an attack against it. He afterwards returned and laid waste Cha yung.

[Pg 42]

1809. (21 r.)

On the twenty-sixth Chang paou went up the river to Nan hae[71] and Lan shĭh. In the harbour of the place were six rice vessels; and as soon as Paou was in Lan shĭh he made preparations to capture these vessels. The military officer, seeing that the pirates were numerous, remained however on his station, for the instant he would have moved, Paou would have attacked and captured him. Paou proceeded then against the village itself; but the officer Ho shaou yuen headed the inhabitants, and made some resistance. The pirates, nevertheless, mounted the banks; and the villagers seeing their strength, did not stay to fight—they became frightened and ran away: all the others ran away without making any resistance: Ho shaou yuen alone opposed the banditti with a handful of people; but he at last fell fighting, and the pirates burnt(21 v.) four hundred shops and houses, and killed[Pg 43] about ten persons. After the pirates had retired, the inhabitants held in high esteem the excellent behaviour of Ho shaou yuen; they erected him a temple, and the deputy-governor Han fung performed sacrifices to his memory.


Shaou yuen was commanding officer in the citadel of Lan shih; he was of an active spirit, and erected strong fences. Before the pirates arrived, this was his daily discourse when he spoke to the people: "I know that I shall be glorified this year by my death." Half the year being already passed, it could not be seen how this prophecy was to be fulfilled. When the pirates came, he encouraged the citizens to oppose them vigorously; he himself girded on his sword and brandished his spear, and was the most forward in the battle. He killed many persons; but his strength failed him at last, and he was himself killed by the pirates. The villagers were greatly moved by his excellent behaviour; they erected him a temple, and said prayers before his effigy. It was then known what he meant, that "he would be glorified in the course of the year." Now that twenty[Pg 44] years are passed, they even honour him by exhibiting fire-works. I thought it proper to subjoin this remark to my history.[72]


On the twenty-seventh, Lin sun mustered about forty vessels, and went out to fight with the pirates in order to protect the water passage. He remained at Kin kang (which is near[Pg 45] Shaou wan hae), hid himself westerly of that place the whole day, and removed then to Tsze(22 r.) ne. Chang paou ordered his vessels to remove to Shaou ting, and his men to go on shore in the night-time. Sun, seeing with sorrow that the pirates were so numerous, and that he could not make any effectual resistance, ran away eastwards and hid himself at Peih keang. At daylight the following morning the pirates sailed to Tsze ne to attack our commander, but not finding him, they stopped at Shaou ting; for this being the time when the autumnal winds begin to blow, they were afraid of them, and made preparations to retire. But we shall soon find the different flags returning to the high sea to fight both with extraordinary courage and great ferocity.[73]

1809. (22 v.)

On the twenty-ninth they returned to plunder Kan shin; they went into the river with small vessels, and the inhabitants opposing them, wounded two pirates, which all the pirates resented. They next came with large vessels, surrounded[Pg 46] the village, and made preparations to mount the narrow passes. The inhabitants remained within the intrenchments, and dared not come forward. The pirates then divided their force according to the various passes, and made an attack. The inhabitants prepared themselves to make a strong resistance near the entrance from the sea on the east side of the fence; but the pirates stormed the fence, planted their flag on the shore, and then the whole squadron followed. The inhabitants fought bravely, and made a dreadful slaughter when the pirates crossed the entrance at Lin tow. The boxing-master, Wei tang chow, made a vigorous resistance, and killed about ten pirates. The pirates then began to withdraw, but Chang paou himself headed the battle, which lasted very long. The inhabitants were not strong enough. Wei tang was surrounded by the pirates;(24 r.) nevertheless that his wife fought valiantly by his side. On seeing that they were surrounded and exhausted, the father of the lady[74] rushed[Pg 47] forward and killed some pirates. The pirates then retired in opposite directions, in order to surround their opponents in such a manner that they might not escape, and could be killed without being able to make any resistance; and thus it happened, the wife of Wei tang being slain with the others.

The pirates now pursued the inhabitants of the place, who cut the bridge and retired to the neighbouring hills. The pirates swam through the water and attacked the inhabitants, who were unable to escape. The whole force of the pirates being now on shore, the inhabitants suffered a severe loss,—it is supposed about a hundred of them were killed; the loss of the pirates also was considerable.

1809. (23 v.)

The pirates went in four divisions to plunder; they took here an immense quantity of clothes and other goods, and carried away one thousand one hundred and forty captives of both sexes. They set on fire about ten houses; the flames could not be extinguished for some days; in the whole village you could not hear[Pg 48] the cry of a dog or a hen. The other inhabitants retired far from the village, or hid themselves in the fields. In the paddy fields about a hundred women were hidden, but the pirates on hearing a child crying, went to the place and carried them away. Mei ying, the wife of Ke choo yang, was very beautiful, and a pirate being about to seize her by the head, she abused him exceedingly. The pirate bound her to the yard-arm; but on abusing him yet more, the pirate dragged her down and broke two of her teeth, which filled her mouth and jaws with blood. The pirate sprang up again to bind her. Ying allowed him to approach, but as soon as he came near her, she laid hold of his garments with her bleeding mouth, and threw both him and herself into the river, where they were drowned, The remaining captives of both sexes were after some months liberated, on having paid a ransom of fifteen thousand leang or ounces of silver.


Travelling once to Pwan pëen jow I was affected by the virtuous behaviour of Mei ying, and all generous men will, as I suppose, be[Pg 49] moved by the same feelings. I therefore composed a song, mourning her fate:

Chėn kė kīn seāou hëĕ,
Chúy szē chūng soó mëèn.
Tāng shĕ shwăy fàn leĭh,
Yĕw nèu tăh nāng tsūy;
Tsëĕn hĕuĕ yīng kwáng nëĕ,[75]
Yuĕn keă yuĕn shwăy weī.
Shwūy hwăn pō shàng heà,
Yīng lëe sháng pèi hwūy.
Cease fighting now for awhile!
Let us call back the flowing waves!
Who opposed the enemy in time?
A single wife could overpower him.
(24 v.) Streaming with blood, she grasped the mad offspring of guilt,
She held fast the man and threw him into the meandering stream.
The spirit of the water, wandering up and down on the waves,
Was astonished at the virtue of Ying.
My song is at an end!
[Pg 50] Waves meet each other continually.
I see the water green as mountain Peih,
But the brilliant fire returns no more![76]
How long did we mourn and cry![77]

[Pg 51]


1809. (1 r.)

On the thirteenth day of the ninth moon our Admiral Tsuen mow sun mustered about eighty vessels to go to Shaou wan, and obstruct the passage. The pirates heard of these preparations, and on the night of the fourteenth every vessel of the different flags was ordered to go to Shaou wan. Their order was, that being within ten le from the place, they should stop and prepare themselves to begin the battle when it was dark. From the first night watch the cannon began to fire, and only ceased with(1 v.) daylight. At the end of the day the cannon were again roaring without any intermission, and the country people mounted on the green Lo shang, to look at the progress of the fight. They saw the wrecks of vessels floating on the sea, the waves were rolling, the bullets flying,[Pg 52] and the cries of dying people mounted to the skies. The vallies re-echoed the noise; beasts and birds[78] started alarmed, and found no place where they might repose themselves. The vessels were thrown into disorder, and our army was pressed down by the overpowering force of the enemy. Our commander lost four vessels, but the palisade before the village could not be taken, by which means it was protected against pillage. Our admiral said, "Since I cannot conquer these wicked pirates, I will blow myself up." In this manner the(2 r.) admiral and many other officers met their death.


On the twenty-fifth the pirates went to Hëang shan and to great Hwang po;[79] they took[Pg 53] possession of the inside and the outside passage of Hwang po, so that the boat-people,[80] who stay[Pg 54] outside on the coast, retired and came up to the town with their boats. The military officer Ting gaou ho being made acquainted with the arrival of the pirates, requested ten fishing boats from the town Hëang shan to assist the citizens and to help them in opposing the enemy. He posted himself before the town to protect it. Ting gaou behaved valiantly on the river; he headed his small fleet of fishing boats and opposed the pirates. There was incessant(2 v.) fighting day and night; but at last the numerous vessels of the pirates surrounded him on all sides, and Ting gaou ho received a severe wound in the back. He then addressed his comrades in the following words:

"Being on[Pg 55] the military station before this town, it was my intention to destroy the pirates, and for this reason I united with all the principal men to oppose them, without considering my own safety;—joyful I went to oppose the enemy. But not being able to destroy this immense number of banditti, I am now surrounded with all my principal men; and being deficient in power, I will die. Death could not move me, but I fear the cruel behaviour of the banditti; I fear that if the battle come to its highest summit, our fathers and mothers, our wives and sons, will be taken captives. United with the principal men of the town, we cannot destroy the pirates, neither protect the country, our(3 r.) families, nor our own firesides,—but the circumstances being desperate, we must do our utmost."[81]


They now again rushed against the pirates and killed many of them; but their strength[Pg 56] being exhausted, the ten fishing boats were taken, and great Hwang po given up to be plundered. The citizens retired to their intrenchments, and made such vigorous resistance that the pirates could not make them captives. Chang paou therefore ordered O po tae and Leang po paou to make an attack on both sides, on the front and the rear at once; so the citizens sustained a great defeat, and about a hundred of them were killed. A placard was then posted up in the town, admonishing the citizens that they being unable to resist the enemy, must, under these cruel circumstances, send messengers to make terms with the pirates. This(3 v.) being done, the pirates withdrew.


The wife of Ching yih then ordered the pirates to go up the river; she herself remaining with the larger vessels in the sea to blockade the different harbours or entrances from the sea-side; but the government officers made preparations to oppose her. There were about this time three foreign vessels returning to Portugal.[82][Pg 57] Yĭh's wife attacked them, took one vessel, and killed about ten of the foreigners; the two other vessels escaped. The Major Pang noo of Hëang shan about this time fitted out a hundred vessels to attack the pirates; he had before hired six foreign vessels, and the two Portuguese ships, which had before run away, united also with him. Yĭh's wife, seeing that she had not vessels enough, and that she might be surrounded, ordered a greater number to her assistance.(4 r.) She appointed Chang paou to command them, and sail up the river; but to keep quiet with his squadron till he saw the Chang lung, or government vessels come on. On the third of the tenth moon the government vessels went higher up the river, and Chang paou following and attacking them, the foreign vessels sustained a great loss, and all the other vessels[Pg 58] then ran away. The foreigners showed themselves very courageous; they petitioned the mayor of Hëang shan to place himself at the head of the foreign vessels, to go and fight the pirates. Pang noo having for some time considered their request, inspected on the tenth of the same month the six foreign vessels, their arms and provisions, and went out into the sea(4 v.) to pursue the pirates.

About this time Chang paou had collected his force at Ta yu shan near Chih leih keŏ, and the foreign vessels went thither to attack him. About the same time the admiral, Tsuen mow sun, collected a hundred vessels, and joined the foreigners to attack the pirates. On the thirteenth they spread out their lines, and fought during two days and two nights, without either party proving victorious. On the fifteenth one of the officers went forward with some large vessels to attack the pirates, but he was very much hurt by the fire of the guns; his vessel was lost, and about ten men were killed and many others wounded,—after this, the whole fleet retired. They however again commenced[Pg 59] fighting on the sixteenth, but being unable to withstand the pirates, one vessel more was lost.[83]

(5 r.)
(5 v.)

The Admiral Tsuen mow sun was exceedingly eager to destroy the pirates, but he was confident that he was not strong enough to vanquish them, and he spoke thus to his people: "The pirates are too powerful, we cannot master them by our arms; the pirates are many, we only few; the pirates have large vessels, we only small ones; the pirates are united under one head, but we are divided,—and we alone are unable to engage with this overpowering force. We must therefore now make an attack, when they cannot avail themselves of their number, and contrive something besides physical strength, for by this alone it is impossible for us to be victorious. The pirates are now all assembled in Ta yu shan, a place which is surrounded by water. Relying on their strength, and thinking[Pg 60] that they will be able to vanquish us, they will certainly not leave this place of retirement. We should therefore from the provincial city (Canton) assemble arms and soldiers as many as we can, surround the place, and send fire-vessels among their fleet. It is probable that in such a manner we may be able to measure our strength with them."


In consequence of this determination all commanders and officers of the different vessels were ordered to meet on the seventeenth at Chih leih keŏ, to blockade the pirates in Ta yu shan, and to cut off all supplies of provisions that might be sent to them. To annoy them yet more, the officers were ordered to prepare the materials for the fire-vessels. These fire-vessels were filled with gunpowder, nitre, and other combustibles; after being filled, they were set on(6 r.) fire by a match from the stern, and were instantly all in a blaze. The Major of Hëang shan, Pang noo, asked permission to bring soldiers with him, in order that they might go on shore and make an attack under the sound of martial music, during the time the mariners made their preparation.[Pg 61] On the twentieth it began to blow very fresh from the north, and the commander ordered twenty fire-vessels to be sent off, when they took, driven by the wind, an easterly direction; but the pirate's entrenchments being protected by a mountain, the wind ceased, and they could not move farther on in that direction; they turned about and set on fire two men of war. The pirates knowing our design were well prepared for it; they had bars with very long pincers, by which they took hold of the fire-vessels and kept them off, so that they could not come near. Our commander, however, would not leave the place; and being very eager to fight, he ordered(6 v.) that an attack should be made, and it is presumed that about three hundred pirates were killed. Pao now began to be afraid, and asked the Spirit of the three Po, or old mothers, to give a prognostic. The Păh, or lot for fighting, was disastrous; the Păh, or lot to remain in the easterly entrenchment, was to be happy. The Păh, or lot for knowing if he might force the blockade or not on leaving his station to-morrow,[Pg 62] was also happy,[84] three times one after another.


There arose with the day-light on the twenty-second a light southerly breeze; all the squadrons began to move, and the pirates prepared themselves joyfully to leave their station. About noon[85] there was a strong southerly wind, and a very rough sea on. As soon as it became dark the pirates made sail, with a good deal of noise, and broke through the blockade,[Pg 63] favoured by the southerly wind. About a hundred vessels were upset, when the pirates left Ta yu shan. But our commander being unaware that the pirates would leave their entrenchments, was not prepared to withstand them. The foreign vessels fired their guns and(7 r.) surrounded about ten leaky vessels, but could not hurt the pirates themselves; the pirates left the leaky vessels behind and ran away. After this they assembled outside at Hung chow in the ocean.


Notwithstanding that the pirates had broken through the blockade, Tsuen mow sun desisted not from pursuing them; he followed the pirates into the open sea in order to attack them. On the fifth of the eleventh moon he met the pirates near Nan gaou, and prepared his vessels[86] to attack them. The pirates spread out all their vessels one by one, so that the line of their fleet reached the forces of our commander; they then tried to form a circle and surround our admiral. Our commander, in order to prevent this, divided(7 v.) his force,—he separated from him eighty vessels,[Pg 64] which had orders to join him afterwards. Before they united again, a great battle took place between the two fleets; the firing lasted from three till five in the afternoon; our crew fought exceedingly hard and burnt three pirate-vessels. The pirates retreated, and our navy declined pursuing them, because it would carry them too far out of the way. Our crew being still elated at this transaction, the pirates on a sudden returned, roused them out of their sleep and constrained them to fight a second time. The commander had no time to make preparations, so that two vessels were burnt by the fire of the pirates, and three were captured.

1809. (8 r.)

At the time when Chang paou was blockaded in Chih leih keŏ, and was afraid that he should not be able to come out again, he sent to O po tae, who was at Wei chow, to rescue him. His message was in the following words:—"I am harassed by the government's officers outside in the sea; lips and teeth must help one another, if the lips are cut away the teeth will feel cold. How shall I alone be able to fight the government forces? You should therefore come at the head[Pg 65] of your crew, to attack the government squadron in the rear, I will then come out of my station and make an attack in front; the enemy being so taken in the front and rear, will, even supposing we cannot master him, certainly be thrown into disorder."

Ever since the time Paou was made chieftain there had been altercations between him and O po tae. Had it not have been out of respect for the wife of Ching yĭh they would perhaps have(8v.) made war against each other. Till now they only showed their mutual dislike in their plundering expeditions on the ocean, and in consequence of this jealousy Po tae did not fulfil the orders of Paou. Paou and his whole crew felt very much annoyed at this conduct, and having been able to break through the blockade, he resolved to measure his strength with Tae. He met him at Neaou chow, and asked him: "Why did you not come to my assistance?"


O po tae answered: "You must first consider your strength and then act; you must consider the business and then go to work. How could I and my crew have been sufficient against the[Pg 66] forces of the admiral. I learnt your request, but men being dependent upon circumstances, I could not fulfil it; I learnt your request, but I was dependent on circumstances, and men(9 r.) cannot act otherwise.[87] And now concerning this business—to give or not give assistance—am I bound to come and join your forces?"

Paou became enraged and said: "How is this, will you then separate from us?"

Tae answered: "I will not separate myself."

Paou: "Why then do you not obey the orders of the wife of Ching yĭh and my own? What is this else than separation, that you do not come to assist me, when I am surrounded by the enemy? I have sworn it that I will destroy thee, wicked man, that I may do away with this soreness on my back."


There passed many other angry words between them, till they at length prepared to fight and destroy each other. Chang paou was the first to begin the battle; but having fired his[Pg 67] guns, and being deficient in strength, Tae went against him with all his well prepared forces. Paou was not able to make any effectual resistance to his enemy; he received a severe defeat, he lost sixteen vessels, and three hundred men(9 v.) were taken prisoners. The prisoners were all killed from mutual hatred.

O po tae remained then at the head of his forces without any opposition, since Paou withdrew. There was now a meeting held under these banditti; when Chang jih kao arose and said:


"If Paou and we should again measure our strength against each other, our force will not be found sufficient; we are only one to ten. It is to be feared that they will collect all their forces together to exterminate us. They may on a sudden come against us and make an attack,—our small body must certainly be in fear of their vast number. There is Leang po paou, an experienced pirate on the sea; if he should on a sudden turn his vessels against us, there is not one among us who would be able to resist him. He is a very zealous worshipper of the spirit of[Pg 68] the three Po or Mothers, and protected by them; nay, and protected by them in a supernatural manner. But if we perform sacrifices,(10 r.) they remain without shadow and echo.[88] And then it may also be added that we are no more able to withstand with our short arms their long ones, than dogs are able to chase fierce tigers. But do we not every where see government placards inviting us to submit, why do we not then send somebody to make the offer? The government will pardon and not destroy us sea-monsters,[89] and we may then reform our previous conduct. Why should we not therefore come to a determination to that effect?"

Fung yung fa said: "How then if government should not trust our word?"


Chang jih kao answered: "If government should learn that we recently fought Chang(10 v.) paou, and destroyed the banditti,—it would[Pg 69] be hard indeed if that were not enough to make them trust us?"

Go tsew he said: "If government should not act towards us, as it is stated in the placard, after having made our submission, we may then again use violence. But they will hear, that we attacked the others, like fishes their food; that we alone made a beginning in destroying the pirates, and then tendered our submission,—they will feel that they can employ us to destroy the other pirates. He who is not of the same opinion as mine may let his hand hang down."

O po tae was of the same opinion, and the purser was ordered to frame the offer of submission to government. The petition concerning the offer was couched in the following terms:


"It is my humble opinion that all robbers of an overpowering force, whether they had their origin from this or any other cause, have felt the(11 r.) humanity of government at different times. Leang shan who three times plundered the city, was nevertheless pardoned and at last made a minister of state.[90] Wa kang often challenged[Pg 70] the arms of his country and was suffered to live, and at last made a corner-stone of the empire. Joo ming pardoned seven times Mang hwŏ; and Kwan kung three times set Tsaou tsaou at liberty.[91] Ma yuen pursued not the exhausted robbers; and Yŏ fei killed not those who made their submission. There are many other instances of such transactions both in former and recent times, by which the country was strengthened and government increased its power. We(11 v.) now live in a very populous age; some of us could not agree with their relations, and were driven out like noxious weeds. Some after having tried all they could, without being able to provide for themselves, at last joined bad society. Some lost their property by shipwrecks; some[Pg 71] withdrew into this watery empire to escape from punishment. In such a way those, who in the beginning were only three or five, were in the course of time increased to a thousand or ten thousand, and so it went on increasing every year. Would it not have been wonderful if such a multitude, being in want of their daily bread, should not have resorted to plunder and robbery to gain their subsistence, since they could not in any other manner be saved from famine? It was from necessity that the laws of the empire were violated, and the merchants robbed of their goods. Being deprived of our land and of our native places, having no house or home to resort to, and relying only on the(12 r.) chances of wind and water, even could we for a moment forget our griefs, we might fall in with a man-of-war, who with stones, darts and guns, would blow out our brains.

"Even if we dared to sail up a stream and boldly go on with anxiety of mind under wind, rain, and stormy weather, we must every where prepare for fighting. Whether we went to the east, or to the west, and after having felt all the hardships[Pg 72] of the sea, the night dew was our only dwelling, and the rude wind our meal. But now we will avoid these perils, leave our connexions, and desert our comrades; we will make our submission. The power of government knows no bounds; it reaches to the islands in the sea, and every man is afraid and sighs. Oh we must be destroyed by our crimes, none can escape who opposeth the laws of government. May you then feel compassion for those who(12 v.) are deserving of death; may you sustain us by your humanity!"


The chief officers of government met joyfully together at Canton. The governor-general of the southern district ever loved the people like himself; and to show his benevolence he often invited them by public placards to make submission:—he really felt compassion for these lower sort of men, who were polluted with crimes. The way of compassion and benevolence is the way of heaven, which is pleased with virtue; it is the right way to govern by righteousness. Can the bird remain quiet with strong wings, or will the fish not move in deep water? Every person[Pg 73] acts from natural endowments, and our general would have felt compassion even for the meanest creature on earth, if they would have asked for pardon. He therefore redeemed these pirates from destruction, and pardoned their former crimes.[92]


After this period the country began to assume a new appearance. People sold their arms and(13 r.) bought oxen to plough their fields; they burned sacrifices, said prayers on the top of the hills, and rejoiced themselves by singing behind screens during day-time. There were some people who endeavoured to act with duplicity, and wished to murder the pirates, but the general on seeing the petition said to his assistants: "I will pull down the vanguard of the enemy to use it for the destruction of the remaining part. I may then employ it against the over-spreading power of the pirates; with the pirates I will destroy the pirates. Yŏ fu mow destroyed in this manner[Pg 74] Yang tay: let us not act with duplicity, that we may the better disperse their comrades and break their power; let us therefore accept their submission."

Jan. 1810.

In the agreement it was stipulated that the ships should assemble together in the open sea near Kwei shen hëen[93] to make their surrender. The Governor-general was to come to that place(13 v.) to receive O po tae, his vessels, his men, and all other things which were pointed out in the petition. The Governor-general being exceedingly pleased, ordered his adjutant Kung gaou to examine the list. He found eight thousand men, one hundred and twenty-six vessels, five hundred large guns, and five thousand six hundred various military weapons. The towns Yang keang and Sin gan were appointed for this people to live in.[94]—This happened in the[Pg 75] twelfth month of the fourteenth year of Këa king—and so the black squadron was brought into subjection. O po tae changed his name to Heŏ bëen, "The lustre of instruction," and the general made him a Pa tsung[95] to reward his services in defeating Chang paou.

1810. (14 r.)

On the twelfth moon Chang paou went with his different squadrons into the river and attacked Ke chow. It was near the end of the year, and the pirates assembled along the mountain[Pg 76] ridge Laou ya[96] to make a festival: they made a great noise during the night with crackers, and their gongs were heard at a great distance.[97] At daybreak the flags were spread out, and the drums sounded; they were cheerful the whole day; they eat and drank and made a great noise, which was heard many les off.


On the second day of the same month they attacked the village, and on the third day about ten men went on shore. The villagers made their escape, so that the pirates could not take them. Having some time before made preparations to fortify Ma king yun.[98] they now retired to it. The pirates knowing that the villagers were well provided for defence, waited until(14 v.) they had every thing ready. On the fourth the pirates landed; it was in vain that the villagers opposed them, they had two men[Pg 77] wounded, and were finally defeated. The Governor-general ordered Ching chuy loo to proceed at the head of a large body of soldiers to the town Shun tih, and prepare for an attack. Meeting the pirates at Ke chow, the Major attacking them on a sudden, the pirates sustained a great loss, and returned to their vessels. The Major also was struck by a shot from a musket. There were daily skirmishes at the neighbouring places; the inhabitants were generally defeated and ran away. The Major Loo came with his forces and placed them on the sea-coast behind the intrenchments of Sin ne, to protect them against the fire of the enemy. The guns of the pirates were directed against the place, the bullets fell in Sin ne, but without hurting any one, which again calmed and encouraged the inhabitants. The pirates(15 r.) coming a second time before Ke chow and Ta leang, and not being able to accomplish their designs, thought fit to retire.


The wife of Ching yĭh, on seeing that O po tae was made a government officer after his submission, and that he did well, thought also of making[Pg 78] her submission. "I am," said she, "ten times stronger than O po tae, and government would perhaps, if I submit, act towards me as they did with O po tae." But remembering their former crimes, and the opposition they made to many officers, these pirates were apprehensive and felt undetermined in their resolutions. A rumour(15 v.) went about, that the red squadron wished to tender their submission, and, in consequence, the vigilant magistrates hearing of this, invited them to do so. The magistrate of Tsze ne, Yu che chang, ordered a certain Fei hëung chow to make enquiries about the matter. Fei hëung chow was a physician of Macao, and being well acquainted with the pirates, he was not in need of any introduction to obtain access to them. This was the ground on which Yu chi chang particularly selected him, when he tried to bring the pirates to submission.

When Fei hëung chow came to Paou, he said: "Friend Paou, do you know why I come to you?"

Paou.—"Thou hast committed some crime and comest to me for protection?"

Chow.—"By no means."

[Pg 79]


Paou.—"You will then know, how it stands concerning the report about our submission, if it is true or false?"

Chow.—"You are again wrong here, Sir.[99] What are you in comparison with O po tae?"

Paou.—"Who is bold enough to compare me(16 r.) with O po tae?"


Chow.—"I know very well that O po tae could not come up to you, Sir; but I mean only, that since O po tae has made his submission, since he has got his pardon and been created a government officer,—how would it be, if you with your whole crew should also submit, and if his Excellency should desire to treat you in the same manner, and to give you the same rank as O po tae? Your submission would produce more joy to government than the submission of O po tae. You should not wait for wisdom to act wisely; you should make up your mind to submit to the government with all your followers.[Pg 80] I will assist you in every respect,—it would be the means of securing your own happiness and the lives of all your adherents."

Chang paou remained like a statue without motion, and Fei hëung chow went on to say:(16 v.) "You should think about this affair in time, and not stay till the last moment. Is it not clear that O po tae, since you could not agree together, has joined government. He being enraged against you, will fight, united with the forces of the government, for your destruction; and who could help you, so that you might overcome your enemies? If O po tae could before vanquish you quite alone, how much more can he now when he is united with government? O po tae will then satisfy his hatred against you, and you yourself will soon be taken either at Wei chow or at Neaou chow. If the merchant-vessels of Hwy chaou, the boats of Kwang chow, and all the fishing-vessels unite(17 r.) together to surround and attack you in the open sea, you will certainly have enough to do. But even supposing they should not attack you, you will soon feel the want of provisions, to sustain[Pg 81] you and all your followers. It is always wisdom to provide before things happen; stupidity and folly never think about future events. It is too late to reflect upon events when things have happened; you should, therefore, consider this matter in time!"

Paou held a deliberation with the wife of Ching yĭh, and she said: "The Doctor Chow is certainly right in all that he says; Paou may agree with him." Paou then asked the Doctor: "Have you any commission about this matter, or not?" The Doctor answered, "How could I trifle with the sentiments of government; this would be declared an improper behaviour.(17 v.) Neither can I see through the intentions of the wife of Ching yĭh nor through those of the officers of government; you can clear up all doubts, if you will collect your vessels about Shao këŏ, outside the Bocca Tigris, you may yourself hear the orders."


Paou consented to this proposal, and the Doctor returned to Yu che chang. Yu che chang acquainted the Governor-general with this matter. The general was anxious to meet the pirates and[Pg 82] to clear the western passage, as he had already cleared the eastern passage; he therefore was very happy at hearing the offer of surrender. The magistrate of Tsze ne, Yu che chang, took the government proclamation and went to the pirates to see how things stood. The wife of Ching yĭh on seeing Yu che chang, ordered Chang paou to prepare a banquet. Chang paou explained his intentions. Yu che chang remained the whole night on board ship, and stated that government was willing to pardon(18 r.) them, and that they had nothing to fear after having made their submission. Paou was very much rejoiced at this; and on the next morning he went with Yu che chang to inspect the vessels, and ordered all the captains to pay their respects to the government officer. The wife of Ching yĭh stated to Yu che chang that it was her earnest wish to submit to government; and Chang paou himself assured the officer of his firm intention to surrender without the least deceit. The governor then ordered Yu che chang to visit the pirates a second time, accompanied by Pang noo, in order to settle all with them regarding[Pg 83] their submission. Chang paou requested that those pirates who had been condemned to death should be placed in ten vessels, in order that he might ransom them. Yu che chang reported this, and the Governor said: "It shall be so, whether Chang paou submit himself or not. But being exceedingly desirous that the pirates may surrender, I will go myself and state my intentions, to clear up all doubts."


He ordered the Doctor Fei hëung chow to acquaint the pirates with his design. The Governor-general(18 v.) then embarked in a vessel with Pang noo and Yu che chang to meet the pirates, where they were assembled;—their vessels occupied a space of about ten le. On hearing that the Governor-general was coming, they hoisted their flags, played on their instruments, and fired their guns, so that the smoke rose in clouds, and then went to meet him. From the other side the people all became alarmed, and the Governor-general himself was very much astonished, being yet uncertain what could be the meaning of all this alarm. Chang paou, accompanied by the wife of Ching yĭh, by Pang chang[Pg 84] ching, Leang po paou, and Soo puh gaou, mounted the governor's ship, and rushed through the smoke to the place where the governor was stationed. The Governor-general on seeing Paou and his followers falling on their hands and knees, that(19 r.) they shed tears on account of their former crimes, and sued penitently for their lives, was induced by his extreme kindness to declare that he would again point out to the rebels the road to virtue. Paou and his followers were extremely affected, knocked their heads on the ground, and swore that they were ready to suffer death. But the Governor replied: "Since you are ready to submit yourselves with a true heart, I will lay aside all arms and disperse the soldiery; to say it in one word, I give you three days to make up a list of your vessels and all your other possessions. Are you satisfied with this proposal or not?" Paou and his followers said "yes, yes," and retired accordingly.


It happened that about the same time some Portuguese vessels were about to enter the Bocca Tigris, and that some large men-of-war took their station at the same place. The pirates[Pg 85] became exceedingly alarmed at this fleet, and apprehended that the Governor had made an agreement with the foreign vessels to destroy them. They immediately weighed their anchors and steered away. On seeing the pirates running(19 v.) away, Pang noo, Yu che chang, and the others, not knowing what could be the reason of all this, became afraid that they might have changed their mind, and that an attack on the Governor was contemplated. All parties became frightened that the meeting had failed, and made preparations to go off. The inhabitants of the neighbouring country hearing of this, ran away, and the Governor-general himself went back to Canton.


When the pirates ascertained that the foreign vessels were traders going into the river, and that the Governor-general had no communication with them, they again became pacified. But considering that the Governor-general went back to Canton without the business of their submission being quite settled, they held a consultation together and Paou said: "His Excellency is gone back, and probably in doubt about our[Pg 86] intentions; if we tender our submission again,(20 r.) his Excellency will not trust us, and if we do not submit we shall insult the good intentions of government. What is to be done under these circumstances?"

The wife of Ching yĭh said: "His Excellency behaved himself towards us in a candid manner, and in like manner we must behave towards him. We being driven about on the ocean, without having any fixed habitation;—pray let us go to Canton to inform government, to state the reason of the recoiling waves, to clear up all doubts, and to agree on what day or in what place we shall make our submission. His Excellency may then explain to us whether he will come a second time to accept our submission, or whether he will decline it."


The whole crew was of opinion, that "the designs of government were unfathomable, and that it would not be prudent to go so hastily on." But the wife of Ching yĭh replied: "If his(20 v.) Excellency, a man of the highest rank, could come quickly to us quite alone, why should I a mean woman not go to the officers of government?[Pg 87] If there be any danger in it, I will take it on myself, no person among you will be required to trouble himself about it."

Leang po paou said: "If the wife of Ching yĭh goes, we must fix a time when she shall return. If this time be past without our obtaining any certain information, we should collect all our forces and go before Canton.[100] This is my opinion; if you think otherwise, let us retire; but let me hear your opinion?" They all answered: "Friend Paou, we have heard thy opinion, but we think it rather better to wait for the news here on the water, than to send the wife of Ching yĭh alone to be killed." This was the result of the consultation.

1810. (21 r.)

Yu che chang and Fei hëung chow, on seeing that nothing was settled about the submission to government, became alarmed, and sent Chao kaou yuen to Chang paou to enquire what was the reason of it. On learning that they ran away from fear of the foreign vessels, Yu che chang and Fei hëung chow made another visit to the pirates, in order to correct this mistake.

[Pg 88]

"If you let slip this opportunity," said they, "you will not be accepted, perhaps, should you even be willing to make your submission. The kindness of his Excellency is immense like the sea, without being mixed with any falsehood; we will pledge ourselves that the wife of Ching yĭh, if she would go, would be received with kindness."

The wife of Ching yĭh said: "You speak well, gentlemen; I will go myself to Canton with some other ladies, accompanied by Yu che chang."

Chang paou said, laughingly: "I am sorry his(21 v.) Excellency should have any doubt regarding us, for this reason, therefore, we will send our wives to settle the affair for us."

When the wives and children appeared before him, the Governor-general said to them: "You did not change your mind, but ran away, being deceived by a false impression; for this reason I will take no notice of it. I am commanded by the humanity of his Majesty's government not to kill but to pardon you; I therefore now pardon Chang paou."

[Pg 89]


In consequence of this, Chang paou came with his wives and children, and with the wife of Ching yĭh, at Foo yung shao near the town of Hëang shan to submit himself to government. Every vessel was provided with pork and wine, and every man received at the same time a bill for a certain quantity of money. Those who wished it, could join the military force of government for pursuing the remaining pirates; and those who objected, dispersed and withdrew into the country. This is the manner by which the red squadron of the pirates was pacified.

1810. (22 r.)

After the submission of Chang paou, the Governor-general said: "Now that we have cleared, both the eastern and the middle passage, we are ready to reduce the pirates of the western passage. He held a consultation about this matter with the deputy-governor Han fung, and then ordered the principal officer of the public granary, Mwan ching che, and the military commandant of Luy chow foo, Kang chow foo, and Këung chow foo, called Chuh url kang gĭh,[101] to[Pg 90] proceed at the head of the forces and drive the pirates away. It was presumed that they would retire more westerly to Annam; a message was therefore sent to the king of that country to have ready an armed force to repulse the pirates, whenever they should appear on the rivers or on the mainland.[102] Chang paou was ordered on the vanguard.

[Pg 91]


By the tenth day of the fourth moon the vessels and the crew were quite ready, and fell in on the twelfth of the same month with the yellow flag quite alone at Tse sing yang. Our commander valiantly attacked this squadron, and defeated it entirely. The captain Le tsung(22 v.) chaou, with three hundred and ninety of his people, were taken prisoners. Meeting a division of the green flag, consisting of ten pirate vessels, our commander attacked them. The pirates being afraid, ran away; but our commander pursued after and killed them. Those who were taken alive were beheaded.


On the tenth day of the fifth moon the Governor-general went to Kaou chow to make preparations for fighting. Our commander pursued after the pirates with a great and strong body of troops; he met Neaou shĭh url at Tan chow, and they fought a great battle. Neaou shĭh url saw that he was not strong enough to withstand[Pg 92] them, and tried to escape; but the Major, Fei teaou hwang,[103] gave orders to surround the pirates.(23 r.) They fought from seven o'clock in the morning till one at noon, burnt ten vessels, and killed an immense number of the pirates. Neaou shĭh url was so weakened that he could scarcely make any opposition. On perceiving this through the smoke, Chang paou mounted on a sudden the vessel of the pirate, and cried out: "I Chang paou am come," and at the same moment he cut some pirates to pieces; the remainder were then hardly dealt with. Paou addressed himself in an angry tone to Neaou shĭh url, and said: "I advise you to submit, will you not follow my advice, what have you to say?" Neaou shĭh url was struck with amazement, and his courage left him. Leang po paou advanced and bound him, and the whole crew were then taken captives.


Seeing that Neaou shĭh url was taken, his elder brother Yew kwei would have run away in all haste; but the admirals Tung and Tsuen(23 v.) mow sun pursued, attacked, and took him[Pg 93] prisoner. The government officers Kung gao and Hoo tso chaou took the younger brother of Neaou shĭh url, called Mih yew keih, and all the others then made their submission. Not long after this the Scourge of the eastern ocean surrendered voluntarily, on finding himself unable to withstand; the Frog's meal withdrew to Luzon or Manilla. On the twentieth of the same month, the Governor-general came to Luy chow, and every officer was ordered to bring his prizes into the harbour or bay of Man ke. There were taken fighting five hundred pirates, men and women; three thousand four hundred and sixty made their submission; there were eighty-six vessels, two hundred and ninety-one guns, and one thousand three hundred and seventy-two pieces of various military weapons. The Governor-general ordered one of his officers to kill[104] the pirate Neaou shĭh url with eight others outside the northern entrance of Hae kăng hëen,[105] and to behead Hwang hŏ(24 r.)[Pg 94] with one hundred and nineteen of his followers. The Scourge of the eastern sea submitting himself voluntarily was not put to death.


There was much talk concerning a man at Hae kăng hëen, whose crime was of such a nature that it could not be overlooked. When this man was carried away to suffer death, his wife pressed him in her arms, and said with great demonstration of sorrow, "Because thou didst not follow my words, it is even thus. I said before what is now come to pass, that thou fighting as a pirate against the officers of government would be taken and put to death. This fills my mind with sorrow. If thou hadst made thy submission like O po tae and Chang paou, thou(24 v.) wouldst have been pardoned like them; thou art now given up to the law, not by any power of man, but by the will of fate." Having finished these words, she cried exceedingly. The Governor-general was moved by these[Pg 95] words, and commuted the punishment of that pirate into imprisonment.

In this manner the western passage was cleared from the green, yellow, and blue squadrons, and smaller divisions. The rest of the pirates, who remained about Hae kăng, at Hae fung, at Suy ke and Hŏ poo, were gradually destroyed.[106] The Governor-general ordered Chuh url kang gĭh and Mwan ching che to go with an armed force and sweep away those pirates, who hid themselves in the recesses of Wei chow and Neaou chow. And thus finished this meritorious act of the Pacification of the pirates.

1810. (25 r.)

By an edict of the "Son of Heaven," the Governor-general of Kwang tung and Kwang se[Pg 96] Pih, ling was recompensed for his merits. He was created a secondary guardian of the Prince, allowed to wear peacock's-feathers with two eyes, and favoured with an hereditary title. The services of the different officers and commanders were taken into consideration, and they received adequate recompenses. Chang paou was appointed to the rank of Major; Tung hae pa, or, the Scourge of the eastern sea, and all others, were pardoned, with the permission to retire wherever they wished. From that period till now ships pass and repass in tranquillity. All is quiet on the rivers, the four seas are tranquil, and people live in peace and plenty.

[Pg 97]


The Translator supposing that the readers of the History of the Chinese Pirates might perhaps find it interesting to compare the account of the followers of The wife of Ching yĭh, drawn up by an European, with the statements of the non-official Chinese historian; he has therefore thought fit to subjoin a Narrative of the captivity and treatment amongst the Ladrones, written by Mr. Richard Glasspoole, of the Hon. Company's ship Marquis of Ely, and published in Wilkinson's Travels to China. The Translator in vain endeavoured to obtain another Narrative, regarding the Chinese pirates, which is said to be printed in an English periodical.

A brief Narrative of my captivity and treatment amongst the Ladrones.

On the 17th of September 1809, the Honourable Company's ship Marquis of Ely anchored under the Island of Sam Chow, in China, about twelve English miles from Macao, where I was ordered to proceed in[Pg 98] one of our cutters to procure a pilot, and also to land the purser with the packet. I left the ship at 5 P.M. with seven men under my command, well armed. It blew a fresh gale from the N. E. We arrived at Macao at 9 P.M., where I delivered the packet to Mr. Roberts, and sent the men with the boat's-sails to sleep under the Company's Factory, and left the boat in charge of one of the Compradore's men; during the night the gale increased.—At half-past three in the morning I went to the beach, and found the boat on shore half-filled with water, in consequence of the man having left her. I called the people, and baled her out; found she was considerably damaged, and very leaky. At half-past 5 A.M., the ebb-tide making, we left Macao with vegetables for the ship.

One of the Compradore's men who spoke English went with us for the purpose of piloting the ship to Lintin, as the Mandarines, in consequence of a late disturbance at Macao, would not grant chops for the regular pilots. I had every reason to expect the ship in the roads, as she was preparing to get under weigh when we left her; but on our rounding Cabaretta-Point, we saw her five or six miles to leeward, under weigh, standing on the starboard-tack: it was then blowing fresh at N. E. Bore up, and stood towards her; when about a cable's-length to windward of her, she tacked; we hauled our wind and stood after her.[Pg 99] A hard squall then coming on, with a strong tide and heavy swell against us, we drifted fast to leeward, and the weather being hazy, we soon lost sight of the ship. Struck our masts, and endeavoured to pull; finding our efforts useless, set a reefed foresail and mizen, and stood towards a country-ship at anchor under the land to leeward of Cabaretta-Point. When within a quarter of a mile of her she weighed and made sail, leaving us in a very critical situation, having no anchor, and drifting bodily on the rocks to leeward. Struck the masts: after four or five hours hard pulling, succeeded in clearing them.

At this time not a ship in sight; the weather clearing up, we saw a ship to leeward, hull down, shipped our masts, and made sail towards her; she proved to be the Honourable Company's ship Glatton. We made signals to her with our handkerchiefs at the mast-head, she unfortunately took no notice of them, but tacked and stood from us. Our situation was now truly distressing, night closing fast, with a threatening appearance, blowing fresh, with hard rain and a heavy sea; our boat very leaky, without a compass, anchor or provisions, and drifting fast on a lee-shore, surrounded with dangerous rocks, and inhabited by the most barbarous pirates. I close-reefed my sails, and kept tack and tack 'till day-light, when we were happy to find we had drifted very little to leeward of our situation in[Pg 100] the evening. The night was very dark, with constant hard squalls and heavy rain.

Tuesday the 19th no ships in sight. About ten o'clock in the morning it fell calm, with very hard rain and a heavy swell;—struck our masts and pulled, not being able to see the land, steered by the swell. When the weather broke up, found we had drifted several miles to leeward. During the calm a fresh breeze springing up, made sail, and endeavoured to reach the weather-shore, and anchor with six muskets we had lashed together for that purpose. Finding the boat made no way against the swell and tide, bore up for a bay to leeward, and anchored about one A.M. close under the land in five or six fathoms water, blowing fresh, with hard rain.

Wednesday the 20th at day-light, supposing the flood-tide making, weighed and stood over to the weather-land, but found we were drifting fast to leeward. About ten o'clock perceived two Chinese boats steering for us. Bore up, and stood towards them, and made signals to induce them to come within hail; on nearing them, they bore up, and passed to leeward of the islands. The Chinese we had in the boat advised me to follow them, and he would take us to Macao by the leeward passage. I expressed my fears of being taken by the Ladrones. Our ammunition being wet, and the muskets rendered useless, we had nothing to defend[Pg 101] ourselves with but cutlasses, and in too distressed a situation to make much resistance with them, having been constantly wet, and eat nothing but a few green oranges for three days.

As our present situation was a hopeless one, and the man assured me there was no fear of encountering any Ladrones, I complied with his request, and stood in to leeward of the islands, where we found the water much smoother, and apparently a direct passage to Macao. We continued pulling and sailing all day. At six o'clock in the evening I discovered three large boats at anchor in a bay to leeward. On seeing us they weighed and made sail towards us. The Chinese said they were Ladrones, and that if they captured us they would most certainly put us all to death! Finding they gained fast on us, struck the masts, and pulled head to wind for five or six hours. The tide turning against us, anchored close under the land to avoid being seen. Soon after we saw the boats pass us to leeward.

Thursday the 21st, at day-light, the flood making, weighed and pulled along shore in great spirits, expecting to be at Macao in two or three hours, as by the Chinese account it was not above six or seven miles distant. After pulling a mile or two perceived several people on shore, standing close to the beach; they were armed with pikes and lances. I ordered the interpreter to hail them, and ask the most direct passage to Macao.[Pg 102] They said if we came on shore they would inform us; not liking their hostile appearance I did not think proper to comply with the request. Saw a large fleet of boats at anchor close under the opposite shore. Our interpreter said they were fishing-boats, and that by going there we should not only get provisions, but a pilot also to take us to Macao.

I bore up, and on nearing them perceived there were some large vessels, very full of men, and mounted with several guns. I hesitated to approach nearer; but the Chinese assuring me they were Mandarine junks[107] and salt-boats, we stood close to one of them, and asked the way to Macao? They gave no answer, but made some signs to us to go in shore. We passed on, and a large row-boat pulled after us; she soon came along-side, when about twenty savage-looking villains, who were stowed at the bottom of the boat, leaped on board us. They were armed with a short sword in each hand, one of which they laid on our necks, and the other pointed to our breasts, keeping their eyes fixed on their officer, waiting his signal to cut or desist. Seeing we were incapable of making any resistance, he sheathed his sword, and the others immediately followed his example. They then dragged us into their boat, and carried us on board one of their junks, with the most savage demonstrations of joy, and as we supposed,[Pg 103] to torture and put us to a cruel death. When on board the junk, they searched all our pockets, took the handkerchiefs from our necks, and brought heavy chains to chain us to the guns.

At this time a boat came, and took me, with one of my men and the interpreter, on board the chief's vessel. I was then taken before the chief. He was seated on deck, in a large chair, dressed in purple silk, with a black turban on. He appeared to be about thirty years of age, a stout commanding-looking man. He took me by the coat, and drew me close to him; then questioned the interpreter very strictly, asking who we were, and what was our business in that part of the country. I told him to say we were Englishmen in distress, having been four days at sea without provisions. This he would not credit, but said we were bad men, and that he would put us all to death; and then ordered some men to put the interpreter to the torture until he confessed the truth.

Upon this occasion, a Ladrone, who had been once to England and spoke a few words of English, came to the chief, and told him we were really Englishmen, and that we had plenty of money, adding, that the buttons on my coat were gold. The chief then ordered us some coarse brown rice, of which we made a tolerable meal, having eat nothing for nearly four days, except a few green oranges. During our repast, a number of Ladrones[Pg 104] crowded round us, examining our clothes and hair, and giving us every possible annoyance. Several of them brought swords, and laid them on our necks, making signs that they would soon take us on shore, and cut us in pieces, which I am sorry to say was the fate of some hundreds during my captivity.

I was now summoned before the chief, who had been conversing with the interpreter; he said I must write to my captain, and tell him, if he did not send an hundred thousand dollars for our ransom, in ten days he would put us all to death. In vain did I assure him it was useless writing unless he would agree to take a much smaller sum; saying we were all poor men, and the most we could possibly raise would not exceed two thousand dollars. Finding that he was much exasperated at my expostulations, I embraced the offer of writing to inform my commander of our unfortunate situation, though there appeared not the least probability of relieving us. They said the letter should be conveyed to Macao in a fishing-boat, which would bring an answer in the morning. A small boat accordingly came alongside, and took the letter.

About six o'clock in the evening they gave us some rice and a little salt fish, which we eat, and they made signs for us to lay down on the deck to sleep; but such numbers of Ladrones were constantly coming from different vessels to see us, and examine our clothes and[Pg 105] hair, they would not allow us a moment's quiet. They were particularly anxious for the buttons of my coat, which were new, and as they supposed gold. I took it off, and laid it on the deck to avoid being disturbed by them; it was taken away in the night, and I saw it on the next day stripped of its buttons.

About nine o'clock a boat came and hailed the chief's vessel; he immediately hoisted his mainsail, and the fleet weighed apparently in great confusion. They worked to windward all night and part of the next day, and anchored about one o'clock in a bay under the island of Lantow, where the head admiral of Ladrones was lying at anchor, with about two hundred vessels and a Portuguese brig they had captured a few days before, and murdered the captain and part of the crew.

Saturday the 23d, early in the morning, a fishing-boat came to the fleet to inquire if they had captured an European boat; being answered in the affirmative, they came to the vessel I was in. One of them spoke a few words of English, and told me he had a Ladrone-pass, and was sent by Captain Kay in search of us; I was rather surprised to find he had no letter. He appeared to be well acquainted with the chief, and remained in his cabin smoking opium, and playing cards all the day.[108]

[Pg 106]

In the evening I was summoned with the interpreter before the chief. He questioned us in a much milder tone, saying, he now believed we were Englishmen, a people he wished to be friendly with; and that if our captain would lend him seventy thousand dollars 'till he returned from his cruize up the river, he would repay him, and send us all to Macao. I assured him it was useless writing on those terms, and unless our ransom was speedily settled, the English fleet would sail, and render our enlargement altogether ineffectual. He remained determined, and said if it were not sent, he would keep us, and make us fight, or put us to death. I accordingly wrote, and gave my letter to the man belonging to the boat before-mentioned. He said he could not return with an answer in less than five days.

The chief now gave me the letter I wrote when first taken. I have never been able to ascertain his reasons for detaining it, but suppose he dare not negotiate for our ransom without orders from the head admiral, who I understood was sorry at our being captured. He said the English ships would join the mandarines and attack them.[109] He told the chief that captured us, to dispose of us as he pleased.

[Pg 107]

Monday the 24th, it blew a strong gale, with constant hard rain; we suffered much from the cold and wet, being obliged to remain on deck with no covering but an old mat, which was frequently taken from us in the night, by the Ladrones who were on watch. During the night the Portuguese who were left in the brig murdered the Ladrones that were on board of her, cut the cables, and fortunately escaped through the darkness of the night. I have since been informed they run her on shore near Macao.

Tuesday the 25th, at day-light in the morning, the fleet, amounting to about five hundred sail of different sizes, weighed, to proceed on their intended cruize up the rivers, to levy contributions on the towns and villages. It is impossible to describe what were my feelings[Pg 108] at this critical time, having received no answers to my letters, and the fleet under-way to sail,—hundreds of miles up a country never visited by Europeans, there to remain probably for many months, which would render all opportunities of negotiating for our enlargement totally ineffectual; as the only method of communication is by boats, that have a pass from the Ladrones, and they dare not venture above twenty miles from Macao, being obliged to come and go in the night, to avoid the Mandarines; and if these boats should be detected in having any intercourse with the Ladrones, they are immediately put to death, and all their relations, though they had not joined in the crime,[110] share in the punishment, in order that not a single person of their families should be left to imitate their crimes or revenge their death. This severity renders communication both dangerous and expensive; no boat would venture out for less than a hundred Spanish dollars.

Wednesday the 26th, at day-light, we passed in sight of our ships at anchor under the island of Chun Po. The chief then called me, pointed to the ships, and told the interpreter to tell us to look at them, for we should never see them again. About noon we entered a river[Pg 109] to the westward of the Bogue,[111] three or four miles from the entrance. We passed a large town situated on the side of a beautiful hill, which is tributary to the Ladrones; the inhabitants saluted them with songs as they passed.

The fleet now divided into two squadrons (the red and the black)[112] and sailed up different branches of the river. At midnight the division we were in anchored close to an immense hill, on the top of which a number of fires were burning, which at day-light I perceived proceeded from a Chinese camp. At the back of the hill was a most beautiful town, surrounded by water, and embellished with groves of orange-trees. The chop-house (custom-house)[113] and a few cottages were immediately plundered, and burnt down; most of the inhabitants, however, escaped to the camp.

The Ladrones now prepared to attack the town with a formidable force, collected in row boats from the different[Pg 110] vessels. They sent a messenger to the town, demanding a tribute of ten thousand dollars annually, saying, if these terms were not complied with, they would land, destroy the town, and murder all the inhabitants; which they would certainly have done, had the town laid in a more advantageous situation for their purpose; but being placed out of the reach of their shot, they allowed them to come to terms. The inhabitants agreed to pay six thousand dollars, which they were to collect by the time of our return down the river. This finesse had the desired effect, for during our absence they mounted a few guns on a hill, which commanded the passage, and gave us in lieu of the dollars a warm salute on our return.

October the 1st, the fleet weighed in the night, dropped by the tide up the river, and anchored very quietly before a town surrounded by a thick wood. Early in the morning the Ladrones assembled in row-boats, and landed; then gave a shout, and rushed into the town, sword in hand. The inhabitants fled to the adjacent hills, in numbers apparently superior to the Ladrones. We may easily imagine to ourselves the horror with which these miserable people must be seized, on being obliged to leave their homes, and every thing dear to them. It was a most melancholy sight to see women in tears, clasping their infants in their arms, and imploring mercy for them from those brutal[Pg 111] robbers! The old and the sick, who were unable to fly, or to make resistance, were either made prisoners or most inhumanly butchered! The boats continued passing and repassing from the junks to the shore, in quick succession, laden with booty, and the men besmeared with blood! Two hundred and fifty women, and several children, were made prisoners, and sent on board different vessels. They were unable to escape with the men, owing to that abominable practice of cramping their feet: several of them were not able to move without assistance, in fact, they might all be said to totter, rather than walk. Twenty of these poor women were sent on board the vessel I was in; they were hauled on board by the hair, and treated in a most savage manner.

When the chief came on board, he questioned them respecting the circumstances of their friends, and demanded ransoms accordingly, from six thousand to six hundred dollars each. He ordered them a berth on deck, at the after-part of the vessel, where they had nothing to shelter them from the weather, which at this time was very variable,—the days excessively hot, and the nights cold, with heavy rains. The town being plundered of every thing valuable, it was set on fire, and reduced to ashes by the morning. The fleet remained here three days, negotiating for the ransom of the prisoners, and plundering the fish-tanks and[Pg 112] gardens. During all this time, the Chinese never ventured from the hills, though there were frequently not more than a hundred Ladrones on shore at a time, and I am sure the people on the hills exceeded ten times that number.[114]

October the 5th, the fleet proceeded up another branch of the river, stopping at several small villages to receive tribute, which was generally paid in dollars, sugar and rice, with a few large pigs roasted whole, as presents for their joss (the idol they worship).[115] Every person on being ransomed, is obliged to present him with a pig, or some fowls, which the priest offers him with prayers; it remains before him a few hours, and is then divided amongst the crew. Nothing particular occurred 'till the 10th, except frequent skirmishes on shore between small parties of Ladrones and Chinese soldiers. They frequently obliged my men to go on shore, and fight with the muskets we had when taken, which did great execution, the Chinese principally using bows and arrows. They have match-locks, but use them very unskilfully.

[Pg 113]

On the 10th, we formed a junction with the Black-squadron, and proceeded many miles up a wide and beautiful river, passing several ruins of villages that had been destroyed by the Black-squadron. On the 17th, the fleet anchored abreast four mud batteries, which defended a town, so entirely surrounded with wood that it was impossible to form any idea of its size. The weather was very hazy, with hard squalls of rain. The Ladrones remained perfectly quiet for two days. On the third day the forts commenced a brisk fire for several hours: the Ladrones did not return a single shot, but weighed in the night and dropped down the river.

The reasons they gave for not attacking the town, or returning the fire, were, that Joss had not promised them success. They are very superstitious, and consult their idol on all occasions. If his omens are good, they will undertake the most daring enterprizes.

The fleet now anchored opposite the ruins of the town where the women had been made prisoners. Here we remained five or six days, during which time about an hundred of the women were ransomed; the remainder were offered for sale amongst the Ladrones, for forty dollars each. The woman is considered the lawful wife of the purchaser, who would be put to death if he discarded her. Several of them leaped over-board[Pg 114] and drowned themselves, rather than submit to such infamous degradation.[116]

The fleet then weighed and made sail down the river, to receive the ransom from the town before-mentioned. As we passed the hill, they fired several shot at us, but without effect. The Ladrones were much exasperated, and determined to revenge themselves; they dropped out of reach of their shot, and anchored. Every junk sent about a hundred men each on shore, to cut paddy, and destroy their orange-groves, which was most effectually performed for several miles down the river. During our stay here, they received information of nine boats lying up a creek, laden with paddy; boats were immediately dispatched after them.

Next morning these boats were brought to the fleet; ten or twelve men were taken in them. As these had made no resistance, the chief said he would allow them to become Ladrones, if they agreed to take the usual oaths before Joss. Three or four of them refused to comply, for which they were punished in the following cruel manner: their hands were tied behind their back, a rope from the mast-head rove through their arms, and hoisted three or four feet from the deck, and five or six men flogged them with three rattans twisted together 'till they were apparently dead; then hoisted[Pg 115] them up to the mast-head, and left them hanging nearly an hour, then lowered them down, and repeated the punishment, 'till they died or complied with the oath.

October the 20th, in the night, an express-boat came with the information that a large mandarine fleet was proceeding up the river to attack us. The chief immediately weighed, with fifty of the largest vessels, and sailed down the river to meet them. About one in the morning they commenced a heavy fire till day-light, when an express was sent for the remainder of the fleet to join them: about an hour after a counter-order to anchor came, the mandarine-fleet having run. Two or three hours afterwards the chief returned with three captured vessels in tow, having sunk two, and eighty-three sail made their escape. The admiral of the mandarines blew his vessel up, by throwing a lighted match into the magazine as the Ladrones were boarding her; she ran on shore, and they succeeded in getting twenty of her guns.

In this action very few prisoners were taken: the men belonging to the captured vessels drowned themselves, as they were sure of suffering a lingering and cruel death if taken after making resistance. The admiral left the fleet in charge of his brother, the second in command, and proceeded with his own vessel towards Lantow. The fleet remained in this river, cutting paddy, and getting the necessary supplies.

[Pg 116]

On the 28th of October, I received a letter from Captain Kay, brought by a fisherman, who had told him he would get us all back for three thousand dollars. He advised me to offer three thousand, and if not accepted, extend it to four; but not farther, as it was bad policy to offer much at first: at the same time assuring me we should be liberated, let the ransom be what it would. I offered the chief the three thousand, which he disdainfully refused, saying he was not to be played with; and unless they sent ten thousand dollars, and two large guns, with several casks of gunpowder, he would soon put us all to death. I wrote to Captain Kay, and informed him of the chief's determination, requesting if an opportunity offered, to send us a shift of clothes, for which it may be easily imagined we were much distressed, having been seven weeks without a shift; although constantly exposed to the weather, and of course frequently wet.

On the first of November, the fleet sailed up a narrow river, and anchored at night within two miles of a town called Little Whampoa. In front of it was a small fort, and several mandarine vessels lying in the harbour. The chief sent the interpreter to me, saying, I must order my men to make cartridges and clean their muskets, ready to go on shore in the morning. I assured the interpreter I should give the men no such orders, that they must please themselves. Soon after[Pg 117] the chief came on board, threatening to put us all to a cruel death if we refused to obey his orders. For my own part I remained determined, and advised the men not to comply, as I thought by making ourselves useful we should be accounted too valuable.

A few hours afterwards he sent to me again, saying, that if myself and the quarter-master would assist them at the great guns, that if also the rest of the men went on shore and succeeded in taking the place, he would then take the money offered for our ransom, and give them twenty dollars for every Chinaman's head they cut off. To these proposals we cheerfully acceded, in hopes of facilitating our deliverance.

Early in the morning the forces intended for landing were assembled in row-boats, amounting in the whole to three or four thousand men. The largest vessels weighed, and hauled in shore, to cover the landing of the forces, and attack the fort and mandarine-vessels. About nine o'clock the action commenced, and continued with great spirit for nearly an hour, when the walls of the fort gave way, and the men retreated in the greatest confusion.

The mandarine vessels still continued firing, having blocked up the entrance of the harbour to prevent the Ladrone boats entering. At this the Ladrones were much exasperated, and about three hundred of them swam on shore, with a short sword lashed close under[Pg 118] each arm; they then ran along the banks of the river 'till they came a-breast of the vessels, and then swam off again and boarded them. The Chinese thus attacked, leaped over-board, and endeavoured to reach the opposite shore; the Ladrones followed, and cut the greater number of them to pieces in the water. They next towed the vessels out of the harbour, and attacked the town with increased fury. The inhabitants fought about a quarter of an hour, and then retreated to an adjacent hill, from which they were soon driven with great slaughter.

After this the Ladrones returned, and plundered the town, every boat leaving it when laden. The Chinese on the hills perceiving most of the boats were off, rallied, and retook the town, after killing near two hundred Ladrones. One of my men was unfortunately lost in this dreadful massacre! The Ladrones landed a second time, drove the Chinese out of the town, then reduced it to ashes, and put all their prisoners to death, without regarding either age or sex!

I must not omit to mention a most horrid (though ludicrous) circumstance which happened at this place. The Ladrones were paid by their chief ten dollars for every Chinaman's head they produced. One of my men turning the corner of a street was met by a Ladrone running furiously after a Chinese; he had a drawn sword in his hand, and two Chinaman's heads[Pg 119] which he had cut off, tied by their tails, and slung round his neck. I was witness myself to some of them producing five or six to obtain payment!!!

On the 4th of November an order arrived from the admiral for the fleet to proceed immediately to Lantow, where he was lying with only two vessels, and three Portuguese ships and a brig constantly annoying him; several sail of mandarine vessels were daily expected. The fleet weighed and proceeded towards Lantow. On passing the island of Lintin, three ships and a brig gave chase to us. The Ladrones prepared to board; but night closing we lost sight of them: I am convinced they altered their course and stood from us. These vessels were in the pay of the Chinese government, and style themselves the Invincible Squadron, cruizing in the river Tigris to annihilate the Ladrones!

On the fifth, in the morning, the red squadron anchored in a bay under Lantow; the black squadron stood to the eastward. In this bay they hauled several of their vessels on shore to bream their bottoms and repair them.

In the afternoon of the 8th of November, four ships, a brig and a schooner came off the mouth of the bay. At first the pirates were much alarmed, supposing them to be English vessels come to rescue us. Some of them threatened to hang us to the mast-head for them to fire at; and with much difficulty we persuaded[Pg 120] them that they were Portuguese. The Ladrones had only seven junks in a fit state for action; these they hauled outside, and moored them head and stern across the bay; and manned all the boats belonging to the repairing vessels ready for boarding.

The Portuguese observing these man[oe]uvres hove to, and communicated by boats. Soon afterwards they made sail, each ship firing her broadside as she passed, but without effect, the shot falling far short: The Ladrones did not return a single shot, but waved their colours, and threw up rockets, to induce them to come further in, which they might easily have done, the outside junks lying in four fathoms water which I sounded myself: though the Portuguese in their letters to Macao, lamented there was not sufficient water for them to engage closer, but that they would certainly prevent their escaping before the mandarine fleet arrived!

On the 20th of November, early in the morning, discovered an immense fleet of mandarine vessels standing for the bay. On nearing us, they formed a line, and stood close in; each vessel as she discharged her guns tacked to join the rear and reload. They kept up a constant fire for about two hours, when one of their largest vessels was blown up by a firebrand thrown from a Ladrone junk; after which they kept at a more respectful distance, but continued firing without intermission 'till the 21st at night, when it fell calm.

[Pg 121]

The Ladrones towed out seven large vessels, with about two hundred row-boats to board them; but a breeze springing up, they made sail and escaped. The Ladrones returned into the bay, and anchored. The Portuguese and mandarines followed, and continued a heavy cannonading during that night and the next day. The vessel I was in had her foremast shot away, which they supplied very expeditiously by taking a mainmast from a smaller vessel.

On the 23d, in the evening, it again fell calm; the Ladrones towed out fifteen junks in two divisions, with the intention of surrounding them, which was nearly effected, having come up with and boarded one, when a breeze suddenly sprung up. The captured vessel mounted twenty-two guns. Most of her crew leaped overboard; sixty or seventy were taken immediately, cut to pieces and thrown into the river. Early in the morning the Ladrones returned into the bay, and anchored in the same situation as before. The Portuguese and mandarines followed, keeping up a constant fire. The Ladrones never returned a single shot, but always kept in readiness to board, and the Portuguese were careful never to allow them an opportunity.

On the 28th, at night, they sent in eight fire-vessels, which if properly constructed must have done great execution, having every advantage they could wish for to effect their purpose; a strong breeze and tide[Pg 122] directly into the bay, and the vessels lying so close together that it was impossible to miss them. On their first appearance the Ladrones gave a general shout, supposing them to be mandarine vessels[117] on fire, but were very soon convinced of their mistake. They came very regularly into the centre of the fleet, two and two, burning furiously; one of them came alongside of the vessel I was in, but they succeeded in booming her off. She appeared to be a vessel of about thirty tons; her hold was filled with straw and wood, and there were a few small boxes of combustibles on her deck, which exploded alongside of us without doing any damage. The Ladrones, however, towed them all on shore, extinguished the fire, and broke them up for fire-wood. The Portuguese claim the credit of constructing these destructive machines, and actually sent a dispatch to the Governor of Macao, saying they had destroyed at least one-third of the Ladrones' fleet, and hoped soon to effect their purpose by totally annihilating them.

On the 29th of November, the Ladrones being all ready for sea, they weighed and stood boldly out, bidding defiance to the invincible squadron and imperial fleet, consisting of ninety-three war-junks, six Portuguese ships, a brig, and a schooner. Immediately the Ladrones weighed, they made all sail. The Ladrones chased them two or three hours, keeping up a constant[Pg 123] fire; finding they did not come up with them, they hauled their wind and stood to the eastward.

Thus terminated the boasted blockade, which lasted nine days, during which time the Ladrones completed all their repairs. In this action not a single Ladrone vessel was destroyed, and their loss about thirty or forty men. An American was also killed, one of three that remained out of eight taken in a schooner. I had two very narrow escapes: the first, a twelve-pounder shot fell within three or four feet of me; another took a piece out of a small brass-swivel on which I was standing. The chief's wife[118] frequently sprinkled me with garlic-water, which they consider an effectual charm against shot. The fleet continued under sail all night, steering towards the eastward. In the morning they anchored in a large bay surrounded by lofty and barren mountains.

On the 2nd of December I received a letter from Lieutenant Maughn, commander of the Honourable Company's cruizer Antelope, saying that he had the ransom on board, and had been three days cruizing after us, and wished me to settle with the chief on the securest method of delivering it. The chief agreed to send us in a small gun-boat, 'till we came within sight[Pg 124] of the Antelope; then the Compradore's boat was to bring the ransom and receive us.

I was so agitated at receiving this joyful news, that it was with considerable difficulty I could scrawl about two or three lines to inform Lieutenant Maughn of the arrangements I had made. We were all so deeply affected by the gratifying tidings, that we seldom closed our eyes, but continued watching day and night for the boat. On the 6th she returned with Lieutenant Maughn's answer, saying, he would respect any single boat; but would not allow the fleet to approach him. The chief then, according to his first proposal, ordered a gun-boat to take us, and with no small degree of pleasure we left the Ladrone fleet about four o'clock in the morning.

At one P.M. saw the Antelope under all sail, standing toward us. The Ladrone boat immediately anchored, and dispatched the Compradore's boat for the ransom, saying, that if she approached nearer, they would return to the fleet; and they were just weighing when she shortened sail, and anchored about two miles from us. The boat did not reach her 'till late in the afternoon, owing to the tide's being strong against her. She received the ransom and left the Antelope just before dark. A mandarine boat that had been lying concealed under the land, and watching their man[oe]uvres, gave chace to her, and was within a few fathoms of[Pg 125] taking her, when she saw a light, which the Ladrones answered, and the Mandarine hauled off.

Our situation was now a most critical one; the ransom was in the hands of the Ladrones, and the Compradore dare not return with us for fear of a second attack from the mandarine boat. The Ladrones would not remain 'till morning, so we were obliged to return with them to the fleet.

In the morning the chief inspected the ransom, which consisted of the following articles: two bales of superfine scarlet cloth; two chests of opium; two casks of gunpowder; and a telescope; the rest in dollars. He objected to the telescope not being new; and said he should detain one of us 'till another was sent, or a hundred dollars in lieu of it. The Compradore however agreed with him for the hundred dollars.

Every thing being at length settled, the chief ordered two gun-boats to convey us near the Antelope; we saw her just before dusk, when the Ladrone boats left us. We had the inexpressible pleasure of arriving on board the Antelope at 7 P.M., where we were most cordially received, and heartily congratulated on our safe and happy deliverance from a miserable captivity, which we had endured for eleven weeks and three days.


China, December 8th, 1809.

[Pg 126]

A few Remarks on the Origin, Progress, Manners, and Customs of the Ladrones.

The Ladrones are a disaffected race of Chinese, that revolted against the oppressions of the mandarines.—They first commenced their depredations on the Western coast (Cochin-China), by attacking small trading vessels in row-boats, carrying from thirty to forty men each. They continued this system of piracy several years; at length their successes, and the oppressive state of the Chinese, had the effect of rapidly increasing their numbers. Hundreds of fishermen and others flocked to their standard; and as their number increased they consequently became more desperate. They blockaded all the principal rivers, and attacked several large junks, mounting from ten to fifteen guns each.

With these junks they formed a very formidable fleet, and no small vessels could trade on the coast with safety. They plundered several small villages, and exercised such wanton barbarity as struck horror into the breasts of the Chinese. To check these enormities the government equipped a fleet of forty imperial war-junks, mounting from eighteen to twenty guns each. On the very first rencontre, twenty-eight of the imperial junks struck to the pirates; the rest saved themselves by a precipitate retreat.

[Pg 127]

These junks, fully equipped for war, were a great acquisition to them. Their numbers augmented so rapidly, that at the period of my captivity they were supposed to amount to near seventy thousand men, eight hundred large vessels, and nearly a thousand small ones, including row-boats. They were divided into five squadrons, distinguished by different coloured flags: each squadron commanded by an admiral, or chief; but all under the orders of A-juo-chay (Ching yĭh saou), their premier chief, a most daring and enterprising man, who went so far as to declare his intention of displacing the present Tartar family from the throne of China, and to restore the ancient Chinese dynasty.

This extraordinary character would have certainly shaken the foundation of the government, had he not been thwarted by the jealousy of the second in command, who declared his independence, and soon after surrendered to the mandarines with five hundred vessels, on promise of a pardon. Most of the inferior chiefs followed his example. A-juo-Chay (Ching yĭh saou) held out a few months longer, and at length surrendered with sixteen thousand men, on condition of a general pardon, and himself to be made a mandarine of distinction.

The Ladrones have no settled residence on shore, but live constantly in their vessels. The after-part is appropriated to the captain and his wives; he generally[Pg 128] has five or six. With respect to conjugal rights they are religiously strict; no person is allowed to have a woman on board, unless married to her according to their laws. Every man is allowed a small berth, about four feet square, where he stows with his wife and family.

From the number of souls crowded in so small a space, it must naturally be supposed they are horridly dirty, which is evidently the case, and their vessels swarm with all kinds of vermin. Rats in particular, which they encourage to breed, and eat them as great delicacies;[119] in fact, there are very few creatures they will not eat. During our captivity we lived three weeks on caterpillars boiled with rice. They are much addicted to gambling, and spend all their leisure hours at cards and smoking opium.


Printed by J. L. Cox, Great Queen Street,
Lincoln's Inn Fields.


[1] The Chinese have particular histories of the robbers and pirates who existed in the middle empire from the most ancient times; these histories form a portion of every provincial history. The three last books (the 58th, 59th, and 60th) of the Memoirs concerning the South of the Meihling Mountains (see the Catechism of the Shahmans, p. 44) are inscribed Tsing fun (10,987, 2,651), and contain the Robber history from the beginning of Woo wang, of the dynasty Chow. The Memoirs only give extracts of former works; the extracts to the three last books are taken from the Great History of Yuĕ, or Province of Kwang tang (Yuĕ ta ke), from the Old Transactions of the Five Realms (Woo kwŏ koo sse), the Old Records of Yang ching, a name of the ancient city of Kwang tung (Yang ching koo chaou), the Official Robber History (Kwŏ she yĭh shin chuen), &c.

[2] We are chiefly indebted to the Jesuits that the Russians had not conquered part of China about the middle of the seventeenth century. See the passage of Muller in Burney's Voyages of Discovery to the North-East Passage, p. 55. The Manchow destroyed the Chinese patriots by the cannon cast by the Rev. Father Verbiest.—Le Comte, Nouvelles Observations sur la Chine.

[3] We have a learned dissertation, pleading for the authenticity of the famous inscription of Se ngan foo, by a well-known Sinologue. May we not be favoured with another Oratio pro domo concerning the many crosses which had been found in Fuh këen, and on the "Escrevices de Mer, qui estans encore en vie, lors mesme qu'elles estoient cuites?" See Relation de la Chine par Michel Boym, de la Compagnie de Jesus, in Thévenot, et Relations de divers Voyage, vol. ii, pp. 6 and 14.

[4] Toland, History of the Druids, p. 51.—

"This justice, therefore, I would do to Ireland, even if it had not been my country, viz. to maintain that this tolerating principle, this impartial liberty (of religion), ever since unexampled there as well as elsewhere, China excepted, is far greater honour to it," &c.

Never was a man more calumniated than Confucius by the Jesuit Couplet. Confucius Sinarum Philosophus was printed in the year 1687, shortly after Louis XIV. abolished the Edict of Nantes, and persecuted the most industrious part of his subjects. The Jesuit is bold enough to affirm, in his Epistola Dedicatoria ad Ludovicum magnum, that the Chinese philosopher would be exceedingly rejoiced in seeing the piety of the great king.

"Quibus te laudibus efferret, cum haeresin, hostem illam avitae fidei ac regni florentissimi teterrimam, proculcatam et attritam, edicta quibus vitam ducere videbatur, abrogata; disjecta templa, nomen ipsum sepultum, tot animarum millia pristinis ab erroribus ad veritatem, ab exitio ad salutem tam suaviter (!) tam fortiter (!), tam feliciter (!) traducta."

[5] Toreen's Voyage behind Osbeck, II. 239, English translation.

[6] The Canton Register, 1829, No. 20.

[7] Jang sëen is his Tsze, or title. The numbers which are to be found on the margin of the translation, refer to the pages of the Chinese printed text.

[8] The cubit at Canton is 14 inches 625 dec. Morrison, under the word Weights, in his Dictionary, English and Chinese.

[9] We see by this statement that Couplet is wrong in saying (Confucius Sinarum philosophus. Proemialis declaratio, p. 60): "Mahometani, qui una cum suis erroribus ante annos fere septingentos (Couplet wrote 1683) magno numero et licentia ingressi in Chinam."

[10] This statement is so extraordinary, that the Translator thought it necessary to compare many passages where the character shăh (8384 M.) occurs. Shăh originally means, according to the Shwŏ wăn, near, joining; and Shăh kwŏ, are, according to Dr. Morrison, "small states attached to and dependent on a larger one: tributary states." The character shăh is often used in the same signification in the 57th book of our work. The description of the Peninsula of Malacca begins (Mem. b. 57, p. 15 r.) with the following words: "Mwan lă kea (Malacca) is in the southern sea, and was originally a tributary state (shăh kwŏ) of Sëen lo, or Siam; but the officer who there had the command revolted and founded a distinct kingdom." In the war which the Siamese some years back carried on against the Sultan of Guedah, they always affirmed that the King of Siam is, by his own right, the legitimate sovereign of the whole peninsula of Malacca, and that the Sultan must only be considered as a rebel against his liege. The statement of the Chinese author, therefore, corroborates the assertions of the Siamese.

[11] On the General Map of the Western Sea (Se hae tsung too) Lin yin takes the place of Sweden. I cannot conceive what can be the cause of that denomination. Lin yin, perhaps, may mean the island Rugen?

[12] The common word for cloth, to lo ne, seems to be of Indian origin; it is certainly not Chinese. The proper Chinese name is jung.

[13] Peih ke is written with various characters. See Morrison's Dictionary, under the word Peih, 8509.

[14] The syllable lo is not in the Chinese text, as it is supposed, by a mistake of the printer.

[15] It may be remarked, that Cosmas, about the middle of the sixth century, had a better idea concerning the Chinese empire, or the country of Tsin, than the Chinese have even now of Europe. Such an advantage was it to be born a Greek and not a Chinese. Cosmas seems very well informed concerning the articles of trade which the Chinese generally bring to Serendib, or Serendwîpa (Ceylon). He remarks, that farther than China there exists no other country; that on the east it is surrounded by the ocean; and that Ceylon is nearly as far from the Persian gulf as from Tziniza or China. See the description of Taprobane, taken from the Christian Topography, and printed in Thévenot, "Relations de divers Voyages," vol. i. pp. 2, 3, and 5. The Chinese about Canton have a custom of ending every phrase with a long a (a is pronounced like a in Italian) which is merely euphonic, like yay (11980) in the Mandarine dialect. If a Chinese should be asked about his country, he would answer according to the different dynasties, Tsin-a, Han-a, Tang-a, Ming-a, &c. Tsin-a is probably the origin of Tziniza. It is a little strange that Rennel takes no notice of the statements of Cosmas. (See the Geographical System of Herodotus I. 223, Second Edition, London, 1830.) Is it not very remarkable, that this merchant and monk seems to have also had very correct information concerning the north-west frontier of China, and of the conquest which the Huns (in Sanscrit Hūna) have made in the north-west part of Hindostan? He reckons from China, through Tartary and Bactria to Persia, 150 stations, or days' journies. About the time of Cosmas, an intercourse commenced between China and Persia.

[16] In prefaces and rhetorical exercises, the Chinese commonly call the years by the names employed in the well-known cycle of sixty years. The first cycle is supposed to have begun with the year 2697 before Christ. In the year 1804, the ninth year of Këa kïng, was the beginning of the thirty-sixth cycle.—Histoire générale de la Chine, XII. p. 3 and 4.

[17] The Mei ling mountains, which divide the province Kwang tung from the province Këang se. See Note in the beginning of the History of the Pirates.

[18] The place where European ships lie at anchor in the river of Canton, and one of the few spots which foreigners are allowed to visit.

[19] I translate the Chinese words Wae she, by non-official historian, in opposition to the Kwŏ she, or She kwan, the official historiographers of the empire. Both Yuen tsze, author of the following History of the Pirates, and Lan e, author of the work which is referred to in the preface, are such Public historians, who write—like most of the historians of Europe—the history of their own times, without being appointed to or paid for by government.

Lan e gives the history of the civil commotions under Këa king, which continued from the year 1814 to 1817, in six books; the work is printed in two small volumes, in the first year of Tao kwang (1820), and the following contains the greater part of the preface:

"In the spring of the year Kea su (1814), I went with other people to Peking; reaching the left side of the (Mei ling) mountains we met with fellow travellers, who joined the army, and with many military preparations. In the capital I learned that the robber Lin caused many disturbances; I took great care to ascertain what was said by the people of the court, and by the officers of government, and I wrote down what I heard. But being apprehensive that I might publish truth and falsehood mixed together, I went in the year Ting chow (1817) again to the metropolis, and read attentively the imperial account of the Pacification of the Robber-bands, planned the occurrences according to the time in which they happened, joined to it what I heard from other sources, and composed out of these various matters a work in six books, on the truth of which you may rely."

Lan e begins his work with the history of those rebels called Tėen le keaou (the Doctrine of Nature). They were divided into eight divisions, according to the eight Kwas, and placed under three captains, or chiefs, of whom the first was called Lin tsing—the same Lin who is mentioned in the preface of Soo. These followers of the doctrine of Nature believed implicitly in an absurd book written by a robber, in which it was stated, that the Buddha who should come after Shakia (in Chinese called Me lĭh, in Sanscrit Maëtreya) is in possession of three seas, the blue, the red, and the white. These seas are the three Kalpas; we now live in the white Kalpa. These robbers, therefore, carried white banners. Tsing yĭh ke, B. i., p. i.

[20] The Translator thinks it his duty to observe, that this preface, being printed in characters written in the current hand, he tried in vain to make out some abbreviations; he is, therefore, not quite certain if the last phrase beginning with the words: "Yuen tsze has overlooked nothing," &c. be correctly translated.

[21] The names of authors of Prefaces, as well as of works themselves, which are not authorized by government, are often fictitious. Who would dare to publish or recommend any thing under his own name, which could displease any of the officers of the Chinese government? The author of the following Preface has a high-sounding title: "He, whose heart is directed towards the people."

[22] Keun, or Tsze, are only titles, like those of Master and Doctor in the European languages. Keun is, in the Canton dialect, pronounced Kwa, which, placed behind the family names of the Hong, or Hing (3969) merchants, gives How qwa, or How kwa, Mow kwa, &c., which literally means "Mr. How, Mr. Mow."

[23] I presume that the author of the Preface alludes to the twenty-three large historical collections, containing the official publications regarding history and general literature. I have brought with me from Canton this vast collection of works, which are now concluded by the History of the Ming. It must be acknowledged that no other nation has, or had, such immense libraries devoted to history and geography. The histories of ancient Greece and Rome are pamphlets in comparison with the Url shih san she of the Chinese.

[24] See the first Note to this preface.

[25] In the original Chinese now follows a sort of Introduction, or Contents (Fan le), which I thought not worth translating. It is written by the author of the History of the Pacification of the Pirates, who signs by his title Jang sëen.

[26] This prince was declared Emperor on the 8th February 1796, by his father the Emperor Këen lung, who then retired from the management of public affairs.—Voyage of the Dutch Embassy to China, in 1794-5; London edition, I. 223. Këa king died on the 2d of September 1820, being sixty-one years of age. His second son ascended the Imperial throne six days after the death of his father; the years of his reign were first called Yuen hwuy, but soon changed to Taou kwangIllustrious Reason. Indo-Chinese Gleaner, vol. iii. 41.

[27] Annam (Chinese, Annan) comprehends the country of Cochin-China and Tung king. There have been many disturbances in these countries within the last fifty years. The English reader may compare the interesting historical sketch of modern Cochin-China in Barrow's Voyage to Cochin-China, p. 250.

[28] The origin of this family may be seen in a notice of Cochin-China and Tung king by father Gaubil, in the "Lettres Edifiantes," and in the last volume of the French translation of the Kang măh. Annam had been conquered by Chinese colonies, and its civilization is therefore Chinese. This was already stated in Tavernier's masterly description of Tunking, "Recueil de plusieurs Relations," Paris, 1679, p. 168. Leyden, not knowing Chinese, has made some strange mistakes in his famous dissertation regarding the languages and literature of Indo-Chinese nations. Asiatic Researches, vol. x. 271, London edition, 1811.

[29] In Chinese Lung lae (7402, 6866 Mor.); this name is taken from the metropolis of this kingdom, called by the European travellers in the beginning of the seventeenth century, Laniam, Laniangh, or Lanshang. Robt. Kerr, General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Edinburgh, 1813, vol. viii. 446, 449.—The Burmas call this country Layn-sayn; "Buchanan on the Religion and Literature of the Burmas." Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. 226, London edition, 1810, 4to. The kingdom of Laos was conquered about the end of the year 1828, by the Siamese; the king, his two principal wives, his sons, and grandsons, amounting in all to fourteen persons, were cruelly killed at Bangkok. The Protestant missionaries, Thomlin and Guzlaff, saw nine of the relations of the king in a cage at Bangkok, the 30th of January, 1829. The First Report of the Singapore Christian Union, Singapore, 1830, Appendix xv. Is Lang lae a mistake for Lăh lae, which is mentioned in the Hae kwŏ hëen këen, p. 214? There occurs no Lung lae in this work; where the Indo-Chinese nations are described under the title Nan yan she; i.e. History of the Southern ocean.

[30] People living in the same state of society, have usually the same customs and manners. It is said of the celebrated Buccaneers, that they laid aside their surnames, and assumed nicknames, or martial names. Many, however, on their marrying, took care to have their real surnames inserted in the marriage contract; and this practice gave occasion to a proverb still current in the French Antilles, a man is not to be known till he takes a wife. See the Voyages and Adventures of William Dampier, and History of the Buccaneers, p. 87. Women cut the characters for common Chinese books; and, therefore, the Chinese say, so many mistakes are found in ordinary publications. The character pa (8123) in Tung hae pa is by such a mistake always written pĭh (8527).

[31] He called himself Hëo hëen (3728, 3676,) after having received a recompense from government for his robberies. See p. 75.

[32] Our author anticipates here a little; this will be clear by a subsequent paragraph, p. 13.

[33] Shan is a mountain in Chinese; Ling is a chain of mountains or sierra. The Chinese geographers say, the Mei ling mountain branches out like a tree; and they describe in particular two, the south-east and the south-west branches from Canton. They speak likewise of Woo Ling, or five sierras, in reference to five different passes by which these mountains are divided; but there are now more passes. See a compilation, already quoted, regarding Canton, made by order of the former governor Yuen, and printed at Canton last year, 1830, in eighty books, under the title Ling nan y ung shuh: i. e. Memoirs regarding the South of the Sierra, book 5. vol. ii, p. 1.

[34] The Chinese possess itineraries and directories for the whole empire, for every province, and for every large town or place; I shall therefore always extract the notices which are to be found in the Itinerary of the Province Kwang tung (Kwang tung tsuen too,) referring to the places mentioned in our text.

Hwy is Hwy chow foo, from Pekin 6365 le, and easterly from Canton 400 le; one town of the second, and ten towns of the third rank are appended to this district-metropolis. The whole district pays 14,321 leang, or tael. Here is the celebrated Lo fow mountain. Lo fow consists really of two united mountains, of which one is called Lo and the other Fow, said to be three thousand six hundred chang in height, or 36,000 feet (?). The circumference is about 500 le. Here are the sixteen caverns where the dragon dwells, spoken of in the books of the Tao sect. You meet on these mountains with bamboo from seventy to eighty feet in circumference. Kwang tung tsuen too, p. 5v.

Chaou is Chaou chow foo, from Pekin 8,540 and easterly from Canton 1,740 le; eleven towns of the third rank belong to it. The whole district pays 65,593 leang, or tael. A tael is equal to 5.798 decimal, troy weight; and in the East-India Company's accounts the tael of silver is reckoned at six shillings and eightpence sterling. Foo is the Chinese name for the first class of towns; Chow for the second, Hëen for the third. I sometimes have translated Chow by district-town, and Hëen by borough, or market-town.

[35] Kaou is Kaou chow foo, from Pekin 7,767, north-west from Canton 930 le; the district, and five towns of the third class, paying together 62,566 leang, are dependent on the district-metropolis.

Lëen is Lëen chow foo, from Pekin 9,065, from Canton 1,515 le; the district and two towns, paying together 1,681 leang, are dependent on the district-metropolis.

Luy is Luy chow foo, from Pekin 8,210, westerly from Canton 1,380 le; the district and its towns, paying together 13,706 leang, are dependent on the district-metropolis.

Këung is Këung chow foo, the capital of the island Hae nan or Hainan, from Pekin 9,690, south-west from Canton 1,680 le; three district towns, and ten towns of the third class, paying together 89,447 leang, are dependent on this capital. There is a town also called Këung shan hëen, and both town and capital take their name from the mountain Këung.

Kin is Kin chow, dependent on Lëen chow foo, and far from it 140 le.

Tan is Tan chow, a town of Hainan, south-west from the capital 370 le; the area of the town is 31 le.

Yae is Yae chow, a town of Hainan, southerly from the capital of the island 1,114 le. About this town many pirates have their lurking-place. This circumstance may have caused the mistake of Captain Krusenstern, stating that in A.D. 1805, the pirates who infest the coast of China had obtained possession of the whole island of Hainan.

Wan is Wan chow, a town of Hainan, in a south-easterly direction from the capital of the island 470 le.

[36] Kwang is Kwang tung săng, or the metropolis of the province Kwang tung (Canton). Ten departments (foo), nine districts (chow), and seventy-eight towns of the third class (hëen), are dependent on the provincial city, and pay together in land-tax 1,272,696 leang, excise 47,510 leang, and in other miscellaneous taxes 5,990 leang. The import duties from the sea-side with measurement of foreign vessels is said in the Kwang tung tsuen too, p. 3v, to amount to 43,750 leang. All duties together of the province of Canton amount to 1,369,946 taels, about £450,000. The lists of population gave last October (1830) 23,000,000 (?) for the whole province, and we now see that the Chinese pay less duties (every inhabitant about fourpence halfpenny) than the population of any country of Europe. I received the population lists from Ahong, an intelligent Chinese, well known to the English residents at Canton. Distance from Pekin about 6,835 le.

The subject concerning the population of China, and the amount of the land-rent, the poll-tax, and other miscellaneous taxes, is surrounded by so many difficulties, that the writer of this dares not to affirm any thing about these matters until he has perused the new edition of Tay tsing hwy tëen. For the present he will merely remark, that in book 141, p. 38, of the said work, the population of China Proper for the year 1793 is reckoned at 307,467,200. If we add to this number the population of Chinese Tartary, it will certainly amount to the round number of 333,000,000, as reported by Lord Macartney.

Chow is chow king foo, from Pekin about 4,720, north-west from Canton 360 le. There is certainly some mistake in the Chinese Itinerary; how could Canton be only 6,835, and Chow king foo 7420 le? The imperial edition of the Tay tsing hwy tëen (book 122, p. 6 v.) only gives 5,494 le as the distance from Canton to Pekin; there seems to be a different sort of le. The district and eleven towns of the third class, paying together 162,392 leang depend on the district metropolis.

With the aid of the Chinese Itineraries and the new edition of the Tay tsing hwy tëen (printed 1797, in 360 large volumes) it would be an easy task to compile a "Chinese Gazetteer."

[37] I found no particulars concerning these two small islands (Chow signifies island) in the Canton Itinerary; and I looked in vain on the great map of the Chinese sea-coast in the Hae kwŏ hëen këen for their position.

[38] The town Sin hwy is south-west from Canton 230 le; its area is 138 le (?) and the taxes amount to 28,607 leang. This place suffered much from the pirates. I find no proper name for the river on which Sin hwy lies in the Chinese maps, it is merely called Këang, river. Near this place is the island where the last emperor of the Sung cast himself into the sea (1280).

[39] The word pe (8335) cannot be translated in any European language. It means a vice common in Asia.

[40] The pirates probably made use of the term saou (8833) and not of tse (10575), because saou written with a different character (8834), is the general term for boats and ships. Paou must be considered as the lieutenant or first minister of Mistress Ching, she being herself of the family Shĭh.

[41] It will be very interesting to compare the regulations of Paou with those of the Buccaneers. When these pirates had got a considerable booty, each person, holding up his hand, solemnly protested that he had secreted nothing of what he had taken.—Voyage, l. c. p. 95.

[42] The San po (8788, 8608) are national spirits, and, as it seems, not connected with Buddhism; there is a great variety in the number of these good old mothers, who by the different emperors have been declared saints, or spirits, for the Emperor of China is likewise the pope in his empire. Dr. Morrison has an interesting article on these old women in his Canton Vocabulary. Kang he mentions only two Po (s. v.), who may be considered as spirits. This is a character of which the Buddhists are very fond; perhaps the translator may be wrong, and that San po is merely the Sanscrit word Swayam-bhú.

[43] Our author shews every where his partiality for Chang paou.

[44] The author said just before that the dominion of the pirates in the Chinese sea lasted about ten years; but he only describes the transactions of the last three years, when their power and strength was at the highest point. He begins to give particulars from the 7th moon of the 13th year of Këa king, which corresponds nearly to the beginning of September 1808.

[45] There are three wretched forts at the Hoo mun, the mouth of the Canton river, which could scarcely hinder any European vessel from passing through.

[46] One of the islands marked upon European maps is called The Ladrones: these Ladrones, so called from the pirates, have all particular names on Chinese maps.

[47] In the first preface of the Hae kwŏ hëen këen it is particularly stated, that the map of the sea-coast of China became first known to its editor by the expeditions against the pirates.

[48] There are, as is stated in my preface, some vulgar or provincial characters in this history; here (p. 1.) occurs a character not to be found in Kanghe, composed out of the fifty-sixth radical and the group Leaou or Lew (7061, 7203). My whole library being locked up in the Custom-house, I am not able to consult a dictionary of the Canton dialect, therefore the meaning of these characters can only be guessed at by etymology. The etymology of the characters gives sometimes a better meaning than any dictionary, and sometimes it may entirely mislead us; there is no reliance on etymology. Usage is the only master of the Chinese, as of all other languages.

[49] Hëang shan is a considerable place between Macao and Canton. I passed this town in the beginning of October 1830. Distance from Canton 150 le in an eastern direction.

[50] It was, as we have before stated, the policy of Chang paou to befriend himself, when possible, with the lower sort of people.

[51] Here the author himself says Te ming (9955, 7714) "name of a place." To find out the names of places and persons, and distinguish the titles of the different officers employed by government, is often a very difficult task. The last character in the name of this place, pae, is very seldom found; it is the fourth character of the division of eight strokes, rad. 177.—See Kanghe. O is, in the Canton dialect, commonly pronounced like A, in Italian.

[52] These are large vessels with windows, from 200 to 500 tons; they are called by Europeans by the Chinese name, in the Canton dialect, junks; chuen is the Mandarin pronunciation. The foreign trade of Cochin-China and Tung king is almost exclusively with China, that to Siam, Singapur, and Malacca, being inconsiderable. The Cochin-Chinese government tried some years ago to open a regular trade with Calcutta; but this undertaking partly failed on account of the heavy duties on foreign sugar in the possessions of the East-India Company. Sugar is a great article of export in Cochin-China and Siam.

[53] On the large map of the coast of China from Corea to Cochin-China, called Yuen (12542) hae tsuen too, this place is called Lao wan shan, "the old ten thousand mountains," and is exactly opposite to the Bocca Tigris in a direct southerly direction.

[54] The sails of Chinese vessels are often called Mats, for they are really nothing else than matting.

[55] Le: this itinerary measure, as we have remarked, is different in different parts of the empire; it is generally considered that 250 le make a degree of latitude.

[56] This they did probably to look more ferocious. Plutarch observes of Sylla, that "the ferocity of his aspect was heightened by his complexion, which was a strong red, interspersed with spots of white."

[57] Mun means an entrance or mouth; few of these places are to be found, even in the particular maps of the province Kwang tung in the Tay tsing hwy teen.

[58] Paou, the first character of 8233, is in our own history always used in the signification of cannon. The word meant in former times an engine for throwing stones, and so it is used in the history of the Han dynasty. This gave rise to the opinion that the Chinese had guns and gunpowder long before its discovery in Europe. How could these extraordinary engines have escaped the discriminating genius of Marco Polo, had they existed in China?

[59] The three provinces which have Këang (5500) in their name the same as the two Kwang, Kwang to the east (tung) and Kwang to the west (se), are usually united under one governor and one deputy governor.

[60] Previously they robbed only in the open sea, outside the Canton river.

[61] The river discharges itself by many channels into the sea.

[62] Tung kwan hëen is easterly from Canton 150 le, its area amounts to 180 le, and pays 44,607 leang land-rent, or taxes. There are many small islands belonging to the district of Tung kwan.

[63] Fan yu hëen, near Canton. The place where European ships anchor belongs to this Hëen; its area amounts to 140 le, and pays 48,356 leang. I looked in vain for some notices regarding the many small villages which are to be found in the sequel of the page. Some of them are merely mentioned in the Itinerary of the province Canton. The reader may compare the account of Richard Glasspoole in the Appendix.

[64] These are names of different sorts of Chinese vessels or junks.

[65] In the original Kin (6369). Kin cannot be the common cash (Tung pao) for then the sum would be too trifling—8 to 900 are to be got in Canton for a Spanish dollar. If Kin were used for dollar, or tael, which is very probable, the sum is enormous. Richard Glasspoole states that the pirates demanded indeed ten thousand dollars!—See the Appendix.

[66] Hoo mun. The following notice on the Chinese tiger is taken from the geography of Mookden, and translated by Father Amiot. Eloge de la ville de Moukden par Kien long, p. 249. "Au-delà de nos frontières (Mookden), il y a une espèce de tigre, dont la peau est un fort beau blanc, sur lequel il y a, par intervalles, des taches noires. Ces espèces de tigres sont plus méchants et plus féroces que les autres." Father Amoit adds, that these tigers are called Hoo by the Chinese, and Tasha by the Manchow.

[67] The Chinese geographers and historians are very well acquainted with Siam; there is an interesting description of this empire in the Hae kwo hëen këen, p. 21, and in the 57th book, p. 13, of the memoirs concerning the south of the Mei ling mountains. That Siam acknowledges the supremacy of China, was known to the most early European travellers. Cluver says (in his Introductio in omnem Geographiam Wolfenbuttelæ, 1694, 4to., p. 473), that "Rex Siamensis irruptione crebriori Tartarica pressus, Chano denique Chinensi sese beneficiarium aut vasallum submisit." Mendez Pinto, who was in that country in the year 1540, states that the king of Siam acknowledged the supremacy of China; Bernhardi Vareni Descriptio regni Japoniæ et Siam; Cantabrigiæ 1673-8, p. 128.

[68] It is impossible to translate the names of vessels of different descriptions. The large are the Chang lung, or great dragon vessels which by the Chinese law are forbidden to be used by any private person; these are the Mandarin, or government vessels. The pirates nevertheless had such vessels, as likewise the daring smugglers, who bring the opium from Lintin, or Linting, to Canton. The amount of the opium trade in the port of Canton was, in the year 1829-30, equal to 12,057,157 Sp. dollars.

[69] One of the English sailors, who had been taken prisoner. "The pirates frequently obliged my men to go on shore and fight with the muskets, which did great execution; the Chinese principally using bows and arrows. They have match-locks, but use them very unskilfully."—See Appendix.

[70] A shih, or stone, contains four keun: a keun thirty kin or catty, the well known Chinese weight: a catty is equal to one pound and a third English.

[71] Nan hae hëen. Its area amounts to 278 le, and it pays 63,731 leang. The European factories in Canton lie in this district, and the monastery opposite to the factories is usually from the name of the district called the Hae nan sze, the temple of Hae nan. The district of every place is called by the name of the the place, and we must therefore speak of the town and district Nan hae.

[72] This simple note of the Chinese author better illustrates the religion of China than many learned dissertations. All the deities, those of Greece and Rome, of China and India, are derived from two sources; both the powers of nature and highly gifted human beings were deified. These powers of nature, and the virtues and vices of men being in every community nearly similar, the same gods and goddesses are found everywhere; only their external form and shape is different. Every province, every town, and every village of China has its particular tutulary saint, or god, and on the day of his festival his effigy is carried in public. There is no essential difference in this respect between China and those countries where Roman Catholicism is yet in its highest vigour. The effigies of the Chinese gods and goddesses are all of the human shape; they have no monsters like India and Egypt, under which it was once the fashion to seek for extraordinary wisdom and astonishing science. Lucian has already taken the liberty of laughing at these deities, and at the writers, the prophets, and sophists, who try to find some sense in all this vulgar display of nonsense, by which the people are deluded. Lucian de Sacreficiis s. f. where he laughs at the Jupiter with a ram's head, at the good fellow Mercurius with the countenance of a dog, etc. [Greek: Krioprosôpon men ton Dia, chynoprosôpon de ton beltison Ermên chai ton Pana holon tragon], etc. See the pleasant story of Jupiter with the ram's head in Herodotus, II. 42.

[73] The strong winds (Tay fung) in the Chinese sea begin about the middle of September, or just before the equinox.

[74] It is not stated in the Chinese text, whose father rushed forward, whether it was the father of the lady, or of Wei tang chow.

[75] I must again remark that there is a false character in our text: it should be Nëĕ, 7974 in the Tonical Dictionary of Dr. M.

[76] I am compelled to give a free translation of this verse, and confess myself not quite certain of the signification of the poetical figures used by our author. Fūng signifies a hollow pyramid filled with combustibles; yĕn signifies the smoke caused by combustion; tseāng signifies the spar or yard in a boat or ship, to which the sail is attached, and ying is shadow. It seems that the author alludes to the spar or yard-arm, at which Mei ying was fastened by the pirate; but what he means by shadow I do not really know, perhaps ying is in the place of Mei ying.

[77] The Chinese characters are printed like the other portion of the work. I have divided them according to the verses. Only the first eight lines have a regular metre of five feet, or words, and as the author himself says, his song is then at an end; but the language still remains poetical, and for that reason it was thought proper to divide also the remaining lines like verses. Every word must be considered as consisting of one syllable or sound, even if we write it with three or four vowels. Poetry is perhaps more esteemed in China, than in any other country in the world. The late governor-general of Kwang tung and Kwang se, his Excellency Yuen, published the poems of his daughter, who died when only nineteen years of age. Most of the emperors of China wrote verses, and I have, if I remember rightly, an imperial collection printed at the command of Këa king of many volumes, containing the poetry of the crowned heads of China. The reader may easily imagine that the Chinese have many works on poetry; I am also in possession of a Chinese Gradus ad Parnassum in ten large volumes, in which are to be found, divided under different heads, all the fine expression and poetical images of the classical poets. Mr. Davis has given some excellent specimens of Chinese poetry in his elegant dissertation on that subject.

[78] Verbally "monkeys and birds," a sort of birds which according to Dr. Morrison are something similar to our crows.

[79] In the memoirs concerning the south of the Mei ling mountains, three books (from 9-11 incl.) are filled up with a description of the seas, rivers, and lakes, of the province of Canton. Book ninth begins with a general description of the Chinese seas, and of the different entrances from the sea-side; then follows a particular description of the sea near Canton and Hainan, and of the different Tides at various places. The mariner would certainly be gratified by a translation of this part of the work. The translator has often remarked the extraordinary phenomenon of the fiery appearance of the sea, during his residence in China. In the before-mentioned work, b. ix. p. 5 v, we read the following notice concerning this phenomenon:

"The fire in the sea: It happens sometimes that sea waves have such a luminous appearance, as if the whole sea were full of fire. If you cast any thing into the sea, it becomes luminous like a star; but you do not see this during moonlight. Wood having in itself no fire, receives a fiery appearance, after having been passed through the water."

In b. x. p. 10 r. Whampo is said to be seventy le from the sea custom-house of Canton. In this extract foreigners are in general very unfavourably spoken of. Amongst other things we are told, "that foreigners or barbarians drink so much strong liquor that they are not able to stand on their feet; they fall down intoxicated, and before having had a sound sleep, they cannot rise again." It is also remarked in the same article that many people assemble together at Whampo, to attend the trade with the foreigners; the reason probably why our author calls it "the Great." The reader will remember what has been said on Hëang shan in a former note; I will only here add the remark of Martini, "that in his time the principal and most wealthy merchants lived in that place." (Thévenot, Rélations de divers voyages, iii. 167.)

[80] It is well known that a great part of the population of China live on the water, and they are generally called Tan (9832) people;—a word which in the Canton dialect is pronounced Tanka. They are quite a separate race, and harshly dealt with by the Chinese government. There exist particular works concerning the history, the customs and laws of these boat-people. They more than once opposed the despotic regulation of their masters, and government was always afraid they might join the pirates. The history of the southern barbarians in the often quoted Memoirs, &c. begins with a description of the Tan jin, or Tanka people, and it is there said that they are divided into three different classes. The description of their customs and manners is very interesting, and I hope soon to lay it before the English reader. It has been supposed that the name Tanka people is derived from the form of their boats, which is similar to an egg; but Shwŏ wăn, as quoted in Kang he, explains the word only by Nan fang e yay, Barbarians of the southern region. There exist different forms of this character, but I think we should not presume to make an etymology of a Chinese character without being authorized by the Shwŏ wăn, the oldest and most genuine source of Chinese lexicography.

[81] In the Chinese text is King king (the character is composed out of radical fire and ear), on which is to be found an interesting critical observation in Kang he, s. v. b. viii. p. 119r. In no other oriental language has there been so much done by the natives for the foreign student as by the Chinese.

[82] The most common denomination for Portugal is now Se yang kwŏ, or more correctly Siao se yang kwŏ. "The small realm in the western ocean; Europe is called Ta se yang." (See Preface.) I thought it here more proper to translate E by foreigner, than by barbarian. In a Chinese history of Macao, we find various particulars regarding the Portuguese. The description of the Portuguese clergy and the Roman Catholic religion is the most interesting part of this curious publication. It consists of two parts, or volumes.

[83] It would be interesting to read the Portuguese version of these skirmishes. A history of these skirmishes was printed at Lisbon, but I could not procure this publication. The reader may compare the statements of Richard Glasspoole in the Appendix.

[84] The Chinese are very much accustomed to consult the Păh, or sort. There exists various ways, according to the ideas of the Chinese, of asking the divinity whether any undertaking shall prove either fortunate or not. The translator has seen different modes of casting lots in the temples of the suburbs of Canton. The reader may find an interesting description of casting lots in the "Histoire du grand Royaume de la Chine;" à Rouen 1614-8, p. 30. There is much useful information to be found in this work; but it would be curious to learn in what Armenian works ("escritures des Armeniens") it is stated, that "St. Thomas came through China in his voyage to the East-Indies" (l. c. p. 25)!

[85] Woo (11753) how; Woo is the time between eleven and one o'clock of the day. The Chinese divide the day into twelve she shin, or great hours; the European twenty-four hours of the day are called seaou she shin, little hours. We learn by a passage of Herodotus (Euterpe 109), that the Greeks in his time also divided the day into twelve parts; Herodotus also adds that the Greeks received this division of time from the Babylonians.—See Visdelou in the Supplement to the "Bibliothèque Orientale," by Herbelot, under the word Fenek.

[86] Me teng is a particular sort of junk.

[87] These speeches seem to be rhetorical exercises of the Chinese historian; the antithesis is a figure very much used in Chinese rhetoric and poetry, and a great part of their poetry consists merely of such antitheses.

[88] That is—they are of no effect at all. I, however, thought it proper to retain the strong figure of the original.

[89] The author forgets in his rhetorical flourishes, that it is a pirate himself who speaks to pirates. The Chinese characters for "sea monster" are to be found in M 2057; "King e is used figuratively for a devouring conqueror of men," says Dr. Morrison.

[90] The author has here the expression tung-leang (11399) pillar, in its proper and figurative sense. He probably chose this expression to make, according to Chinese sentiments, a fine rhetorical phrase. Leang in the beginning of the phrase corresponds to the sound and the form of the character to Leang at the end: Leang shan san këĕ ching yĭh, mung găn shay url king tsŏ tung-leang. There is also something like a quibble in the second phrase; Wa kang, Bricks and mountain ridge is transformed into Choo shĭh (1223) or a corner-stone, just as Leang-shan, mountain bridge is into tung-leang, or pillar.

[91] O po tae alludes to well known events in Chinese history. On Tsaou tsaou see Dr. Morrison, 10549 in the tonical part of the Dictionary.

[92] I confess that it was not an easy matter to translate these rhetorical exercises and poetical phrases, by which the author is evidently anxious to draw a veil over the weakness of the empire. The Chinese scholar will certainly pardon any mistake which might occur in this poetical or furious prose—to use the expression of Blair in his Lectures on Rhetoric.

[93] Kwei shen is a Hëen or town of the third rank, and dependent on the district metropolis Hwy chow foo; it is near to Hwy. Its area amounts to thirty-seven le, and pays in taxes 26,058 leang. It is stated in the Itinerary of Canton (Kwang tung tsuen too, p. 5. v.) that the situation of this great town makes it a place of danger; being close to the sea, Kwei shen is exposed to sudden attacks from pirates.

[94] Yang keang is a town of the third rank, and dependent on its district metropolis Chow king foo; distant from Chow king foo in a southerly direction 340 le. Its area amounts to twenty-nine le, and it pays 12,499 leang in taxes.

Sin gan is a town of the third rank, and dependent upon Kwang chow foo; distance from Canton in a north-east direction 200 le. Its area amounts to fifty le, and pays in taxes 11,623 leang. There are three towns in the district of Canton, whose names begin with Sin, new; Sin hwy, The New Association; Sin ning, The New Repose; and Sin gan, The New Rest. Kwang tung tsuen too p. 3 v. 4 v et r. 8 r, Ning (8026) is now always written without sin or heart, being the ming or proper name of the reigning emperor. By a mistake it is stated in the Indo-Chinese Gleaner (iii. 108.), that Ning was the proper name of Këa king. The proper name of the reigning emperor is considered sacred, and must be spelled differently during his life-time.

[95] A Pa tsung, a kind of inferior military officer, says Dr. Morrison, under the word pa, (8103.)

[96] Laou ya, Laou ya kang, the mountain ridge of Laou ya, is fifteen le from the town of the third rank called Shĭh ching. Shih ching hëen belongs to the district Kaou chow foo. Kwang tung tsuen too, 16v. 9r.

[97] Crackers made of gunpowder, and the gong, are used at every Chinese festival.

[98] The name of a temple which Europeans commonly call a Pagoda.

[99] Keun in Chinese, Kwa according to the Canton pronunciation. It is true it is somewhat awkward to speak of Madam Ching and Mr. Paou, but it may be remarked that the Chinese use their familiar expressions foo or keun in the same manner as we use Mr. and Mrs.

[100] In the text is only Chow (1355); but I think it must here be taken for the city or town of Canton.

[101] About the towns which are mentioned in our text, the reader may compare the notes to the first book. It is quite impossible to ascertain by the text alone if there was only one military officer appointed for all these places or not. In the latter case it would be necessary to read Chuh url and Kang gĭh; but we see by p. 95 that Chuh url kang gĭh is the name of one commander.

[102] Tung king and Cochin-China now form one empire, under the name of Annam or Annan. The king of this country acknowledges the supremacy of the Chinese emperor, and sends every year a tribute to Pekin. The time of the reign of every king is known by an honorary title, like that of the emperors of China. The honorary title of the period of the reigning king, to whom the message was sent, was Kea lung (good fortune), the younger brother of King ching, called by his proper name Făh ying (according to the Chinese Mandarin pronunciation): he is often mentioned in the beginning of the first book of our History of the Pirates. The king, commonly called Kea lung, died Feb. 1820, in the 19th year of his reign. His son, who still reigns, mounted the throne on the third day after his father's death, assuming the words Ming ming (Illustrious fortune), as the designation of his reign. See the "Indo-Chinese Gleaner," vol. i. p. 360. It was falsely reported that Ming ming was murdered some days after his succession to the throne (Indo-Chinese Gleaner, l. c. p. 416), and this report is stated as a fact in the generally very accurate work, Hamilton's East-India Gazetteer, vol. i. p. 430. The reader may find some interesting particulars concerning the present state of Cochin-China, in the Canton Register 1829, No. 13. Chinese influence seems to be now predominating in that country.

[103] Teaou (10044) in our text is written with a vulgar character.

[104] Chih (Kang he under radical 112. B. vii. p. 19 r.) seems to indicate that they have been put to death by cutting one member after another.

[105] Hae kăng is a town of the third rank and dependent on the district metropolis Luy chow foo. Luy chow foo is westerly from Canton 1380 le. Hae kang is near to its district metropolis Kwang tung tsuen too, p. v. 9 v. See the Notes, p. 9, of this work.

[106] Hae fung is a town of the third rank, and dependent on the district metropolis Hwy chow foo. It is in a north-east direction from its district metropolis 300 le. Its area contains forty le, and pays 17,266 leang in taxes.

Suy ke is a town of the third rank, and dependent upon the district metropolis Luy chow foo; distance from Luy chow foo in a northerly direction 180 le.

Hŏ poo is a town of the third rank, and dependant on the district metropolis Lëen chow foo. This town is near to the district metropolis, has an area of thirty le, and pays 7,458 leang in taxes. Kwang tung tsuen too, p. 6 r. p. 9 v.

[107] Junk is the Canton pronunciation of chuen, ship.

[108] The pirates had many other intimate acquaintances on shore, like Doctor Chow of Macao.

[109] The pirates were always afraid of this. We find the following statement concerning the Chinese pirates, taken from the records in the East-India House, and printed in Appendix C. to the Report relative to the trade with the East-Indies and China, in the sessions 1820 and 1821 (reprinted 1829), p 387.

"In the year 1808, 1809, and 1810, the Canton river was so infested with pirates, who were also in such force, that the Chinese government made an attempt to subdue them, but failed. The pirates totally destroyed the Chinese force; ravaged the river in every direction; threatened to attack the city of Canton, and destroyed many towns and villages on the banks of the river; and killed or carried off, to serve as Ladrones, several thousands of inhabitants.

"These events created an alarm extremely prejudicial to the commerce of Canton, and compelled the Company's supercargoes to fit out a small country ship to cruize for a short time against the pirates."

[110] That the whole family must suffer for the crime of one individual, seems to be the most cruel and foolish law of the whole Chinese criminal code.

[111] The Hoo mun, or Bocca Tigris.

[112] We know by the "History of the Chinese Pirates," that these "wasps of the ocean," to speak with Yuen tsze yung lun, were originally divided into six squadrons.

[113] In the barbarous Chinese-English spoken at Canton, all things are indiscriminately called chop. You hear of a chop-house, chop-boat, tea-chop, Chaou-chaou-chop, etc. To give a bill or agreement on making a bargain is in Chinese called chă tan; chă in the pronunciation of Canton is chop, which is then applied to any writing whatever. See Dr. Morrison's English and Chinese Dictionary under the word chop.

[114] The following is the Character of the Chinese of Canton, as given in ancient Chinese books: "People of Canton are silly, light, weak in body, and weak in mind, without any ability to fight on land." The Indo-Chinese Gleaner, No. 19.

[115] Joss is a Chinese corruption of the Portuguese Dios, God. The Joss, or idol, of which Mr. Glasspoole speaks in the San po shin, which is spoken of in the work of Yuen tsze.

[116] Yuen tsze reported the memorable deed of the beautiful Mei ying at the end of the first book of his history.

[117] The Chang lung vessels.

[118] Probably the wife of Ching yĭh, whose family name was Shĭh, or stone.

[119] The Chinese in Canton only eat a particular sort of rat, which is very large and of a whitish colour.

Transcriber's note:

The transcriber added a Table of Contents to assist with navigation.