PROGRESS OF THE OPIUM WAR.
An overland mail from India has brought further accounts of the ex- pedition against China.
The accounts from Chosen. to the 30th September, mention reports of negotiations between Captain Elliot and a Commissioner authorized by the Emperor of China to treat for the settlement of the existing dis- putes. No official despatches have been published : the only accounts are those contained in private letters in the Bombay Times and in the Canton Press. It appears from the former, that on the 9th August, Admiral G. Elliot, with a squadron consisting of the Wellesley, the Blonde, the Modeste, the Volage, the Pylades, and the Madagascar steamer, with accompanying tenders, arrived at the mouth of the Peiho, or Pekin river. An officer who accompanied the expedition gives the following narrative of proceedings ; which appears to be the most con- secutive and detailed of any that has been yet communicated.
" On the 11th, Captain C. Elliot, R. N., proceeded into the month of the river in the steamer, with the boats of all the men -of-war present, manned and armed ; and on our arriving at the bar, the steamer anchored, and the boats proceeded into the river with a flag of truce flying. On their arrival off the fortssat the entrance, a Mandarin beat pushed off to them, and received the Admiral's letter ; and after the expiration of six days, the time granted by his Excellency, a chop was received, stating the Emperor required ten days to con- sider; which time being agreed to, the squadron proceeded to the different islands in the Gulf of Pe-elle-lee to water and procure bullocks, the Ernaad transport proceeding with them. They succeeded very well in obtaining a supply, and returned to the anchorage by the 27th of August, the day ap- pointed; and the imperial chop was sent off to the ships, and on the 30th an interview took place between Captain Elliot and lac Shan, the Imperial Com- missioner, who is the third man in the empire, a Mandarin uf the first class, and Red Button ; and ever since, (that is, up to the time of our departure from the Peillo, on the 15th September,) negotiations have been going on ; and from all we can hear, it is generally believed that the Plenipotentiary is to proceed to Canton to meet Khe Shin, and then to settle affairs, if possible. A portion of the troops remain here (Chusan) to hold this place until matters are finally settled. When the interview took place, Khe Shan, the Imperial Commis- sioner, gave the party a splendid breakfast. The Chinese Government are much alarmed at our being in possession of Chusan ; they do not like our being so near their capital, and they will endeavour to keep us to the southward. The island of Lintao is spoken of as the place most likely where the English will be settled at ; but the Chinese would prefer our not having any settlement at all. They have offered to punish Lin in any way the English propose. The troops are very sickly at this place, and we are all looking out for a speedy settlement of affairs. Captain Anstruther, of the Madras Artillery, was out sketching, a short distance from the city of Chusan, and was seized by the Chinese and made prisoner : he is now at a place called Ning-po, and well treated. The authorities at that place have sent over to say they have twenty more pri- soners; but whom they can he we cannot make out. They say, if we give up Chusan, they will give up the prisoners. The Alligator had a brush with them at Amoy, and returned to this place. The day after the affair, 400 chests of opium were sold, at very high prices indeed--1,184 dol:ars a chest, so it is said. The Chinese came on board the ships here to purchase; thinking we have come here to sell opium only, and they will have the drug at all risks : in fact, the smugglers benefit much by the war, and they hope it may last. Sup- plies of all kinds in the eating and drinking way are in great demand. " When at Pe-che-lee, I went into the Peiho, or Pekin river, with the steamer : on our approach to the ricer, the forts, two miserable affairs, were manned with Chinese soldiers. We had a flag of truce flying, and a Mandarin boat came off to us. When we anchored about a mile below the forts, the whole of the beach was crowded with thousands of the inhabitants to see the steamer. They were quite astonished. The forts had three old guns mounted on sand-bags ; but they never expected that we should attempt to pass the bar, it being shallow. However, we managed to cross, and can say we are the only European vessel and steamer in the world that ever was in the river leading to the capital of the Celestial Empire. During our stay at Pe- che-lee, we had a trip to the Great Wall of China with the Admiral. The end comes down into the sea about half a mile. There is a fort on the end of it with a large tower : it is one of the most stupendous affair's I ever beheld. It appears about thirty feet high, and about the same width: it has a watch-tower about every mile on it. The land is very high in the vicinity, some of the hills about 3,000 feet ; and the wall goes completely over the tops of the mountains, and is seen as far as the eye can reach. It is impossible to say any thing for certain regarding politics, but it is generally supposed the Chinese will come to terms. Our stopping their trade entirely, and the taking Chosen and the barrier forts of Macao, bring the Chinese Government into very low reputation with its own subjects ; and at this the Court at Pekin are much alarmed, fearing revolution may break out. All junks are stopped and detained, but have in some instances been released again the whole coast is now in a complete state of blockade, but the inhabitants of Chasms appear to he coming in. Should our Government hold Chusan, it will be a place of much importance ; the whole trade would be thrown in here. The Pekin authorities are well aware of this, and would rather do any thing than have a protracted war. Under these cir- cumstances, I think matters will be soon settled."
Other accounts profess to give the terms imposed on the Emperor, to which he has agreed : it is affirmed that he is to pay 3,000,000/. sterling to the English. Other authorities, though still agreeing in the amount, say that 2,000,000/. of the stipulated sum is as indemnity for the opium seized, and 1,000,000/. for the expenses of the war. It seems clear, in- deed, that negotiations of some kind were entered into between the English Commissioner and the Commissioner of the Celestial Empire, though nothing certain was known of the results. Some accounts represent the acceptance of terms by the Emperor as merely a mt.ans of gaining time; and for that purpose he proposes an investigation into the conduct of the Commissioner Lin.
The Calcutta Englishman of the 16th November adds to the pre- ceding—
" We are informed that the negotiations were carried on most amicably by the Keshin, the Governor of the metropolitan province and third member of the Cabinet, and that every thing was granted that we required. The treaty, however, is to be signed at Canton by a third man, who is to be sent there from Pekin; and the Melville and Wellesley with great part of the fleet were to pro- ceed there immediately to meet him. Captain Elliot was gone to Ning-po to call for the delivery of Captain Anstruther of the Madras Artillery, and also of a Captain and Mrs. Noble, and the crew of the Kite, who had all been made prisoners. The Indian Oak, proceeding down with despatches, was wrecked upon the coast, which accounts for our being so long without intelligence. The blockade of the Canton river continued unabated ; and unless the Admiral was
admitted to treat immediately, according to the reply of the Minister at Pei- ho, very active measures were to be taken against the Bogue Forts and Canton, with the assistance of the Thirty-seventh Regiment M. N. I., and such troops as had not reached Chusan, and who will now be kept to the Southward."
In the mean time, the possession of Chusan threatens to be very destructive to our troops. A letter thence, dated September 30th, says-
" The troops are dreadfully sick. Quarters are taken, and they are to leave their hill, and come into town, when the rain ceases, which we have had for
some days. The Cameronians have lost thirty men, the Eighteenth about
24, the Forty-ninth about 15, and the Volunteers 24; the Artillery only one man, but have been more sickly than any other. The Cameronians had yes-
terday 545 men unfit for duty. This is a dreadful state of things. This island
has been drained of supplies, instead of their being obtained from the mainland." "No movement Southward is expected from Chusan before the 15th October. The Admiral was to leave Chusan for Ning-pa in one of the steamers
On the 30th September; and the Blenheim was warping out for the same desti- nation."
There has been some fighting at the barrier at Macao. From the preparations making by the Chinese, it was suspected that they intended to attack the English in Macao. It was therefore determined not to wait till they commenced hostilities, but to destroy the fortifications at the barrier, which had been lately strengthened. On the 19th Au-
gust, her Majesty's ships Hyacinth and Lame got under weigh, accom- panied by a steamer and transports, with the Bengal Volunteers and Marines on board. The ships took up a favourable position about six hundred yards from the fortifications- " At about half-past one o'clock, the Hyacinth began the cannonade; which was answered by the Chinese from their fort, or rather breastwork, consisting
of pyramids of sand-bags, having each a foundation of about nine yards square, and upon which the 32 pouuders made little or no impression. The Chinese had altogether twenty-four guns in the embrasures of this fortification, fifteen of which were pointed towards the ships ; but their fire was very soon silenced
by the Hyacinth and Larne, after the guns had been only thrice fired. There was besides, on this side of the barrier, and on territory hitherto considered as subject to Portuguese jurisdiction, a joss-house or temple, where there were
several cannon, from which a brisk fire was kept up upon the ships ; and it was observed that these guns carried further than those from the junks, many of whose shot fell short of the ships. Though several halls passed over the ships, they received no injury in their hulls; but a few balls passed through the awn- ing and sails of the Hyacinth. After the engagement had begun, the garrison
at the joss-house was reinforced by about three hundred Chinese s.Adiers, who marched to it from the town of Macao. There was besides a considerable en- campment filled with soldiers just behind the barrier, and sheltered by a sand-
bill; and it is supposed that there must altogether have been about two thou- sand Chinese soldiers on the spot, of whom a considerable proportion were armed with matchlocks. The distance from the barrier to Macao being scarcely
two miles, the whole of the engagement was witnessed from the town ; arid numerous spectators, Chinese as well as Portuguese and foreigners, crowned the adjacent heights.
"From half-past one until about half-past three o'clock, the ships kept up a heavy fire upon the fort and the junks behind; which was latterly only
faintly answered from the junks, but with more spirit from the joss-house.
Parties of soldiers were seen running to and fro between the barrier and the joss-house, often interrupted in their course by the shot passing over them, or ploughing up the ground near them ; when they would cower down, or creep along on all-fours. Twice we saw them remove a dead or wounded soldier. At about half-past two, the English troops began to be landed on the beach at some distance from and on the Chinese side of the fort. Some Chinese sol- diers here, favoured by the rising ground, crept and fired upon the parties land- ing; but a held-piece was brought on shore and planted on the height, and a sharp fire kept up from it upon the Chinese encampment below, upon the junks, and latterly also upon the joss-house, which, by the positive orders from Captain Smith, had till then been spared, as being considered on neutral ground ; but when the firing from it continued, all pretence to neutrality
of course ceased ; and a great number of soldiers were seen flying out of it, and from some mat-sheds, through which a few balls were sent, and
running back to Macao. At a little after four, all the troops being landed, (180 Spahis, 120 Marines, and 80 seamen, comminuted by Captain Mee, of the Bengal Volunteers,) they marched upon -the fort, which they found deserted; but a fire, when already in the fort, was opened upon them from the junks and the joss-house, which was soon silenced by the musketry of the volunteers. The Chinese still on board the junks tried to save themselves by leaping into the water; where many, it was supposed, were killed. All the guns were spiked, and every thing else in the fort destroyed and burnt. A powder-maga-- rine blew up; and two men were severely hurt by the explosion. The Chinese encampment was next burnt, and, in fact, every thing found on that side of the fort destroyed, with the exception of the junks, which escaped being burnt from there being no boats available to get at them. "The English had four men badly and two slightly wounded; a Marine had Isis arm shattered by a ball, and had to submit to amputation of the limb; another was shot in the body ; and two, as we have already said, badly injured by, the explosion of the powder-magazine. The loss of the Chinese cannot be known with any degree of certainty. Those connected with their Mandarins.- state it at only four killed ; but other statements are about fifty or sixty killed, and double that number wounded, and are probably more correct."
The kidnapping of Mr. Vincent Stanton, the acting British Chaplain at Macao, had. excited a great sensation there. Mr. Stanton went to bathe on the morning of the 6th of August, about a mile beyond the city-wall ; when he was seized and wounded by a party of Chinese ; their object being to obtain the reward offered for the capture of Eng- lishmen. The act is said to have been perpetrated by Wangehong, a reckless character, who has to answer for the guilt of burning the Bil- bayno and massacreing the crew of the Black Joke ; and who knowing. he would not have been countenanced in it by the local Mandarins, im- mediately conveyed his prisoner out of theirjurisdiction to Canton. Mr. Stanton underwent an examination before Commissioner Lin, and was forced to kneel down in his presence. The Portuguese Consul made an application for Mr. Stanton's liberation, as lie was seized on neutral ground ; but the application was not regarded.
Rumours were prevalent at Macao that Chusan had been retaken by the Chinese troops, who had introduced themselves into the town dis- guised as the old inhabitants ; and that two of the transports, and her Majesty's ship Melville, which had been hove down to be repaired, had been burned by them.
It seems that the trade, which previous to late occurrences had been rather more brisk than was to have been expected, has since entirely ceased. Almost all the English goods which were in deposit at the Customhouse at Macao had been removed on board the vessels at= Capsingmoon. The residents were in daily apprehension that Macao might at any hour be invaded and plundered by the Chinese.
The Malacca papers have got up a story, that accounts have been re- ceived there that our ships-of-war had taken the Bogue forts, and, after' forcing the passage of the Bocce Tigris, had proceeded to Canton. It is understood that this is not correct.