Monday, December 22, 2014 | By: Rudi Butt

Treaty of Nanking 南京條約

Updated January 5, 2015

I've had these in my notes for a very long while and hadn't thought of posting them as the information is so commonly available on the web, until I realized there wasn't a side-by-side bilingual version. The biggest motivation to compile this post came from my recent discovery of the image of the entire treaty uploaded by the National Palace Museum in Taipei 國立故宮博物院 that I clearly want to share. So, here it its, the single most important document in the history of Hong Kong. (12/29/2014)

The Treaty, as far as I know, did not have a formal title at the time of execution. The British called it the “Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Commerce Between Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and the Emperor of China, Nanking, 1842”. Da Qing called it 萬年和約 (Peace Treaty of Ten Thousand Years). Journalists in Hong Kong and Singapore at the time simply referred it to as the Commercial Treaty. The Treaty, of course, is best known as Treaty of Nanking - to commemorate the venue at which it was signed - although I've no idea from when it was so called. In China it was also known as the the Treaty of Jiangnin 江寧條約 since Nanking (Nanjing) was formerly known as Jiangnin.

The Full Text of Treaty of Nanking.

Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc., etc., etc. To All and Singular to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting ! Whereas a Treaty between Us and Our Good Brother The Emperor of China, was concluded and signed, in the English and Chinese Languages, on board Our Ship the Cornwallis, at Nanking, on the Twenty-ninth day of August, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-two, by the Plenipotentiaries of Us and of Our said Good Brother, duly and respectively authorized for that purpose; which Treaty is hereunto annexed in Original.
Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the Emperor of China, being desirous of putting an end to the misunderstandings and consequent hostilities which have arisen between the two Countries, have resolved to conclude a Treaty for that purpose, and have therefore named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say: Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Sir Henry Pottinger, Bart., a Major General in the Service of the East India Company, etc., etc.;
And His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of China, the High Commissioners Keying, a Member of the Imperial House, a Guardian of the Crown Prince and General of the Garrison of Canton; and Elepoo, of Imperial Kindred, graciously permitted to wear the insignia of the first rank, and the distinction of Peacock's feather, lately Minister and Governor General etc., and now Lieutenant-General Commanding at Chapoo: Who, after having communicated to each other their respective Full Powers and found them to be in good and due form, have agreed upon, and concluded, the following Articles:
Article 1.
There shall henceforward be Peace and Friendship between Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the Emperor of China, and between their respective Subjects, who shall enjoy full security and protection for their persons and property within the Dominions of the other.
Article 2.
His Majesty the Emperor of China agrees that British Subjects, with their families and establishments, shall be allowed to reside, for the purpose of carrying on their Mercantile pursuits, without molestation or restraint at the Cities and Towns of Canton, Amoy, Foochow-fu, Ningpo, and Shanghai, and Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, etc., will appoint Superintendents or Consular Officers, to reside at each of the above-named Cities or Towns, to be the medium of communication between the Chinese Authorities and the said Merchants, and to see that the just Duties and other Dues of the Chinese Government is hereafter provided for, are duly discharged by Her Britannic Majesty's Subjects.
Article 3.
It being obviously necessary and desirable, that British Subjects should have some Port whereat they may careen and refit their Ships, when required, and keep Stores for that purpose, His Majesty the Emperor of China cedes to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, etc., the Island of Hongkong, to be possessed in perpetuity by Her Britannic Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, and to be governed by such Laws and Regulations as Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, etc., shall see fit to direct.
Article 4.
The Emperor of China agrees to pay the sum of Six Millions of Dollars as the value of Opium which was delivered up at Canton in the month of March 1839, as a Ransom for the lives of Her Britannic Majesty's Superintendent and Subjects, who had been imprisoned and threatened with death by the Chinese High Officers.
Article 5.
The Government of China having compelled the British Merchants trading at Canton to deal exclusively with certain Chinese Merchants called Hong Merchants (or Cohong) who had been licensed by the Chinese Government for that purpose, the Emperor of China agrees to abolish that practice in future at all Ports where British Merchants may reside, and to permit them to carry on their mercantile transactions with whatever persons they please, and His Imperial Majesty further agrees to pay to the British Government the sum of Three Millions of Dollars, on account of Debts due to British Subjects by some of the said Hong Merchants (or Cohong), who have become insolvent, and who owe very large sums of money to Subjects of Her Britannic Majesty.
Article 6.
The Government of Her Britannic Majesty having been obliged to send out an Expedition to demand and obtain redress for the violent and unjust Proceedings of the Chinese High Authorities towards Her Britannic Majesty's Officer and Subjects, the Emperor of China agrees to pay the sum of Twelve Millions of Dollars on account of the Expenses incurred, and Her Britannic Majesty's Plenipotentiary voluntarily agrees, on behalf of Her Majesty, to deduct from the said amount of Twelve Millions of Dollars, any sums which may have been received by Her Majesty's combined Forces as Ransom for Cities and Towns in China, subsequent to the 1st day of August 1841.
Article 7.
It is agreed that the Total amount of Twenty-one Millions of Dollars, described in the three preceding Articles, shall be paid as follows:
Six Millions immediately.
Six Millions in 1843. That is: Three Millions on or before the 30th of the month of June, and Three Millions on or before the 31st of December.
Five Millions in 1844. That is: Two Millions and a Half on or before the 30th of June, and Two Millions and a half on or before the 31st of December.
Four Millions in 1845. That is: Two Millions on or before the 30th of June, and Two Millions on or before the 31st of December; and it is further stipulated, that Interest at the rate of 5 per cent. per annum, shall be paid by the Government of China on any portions of the above sums that are not punctually discharged at the periods fixed.
Article 8.
The Emperor of China agrees to release unconditionally all Subjects of leer Britannic Majesty (whether Natives of Europe or India) who may be in confinement at this moment, in any part of the Chinese Empire.
Article 9.
The Emperor of China agrees to publish and promulgate, under His Imperial Sign Manual and Seal, a full and entire amnesty and act of indemnity, to all Subjects of China on account of their having resided under, or having had dealings and intercourse with, or having entered the Service of Her Britannic Majesty, or of Her Majesty's Officers, and His Imperial Majesty further engages to release all Chinese Subjects who may be at this moment in confinement for similar reasons.
Article 10.
His Majesty the Emperor of China agrees to establish at all the Ports which are by the 2nd Article of this Treaty to be thrown open for the resort of British Merchants, a fair and regular Tariff of Export and Import Customs and other Dues, which Tariff shall be publicly notified and promulgated for general information, and the Emperor further engages, that when British Merchandise shall have once paid at any of the said Ports the regulated Customs and Dues agreeable to the Tariff, to be hereafter fixed, such Merchandise may be conveyed by Chinese Merchants, to any Province or City in the interior of the Empire of China on paying a further amount as Transit Duties which shall not exceed per cent. On the tariff value of such goods.
Article 11.
It is agreed that Her Britannic Majesty's Chief High Officer in China shall correspond with the Chinese High Officers, both at the Capital and in the Provinces, under the term "Communication" 照會 [pinyin zhàohuì]. The Subordinate British Officers and Chinese High Officers in the Provinces under the terms "Statement" 申陳 [pinyin shēnchén ]on the part of the former, and on the part of the latter "Declaration" 劄行 [pinyin zhāháng], and the Subordinates of both Countries on a footing of perfect equality. Merchants and others not holding official situations and, therefore, not included in the above, on both sides, to use the term "Representation" 稟明 [pinyin bǐngmíng ] in all Papers addressed to, or intended for the notice of the respective Governments.
Article 12.
On the assent of the Emperor of China to this Treaty being received and the discharge of the first installment of money, Her Britannic Majesty's Forces will retire from Nanking and the Grand Canal, and will no longer molest or stop the Trade of China. The Military Post at Chinhai will also be withdrawn, but the Islands of Koolangsoo and that of Chusan will continue to be held by Her Majesty's Forces until the money payments, and the arrangements for opening the Ports to British Merchants be completed.
Article 13.
The Ratification of the Treaty by Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, etc., and His Majesty the Emperor of China shall be exchanged as soon as the great distance which separates England from China will admit; but in the meantime counterpart copies of it, signed and sealed by the Plenipotentiaries on behalf of their respective Sovereigns, shall be mutually delivered, and all its provisions and arrangements shall take effect.
Done at Nanking and Signed and Sealed by the Plenipotentiaries on board Her Britannic Majesty's ship Cornwallis, this twenty-ninth day of August, 1842, corresponding with the Chinese date, twenty-fourth day of the seventh month in the twenty-second Year of Taou Kwang.

(L.S.) Henry Pottinger,
Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary.
Chinese Signatures (3).[1]
Chinese Seal.[2]
[Instrument of Ratification]
We, having seen and considered the Treaty aforesaid, have approved, accepted, and confirmed the same in all and every one of its Articles and Clauses, as We do by these Presents approve, accept, confirm, and ratify it for Ourselves, Our Heirs, and Successors:Engaging and Promising upon Our Royal Word, that We will sincerely and faithfully perform and observe all and singular the things which are contained and expressed in the Treaty aforesaid, and that We will never suffer the same to be violated by any one, or transgressed in any manner, as far as it lies in Our Power.
For the greater Testimony and Validity of all which, We have caused the Great Seal of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to be affixed to these Presents, which We have signed with Our Royal Hand.
Given at Our Court at Windsor Castle, the Twenty-eighth day of December, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-two, and in the Sixth Year of Our Reign.

(Signed) Victoria R.

[1] These were of, from right to left (Chinese text are written from right to left, vertically) Keying 耆英, Elepoo 伊里布 and Niukien 牛鑑. Keying, being the most senior of the three Qing officials, signed on the far right, the rest went leftward according to seniority. It is also important for me to take a moment to clarify that these were not formal signatures, but rather stylized marks known as 花押 (Kao). A Kao mark usually combines one or more characters of one's name with certain self-styled art form. Ironically, though not formal, Kao had been quite commonly used in executing legal documents because it is much harder to forge. Kao was invented in China around 550AD and was introduced to Japan in the 10th Century. The Western world became aware of its existence from Japan and hence the Japanized name.
The images on the left provide a side-by-side comparison of signature and Kao of the same person; they belonged to Da Qing statesman Li Hung-chang (Li Hongzhang) 李鴻章. It's a pity that I have as yet to find the signature of Keying.

[2] There were two types: the official seal known as Quan Fang 關防 and the Qi Feng Zhang 騎縫章. The former was the rectangle seal set right above the Kao of the three men. It was carved in Manchu script and was probably belonged to Keying since he was the head of the Qing delegation. Quan Fang was an “ad hoc” official seal given to an official tasked with a special assignment. In this case Keying was the Imperial Commissioner and Plenipotentiary of Emperor Tao-kuang (Daoguang) 道光帝 appointed for the sole purpose to negotiate with the British to end the war. Naturally, Keying would have in his possession another official seal, known as Guan Yin 官印 and carved in both Manchu and Han script, for his designation as General of the Canton garrison. The Qi Feng Zhang was stamped on every adjourning pages attached to each other by ribband to ensure the pages would not be tampered with. It is probably called “fan stamping” in English. In this case there were two, a lager one for pages with Chinese text and one smaller for the English. Both were carved in Manchu script.

This is a complete image of the Treaty of Nanking posted on the Internet by the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

Notable Players in the Peace Talks

Notable means simply men whose names I was able to find who were there in Nanking physically engaged in the talks, whether formally or through back channels. I choose the words “peace talks” rather than “negotiations” because there wasn't much to negotiate. Pottinger clearly was delighted Keying had gotten the short end of the stick. The Qing army was losing. Niukien, the man in charge of defending Nanking, wanted no fighting. Pottinger had a whole fleet of man o'war with their batteries pointing at the city wall of Nanking; he was the bullier and was very certain his opponents had not the constitution to stand up to the bullying. Best of all, and unlike Keying, who had to report his every move and await his orders from the Emperor and the all mighty Council of State 軍機處, Pottinger was his own master insofar as he was able to strike a better deal than the Company's previous attempt – the Convention of Chuenpee 穿鼻草約 in 1841. He saw no reason why he was not getting that.

NameDesignation, etc.
Henry Pottinger 砵甸乍
Variant names: 璞鼎查, 朴鼎喳. Baronet. Colonel in the service of the British East India Company. British Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in China. Chief Superintendent of British Trade in China. [In the preamble, he had his military rank written as Major-General.]
George Alexander Malcolm 麻恭Major, 3rd (Prince of Wales's) Dragoon Guards. Secretary of Legation.
Richard Woosnam 吳士南Army doctor. Surgeon to Henry Pottinger since 1841. Assistant Secretary of Legation.
John Robert Morrison 馬儒翰
Chinese Secretary and Chief Interpreter. Employee of the British Foreign Ministry. Second son of Robert Morrison 馬禮遜, the first protestant missionary to work in China.
Robert Thom 羅伯聃
Interpreter. Employee of the opium firm, Jardine, Matheson & Co.; seconded to the British armed forces during the First Opium War.
Karl Friedrich August Gützlaff
Variant names: Charles Gützlaff, 郭實獵. Interpreter. Employee of the British Foreign Ministry. Prussian missionary belonged to the Netherlands Missionary Society. Lately interpreter of the opium firm, Jardine, Matheson & Co. Lately British magistrate of Chusan (Zhoushan) 舟山 following the British occupation of the island in 1841.
Harry Smith Parkes 巴夏禮
Official role in the peace talks unknown [to me]. Parkes married Karl Gützlaff's sister Mary Wanstaff Gützlaff. He was employed by John Robert Morrison. It is unknown [to me] if he was an employee of the British Foreign Ministry. He was attached to the expedition force to sail up the Yangtze River from June 13, 1842.
Keying (Qiying) 耆英
Head of the delegation. Imperial Commissioner. Direct Imperial Clansman (Aisin Gioro 愛新覺羅). Member of Gulu Lamun Gusa (Manchu Plain Blue Banner) 正藍旗. Tutor of the Crown Prince 太子少保 [A civil title; he performed no tutorial duties of any sort.]. Military Official of the First Rank 頭品頂戴. General of Canton Garrison.
Elepoo (Yilibu) 伊里布
Second-in-command of the delegation. Imperial Commissioner. Collateral Imperial Clansman (Aisin Gioro 愛新覺羅). Member of Kubuhe Suwayan Gusa (Bordered Yellow Banner) 镶黄旗. Military Official of the Fourth Rank 四品顶戴. Lieutenant-General, Commander of Chapoo (Zhapu) Garrison 乍浦副都統.
Niukien (Niujian) 牛鑑Variant name Newkeen. Viceroy of Liang-Kiang 兩江總督, based in Nanking.
Huang Entong 黄恩彤
Mayor of Nanking 江蘇按察使署江寧布政使
Chang Hsi (Zhang Xi) 張喜Senior servant in Elepoo's household.
Chen Zhigang 陳志剛Waiwei of the Ninth Rank 九品外委 [equivalent to a Lance-Corporal].
Liu Jianxun 劉建勛He was described as a trusted lieutenant of Keying. It is unknown [to me] whether he was a government official or a member of the Keying household.
Tafenbu 塔芬布Company Commander of Manchu Banner Army at Mukden Palace (Shenyang Imperial Palace] 盛京佐領 (either of Third or Fourth Rank).
Xu Jiahuai 徐家槐County Mayor of Taicang (a county of Suzhou) 太倉知州
Xie Jichao 謝繼超Waiwei of the Ninth Rank 九品外委 [equivalent to a Lance-Corporal].


June 165/9[2]Battle of Woosung (Wusong) 吳淞戰役. British forces overrun the battery at Woosung Estuary 吳淞口. Bosan County (Baoshan) 寶山縣 falls.
June 195/12Shanghai falls.
July 216/14Chin-kiang-fu (present day City of Zhenjiang 鎮江市) falls. British armed forces head for Nanking.
July 266/19Emperor appoints Keying and Elepoo Imperial Commissioners.
July 276/20Emperor instructs Keying and Elepoo to engage the British armed forces in peace talks.
July 306/23Keying informs Pottinger in writing his government's desire to negotiate a truce and discuss terms for an agreement to end all hostilities.
August 46/2812 British naval vessels arrive Scandals Gap 草鞋峽 outside Nanking.

Niukien requests the presence of Keying and Elepoo at an emergency meeting in Nanking. At the time, both of them are in Wuxi 無錫.
August 67/1A full complement of fighting force of the British fleet of no less than 80 vessels and 4,500 troops are stationed outside Nanking.
August 77/2Elepoo sends Chang Hsi to Nanking ahead of himself. Chang was given a temporary (or brevet) commission of the fifth rank military officer 賞五品軍功頂戴 [Roughly the rank of a captain or a major in the Western army ranking.].
August 87/3Elepoo arrives Nanking.
August 97/4Pottinger arrives Nanking.
Elepoo sends Chang Hsi, Chen Zhigang and Liu Jianxun to see Pottinger carrtying a letter he wrote to the British Plenipotentiary. Pottinger dismisses Elepoo's communication as unfocused and unhelpful to the situation at hand. The properness of Keying and Elepoo's credentials at the peace talks is discussed; the issue is settled on the basis that they are Imperial Commissioners instructed by the Emperor to engage the British armed forces in peace talks, although they have not been appointed Plenipotentiaries. It is agreed that the British delegate will layout their demands in writing for collection by their Qing counterpart on the following day. Additionally, Morrison demands an immediate payment of 3 million dollars as ransom for Nanking.
August 107/5Chen Zhigang is sent to the headquarters of the expedition force to collect the statement of terms of demand 向大清國所要各條. He also carries Niukien's reply to Morrison to say that it is difficult to raise three million dollars in such a short notice, the office of the Viceroy of Liang-Kiang, however, plans to instead offer one million dollars to compensate the expenses of the expedition forces. Chen is sent back with a message that the British will attack at daybreak the following morning.

Not long after that Xu Jiahuai goes to the headquarters of the expedition force as Niukien's envoy and vows to pay the demanded ransom, in full. Moments later, Elepoo, after having reviewed the British terms, again sends Chang Hsu to the British camp carrying two communications addressed to Pottinger. In the first one, he reiterates he and Keying are the accredited representative of Da Qing. In the second, he states he and Keying are authorized to negotiate and accept conditions relating to compensating opium dealers for opium confiscated [in March 1839], opening trading ports and lifting trade restrictions, etc., and to conclude and execute an agreement. He says further the negotiation may begin in earnest upon the arrival of Keying in Nanking. Pottinger finds the communications acceptable. He told Chang he is willing to forego the ransom demand.

August 117/6Keying arrives Nanking.
Pottinger sends Keying an ultimatum.
Chang, Huang, etc. met Melcolm and Morrison.
August 147/9Keying informs Pottinger the British terms have been accepted.
August 207/15Keying, Elepoo and Niukien met Pottinger.
August 297/24Treaty executed by Pottinger, Keiying, Elepoo and Niukien on board HMS Cornwallis.
September 68/2Emperor approves and accepts Treaty.
September 148/10British fleet begins its withdrawal from Nanking.
September 158/11Approval of Emperor arrives Nanking.
October 69/3The Yangtze River id free of British naval fighting vessels.
December 28Queen ratifies Treaty.
June 26Ratification is exchanged in Hong Kong.

[1] The year of the reign of Tao-kuang.
[2] Date in the lunar calendar (month/day).

Imperial Decrees

The following are Imperial response to memorials submitted by Keying and others pertaining to the Treaty. In the first, dated [to be verified] August 10, 1842 (the fifth day of the seventh month in the twenty second year of the reign of Tao-kuang) the Emperor authorized Keying to accept Pottinger's terms. In the second, dated [to be verified] September 6, 1842 (the second day of the eighth month of the same year), he approved and accepted the terms of the signed treaty. I'll certainly translate these into English, but it will take some time, as they were written in Literary Chinese and I'm not overly literary...



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


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