CHINA. Our latest news comprised the capture of the city of Chapoo, a large place, carrying on an extensive trade with Japan; and we have now to announce further important successes. The extensive batteries at the mouth, and on the banks, of the Woo-sung river have been taken and destroyed, and the city of Shang-hai occupied by our troops, its public buildings burnt, and its rich granaries, the property of the [Chinese] government, given up to the people. The opposition offered at the entrance of the river was considerable, an incessant cannonade being kept up for two hours ere the enemy showed any symptoms of submission. This engagement took place on the 16th June. . . . (420)

No word is offered as to the cause of the conflict — the illcit importation of opium by the British East India Company and Chinese government's futile attempts to halt the trade and the concomitant addiction of the vast majority of the male adult population in China's coastal cities. British readers of The Illustrated London News could thrill to news of Britain's obvious military and technological superiority five months earlier, comparing the theatrical-looking "Chinese gun with bamboo sight" (whose length, though given in the text as eleven feet, is hardly apparent from the picture) with the destructive force of "The Nemesis Steamer Destroying Chinese War Junks, in Canton River" (420).

References

The Illustrated London News I, No. 27 (12 November 1842): 420-21.


Victorianism: An
Overview History British Empire>/ Opium Wars

Last modified 16 September 2006