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Despatch from Lord Elgin, 1857

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Parkes 43/4

Scope and Contents

A copy of despatch from Lord Elgin, Hong Kong, to Governor-General Yeh of Liang-Kwangs, 12 December 1857, in Chinese, with a short descriptive note in English. Elgin reports that since the opening of five ports for trade, Kwangtung has been the worst one, and foreigners are often bullied there. The agreements made in the treaty of Nanking have not been fulfilled, and there has been a refusal to provide compensation for the losses occasioned by the event of the insulting of the British flag and British negotiators entering Canton. Elgin insists that the British be allowed to enter the city, and demands compensation. He sets a time limit of ten days for a reply, after which he will attack Canton if Yeh rejects his demands or remains silent.


  • Creation: 1857


Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

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2 sheet(s) (2 sheets)

Language of Materials



The English version of the despatch can be found in D. Bonner-Smith and E.W.R. Lumby, eds, 'The Second China War, 1856-1860' (London, 1954), no. 162, pp. 252-255. The Chinese version can be found in J.Y. Wong, 'Anglo-Chinese Relations, 1839-1860: A Calendar of Chinese Documents in the British Foreign Office Records' (Oxford University Press, 1983), 'Elgin to Yeh Ming-ch'en', 12 December 1857, FO.682/1990/6, p. 261.

Repository Details

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