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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Tinghai was made a British base of supplies


[Sidenote:

Religious discussions]

[Sidenote: Chinese naval brigade]

[Sidenote: Capture of Chusan]

In England, too, church questions temporarily rose uppermost during debates in Parliament over the proposed government assistance to schools in which the Douay Bible, or Roman Catholic version of the Scriptures, was used. On account of these Parliamentary debates, and the attempted reform of Irish registration by which more Roman Catholic voters were to be admitted, a loud anti-Popery cry was raised by the English Tories. Once more the House of Peers rejected a bill for removing the political disabilities of the Jews, after its passage through the Commons by a handsome majority of 113 yeas. The attention of Englishmen at this time was diverted to questions of foreign policy. The British expedition against China had arrived at the mouth of the Canton River in June. A naval blockade was established in Chinese waters. The Chinese retaliated by offering a reward for every Englishman taken, and a prize of $20,000 for the destruction of a British man-of-war. Sir Gordon Bremer sent an expedition against the Island of Chusan. The Chinese officials refused to surrender until after the city of Tinghai had been all but demolished by the English guns. Tinghai was made a British base of supplies, but proved a very unhealthy place. The Chinese capture of an English subject, Vincent Stanton, was followed

by a British expedition into the Canton River. The barrier forts, after a heavy bombardment, were taken by storm. Stanton was released. The British fleet made demonstrations at Amay, Ningpo, and in the Gulf of Pechili. Emperor Taouk-Wang sent for troops from the interior. Mandarin Lin, who had entered into negotiations with the British, was degraded and was succeeded by Viceroy Keshen of Peiho. Keshen received Lord Palmerston's formal demands upon China and forwarded them to Pekin. By dilatory tactics he succeeded in gaining a breathing space.

[Sidenote: Burmese expedition]

[Sidenote: Sikhs restive]

[Sidenote: Fall of Kelat]

[Sidenote: Todd leaves Herat]

In India, the British occupation of Kabul continued. New trouble broke out in Burma where the British Resident was expelled from Ava. An expedition had to be sent against Burma. The death of Runjit Singh led to a series of revolutions which shook the Sikh dominion to its foundations. The successive deaths of Runjit Singh's son and grandson, who had succeeded him as Maharajas, led to a general belief that they had been murdered by the Prime Minister, Dhian Singh. All the chief Sirdars rose against Dhian. The Sikh army of Khalsak, numbering 7,000 soldiers, became a menace for Hindustan. In July, the British garrison of Kelat in Beluchistan was overpowered by the natives. Lord Auckland had to prepare another expedition to restore English prestige in that quarter. Kelat was retaken by the British in November. New complications arose at Herat. This had long been the bone of contention between Great Britain and Russia in Central Asia. British ascendency over Herat had been gained by large financial subsidies, which had been spent in frustrating the designs of the Persians and Russians in that quarter. Major d'Arcy Todd, the English envoy at Herat, incensed by King Kamram's continued dealings with Russia, withheld the further payment of the British subsidies, unless British troops were admitted to Herat. The situation became so acute that Major Todd on his own authority threw up his post and left Herat. It was a severe setback for British influence in Central Asia. Lord Auckland in exasperation dismissed his erstwhile ambassador from political employ. Todd found a soldier's death on the field of Ferozeshahar. The continued rebellion of the Sarawacks in Borneo gave the British an opportunity for interference there. Sir James Brooke, at the head of a British expedition, helped the Sultan of Borneo in quelling the rising.


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