A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.
But the peculiar customs of the Chinese, only adapted to the entertainment of trading ships, and the apprehensions of the commodore, lest he should embroil the East-India company with the regency of Canton, if he should insist on being treated upon a different footing than the merchantmen, made him resolve to go first to Macao, before he ventured into the port of Canton.  Indeed, had not this reason prevailed with him, he himself had nothing to fear:  For it is certain that he might have entered the port of Canton, and might have continued there as long as he pleased, and afterwards have left it again, although the whole power of the Chinese empire had been brought together to oppose him.

[Footnote 7:  This circumspection has never availed much.  The Portuguese obtained this port and the adjoining territory of about 8 miles in circuit, as a reward for assistance given in extirpating a pirate who took refuge here.  But the ingratitude of the Chinese always grudged, and often violated, the immunities thus won from their fears.  The city, built after the European model, and originally possessed of both military strength and commercial consequence, has, through the carelessness of the Portuguese, and the exactions and insolence of their neighbours, dwindled into comparative insignificance.  According to Sir George Staunton’s account, the population does not now exceed 12000, and more than half is Chinese.  In short, Macao is virtually a Chinese town, where the Portuguese are merely tolerated.  The Chinese, it is certain, require almost any other treatment than condescension and good manners.  The reader will soon see in the narrative how practicable it is to reduce them to common sense—­one of the ingredients of it they have in a high degree, the desire of self-preservation.  The following quotation from a work recently published, may amuse him in the mean time, and serves besides to confirm the statement of the text.  “The situation of the Portuguese in Macao is particularly restrained, and that of their governor extremely unpleasant to him.  Although the latter invariably conducts himself with the greatest circumspection, cases still arise in which he cannot give way without entirely sacrificing the honour of his country, already greatly diminished in the eyes of the Chinese.  A few months only before our arrival (November 1805,) a circumstance happened fully illustrative of this; an account of which may tend to prove that, if the Portuguese possessed greater power at Macao, the cowardly Chinese would not dare to treat them with so little consideration, or, to speak more correctly, with so much contempt.  If Macao were in the hands of the English, or even of the Spaniards, the shameful dependence of this possession on the Chinese would soon fall to the ground; and, with the assistance of their important possessions in the vicinity of China, either of these nations established in Macao might bid defiance to the whole empire.  A Portuguese resident at Macao stabbed

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