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.
which Mr Anson proposed to take with him, were cloathed in an uniform dress, resembling that of the watermen on the Thames; they were in number eighteen and a coxswain; they had scarlet jackets and blue silk; waistcoats, the whole trimmed with silver buttons, and with silver badges on their jackets and caps.  As it was apprehended, and even asserted, that the payment of the customary duties for the Centurion and her prize would be demanded by the regency of Canton, and would be insisted on previous to the granting a permission for victualling the ship for her future voyage, the commodore, who was resolved never to establish so dishonourable a precedent, took all possible precaution to prevent the Chinese from facilitating the success of their unreasonable pretensions, by having him in their power at Canton; and, therefore, for the security of his ship, and the great treasure on board her, he appointed his first lieutenant, Mr Brett, to be captain of the Centurion under him, giving him proper instructions for his conduct; directing him, particularly, if he, the commodore, should be detained at Canton on account of the duties in dispute, to take out the men from the Centurion’s prize, and to destroy her; and then to proceed down the river through the Bocca Tigris with the Centurion alone, and to remain without that entrance till he received further orders from Mr Anson.

These necessary steps being taken, which were not unknown to the Chinese, it should seem as if their deliberations were in some sort embarrassed thereby.  It is reasonable to imagine, that they were in general very desirous of getting the duties to be paid them, not perhaps solely in consideration of the amount of those dues, but to keep up their reputation for address and subtlety, and to avoid the imputation of receding from claims on which they had already so frequently insisted:  However, as they now foresaw that they had no other method of succeeding than by violence, and that even against this the commodore was prepared, they were at last disposed, I conceive, to let the affair drop, rather than entangle themselves in an hostile measure, which they found would only expose them to the risk of having the whole navigation of their port destroyed, without any certain prospect of gaining their favourite point.

However, though there is reason to imagine that these were their thoughts at that time, yet they could not depart at once from the evasive conduct to which they had hither to adhered.  For when the commodore, on the morning of the 1st of October, was preparing to set out for Canton, his linguist came to him from the mandarine, who attended his ship, to tell him that a letter had been received from the viceroy of Canton, desiring the commodore to put off his going thither for two or three days:  But in the afternoon of the same day another linguist came on board, who, with much seeming fright, told Mr Anson that the viceroy had expected him up that day, that the counsel was

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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