6. China's Gate Forced Open by the Western Powers

6.1. On the Eve of the Opium War: the Troubled Times

6.2. The High Tide of Anti-Opium Movement

6.3. The Opium War


6.1. On the Eve of the Opium War: the Troubled Times

Starting from the end of the 1820s, more and more conflicts began to take place between the expanding British Empire and the conservative Chinese Empire. Clashes between the two empires focussed on Canton, the longtime pivot of trade between the China and the West. Macao was not only adjacent to and partly governed from Canton, but also served as the residence of the British in China. Caught between two giants, Macao could not but be injured by the struggle, and entered a decade full of trouble.

The first Sino-British conflict affecting Macao began because several bankrupted Chinese firms owed the British Merchants a lot of money. In the autumn of 1829, William Henry Chichely Plowden, the President of the Select Committee of the British East India Company, who was in Macao, demanded a revision of trade regulations, and ordered twenty odd British merchant ships to anchor outside the mouth of the Pearl River, claiming that there would be no trade with China unless the British demand was met. Li Hongbin, the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, feared that with a large number of British ships assembling near Macao, the British might repeat the attempted invasion of Macao of 1808. He and Li Zenjie, the Provincial Naval Commander, had to hurriedly deploy troops. The officers and men of the Middle Battalion, Left Battalion and Roc Battalion of the Xiangshan Brigade, stationed in the area around Macao, got ready for action according to Li Hongbin's order: "Be combat-ready and stay calm and collected". The atmosphere inside and around Macao was outwardly relaxed with an underlying sense of urgency. The confrontation lasted until the next spring. Seeing that the Qing government refused to make any major concessions, the British merchants had no way out but to enter Canton and trade. Therefore, this conflict was ended peacefully, and the inhabitants in Macao only experienced a false alarm.

The second such conflict, in 1830, involved the ban on foreign women entering Canton. In the second half of 1830, the new President of the Select Committee of the British East India Company, William Baynes, brought his wife and a Portuguese servant-girl with him into Canton, violating the ban imposed by the Qing government. when the Guangdong authorities intended to drive the "foreign woman" and "foreign servant-girl" back to Macao, Baynes went so far as to order the British sailors to move the guns from the merchant ships to the foreign firms in Canton, getting ready to confront the Chinese troops. The Guangdong authorities paraded the armed forces and forced Baynes to send his wife and servant-girl back to Macao.

After the incident, some Chinese officials reported that the British frequently violated bans, and worried that the Chinese inhabitants in Macao, with some ability to speak foreign languages, might shelter the evil-doers. The Daoguang Emperor secretly ordered "these cases be strictly investigated one by one". The top officials of Guangdong hastened to strengthen their control over the Western businessmen, and revised the original regulations of "Keeping a sharp watch over the Foreigners". The new regulations stipulated: "whenever goods have been sold out, all the Western businessmen concerned must return to their ships or go to Macao as soon as possible. No one is allowed to stay without justification." They also stipulated that the Portuguese women employed by Western women were permitted to stay in Macao only and were not allowed to slip into Canton, or the Portuguese authorities in Macao would be held responsible. The Portuguese authorities took this charge seriously, and for more than a decade, no Portuguese women entered Canton.

The third Sino-British conflict that disturbed Macao arose because of the arrogant British flouting of the established Chinese administrative practice. In 1833, the British East India Company lost its national monopoly over trade with China. The first Chief Superintendent of Trade to China, William John Napier, appointed by the British government, arrived at Macao on July 15, 1834. After settling his wife and daughter in Macao, he went to Canton without permission, requesting a meeting with Lu Kun, the Viceroy of Two Guangs. According to the traditional practice, the request should have gone through the proper channels, beginning with the local Chinese officials. So Lu Kun told Napier to return to Macao to await instructions, but he outrageously refused. Soon afterwards, on Napier's orders, two British warships forced their way into Huangpu. Lu Kun had to strengthen the defence in Macao and break trade between China and Britain. He cut communications between Canton and Macao, deployed massive forces near Canton, and ordered He Yuezhong, the Commander of Yangjiang Division, to lead the naval force to patrol on the sea near Macao, and Wang Jinxiu, Vice Battalion Commander of Wuzhou Brigade, to lead 300 soldiers to defend Macao in cooperation with other troops. Meanwhile, the Viceroy ordered Qin Yuchang, the Commander of Xiangshan Brigade and other officials together with Vice Prefect of Coastal Defence to get prepared, and led troops to Macao and helped the Portuguese to defend their fortresses.

The Chinese army's large scale military manoeuvre filled Macao with an atmosphere of surprise, terror and confusion. The interpreters, compradors and servants employed by the British all fled for fear that they might be accused of collaborating with the enemy. The local gangsters, and possibly some Chinese soldiers, bullied, harassed and blackmailed the Macaonese. The British were frightened, for the self-proclaimed "Chinese soldiers", with no one knowing whether they were true or false, broke into their residences. To cope with problems, the Chinese officials hastily issued an official notice, "strictly prohibiting gangsters from disguising themselves as soldiers", and declaring that "the gangsters doing so would be investigated and punished severely".

The Portuguese authorities in Macao were unwilling to see the Chinese army stationed in their settlement. They humbly told the Guangdong authorities that "the Portuguese would rather defend Macao themselves, and absolutely they would not let the British seize the property they kept for generations from their hands". Therefore, the Chinese troops were soon withdrawn from Macao. The British thought that the way by which the Portuguese dealt with the Chinese army entering Macao and interference they made about the Chinese fled from Macao were very appropriate. When Napier was sent back to Macao under escort and died on November 11, but the trouble he had brought to Macao remained. Rumours about the incident were rampant in Beijing. Some officials reported to the court that the British had built fortresses and deployed guns in Macao and trained over 300 soldiers, so that Napier dared to order the British warships to force their way into the Tiger Gate. These officials asked the court to order the officials in Guangdong to destroy the fortresses and guns and to expel all the foreign soldiers from Macao. Upon seeing this report, the Daoguang Emperor's temper flared, and with sternness in his voice and countenance, he ordered the top civil and military officials in Guangdong to investigate and deal with the matter. He said that if troubles were covered up and allowed to fester, if reports were purposely vague, ambiguous and deceitful, the Viceroy of the Two Guangs and other officials in Guangdong had to be held personally responsibility.

The top officials of the whole Guangdong Province were all on tenterhooks. They sent a group representatives headed by Li Enyi, the Acting Administration Commissioner, and Li Zhenzhu, Acting Surveillance Commissioner, to Macao to investigate. Li Enyi and his colleagues questioned many Chinese inhabitants who had lived or run shops in Macao for a long time. Their testimony proved that what had been reported to the Emperor was merely a rumour. Then, Lu Kun and all other top officials of Guangdong Province reported to the Emperor, asking the court not t raze the fortresses the Portuguese had built in the last years of the Ming dynasty, and not to drive out the Portuguese soldiers in Macao. Only their investigation and request to the Emperor spared Macao these drastic results of Napier's reckless action.

But British arrogance was unchastened, and caused trouble a fourth time in 1838. The British government sent Frederick Maitland, the Commander of the British Squadron in the Indian Ocean, to China with two warships to protect trade. After Maitland's arrival at Macao in the middle of July, he asked to visit the leading officials of Guangdong. In accordance with the rule that no foreign official was allowed to remain in Guangdong, the Chinese officials ordered him to leave Macao immediately. Rather than obeying, Maitland paraded his warships near Canton. In response, Viceroy Deng Tizhen, Guangdong Governor Yi Liang, and the Provincial Naval Commander of Guangdong Guan Tianpei strengthened the defence around Canton, and ordered the Magistrate of Xiangshan County and the commander of Xiangshan Brigade to rush to Macao and to defend it in cooperation with the Vice Prefect of Coastal Defence. They also secretly told the Portuguese "not to be misled by the British and to be ready to defend Macao". Later on, as Maitland was afraid that the Qing government might take measures such as breaking trade between China and Britain that would bring even greater losses to the British merchants, he did not provoke an armed conflict. So this Sino-British conflict merely caused a few ripples in Macao.

Despite Portuguese antagonism toward the British, because Macao was the only European settlement in China, it still became the centre of activities for the British in China.

First, the British located their headquarters in China in Macao. Before 1834, the members of the Select Committee of the British East India Company could enter Canton only in the trading seasons, and they had to stay in Macao for the rest of the time. In name, this special committee was to take care of the company's own business only, but in fact it was an official representative of the British government to China, and controlled all the British activities in China. When the monopoly of trade with China by the East India Company was canceled, the British established the post of Chief Superintendent of Trade to China, a government post equivalent to the plenipotentiary of the British government to China.

At the end of 1833, when the British government appointed Napier as the first Chief Superintendent, it instructed him not to handle official business in places other than Canton. Because of the serious conflict with the Chinese authorities at the time of his arrival, he gained no foothold in Canton. Napier and his successors, John Francis Davis and George Best Robinson, who practiced the "policy of quiescence", could not but set up the Chief Superintendent office at Macao. Except for the last period, from 1835 to 1836, when Robison handled official business on board ship at the Lingding Sea, the British merchants had to go to Macao for various documents. And for that reason, the British government even ordered to expand the so-called "jurisdiction" of the Chief Superintendent office to the Lingding Sea and Macao. In 1836, when Charles Elliot, who advocated a tough policy toward China, became the Chief Superintendent, he requested permission to reside in Canton. The Qing government replied:

In regard to the question as to staying in Macao or in Canton hereafter, everyone must abide by the existing regulations concerned. No staying exceeding the time limit is allowed, so as not to start illegal occupation.

Therefore, Elliot still spent most of his time in Macao. In this period, many conflicts took place between China and Britain over problems concerning ban on opium. In order to warn the British profiteers, the Guangdong authorities had hanged a Chinese opium smuggler outside the city wall of Macao in April, 1838. Elliot and many British opium smugglers plotted and prepared countermeasures, and wrote home again and again advocating a war to invade China. The British government's decision to send a fleet led by Rear Admiral Frederick Maitland was made at Elliot's suggestion. At that time, the British Chief Superintendent of Trade to China was the general representative to carry out the British government's aggressive policy towards China. The special conditions in Macao facilitated the British activities to a certain extent.

Second, the British use Macao as a base to spy out information about Chinese coastal area and interior. Beginning in 1831, the British carried out many years' continuous reconnaissance of the whole Chinese coastal area, with Macao as the starting port. Among all the espionage activities, the two espionage voyages made by a German missionary, Charles Gutzlaff, and others were the ones with especially far-reaching consequences. In February 1832, invited by the British East India Company, Gutzlaff took the ship "Lord Amberst" on a carefully prepared journey together with a senior staff member of the East India Company, Huyh Hamilton Lindsay, who used the alias Hu Xiami. They started from Macao and forced their way into ports like Xiamen, Fuzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai, and then returned to Macao in September of the same year via Korea and Japan. One month later, employed on generous terms by a big British opium-monger, William Jardine, Gutzlaff started again from Macao on the "Sylph". This time Gutzlaff went as far as the coast of present Liaoning Province. He did not return to Macao until April of the next year.

During the Journey, Gutzlaff and his assistants surveyed and mapped the routes of navigation, broke into the coastal cities and gathered intelligence about the defence works and deployment of the Chinese troops garrisoning these places, investigated their products, commercial conditions, local customs and so on. Upon returning to Macao, they reported to the East India Company and the British government in detail about the political, military and economic information they had gathered, and suggested concrete steps to launch a war against China. It was based upon the intelligence and suggestions provided by Gutzlaff, Lindsay, Jardine and others that the British government made its decision to invade China later on. The frequent espionage activities by the British ships shocked Beijing as well as disturbed the whole Chinese coastal area. The Qing government enforced martial law along the coast, and punished many officials of the coastal regions and quite a few innocent inhabitants who had only sold food for those foreigners or received some books from them. If it had not been for the existence of Macao as a base that could be used at the time, it would have been very difficult for the British to gather such detailed information before the Opium War.

Third, the British also made Macao a place to experiment with westernized education among the Chinese people. In 1834, Gutzlaff, who had done frequent espionage activities in China before, let his wife, Wanstall, set up a private girls school at their residence in Macao, especially for girls from poor families. Soon afterwards, after famous British missionary Robert Morrison died of illness, the big British opium-mongers Lancelot Dent, William Jardine and others organized the Morrison Education Society. With fifteen pounds per month provided by the society, Wanstall added to her girls' school a boys' school to prepare pupils to enter the Morrison School to be established. Rong Hong (Yung Wing), whose home was in Nanping Township, separated from Macao by a strip of water, entered the boy's school in the autumn of 1835 at the age of seven. Wanstall tried to imbue the students with Christian doctrines as well as teaching them English. She was quite harsh towards the students, so students often cut class and fled home. Rong Hong once ran away from school with six girl students, but they were caught on the way home and brought back. Wanstall put a tall paper hat on Rong Hong's head, hang a paper placard on his chest with words THE ARCH-CRIMINAL OF THE RUNAWAY STUDENTS on it, then forced them all to stand in a line on a long table exposed to the whole school for a full hour. Rong Hong recalled later: "That is the greatest humiliation I have ever suffered." At the beginning of 1839, after Wanstall closed down her schools, the American missionary, Samuel Robbins Brown, came to Macao by invitation, and formally established the Morrison School, the first influential school disseminating Western learning in modern China.

It is worth pointing out that the purpose of the British opium-mongers' setting up schools in Macao was to cultivate a number of compradors and henchmen, who would serve them docilely, but the actual result did not necessarily conform to their wishes. Among the students raised by these schools were Huang Kuan, the first Chinese student to go to Britain to study, and later the first doctor in China trained in Western medicine, and Rang Hong, the first Chinese student to study in the United States and an outstanding patriot. Such results were contrary to the expectations of the opium-mongers who established the Morrison School.

The various enterprises of the British did not prevent the Americans from regarding Macao as their base of activities in China. At the beginning of the 19th century, not long after America's gaining independence, there was a possibility that the United States might be occupied by the British again, so the Portuguese discriminated against Americans in Macao. In 1803, the Governor of Macao did not allow the American consul to China "to spend the winter" in Macao, forcing him to illegally winter over in Canton. After Britain launched a new war to invade America, the Americans felt resentful towards the Portuguese authorities in Macao, who permitted the British officers to reside in Macao, facilitating their interception of American ships coming to China. In the 1830s, the United States grew stronger and stronger, and the Americans busied themselves in Macao. In 1834, when Napier made provocations in China, the American Consul in Macao suggested that the State Department intervene in the matter, so as to share any benefits that might be obtained by the British in China. Based upon this suggestion, the Americans sent warships to the Chinese coast in 1835. Moreover, quite a few American missionaries came to Macao. Among them were John Lewis Shuck and Issachar Jacob Roberts, South Baptist missionaries who secretly spread Protestantism in Macao, and Peter Parker, who set up a hospital in Macao so as to gather information about the Chinese inland from the patients. However, fewer Americans than the British came to Macao, and their activities were less significant.

Just as the past, because of old scores and the fact that the British had made trouble for them over and over again, the Portuguese in Macao did not get along with the British. Portuguese attempts to restrict British activity in Macao often led to frictions between the two. First, the Portuguese authorities resented the attitude of the Select Committee of the British East India Company. The members of the committee were ordinary merchants, but they often acted as if they were official representatives on equal footing with the Portuguese government officials. The Portuguese were determined to deny these committee members official status. In August, 1829, a British captain, Thomas Baker, beat a Portuguese official, Captain Loureiro, who had Baker's wife for several months. The Portuguese authorities in Macao jailed Baker at the Citadel without trial for several weeks. Plowden, the President of the Select Committee, accused the Portuguese Governor and Senate of being imperious and despotic when he and his colleagues had failed to get Baker released after making presentations to them. The Portuguese authorities publicly denied that Plowden and the other committee members had the qualification to talk with the Portuguese authorities as representatives of the British government. Then, the British authorities in India notified the Portuguese Viceroy in Goa that the Select Committee of the East India Company was an official representative of the British government in China. But the Portuguese quoted the treaty signed in 1810 by Portugal and Britain, which provided that before the other side had been notified and an acknowledgement was received from the other side, the status of an official representative was not to be recognized. Therefore, the Portuguese claimed, they could not but treat the members of the Select Committee of the East India Company as ordinary British merchants and citizens rather than as official representatives. The Select Committee flew into a rage from shame and delivered a long report to the British Viceroy to India in January 1831, revealing the inside story of the Portuguese: The Portuguese were bragging about their obtaining Macao through the suppressing of pirates; Macao was a Chinese territory and there was a Chinese official assigned to Macao; the Portuguese officials were merely subordinates of the Chinese government, and dared not defy the Chinese officials.

An even more serious case took place before this case was over. Although the British and Americans lived in Macao, the Portuguese were not able to share any profits from their opium smuggling, which was carried out at the Lingding Sea. Therefore, the Portuguese government issued an order to the Portuguese authorities in Macao that without a special permission of the Portuguese government, no foreigners were allowed to stay in Macao. The Portuguese authorities in Macao began to implement this retaliatory measure at the beginning of 1831. They refused some British request to reside in Macao, and planned to levy taxes from the British and Americans who were living there. But at the request of the Select Committee of the British East India Company, the Portuguese authorities in Macao agreed to suspend the implementation of the order for the time being. After that, the British authorities in India again made representations to their Portuguese counterpart, pointing out that Macao was the only place where the Chinese government allowed the Western businessmen to stay, and that the British would never recognize the Portuguese right to decide whether the British could stay and trade on China's territory. The Portuguese Viceroy to India might have taken into consideration the fact that if this incident should get out of control, it would inevitably lead to the Chinese government's taking tougher measures to prove China's jurisdiction over Macao, so while claiming that Macao had been a "colony" of Portugal for three centuries, he expressed that he had suggested to Lisbon to cancel the order. Afterwards, perhaps because of the above consideration, and so as not to lose the huge amount of rent paid by foreigners, the Portuguese no longer prohibited the British from residing in Macao.

However, in May 1833, frictions between the British and the Portuguese happened again. John Robert Morrison, the son of Robert Morrison and a missionary of the British Protestantism, began to publish a periodical called "Evangelist" at his residence. The Portuguese authorities intervened immediately, because the Bishop of Macao objected to articles in the publication that violated the doctrines of Catholicism. Then, the Portuguese Governor notified the Select Committee of the British East India Company that without the approval of His Majesty of Portugal and prior censorship, no publication might be published on Portugal's territory. Under the pressure of the Portuguese, John Morrison had to move his publication to Canton.

In this period, the only Briton the Portuguese showed special respect to was William John Napier, who had caused them such trouble in the summer of 1834, perhaps because Napier was different from the members of the Select Committee of the East Indian Company: he was a real British aristocrat and high rank official appointed by the King of Britain. When he was confined to bed, the Macao Church authorities ordered the local churches not to ring their bells, for Napier hated to hear the ringing of the bells. When Napier died, all the distinguished Portuguese public figures attended the grand funeral in Macao.

With this one exception, from 1800 to 1830s, the Portuguese in Macao and the British were at loggerheads with each other. The Portuguese did not participate in the British smuggling, espionage and provoking of the Chinese authorities. But as early as the beginning of the 19th century, some Portuguese colonialists had already stepped up their cooking of "public opinion" that Macao was their "colony". Once China's national strength declined, these Portuguese would openly declare their sovereignty over Macao.

Although the Qing officials had watched out for Westerners aggressive activities and had made regulations to keep a lookout on them time and again, the blind self-important policy encouraged them to shut their eyes and stopped up their ears. Being ignorant and ill-informed of things outside, they only focused on restricting Western merchants' activities in Canton and preventing foreign armies from invading Chinese cities, but neglected the moves of some Britons who used Macao to make preparations to launch an invasion of China. Meanwhile, they failed to notice that some Portuguese were denying to the Western public figures that Macao was a territory of China. They utterly failed to understand the grave consequences of the new Portuguese constitution promulgated in 1838, in which the Portuguese claimed again that the territory of Portugal included Macao. Therefore, the Qing government neither prevented the British from using Macao to carry out aggressive activities, nor did anything to stop the Portuguese cooking up of "public opinions" that threatened China's sovereignty over Macao.


6.2. The High Tide of Anti-Opium Movement

In the winter of 1838, opium-smuggling was becoming more and more serious with each passing day. the Daoguang Emperor appointed Lin Zexu, a vigorous advocate of the ban on opium, as the Imperial Commissioner and sent him to Guangdong to wipe out opium. The nation-wide anti-opium movement reached a high tide.

Hearing of the roaring of the tide, Macao immediately became an asylum of the foreign opium-mongers and a channel for them to escape from China. In January 1839, when Lin Zexu was on the way down south from Beijing, the British opium giant, William Jardine, hurriedly went to Macao, and thence escaped to Britain. Many opium-mongers of various countries also hid in Macao to watch the development of the situation. On March 18, Lin Zexu issued an order in Canton that all foreign merchants had to hand over all the opium in their possession. Taking into consideration that the opium-mongers would certainly flee China via Macao, on March 19, 1839, the Inspector of Guangdong Customs, Yu Kun, publishing a notice prohibiting any foreign merchant from leaving Canton for Macao.

The British Chief Superintendent of Trade Elliot feared that the Chinese authorities might send soldiers to Macao to arrest the British opium traders hidden there, so he asked the Governor of Macao, Adriao Accacio de Silva Pinto, to protect the British in Macao. Pinto was unwilling to confront Chinese government just then, and said that he would only protect law-abiding foreign inhabitants, but not those engaging in illegal trade. This tactic having failed, Elliot rushed to Canton on March 24 to engineer the opium giant Lancelot Dent's escape by night, for Dent had been summoned by the Chinese authorities. Dent was intercepted and Lin Zexu increased the number of garrisoning troops and cut off all the communications between Canton and Macao, preventing opium-mongers under house arrest in Canton from running away. The opium-mongers even were not able to get any news from Macao and Huangpu, or any information about the opium pontoons. On March 28, Elliot had to order the British merchants in Canton to hand over all their opium, and sent his assistant to Macao to instruct British merchants to sail the opium pontoons anchored in various places to the Tiger Gate, to hand over the opium to the Chinese authorities.

In the meanwhile, the movement banning opium in Macao also reached a high tide. Lin Zexu got the information quite early that some Portuguese often secretly stored opium in their houses so as to make profits through sale. He had the Vice Prefect of Coastal Defence pass an order on to the Portuguese authorities in Macao, saying that they had to prohibit profiteers from storing and selling opium and that they had to see to it that most of the stored opium was handed over. Pinto and the others avoided confronting the Chinese authorities openly. On the one hand, the Portuguese authorities issued an official notice to prohibit the storage and sale of opium; on the other hand, they urged the opium-mongers in Macao to ship all the stored opium away from Macao immediately. On March 26, the opium-mongers loaded most of the stored opium onto boats, and shipped it to Manila soon afterwards. According to estimates made at the time, the total amount of opium shipped away was about 3,000 chests.

Some profiteers still secretly sold opium left in Macao. In the middle of April, the Chinese opium-monger Ji Yajiu bought opium from a Portuguese profiteer in Macao twice. Due to the Chinese army's strict surveillance, Ji Yajiu was arrested. Lin Zexu was very angry and gave the Portuguese Authorities three days' notice to find all the opium stored in houses in Macao, to list the names of the owners and the amount of the opium, and to hand the drug over to the Vice Prefect of Coastal Defence. He also told the Portuguese authorities that only in this way might their past misdeeds be forgiven, otherwise Macao would be blockaded and place under surveillance, and the Portuguese would be punished severely. He even threatened that the Portuguese might be expelled from Macao entirely. Knowing that the lion's share of the opium had already been shipped out, Pinto issued an order to search for and hand over opium at once. The inspectors found some odd opium in the possession of a Portuguese inhabitant, burned it on the dock and punished the person according to the Portuguese law. They also discovered eight chests of opium that had been stealthily removed from an opium pontoon by a British opium-monger. The Portuguese sent the opium to the British commercial representative and let him hand it to the Chinese authorities.

Afterwards the Acting Vice Prefect of Fushan, Liu Kaiyu, and the Acting Vice Prefect of Coastal Defence, Jiang Liang, entered Macao by the order of Lin Zexu at the end of May, to supervise the Portuguese authorities in their searching the houses where opium might be stored. The Portuguese merchants were ordered to make a commitment that they would never store away any opium; if they should ever store and traffic in opium in the future, they would be sent to the Chinese authorities to be severely punished according to the new regulations. Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities took a census of the Chinese and foreign population in Macao separately. According to the census, there were 1,772 Chinese households comprising 7,033 persons, 720 Portuguese households comprising 5,612 persons. In addition to these permanent residents, 57 households of the British leased houses.

The anti-opium movement had also achieved some results in Macao, but, Elliot, who had been forced to hand over large quantities of opium, still attempted to resist the movement from Macao. On April 13, he again asked Pinto to protect all the British inhabitants, and their property and ships in Macao. In return, he promised that when necessary, Britain would send armed forces to protect Macao and Taipa. He also promised to ask all the British in Macao to obey the orders of the Portuguese Governor to defend the rights and interests of the Portuguese monarch and the lives and property of the Macaonese. Pinto did not take the bait, and continued to express his preference for remaining neutral. Elliot was very much annoyed. In a dispatch to the British Prime Minister, Henry John Temple Palmerston, Elliot claimed that in such a crises the security of Macao was of secondary moment to Portugal and of indispensable necessity to Britain. He advocated taking immediate action in Macao, saying that the British had to either ask the Portuguese to concede their rights in Macao to Britain, or took over the defence of Macao and appropriate it for British use by means of a subsidiary convention; and thorough civil, military and fiscal reforms, and then turn the place into a safe entrepot.

On May 24, 1839, when all the British left Canton for Macao, Elliot ran rampant. It was in Macao that he cooked up a series of documents advocating war, waited for new instructions from London and hatched plot after plot. At the time of his departure from Canton, Elliot requested Lin Zexu to send officials to Macao to "discuss the regulations" concerned so as to get rid of "contraband goods trading" forever. On June 5, when Lin Zexu had already sent Liu Kaiyu and others to Macao to discuss the matter, Elliot suddenly made another request: that the British merchant ships be allowed to load and unload goods in Macao. Lin Zexu thought that Elliot was attempting to make Macao a new store house for opium, since while Macao was seemingly an isolated coastal area, in fact it provided access to the interior through various ways, so Lin flatly refuted Elliot's request. On June 9, 1839, through the Guangdong customs, Lin ordered that except for local commercial business, which could be carried out as usual, no trading was allowed in Macao. In retaliation, Elliot proclaimed that no talks on regulations without permission to load and unload goods in Macao, and refused to meet with Liu Kaiyu. The British merchants in Macao held meetings on June 12 and June 17, and finally decided to support Elliot, refusing to let British ships and goods enter the Tiger Gate under existing conditions. Subsequently, Elliot repeatedly attacked China's policy banning opium, and refused all the documents concerned sent to him by the Chinese government.

After a Chinese citizen, Lin Weixi, was killed on July 7, Elliot violated the traditional practice, refusing to hand over the murderer. At the behest of Chinese officials, the Portuguese authorities in Macao took up the matter with Elliot, but with no results. The relations between China and Britain deteriorated even further. To punish the tyrannical British, Lin Zexu decided to expel them from Macao. On August 15, the Vice Prefect of Coastal Defence and the Vice Magistrate of Xiangshan County issued a notice together, stipulating that no food was to be supplied to the British; the compradors and workers working for the British had to leave Macao in three days; the Portuguese had to deliver to the Chinese officials a list of foods needed every day, which would be checked and approved by the Chinese officials and supplied in fixed quota by the shops.

On August 16, Lin Zexu and Deng Tingzhen, the Governor of Guangdong, arrived at the county seat of Xiangshan. They ordered the troops to blockade Macao and the British to leave Macao. In a notice to the inhabitants of Macao, Lin Zexu pointed out that the reason for the blockade of Macao this time was British violation of China's law. China had to punish them with force. The matter had nothing to do with other foreigners. He also pointed out that according to the regulations, no foreign merchants were allowed to remain in Macao after they had sold their goods. Since the British merchants no longer traded in China, naturally they should not continue their stay in Macao. On August 17, the Chinese runners in Macao marched along the main streets and markets with the notice held high, making it known publicly. On the same day, the Chinese employees and compradors all left the British residence, and the Chinese merchants all refused to sell foods to the British. The Portuguese and other foreigners delivered their lists of daily necessities to the Vice Magistrate of Xiangshan County. Although the British could still get some food from their Portuguese servants, since the nearby villagers could no longer bring food to Macao, prices skyrocketed, making the life of the Chinese and Portuguese inhabitants difficult. Afterwards, the Vice Prefect of Coastal Defence gave the Portuguese Governor of Macao an order that no Portuguese was allowed to give food to the British. Anyone who violated the order would be arrested and his shop sealed up. In the meantime, some Chinese soldiers arrived at Patane outside of the city wall of Macao at night, but they retreated before long, because the Portuguese garrisoning troops led by Pinto had barred the way.

On August 21, Elliot was forced to issue a bulletin to persuade the British merchants to embark to seek asylum, and ten odd British households departed on the same day. On August 23, Elliot himself followed them. On August 24, the Portuguese authorities posted a bulletin ordering all the British to leave Macao before August 27. Soon afterwards, on the morning of August 25, the news came that a British sampan sailing from Macao to Jianshazui had been looted by pirates the night before, causing a rumour that Lin Zexu was going to attack Macao and kill all the British who had not left. In order to dodge his responsibility, Pinto informed the British remaining in Macao that he could no longer protect their lives and safety. The British inhabitants were panic-stricken and held a meeting right away that resulted in unanimous decision to leave Macao the next day. That night, the British inhabitants did not dare to leave their houses; some even did not dared to sleep in bed. On August 26, after a sleepless night, the British men, women and children all left Macao by small boats under the "protection" of Pinto, squeezing onto the British cargo ships and pontoons anchoring at Jianshazui and other places. Except for a few sick people and a Briton who had been the consul of Prussia in Canton, the British living in Macao had all left.

However, the pampered Britons could hardly bear the hard life on the cargo ships, and longed to return to their garden houses in Macao. When the British warship "Volage" reached the sea near Macao, with this warship, Elliot sent word that if the Portuguese authorities would agree to let the British merchants and their dependants return to Macao, he would protect Macao. Pinto knew very well the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal, and politely and immediately declined. From August 27, 1839 onward, there were almost no British in Macao.

After the British left Macao, Lin Zexu and Deng Tingzhen inspected Macao on the morning of September 3. The Procurator of Macao, flanked by a hundred soldiers and four officers, respectfully welcomed the Chinese Imperial Commissioner at the Barrier Gate. The Portuguese officers in uniform with swords and soldiers with fusils on their shoulders stood at salute while military music played. While passing Mongha Village, Lin Zexu met with the Procurator of Macao who acted as a cautious subordinate at the Lin Fong Temple. Lin Zexu demonstrated the empire's grace and strength, explained the prohibition, and told the Portuguese to abide by the law and behave themselves, not to store banned goods, and not to shield the profiteers, so as not to let His Majesty down after his kind treatment. After the interview, Lin Zexu gave the Portuguese officials four special Chinese products: coloured damask silk, folding fans, tea and crystal sugar. He gave the Portuguese soldiers oxen, lambs, wine, wheat-flour and 400 silver dollars.

Entering Macao through the Gate of St. Antonio, Lin Zexu and his party passed the ruins of St. Paul's Church, the Chinese customs house and the A-Ma Temple. They went on to Praia Grande and toured all the main streets of Macao. They directed and supervised the spot-checking of the Western and Chinese houses along the way. They saw that all the houses rented to the British in the past had been shut up, nor did they find any opium. Along the way, the Chinese inhabitants, male and female, old and young, lined the streets, cheering. They even put up decorated sheds in their neighbourhood and placed flowers and burned incense in front of the gates of their houses. Even the Portuguese inhabitants jostled each other in crowds for fear of lagging behind. The fortresses, including the Cidatel, Barra and Bomparto, fired 19-gun solutes when Lin Zexu and his party passed to show their respect to the Imperial Commissioner. In the afternoon escorted by Portuguese officials, Lin Zexu and his party left for Xiangshan. A few days later, the normal trade between Macao and the interior was restored.

When Lin Zexu was touring Macao, Elliot had made up his mind to provoke an armed conflict between China and Britain. When a provocation was started by a British warship, the Chinese navy rose up in self-defence. On the morning of September 12, Chinese seamen mistook the Spanish merchant ship "Bilbaino" for a British opium ship, and burnt it at the Cross Gate the same day. Fearing that the British ships might be attacked again, Elliot again requested the Portuguese authorities in Macao to readmit the British merchants and their dependants to Macao and to let the British protect Macao. The Portuguese authorities continued to decline it politely to avoid involvement. They also sent an armed ship to defend the Cross Gate, and prevent ships carrying opium to anchor at Taipa. Elliot had to come to Macao secretly on September 14 to ask the Portuguese authorities to pass a message to the Chinese authorities on Britain's behalf, requesting to meet the Chinese officials in Macao. With the approval of Lin Zexu, on September 25, the Acting Vice Prefect of Coastal Defence, Jiang Liang, and Elliot held talks. The talks were witnessed by the chief Portuguese officials in Macao and achieved little. The Chinese side only accepted a written reply from Elliot about the expulsion of British profiteers, and allowed two British merchants to return to Macao to deal with unfinished matters.

While the Chinese and the British were negotiating, the British merchant ships arrived in China in great numbers. Some British merchants did normal business, defying Elliot's decision, and were willing to abide by the order of the Chinese government. They made an undertaking that if they should ever smuggle opium again, they were "to be executed at once and their goods to be confiscated". They were immediately allowed to trade in Canton. For instance, Warner, the owner of the British merchant ship "Thomas Coutts" signed an undertaking in Macao on October 14, and arrived at Huangpu the next day. After that, the British merchants put more pressure upon Elliot. Elliot could not but ask Lin Zexu to send officials to Macao to restart the negotiations on trade regulations.

On October 15, the Prefect of Canton, Yu Baochun, started talks with Elliot again in Macao. Elliot claimed that before receiving further instructions from home, he could only agree to let the British merchant ships accept "inventory inspections". Then, an enlarged conference was attended by some British merchants. At the conference, the Chinese itinerant traders explained in detail about the difficulties in making "inventory inspections" of the ship cargoes and the damage to the goods caused by such inspections; and Warner, the first to sign an undertaking, explained the convenience of doing so. The conference ended in failure. But the impatient Yu Baochun agreed without authorization to make "inventory inspections" of the British merchant ships, and even asked Lin Zexu to allow the British to return to Macao. Lin Zexu was very angry. He reprimanded Yu Baochun for mishandling the matter, ordered the Chinese officials in Macao to expel the British who had returned to Macao for the conference, and asked the Portuguese authorities to cooperate in "driving the British out" by posting reinforcements at the Barrier Gate and other places. He announced that if the British refused to leave the city, he would send troops to encircle them and arrest them. But in order to show the differences in treatment, the dependants of Dannel, the Captain of the "Royal Saxon", who had signed an undertaking, were allowed to live in Macao, while all other Britons were driven out of Macao again.

After the breakdown of the second talks between China and Britain, the British made one provocation after another towards the Chinese naval force. The Qing government had to issue an order to prohibit British merchant ships from trading in China forever. Facing the possibility that the war between China and Britain would break out at any moment, Lin Zexu and other officials actively made combat preparations. Through the Portuguese authorities in Macao, they bought big brass cannon with the capability to fire shells of sixty-eight pounds, and with the fortresses in Macao serving as models, a number of fortresses were either built or consolidated within the mouth of the Pearl River. Lin Zexu also tried to track the movements of the British warships coming to China through the Chinese officials and pilots in Macao.

Among the important places to defend the middle part of the coast of Guangdong Province, the Chinese authorities considered the Tiger Gate the first and Macao the second. Because the armed forces of the Portuguese in Macao were rather weak, they decided to send troops to defend both the land and water of Macao, and to keep an eye on the Portuguese. Because of his experience in Macao area, Hui Changyao, who had been promoted to the commander of the Nanao Division, continued to be the commander of Xiangshan Brigade for the time being. Several hundreds soldiers and seamen were placed on duty at the strategic passes around Macao. And the newly promoted the Intendant of Gaolian Circuit, Guangdong Province, Yi Zhongfu, who had a reputation of being brave, capable and experienced, tough and hard working, was sent to Macao temporarily at the request of Lin Zexu to control the situation there. A vice battalion commander of the inland water navy with 363 seamen stationed in Qianshan Stronghold and the naval ships anchoring in the Inner Harbour of Macao were under his command. From then on, the Intendant would lead the Vice Prefect of Coastal Defence and the Vice Magistrate of Xiangshan County "to investigate the Portuguese ships in Macao to prevent the British ships from passing themselves off as Portuguese ships, and to arrest the traitors providing the enemy with material help". These arrangements were quickly approved by the court. So the Qing government made a Circuit Intendant and a Division Commander be in charge of the defence of Macao, only a tiny piece of land. Just think, what attention the Qing government paid to the security of the city!

At this moment, the British government had decided to launch a war to invade China. In Macao, there were rumours that a large number of British warships would arrive at the Chinese coast very soon. The Portuguese authorities intended to take a public neutral stance. Elliot exploited this opportunity and wrote to Governor Pinto on January 1, 1840, asking him to allow the British merchants to store the goods on board in Macao by paying taxes to the Portuguese, so that the British merchant ships could leave. After discussion with other Portuguese officials, Pinto replied to Elliot on January 16, refusing to let the British merchants store away their goods in Macao, so as to avoid new difficulties and risks the Portuguese in Macao had never faced. In the meantime, showing a certain friendliness to the British, Pinto allowed the dependants of the British merchants to return to Macao secretly. Upon discovering this, Lin Zexu ordered Yi Zhongfu, the Circuit Intendant, to post bulletins in the lanes and streets of Macao the day after his arrival, namely on February 1, announcing that the Chinese troops would enter Macao to arrest Elliot and his wife and other Britons. The Portuguese authorities in Macao, on the one hand, refused Elliot's request to protect the British in Macao, asking them to leave as soon as possible; on the other, they asked the Chinese for a delay with the excuse that the foreign and Chinese residences were cheek by jowl, if the Chinese troops should enter Macao and try to encircle the British and arrest them, there might be disturbances. they promised to drive the British out themselves.

Seizing this chance, Elliot ordered the warship "Hyacinth" to break into the Inner Harbour of Macao and anchor near A-Ma Temple. He wrote to the Portuguese Governor of Macao twice, claiming that he had sent the warship to Macao Inner Harbour to protect the British in Macao and to prepare against other incidents. The Portuguese angrily denounced the British violation of the international law and forced the British warship to leave the next day. But, on the other hand, the Portuguese authorities in Macao continued to politely ask the Chinese troops not to enter Macao to keep out and intercept the British forces, saying that in order to avoid being accused of making provocations, the Portuguese preferred to wait and let the British start the invasion first, and then to take counteractions. After the warship "Hyacinth" had left, the Portuguese told the Chinese officials that to forestall British revenge, the Portuguese were not going to expel the British remaining in Macao. Thus, the Portuguese revealed their attitude of disobeying the order of the Chinese government and standing "neutral" as an onlooker in the conflict between China and Britain.

In response to this change, Lin Zexu encouraged the Portuguese to resist the British invasion in cooperation with Chinese troops. On February 20, through Yi Zhongfu, Lin Zexu ordered the Portuguese authorities in Macao to "resist the British resolutely". Lin pointed out that Macao was "a territory of China" and no other Westerners but the Portuguese were allowed to stay there and to bring up their children. It was a special preferential treatment bestowed on the Portuguese by the Chinese Emperor. The Portuguese authorities should follow the instructions of the Chinese government and cooperate with the Chinese authorities to make proper arrangements for the Chinese troops to be stationed in Macao. Once war broke out, the Portuguese "should resist the enemy with the Chinese" and should ensure that Macao was not occupied by the British armed forces. Because it was not easy for the Portuguese to expel the British, Lin suspended Macao's trade with inland, forcing Chinese people to leave Macao one group after another. Gangsters wantonly looted and robbed in the city; the Chinese as well as the foreign inhabitants were all on tenterhooks. As a result, the Portuguese authorities had reason enough to drive the British out again. Seeing that there were no more Britons in Macao, Lin restored the trade between Macao and inland on June 3, "for the sake of not harming the life of the Portuguese in Macao".

At that time, Zeng Wangyan, an important Chinese official, was advocating the idea of "banning maritime trade". Lin Zexu did not support the idea, for he was afraid that it might push the Portuguese to the British side. However, in order not to let the British get the Chinese goods through Macao, he checked and ratified the regulations concerning the trade between the Chinese merchants and the Portuguese in Macao. The revised regulations stipulated a ceiling on the amount of goods exported. For example, tea, 5,000 piculs, including the weight of boxes, to the Portuguese per year.

As Lin Zexu took these measures combining the stick with the carrot, at the sabre-rattling moment between China and Britain, the international trade in Macao was very prosperous rather than depressed, because British merchant ships could not enter Canton. As of April, 1840, the Portuguese authorities in Macao could no longer keep the Chinese troops from being stationed in Macao, and more than two hundred Chinese soldiers finally entered the Portuguese settlement. Until June 1840, the Chinese government still fully exercised national sovereignty over the whole Macao Peninsula.

In short, Macao, as a port of opium smuggling and a base of the British to sabotage anti-opium movement, was bound to suffer serious shocks in this movement. Such being the case, the Portuguese authorities in Macao stuck to the "neutral" policy laid down by the Portuguese government in name only. Because Macao was a territory of China, for the sake of keeping this Portuguese settlement, the Portuguese authorities in Macao were unable to maintain its neutrality. On the whole, they had to implement the decrees of the Qing government and participate in the anti-opium movement. As the Portuguese authorities adopted such sensible policy, this Portuguese settlement was able to weather the storm. Pinto, the Governor of Macao, however, instead of being praised for that, was reproached by Lisbon.


6.3. The Opium War

In June 1840, the Opium War formally broke out. From then on, the Portuguese authorities in Macao no longer respectfully and submissively obeyed the Chinese government's decrees, and the Qing government could not control the situation in Macao any more. The other Western powers began undisguisedly to use Macao as a bridgehead to invade China.

In June 1840, 48 British vessels with 4,000 soldiers on board arrived at the sea near Macao. Seeing the strength of the British fleet, the Portuguese authorities in Macao practiced the so-called "neutral" policy again. They violated the decree of the Chinese government by allowing British officers, men and merchants to go in and out of Macao and to live there, and by repeatedly assuring the British of their personal safety under the Portuguese flag. When the Chinese authorities posted bulletins offering rewards for killing the enemy, the Portuguese authorities quickly tore them down and protested to Chinese officials. When a Briton named Vincent Staunton, who was illegally living in Macao, was arrested by Chinese soldiers on August 6 near Cacilhas Beach, the Portuguese authorities not only loudly demanded that the Chinese authorities release him, but also mobilized the Portuguese inhabitants to assist the Portuguese soldiers in patrolling the streets, so as to ensure the safety of the British living in Macao. A tripartite balance of power among the Chinese, the British and the Portuguese emerged in the Macao area.

On August 19, British troops attacked the Chinese garrison near Macao area on the excuse that Staunton had not yet been released. They chose the Barrier Gate, an important strategic point, as a target of the attack. At the noon, three British vessels approached Lianhuajing and fired furiously at the Barrier Gate and the batteries nearby. The Chinese garrison in this area had a total force of about 2,000 officers and men including army and navy, consisting of 1,300 troops deployed there in recent months and temporary reinforcements directly subordinate to the Viceroy of the Two Guangs or the Governor of Guangdong. Facing the British attack, the Chinese troops set out together. Yi Zhongfu, who had been stationed in Macao with his men, advanced northward from the city, while the reinforcements advanced south from Beishan and other units reinforced the flanks in the middle. With the undulating terrain as cover, they furiously fired at the British troops. The naval force also sailed to the sea near Green Island and fired on the British troops across Lianhuajing. While the two sides were fighting, the Portuguese took no action so as to demonstrate their neutral policy.

Because of the British forces' clear superiority in weapons and technology, after about one hour's fighting, they hit and destroyed the Barrier Gate wall and the batteries nearby, defeated the Chinese troops and wounded several Chinese commanders. Then, 300 British soldiers and sepoys landed at Lianhuajing, captured the Barrier Gate and hoisted the British flag. With the guns at the Barrier Gate, they fired at the Chinese troops stationed at Mongha and other places. Then, the British removed the twenty odd guns mounted at Barrier Gate, blocked other guns, burnt the Chinese army's tents at the Barrier Gate, and finally availed themselves of the tide to embark and retreated from the Barrier Gate by sea.

Because the British army had threatened to attack Qianshan, Yi Zhongfu and other Chinese military commanders all retreated to Qianshan Stronghold with their troops. From then on, in the Macao area there were only the Vice Magistrate of Xiangshan County and customs officials and their runners. For the first time since Macao's opening as a trading-port in 1535, the Chinese government had lost military control over the area. The Guangdong authorities did not restore defences in the Barrier Gate area until one year later, when they built a fortalice at Latashi (Lap-kap Shan) one kilometer north of the Barrier Gate.

In October 1840, the Emperor Daoguang dismissed Lin Zexu, who was determined to resist the British invasion, and appointed Qishan, an advocate of appeasement, as an Imperial Commissioner. Qishan was sent to Canton to deal with the aftermath of the anti-opium movement and the armed conflicts that had followed. The replacement of Lin Zexu by Qishan caused the situation in Guangdong to be deteriorated dramatically. When the Portuguese authorities in Macao saw that the British armed forces were sure to win the war, they continued to maintain "neutrality" on the surface, but in reality, they went over to the aggressors. Elliot and Henry Pottinger, the chiefs of the invading army, could go in and out of Macao freely, and direct their troops in Macao. The British officers and men could tour, rest and seek pleasure in the city. The Portuguese merchants provided the British army with food and other daily necessities, and cooperated with the British merchants in doing business in Dinghai, Zhejiang Province, which had been occupied by the British troops. That was why, when a British merchant ship returning from Dinghai to Macao was intercepted near Taiwan, ten Portuguese on board were taken for British and killed. When the war between China and Britain was getting fiercer and fiercer, the British army sent the officers and men wounded in the battlefields in Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and other places to Macao. Later on, they even set up a hospital in Macao. They also buried in Macao many British officers and men who had been killed in battle or had died of illness. Among whom was the captain of the warship "Druid", H. J. Spencer Churchill, the great-uncle of Winston Churchill, the famous British Prime Minister of the 20th century. In addition, the British aggressor also looked upon Macao as a place to hold talks with the Chinese government. Through the Portuguese authorities in Macao, they delivered Qishan a draft of the unequal Chuanbi Treaty, and threatened and intimidated the negotiation representative sent by Qishan. From the moment the Opium war broke out, Macao became the springboard for the British invasion of the southeastern coast of China.

Later in the Opium war, the British troops occupied Hong Kong, and then turned Hong Kong into the headquarters to invade China. Before the British had withdrawn from Macao, the Americans were already arriving to take their place. As early as 1839, at the high tide of the anti-opium movement, the Americans had hastily sent two warships to Macao to "protect" the American merchants in China. And the Americans thought that the abrupt emergence of their warships might play an important role in making Lin Zexu cancel his plan of capturing Macao. In April 1842, Commodore Lawrence Kearny and his warship also reached Macao. With the excuse that an American seaman had been killed, he demanded that the Qing government punish the murderer and pay an indemnity. He even ordered the warship "Constellation" to break into the Pearl River to force Chinese authorities to agree.

After the British occupied Hong Kong, since the construction of Hong Kong just started and the Americans were somewhat at loggerheads with the British at that time, the Americans continued to use Macao as their base in China. In 1843, both the American and the French officials contacted the Chinese officials in Macao and Canton, and made them agree that American and French merchants could trade and live in the five newly opened ports on the same term as the British merchants. On February 24, 1844, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, Caleb Cushing, rushed to Macao, attempting to force or persuade the Qing government to sign an unequal treaty by using Macao as a stage to carry out his political blackmail. On the one hand, he gorgeously furnished his residential place, which had originally been the office of the Portuguese Governor of Macao, in an American style, and had his entourage dressed ostentatiously to attract the local people's attention; on the other, he told the Guangdong top officials that he intended to go to Beijing to present his credentials to the Chinese Emperor in person. The threat caused panic in the Qing government and was Cushing's main lever to realize his purpose. At the same time, Cushing ordered an American frigate to force its way into the Pearl River in a show of force near Canton, and even claimed that the Chinese Emperor's refusing to receive an envoy was an insult to his country and a challenge for war.

The scared Qing government would under no circumstances let a foreign envoy enter Beijing, so it hurriedly appointed Qiying as the Viceroy of the Two Guangs to negotiate a treaty with Cushing. On June 17, Qiying rushed to Mongha in the northern part of Macao Peninsula with some assistants to prevent Cushing from coming to Canton, the capital of Guangdong. The first task of Qiying in the negotiations was to persuade the American envoy to give up his request of going to Beijing to present his credentials. Seizing the opportunity, Cushing made the signing of a treaty between the two countries a precondition for giving up the request. Qiying thought that he had succeeded and quickly signed a treaty with Cushing "roughly the same as the one between China and Britain". It is absurd that even the Emperor Daoguang himself also considered Qiying's disposition "appropriate", and approved it at once.

On July 3, the two sides signed the first unequal treaty between China and the United States, in the Kun Iam Temple at Mongha, so the treaty is also called Treaty of Mongha. Through this treaty, the Americans obtained all the privileges Britain had gained in the Treaty of Nanjing and its additional articles except for the ceding of territory and an indemnity. The Treaty of Mongha even enlarged the scope of the consular jurisdiction, further deprived China of its control over tariffs and gave the U.S. additional privileges, such as the American warships' freely going in and out of China's territorial waters. Macao played a special role in the history of relationship between China and America.

For the same reason, the French also regarded Macao as their operational base in China. After the Opium war had broken out, Adolphe Philibert Dubios de Jancigny, Jean-Baptiste Thomas Medee Cecile and others sent by the French government were active in Macao for a long time. In September of 1841, as the British troops won one victory after another, the top officials in Guangdong planned to "use the foreigners to subdue the foreigners" and invited Jancigny to Canton for discussion. Two years later, Jancigny asked the top Guangdong officials to dispatch representatives to Macao to meet with him, using as a bait the claim that he was willing "to help China to repair the batteries and make guns". Prefect of Canton Yi Changhua was sent to Macao, but failed to reach an agreement with Jancigny, believing that "what Jancigny said was mostly unreliable".

Under these circumstances, when Theodore de Lagrene, who was dispatched by the French government, arrived at Macao in August 1844 to conclude a treaty between China and France, he adopted a very cunning strategy. At first, he purposely made simple things mysterious, remaining silent about his purpose in coming to China. As Lagrene arrived with eight warships, Viceroy Qiying had to send an official to Macao to watch the situation in the name of conveying greetings and to sound out the French who had lived in Macao for a long time on Lagrene's intentions. Lagrene purposely chose people with loose tongues, including some Portuguese officials, and pretended to tell them the aim of his as an envoy of France, and let them spread rumours. Here and there, now and then, Macao was filled with such rumours as: "the French are going to help the Chinese resist the British"; "the French will imitate the British to make provocations and attempt to capture the Tiger Gate"; "the French will ask China to send an envoy to Paris and want to set up an embassy in Beijing" etc. Lagrene's purpose was to cook up these "public opinions" to scare the Chinese court beforehand, so that when he formally put forward his terms, the Chinese side would not think the terms too bitter to swallow.

Lagrene did not invite Qiying to meet in Macao until the main articles of the Sino-British and Sino-American treaties had been integrated into the draft of Sino-French treaty. The talks between China and France were held in turn at Lagrene's residence and the Kun Iam Temple of Mongha. In the negotiations, Qiying quickly agreed to let the French have the same privileges as the British and Americans. He concluded the first Sino-French treaty with Lagrene on the grounds that "rejection would disappoint the French too much and cause cracks between the two countries". In addition, Qiying also agreed to abolish the ban on Catholicism, allowing French missionaries to set up churches and carry out missionary work in treaty ports. The first unequal treaty between China and France was concluded in the Macao Peninsula as the Sino-American Treaty had been, but because it was signed on board a French warship near Huangpu, it was called the Huangpu Treaty. Macao, while maintaining a neutral front, played a role in French, as well as British and American encroachment on China.

After the signing of the Sino-American Treaty and the Sino-French Treaty, the American and French ministers to China still went in and out of Macao from time to time. On the eve and in the initial period of the Second Opium war (1856-1860), their activities were especially frequent. In July 1856, when the news reached Macao that the French missionary I'abbe Auguste Chapdelaine had been killed in Xilin County, Guangxi Province, the French charge d'affaires Rene de Courcy on the one hand made presentations to Ye Mingchen, the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, and on the other, had the French naval commander in China concentrate his forces around Canton and Macao, so that military action might be taken immediately after receiving instructions from home. Before long, the war between Britain and China broke out. The Frenchmen in Guangdong, afraid that the Chinese might take them for British and attack them, all sought asylum in Macao.

At the beginning of 1857, the British Minister to China, John Bowring, French Minister to China, Alphonse de Bourboulon and American Minister to China, Peter Parker, held secret talks in Macao and cooked up a joint memorandum putting three requests to the Qing government, namely, making good their wartime losses, enlarging the area near Canton for the Westerners to live and to carry out commercial business and allowing Westerners to enter Canton city proper. During this period, Peter Parker had invited the American naval commander James Armstrong to Macao to plot an occupation of Taiwan, and vigorously urged the American government to take actions. The French made Macao a rendezvous for its fleet invading China, whose Commander Rigault de Gennouilly cooked up the plot for the allied forces of Britain and France to attack Canton, and issued public notices about the blockade of the Pearl River by the Allied Fleet in Macao. Even the Russian Minister to China, E. V. Putiatin, rushed to Macao at the end of 1857, energetically trying to act together with the ministers of Britain, France and the United States. He masterminded some schemes for the British and French allied forces, advocating the view that attacks on Canton would never force the Chinese Emperor to yield, and that the only way to force China to give in was to occupy Tianjin, directly threatening Beijing. Macao as an important base of operations for the main Western powers lasted until the end of the Second Opium war, when they began to send their ministers directly to Beijing.

Although Macao became a beachhead for the Western powers to invade China, the Chinese inhabitants in Macao always shared a bitter hatred of the enemy, and resolutely fought against the foreign aggressors. During the Opium war, the talking about British army's doom was on people's lips, and they all hoped that the Chinese army would wipe out the enemy. In the meantime, the Chinese People criticized Qishan's policy of going down on his knees in seeking peace. They declared that he had no right to cede Hong Kong privately, and pointed out that even the emperor himself could not cede territory; "if an emperor should do that, he would lose face too." People also assailed the British going in and out of Macao again and again. On March 26, 1841, when two British officers and one merchant were on the way back to the fleet from Macao in a small boat, they were attacked and killed.

After China's defeat in the Opium war, the Chinese people in Macao, on the one hand, hated the foreign invaders, and on the other, hated the Qing government's bringing calamity to the country. Many of the local people joined the "Tiandi Society", a secret organization, which took "Opposing the Qing and Restoring the Ming" as its slogan. At the beginning of the 1850s, when the "Tiandi Society" of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces started an uprising on a grand and spectacular scale, quite a few society members from Taipa and Macao must have returned to the interior and joined the uprising. In 1854, the rebel army and the Qing army had fierce battles near Macao, forcing the Portuguese authorities to impose a curfew. During the Second Opium war, the Chinese people hijacked a British ferryboat sailing from Macao to Hong Kong near Macao, and burnt the opium on board in February 1857. In April 1858, responding to the call of the Local Militia Bureau of Fushan Town, Chinese inhabitants actively took part in the general strike in Hong Kong and Macao, dealing the aggressors a heavy blow.

The above historical materials were quite fragmentary, but they are enough to show that the Chinese inhabitants in Macao, just like their compatriots of the interior, had a strong patriotic spirit, and that at any time Macao was not a place where the foreign invaders could do whatever they liked without retribution.