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the country in consequence of some rain having already fallen, which made it doubtful whether the prospects of the season were so bad as to render the present a favorable occasion for such an application on our part, founded as it was on the assumption that the country was threatened with famine. Captain McK.n' was requested to be in no hurry about presenting his copy, but to let all persons understand that he had come with such a petition.
May 7th. At 1 A. M. we left the ship with a fair wind and flood-tide. We were l4 persons in all; namely, Mr. Gurzmrv, Mr. Swnvnns, and myself, the Gunner of the “ Findlay,” a native of Trieste, a. tindal, eight lascars of various nations, Bengal, Goa, Muscat, Macao, and Malayan Islands, and my Portuguese servant, a native of Bombay. Having studied such charts of the river as we possessed, we resolved on turning to the left as soon as we came to the entrance of a river called in them the Chang : its position corresponding with that of the rejunction of the right branch of the Min, as laid down in the Jesuit’s Map. Mr. Smvnus kept the look out at the head of the boat, and the Gunner steered, while the tindal sounded. The night was fortunately clear, and by 4 o’clock, we struck off into the western river. This soon widened into a very broad channel, which a little further on seemed to branch into two. That to the left-hand appeared full of shoals, and low sedgy islands, and we accordingly followed that to the right, which appeared still broad and clear. It was on our right, besides, that we had to look for the main stream of the Min. We had not proceeded far before the expanded sheet of water we were proceeding by gradually diminished in width, sending of several small branches in various directions, until at last it dwindled away into a narrow nullah, over which there was a stone bridge. Relying on the strength with which the tide flowed up this creek, as proof that it must lead into some other channel, we struck our masts. and passed the bridge, going on, till we saw reason to believe the reports of the villagers, that there was really no passage into the Min by that course. We accordingly came to, that our people might cook, intending to retrace our way with the assistance of the ebb. Unfortunately, however, the depth decreased so rapidly, that before we had proceeded far, we were fairly brought up, and obliged to wait for the return of the flood. Mr. Srnvnus and Mr. Gurznarr went ashore to reconnoitre, and satisfied themselves that the branch we had avoided in the morning, was the proper one to be pursued; in which opinion they were confirmed by the villagers. We were unable to get a pilot. To all inquiries as to our destination we replied that we Wished to go to Min-Tsing, the next Hin town above Fuhchow. VVe bought a few supplies, but had a copper basin stolen while we were aground. The flood began to make at 5% P. M., but it was 8% before we got into the right channel. For two hours nothing could be more flattering than appearances; but suddenly the water began to shoal, and we were obliged to come to anchor.
At day light of the 8th, we found ourselves surrounded by sandbanks in all directions, without any visible channel by which we might advance when the tide should rise. One man agreed to pilot us into the Min for five dollars, and then left us. A second agreed for two, taking one dollar in advance, and after accompanying us a short way, made off. At § past 9 A. M., Mr. GUTZLAFF landed with the view of engaging some one to show us the way, when all at once a Kwanfou with agilt knob said he would be happy to be of any use to us; and as the wind was contrary, would assist by towing us with his own boat. Mr. GUTZLAFF accepted his offer. The man appeared to be of the rank of a subaltern oflicer; such a proffer coming from such a quarter was of a very ambiguous character. He was probably sent to watch our motions, and took this method of defeating our object. We had, however, no alternative ; our attempts to engage a pilot had failed, and we had found from experience, that without some guide, we could not advance. Besides, we could cast off from our professed friend as soon as we should see grounds for alarm. In fact, he led us back towards the mouth of the Chang river, and when he came close to a small hill fort, which we had observed the preceding morning, went ashore. We cast off immediately, and went into the Fuh-chow branch, where, after running up a little way, we anchored for the night. A cold drizzling rain made our situation not very comfortable, and what was more, we found ourselves about two in the morning in danger of canting over into deep water, from the‘ fall of the tide, leaving the boat's keel deeply fixed in the mud of a sloping bank. ,
May 9tIz.—The tide favoring us at 7 A. M., we got under weigh, followed by a Government boat, and with‘ a. rattling breeze, soon reached Fuh-chow-foo. When near the bridge, we anchored, and struck our masts, and then shot through one of the openings with great case. There were about a score of soldiers drawn up in arms at the bridge, and after we had passed through, four boats with soldiers put off after us. Mr. GUTZLAFF told the people on board, that if they came alongside when we came to an anchor, we would communicate with them. They continued to follow us at a little distance. Soon afterwards we came in sight of a second bridge, when we feared we should have been obliged to dismast ; on approaching it, however, we
perceived that the road~way, connecting the piers, had fallen in at two places, through both of which boats under sail were able to pass. We selected what appeared to be the widest, and got safely through ; but Mr. STEVENS observed, that the stones, which had fallen in, were but a trifle below the surface, and narrowed the passage so as to leave very little to spare beyond the width of our boat. We were now so far ahead of the war boats, that a fisherman ventured alongside to sell us fish. At § past 11 A. M., we came to anchor, that the people might refresh themselves; and the tide having turned against us, we remained at anchor till 4 in the evening. The war boats, in the mean time, came up, and a civil enquiry was brought from one of them as to what nation we belonged, whither we were bound, and with what object. Mr. Gurzmrr, in reply, stated, that we wished to ascend the river, to see tea plants growing, to talk with tea merchants, and to ramble amongst the hills. No objection was made, but that the river was rapid and dangerous. When we weighed, however, these war boats weighed also, and after we had come to at night, they came up and took their station near us. We weighed early on the morning of the 10th, the drizzling rain still continuing, and the thermometer at 57°; but having no boats in sight, to serve for our guidance, we thought it better to come to anchor again, and let the people have breakfast; as we weighed, the war boats weighed, and when we again anchored, they too came to an anchor. Before we set out the second time, two other war boats came up, which made at first, as if they intended to run foul of us, but showed no other marks of opposition, and we puhed on. I now reminded my friends of my uniform declaration, that I would not attempt to force my way if any actual resistance was offered, and that I even questioned the expediency of proceeding at all, if we were to be continually under the eyes of the government officers. However, as we greatly outsailed them, and might possibly wear out their vigilance, we resolved to persevere. As we advanced, we found that none of the boats going up the river would answer our questions, the people sometimes clapping their hands on their mouths, or answering, that they durst not give us any information. After having got a long way ahead of the war-boats, however, we found the people communicative and friendly. We were told of several rapids on the Min river, which could not be passed without a very strong wind, and of other places where the current was not only violent, but the stream too shallow to float our boat. We had in fact already reached a place, where the stream, swollen by the hill torrents, that conveyed the rain, which had fallen during the last 30 hours, was so rapid, that with a light breeze, and our oars, we were unable to make any way against it, and were obliged to come to an anchor accordingly.
The war-boats, by dint of pulling and tracking, surmounted the obstacle, and did not come to till they were about a mile or upwards ahead of us. We found the people very kind and friendly; but they were soon checked by the appearance of a Kwanfoo, who came to us in a little Sampan, with some loose papers in his hand. He addressed himself to me, but I answered with truth and nonchalance, that I did not understand him : Mr. GUTZLAFF, who stood by, recommended, that little notice should be taken of him ; that all communications with the mandarins should be avoided, if possible; and that the papers which he offered, not being in the form of a letter, or otherwise in an ofiicial shape, should not be received. The officer then asked some of the people who were on shore near our boat, whether they knew if any of us could speak Chinese. Pointing to Mr. GUTZLAFF, they said he knew a few words, enough to enable him to ask for fowls, eggs, and ducks, which he wanted to buy; and that he spoke about nothing else. One of them was saying something about his distribution of books ; but the Kwanfoo was at that moment laughing heartily at the odd appearance of one of our men, and the remark about the books, which was immediately checked by one of the by-standers, passed unnoticed. He still persevered, rather vociferously, in requiring us to receive his papers; when he was motioned to be 0fl". Our Gunner gave the boat a hearty shove with his foot, which decided the movement of the envoy. After it was dark, the people of the village brought us bambris for pulling, with other supplies. The lull of the wind continuing during the night, we distinctly heard much beating of gongs, firing of arms, and cheering in the quarter where the war boats lay; but at day-break of the 11th, we thought we saw them under weigh in advance. A rather suspicious-looking man came to the shore, with a paper which he wished to‘ deliver. We showed no inclination to receive it, and in attempting to throw it into the boat, tied to a piece of stick, it fell into the water, and was lost. Soon after, a simple looking peasant boy showed another piece of paper, which, from its rude appearance, I thought not likely to have come from the authorities, and therefore received and handed it to Mr. GUTZLAFF. It was an intimation, that multitudes of officers, with an army of 9000 men, were drawn up close by, and that there were many tens of thousands of soldiers further on. This was the first decided threat we had of resistance, and it was so grossly exaggerated, that we attached no other importance
to it, than that it intimated decided objection to our further advance.
We had already fully resolved on not having recourse to force, unless it became necessary to resort to it, in order to extricate ourselves, if an attempt were made not merely to drive us back, but to seize our persons; and we now proposed to use every exertion to get as far as possible ahead of the war-boats, engage chairs for our conveyance by some inland route, and send back the boat under the charge of the Gunner.
The day being for the first time clear, we were engaged all the morning in baling out and washing the boat; and in cleaning our weapons, much rusted by the wet weather we had hitherto experienced. A breeze springing up a little after 11 o'clock, we hastened to avail ourselves of it, and all our arms were stowed away as speedily as possible.
We had gone on some way ploughing the stream in beautiful style when all at once shot began to fall about us. We deliberated for a moment what was to be done. We believed that retreat would not save us from further firing, as long as we were within its reach, if we would take the practice of the troops at the Bogue as an example of the general rule of the Chinese in such cases; and if we could get out of the reach of their shot by running ahead, we might have time for negociating. On turning a point, however, the wind failed us, and our enemies pursuing us, the firing became more hot and dangerous than ever. My next idea was to run the boat ashore, and attack the Chinese, but the river was very narrow, and on the opposite bank they had erected a mud breast-work, from which they could fire on us with their small cannon, with full effect; and it would be exceedingly difficult to get at our assailants, on account of the steepness of the bank where they now stood. After receiving a good peppering, we put about ; but as I anticipated, they continued to fire upon us : and my servant, with one of the lascars, was wounded, though both slightly, and all of the party had narrow escapes from death. The strength of the current soon carried us beyond their fire, and we were in a fair way of reaching Fuh-chow before day-break of the 12th, when we unfortunately missed our way some time after the top of high-water, at 2 o'clock A. M. At day-break, we found ourselves on high ground, 60 yards from the nearest point of the river. We had nothing for it, therefore, but to wait the return of the tide. Numbers of men, women, and children came about us to sell geese, fowls, and fish. Some amongst the crowd we recognised, as having been amongst those we had seen while attempting the western branch of the river. They noticed the marks of the balls that had passed through the gunwale, or stuck in the sides of