1st China War Medal (1840-42)
Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:47
Anyway ... finally another piece of the puzzle complete. This medal arrived yesterday. These are 160+ years old so the condition is reflective of how many hands these have been in since then.
First up .. a brief summary of events that led up to the Clash between the "Allies" and China in the 1840's.
First Opium War
The First Opium War (1839–42), also known as the First Anglo-Chinese War was the first of the two Opium Wars fought between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Qing Dynasty of China, with the aim of securing economic benefits from trade in China. In 1842, the Treaty of Nanking—the first of what the Chinese called the unequal treaties—granted an indemnity to Britain, the opening of five treaty ports, and the cession of Hong Kong Island, ending the monopoly of trading in the Canton System. The war marked the end of China's isolation and the beginning of modern Chinese history.
From the inception of the Canton System by the Qing Dynasty in 1756, trade in goods from China was extremely lucrative for Europeans and Chinese merchants alike. The system granted a monopoly to the British East India Company, on one side, and the Thirteen Hongs on the other, and maritime trade was only allowed to take place in Canton (Guangzhou). Foreigners could only live in one of the Thirteen Factories, on Shameen Island, and were not allowed to enter, much less live or trade in, any other part of China. It became comparatively uneconomical to for the British to import the same low-value manufactured consumer products to China as they traded in India, and which the average Chinese could afford to buy.
A trade imbalance came into being that was highly unfavorable to Britain. The Sino-British trade was dominated by high-value luxury items such as tea (from China to Britain) and silver (from Britain to China), to the extent that European specie metals became widely used in China. Britain had been on the gold standard since the 18th century, so it had to purchase silver from continental Europe and Mexico to supply the Chinese appetite for silver. In casting about for other possible commodities to reverse the flow of silver out of the country and into China, the East India Company hit on opium. The drug was produced in traditionally cotton-growing regions of India under British government monopoly (Bengal) and in the Princely states (Malwa) which were hard hit by the introduction of factory produced cotton cloth which used cotton grown in Egypt. The opium was sold on the condition that it be shipped by British traders to China. Opium as a medicinal ingredient was documented in texts as early as the Tang dynasty but its recreational use was limited and there were laws in place against its abuse. It was with the mass quantities introduced by the British motivated by the equalisation of trade that the drug became prevalent. British sales of opium in large amounts began in 1781 and between 1821 and 1837 sales increased fivefold. East India Company ships brought their cargoes to islands off the coast, especially the Lintin Island, where Chinese traders with fast and well armed small boats took the goods for inland distribution. The Qing government attempted to end the opium trade, but its efforts were complicated by local officials (including the Viceroy of Canton), who profited greatly from the bribes and taxes.
A turning point came in 1834. Free trade reformers in England succeeded in ending the monopoly of the British East India Company, leaving trade in the hands of private entrepreneurs. Americans introduced opium from Turkey, which was of lower quality but cheaper. Competition drove down the price of opium and increased sales. In 1839, the Daoguang Emperor appointed Lin Zexu as the governor of Canton with the goal of reducing and eliminating the opium trade. On his arrival, Lin Zexu banned the sale of opium, asked that all opium be surrendered to the Chinese authorities, and asked that all foreign traders sign a 'no opium trade' bond the breaking of which was punishable by death. Lin also forced the British hand by closing the channel to Canton, effectively holding British traders hostage in Canton. The British Chief Superintendent of Trade in China, Charles Elliot, got the British traders to agree to hand over their opium stock with the promise of eventual compensation for their loss from the British government. (This promise, and the inability of the British government to pay it without causing a political storm, was an important cause for the subsequent British offensive). Overall 20,000 chests (each holding about 55 kg) were handed over and destroyed beginning 3 June 1839. Following the collection and destruction of the opium, Lin Zexu wrote a "memorial" to Queen Victoria in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the trade of the drug, as it had "poisoned" thousands of Chinese civilians (the memorial never reached the Queen)
Kowloon incident (July 1839).
After the chest seizure in April the atmosphere grew tense and at the end of June the Chinese coast guard in Kowloon arrested the commodore of the Carnatic, a British clipper. On Sunday, 7 July 1839, a large group of British and American sailors, including crew from the Carnatic, was ashore at Kowloon, a provisioning point, and found a supply of samshu, a rice liquor, in the village of Chien-sha-tsui (Tsimshatsui). In the ensuing riot the sailors vandalised a temple and killed a man named Lin Weixi. Because China did not have a jury trial system or evidentiary process (the magistrate was the prosecutor, judge, jury and would-be executioner), the British government and community in China wanted "extraterritoriality", which meant that British subjects would only be tried by British judges. When the Qing authorities demanded the men be handed over for trial, the British refused. Six sailors were tried by the British authorities in Canton (Guangzhou), but they were immediately released after they
reached England. Charles Elliot's authority was in dispute; the British government later claimed that without authority from the Qing government he had no legal right to try anyone, although according to the British Act of Parliament that gave him authority over British merchants and sailors, 'he was expressly appointed to preside over ' Court of Justice, with Criminal and Admiralty Jurisdiction, for the trial of offences committed by His Majesty's subjects in the said Dominions or on the high seas within one hundred miles of the coast of China'".
The Qing authorities also insisted that British merchants not be allowed to trade unless they signed a bond, under penalty of death, promising not to smuggle opium, agreeing to follow Chinese laws, and acknowledging Qing legal jurisdiction. Refusing to hand over any suspects or agree to the bonds, Charles Elliot ordered the British community to withdraw from Canton and prohibited trade with the Chinese. Some merchants who didn't deal in opium were willing to sign the bond, thereby weakening the British trading position.
In late October the Thomas Coutts arrived in China and sailed to Guangdong. This ship was owned by Quakers who refused to deal in opium, and its captain, Smith, believed Elliot had exceeded his legal authority by banning trade. The captain negotiated with the governor of Canton and hoped that all British ships could unload their goods at Chuenpee, an island near Humen. In order to prevent other British ships from following the Thomas Coutts, Elliot ordered a blockade of the Pearl River. Fighting began on 3 November 1839, when a second British ship, the Royal Saxon, attempted to sail to Guangdong. Then the British Royal Navy ships HMS Volage and HMS Hyacinth fired a warning shot at the Royal Saxon. The official Qing navy's report claimed that the navy attempted to protect the British merchant vessel and also reported a great victory for that day. In reality, they were out-classed by the Royal Naval vessels and many Chinese ships were sunk. Elliot reported that they were protecting their 29 ships in Chuenpee between the Qing batteries. Elliot knew that the Chinese would reject any contacts with British and there would be an attack with fire boats. Elliot ordered all ships to leave Chuenpee and head for Tung Lo Wan, 20 miles (30 km) from Macau, but the merchants liked to harbour in Hong Kong. In 1840, Elliot asked the Portuguese governor in Macau to let British ships load and unload their goods at Macau and they would pay rents and any duties. The governor refused for fear that the Qing Government would discontinue to supply food and other necessities to Macau. On 14 January 1840, the Qing Emperor asked all foreigners in China to halt material assistance to the British in China.
Lord Palmerston, the British Foreign Secretary, initiated the Opium War in order to obtain full compensation for the destroyed opium. China lost the war and was forced to open its five ports to foreign merchants and to permit a territorial concession of Hong Kong.
The war was denounced in Parliament as unjust and iniquitous by young William Ewart Gladstone, who criticised Lord Palmerston's willingness to protect an infamous contraband traffic. Outrage was expressed by the public and the press in the United States and United Kingdom as it was recognised that British interests may well have been simply supporting the drug trade.
In retaliation, the British Government and British East India Company decided that they would attack Guangdong. The military cost would be paid by the British Government. In June 1840, an expeditionary force of 15 barracks ships, 4 steam-powered gunboats and 25 smaller boats with 4000 marines reached Guangdong from Singapore. The marines were headed by James Bremer. Bremer demanded the Qing Government compensate the British for losses suffered from interrupted trade. Following the orders of Lord Palmerston, the British expedition blockaded the Mouth of Pearl River and moved north to take Chusan.
The next year, 1841, the British captured the Bogue forts which guarded the mouth of the Pearl River — the waterway between Hong Kong and Canton. By January 1841, British forces commanded the high ground around Canton and defeated the Chinese at Ningbo and at the military post of Dinghai.
By the middle of 1842, the British had defeated the Chinese at the mouth of their other great riverine trade route, the Yangtze, and were occupying Shanghai. The war finally ended in August 1842, with the signing of China's first Unequal Treaty, the Treaty of Nanking.
The ease with which the British forces had defeated the numerically superior Chinese armies seriously affected the Qing Dynasty's prestige. This almost certainly contributed to the Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864). The success of the First Opium War allowed the British to resume the drug trafficking within China. It also paved the way for the opening of the lucrative Chinese market and Chinese society to missionary endeavours.
Among the most notable figures in the events leading up to military action in the Opium War was the man that Daoguang Emperor assigned to suppress the opium trade; Lin Zexu, known for his superlative service under the Qing Dynasty as "Lin the Clear Sky". Although he had some initial success, with the arrest of 1,700 opium dealers and the destruction of 2.6 million pounds of opium, he was made a scapegoat for the actions leading to British retaliation, and was blamed for ultimately failing to stem the tide of opium import and use in China. Nevertheless, Lin Zexu is popularly viewed as a hero of 19th century China, and his likeness has been immortalised at various locations around the world.
The first Opium War was the beginning of a long period of weakening the state and civil revolt in China, and long-term depopulation. In 1842, China's population was 416,118,200, of whom 2 million were drug addicts, and in 1881, of a population of 369,183,000, 120 million were addicts.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:48
Below is a brief summary of the 49th Regiment of FOOT and their actions just before, during and just after the 1st China War.
Highlighted is the time frame Hoskins would have been involved. This was not long as he did not live long during the conflict.
49th Regiment of Foot – China War 1842
Anglo Chinese war 1842
Opium War 1839- 1842
1838 India, Hazaribagh. 4th December on the march to Dinapore where they were stationed until February 1840.
1840 India, Dinapore. Regiment embarked on the Ganges in boats, to Berhpur (13/02/1840), re-embarked 16th March to Calcutta (26/03/1840)
1840 India, Calcutta. 6th April 1840 embarked on 'Mahomed Shah', 'Suliman', 'Blundell', 'Mermaid' & 'Isabella Robertson'. Last two vessels collided with each other & returned to port. 'Mermaid' sailed with battalion HQ on 17th April. The 'Isabella Robertson' sailed on 23rd April.
1840 Singapore. Arrived 6th April the transports disembarked over the next two days. Finally sailed under command Brigadier general Burrell on 30th May, arriving at Macao 21st June remaining a few days.
1840 China, Chusan. 4th July ships arrived at Tinghai Harbour for a few days, the 49th eventually moving to Harbour Point.
1840 China, Tinghai. During October the 49th moved to houses in the main street.
1841 China, Tinghai. Convalescents with other troops embarked from mouth of Canton River to take part in the assault on the forts at Chuen Pi & Tai-Kok-Tan, captured & dismantled on 7th January. Troops re-embarked following day and the 49th moved to the mouth of the river.
1841 China, Canton River. On 23rd February a depleted 49th embarked for Hong Kong, arriving 5th March. Following day moved up river on the 'Suliman' & 'Stalkirk' anchoring on the 9th March at North Wantung.
1841 Hong Kong. 49th returned to Hong Kong on the 9th April where the whole regiment transferred to the 'Minerva' on 13th May.
1841 China, Tsingpu. The 49th were amongst the first to land on the 24th May distinguishing themselves in the action that followed.
1841 Hong Kong. A wing of the 49th remained at Hong Kong on the the 20th August; the same day wings also arrived at Amoy & Chusan forming part of the new land expedition.
1841 China, Amoy. The 49th took part in successful operations against the Island on the 25th August.
1841 China, Amoy. Troops re-embarked on the 4th September and sailed northwards.
1841 China, Tinghai, Chusan. Operations to occupy these Islands was successful on 1st October. The 49th re-embarked six days later leaving behind a detachment of approximately 150 men.
1841 China, Chinhai. The 49th arrived on the 9th October and were part of a successful attack on the town, occupied with its large military stores.
1841 China, U.Yon. Two flank companies of the 49th accompanied Gough on the 27th December up a branch of the Takea River where they assisted in dispersing a small enemy force. They returned to Fong Wah on the 31st December.
1842 China, Ningpo. In January the HQ of the 49th was deployed here, with other companies sent to Chusan, Hong Kong, and an element of the regiment remaining in India.
1842 China, Fong Wah. A company was dispatched here, on the 10th January, but returned to their base at Ningpo.
1842 China, Ningpo. A strong assault was made on this place by the Chinese but was repulsed by the garrison including the 49th. It was then decided to attack Tsu K'I on 14th March, troops included part of the 49th who distinguished themselves. Two days later the 49th helped to force the Chinese evacuate a very strong position at Changkt Pass.
1842 China, Chapu. A force including the 49th was landed nearby on the 18th May prior to the assault on the town. There was only one major point of resistance, a small joss house held by Tartar troops. The 49th suffered heavy casualties during this action.
1842 China, Chapu. Troops left Chapu on the 28th May arriving at Woosung on the 12th June. The 49th moved on to Shanghai capturing the town without resistance, the whole force returning to Woosung on the 23rd June. Two days later Major General Bartley took command of the 49th.
1842 China, Yangste-Kiang River. Troops sailed up this river to Chin Kiang Foo on the 6th July.
1842 China, Chin Kiang Foo. The whole force including the 49th landed at daybreak on the 21st July and captured the town.
1842 China, Yangste-Kiang River. On the 29th July the 49th embarked & sailed up the river to Nanking.
1842 China, Nanking. On the arrival of the fleet on the 8th August, the troops were preparing to attack when the Chinese surrendered and the war terminated by the Peace of Nanking. The 49th sailed from there on the 17th September arriving at Chusan on 2nd October. They again embarked on the 17th November sailing for Hong Kong where they arrived on the 22nd. They sailed on the 20th December for Singapore arriving the 1st January 1843, then Calcutta in February from where they marched to Dum Dum.
1843 England. 17th February the War Office in recognition of the 49th's distinguished conduct in China, they were awarded the 'Dragon' device and battle honour 'China' on their colours. The colours were consecrated at Winchester in October.
1843 India, Calcutta. From the 10th March over the next ten days the 49th moved to Calcutta in detachments to prepare to depart for England.
1843 England, Gravesend. In various detachments the 49th arrived between the 23rd July and 14th September marching on to Deal. The following month they moved to Portsmouth remaining there until April 1844.
Edited by Darrell, 28 April 2011 - 02:49 .
Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:49
Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:50
Below is the approximate location of Amoy (current name of Xiamen).
Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:51
CHINA MEDAL 1840 - 42
Obverse: Diademed head of Queen Victoria facing left, title 'VICTORIA REGINA'.
Reverse: Trophy of Arms, oval shield charged with the Royal Arms, resting against an artillery piece & other items of ordnance, beneath a palm tree encompassed by the title 'ARMIS EXPOSCERE PACEM' (To demand peace by force of arms), all the above supported by a tablet with the title 'CHINA 1842'.
Diameter: 36 mm.
Depth: 3.17 mm.
Weight: 34 gm
Suspension: Straight plain, German silver (Nickel silver) brazed to the medal disc.
Length 39.5 mm.
Riband: 35 mm. Crimson with yellow edges. (Modern replacement ribands tend to be in the region 39 mm.)
Naming: Impressed in serif capitals in the same manner as the Waterloo Medal 1815, with stars where applicable to fill any remaining spaces either end of the naming.
Clasps: Under the terms of award of the China Medal Medal 1856-60 this medal is sometimes found with the clasp 'China 1842'.
Engraver: William Wyon RA
Manufacturer: Royal Mint. The suspensions were sub-contracted to private companies.
Below in an interesting X-Ray image of China Medal 1842 illustrating method of fixing of the suspension with two pins and braised to the medallic disc.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:53
Henry Hoskins was born in Fleet. He was a Shoemaker by trade and he enlisted in the 49th Regiment of FOOT on 25 July 1841. In his enlistment, it shows his "mother" as next of kin living in the Parish of St. Pancras Middlesex.
As 1425 Private Henry Hoskins, he joined his Regiment in China on 14 August 1841. Not much information is given as to what happened to him, but he is reported to have "DIED" on Active Service 6 Oct 1841. Incredibly tragic end to a short Military adventure.
Below is his medal.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:56
(As you can see on my examples for the 2nd and 3rd China Wars - posted elsewhere - the Reverse is much the same on all three - other than the date).
Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:57
Also note the * marks before and after the naming as you see on the WATERLOO medal naming style.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:03
First up a view of the Adjutants Roll for the 49th.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:05
Hoskin's name highlighted in pink, as having joined his Regiment in China in August 1841.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:07
His entry is highlighted by the pink:
Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:08
His entry is highlighted by the pink:
Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:10
Again Hoskin's name highlighted in pink:
Posted 28 April 2011 - 12:40
As usual a fantastic and very interesting article.......
As you know that the medal is the second design..... The first design was thought to be as we would say to day politically incorrect......
I have attached photos of a Test Striking of the original design....
Please keep it up.....
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