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by a crew of convicts like himself. No one
seemed surprised to see him, or interested in
seeing him, or glad to see him, or sorry to see
him, or spoke a word, except that somebody in
the boat growled as if to dogs, "Give way, you! ''
which was the signal for the dip of the oars. By
the light of the torches, we saw the black Hulk
lying out a little way from the mud of the shore,
like a wicked Noah's ark. Cribbed and barred
and moored by massive rusty chains, the prison-ship
seemed in my young eyes to be ironed like
the prisoners."We saw the boat go alongside,
and we saw him taken up the side and disappear.
Then, the ends of the torches were flung hissing
into the water, and went out, as if it were all
over with him.


I HAVE a mission. I may not, perhaps, be
able to fulfil it, for we lie at the mercy of circumstances
in this trying world. Nevertheless, I
am confident that I have a mission, and that
mission has reference to China. I have been conscious
of the fact for some years past, but it has
been impressed upon me more forcibly than ever
by the intelligence which we have been lately receiving
from that country.

I suppose all Englishmen will be ready to confess
that our relations with the Chinese empire
have not been altogether satisfactory. Without
doubt there has been a decided hitch in those relations.
They have not been working well for
some time past, and, indeed, I may say that they
never have worked well at any time. We don't
seem, as two nations, to understand each other.
We appear to be playing at cross questions and
crooked answers, and this state of things is
giving rise to all sorts of evils, which are telling
in a very disagreeable way upon the temper
of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. My mission
is to remedy these evils. I feel a kind of
inspiration, that I, and I only, am the man to
deal with that shifty people.

We are in the habit of speaking of such and
such a person as being a man suited to his time,
a man fitted for the occasion. Wellington was
the man for Waterloo, Russell was the man for
Reform, Cobden was the man for the No Corn-
law. Very good; my name is Chapman, and I
am the man for China.

Of course such a work as that which I propose
to do could not possibly be performed without adequate
means and powers being placed at my disposal.
Even Wellington, I presume, mighty genius
as he was, would not have been successful at
Waterloo altogether by himself. Some people
go so far as to say that he was very much indebted
to Blucher on that occasion. At any
rate he required a British army at his back; and,
without a British army, I think, we may safely
conclude that his success would have been, to
say the least of it, problematical. You will,
therefore, not be surprised to hear that I also require
certain small aids and auxiliaries. You
ask what these are? I have no objection to
confess ingenuously that I shall require the assistance,
not only of the British army, but of the
British fleet besides. This modest requisition
you will probably deny me; nevertheless, I will
proceed to lay before you, briefly but clearly, the
grounds upon which I, Chapman, thus ask
for the confidence and support of the British

First of all, I will begin by saying that, although
I understand English and French perfectly, and
am decidedly fluent as regards the latter language,
yet I know nothing whatever about Chinese.
I consider this last a great qualification. You
will say it is not a singular one. Probably not.
But what is the use of a qualification if it
is not taken advantage of? I contend that
all our dealings with the Chinese people have
been carried on by persons who, if they did
not understand the language themselves, were
unfortunate enough to be surrounded by those
who did, and I further contend that this
knowledge has been the cause of all the evils
which we have now to deplore. The use of language,
we have been told, is to conceal our
thoughts, and this is certainly the use to which
the Chinese put it. Talk of their Flowery Land!
what is the floweriness of their land when compared
to the efflorescence of their language? Here
is a people who make it their chief business to
tell lies. They are great in fire-works, moral as
well as pyrotechnic, and the man of genius, with
them, is the man who can invent the most awful
"crackers." Truthfulness is the sign of a rude,
unpolished mind, and a man who should go
amongst the Chinese, without first cloaking and
concealing and carefully covering over every real
feeling of his mind, would be looked upon pretty
much in the same light as one of our own naked
ancestors would be looked upon, if he were to
reappear suddenly amongst ourselves greased and
painted. Can you wonder that Chinamen persist
in calling us barbarians, when, notwithstanding
all the experience which we have had of their
character, we still continue to send diplomatists
to them, to be cajoled and wheedled and bamboozled
in every possible way? Look at that
affair at Tien-tsin the other day. I believe that
we were within an ace, on that occasion, of making
another of those famous treaties which convulse
the fat sides of every mandarin in the empire
with mirth. How I wish that I had commenced
my mission at that time; that I could have
been set down in Lord Elgin's place, and
could have had Kweiliang brought before me.
You ask me what I would have done with
him ? What? Why, I would have had his head
off; and, if I had made any use whatever of
Messrs. Parke and Wade, it would have been
to send them to Hang-fun with my compliments,
and to tell him that if any other lying commissioner
of the same sort were to come before me,
I would serve him after the same sort. I think