The Meeting Did
Not Take Place, And The Whole Question Remained Dormant For Two Years, By
Which Time Not Only Had Sir John Bowring Been Knighted And Confirmed In
The Post Of Governor, But The Viceroy Had Been Superseded By The
Subsequently Notorious Commissioner Yeh.
Up to this point all Sir John
Bowring's suggestions with regard to the settlement of the questions
pending with the Chinese had been received with the official reply that he
was to abstain from all action, and that he was not to press himself on
the Canton authorities.
But, in the beginning of 1854, his instructions
were so far modified that Lord Clarendon wrote admitting the desirability
of "free and unrestricted intercourse with the Chinese officials," and of
"admission into some of the cities of China, especially Canton."
Encouraged by these admissions in favor of the views he had been advancing
for some time, Sir John Bowring wrote an official letter to Commissioner
Yeh inviting him to an early interview, but stating that the interview
must be held within the city of Canton at the viceroy's yamen. It will be
noted that what Sir John asked fell short of what Keying had promised. The
opening of the gates of Canton was to have been to all Englishmen, but the
English government would at this point have been satisfied if its
representative had been granted admission for the purpose of direct
negotiation with the Chinese authorities. To the plain question put to him
Yeh returned an evasive answer.
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