This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The Second Anglo-Chinese War (1856-1860), as its title suggested, was the second serious armed conflict that occurred between Britain and China in the 19th century. Prior to it was apparently, the First Anglo-Chinese War. The major reason of why Britain needed to engineer another war against China in 1856 was because The First Treaty Settlement (1842-44) was in reality not enough to grant Britain what she longed for. In other words, the old conflicts over trade, diplomacy and legal concept were actually unsolved. Moreover, the unsatisfactory First Treaty Settlement generated new sources of conflicts between the British and the Chinese, thus escalating their hostilities and making a war imminent. These flaws and inadequacies of the First Treaty Settlement highlighted the fact that the Second Opium War indeed was primarily developed out of the factors involved in the First Opium War and First Treaty Settlement, hence denoting that, to a very large extent, it was a continuation of the First Opium War. However, there were also new factors contributing to the outbreak of the war in 1856. Therefore, to a little extent, the statement is not true. Britain’s utmost concern was to expand trading network in China so that she could earn huge profits out of it. To satisfy her desire, Britain had China to sign the unequal Treaty of Nanjing in 1842 which required China’s opening of 5 ports (Canton, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo and Shanghai) to trade and residence of British consuls, merchants and their families. Yet, the signing of such treaty term did not signify that British trade would definitely flourish in China. As a matter of fact, British merchants met a lot of obstacles trading in China still. The “Canton City Question” was one of those difficult issues. Of all the five ports, all except Canton were opened on schedule to foreign trade, residence and consulates. It was because the residents of Canton had steadfastly refused to admit the British into the city, allowing them to live only in the old factory area. They argued that although the treaty opened Canton, it did not specify that foreigners be allowed inside the walled city. They were adamant and firm as they believed that British entry of Canton was a degradation, insult and humiliation to the city. Not only did the local Chinese forbid the entry of the British into the city, incidents of stoning and insulting British excursionists occurred repeatedly. The local residents were so radical and angry because the opening of Shanghai as a trading port had replaced Canton as the centre of foreign trade. Exports of tea and silk from Guangzhou declined. The livelihoods of the Guangzhou people were greatly affected. Added to this was the longrooted belief that westerners were ‘barbarians’, which further provoked their extreme resentment for the British. As such, the result of the First Treaty Settlement did become a precipitating cause of the Second Anglo-Chinese War, suggesting that the war in 1856 was in fact a continuation of the war in 1839.
when they arrived. When such news spread to China. Missionaries had permission to spread their faiths in the treaty ports. since the late 1840s. developing countries which needed workers turned to China for cheap labor. The coolies received a contract which gave them a small weekly wage and food provisions. However. were forced to continue hiring the convoys as they would possibly be attacked if they did not. Resentment and hostilities were aroused among the Chinese as the foreigner’s unscrupulous behaviors could not be controlled due to the foreigners’ possession of extraterritorialities. all of which were responsible for the outbreak of the Second Opium War. extraterritoriality was granted to Britain. The abuse of the extraterritorial right was shown again. however. which fostered extreme xenophobia sentiments among the Chinese. These missionaries. Complaints to the local authorities were useless because of their extraterritorial rights. Chinese coolies were shipped mainly from Xiamen and Macau to Southeast Asia. the coolie trade became common in the city. Third. the First Treaty Settlement also opened China to free propagation of Christianity and Catholicism. Secondly. many of the poor coolies became sick or died on their arduous traveling journeys. USA and France and it was because of the granting of such privilege to the foreigners that a lot of new sources of conflicts arose. Some foreigners and their Chinese agents therefore began to take Chinese coolies by force. the terms of the contract were often not observed. It therefore once again demonstrated that the result of the first war had turned into the cause for the second war. Given the above. it was clear that Chinese defeat in the First Opium War and the consequent granting of extraterritorialities to various countries sowed seeds for the Second Opium War as the foreigners often misused and abused their rights. Worse still. Australia and America. Since China had a large population. a continuation of the First Opium War was that in the First Treaty Settlement. Yet.Another point to illustrate that the Second Opium War was to a large extent. fewer coolies were willing to leave. the problem of the convoying system also demonstrated the foreigners’ abuses of their extraterritorial rights. . The Second Opium War as a continuation of the First Opium War was once again reinforced. often made use of their extraterritorialities to go beyond the treaty ports to the inner areas to preach. Chinese merchants or fishing fleets often hired well-armed foreign ships to convoy them as protection against pirates. unfortunately. Parallel to coolie trade. Some even misused the right to protect their Chinese converts. The Chinese. the charges of the escort became increasingly unreasonable as time passed. piracy began to flourish along the coasts of China. supporting the argument that the second opium war was a continuation of the first. As a result. First.
the British claimed that the most-favored-nation treatment entitled them to similar revision in twelve years. Another issue that partly gave rise to the First Opium War was the conflict between Chinese system of tributary relationship and the Western system of equal diplomatic intercourse. According to the Treaty of Wanghsia and Whampoa. Naturally. the opium trade continued to flourish. It was one of the many causes that explained the growing Sino-British hostilities. foreigners were blamed for the bad effects of opium on the people and the economy of China. Moreover. such as those over opium trade. and therefore it was reasonable to say that the Second Opium War was a continuation of the First Opium War. Same as the opium issue. However. which were all vital causes of the First Anglo-Chinese War. Sino-British relations reached a very low point. a treaty revision would not be necessary. even on minor issues. For if it wasn’t the old problems hadn’t been well solved in the First Treaty Settlement. Since Britain was unsatisfied with the initial treaty. The opium issue. the failings of the First Treaty Settlement indeed paved way for the war in 1856. thus fully showing that the Second Opium War was really a continuation of the first. it was the unsatisfactory First Treaty Settlement that gave the western countries the most favored nation clause. such conflict continued to exist after the First Treaty Settlement and continued to serve as an important factor leading to the Second . insisting that if he gave an inch. The conflict over treaty revision highlighted that the Second Opium War was really a continuation of the First Opium War. In fact. the foreigners would want a foot. The fact that the two Opium Wars both shared the opium issue as one of the causes that led to the outbreak of the wars showed that the statement given was to a large extent valid. In the First Treaty Settlement. As such. the question of whether the opium trade should be legalized or banned was not answered. the failings of the First Treaty Settlement not only lied in the fact that it generated new sources of conflicts. For example. Yeh at Canton persistently refused to negotiate. she proposed the discussion about it in 1856. More importantly was that the very old conflicts between China and Britain. the First Opium War was chiefly developed out of the deadly opium conflict in 1939. a treaty China signed with America and France respectively in 1844. diplomacy and jurisdiction. Although the Treaty of Nanjing of 1842 made no provision for treaty revision. the First Treaty Settlement also granted the mostfavored-nation clause to Britain which was yet another treaty term that was almost fatal to China in the 19th century. being unattended in the First Treaty Settlement. a revision might take place in twelve years. was still a cause for the Second Opium War. which led to their conflict over the treaty revision in later days. were much unsolved or unattended in the settlement. Hence.To show Chinese magnanimity.
even after the First Treaty Settlement. once again. However. it acted as a cause leading to the Second Opium War. after the diplomatic honeymoon created by Chi-ying’s policy of friendship and personal diplomacy. and in the turmoil the British flag was hauled down. the Second Opium War was in fact not only fought by Britain and China alone. This again illustrated that the old conflict was never resolved. the Arrow was boarded by four Chinese officers and sixty soldiers for the alleged purpose of searching out one notorious pirate who was said to be aboard. Britain also argued that any British ship in Chinese waters was entitled with extraterritorial privileges. similar to the First Opium War. The Arrow Incident that happened in 1856 could demonstrate such an argument. the many results of the first war later turned into the causes of the second war. Therefore. Similar to what were aforementioned. there were still no formal western diplomatic representatives in Beijing. It was an example of the two countries conflict over jurisdiction because the arrest of the crew was one that was without a warrant from the British consul. Instead. France was also an active participant. it signified that it was. a continuation of the First Opium War because on one hand. the two countries conflicting idea on legal conceptions that partly brought about the Second Opium War. factors that were irrelevant to the First Opium War. Moreover. In October. The third problem that led to the outbreak of the First Opium war was Britain and China’s conflict over jurisdiction.Opium War. the conflict over jurisdiction was also one of the causes that accounted for the Second Opium War. First. . The Middle-Kingdom Concept was so deep-rooted in the Chinese that even their defeat in the First Opium War was insufficient to make them realize their ignorance and superiority was in fact misplaced. The Chinese officials arrested twelve Chinese crew members. and on the other. it would be superficial to say that the Second Opium War was entirely and merely a continuation of the First Opium War. the two wars had many shared causes. The above mentioned points highlighted the fact that the Second Opium War was to a large extent. for there were other relatively minor factors that contributed to the war in 1856. Chi-ying’s successors Hsu Kuang-chin and Yeh Mingchen continued to cling to the Middle-Kingdom Concept and thus adopted an unyielding and arrogant attitude toward foreigners. They secretly promoted anti-foreign sentiment among the populace and encouraged them to block the British entry of the city. 1856. Westerners could only have direct contact with provincial governors but not the Qing court. For instance.