5. A New Situation, New Worries
5.1. Changes Brought by Foreign Trade
5.2. Piracy and British Invasion
5.3. The Constitutionalism Movement
5.1. Changes Brought by Foreign Trade
From the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century, the trade between China and the various countries in the West developed quickly. The trade with Britain grew especially rapidly. In this new era of flourishing trade, Macao underwent quite a few changes.
The first change was that Macao became a place where the large number of foreign merchants resided and were entertained. Towards the end of the 18th century, the number of foreign merchant ships coming to China increased from several dozen to nearly a hundred annually, and it further increased to over a hundred at the beginning of the 19th century. The number of foreign people also increased dramatically. According to Chinese law, foreign women were not allowed to enter Canton, so they had to stay in Macao. The foreign businessmen entering Canton were unable to bear the prison-like life in the foreign firms, and fled to Macao as soon as possible. And the businessmen who had to spend the winters in China for business reasons were required to stay in Macao. Macao brimmed over with foreigners all the year round, including merchants and their dependents and the diplomats like the consuls general, consuls and deputy consuls from Britain, the United State, Prussia, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and other nations. The British and Dutch East India Companies put up large storage houses in Macao. Some rich British merchants leased many houses built by the Portuguese and one of the houses was called Casa Garden. In 1793, the British Ambassador, George Macartney, who had had an audience with the Qianlong Emperor, was housed in the Casa Garden on his way home via Macao.
Compared with Canton, these Westerners, regarded this coastal city with its picturesque scenery as almost a paradise on earth, although Portuguese standards of propriety made it a bit dull. These Westerners, especially the Britishers, sought pleasure all day long, wallowing in pure British recreational activities such as concerts, masked balls, horse racing, amateur dramatic performances and so on. Another attraction for the British men, was the large number of women, especially single women. Some British merchants and seamen who frequently came to Macao chose the women they would like to look after there. When they were away from China, they let these women draw a certain amount of money from the British firms in Macao to maintain themselves.
The Portuguese did not relish housing so many foreigners in Macao. But renting houses to them at exorbitant rates and catering to their daily needs became important sources of income for the Portuguese. Poor Portuguese men and women could earn their living by serving the foreigners as their servants, wet nurse or office workers. The Portuguese learned to live in peace with other Westerners.
As Macao increased in population and prosperity, a large number of Chinese peddlers and hired labourers went to Macao to earn their living, bringing their wives and children. Many Chinese merchants established firms and traded with foreign merchants there. The most successful Chinese merchants were from Fuzhou, Zhaozhou and Jiayingzhou. In this situation, the Portuguese Governor to India could not but permit the Portuguese in Macao to lease houses to the Chinese. By the beginning of the 19th century, the local Chinese population was more than doubled, compared with that in the late 18th century, reaching about 18,000.
It was inevitable that changes of this magnitude would create new social problems. First, some Portuguese wanted to exploit the lack of housing by renting to higher-paying Europeans and tried to take back houses they had leased to Chinese people, especially the houses facing the street. They even drove out Chinese tenants by force. After intervention by the Chinese authorities, the Portuguese greatly increased rents to force Chinese tenants to leave. Many Chinese tenants accused the Portuguese of violating the lease contract. The top officials in Guangdong had to issue a decree:
Henceforward, if Chinese people who have leased the foreigners' houses have paid their rent on time, the foreigners are not allowed to take back the leased houses or increase the rents.
The second problem was that Chinese peddlers continued to put up sheds to sell food, wine and groceries. These sheds not only became hide-outs for bandits, but also caused many fires. The Chinese officials dismantled the illegal buildings over and over again, but a few days later even more sheds would appear, causing headaches for both the Chinese and Portuguese authorities.
Third, a large number of Chinese and Portuguese women were forced to support themselves by prostitution in and around Macao. After the situation had continued for many years, it finally caught the attention of the Chinese and Portuguese authorities. The Chinese authorities issued a formal order to drive away so-called "flower boats" carrying prostitutes from the Inner Harbour of Macao to other places. The Bishop of Macao set up an asylum to confine "licentious" women, and teach them work skills. Only those who received an offer of marriage could be released. Because of its rampant prostitution, some foreigners called this most ancient Western foothold in the East Asia a place grotesque in shape and gaudy in colour, or even called it the place with the most corrupted public morals in the world.
A fourth even greater change for Macao was it became a centre for opium-smuggling. Opium as a kind of medicine had always been lawfully exported to China by the Portuguese through Macao in the past three centuries. The amount of imported opium had been limited, usually no more than 200 chests a year. In 1767, the amount was still no more than 1,000 chests or so. In 1773, the British merchants shipped the opium produced in India to China and sold it openly at the foreign firms in Canton, dramatically increasing the amount of the drug imported. It quickly became the most important goods shipped from India to China. In order to check the disastrous spread of this harmful drug, the Qing government banned the import of opium in 1796, and strictly banned opium-smoking in 1799. In this situation, the British merchants thought that it would be foolish to continue to ship opium to Canton, and decided to use Macao as a channel to smuggle opium into China.
That year approximately half of the opium produced by the East India Company, about 2,000 chests, was shipped to Macao by British and Portuguese ships and then smuggled into China's interior. There were many reasons accounting for Macao's becoming a distribution centre for smuggled opium. First, the smugglers bribed certain Chinese officials to hide the smuggling activities. Meanwhile, according to the regulations, the Portuguese merchant ships in Macao could unload their goods at Macao without being checked by Chinese customs, when they returned from abroad. The smugglers exploited this loophole, hiding opium at the bottom of the Portuguese merchant ships and bringing it into Macao secretly. The Portuguese authorities' consented to allow opium smuggling because besides the windfall profits it brought Portuguese merchants, which gave them much-needed cash to export Chinese goods to Brazil and Europe, it also enabled the Portuguese customs to levy a considerable sum of taxes.
In order to get more money, the Portuguese authorities maintained strict control over the illegal opium trade. Initially the Armenians were very active in this trade. They hired Portuguese merchant ships or British Indian ships to carry opium from Calcutta to Macao. In order to hurry back to India in the autumn of the same year, Armenians often sold opium at prices that undercut the Portuguese opium dealers. The Portuguese authorities believed that the Armenians had caused the sluggish opium market and hurt Macao, so they were determined to forbid the Armenians from going from India to Macao on Portuguese merchant ships.
Afterwards, the Portuguese and British engaged in a long period of intrigue against each other in the trafficking of opium. In 1802, the Portuguese Prince Regent ordered that only Portuguese merchants be allowed to bring opium into Macao. The Regent was responding to a suggestion made by the Senate in Macao three years before. But at that time, the Portuguese authorities had changed their mind, so they did not implement the order. In 1804, some British opium-mongers, brushing Portuguese aside, shipped opium directly to Huangpu, when the Chinese ban on opium was relaxed somewhat. One year later, the East India Company imposed a 20% more surcharge on Portuguese merchant ships going to Calcutta, so as to give an advantage to British merchant ships smuggling opium to China. The extra tax sent the Portuguese authorities into a rage. They accused the British of damaging Macao's interests and made a retaliation by refusing to let any non-Portuguese merchant ship unload opium at Macao. Finally, after mediation the two sides eased their conflicts and agreed that henceforward, when the British stored and sold opium in Macao, they had to have Portuguese agents and pay them a commission.
Opium was sent into the interior of China by Chinese opium-mongers, who closely colluded with the foreign profiteers. With footholds in Macao and in many cities throughout China, they carried out this criminal activity through multiple channels. In order to reap even more colossal profit, they often stirred up chaos in the opium market in Macao and in 1801 and 1805, they drove up opium prices many times. But because the smuggling of opium into the interior of China was an essential link in the whole opium trade, the Portuguese authorities had to tolerate such actions and tried to protect the Chinese opium-mongers' activities. For instance, the voyage from Macao to Quanzhou was a hot line for the opium-smuggling. The Portuguese even sent armed lorchas to escort the smuggling ships lest they should be intercepted and robbed by the pirates running amuck on the sea near Guangdong and Fujian.
The increasing wildness of opium smuggling caught the attention of the Chinese government. The Guangdong authorities several times took measures to crack down on the opium market in Macao. In 1806, the Governor of Guangdong Sun Yuting sternly ordered the Portuguese not to traffick in opium in Macao. With pirates also running rampant in the area, the opium trade dropped off dramatically in a short period. But since many corrupted Chinese officials received generous bribes from the smugglers, they continued to shield the illegal trade. In a decade or so when Macao was thriving with opium trade, tens of thousands of chests of opium flowed into the interior of China and several million taels of silver flowed out of China. A large number of Chinese and foreign opium-mongers became millionaires in Macao. The city, which had been a famous international trading port in the past, became notorious as a hideout for the opium-smugglers.
During this period, another change that took place in Macao was its becoming a port to illegally export Chinese labourers. At the end of the 18th century, the various Western countries needed a large amount of cheap labour. The African slave trade was declining, so the British East India Company secretly began to recruit contracted Chinese labourers in Canton. The Chinese government strictly forbade the Chinese people to go abroad. If they stealthily went out from Canton on the British ships, they were liable to be discovered by the Chinese authorities, so in 1805, the British in India advocated using Macao, because of its special situation. In order to share the profits gained from exporting cheap labourers, the Portuguese authorities agreed to help the British defying the Qing government's repeated injunctions.
Having bribed the Chinese officials in Macao, the Portuguese ships carrying Chinese labourers smoothly sailed out of Macao. In the decade after 1805, tens of thousands of Chinese labourers secretly came to Macao, sailed on Portuguese ships to Pinang and Singapore, and then went on to Java and the West Indies Islands either by the ships they took or other ships. For example, from December, 1813 to January, 1814, more than 1,700 Chinese labourers went to the British colony Muntok via Macao. The British also recruited Chinese skilled workers. Beginning in 1812, the British had shipped away from Macao quite a number of Chinese artisans, including carpenters, stonemasons, blacksmiths and others. Some of them were sent to Saint Helena Island to build Napoleon's prison.
Seeing that the British had recruited a large number of Chinese labourers, the Portuguese were also eager to try. In 1810, in order to grow tea on a trial basis, they recruited several hundred Chinese tea workers. It was said that this group of Chinese workers all died before long, because they were unaccustomed to the extremely hot weather in Brazil. As a matter of fact, a few Chinese labourers who went to Portuguese colonies fared a little better. A letter that was survived tells us that three Chinese tea tree planters who left through Macao cultivated tea trees at the Royal Garden after their arrival in Brazil; they found favour with the King of Portugal, and quickly accumulated some money.
Initially, this kind of recruiting was carried out in a civilized way. When recruitment became more difficult, British and Portuguese profiteers began to collude with Chinese traffickers in persons. They sold the Chinese labourers abroad through abduction, sometimes violently. In Guangdong appeared a phrase "maizhuzai" (selling pigsties) that turned people's faces pale. Nevertheless, the limited scale of the traffick in labourers and the silence of the bribed local officials meant that the Jiaqing Emperor did not know that tens of thousands of his subjects were leaving China through Macao.
In the meantime, because of the thriving trade between China and Western countries and residence of large numbers of Chinese and Western public figures, Macao became an important window for the cultural exchanges between the East and the West again. In this regard, the Portuguese in Macao also did some significant work. For instance, in 1800, the St. Joseph College, which had initially been set up by the Jesuits and had been closed down in 1762, was reopened as a Royal College funded by the Portuguese authorities. The college enrolled both Portuguese and Chinese students, taught Portuguese, Latin, arithmetic, rhetoric, philosophy, theology and other subjects, and disseminated cultural and scientific knowledge among the residents. The famous Sinologist, father Joachim Alphonse Goncalves, compiled the Chinese-Portuguese Dictionary and other dictionaries. The publication of these dictionaries one after another played a positive role in facilitating the exchange of cultures and languages between China and Portugal.
More work was done by the public figures coming to Macao from Britain and other countries. From 1803 to 1805, Kerr, a floriculturist for the King of Britain collected over 700 kinds of plants in Macao area; more than 100 of them had not been studied by the Western scientists before. Although he encountered a strong wind near the Cross Gate and lost most of what he had collected, he brought the remainder to Britain. The printing house set up by the British East India Company in Macao printed many books introducing China, among which the most important was A Dictionary of the Chinese Language, the first rather complete and detailed English-Chinese Dictionary, printed from 1815 to 1822 at a huge cost. This great work, compiled by the British missionary Robert Morrison and others, was in six volumes with a total of 4,595 pages, and its publication was of great significance to the promotion of cultural exchanges between China and Western countries. Doctor T. R. College from the East India Company established the first ophthalmic hospital in Macao in 1827 which also treated other diseases. According to hospital records, in five years, the hospital treated 4,000 Macaonese and inland Chinese people, winning praise from the patients.
Beginning in 1825, a famous British painter George Chinnery lived in Macao for more than twenty years. He painted many scenes depicting the local conditions and customs, taught painting, cultivated Chinese and foreign painters, and forming a school of art of his own. Among his talent students, there were Lamqua (Guan Qiaochang), the number one painter in Canton producing paintings to sell abroad, and a French painter, Auguste Borget, who published Sketches of China and the Chinese after he returned home.
Anders Ljungstedt, a Swedish Consul to China, earnestly collected the historical materials about Macao and published A Historical Sketch of the Portuguese Settlements in China and The Roman Catholic Church and Mission in China & Description of the City of Canton in 1832 and 1834 respectively, and in 1836, two years after his death in Macao, a combined and revised edition of the two was published in Boston. This book, A Historical Sketch of the Portuguese Settlements in China and the Roman Catholic Church and Mission in China & Description of the City of Canton, is the first historical book on Macao written by a Westerner. In spite of the fact that there are a few mistakes in the book, it preserves many valuable original materials and becomes required reading for scholars studying the history of Macao.
Other cultural exchanges were the result of cooperation among people from various countries. For example, in 1806, a library was established by the Portuguese with the donation from secular and religious residents in Macao from Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and other countries. The Library included a collection of 4,000 volumes of various kinds of books, mainly in English. When smallpox vaccination had been introduced in the West, six hundred Chinese and foreign inhabitants took the lead in being vaccinated in 1805 and 1806 through the efforts of a Portuguese doctor, Domingos Jose Gomes, and the Minister in Macao, Miguel de Arriaga. Afterwards, the doctors of the British East India Company taught some inhabitants in Canton the technology of smallbox vaccination, so that this kind of inoculation gradually spread to the various provinces of China.
The local Chinese inhabitants also made their contribution towards the cultural exchanges between China and the West. What especially noteworthy is the story of Xie Qinggao. In 1820, after he had become blind and came to Macao to be an interpreter, he gave an oral account of what he had seen in the countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and America, when he was a seaman working on foreign ships in his early years. His story was written down and compiled into Hailu (Overseas Records) by his fellow townsman, Yang Bingnan. The book, published soon after it was written, introduced Chinese readers to the conditions and customs of the countries in many continents of the world, especially in Europe and America, according to the author's own personal experiences. In several decades thereafter, it became a required reading for the Chinese who wanted to know the situation of the world.
Because the British merchants believed in Protestantism, many Protestant missionaries came to China on the heels of the British merchants; and Macao was the first place in China to come into contact with Protestantism. The earliest Protestant missionary, Robert Morrison, stayed and worked in Macao for about twenty years beginning in 1807. The British East India Company hired him as an interpreter as a front, so that the local Catholic church would not find out his true purpose. He seized the opportunity to disseminate Protestantism secretly. On July 16, 1814, in a creek in Macao he held the christening for Cai Gao, the first Protestant in China. Cai Gao was a wood block printer in the printing house in Macao set up by the British East India Company. Before long, Cai Gao's brothers, Cai Xing and Cai San, also converted. In 1823, Morrison appointed Liang Fa, a new Protestant, the first Protestant clergyman in China. From then on, under Morrison's instruction, Liang Fa secretly propagated Protestantism in many parts of Guangdong. A pamphlet by Liang and Morrison called Good Advice to the Human World fell into the hands of a disappointed exam candidate named Hong Xiuquan. Hong later found in the pamphlet theoretical inspiration for his Taiping uprising (1851-1864).
Of course, it was not possible for Protestantism to spread widely in Macao. Macao was still an important stronghold of Catholicism after all. Church control was tight, people from various countries came to Macao to study Catholicity in an endless stream. Among them, a Korean whose Chinese name was Jing Dajian, had studied theology and philosophy and carried out missionary work in Macao for many years since 1837. Later, he became the first Catholic father in Korea.
During this period, the relationship between the Chinese authorities and Portuguese authorities in Macao underwent some new developments. Due to the lack of a special governmental body to deal with foreign affairs, it was difficult for the Chinese government to cope with the steadily increasing activities in foreign affairs. The Chinese government entrusted the dealing with foreign trade or even certain foreign affairs to the Portuguese authorities in Macao.
When the Dutch and British ambassadors arrived at Macao on their way to or from Beijing, the Chinese government asked the Portuguese authorities in Macao to look after the ambassadors, keep them from "making trouble", arrange ships for their return, see them off, and then report to the Chinese authorities. Whenever any unidentified ships or non-Portuguese ships reached the mouth of the Pearl River, the Chinese authorities would ask the Portuguese authorities to send someone to board these ships to make an inquiry. The ships would then either be allowed to sail to Canton to trade or forced to leave China's coast. In regard to the non-Portuguese inhabitants in Macao, the Chinese authorities also empowered the Portuguese authorities to administer them. If these foreigners violated the Chinese law and discipline, except the more serious offence which would be investigated and dealt with by the Chinese authorities, the minor ones were to be dealt with and punished according to the Portuguese law. In the meantime, the Vice Prefect for Coastal Defence authorized the Portuguese Procurator to issue the passes with his co-signature to the foreign merchants going to Canton, and to retrieve them after the merchants returned to Macao. In these ways, the Portuguese authorities participated in the administration of foreign merchants' going into and out of Canton. In addition, the Guangdong authorities also relied upon the Portuguese in Macao to take charge of the arms removed from the foreign ships, when they entered Canton, to send back foreigners rescued from shipwrecks, and to find interpreters for rare Western languages.
Because the Portuguese authorities in Macao cooperated with the Chinese authorities quite smoothly in dealing with these matters, and also because they helped the Guangdong authorities in wiping out the pirates at the beginning of the 19th century, the relationship between Chinese and Portuguese officials entered a rather harmonious period. The Guangdong authorities often praised the Portuguese authorities for "knowing clearly the right thing to do and the principle to follow and abiding by the law".
During this period, when the terms of office of several Portuguese officials who had properly handled bilateral relations expired, the Chinese officials and the Chinese in Macao often urged these Portuguese officials to continue their service. For example, in 1793, when the three year term of the Governor, D. Vasco Luiz Carneirode Sousa e Faro, expired, Chinese businessmen in Macao like Ye Zhu and others presented a letter to the Magistrate of Xiangshan County, saying:
Faro is experienced and worldly-wise; he has appeased and reigned in the foreigners in Macao in the right way; whenever there is any matter to be handled between the Chinese and the foreigners, he always handles it very well, winning the hearty admiration of the Chinese and foreigners. That is why a tranquility is enjoyed by Chinese and foreign people in Macao. If his term of office can be continued, it will do Macao a favour.
The Magistrate Xu of Xiangshan County also praised Faro in his written instruction:
Whenever there are matters to take up with between the Chinese and the foreigners, he always handles them appropriately. He is a really outstanding person among foreign officials and capable of governance.
So the Magistrate requested the Portuguese authorities in Macao to present a note to the King of Portugal asking for a continuation of Faro's term in office.
In 1809, the Minister of Macao, Miguel de Arriaga, who had won respect from Chinese inhabitants and officials, was going to leave his post. The Chinese inhabitants of Macao wrote to the King of Portugal and the Portuguese Viceroy to India, praising Arriaga for his "impartiality and capability in handling matters" and asking that he remain in office for a much longer term, because of his remarkable achievements while in office and his assistance to the Guangdong authorities in suppressing pirates. Before long, a new minister arrived at Macao, and was prepared to take over from Arriaga. The Chinese inhabitants in Macao wrote to the Senate in Macao again, and asked the Chinese authorities to intervene. Finally, with the intervention of the Chinese officials, the Chinese residents succeeded in retaining Arriaga in office. He served in Macao until he died of illness.
While the relationship between Chinese and Portuguese officials was relatively harmonious, the Guangdong authorities succeeded in stationing the Vice Magistrate of Xiangshan County in Macao in an unexpected move. The office-building of the Vice Magistrate in Mongha had collapsed in the 1760s because of a strong wind. Afterwards, the successive Vice Magistrates had to make do with Cuiwei School, some distance north of the Barrier Gate. As the office was far away from Macao, it was very inconvenient for handling Macao's affairs. Although the Vice Magistrates had never given up their efforts to move into Macao, they failed again and again. For example, in 1792, a vive magistrate had built a new office which was close to St. Domonic Market, attempting to presented the Portuguese a fait accompli, but he was unable to use it because of stubborn resistance by the Portuguese authorities. In 1800, with the excuse that Cuiwei School was about to collapse and urgently needed repairing, and that the fierce piracy on the sea required the Vice Magistrate's swift actions, the Vice Magistrate Wu leased a house owned by a Chinese inhabitant at Lane of Cotovelos, not far from the customs house in Macao, as his temporary office. It caught the Portuguese authorities unprepared and the Qing government's plan laid down in 1744 to set up the office of the Vice Magistrate of Xiangshan County in Macao was finally accomplished.
Even in this period of harmony, there were still frictions between Chinese and Portuguese. Because of housing shortage in Macao, it was natural that the Portuguese would want to build more houses. But due to the restrictions of the Agreement on the Aftermath Arrangements Concerning the Foreigners in Macao, they were not permitted to do so. They were compelled to plot with Chinese craftsmen, reporting to the Chinese authorities that they were repairing a number of houses, whereas in fact they were building new houses. Sometimes the patrolling Chinese officials discovered the new houses and ordered them pulled down. The Chinese runners, however, were bribed by the Portuguese, and they usually paid lip service to their task, so that the houses in Macao steadily increased.
The Portuguese also began to build houses to the north of the city wall. At the end of the 18th century, the Portuguese helped Chinese immigrants to build houses at the foot of the hill close to the Portuguese hospital for lepers. Then supported by the Portuguese, the immigrants turned a sandbank there into arable land. After being found out by the Chinese officials, the Portuguese authorities made the Viceroy of the Two Guangs agree to keep the status quo by saying that the immigrants were growing grain and vegetables for the lepers. The number of houses and inhabitants there increased steadily and the Portuguese gradually built more houses beyond the city wall without permission, so the frictions between the Portuguese and the Chinese authorities caused by dismantling illegally-constructed houses occurred from time to time.
After the Vice Magistrate of Xiangshan County moved to Macao in 1800, the Vice Magistrate's control of cases of Chinese being killed by foreigners were strengthened. The Portuguese sought new counter-measures shortly. In 1803, the Portuguese Prince Regent issued an order to the Portuguese authorities in Macao, prohibiting them from handing over Portuguese and other foreigners guilty of homicide to the Chinese authorities for trial. If a Portuguese or other foreigners deserved death punishment according to the Portuguese law, he should be executed by headsmen believing in Catholic.
In 1805, using the above order as an excuse, the Portuguese authorities refused to hand over to the Chinese authorities a Siamese sailor, who worked on a Portuguese ship and killed a Chinese sailor called Chen Yalian. Fearing that the Chinese authorities should adopt measures to blockade Macao, the Portuguese Governor of Macao, Cactano de Sousa Pereira, stored away two years' food for the garrison, so as to confront the Chinese authorities. Although the Chinese authorities, as usual, forbade Chinese merchants to supply the Portuguese with food, the measure had no effect. After the Portuguese authorities had sentenced the Siamese sailor to death, a rumour was spread that the Chinese would kidnap the criminal at the time of his execution. Pereira assembled troops and ordered the guns of various fortresses to aim at the crowds of people at the execution ground, claiming that if the Chinese army and people should kidnap the criminal, he would order the guns to open fire. At that time, perhaps the Guangdong authorities did not want to take a tough approach towards the Portuguese authorities because of the trouble created by the pirates, as they had to borrow guns and ammunition in large quantities from the Portuguese, so they could not but let the Portuguese set a bad precedent of executing the criminals themselves, not handing over to the Chinese authorities for trial.
In addition, the Portuguese attempted to exploit the relative harmonious relations and the assistance they provided to the Chinese authorities, to enlarge their privilege in Macao. In 1803, in accordance with a Portuguese suggestion the previous year, the Guangdong authorities requisitioned two Portuguese armed ships to assist in the wiping out the pirates. The Portuguese seized the chance and made nine demands on Xu Nailai, the Magistrate of Xiangshan County:
1. Let the Portuguese authorities arrest the Chinese bandits and drive away the ships of the other foreign countries within and around the area from the Barrier Gate to Macao and of the adjacent islands.
2. The Portuguese authorities have the right to drive the "wandering bandits" among the Chinese out of Macao.
3. If there are debt problems among the Chinese and Portuguese inhabitants in Macao, the Portuguese authorities are entitled to sell the debtors' property by auction to clear off the debts concerned.
4. Except for important cases of homicide, other offence committed by the Chinese inhabitants are to be tried and punished by the Portuguese authorities.
5. If a Chinese killed a Portuguese, he should be executed in Macao.
6. When the Portuguese go to Canton to trade, the Portuguese authorities in Macao will be allowed to issue the necessary pass, and the Chinese customs shall not levy extra taxes.
7. In regard to the Portuguese ships, the regulations promulgated previously are to be applied and no new taxes levied.
8. While repairing houses, it is no longer necessary for the Portuguese to seek permission from the Chinese authorities.
9. When a Portuguese person is wronged and the Chinese local authorities should fail to do justice, he is entitled to appeal directly to the Viceroy of the Two Guangs.
The essence of these demands was to enlarge Portuguese privileges in Macao, especially jurisdiction over the Chinese in Macao, and to broaden the area under the jurisdiction of the Portuguese to include the whole Macao Peninsula and some islands around it. Except for agreeing to relay to the Guangdong top officials their request of no extra duties for the Portuguese ships to show solicitude for them, Xu Nailai solemnly pointed out that the Chinese inhabitants in Macao ought to be under the jurisdiction of the Chinese authorities, and the Portuguese authorities in Macao were not allowed to administer the settlement ultra vires. As to the area from the city wall of Macao to the Barrier Gate, where the Chinese and foreigners people mixed together, and the adjacent islands, where there were Chinese fishing boats and farmers' cottages, China would never brook Portuguese encroachment. He flatly refused the Portuguese demands.
In May 1807, when the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, Wu Xiongguang, arrived at Macao to suppress the pirates, the Portuguese authorities in Macao made five requests directly to him:
1. When the Portuguese go to Canton to purchase goods, they should be allowed to do so with a note given to the Chinese customs by the Portuguese authorities.
2. The number of ships enjoying the preferential treatment of tax reduction is to be increased from the original twenty-five to fifty.
3. The Portuguese ships within the quota of preferential treatment with a displacement of less than 180 tons will be exempted from ship taxation.
4. Chinese ships carrying salt are not allowed to anchor in the Inner Harbour of Macao.
5. The ban on the building of new houses and the restriction on the repairing of old houses should be abolished.
The main purpose of these five requests was also to enlarge Portuguese privileges in trade. The Chinese authorities could hardly approve such requests, and at the meeting held afterwards, the Guangdong top officials flatly rejected all of them.
In the winter of 1809, when the Guangdong authorities wanted to cooperate with the Portuguese in Macao in suppressing the pirates, the restoration of some of the privileges the Portuguese in Macao enjoyed in ancient time was made one of the terms for such a cooperation. In 1810, when a large group of pirates accepted amnesty and enlistment, the Portuguese put eleven requests to the Chinese authorities: five requests raised in 1807 and six more, i.e. that no report be required for repairing damaged ships; that Macaonese ships were allowed to carry 3,000 piculs of zinc abroad per year; that the Portuguese could directly deliver their reports to the top Guangdong officials, when the reports to the Chinese local authorities were not dealt with in time; that the Chinese compradors with waist plates and certificates not be required to exchange them for new ones. After the examination by the officials like Guangdong Customs Inspector, the Prefect of Canton and Vice Prefect for Coastal Defence, the Chinese authorities refused most of these requests, except the one that in case the local officials did not handle their reports in time, they were allowed to deliver them to the top officials in Guangdong directly. As the Chinese authorities cautiously approved only some of the reasonable requests, except for the Portuguese refusal to hand over foreign criminals to be tried by Chinese officials, the Portuguese did not gain any other special privileges during this period.
To sum up, the development of the trade between China and Western countries at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century brought Macao another revival of economy and culture. However, the past economic prosperity or revival in Macao had been based upon legal foreign trade, while this recovery was because of its becoming a residential place for Western merchants, a distribution centre for opium-smuggling, and a port for the contracted Chinese labourers to go abroad illegally. These changes were the first sign that Macao would no longer be an important international trade port half a century later.
5.2. Piracy and British Invasion
Around 1800, when the trade between China and Western countries was developing quickly, Macao repeatedly faced threats posed by the British army and Chinese pirates. The British had coveted Macao for a long time. As early as in 1787, one of the tasks assigned the British envoy, Charles Chathcart, was to ask the Emperor of China to allow the British merchants to use Macao or somewhere else near Xiamen as an entrepot between China and Britain. Because Chathcart died on his way to China, this British mission did not reach China. In 1793, the British Ambassador George MaCartney arrived in Beijing, requesting the Qing government to allow British merchants to reside and trade at one spot on the Zhoushan Islands or somewhere else, but he failed to the get the Qianlong Emperor's approval. Instead, the British merchants were ordered to continue to stay and trade in Macao. Thus, the British were eager to seize Macao from the hands of the poor and weak Portuguese as a base for their trade with China.
However, Portugal and Britain had been allies for a long time. In 1793, when the French masses executed Louis XVI, the Portuguese followed Britain into the war against France as well. In November of 1793, the Portuguese authorities in Macao attempted to take a French merchant ship that had sailed into the Inner Harbour of Macao to shake off British warships' pursuit, as spoils of war, with the excuse that Portugal and France were in a state of war. The French ship did not head off the danger until the Chinese officials strictly forbade the Portuguese to take war actions on China's territory. Obviously, without a solid argument, it would be difficult for the British to seize Macao from the hands of their ally.
In the early summer of 1799, an incident took place on the sea to the east of Macao, in which Spanish and French warships threatened British merchant ships. After that, at the same time as the British sent warships to the mouth of Pearl River, they were eager to occupy Macao, so as to protect their trade with China. The Portuguese in Macao knew very well that the British harboured ill intentions, so the Portuguese maintained a close watch over their allies. At the end of 1799, their suspicions had increased so much that when a British warship broke down near Macao, the Portuguese authorities in Macao told their allies that foreign warships were not allowed to anchor near Macao and urged them to leave immediately. Before long, the Guangdong authorities asked the Portuguese in Macao to find out why the British warship had anchored outside Macao. Then, the Portuguese revealed to the Guangdong authorities that the British ship had the task of reconnoitring China's harbours, and that both the Chinese and Portuguese in Macao were quite uneasy. They asked the Qing government to stop food supplies to the British warship so as to expel it. Clearly, the Portuguese in Macao were different from their compatriots in India, who were under British protection for a long time; they would never yield to the British submissively. The British declared that except for the Governor dispatched from Goa, all the Portuguese in Macao were unfriendly.
In 1801, the Portuguese army suffered a setback in the battle against the French-Spanish allied forces, losing the Alentejo region in southern Portugal to the enemy. The British thereupon sent troops to Goa and other places in Asia in the name of helping Portugal to defend its colonies in the Far East, attempting to occupy Macao by taking advantage of that favourable situation. On March 18, 1802, six British warships carrying hundreds of soldiers reached the sea near Taipa to carry out this task. The Select Committee of the British East India Company in China understood very well the conditions in Macao, and told Captain Edward O. Osborn and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hamilton, who led the British force, that without the prior consent of the Portuguese authorities in Macao, it would be out of the question to ask the Qing government to permit the British troops to land in Macao. Two British officers immediately visited the Governor of Macao and proposed that the British troops defend Macao together with the Portuguese troops under the Governor's command. The proposal was flatly refused by the Governor. Meanwhile, the Portuguese authorities were afraid that the British would capture Macao by force, so they hurriedly reported to the top officials of Guangdong, requesting them to forbid the British troops to land. The Portuguese authorities also wrote to a Portuguese missionary in Beijing, Jose Bernardo de Almeida, asking him to try to report to the Jiaqing Emperor about how the British coveted Macao.
At first, Ji Qing, the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, hesitated about how to deal with this matter. When the Portuguese asked for emergency help, he instructed the Chinese traders to relay his message ordering the British fleet to withdraw at once, but he did not report to the court. In Beijing, through Sulenge, the Minister in charge of Western affairs, Jose Bernardo de Almeida quickly succeeded in letting the Jiaqing Emperor know of this event. The Jiaqing Emperor immediately instructed an enquiry into the matter, and then ordered that any encroachment be firmly repelled. He also instructed the officials never to tolerate invasion, not to disturb themselves when there were no troubles and never to act rashly. The British officers refused to obey the Chinese officials' order, and continued their preparations to occupy Macao. The Guangdong authorities cut off the food supplies to the British to force them to leave. Out of their own interests, some members of the Select Committee of the British East India Company were also opposed to the use of force. At this juncture, the British officials heard the news that the British and French had signed "the Treaty of Amiens", and left the Chinese coast on July 2, 1802, without considering themselves to have lost face.
After the British army first came prying about Macao, both the Chinese government and the Portuguese authorities in Macao all took precautions. In the very year of 1802, in order to prevent the British merchants from illegally worming their way into Canton from Macao, the Guangdong authorities ordered the Procurator of Macao to countersign the passes that the foreign merchants needed when they went to Canton. With this bit of power bestowed on him by the Chinese government, the Procurator sometimes deliberately made things difficult for the British, which made them so angry that they swore at the Macaonese, saying that except for the Governor and Minister, there were rarely any gentlemen in Macao, but ill-bred idiots.
In 1803, when the war between Britain and France started again, more British warships reached China's coast. In the beginning of 1805, in view of the situation, the Jiaqing Emperor ordered the civil and military officials in Guangdong to straighten out patrols and defence, and to see to it that the merchant ships of various countries anchoring near Macao were quiet and made no trouble and foreign escorting warships anchored at Taipa and nearby did not penetrate deep into China's waters at will, so that such incidents as had happened in 1802 could be avoided.
The Portuguese watched out for British action even more carefully, for fear that they invade Macao again. In May 1806, when the British armed ship "Antelope" illegally broke into the Inner Harbour of Macao, despite the ambiguous attitude of the Governor, the Senators insisted that the ship be driven out of the Inner Harbour, and asked the Chinese officials to help them to do so. In September 1806, the Portuguese still did not feel easy about the British ship, which remained at Taipa for a long time, so they took actions again, forcing it to sail to the open sea to the east of Macao. On November 29, 1807, when the British cruiser "Discovery" captured an American merchant ship anchored at Taipa with the excuse that the ship carried enemy goods, the Portuguese authorities in Macao again acted resolutely. They arrested the British on board the American ship and moved the ship to within firing range of the fortresses in Macao. The Portuguese also protested that the British had violated Macao's neutrality, when they released these British the next day.
At the end of 1807, a French army stormed Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, forcing the royal family to flee to Brazil in haste. Afterwards, the French navy stepped up its activities in the Far East. The British Viceroy to India argued that if the strong French army launched an attack against Macao from land and sea at the same time, the Portuguese would be unable to resist. The Portuguese Viceroy to India was forced by the British to allow their army to occupy Macao. An order given to the Governor of Macao by the Portuguese Viceroy to India stipulated that when the British army arrived, the Portuguese troops should stay in the barracks and accept the command of the British officers. All fortresses, points of vantage, guns, warships and ammunition would be taken over by the British troops. If Macao had been occupied by the French, the taking-over of Portuguese facilities could not have been more thorough.
No sooner had the British force led by Real Admiral William O'Brien Drury arrived off Taipa on September 11, 1808 than the British officers began to talk to the Portuguese authorities in Macao about the necessity for the British to defend Macao. The Governor of Macao, Lemos Faria, refused over and again to let them land, pointing out that Macao was protected by the Chinese Empire and that in regard to matters concerning the relationship between China and Portugal, only the Portuguese Prince Regent had the power to decide. Lemos Faria declared that in order to fulfil his duty of defending Macao, he would not spare his blood. In the meantime, with the experience of 1802 in mind, he appealed to the Guangdong authorities for emergency aid on September 15.
Upon receiving the appeal, the Acting Vice Prefect for Coastal Defence Xiong Banghan, the Acting Assistant Battalion Commander of Xiangshan Brigade Yu Shigao and the Magistrate of Xiangshan County Peng Zhaolin immediately asked the Portuguese authorities in Macao to take emergency measures to prevent the British forces from invading Macao, and dispatched a representative to tell Drury that the Chinese government only allowed the Portuguese to reside and trade in Macao and the French would not dare to attack this piece of China's territory, and warned that any invasion of Macao by anyone would encounter heavy resistance from the Chinese army. On the one hand, in a letter to the Chinese officials, Drury sang the same old tune: the British army was entering Macao to prevent its capture by the French and to protect the trade among China, Britain and Portugal. On the other hand, he openly threatened the Portuguese authorities in Macao, claiming any resistance to the British army's landing would be regarded as rebellion and would be suppressed by force. The presumptuous attitude of the British stirred up the wrath of Faria and his compatriots and they made full preparations to fight off the British invasion. But the Minister of Macao, Miguel de Arriaga, advocated allowing the British army to land, so as to let the British know that Macao would not tolerate intruders. In an emergency meeting, Arriaga's suggestion was approved.
On September 21, Faria, Arriaga and the British commander reached an interim agreement. The main contents are as follows: all local laws and regulations were to remain in effect; criminals who injured Chinese subjects were to be dealt with according to the established legal procedures; the British landing troops would be controlled by the Portuguese Governor under the Portuguese flag; the Portuguese Governor would provide the British troops with military supplies, including ammunition, but the supplies had to be taken care of by the Portuguese garrison and controlled by the Portuguese Governor; the trade in the port would not be disturbed, and the British merchant ships could still go to Canton to trade; the two sides must cooperate and avoid clashes with the Chinese government; the British government was to be responsible for any consequences of this interim agreement, which had not yet been approved by the Portuguese Prince Regent. Obviously, in this interim agreement, which was delivered to the Chinese authorities soon afterwards, besides trying their best to protect their privileges in Macao, the Portuguese tried to avoid irritating the Chinese government to prevent it from driving the British Army or even the Portuguese themselves out of Macao.
After the signing of the interim agreement, more than three hundred British soldiers landed Praya Grande and occupied the Fortress of Guia, the Fortress of St. Francisco and the sealed St. Paul's College, and put up tents on the open ground. After landing, the British army quickly displayed how they "abided by" the local laws: they first drank to excess, then broke into the inhabitants' houses, looted their property, and even profaned the tombs of the Chinese. Before long, all the Portuguese in Macao were deeply disgusted with these invaders, and the Chinese merchants returned to the interior one after another. Some Chinese rose in self-defence and killed several British soldiers who were perpetrating crimes. The evacuation of the Chinese merchants in large numbers caused more chaos. Due to a shortage of food, the Portuguese lived a very difficult life; the Portuguese merchants suffered great losses, because trade was at a standstill.
With the excuse of avoiding further conflicts with the Chinese, Drury demanded that he be allowed to take over the Citadel from the Portuguese. The Portuguese Governor refused the demand and pointed out that conflict with the Chinese army could not be avoided unless the discipline of the British army improved and that an occupation of the Citadel by the British army could serve no purpose but stir up even stronger indignation among Chinese officials. The Magistrate of Xiangshan County, Peng Zhaolin, did bring more pressure to bear upon the Portuguese authorities in Macao after he heard the news, saying that if the Portuguese were to allow the British army to occupy the Citadel privately, he would make report to the top officials of Guangdong at once, asking the Chinese authorities to drive both the British and the Portuguese back to Europe, and not allowing them to stay in Macao any more. Only because of this draconian threat did Drury's attempt fail.
In late October, a British backup force arrived near Macao. In order to deceive the Chinese authorities, the British troops planned to use Portugal's flag and disguise themselves as the garrison of Goa. On receiving the report of the Portuguese inhabitants, the Magistrate of Xiangshan County and other Chinese officials managed to prevent the British troops from landing. Under the pressure of repeated accusations lodged by the British that Faria ran counter to the order of the Portuguese Viceroy to India and that the Portuguese in Macao were disloyal to the Portuguese monarch, the Portuguese authorities in Macao yielded once more, allowing the British troops to be stationed ashore. So far, the intruding British army had occupied the three fortresses of Guia, Barra and St. Francisco, the former St. Paul's College and some other places with a total force of about 760 men.
This major incident, Macao being invaded by the British army, was treated lightly by the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, Wu Xiongguang, and the Governor of Guangdong, Sun Yuting. They failed to understand the seriousness of this invasion of the Chinese territory. Instead, they feared that the trade and tax revenue might be negatively affected, if tough measures were taken. The most important consideration, in their minds, was "nothing but the hundreds of thousands taels of tax silver". In response to the report made by the Xiangshan local officials about the invasion of the British army, Wu Xiongguang wrote "to keep a lookout as usual". He put aside Drury's letter and continued to refuse local officials' demand to "increase troops to check the enemy", telling them "be calm" and "do not be flustered". The only steps he took were to temporarily halt trade between China and Britain, and to prepare to blockade the water ways of Macao and cut off the food supplies if the British army refused to withdraw.
Seeing that the Guangdong authorities were weak, three British warships led by Drury forced their way into the Tiger Gate, and anchored at Huangpu in late October, demanding that the Qing government allow the British army to put up a defence in Macao. Even at that late date, Wu Xiongguang still ambiguously reported to the court about the British army's entering and stationing in Macao, and only ordered Huang Feipeng, Zongbing of Jieshi (the Commander of Jieshi Division) to deploy warships on garrisoning duty along the Pearl River. As Wu Xiongguang regarded his memorial to the throne as an ordinary document and sent it by horse in a normal way, the Jiaqing Emperor did not know about the affairs in Macao until the middle of November. The emperor was greatly enraged and severely scolded Wu Xiongguang and others in a number of imperial instructions, reproaching their "muddleheadedness and sluggishness" and their "cowardliness and neglect of the cardinal principal". He ordered them to send officials to censure the British aggressors in stern words at once and compel the British to get out of Macao immediately. The emperor also ordered the Guangdong officials "to assemble the land and naval forces at once and make full preparations", and "to wipe out the British with force and never to show cowardliness and appeasement towards them in case they disobeyed the order." Afterwards, the Jiaqing Emperor assigned Yongbao to be the Governor of Guangdong and Special Imperial Commissioner to deal with the expelling of the British from Macao.
After the Jaiqing Emperor's imperial order reached Canton by special express, Wu Xiongguang and others did not dare to neglect their duty any more. They immediately took measures to blockade Macao and sent 2,600 soldiers to Patane, Qianshan, Beishan and the Barrier Gate as reinforcements. In order to avoid further involvement, the Portuguese authorities in Macao also refused the British request to leave in Macao the goods that the British merchants had no way to be shipped to Canton.
The British invaders were still very arrogant, clamouring that if the Chinese army should go beyond Qianshan, it would be regarded as hostile action and they would use force. The Chinese officials gave them tit-for-tat, issuing a circular order saying that tens of thousands of Chinese troops were going to march into Macao to wipe out the invading enemy. The Portuguese authorities were panic-stricken. They hurriedly asked the Guangdong authorities to postpone the date to start the attack and held talks with the British officers on December 11. The British knew that there was no way for them to continue to hang on in Macao, so they asked Arriaga to influence the Chinese authorities in Canton on their behalf, requesting Wu Xiongguang to restore the trade between China and Britain immediately after the British troops' withdrawal. Arriaga agreed to do so and succeeded in the end.
However, the British army still did not withdraw at once. On December 18, the Chinese officials notified the Portuguese authorities in Macao that the Chinese army would march into Macao and take action that night, if the British army still had not withdrawn. Under such circumstances, all the British troops took ships, and the next day, all of Macao felt relieved of a heavy load and burst into gaiety. At last, Drury had to admit that Faria's opposition to the British army's landing had been correct, but ironically Faria had been dismissed by the Portuguese Viceroy to India because of the attacks on him by the British. His replacement, Lucas Jose Alvarenga, reached Macao on a British warship before the celebrations.
The Jiaqing Emperor's anger did not go away with the withdrawal of the British army. He removed Wu Xiongguang from office and ordered his successor to "find out the reasons for the British coming and going". The new Viceroy, Bai Ling, rushed to Macao the second day after assuming his post. He summoned the Portuguese officials in Macao and the President of the Select Committee of British East India Company, questioned the civil and military officials of Xiangshan and the Chinese inhabitants in Macao. The story of the British army's occupation of Macao and the responsibility of Wu Xiongguang and other Chinese officials became clear. The Portuguese authorities were afraid that the Qing government would drive them out of Macao as well. In a report to Bai Ling, the Portuguese authorities admitted their guilt in failing to prevent the British army from landing, asked the Qing government to allow them to stay in Macao, and said that generations of Portuguese in Macao would remember the kindness of the Chinese emperor. According to Bai Ling's report, the Jiaqing Emperor pointed out in his instruction that the fortresses in Macao, although built by the foreigners, were on China's territory. Occupying them was no different from occupying China's territory. Wu Xiongguang and other top officials of Guangdong had made a series of blunders in handling this incident. Therefore, the emperor exiled Wu Xiongguang to Xinjiang, removed the Governor of Guangdong Sun Yuting from office, and dismissed Guangzhou Jiangjun (the General Commander of the Banner Troops in Guangdong and other provinces) Yang Chun.
In the meantime, in order to prevent the similar incidents, the Qing government adopted a number of additional measures. In view of the fact that there was only a low stone ridge along the coast between the Fortress of St. Francisco and the Fortress of Bomparto, where the British army had landed, both Bai Ling and Han Feng, the new Governor of Guangdong, who inspected Macao soon afterwards, instructed the Portuguese authorities to build a solid and high wall there, to defend the district. This command was just what the Portuguese wished for, and they carried it out right away. In addition, as the troops garrisoning Qianshan Stronghold had been reduced greatly in successive years, Bai Ling established a special battalion with four hundred soldiers. Among them, an Assistant Company Commander and sixty soldiers were to garrison the Barrier Gate, and a low rank officer and twenty soldiers was to defend Mongha. Moreover, as the Portuguese continued to build new houses and the Chinese residents often brought with their dependents to Macao, Bai Ling repeated the ban prohibiting the Portuguese in Macao from building any new houses and forbidding the Chinese outside Macao to enter and reside in Macao. Meanwhile, for the sake of maintaining trade with China, the President of the Select Committee of the British East India Company presented a written pledge saying "no warships would ever come to make troubles", and expressed their repentance and asked for mercy. Then, the Chinese government's defence of Macao was further strengthened.
Along with the British threat, Macao had for a long time suffered the depredation of pirates. At the end of the 18th century, the pirate disturbances along the coast of Guangdong and Guangxi dramatically increased because of the sharpening of social conflict in the mid-Qing on the one hand, and the scrambling for the throne among the Vietnamese royal families on the other. There were thousands of pirates, both hardened bandits and common people forced to take up arms. The head of the most influential group was Zheng Yi. At first, the pirates mainly extorted money from Chinese merchant ships, and kidnapped the inhabitants of the coastal area, demanding ransom money from their families. As for those who dared to resist, the pirates would kill the people on board and plunder the goods or have the hostages slaughtered. Macao relied upon the Chinese ships for carrying daily necessities and goods to be imported and exported. The disturbance in the coastal area of Guangdong directly affected Macao's trade and the inhabitants' daily life.
In about 1801, the pirates grew bolder, forcing the Guangdong authorities to step up suppression activities. The Portuguese authorities also built a brig of 120 tons displacement armed with sixteen guns to defend the harbours of Macao. And the next year, they bought a galley and had the two armed ships to follow the Chinese navy to attack the pirates. In return, the Portuguese asked the Chinese authorities to levy ship taxes according to past practice, and to allow the Portuguese to repair old houses without prior permission. Xu Nailai, the Magistrate of Xiangshan County, thought their offer of assistance sincere and their requests modest, so he reported the requests to the top Guangdong officials. But just at that time, the Chinese navy happened to have won some victories, so the Portuguese assistance was rejected as unnecessary.
One year later, the pirates regained their strength and impetus, forcing the Portuguese authorities to hire yet another armed ship. Facing a perilous situation, Viceroy Woshgibu requisitioned two Portuguese armed ships to help the Chinese navy, in return granting the two previous requests. However, some Portuguese thought that it was a good opportunity to expand their privileges. They made a series of demands, such as expanding their settlement to an area covering the whole Macao Peninsula, Duimianshan and Taipa. Xu Nailai angrily denounced the Portuguese behaviour and put the plan of using Portuguese ships on shelf.
In 1804, the pirates' plundering was having a more and more serious impact upon Macao and the trade between China and Western countries; the British East India Company again and again requested to send warships to help the Qing government in putting down the pirates. The Portuguese authorities began to lease guns and ammunition to the Chinese navy in Large quantities at the request of the Guangdong authorities, so as to prevent the British influence in China from further expanding. In the meantime, the Portuguese told the Inspector of Guangdong Customs that they had several armed ships prepared and were willing to cooperate with the Chinese naval forces to suppress the pirates. After discussion between the Inspector of Guangdong Customs and the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, the Chinese authorities allowed the Portuguese armed ships to help them in attacking the pirates.
The Portuguese showed their combat effectiveness soon after their joining the operation. At the end of the spring and the beginning of the summer of 1804, they caught up with the pirate ships on the sea to the West of Macao, fought bravely and captured two pirate ships and 43 of their crews; later on, the Portuguese continued to achieve good fighting results including retrieving a number of Chinese salt-carrying ships captured by the pirates. The Chinese officials praised the Portuguese many times, awarded them pigs, lambs, tea and cakes, and said that "one Portuguese armed ship could match ten other armed ships", and that "these foreigners sweated their guts out in the combat cooperation".
But not everyone agreed. Since the Portuguese armed ships had a deeper draught, they were unable to follow the Chinese warships into the shallow waters. Wei Dabin, the Acting Provincial Naval Commander of Guangdong, thought that the Portuguese ships were "incompetent". And Yanfeng, who assumed the post of the Inspector of Guangdong Customs in November 1804, was opposed to using Portuguese armed forces, arguing that it violated Chinese system. The Jaiqing Emperor always held that it was unreasonable to use foreign force to eliminate the pirates along China's coast. Upon hearing that the Portuguese ships were incompetent, he instructed Nayancheng, the newly appointed Viceroy of the Two Guangs, to order the Portuguese ships to return to Macao immediately, and not to use foreign ships to suppress the pirates any more. Because of differences within the Qing government, the first cooperation between the Chinese and Portuguese in suppressing the pirates failed to achieve any important results.
Just at the time when the Jiaqing Emperor issued his instruction, the Chinese navy suffered one defeat after another. Pirates openly forced their way into the inland rivers. The two armed ships owned by the Portuguese authorities in Macao could only manage to defend the Macao harbours or occasionally sank or captured one or two approaching pirate ships. For instance, on July 27, 1805, the Portuguese hit and sank one pirate ship armed with four guns and manned with sixty crew, and had twenty-nine of the crew arrested. Nevertheless, this bit of military strength was far from adequate to defend the waters around Macao. Around the mouth of the Pearl River, the pirates not only looted the Chinese merchant ships shuttling between Macao and Canton within the range of the fortresses in Macao, but also began to plunder small foreign ships within the very sight of Macao, kidnapping passing Western merchants.
In June 1805, the pirates highjacked a small boat that had been bought by some Portuguese from Vietnam, and demanded a ransom of 1,500 silver dollars, opium, cloth and other items. In August of the same year, two Americans residing in Macao were attacked by pirates while on their way to Canton by boat. By luck, they made good their escape, but giving up their goods and personal property. In December, 1806, when a British senior crew member and several seamen and fusiliers took a small boat to go to Macao to hire a pilot, they were bagged by pirates. In the end, the British had to pay 9,000 silver dollars for the release of the kidnapped persons.
In the small hours of the night of December 14, 1807, a group of pirates even directly attacked Macao. They landed on northern Macao Peninsula and rushed to Guia Hill, the commanding height of the peninsula, attempting to capture the fortress located at the top of the hill. The soldiers guarding the fortress found out the enemies in time. They opened fire at once and drove them back, killing some of them. After this setback, the pirates dared not attack Macao's fortresses. But with a frequent appearance on the sea near Macao and directly attacking the Portuguese ships, they caused unprecedented disruptions in Macao.
Facing such a stern situation, the Portuguese had to buy a lorcha and set up a squadron with other two armed ships they originally had. Under the command of Lieutenant Commander Barreto, this tiny fleet encountered fifty pirate ships on the sea near Macao. The pirates had overwhelming odds in number, while the Portuguese were good at using guns and firearms. After one hour of fierce fighting, the pirates were defeated and their junks fled one after another. But the flagship still did not retreat. The Portuguese focused their fire upon this huge junk equipped with twenty guns and three hundred men. Finally, Barreto and thirty seamen jumped on to that ship amid countless javelins and stinkpots, and fought the pirates with swords. None of the pirates surrendered, and the pirate chief slew his wife and threw himself overboard with her corpse. The fierce bloody fighting left an unforgettable memory in the hearts of the Macaonese and made the pirates fear Barreto. They called him "a tiger of the sea" and for a while, they avoided Macao.
While the pirates temporarily stopped disturbing Macao, important changes were taking place within the pirate ranks. The main leader, Zheng Yi, had been drowned in a typhoon in July 1807, and his gang was led by his wife Zheng-Shi Shi and his adopted son Zhang Bao. With a tightening of discipline by Zheng-Shi Shi and Zhang Bao, this band of pirates was getting stronger and stronger. Soon afterwards, six most powerful piratical groups began to use distinguishing flags of red, yellow, green, blue, black and white respectively. Zheng-Shi Shi's group used red, and the group second to Zheng-Shi Shi's, led by Guo Podai, used black. To cope with the pirates' growing strength, the Guangdong authorities had to borrow large quantity of guns, fusils and ammunition from the Portuguese, using Macao as their arsenal. However, in spite of the use of Western weapons, the naval forces of Guangdong and Fujian provinces still suffered many more defeats than they won victories in fighting the pirates. Since most captured officers and men were cruelly tortured to death by the pirates, Huang Pengfei, the Commander of the Jieshi Division, who was leading a Chinese fleet stationed in Macao, and other Chinese commanders whose forces were stationed in other places dared not attack the pirates. That being the case, Bai Ling, who assumed the Viceroy of the Two Guangs at the beginning of 1809, swiftly took measures to blockade the harbours in Guangdong and to prohibit merchant ships from coming and going so as to further cut off the food and firewood supplies for the pirates. Without enough food, the numerous pirates had to penetrate deep into the inland to plunder. In the meantime, because a Macaonese armed ship, led by Barreto, had gone to South America, sending representatives of the Macaonese to see the Prince Regent of Portugal, the pirates restarted their disturbances around Macao. In the first half of 1809, a Portuguese ship from Goa encountered the main fleet of the "red flag" band not far from Macao. After an unavailing resistance, the ship was captured by the pirates and the captain and most of the seamen were killed. Only because the pirates needed someone to teach them how to use Western guns, did several seamen survive. Afterwards, the captured vessel was brought within the sight of Macao with the Portuguese flag being lowered to the sea surface, displaying a scorn to the Portuguese.
The Portuguese flew into a fury and sent two armed ships led by Captain Alcoforado out to sea to take revenge. Alcoforado received an order that not to return without having amply avenged the insult to the national flag and the fate of the unfortunate ship. Soon afterwards, the Portuguese dispatched a lorcha under Captain Carocha to bring food to the armed ships. On its return, the lorcha was encircled by sixteen pirate junks. The seamen resisted bravely with pivot guns. Hopelessly outnumbered, more than half of crew were quickly laid low, but Carocha refused to retreat. The remaining seven crew members had no choice but to have their leader bound hand and foot, and effected their escape in the nick of time. Alcoforado was quite unlucky too. While searching the pirates, he encountered a typhoon and his ships got damaged in a number of places. However, it was just the same case with the pirates. Facing stormy waves, they were eager to seek shelter and cut the cables of the captured Portuguese ship. The five seamen on board were able to return with the ship to Macao.
Alcoforado's ships at last met a fleet of the "red flag" group at the mouth of the Pearl River on September 15. After fierce fighting, both sides declared victory. In fact, both had suffered big losses. With a lot of damage suffered in the fighting, plus the damage caused by the typhoon, the Portuguese ships were unable to continue to fight. Especially the one converted from a merchant ship was unable to withstand the shock of broadsides, which cracked her hold in several places. Obviously, the limited forces of the Portuguese made it impossible for them to clear away the disturbances caused by the pirates by themselves.
Around the same time, the ranks of the pirates of the "red flag" group were further strengthened with 600 sailing junks and 80,000 followers. Zhang Bao declared that he wanted to be the "second Zheng Chenggong": to overthrow the Qing dynasty and establish a new dynasty of the Han nationality. Many people in Guangdong began to regard them as "an uprising army" and contacted them. The Guangdong governmental troops suffered one defeat after another. In the summer of 1809, Sun Quanmou, the Provincial Naval Commander of Guangdong, led his fleet to battle with the "red flag" group, but suffered a major defeat again in spite of some early gains. One month later, Xu Tinggui, the Commander of Left Division, when attacked by Zhang Bao at Weijiamen, lost his life and twenty-five of his best sixty warships. Facing such a serious challenge, Viceroy Bai Ling had no choice but to use the force of the foreigners again.
Initially, Bai Ling tried to get some help from the British with a precondition that they would not invade Macao as Drury had done. Out of their own interests, the British intended to send warships to China in early 1810. Upon hearing the news, Arriaga, the Minister of Macao, decided to cooperate with Guangdong authorities before the British did, so as to end the pirates' more and more serious disturbances as early as possible and to prevent new troubles that might be created by the British. When Arriaga's document suggesting cooperative efforts reached Bai Ling, the Viceroy was in the midst of trying to encircle and attack the main fleet of the "red flag" group at Chilijiao of Dayushan Island. Although Arriaga's direct communication with the Viceroy violated the past practice and the relevant regulations, Bai Ling quickly sent three officials to Macao to meet Arriaga. On November 23, 1809, the two parties ratified a convention. The main contents of the convention were as followings: the Portuguese authorities in Macao will dispatch six armed ships of over 100 tons each to cooperate with the Chinese naval force in combatting the pirates for six months in the area from the Tiger Gate to Macao; the Chinese government will provide 80,000 taels of silver for the Portuguese to arm ships; after the pirates had been suppressed, some of the privileges the Portuguese enjoyed in ancient times will be restored.
After the signing of this convention, the two armed ships that the Portuguese in Macao originally had set out to sea at once and participated in the battle at Chilijiao of Dayushan Island. And Arriaga managed to have other four vessels refitted with arms within six days. These six armed Portuguese ships were equipped with 180 guns and 730 men, of whom 100 were Europeans, including some Portuguese born at Macao, and the rest were Chinese, Malay and Cambodians. The flag ship of the squadron had a displacement of 400 tons, and was equipped with 26 guns and 160 men. At the request of the Governor of Macao, the British East India Company provided the squadron with a large quantity of weapons and ammunition free of charge. while the Macaonese fleet was under formation, Zhang Bao and his fleet finally took advantage of an error made by Provincial Naval Commander to break out of the encirclement after they had been besieged for many days. Afterwards, after some minor engagements, the Macao fleet commanded by Captain Alcoforado sank about fifteen pirate ships on December 11, on the sea visible from Macao. It was the first big victory against the pirates by the Portuguese side.
By then, due to a shortage of food, Zhang Bao's condition was getting worse and worse. To prevent the Portuguese from participating in the combat, he suggested peaceful co-existence with the Portuguese and guaranteed that he would respect the Portuguese national flag thereafter. This proposal was rejected by the Portuguese. In the middle of January, 1810, because the Jaiqing Emperor issued an imperial edict allowing those pirates who repented to surrender, the chief of the "black flag" group, Guo Podai, who had long since the intention to surrender, took the lead in doing so after he attacked a fleet of the "red flag" group. Afterwards, Alcoforado and other Portuguese officials tried to help the Guangdong authorities to summon Zhang Bao himself to surrender. Zhang Bao refused and said that if the Portuguese would provide him with four Western armed ships, he could overthrow the Qing dynasty; when he succeeded, he would concede two or three provinces of China to the Portuguese. The Portuguese paid no attention to this preposterous suggestion.
On January 21, 1810, more than 300 junks of the "red flag" group fought an unprecedentedly desperate battle against the Macao squadron on the sea near Dayushan Island. After two vanguard forces had been repelled, the main fleet of the "red flag" group, led by Zhang Bao himself, rushed into the battle. They were divided into six fighting groups, each attacking one Portuguese ship, and attempting to overwhelm the Portuguese with the absolute predominance in human power using the tactic of hand-to-hand fighting. The Portuguese made the best use of their advantages and overcome their disadvantages, by attacking the enemy with concentrated gun-fire and using every means possible to prevent the enemy ships from approaching. When the battle was at its height, a Portuguese ship spotted a magnificent junk in the distance, which housed the pirates' idols and the monks who served them. Despite being defended desperately by other pirate ships, the floating temple was quickly destroyed by Portuguese gun-fire. Suddenly, the sea was full of monks crying for help and the sinking statues of all kinds of gods. This was a serious blow to the morale of the pirates, who sincerely worshipped their gods and consulted them before taking any action. Demoralized, the pirates soon fled the battlefield.
After this setback, the strength of the "red flag" group was further weakened. So upon hearing that instead of being executed by government, Guo Podai who had surrendered not long before, had become an assistant company commander, Zheng-Shi Shi was vacillated. Bai Ling sent a doctor, Zhou Xiongfei, who lived in Macao and was familiar with Zhang Bao, to pass along his instructions, which convinced Zheng-Shi Shi and Zhang Bao to accept the amnesty and to serve the court. When Bai Ling was ready to accept their surrender at the Tiger Gate, rumours spread that the Portuguese Governor of Macao had ordered Alcoforado to cut off the retreat route of the pirates. Fear a government trap, Zheng-Shi Shi and her fleet hastily sailed out to sea. Afterwards, through the mediation of Zhou Xiongfei and Arriaga, Zheng-Shi Shi and Zhang Bao surrendered to the court on April 12, 1810, together with their 16,000 male followers, 5,000 women, 270 ships and 1,200 guns.
Soon afterwards, Zhang Bao, who was appointed company commander by the Qing government, volunteered to lead the troops to suppress the rest of the pirates. He trapped and slaughtered other pirate chiefs who wanted to accept the government's amnesty. Before long, he was promoted to an assistant battalion commander and finally to the Brigade Commander of Penghu Brigade of Fujian Province. By 1810, the Qing government had basically eliminated the pirates who had disturbed the coast area of Guangdong for more than ten years. The Portuguese authorities in Macao received half of the booties according to the convention signed with the Guangdong authorities, including 180 sail boats, 600 guns and about 3,500 firelocks and swords. Their value compensated for most part of the tens of thousands of silver dollars spent in coping with pirates since 1804.
However, Macao still did not calm down after the end of the British invasion and the suppression of the pirates. At that time, Britain was fighting with America, and both parties often brought their captives into the harbours of Macao, increasing the Portuguese authorities' malice towards the British. At the end of 1817, Arriaga, the Minister of Macao, prohibited the British East India Company from buying real estate in Macao, and pointed out in a document that the presence of the British in Macao brought a lot of trouble to the Portuguese authorities. In January 1817, when the British Ambassador William-Pitt Amherst returned home via Macao, the Portuguese officials gave excuses to show him no hospitality, bitterly humiliating the British.
In the meantime, many of the pirates who had accepted amnesty resided in and around Macao. For instance, Zheng-Shi Shi built a residence and set up a gambling house at Patane. These former pirates not only were addicted to gambling, which caused the gambling in Macao to flourish, but also did some looting, stealing and highjacking from time to time. Especially at festival times, they ran wild, endangering social security on the whole Macao Peninsula. Nonetheless, by and large, starting from the late 1810, Macao's overall situation was greatly improved.
5.3. The Constitutionalism Movement
The economic rejuvenation brought by the development of trade between China and Western countries did not last long. From the middle of the 1820s, Macao entered another new period of turbulence. Under such circumstances, influenced by Portugal proper, a constitutionalism movement took place in Macao.
In the early 19th century, the opium smuggling in Macao at last caught the attention of the Qing government. In 1811, the Chinese soldiers on duty at passes like Barra frequently unmasked foreigners smuggling opium on sampans and intercepted quite a number of chests of opium. The next year, when making an inspecting tour in Macao, the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, Songjun, reiterated the policy of "strictly banning the trafficking of this kind of poisonous drug" to the Portuguese authorities and the British businessmen. In 1815, subsequent Viceroy, Jiang Youxian, reported to the court that the Chinese and foreign profiteers had set up dens in Macao to trade in opium, urging the Jiaqing Emperor to issue new instructions about punishing the smugglers more severely. According to the instructions of the court, the Guangdong authorities in the same year issued orders strictly banning the trade in opium, and arrested and punished six Chinese merchants participating in opium smuggling in Macao. The authorities also changed the old regulations exempting the Portuguese merchant ships from customs inspection in Macao, and prepared to carry out a new system under which all Portuguese merchants of Macao had to report their cargo in detail when they returned, and they were not allowed to unload their goods until all these goods were checked one by one by the Chinese customs. The Guangdong authorities also decided to search all the houses in Macao where opium might be hidden.
Just as in the past, the Guangdong authorities did not carry out these orders and regulations seriously. Miguel de Arriaga, the Minister of Macao, who was hostile to the British, used the opportunity to restore the old system of only allowing the Portuguese merchant ships to unload opium in Macao, insisting that other Westerners doing commercial business in Macao had to hire Portuguese agents. In addition, he prepared to levy forty additional silver dollars per chest of opium shipped into Macao, and by this way the Portuguese could have 100,000 silver dollars a year of extra revenue to bribe local Chinese officials, so that the opium smuggling in Macao might be maintained. Before long, when the momentum of anti-opium compaign had passed, another raging wave of opium trading hit Macao in 1818. The price of opium soared again.
Under such circumstances, the Viceroy, Ruan Yuan, who had inspected Macao before, and other Chinese officials took even stronger measures towards the opium trade in Macao. In 1821, they arrested and punished a group of opium-mongers, including Ye Hengshu, who was a quite influential among the Chinese in Macao. Because of the strong momentum of the anti-opium movement this time, Arriaga and his colleagues had to abide by the orders of the Chinese authorities again and restrict the opium trade. Then, the British opium-mongers decided that it was unwise to let pontoons full of opium sail into a port where the Chinese were the supreme ruler, while the Portuguese were only tenants who could be withdrawn from their tenancy at any time. And the opium-mongers began to brush Macao aside and sailed their pontoons laden with opium to Lingding Sea, which was visible from Macao, and used that place as a new opium distribution centre.
By 1821, with even stricter measures taken by the Chinese authorities to ban opium, the opium trade could no longer be carried out openly in Macao. Besides a slump in price, one could hardly move a chest of opium from one house to another unless it was packed in a way as if it were something else. The foreign opium-mongers had to move the opium originally stored in Macao to the Lingding Sea or other ports abroad. They also sent urgent letters to Calcutta to cancel the futures contract and asked the merchants there to ship no more opium to Macao. As their income from opium dropped, the Portuguese authorities were unable to make ends met. In order to get as much money as possible, they even levied export taxes on the ships that left Macao for other ports without unloading the opium from the ships at all. Therefore, they were sharply denounced by the opium-mongers. With the opium trade income gone, the Portuguese in Macao faced a serious economic crisis and the attendant social problems.
Meanwhile, the situation in Macao was also resulted from Portugal's domestic politics. In 1821, at the push of the revolutionary movement sweeping across European and American continents, the late-blooming Portuguese democratic movement reached its high tide at last. In 1822, the Portuguese Cortes elected by citizens passed a constitution, abolishing all the remnant feudal rights and obligations. Before long, Brazil, the Portuguese largest colony overseas shook off the Portuguese yoke and won independence. These changes encroached upon the interests of the Portuguese feudal aristocrats, and intensified the social conflicts, caused a mighty uproar that quickly shocked faraway Macao.
Just as in Brazil and other places, the Macaonese and the aristocrats from Portugal proper had conflicting interests. In Macao, the aristocrats from Portugal enjoyed various kinds of political and economic privileges, while the Portuguese born in Macao suffered not only economic exploitation, but also political discrimination. Instances of discrimination ranged from the trivial to the weighty. In the middle of the 18th century, the Senate once forbade the Portuguese born in Macao with Chinese blood to wear wigs or use umbrellas. This prohibition was abolished by the Portuguese Viceroy to India only after a strong protest by the mix-blood Macaonese. In 1774, more importantly, the King of Portugal agreed that the Portuguese born in Macao were allowed to be elected into the Senate, but in reality most the municipal officialdom was monopolized by aristocrats from Portugal. Most of these aristocratic officials were notoriously corrupt and became more and more hated by the Macaonese unless he was also an aristocrat.
At the same time, the Portuguese Governor of Macao, appointed by the Portuguese Viceroy to India, often greatly disappointed the citizens as well. For instance, Lucas Jose de Alvarenga, who was the governor from 1808 to 1810, not only acted as a tool of the British in their invasion of Macao, but also behaved absurdly. He was held in contempt by the Chinese as well as the Portuguese inhabitants in Macao. But Alvarenga was appointed as the Governor of Macao for a second time in 1814. Such a state of affairs would naturally arouse Macaonese indignation. The incumbent Governor, Bernardo Aleixo de Lemos e Faria, refused to hand over the power to Alvarenga. When the Governor of Guangdong Province received a report about Alvarenga's appointment, he ordered the Portuguese officials in Macao to send Alvarenga home. Only Chinese intervention kept Alvarenga from assuming the post.
These internal struggles divided the Portuguese in Macao into conservatives and constitutionalists under the influence of the domestic constitutionalism movement. Even the monks were also divided into two hostile parties. The constitutionalists, mainly indigenous Portuguese, were led by Major Paulino da Silva Barbosa. They had a strong desire for a change, while the conservatives, mostly aristocratic officials and their friends, with Arriaga, who served concurrently as the Minister of Macao, the Customs Judge and the Treasurer of Macao, as their leaders, tried to maintain their privileges. A few years ago, Arriaga's reputation in Macao had been injured, when he violated the ban prohibiting the Minister of Macao from carrying out trade by smuggling opium; moreover, when smuggling failed, relying upon his power, he refused to repay his partner, Thomas Beals, millions of silver dollars, compelling Beals, a British opium-monger, to flee his creditors, which in turn forced these creditors to ask the Portuguese and British governments to help retrieve their money. Despite this disgraceful episode, Arriaga still enjoyed great prestige in Macao, and was still the largest obstacle to the realization of local changes.
As on the European continent, the local Constitutionalists first started to petition. A citizen called Joao Nepomuceno Maher took the lead in expressing the wishes of the Macaonese to the Senate. Soon afterwards, a group of citizens raised a protest, because the Senate showed indifference to Maher's just expostulations. Then, with José Baptista de Miranda e Lima doing the actual writing, the Macaonese submitted a written statement to the King and Cortes of Portugal, in which they put forward a series of requests such as a restoration of the original Senate regime, an exemption from Macao's treasury subsidies to Goa and Timor, and the assignment of the indigenous Portuguese to posts in the local civil and military services. The essence of these requests was to make Macao a place for the Macaonese and to shake off the suzerain's exploitation and discrimination towards the local people.
Compelled by the growing pressure of the masses, on February 16, 1822, the Portuguese authorities in Macao convened the citizens to make an oath to adhere to the basis of a future constitution. But the authorities continued to delay and refuse to carry out the reform demanded by the masses, with the excuse that they had not yet received instructions from the King and Cortes of Portugal. The constitutionalists became more and more hostile towards the authorities, especially towards Arriaga, the head of the conservatives. They maintained that the oath of adhesion to the basis of a future constitution should not be presided over by the government, the majority of whose officials opposed the principles of a future constitution. The constitutionalists also took some drastic measures from time to time, threatening Arriaga's personal safety. Macao's political crisis become very serious.
The grave economic and political crisis sparked Macao's constitutionalism movement in 1822. In the middle of August, the citizens demanding reform became restless. The Portuguese authorities lost their authorities and Macao was paralysed. On August 17, when the Senatorial sitting convened, Jose d'Almeida Carvalho e Silva submitted a representation from eighty-three fellow citizens. It charged Arriaga with abetting Chinese officials' intervention in Macao's affairs to keep himself in office. Arriaga rebutted the charge as vague and groundless, and claimed that his service had been acknowledged even by his accusers. But he knew very well that the citizens were commonly hostile to him, and he had to express his willingness to retire from all his posts for the well-being of the city. Soon afterwards, the Senate announced Arriaga's resignation and said that they would like to hold elections for a new Senate supported by the people. A deputation led by Major Barbosa then visited the Senators and formally demanded the election of a new Senate. Because disorder prevailed in Macao, most of the Senators were agreed on the necessity of holding elections.
On August 19, the citizens held a conference about the election, during which the constitutionalists and the conservatives clashed bitterly. The conservatives, represented by Major Cavalcanti and others, claimed that this conference had no authority to install a new regime. After expressing this view, Major Cavalcanti narrowly escaped being hurled out of a window into the street by angry participants. When popular indignation was running high, Major Barbosa made a speech pointing out that the people hoped to establish a regime bearing the closest possible affinity to the Portuguese constitution but without any changes in time-honoured usages. At Barbosa's urging, the conference finally decided to adopt the regime in effect before 1784, vesting the Senate with legislative, executive and judicial powers independent of the Governor and the Minister. Brigadier Joze Ozorio de Castro Cabral d'Albuquerque, the Governor of Macao, was appointed the Military Governor with powers like those of the governor before 1784. Arriaga was deprived of all his posts and told that "the day might never come when the city would have to regret the wrongs done him".
On September 12, Barbosa started the first newspaper in Macao history, Abelha da China. This weekly, mainly edited by the Dominicans, was the mouthpiece of the new regime, advocating constitutionalism. At the same time, the newspaper really acted like a wasp, stinging the conservative party indiscriminately. The conservatives were completely at a loss as to how to defend themselves. The democratic movement in Macao led by the constitutionalists reached high tide.
The Viceroy of the Two Guangs, Ruan Yuan, and other Chinese officials were not very clear about what had happened in Macao. They only heard that the Western foreigners had driven the minister and military chief in Macao away because they had caused a serious shortage in treasury money and these foreigners had put up new civil officials and military chief instead. The Guangdong officials were of the opinion that "the foreigners should manage themselves", and did not interfere in these matters which happened among the Portuguese.
After the constitutionalists' new regime came to power, the most urgent problem was the economic crisis. Unfortunately, the new officials had no sound strategy. What they wanted to do was to revive opium smuggling. According to British records, the Portuguese in Macao sent their most honourable local merchants to persuade the British merchants to store their opium in Macao again, paying the same taxes as the Portuguese themselves. In the meantime, the Portuguese were going to levy additional taxes on opium to the tune of 200,000 silver dollars a year for a slush fund for bribing, so the Chinese officials would be "satisfied forever" and never to check and ban the opium trade in Macao again. The British thought that it was out of the question for the Chinese officials to be satisfied forever; and in view of the fact that the Portuguese in Macao obediently followed the orders of the Chinese government, it was impossible to carry out this plan. Therefore, they still anchored their pontoons at the Lingding Sea all the year around. The Portuguese were very angry, but they were helpless, because the British controlled the source of opium. The new regime's failure to solve the economic crisis was the first blow against it.
An even more serious challenge facing the new regime was the counterattack by the conservatives. The dismissed Arriaga did not resign himself to defeat. He incited Governor Castro Cabral d'Albuquerque to start an armed revolt and set up a military autocratic regime. Most of the garrison responded to d'Albuquerque's call and took part in the coup d'etat. In the clash, Barbosa was wounded and captured. But the mutiny troops had no sharp-witted leaders and were quickly suppressed by the constitutionalists. At the General Council the next day, the constitutionalists dismissed d'Albuquerque, from his post as military governor, put other officials and the soldiers who had taken part in the coup into jail, and sent them to Goa to be tried soon afterwards. Arriaga, the backstage director of the coup, was deported from Macao. At that time, the constitutionalists hated Arriaga to the very marrow of their bones, and Barbosa had a hard time rescuing him from the angry crowd. In March 1823, the Senate decided to send Arriaga and d'Albuquerque, who had been jailed at Citadel, under escort to Lisbon to answer for the offence. When boarding the ship, Arriaga escaped on a small boat and fled to Canton to wait for another opportunity to launch a counterattack. After Arriaga had fled, the conservatives in Macao continued underground activities against the new regime. In the meantime, because the constitutionalists in Goa were unable to control the situation there, and the Portuguese Viceroy to India had never recognized the new regime in Macao and might send troops to suppress the constitutionalists at any time, the prospect of the new regime in Macao grew increasingly gloomy.
In June 1823, the Portuguese Viceroy to India ordered the frigate "Salamandra", commanded by Joaquim Mourao Garcez Palha, to sail to Macao, carrying a group of soldiers led by Major Jao Cubral d'Estfique with the task of restoring the old regime. The constitutionalists were taken aback upon hearing the news. On June 11, they convened a General Council, considering emergency measures to deal with the situation. They decided to send Barbosa to Lisbon to lodge a accusation before the King and the Cortes against the Portuguese Viceroy to India of his arbitrary decision. By June 16, before the decision of the council was carried out, the frigate from India had already reached the sea near Taipa.
Palha wanted to read out the order of the Portuguese Viceroy to India, but the Senate flatly refused. To prevent the two hundred odd soldiers and seamen in the frigate from landing, Barbosa and the Senate ordered the ship to return to Goa right away and strictly prohibited the inhabitants in Macao from contacting anybody from the ship, or supplying food and daily necessities. Barbosa and the Senate also ordered the commanders of all the fortresses in Macao to fire at the ship, if it dared to sail into the harbours of Macao. The constitutionalists armed themselves, guarded the coast day and night, and got ready to defend their city, their lives, their property and their freedom on their own initiative. Meanwhile, the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, Ruan Yuan, also found out the frigate near Taipa. After inquiring about the situation through Chinese interpreters, Ruan Yuan thought that while Goa authorities had always controlled the foreigners in Macao, they should not have sent troops to Guangdong. So Ruan Yuan sent officials to urge the frigate to leave as soon as possible.
In this a dilemma, Palha intercepted a Portuguese ship carrying grain and forcibly seized one hundred sacks of rice as stopgap provisions, and prepared to order the troops to land at Macao by force soon afterwards. He wrote to Ruan Yuan and asking the Chinese authorities to evacuate all the Chinese inhabitants in Macao within forty-eight hours for fear of hurting any Chinese subjects, while Arriaga in Canton also wrote to Ruan Yuan, asking the Chinese authorities to supply food for the ship. Ruan Yuan considered that Macao was a territory of China, and no reckless actions would ever be brooked. He could not allow the Portuguese to have a civil war in Macao, so he sent Zhong Ying, the Prefect of Canton, and a military official to Macao to investigate and solve the matter.
According to the instructions of Chinese officials, the Senate convened a meeting attended by Palha and d'Estfique. At the meeting, the Senate opened and read out the order issued by the Portuguese Viceroy to India, which appointed d'Estfique as the new governor, restored Arriaga's position and appointed a new Senate. The Macaonese participating the meeting all refused to obey the orders from Goa. They told Zhong Ying and other Chinese officials that although the Governor of Macao had always been appointed by the Portuguese Viceroy to India, but the Minister of Macao had been appointed by the King of Portugal. They had already reported to the King of Portugal about what happened in Macao last year, so they had to await the King's instructions. Following Ruan Yuan's directive, Zhong Ying pointed out to the Portuguese from Goa that they came to Macao this time without the instructions from the King of Portugal, which provided the Macaonese with an excuse; they should return and consult the king; everything was to be settled according to the instructions of the King of Portugal, and they should not challenge that.
Under pressure from the Chinese authorities, Palha and d'Estfigue had to obey, and sailed to the sea further off the coast, waiting for the monsoon to return to India. Soon afterwards, arguing that it was not appropriate for Arriaga to stay in Canton, because he had no post in Macao, Guangdong authorities ordered him to go back to Portugal by a ship that happened to be going that way. With the help of the Chinese government, the constitutionalists tided over an imminent crisis.
However, before the frigate from Goa left, many conflicts within the constitutionalist party appeared, causing many dissatisfied citizens to withdraw their support. The conservatives with the Bishop of Macao as their new leader seized the opportunity. They secretly sent someone out to sea to plot with Palha and others. On the early morning of the 23rd of September, when the guard of the coast and the fortresses was slackened, Palha and his men secretly landed at Macao in small boats. Welcomed and supported by the conservatives, they reached the Senate Hall without encountering any resistance, arrested the panic-stricken Barbosa from his bed and immediately escorted him to the frigate. The conservatives had recaptured power with no bloodshed.
Afterwards, the conservatives organized a governmental committee composed of d'Estfique, the Macao Bishop and the first Elderman of the newly elected Senate to act as governor regent. They recalled Arriaga to Macao and restored him to his original positions. Meanwhile, they thoroughly suppressed the constitutionalists and sent Barbosa and many constitutionalists together to Goa for trial. A large number of constitutionalists, including former senators, priests, lawyers and even common citizens, sought asylum in Canton, Manila, Singapore and other places. The weekly Abelha da China, was sealed up and replaced by Gazeta de Macau, advocating the conservatives' ideas. Just like the restoration of the feudal dynasties on the European continent, various kinds of crazy and terrible scenes appeared in Macao as well.
The recent changes in Macao had caught the attention of Chinese authorities. After the investigation by officials familiar with the local conditions of Macao, the Guangdong authorities did not intervene in the conservative restoration, only urging frigate "Salamandra" to leave as soon as possible, because they thought that the alteration of foreign officials in Macao always rested with the authorities of their own country. Moreover, by that time, the situation in Macao had already calmed down and the trade between the foreigners and Chinese was restored to normal.
In 1825, Palha assumed the governorship of Macao and the governmental committee that had lasted for two years came to an end. At that time, the British East India Company had restricted the export of opium via Bombay, so a large amount of opium was shipped from Daman by various local ships hoisting the Portuguese flag. The new authorities in Macao attempted to take advantage of this situation to regain control of the opium trade. They failed due to strong resistance by the British merchants. Later on, because the Portuguese had no way to change the established fact that the Lingding Sea had become an opium distribution centre, they stopped trying to turn Macao into a centre for opium trade in the Far East, but focused their attention on turning Macao into a location for the Western merchants in China to stay and enjoy themselves. Luckily, in the 1820s - 1830s, the trade between China and Western countries continued to develop, and more foreign merchants were staying in Macao. In 1832, house rents alone enabled the Portuguese to have an income of more than 30,000 silver dollars. Nonetheless, nothing could make up for the huge profits from opium smuggling, so the Portuguese were still a bit hard up. On January 26, 1835, when the grand St. Paul's Church was devastated in a fire, they knew very well that they could never rebuild this magnificent building; they pulled down all the remaining walls except for the austere stone facade after three years. The majestic facade is something like a Chinese memorial archway, which today still serves as vestige of the golden age of Macao.
Towards the Chinese authorities, the Portuguese authorities in Macao tried to adopt a somewhat unyielding attitude. One of the reasons might have been to avoid being accusation of toadying like Arriaga. An incident in 1826 provides an example of the new and tougher stance of the Portuguese authorities. In early 1826, a Chinese young boy called Yan Yazhao was murdered. His mother, Yan-Xu Shi, accused Portuguese Major Favacho of the murder before the authorities of Xiangshan County. According to past regulations, the authorities of Xiangshan County asked over and over again the Portuguese authorities to hand over the accused to the court of the Vice Magistrate to be tried. The Portuguese authorities said that the murderer called Manuel was a slave from Timor and refused to hand the criminal over, claiming that in the light of the order issued by the Portuguese Prince Regent in 1803, the murderer should be sentenced and punished according to the Portuguese law. Yan-Xu Shi, filled with grief and indignation, pleaded for help from the Chinese inhabitants everywhere in Macao, and appealed to the top Guangdong officials in Canton. Viceroy Ruan Yuan instructed the Prefect of Canton, Gao Tingyao, and other officials to go to Macao to investigate and handle this case. The officials pointed out to the Portuguese authorities over and over again that no matter who was the murderer, the criminal should be handed over to the Chinese authorities for trial. The Portuguese authorities still refused. They only allowed the Chinese officials to question the criminal in the Portuguese jail in Macao.
With the consent of the Chinese officials that the Timor slave had committed the homicide when drunk, the Portuguese authorities insisted that this criminal be executed according to the Portuguese legal practice. On March 13, when the slave was hanged, the Chinese inhabitants at the execution ground rebelled. They were shouting:
Where is the justice?!
Why is the innocent executed, while the real murderer is at large?
They hurled stones and bricks at the Chinese and Portuguese officials, destroyed Favacho's residence, and even prepared to attack the Citadel. The Portuguese Governor sent out lorchas and troops equipped with field guns, and managed to control the situation with an effort. One Chinese inhabitant named Deng Yadie was killed in the exchange of blows. Afterwards, the Chinese inhabitants prepared to cut off food supplies to the Portuguese, but the Chinese authorities prevented them from doing so.
We still do not know who the real murderer was. Certainly, the attitude of the Portuguese refusing to obey the orders of the Chinese officials had been rare ever since 1805, and we can also say with certainty that at that time the judicial organs in Macao were corrupt. After Arriaga died of illness in December of 1824, the Portuguese in Macao had no formal judge. The British also thought that it was hard to get just judgement in Macao then. So whether Manuel was the real murderer or not is a historical mystery.
Portuguese defiance on matter of handing over murderers did not extend to other matters. They still had to subject to the jurisdiction of the Guangdong authorities. Between 1828 and 1831, the Guangdong authorities were obeyed when they ordered the Portuguese in Macao to expel the Dutch ships sailing into the harbours of Macao, forbade the Portuguese to build constructions illegally on Green Island, prohibited the foreign merchant ships from carrying sulphur and nitre into Macao, forbade foreigners to ride in sedan chair carried by Chinese, and forbade them to use the Chinese silver on the market in Macao, because of serious outflow of silver. It is especially worth pointing out that, in 1828, the British staying in Macao attempted to open up a horse road north of the city wall. The construction was reported by the gentry Zhao Yunling and others from Mongha Village. Viceroy Li Hongbin had the area surveyed and found out that Macao's boundaries were clearly defined "by a tall wall built upon the hills in the northeast and the coast in the southwest." Li Hongbin ordered the Magistrate of Xiangshan County, Li Chengxian, to prevent the foreigners from overstepping the boundary and occupying the northern part of Macao Peninsula. These facts show that in the 1820s the Chinese authorities still firmly controlled the Macao, and that the city wall of Macao was still accepted by both sides as the north border of Portuguese settlement in Macao.
In 1828, Dom Miguel, a prince of Portugal, launched a reactionary coup d'etat, and restored the power of the autocratic monarch. In Macao, the conservatives in power fanatically welcomed this coup. They made an oath pledging loyalty to the monarchy, held grand ceremonies and banquets, offered prayers of thanks giving and hung colourful lanterns on the buildings for three evenings. The reactionary coup d'etat led to a fierce civil war in Portugal lasting for many years. In 1833, the constitutionalists, led by Dom Pedro, finally defeated the conservatives. In Macao, the constitutionalists felt proud and elated, while the officials feverishly supporting Dom Miguel all dismissed.
Soon afterwards, the new Governor of Macao, Bernardo Jose de Sousa Soares Andrea, received a series of instructions to reform. According to these orders, the post of Minister in Macao was cancelled in 1834; the traditional Senate was disbanded in 1835; the governor was vested with full powers and the newly established Senate, though still called Senate, devoted itself to only municipal concerns; the trade in black slaves was banned and family slaves were freed; the influence of the church, which had supported the conservatives, was weakened; museums, libraries and a botanic garden were built one after another; many Chinese books were translated into Portuguese; a large number of historical documents were properly preserved. The Portuguese citizens mostly supported these measures. They loved and honoured their enlightened, able and honest new governor, embodying the style of the constitutionalists. But the Macaonese disagreed about the abolition of the democratic Senate system, which had lasted for three hundred years. In 1837, they unsuccessfully asked the Portuguese Cortes to let them restore the old system. The political changes brought social changes in their wake.
In the 18th and 19th century, Macao was the only place in China that had been influenced by the revolutionary movements in Europe and America. The fundamental cause touching off the constitutionalism movement in Macao was the sharp conflict between Portugal proper and the Portuguese colonies and settlements overseas. The fuse that speeded up the constitutionalism movement in Macao was the serious economic crisis resulting from the Qing government's ban on opium. Due to the under-development of industry and commerce in Portugal, the new pro-democratic forces in Portugal itself were rather weak, and they were even weaker in Macao. Moreover, the pro-democratic forces in Macao lacked experience in political struggles, so the constitutionalism movement was bound to suffer more setbacks.