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Gentlemen Adventurers : Chapter Two : Canton and Hong Kong, Far East 1839


Session 006: The Blockade of Canton, August 1839

Ref: GentlemenAdventurers

The Party

ArnoldTodgersHamelton - DaveF
WallaceTiffinSmythe - PeteN
GladstoneArchiboldThynne - TimE
LadyElsbethMacBeth - CathyE
RevGabrielSpooner - AdrianW


Having fought off the attack by the 'small boats', the Victoriana and her illustrious crew continue their patrol of the river estuary, intercepting and diverting trading ships to the new port of Hong Kong. The other ship on patrol, a lightly armed merchantman obviously famliar with the locale, having sailed over to help fend off the attack but arriving too late for the brief encounter indicates that the attack was almost certainly sanctioned and that the pirates merchant fishermen from the far side of the estuary who carried it out are more than likely to try again. Probably being better armed next time, especially as their head-man boasts the posession of a canon.

After much discussion about the correct manner in which to address this potential threat, the cooler heads win through with a proposition to go an BUY the canon. So with an audacious plan the party set off in a longboat to row into the small river inlet at the side of the main estuary that hides the fishermens village. As they row in many well armed fishermen stop their tasks and track them along the riverbanks, forming a motley and ugly welcome committee at the mudbank that serves as the village's harbour.

A tense and awkward standoff occurs with Gladstone and his two sepoys putting ashore and Hamilton hailing the headman of the village. Elsbeth siezes the initiaive with some bluster about being scottish traders looking for an outlet / trading partners and is soon escorted, along with 'her minions' to the headmans rather grand hut. This abode shows the signs of a long and profitable career 'fishing' for a lot more than fish in the profitable waters off Canton. Sensing a retail opportnity the good lady proceeds to haggle for some fine silks, and Hamilton takes over buying many fine and rare chinese / oriental items from the headman, including the most important item The Canon.

The headman indicates that the canon is the totem of the village and he could only exchange it for something which would ensure the future prosperity of the village, so after confused and protracted negotiations an agreement is made to trade opium through Hong Kong at a preferential rate between the 'scottish' Empire Trading Lines and the 'traders' of this village.

Gladstone remains on the mudflats in the sweltering heat facing off a now curious set of villagers, and is just on the verge of fighting them off when he is relieved to see Wallace bringing refreshment and news that negotiations are going well - and that there will be shipments of goods to be escorted to the Victoriana.

Meanwhile the whole village has learned that there are 'buyers' in town for oriental bric-abrac and the whole village brings out it's saleable items. Rev. Spooner is especially taken with a water clock and exchanges it for one of his fob watches and a copy of the bible. The headman is utterly taken with the watch, amazed by the engineering and craft.

Returning to the Victoriana the party pass an uneventful two weeks until they are releived by a small Navy gun boat, and they return to Hong Kong. They find the village very much changed, with a detachment of marines and many navy staff giving it a much more 'naval' air. The port area is now manned and patrolled by the navy and Gladstones' sepoys are patroliing the interior and ridges, there is some discussion about the use of the 'police house' but Gladstone remains firm and only accepts the lodgin of some naval officers there due to shortage of accommodation generally.

Rev. Spooner is very pleased to see that the construction of his mission chapel is going on well, with many shipwrights and carpenters from the assorted vessels working on it. The ship's chaplain from one of the vessels is singing encoraging hymns at the workers and so Rev. Spooner joins him.

Hamilton finds a thriving opium market has developed and purchases enough opium to trade with the canton villagers when they arrive, making a small but essential loss on the transaction. He also sub-lets some of the original 'shares' in the port area to other trading houses.

Wallace and Lady Macbeth explore the environs of the port to locate the best possible place to built their accommodation.



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Last edited July 19, 2006 1:28 pm by HowardT (diff)