W. S. SHERWILL, W.S.; JAMES, J.O.N
Map of the China Coast and Rough Sketch of the Provinces lying between Canton and Pekin . . .
Calcutta : Surveyor General’s Office, 1859 (1860). Lithographed map with hand colouring, 44 x 61 inches, dissected and laid on linen, as issued; scattered light staining and foxing, several linen splits, but a good example.
A rare, separately-issued map of the coast of China, issued in Calcutta for the use of British military commanders in the field during the Second Opium War.
This very detailed and thoroughly researched map was prepared towards the end of the Second Opium War (1856-1860) in Calcutta, at the office of the Surveyor General. It was compiled by J.O.N. James, assistant surveyor and principal draftsman at the Surveyor General’s Office, and bears the signature of the Deputy Surveyor General of India, Major Walter Stanhope Sherwill, himself a gifted cartographer and artist. Drafted in November 1859, it was completed in January 1860 by a team that comprised both British and Indian artisans. The map contains extensive notes on Chinese terrain, commerce (including agricultural resources and manufacturing), and the characteristics of local populations and their customs. It shows a great part of the eastern coast of mainland Asia, stretching from the Korean peninsula to Macao. Provincial borders and rivers are indicated. Major cities, such as Pekin (Beijing) and Canton, are shown with their defensive walls, while a number of cities, including Nankin (Nanjing) and Fuh-Chow Foo (Fuzhou) have remarks about notable buildings. British movements and successes in the First Opium War (1839-1842) are also indicated. The compass rose has Chinese characters for the cardinal points.
The sources used in the making of the map are provided in a text-block at bottom centre-right. These sources were mainly English-language marine charts and maps, among them Horsburgh’s Chart of the East China Coast (London, 1835, corrected up to 1856); Walker’s Chart of the Coast from the Canton River to the Yang-z Keang River (London, 1847); Arrowsmith’s map of China (London, 1854) (which had been based on a French Jesuit map of China), and Clarke Abel’s maps which featured in Narrative of a Journey into the Interior of China and of a Voyage to and from that Country in the Years 1816 & 1817 (London, 1818). The map also contains several insets, including Plan of the treacherous attack by the Chinese at Taku on the English and French Flotilla (June 25, 1859); Plan of Pekin; Sketch of the River Pei Ho From Gulf of Pechili to Tien-Sin, and statistical tables of population and numbers of army units.
The First Opium War had ended with the Treaty of Nanking (1842), which forced the Chinese to allow British and (later) other merchants to live in a number of Chinese ports and to conduct trade without restriction. The insidious trade in opium that had been established by the East India Company continued unabated. In October 1856, the Second Opium War broke out in Canton when Chinese marines seized a British-registered ship, the Arrow. The British retaliated with a bombardment of Canton, and with the support of the French the city was captured in late 1857. The Treaty of Tientsin (Tianjin) was eventually signed in June 1858, but fighting was to continue into 1860. Hostilities only ceased in late 1860, some nine months after the present map was finished. Two of the main ramifications of the Anglo-Chinese peace treaty were that the opium trade was declared legal and Christianity recognised.
Only three institutional examples located (British Library; BnF; Yale).