Sir James Douglas

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Involved in fighting the Chinese, in Hong Kong, during the Opium Wars, August 1839

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•  Captain Elliot removed from Macao to Hong Kong on August 23rd, and, though the town was not formally ceded until 1841, ... the transit of provisions across the harbour obliged Captain Smith, in concert with Mr. James Douglas, of the Cambridge, ...

•  On September 4th, the refusal of the Chinese at Kowloon to permit the transit of provisions across the harbour obliged Captain Smith, in concert with Mr. James Douglas, of the Cambridge, formerly of the H.E.I. Co.'s marine...

•  Sir James Douglas — The Cambridge.
Captain Plumridge wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether it were the intention of her Majesty's Government to give any further remuneration to Sir Jas. Douglas, for his services in the ship Cambridge, in the Chinese war.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that in order to make the case understood, it would be necessary for him to state the history of the transaction. It appeared, that whilst commanding the ship Cambridge, a merchantman on her passage to China, Captain Douglas heard of the disturbances which had occurred. He immediately armed the vessel as a ship of war, and offered his services to the English authorities. That offer was accepted, and he entered into an engagement with Captain Elliot, by which it was settled that he should receive at the rate of 700/. per month during the time that the vessel was engaged. He afterwards sold the Cambridge in China to an American ; but instead of selling the guns with the vessel, he sold them to Captain Elliot, at the price which he stated the American was willing to give for them, that price being an advance of 60 per cent, upon the price which he paid for them in the first instance. Sir James (then Captain Douglas) afterwards made application to the Government for compensation for his personal services, and for the expenses which he had incurred. The Government, besides paying the expenses which he had incurred, gave Captain Douglas 2,000l. for his personal services, and 850/. to the crew; this payment being made in Feb. 1841. In addition to this pecuniary payment, they recommended her Majesty to confer upon him the order of knighthood. From that period the matter was considered to be concluded; but in September, 1842, after eighteen months had elapsed, Sir James Douglas presented to the Treasury an entirely new set of claims, amounting to 30,000/., and arising out of the same transactions.

To those claims the Government could not accede, considering that they had already satisfied every just demand which Sir James Douglas could make for his services.




Sources for this article include:
  • The Parliamentary Debates (Authorized Edition), Volume 71

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