An invaluable account of the first of the 19th century ‘Opium Wars’ between Britain and China for control of the debilitating and dangerous but highly profitable drugs trade. The author, an Indian Army officer of the Madras Engineers, witnessed many of the events he describes. The action moves from Hong Kong, to Canton, Shanghai and finally Nanking, where the outgunned Chinese are compelled to sign a treaty ending the conflict. The author is critical of the ‘ignorance’ and ‘cruelty’ of the Chinese character, but praises their courage and cultural artefacts – such as the Great Wall and Nanking’s Porcelain Tower. In his account of the Chinese astonishment at such western technology as steam-ships and horse-drawn guns he reflects the reality of a vast but backward civilisation encountering the fruits of the industrial revolution it would one day enthusiastically emulate. Well-illustrated with 53 engravings from original drawings by the author, and six maps.