The Chinese Expedition: The French Treaty with China, 1860

Author(s) : French Government
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The French treaty

The French treaty with China was originally published in the Moniteur Universel of 26 October, 1860.


“His Majesty the Emperor of the French and his Majesty the Emperor of China, wishing to put an end to the difference which has arisen between the two empires, and to re-establish and secure for ever the relations of peace and friendship which existed between them, and which regrettable events have interrupted, have named for their respective representatives the following personages:- The Emperor of the French, Jean Baptiste Louis Baron Gros, Senator of the Empire, Ambassador and High Commissioner of France in China, Grand Officer of the Imperial Order of the Legion of Honour, Knight Grand Cross of several orders, &c, and his Majesty the Emperor of China, Prince Kong, Member of the Imperial Family, and High Commissioner:

“Who, after having exchanged their full powers, found good and in due form, have agreed to the following articles:

Article 1

“Art. 1. His Majesty the Emperor of China has seen with pain the conduct practised by the Chinese military authorities at the mouth of the river of Tien-tsin, in the month of June last year, at the moment when the Ministers Plenipotentiary of France and England there presented themselves, on their way to Pekin, in order to proceed to the exchange of the ratifications of the treaties of Tien-tsin.

Article 2

“Art. 2. When the Ambassador, High Commissioner of the Emperor of the French, shall be in Pekin to proceed to the exchange of the ratifications of the treaty of Tien-tsin, he shall be treated during his stay in the capital with the honours due to his rank, and all possible facilities shall be afforded him by the Chinese authorities, that he may fulfil without obstacles the high mission confided to him.

Article 3

“Art. 3. The treaty signed at Tien-tsin on the 27th June, 1858, shall be faithfully executed in all its clauses immediately after the exchange of the ratifications spoken of in the preceding article, subject, it is well understood, to the modifications which may be made therein by the present convention.

Article 4

“Art. 4. The fourth article of the treaty of Tien-tsin, by which the Emperor of China engaged to pay the French government an indemnity of 2,000,000 taels, is annulled, and is replaced by the present article, which raises to the sum of 8,000,000 taels the amount of the indemnity. It is agreed that the sums already paid by the custom house of Canton, on account of the 2,000,000 taels stipulated by the treaty of Tien-tsin, shall be considered as having been paid in advance and on account of the 8,000,000 taels referred to in this article. The stipulations made in art. 4 of the treaty of Tien-tsin, on the mode of paying the 2,000,000 taels are annulled. The amount of the sum which remains to be paid by the Chinese government, on account of the 8,000,000 taels stipulated by the present convention, shall be provided for by setting apart the fifth of the gross revenues of the custom-houses of the ports opened to foreign commerce, and the payments shall be made at intervals of three months, commencing on the 31st December. This sum, specially reserved for the indemnity due to France, shall be paid to the Minister of France or his delegates in Mexican pisatres, or in sycee silver, calculated at the rate of exchange on the day of payment. A sum of 500,000 taels shall, however, by paid on account beforehand, in one sum, and at Tien-tsin, on the 30th November next, or earlier if the Chinese government think proper. A mixed commission, appointed by the Minister of France and the Chinese authorities, shall determine the regulations to be followed for effecting the payment of the whole indemnity, for verifying its amount, giving a receipt for it, and, in short, for fulfilling all the formalities required in such cases.

Article 5

“Art. 5. The sum of 8,000,000 taels is allowed to the French government as an indemnity for the expenditure which the circumstance of taking up arms against China compelled it to incur, as also to compensate the French and the persons under French protection who were despoiled of their property when the factories at Canton were burnt down, and likewise to indemnify the Roman catholic missionaries who have suffered in person or property. The French government will divide that sum between the parties interested, whose claims shall have been legally established, and in proportion to the said claims; and it is agreed between the contracting parties that 1,000,000 taels shall be set apart to indemnify French subjects or persons under the protection of France for the losses they have suffered or the ill treatment they have undergone, and that the remaining 7,000,000 shall be appropriated to meet the expenses occasioned by the war.

Article 6

“Art. 6. In conformity with the Imperial edict issued on the 20th March, 1846, by the august Emperor Tae-Konang, the religious and charitable establishments where were confiscated from the Christians during the persecution of which they have been the victims, shall be restored to their owners by the instrumentality of his Excellency the French Minister in China, to whom the Imperial government shall cause them to be transferred with the cemeteries and buildings appertaining thereto.

Article 7

“Art. 7. The town and port of Tien-tsin, in the province of Petcheli, shall be open to foreign commerce, on the same conditions as the other towns and ports of the empire where that commerce is already permitted, and that shall take place from the date of the day of the signature of the present convention, which will be obligatory for the two nations without it being necessary to exchange ratifications of it, and which shall have the same force and value as if it was inserted word for word in the treaty of Tien-tsin. The French troops which occupy that town may, after the payment of the 500,000 taels mentioned in Art. 4 of the present convention, evacuate it, and go and establish themselves at Taku and on the northern coast of the Shang-tong, whence they will afterwards retire on the same conditions as will preside over the evacuation of the other points which they occupy on the coast of the empire. The commanders-in-chief of the French forces shall nevertheless have the right of wintering their troops of all arms at Tien-tsin if they think proper, and of not withdrawing them until the moment when the indemnities due by the Chinese government shall have been entirely paid, unless it may suit the commanders-in-chief to make them leave before that period.

Article 8

“Art. 8. It is also agreed that as soon as the present convention shall have been signed, and as the ratifications of the treaty ot Tien-tsin shall have been exchanged, the French forces which now occupy Chusan shall evacuate that island, that those which are before Pekin shall retire to Tien-tsin or to Taku, on the north side of the Shang-tong, or into the town of Canton; and that in all these places, or in each of them, the French government may, if it thinks right, leave troops up to the moment at which the total sum of 8,00,000 taels shall be entirely paid.

Article 9

“Art. 9. It is agreed between the high contracting parties that, as soon as the ratifications of the treaty of Tien-tsin shall have been exchanged, an imperial decree shall order the superior authorities of all the provinces of the empire to permit every Chinaman who may wish to go into countries situated beyond the seas, to establish himself or to seek his fortune, to also embark with his family, if he desires, in the French vessels which may be in the ports of the empire opened to foreign commerce. It is further agreed that in the interest of these emigrants, to assure them full liberty of action, and secure their interests, the competent Chinese authorities, in concert with the Minister of France, in China, shall adopt such regulations as will give to those engagements, always voluntary, the guarantee of morality and validity which they ought to posses.

Article 10

“Art. 10. It is well understood between the contracting parties that the tonnage dues, which, by mistake, were fixed in the French treaty of Tien-tsin at fives maces (about 15 sous each) per ton, on vessels gauging 150 tons and upwards, and which in the treaties signed with England and the United States, in 1858, are fixed at four maces only, shall only amount to that same sum of four maces, without having to appeal to the last paragraph of art. 27 of the treaty of Tien-tsin, which gives France the formal right to claim the treatment of the most favoured nation.


“The present convention of peace has been made at Pekin, in quadruple, on the 25th of October, 1860, and there signed by the respective plenipotentiaries, who have affixed thereto the seal of their arms.

Baron Gros. Prince Kung.”

Quoted in the Daily News, 31 December, 1860.

Publication Title :
Daily News
Month of Publication :
31 December
Year of publication :
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