The Cree Journals
During the some twenty years that lead up to the burning of the Summer Palace in Peking in 1860, there were quite a few occasions that the England Navy was in direct conflict with Qing Dynasty's defense forces on land and at sea. Through the journals and sketches of Edward H. Cree (1814-1901) we can recapture what have happened as far as some battles are concerned. Cree had served in different British Naval ships: Rattlesnake (1839-43), Vixen (1843-6), Fury (1847-50) and Odin (1852-6). His journals have been compiled into a book called "The Cree Journals". It is a collection of journals by Cree for the period 1837-1856. As a surgeon of the Royal Navy, Cree had the opportunity to see Asian countries immediately before they began their full contact with modern Western civilization. He witnessed how the British navy was at work during the Opium War of 1839-42. Although Cree had no formal training in art, he could successfully keep the milieu and mood of the time through many of his colourful sketches. One of his art work is about the "Happy Valley" of Hong Kong in a Friday afternoon in early 1841. In this water-colour, Cree captures vividly a funeral procession for a fallen British, probably the deceased is among the first foreigners to be buried in this 'new' Hong Kong Cemetery (page 90). More colour pictures about Hong Kong can be found on pages 141-144. At pages 92-93 there is a 4"x 13.5" colour drawing depicting the warfare between the British and the Qing soldiers during the second taking of Chusan that took place on October 1st, 1841. At pages 106-109, there is a panoramic view of Nanking in water-colour (5.5"x 21"), drawn on September 2nd, 1842. Information on this book: The Cree Journals, the Voyages of Edward H. Cree, Surgeon R.N., as Related in His Private Journals, 1837-1856, edited and with an introduction by Michael Levien, published by Nelson Canada Limited in 1981 (ISBN:0-17-601539-6).