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Baston Family Genealogy

Baston family of Hackney, Shoreditch and Whitechapel, London from 1785, originally from Bampton, Oxfordshire

 

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The News in 1841 

 PENNY POSTAGE :  It's good to write    W. H. FOX TALBOT:  Picture perfect

penny PostageThe uniform postage rate of one penny, introduced in January 1840, has been a huge success. A total of 168 million letters had been posted in 1840 compared to a mere 76 million in 1839. The postal reform is the brainchild of Rowland Hill who argued that pre-paid postage would dramatically cut the cost of conveying a letter. His idea to use a specially designed adhesive label to pre-pay the postage has proved to be a stroke of genius. Prior to the introduction of the reform, letters which were not pre-paid had to be personally delivered to collect the postage. The letter carriers sometimes had to make several calls until they could deliver the letter and collect the money, which was a waste of time. The production of the huge numbers of the adhesive labels required has been made possible by the developments in the British printing and machinery industry.

 

Fox TalbotIn September 1840, W.H. Fox Talbot discovered the phenomenon of the latent image. It is said that this was a chance discovery, when he attempted to re-sensitize some paper which had failed to work in previous experiments; as the chemical was applied, an image, previously invisible, began to appear. This major breakthrough led to drastically lowered exposure times - from one hour or so to 1-3 minutes. Talbot called the improved version the calotype. He patented his invention on 8 February 1841 and asked large sums of money for the rights to use his process. This move played into the hands of M. Daguerre, the inventor of the popular daguerreotype process.

 FASHION:  Men in black    KEW GARDENS:  Kew Gardens open to the public
costumes.org A dramatic change had occurred in men's fashion, as men put on the black suit as their uniform. Black has become the favoured colour for all urban gentlemen, respectable professionals, shop clerks, and even artists and writers. Fabrics in black or dark tweeds for suits and overcoats are now favoured and the lines of the clothing are simple and stark. Pants can be checked or striped but fabric tones are subdued. Hats with unadorned lines complete a picture of business-like sobriety and no-nonsense severity.

kew gardens

After the death of Sir Joseph Banks in 1820, the gardens slowly fell into a state of disrepair and were threatened with destruction. The new director, William Jackson Hooker, has pledged to develop the gardens into a centre of botanical research while allowing the public the opportunity to visit this magnificent Royal pleasure garden.

 THE OPIUM WAR: British Navy comes to Drug Barons' rescue

Opium has become a major problem in China. The total number of addicts in China is estimated to 12 million. The trade deficit Western countries had with China has quickly turned into a trade surplus. China can't export enough tea and silk to balance the trade. Instead the difference in trade is made up by the export of Chinese silver, which is highly valued for its fine qualities. In 1839, the Chinese opium smokers spent 100 million taels, while the government's entire annual revenue was only 40 million taels. The drain of silver greatly weakened the Chinese government. One government official wrote, "If we continue to allow this trade to flourish, in a few dozen years, we will find ourselves not only with no soldiers to resist the enemy, but also with no money to equip the army."

Since 1839, the Chinese government has imposed extremely severe punishments, including death, for smoking and trading opium. Special Commissioner Lin Ze-xu, the so-called 'Drug Czar', was sent to Canton to ensure the rules were carried out. Lin, while in Canton, made 1,600 arrests and confiscated 11,000 pounds of opium in two months. In June 1839, Lin forced foreign merchants (mainly British citizens) to hand over 20,000 chests of opium. He burned the opium in a public demonstration and scattered the ashes across the sea.

 

opium wars

The final stroke came when Lin gave the order to close Canton to foreign trade.
In response, Great Britain has been sending gunboats and is now attacking several Chinese coastal cities to force China into submission.
Despite the Chinese government's desperate attempts to withstand the assault, a British victory now seems ineluctable.

     
 
 
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  I'm still researching so if you have anything to add or correct then
please email Baston Family Genealogy

Please mention the RIN number attached to a person's name as it is very difficult for me to know for which John, William, Thomas, Edward etc you wish to have more information.

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Revised: 11 Sep 2010 15:38:35 +0100 .