Attempts were made from time to time to surpress the circulation of foreign coins as well as the importation of opium, shortly before the the war, misnamed the Opium War. In 1836 the provincial treasurer of Canton pointed out that such action would prove suicidal to China, especially as the coins were of great convenience to trade and unlike opium were not productive of harm to China. He also pointed out that a great deal of harm should result by arbitrary action, as the foreign coins had an extensive circulation in the four coast provinces of South China. After the war of 1842 all kinds of foreign coins were declared lawful money in Canton.
The authorities have frequently made attempts to follow modern European countries in respect of money; and attempts have been made often to coin silver dollars. The first is known to have been made in the Province of Fuhkien and in Formosa in about 1835 to obtain money in order to pay the troops. Wells Williams in his "The Middle Kingdom" states that a specimen of the coins minted at this time bears the inscription, "Pure silver for current use from the Chang Chau commissariat; (weight) seven mace, two candareens."* Another specimen according to the same authority was of the same weight and fineness and had on the reverse "an effigy of the god of Longevity on the head and a tripod on the tail to authenticate its official origin,"** besides the inscription on the obverse in Chinese and in Manchu. In about 1856 the insufficiency of the supply of Carolus and all other foreign dollars led to the adoption of the Shanghai tael as the money of account. Also, an attempt was made in Shanghai at about that time to coin this tael money of account.
* "The Middle Kingdom" by S. Wells Williams. Vol. II. Pp. 84.
* * Ibid.