Look how slowly news moved in the past.
It wasn’t that long ago we lived without rolling coverage. We only found out events that happened in the rest of the world after the dust had settled. No internets, no twits and no faceblah.
Imagine if news took this long to reach us now! This warning is for the beginning of December 1857, but the article is dated the 16th of January 1858. The attack on Canton was expected over a month ago but the warning only arrived in Australia weeks later.
Many thousands of Chinese came to Australia during the gold rush of the 1850’s seeking their fortune, leaving their families behind. It wasn’t hard to read this article and imagine some poor young man from Canton opening the paper to read this tiny little warning. Piratical atrocities of a frightful kind have been comitted upon your family.
Imagine that young man after reading this news. Even if he sent a letter home that minute he wouldn’t get a reply for months.
We went camping for Easter, and even though we had no mobile phone reception we only had to take the short drive into town to get it. I can’t imagine not hearing from your family and friends for months and then getting this bit of terrible news. Whatever would we do without instant updates?!