该协议中包含「把香港島和海港割讓給英國」，及後於香港仔登陸，從蜑民陳群以蜑家話回答中得知「Hong Kong」的名稱，並沿用至今。但由於清廷及英國政經界分別認為「有辱國體」及獲利太少，故雙方不承認《穿鼻草約》的存在。 直至1842年，清朝在第一次鴉片戰爭中被英国打敗，並於翌年與英國簽訂《南京條約》，將香港島連同鄰近的鴨脷洲才正式永久割讓與英國。 1860年清廷於第二次鴉片戰爭（即英法聯軍之役）再敗給英法聯軍，簽下《北京條約》，把九龍半島南部連同鄰近的昂船洲一同永久割讓給英國。當時在九龍半島上的新邊界只用矮矮的鐵絲網分割，位置就在今天的界限街。1898年，英國通過與清廷簽訂《中英展拓香港界址專條》及其他一系列租借條約，租借九龍半島北部、新界和鄰近的兩百多個離島，但九龍寨城除外，租期99年。這一系列的租借和割讓，形成了今日香港的邊界。
Circular To Her Britannic Majesty's subjectsMacao, 20 Jan., 1841.
Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary has now to announce the conclusion of preliminary arrangements between the imperial commissioner and himself, involving the following conditions:-
- 1. The cession of the island and harbour of Hong-kong to the British crown. All just charges and duties to the empire upon the commerce carried on there to be paid as if the trade were conducted at Whampoa.
- 2. An indemnity to the British government of six millions of dollars, one million payable at once, and the remainder in equal annual instalments, ending in 1846.
- 3. Direct official intercourse between the countries upon an equal footing.
- 4. The trade of the port of Canton to be opened within ten days after the Chinese new year, and to be carried on at Whampoa till further arrangements are practicable at the new settlement.
Details remain matter of negotiation.
The Plenipotentiary seizes the earliest occasion to declare that her Majesty's government has sought for no privilege in China exclusively for the advantage of British ships and merchants, and he is only performing his duty in offering the protection of the British flag to the subjects, citizens, and ships of foreign powers that may resort to her Majesty's possession.
Pending her Majesty's further pleasure, there will be no port or other changes to the British government.
The Plenipotentiary now permits himself to make a few general observations.
The oblivion of past and redressed injuries will follow naturally from the right feeling of the Queen's subjects. Indeed, it should be remembered that no extent of modification resulting only from political intervention can be efficacious in the steady improvement of our condition, unless it be systematically seconded by conciliatory treatment of the people and becoming deference for the institutions and government of the country, upon the threshold of which we are about to be established.
The Plenipotentiary can only presume to advert very briefly to the zeal and wisdom of the Commander of the expedition to China; and to that rare union of ardour, patience, and forbearance, which has distinguished the officers and forces of all arms at all points of occupation and operation.
He is well assured the British community will sympathize cordially with him in their sentiments of lasting respect for his Excellency and the whole force, which he is ashamed to express in such inadequate language.
He cannot conclude without declaring that next to these causes, the peaceful adjustment of difficulties must be ascribed to the scrupulous good faith of the very eminent person with whom negotiations are still pending.(Signed) Charles ElliotHer Majesty's Plenipotentiary, China
Circular To Her Majesty's subjectsMacao, 20 Jan., 1841.
Her Majesty's plenipotentiary considers it incumbent upon himself to lose no time in assuring the commercial that he will use his best efforts with her majesty's government to secure an early and entire advance of their claims for indemnity. And mindful of the interests of parties in India, he will not fail respectfully to move the Right Honourable the Governor-general of India to second these purposes as far as may seem just to his lordship.(Signed) Charles ElliotHer Majesty's Plenipotentiary