The Project Gutenberg EBook of Ti-Ping Tien-Kwoh, by Augustus F. Lindley

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Title: Ti-Ping Tien-Kwoh
       The History of the Ti-Ping Revolution (Volume I)

Author: Augustus F. Lindley

Release Date: March 17, 2012 [EBook #39180]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Moti Ben-Ari and the Online Distributed
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COMMISSION Received By The Author From HIS HIGHNESS,
LE, CHUNG-WANG (Faithful Prince)
A Translation will be found immediately after the Title page
COMMISSION Received By The Author From HIS HIGHNESS, LE, CHUNG-WANG (Faithful Prince)
A Translation will be found immediately after the Title page

真忠軍師忠王 李 為

給憑事茲有洋兄弟呤唎前往上海寧波一带 操办兵船凡是經過地方隨時接濟米粮油塩柴 伙等件不致缺乏為要一經办就即駕至嘉興郡 交與 聽王查收並付給價值可也再仰 沿途把守 關卡官兵騐明放行並准其往来毋阻切切此 憑






A Narrative of the Author's Personal Adventures.








The General of the Chin-chung (truly faithful) Army,
Chung-wang Le
(The "Faithful Prince" Le),

Hereby certifies that the undermentioned Foreign Brother, Lin-le, aforetime traversed the country between Shanghai, Ningpo, &c., conducting and managing military affairs (or ships of war).

He has traversed the whole country, and from time to time has been actively engaged, and has collected commissariat (or military) stores, neither sparing pains nor valuing difficulties, but directly managing the affairs.

After this he proceeds to Kia-hing (or Cha-shing) prefecture to conduct operations (with regard to organizing an auxiliary force, &c.), and to receive and use, from Ting-wang, certain moneys for affairs in which he succeeded (or may succeed).

We therefore hereby command those in charge of the military posts on the frontier to examine this closely, and to allow him to pass to and fro without let or hindrance.

This is an Express Commission!

Dated:      The Celestial Kingdom of Ti-ping
13th year, 10th month, 26th day.


"Ti-Ping is pronounced Tye, or T'hi-Ping; the first word, Ti, going into the broad English sound like the noun eye, or as ti in ti-tle. The pure Chinese tone rather resembles T'hi than Tye."


Le-Siu-Cheng, the Chung-Wang,
"Faithful Prince,"
This Work is Dedicated,




This work has been written in accordance with instructions received from the leaders of the great Ti-ping Revolution in China.

Besides an account of my own personal adventures and practical experience during four years' military service and social intercourse with the Ti-pings, the following pages contain:—

A complete history of the Revolution: its Christian, political, military, and social organization; an accurate description of its extraordinary leader, Hung-sui-tshuen, and his principal chiefs; the rise, progress, and present circumstances of the movement, together with its bearing and influence as well upon the welfare of the 360 million inhabitants of China, as on the general interests of Great Britain; with a thorough review of the policy of the British Government towards China; including the intervention with and hostilities against the Ti-ping patriots, who, by accepting Christianity and abandoning idolatry, revolted against the Manchoo-Tartar Government.

In writing this work I have been prompted by feelings of sympathy for a worthy, oppressed, and cruelly-wronged[viii] people; as well as by a desire to protest against the evil foreign policy which England, during the last few years, has pursued towards weak Powers, especially in Asia.

As a talented writer has just proved,[1] "It is not once, nor yet twice, that the policy of the British Government has been ruinous to the best interests of the world. It is not once, nor yet twice, that British deeds have aroused the indignation and horror of 'highly civilized and half-civilized races.' Disregard of international law and of treaty law in Europe—deeds of piracy and spoliation in Asia—one vast system of wrong and violence have everywhere for years marked the dealings of the British Government with the weaker nations of the globe."

Entertaining similar opinions to these, I have endeavoured to produce a complete history of the wonderful revolution in China, and an accurate narrative of the forcible intervention of the British Government against it. As this subject has never been properly placed before the people of England; as it forms one of the last acts of interference with the internal affairs of another State which was undertaken by Lord Palmerston's Administration; and as I have had peculiar opportunities of becoming acquainted as well with the Ti-pings as with the terrible effects of British intervention in this instance,—I feel it my duty to afford the fullest information to my countrymen, so as to assist them in forming a correct opinion on a question of such vast magnitude.


Deploring, as I do, the apathy with which the great majority of Englishmen regard the foreign policy of their rulers, and lull themselves into a self-satisfied and indolent state of mind, because of the present internal prosperity of their country, it is with hope of some good result that I offer my testimony against an hitherto uncondemned national crime; and, by illustrating the iniquity of our last hostilities in China, join the small array of those who strive to arouse their countrymen from what may prove a fatal lethargy.

During the last thirty years, all the great nations of Europe have acted in a way more or less antagonistic to the only principle which insures the peace of the world, viz., that "No State has a right forcibly to interfere in the internal concerns of another State, unless there exists a casus belli against it." Consequently it is apparent that the existence of international and treaty law must be in a very precarious position.

When we consider British armed intervention in the internal affairs of the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Afghanistan, &c.; the three wars with China; the wars with Burmah, Persia, and Japan; together with the forcible demonstrations against Ashantee, Greece, Siam, and Brazil; it cannot fail to be seen that England has not been the most backward in violating the above true principle of international law, nor the least guilty in following up unjustifiable impositions upon unoffending belligerents by actual force.

It is not, however, with the cases here mentioned, but with the late unproclaimed war against the Ti-pings, and with the general effect of the policy in question, that this work is concerned.[x]

With regard to the first subject, it is shown that British interference has caused a tremendous destruction of human life; that it has been carried on with fire and sword against the first Christian movement in modern Asia; that it has been directed against a mighty national religio-political revolution which in no way concerned England; and that every incident of this forceable intervention, from beginning to end, was totally unjustifiable and iniquitous.

With regard to the second subject, if the explanation of the first be considered together with the general effect upon the world which has been produced by England's policy towards some of the States mentioned as those with whom she has interfered during the last thirty years, it is probable that further light may be thrown upon "two remarkable phenomena which now puzzle this nation," described at p. 270, part iv., of the admirable work entitled "Intervention and Non-intervention," as follows:—

"(1) That the reign of force, without any real moral antagonism, is now established throughout all the four quarters of the globe.

"(2) That Great Britain is no longer honoured and trusted as she was, her statesmen having lost that moral influence which, quite as much as physical fear, serves to restrain unscrupulous governments in a career of wrong-doing."

He will indeed be a bold casuist who can dispute the truth of the above propositions, or the fact that they are the natural consequence of such acts as the intervention against the Ti-pings, &c., which have been perpetrated for the sole object of forwarding our own[xi] interests and "commercial transactions," without the slightest regard for the principles of right, justice, and international law.

The history of the world proves that every great nation which has been founded by aggression and the sword has ultimately fallen, notwithstanding its power and grandeur, through the exercise of the same illegal violence against itself. Now those who utterly condemn any political action having for its basis expediency, temporary interest, commercial extension, place-holding, or any other mercenary or selfish motives, at the sacrifice of rigid equity and honour, believe that under Providence England will never fall from her exalted position while adhering unchangeably to the eternal principles of right and justice. If the future and the ultimate fate of a nation be not preordained, but are really dependent upon itself, let us believe that its destiny will be determined by an immutable law which only rewards or punishes according to deserts. Then will all who love their country be jealous of its honour, whilst those who are rather intent upon immediate and personal aggrandizement will imitate the acts of the robber, who cares not for the crime so long as he can enrich himself.

Mingled with the more serious parts of this work, the reader will find much information regarding the vast Chinese empire; the character, customs, and position of its interesting people, especially so far as the Ti-pings are concerned. As these are subjects which have come largely under my personal observation, I have connected them with my own travels and adventures in the form of a narrative, so that each alternate chapter should treat[xii] exclusively of the history of the Ti-ping Revolution until both could be combined together.

At present civil war is raging in every part of China, and if the natives—as represented by the Ti-ping, Nien-fie, or other insurrectionists—should succeed in overthrowing their Manchoo oppressors, a vast field will be thrown open to European enterprise, and the opportunity that will exist for civilizing and Christianizing the largest country in the world cannot be exaggerated.

A. F. L.

London, 3rd February, 1866.


P. 546, For the word "whom" read "with."

P. 689, read last paragraph, commencing at the twenty-seventh line, as follows:—"Yet, on the other hand, there are people who have the obstinacy to review this and similar affairs, and observe that in other parts of the world a very different policy has been enacted, where it could be done with impunity, which affords sufficient evidence that the pretended adoption of a non-interfering policy is neither more nor less than an unprincipled truckling to strong powers, and an aggressive bullying of the weak."


[1] "Intervention and Non-intervention," by A. G. Stapleton.




Arrival in Victoria.—The Happy Valley.—Hong-Kong.—Tanka Boat Girls.—Chinese Boatmen: their Evil Propensities.—Captain Mellen's Adventure.—Canton Girls.—Amusements in China.—Cafés Chantants.—The Exhibition.—Temple of Lanterns.—Chinese Character.—Piracy in China.—The "North Star."—Fate of the Crew.—Tartar Cruelty.—Adventure with Pirates.—Sporting.—Duck-shooting.—Chinese Hospitality.—Mandarin Barbarity.—Whampoa.—Marie the Portuguese.—Marie's History: her Escape.—Description of Marie: her Excitability: her Jealousy


Hung-sui-tshuen.—Clanship in China.—Hung-sui-tshuen's Genealogy: his Education.—Extraordinary Visions: Description of them.—Description of Hung-sui-tshuen: his Early Days: his Visions Explained: his Conversion: how effected.—Hung-sui-tshuen's Preaching: his Religious Essays.—The God-worshippers.—Destruction of Idols.—Progress of God-worshippers.—Numbers increase.—Hostilities commence.—God-worshippers Victorious.—"Imperialist" Cruelty.—Bishop of Victoria.—Chinese Dynasty proclaimed


The Manchoo Party.—The Ti-ping Party.—The Ti-ping Character.—Conflict with Manchoos.—Chinese Gunboats.—First Ti-ping Position.—Its Appearance.—Ti-ping Hospitality.—Ti-ping Country described.—Effects of Intervention.—San-le-jow.—Ti-pings Superior to Imperialists.—Ti-pings and Chinamen.—Ti-ping Costume.—The Honan Ti-pings.—The "Chinese Paris."—Interview with Chung-wang: his Appearance: his Religious Feelings: his Penetration: his Policy.—Commission from Chung-wang.—San-li-jow.—A Ti-ping Army.—Its Friendly Bearing.—Arrival at Shanghae



Organization of the Ti-pings.—Hung-sui-tshuen's Manifesto.—Hung-sui-tshuen Emperor.—Proclamation of Rank.—Ti-ping Titles.—Siege of Yung-gnan.—Ti-ping Successes.—Their Moderation in Victory.—King Yang's Proclamation.—Tien-Wang's Proclamation.—Cruelty of Imperialists.—Cause of the Revolution.—Chinese History Reviewed.—Corrupt Government.—Tartar Rule.—Manchoo Barbarity


Shanghae to Han-kow.—River Scenery.—Silver Island.—The Salt Trade.—Nin-gan-shan.—Tu-ngliu.—Its Auriferous Soil.—Kew-kiang.—River Scenery.—The Yang-tze River.—The Braves of Han-kow.—Chinese Politeness.—Manchoo Policy.—Fire and Plunder.—A Chinese Rudder.—Scenery around Ta-tung.—Appearance of the Country.—Chinese Chess.—Perilous Adventure.—Crew of Mutineers.—Critical Position.—Gallant Rescue.—Explanation.—Alarm of Pirates.—Plan of Operations.—Its Advantages.—The Result.—Another Alarm.—"Imperialist" Pirates


Fall of Nankin.—Manchoo Cowardice.—Immense Booty.—Sir George Bonham's Arrival at Nankin.—"The Northern Prince."—The Ti-pings fraternize.—Sir George Bonham's Dispatch.—The Ti-ping Reply.—Further Communication.—Its Friendly Nature.—Ti-ping Literature.—Its Religious Character.—Bishop of Victoria and Dr. Medhurst's Opinions.—Ti-ping Publications.—The New Testament.—Monarchy Established.—Occupation of Nankin.—A Fatal Mistake.—Imperialist Advantages.—Advance of the Ti-pings.—Manchoo Operations.—The Tsing-hae Army.—The Retreat.—Tien-wang's Mistake—His Opportunity Lost.—Manchoo Tactics.—Imperialist Outrages.—Ti-ping Moderation.—The Triad Rebels.—They evacuate Amoy.—Captain Fishbourne's Description.—Triads capture Shanghae.—Imperialist Aggressions.—Jesuits' Interference.—The French attack the Triads.—Shanghae Evacuated.—British Interference.—Its Consequences



Home.—Its Desolation.—Intelligence of Marie.—Consequent Proceedings.—Preparations for Pursuit.—River Tracking.—In Pursuit.—The Lorcha Sighted.—Stratagems.—Alongside the Lorcha.—On Board the Lorcha.—Critical Position.—A Friend in Need.—Failure.—Lorcha again Reconnoitred.—Increased Difficulties.—Another Attempt.—Alongside the Lorcha again.—Marie discovered.—Marie rescued.—Safe on Board.—Marie's Explanation.—The Lorcha in Pursuit.—She gains on us.—The Lorcha opens Fire.—Safe among the Ti-pings


Ti-ping Operations.—Chinese Apathy.—The Ti-ping Difficulty.—Popular Feeling.—Opposed to the Ti-pings.—England's Policy.—Her Motives.—Dr. Bridgman describes Ti-pingdom.—His Description of the Ti-pings.—X. Y. Z.—Ti-pingdom in 1857.—Its Internal Economy.—Lord Elgin at Nankin.—Gallant Exploit.—Its Interpretation.—Hung-jin arrives at Nankin.—Hung-jin's Adventures.—Mr. Hamberg's Narrative.—Hung-jin's Pamphlet.—Hung-jin Prime Minister.—Nankin Invested.—Resumption of Hostilities.—"Indemnity" demanded.—Conditions of Peace.—Cause of Wars with China.—England's Foreign Policy.—The Opium Wars


The Sz-wang's Domestic Life.—Approach to Nankin.—Interior of Nankin.—A Ti-ping Banquet.—Maou-lin, the Chung-wang's Son.—The Chung-wang's Palace.—The Chung-wang's Levee.—Ti-ping Chiefs.—Chung-wang's Appearance.—Council of War.—The Review.—Cum-ho.—The March.—The Ti-ping Army.—Its Organization.—Selection of Officers.—Equipment of the Army.—Its Formation.—The Enemy in View.—Their Retreat.—Preparations for Attack.—A Night Attack.—A Stockade carried.—Charge of Manchoo Cavalry.—The Repulse.—The Enemy retreat.—The Pursuit.—Complete Rout of the Manchoos.—Maou-lin's Bravery.—Return to Nankin



Prospects of the Ti-pings in 1860.—Their Operations.—Relief of Nankin.—Rout of the Imperialists.—Ti-ping Successes.—British Interference.—Ti-pings advance on Shanghae.—The Chung-wang's Address.—Mr. Bruce's Notification.—Mr. Bruce's Despatch.—The Future of China.—The Chung-wang's Despatch.—Mr. Bruce's Inconsistency.—Missionary "Holmes."—His Statement.—His Uncourteous Behaviour.—His Inconsistencies.—Suppressed Missionary Reports.—Rev. Griffith Johns' Report.—Newspaper Extracts.—The Shanghae Massacre of Ti-pings.—Newspaper Extracts.—The Author's Reflections thereon


Ti-ping Polygamy.—Ti-ping Women.—Their Improved Position.—Abolition of Slavery by the Ti-pings.—Its Prevalence in China.—Moral Revolution effected by Ti-pings.—Their Religious Works.—Their Conduct Justified.—Jesuit Missionaries.—Consul Harvey's Despatch.—Apathy of Missionaries.—Its Consequences.—Chinese Antipathy to Christianity.—Christianity of the Ti-pings.—Their Forms of Worship.—Ti-ping Marriages.—Religious Observances.—The Ti-ping Sabbath.—Its Observance.—Their Ecclesiastical System.—Forms of Worship.—The Mo-wang.—Ti-ping Churches


Ti-pingdom in 1861.—Its Armies.—The Foreign Policy of England.—Its Consequences.—Admiral Hope's Expedition.—Comments thereon.—Its Results.—Lord Elgin's Three Points.—Official Communications.—Secret Orders.—Evidence of such.—Their Object.—Official Communications.—Mr. Parkes' Despatch analyzed.—Newspaper Extracts.—Official Papers.—Mr. Parkes' Measures.—His Arrogant Behaviour.—Result of the Yang-tze Expedition.—Ngan-king Invested.—Modus Operandi.—The Ying-wang's Plans.—His Interview with Mr. Parkes.—Sacrifices his Interests.—Sketch of the Ying-wang.—Hung-jin's Adventures.—The Chung-wang's Operations.—The Results.—Siege of Hang-chow.—Its Capture.—Manchoo Cruelties.—Position of the Ti-pings in 1861



Life in Nankin.—Ti-ping Character.—Its Friendly Nature.—Religious Observances.—Cum-ho.—Curious Adventure.—A Catastrophe.—Love-making.—Difficulties.—Trip to Shanghae.—Reflections.—On the Yang-tze River.—Life on the River.—An Adventure.—The Deserted Lorcha.—The Murdered Crew.—"Mellen's" Fate.—Arrival at Shanghae.—Return Voyage.—Sin-ya-meu.—A "Squeeze Station."—The "Love-chase."—Fraternizing.—Wife-purchasing.—The Grand Canal.—China under Manchoo Rule.—Its Population.—The Manchoo Government


Ti-ping Revolution in 1861.—Official Correspondence.—Its Review.—Professions of Neutrality.—How carried out.—Captain Dew's Interpretation.—Ti-ping Remonstrance.—Cause of British Hostility.—Mr. Bruce's Assertions.—Mr. Bruce's Second Despatch.—Mr. Bruce's Difficulty.—His Inconsistency.—Despatch No. 3.—Inconsistent Statements.—Ti-pings approach Ningpo.—Interview with Ti-ping Chiefs.—Mr. Hewlett's Interview with "Fang."—General Hwang's Despatch.—General "Fang's" Despatch.—Capture of Ningpo.—British Intervention.—Ti-ping Moderation.—Open Hostilities commenced.—Commander Bingham's Despatch.—Ti-ping Reply.—Commander Bingham's Rejoinder





Chinese CommissionFrontispiece.
Hong-kong Boat Girlsto face page6
Marie (portrait)"28
Ti-ping Army going into Action"68
Silver Island"108
Escape from the Lorcha"203
The Chung-wang's Council of War"243
Defeat of the Tartar Cavalry at the Battle of Hu-kau           "261
Sale of a Chinese Girl, as witnessed by the Author, at
    Etching, on the river Yang-tse-kiang"304
Teaching the Lord's Prayer in a middle-class Ti-ping
Map, showing the position of the Ti-pings at the close
    of the year 1861"359
A Ti-ping Church"360
A Mast-head view of Nankin from the river, as it
    appeared on the morning of departure"372
Sing-song Girlpage30
Chung-wang's Head-dress"73
Ti-ping versus Imperialist"80
Chess Board"123
Chung-wang's Crown"244
Ti-ping Ladies of rank"324
A Manchoo Squeeze Station"384





Arrival in Victoria.—The Happy Valley.—Hong-Kong.—Tanka Boat Girls.—Chinese Boatmen: their evil propensities.—Captain Mellen's Adventure.—Canton Girls.—Amusements in China.—Cafés Chantant.—The Exhibition.—Temple of Lanterns.—Chinese Character.—Piracy in China.—The "North Star."—Fate of the Crew.—Tartar Cruelty.—Adventure with Pirates.—Sporting.—Duck-shooting.—Chinese Hospitality.—Mandarin Barbarity.—Whampoa.—Marie the Portuguese.—Marie's History: her Escape.—Description of Marie: her Excitability: her Jealousy.

In the summer of 1859, I arrived before the town of Victoria, on board the good ship Emeu, and cast anchor in the blue waters of its shaded harbour. Victoria is the only town in the island of Hong-Kong, and, viewed from the bay, presents a very imposing appearance, in many respects resembling Gibraltar.

Like the city of the "Sentinel of the Straits," it is built from the very edge of the sea to some considerable distance up the mountains which constitute the principal portion of the island, and is almost entirely hemmed in by towering masses of time-worn granite, that constitute a grand and effective background to its princely buildings. Many of these noble edifices—the dwellings of European merchants and officials, and the British Government works—in the higher parts of the town are well ornamented by gardens; which, with several verdant little[2] valleys in the hollows of the mountains, some low hills covered with a feathery semi-tropical foliage—Green Island, with its dense bushes on one hand, and Jardine's, crowned with a noble mansion of that firm, on the other—together with the multitude of junks and European shipping at anchor, and those under weigh crossing and enlivening the scene, afford a charming and picturesque tone to what would otherwise be the unrelieved massiveness and sterility of the place.

There is one particularly beautiful spot in the "Island of Sweet Waters," as it is poetically termed by the Chinese, that well repays the trouble of a visit. It is situated some five or six miles from the town, and is named Happy Valley. It is surrounded with luxuriant Asiatic foliage, from the midst of which occasional farm-houses peep out. A fine grassy level forms the centre of the valley, around which is constructed the Hong-Kong racecourse, and this is bounded by a broad carriage-road completely encircling the whole plain; while on the edges of the distant rising ground the burial-place of those Europeans who never return to their home rears above the surrounding evergreens its monumental sculpture.

Happy Valley is surrounded by mountains whose sloping sides are thickly clothed with vegetation; the trees, although of a stunted species, are thickly interlaced with undergrowth and an innumerable variety of evergreen bushes, through which murmur many mountain springs, that become in the rainy months swollen into torrents. Although a favourite resort of European residents, I hardly consider Happy Valley a good sanatorium; for, when visiting it at early sunrise, I invariably found thick, damp vapours shrouding it, slow to be dispelled by the morning sun, and strongly significant of fever, and "Hong-Kong fever" in particular.

The colony of Hong-Kong represents most perfectly the success of British enterprise in commercial matters; and, what is far more important, points to the true mode[3] by which Christian and civilized nations may communicate with the Pagan and semi-civilized ones of Asia.

The less said about the cession of the island to England the better; for, although in the year 1841 the Imperial Commissioner, Keshen, coerced by the presence of British troops, agreed to cede it, his Government repudiated this unauthorized agreement, and yet the British made that a casus belli, and afterwards compelled them to sanction and endorse the concession. Many people will, doubtless, say that England was compelled to make war upon the Chinese at that time, in order to defend her subjects and protect their trade and property; but it does not appear that either trade or property had ever been threatened, except through the nefarious opium traffic. The Chinese Government took the best measures to prevent the introduction of this injurious drug into their empire, but the British Government laid themselves open to the charge of wishing to protect the smugglers and forward the lawless trade.

The colony of Hong-Kong is in many respects to be admired, and it is to be regretted that the ministers of the present day do not appreciate its many advantages. In former days England possessed more statesmen and fewer politicians than now. Of all the blunders which have recently marked her foreign policy, the late intervention in China is the worst; there we find neither the courage nor intellect which, in former ages, by talent, energy, and success redeemed even acts of aggression; neither do we perceive any desire to forego that system of unjustifiable interference which is so much calculated to render this great nation contemptible.

Hong-Kong is a free port, and in that lies the secret of how to establish relations with the Chinese, Japanese, or any other exclusive Asiatic people. As the late Mr. Cobden very correctly stated, during the debate upon China in the House of Commons (May 30, 1864), "We have only to establish free ports on the coast of China,[4] withdraw ourselves altogether from political contact with the people, and we shall have a trade with them quite as much, if not more, than if we penetrate into the country and assist in destroying their civilization in a vain attempt to plant our own, for which they are not yet fitted." There is no necessity whatever to force trade, and when such policy is persisted in, the results are always calamitous. To apply the idea personally: How would any of us like a stranger (foreign to us in every respect) to come and thrust himself into our house, determined to compel us to trade with him, openly professing his intentions to alter our religion, ancient institutions, &c., with his goods in one hand (principally a poisonous drug) and a sword in the other? But let the stranger establish himself close to our house, without aggression or loud-mouthed professions of interference with our domestic and public policy, and then, whenever we become aware of the benefit to be derived from him, is it not certain that we should flock to him willingly, and take him amongst us as a friend?

I caught the first glimpse of real Chinese life directly the anchor fell from the Emeu's starboard cathead; for although at Singapore and Penang there are many "Celestials," yet their peculiar manners and customs do not forcibly obtrude themselves upon the notice of a "bird of passage." They seem, at both places, to be leading a subdued, unnatural, very un-Celestial sort of existence; and, besides, very few Celestial ladies are to be seen about. The Emeu was scarcely moored when I was startled by the appearance of those amphibious creatures, the Chinese boat and laundry women. The Tanka (boat) girls lead an almost entirely aquatic life, and are actually born, live, and die, on board their floating homes. Their time seems fully occupied in rowing, or sculling with a large oar over the stern of the boat; and this incessant labour makes them strong and well-figured. Until married, it cannot be said they are either paragons[5] of virtue or modesty; but when married, or betrothed—that is to say, bought by a long-tailed Benedict—they, at all events, seem far less amiable towards the exiled "Fan-Kwei" (foreign devil), as, in common with most Chinese, they politely designate all foreigners.

The personal charms of these first seen of the Chinese fair sex are by no means so contemptible as Europeans generally imagine. Their long and intensely black hair, brilliant and merry though oblique black eyes, light-yellowish brown and often beautifully clear complexion, and lithe robust figures, constitute a charming and singular variety of feminine attraction. They are a gay thoughtless set these boat-girls; unfortunately, to mar what would otherwise often be a very handsome face, many of them have the flattish nose typical of South China, though the high and more European formed one is by no means uncommon. Through constant exposure to the sun, they are mostly tanned to a regular olivaster gipsy hue, and wicked little gipsies they often are, especially when making a young greenhorn, fresh from his mamma in England, pay six times the proper fare.

The Tanka girls are free in all things unconnected with their work; but, as many are purchased by aged individuals, owners of boats, they are slaves in so far as their occupation is concerned. Very different is it with their unfortunate sisters, the slaves of the washerwomen, who are bought when quite young, and trained to an evil life.

It is a usual thing to see, the moment a ship has anchored, several old laundry hags, each with an attendant retinue of fascinating nymphs, "taking charge" and establishing themselves in possession of all quarters of the vessel, from the skipper's cabin to the black cook's galley. Of course, these little witches make sad havoc of the sailors' hearts, and generally of their clothes.

It is a singular fact, but no less singular than true, that invariably upon pay-day the number and affection of these pretty damsels seem to increase and multiply in a [6] surprising manner; and by the very perceptible metallic chinking when they take their departure by the gangway, it would appear that their sweetness of disposition had not been exerted unsuccessfully.

The boat and laundry women are peculiar to the South of China, being only met with at Macao, Canton, Whampoa, and Hong-Kong. They seem to have become a distinct part of the population of China since the arrival of Europeans to its shores, as employment by the latter affords their principal means of livelihood. Throughout the year they constantly amuse themselves in the water, swimming and disporting themselves about the above-mentioned harbours, like so many young porpoises in a gale of wind.

Besides the Tanka boats, there are others at Hong-Kong manned by Chinamen; but until quite lately, and until the establishment of a water-police, they formed a very dangerous mode of travelling at night, the crews having frequently robbed and murdered their passengers.

A friend of mine was once very nearly killed by a boat's crew when being taken to his vessel by them; and although, as it will appear, upon that occasion he managed to escape, he was afterwards brutally murdered by the Chinese. But that terrible affair I will relate at its proper place; for I found his mangled corpse, together with those of his wife and child, some years afterwards, in another part of China.

London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith. HONG-KONG BOAT GIRLS.
London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith.

My friend Mellen was captain of a vessel belonging to himself, and, just after the last Canton war, was at anchor in Hong-Kong harbour. Returning on board late one night, the boatmen—seven in number, six pulling and one in the stern-sheets steering—soon after leaving the shore, instead of steering directly towards his ship, seemed to be keeping away from her. He, of course, endeavoured to make them steer in the right direction; but with that half-complying, half-defying shuffling of [7] your true Chinaman, they managed to persist on the wrong course until reaching some little distance outside all the shipping. At this moment, and while still a considerable way from his own vessel, which happened to be lying outside all the others in port, he was suddenly struck with some heavy weapon by the man behind him, who was steering. Through a forward movement which he made, the blow luckily missed his head and struck him on the shoulder. Mellen very fortunately had a small revolver with him, and at the moment when the rest of the boatmen started from their seats and rushed to attack him, he turned and shot his first assailant, had just time to face them, firing again and wounding the foremost, when they were upon him, armed with formidable knives and the heavy thole pins used to fasten the oars. In an instant he received several wounds, though providentially his assailants were too much in each other's way to use their murderous weapons effectively; but his revolver being self-acting, without a pause, he was enabled to shoot dead another, and severely wound a fourth. At this, seeing four of their number hors de combat almost within five seconds, two of the remaining robbers lost heart, and jumped overboard to swim for it; the last, a large powerful fellow, closed with Mellen in a fierce and deadly struggle. My friend's revolver was empty; so, abandoning the weapon that had already rendered such good service, he grappled with his adversary, endeavouring to wrest away the knife with which he was armed.

In the meanwhile, the reports of the pistol and the noise of the struggle had reached the wakeful ears of my friend's wife, who was by good chance on deck, waiting and watching for her husband's return. Piercing the darkness of the night with eager eyes, she faintly discerned a boat in the distance, outside all the other ships, and naturally concluded it must be bound for their vessel. In agony for her husband's safety, she aroused[8] the crew, seized a pistol from the cabin, and set off in the gig to overhaul the boat which had attracted her attention. The gig's crew pulling fast, arrived at the scene of conflict not an instant too soon; for Mellen being in weak health, was succumbing to the superior strength of his antagonist, who, with one hand grasping him by the throat, was making fierce efforts to release the other, and plunge the dagger it held into my friend's breast.

Just at this critical moment, Mrs. Mellen and her boat's crew arrived alongside, and, seeing all the danger, she presented the pistol at the Chinaman and fired; the ball passed directly through his head and laid him lifeless at her husband's feet. This gallant act was but one of many instances in which that courageous woman had saved her husband's life, and in defending which she eventually lost her own—a fruitless though noble sacrifice.

After landing and reporting myself at head-quarters, I finished my first day in China by seeing as much of Celestial life as my uninitiated state permitted. A sedan chair, the usual and aristocratic style of travelling in China, was hired, which for upwards of three hours transported me all over the town. The Chinese—their country—in fact, all about them—will afford an observant stranger an inexhaustible fund of study and amusement; yet, as a rule, Europeans are singularly neglectful of the country and most interesting traits of the peculiar people they sojourn amongst. They go to China with the sole idea of making a fortune, and too often in its blind pursuit all other principle is sacrificed. Their whole existence seems a feverish dream to obtain dollars enough to return home wealthy; and very seldom, if ever, are any found sufficiently disinterested or philanthropic to study the welfare and future of the immense Chinese empire.

At first, as foreigners generally are, I was considerably disgusted by the unnatural appearance of the men my lot[9] was cast with, consequent upon the shaved head and monkey appendage. This frightful custom in no slight degree adds to the naturally cruel expression of their oblique eyes and altogether peculiar features; in fact, hair is absolutely required to tone down the harsh and irregular contour of their faces.

While wandering through the town, I was much struck by the appearance of many Chinese girls wearing European shoes on naturally formed feet, and head-dresses of brilliant Manchester pattern, in the form of handkerchiefs, folded diagonally and once knotted under the chin, the ends projecting on either side by a particular and almost mathematical adjustment. I soon became convinced that the European proclivities of the Canton girls went much further than this. These young ladies, before marriage or obtaining a "massa," wear their front hair cut short and hanging over the forehead, which gives them an expression between that of a London street-preacher and a person just dragged through a haystack; their back hair is gathered together and plaited into a long tail, which, when loose, strangely resembles the tail of a black Shetland pony. To the best of my knowledge, the Chinese women never cut their hair, and their system might be beneficially imitated by foreigners, for their tresses are certainly much longer and more luxuriant than those of the women of Europe.

I arrived during the Chinese New Year holidays, which, throughout China, are celebrated with extensive merry-making. At Hong-Kong the new year is welcomed with much festivity, and during many days the cracking of fire-crackers, the roar of petards, and the clanging of gongs is incessant; which, being continued all night, renders sleep difficult.

I visited numberless sing-songs, or theatres, in all of which I found the most persevering of instrumental and vocal performers. Some exclusively confined themselves to musical (Chinese) entertainment, while others were[10] devotees of the Chinese Thespis, and, of the two, I think the latter preferable; for, although their principal hits consist of a tremendous crash of gongs, drums, horns, &c. (which invariably places the audience in ecstasies of delight), there is not so much of the shrieking falsetto of the singers, or the scraping of that excruciating tympanum-piercing instrument of torture—the Chinese fiddle. The nation has certainly obtained its knowledge of musical concord from the vicinity of Pandemonium, its idea of discord must come from somewhere considerably beyond that place.

Some of the sing-songs combined creature comforts with those more intellectual; but these were permanent institutions, and not simply for the occasion. These establishments are open free of charge, but care is taken to have a select audience. The female performers considerably outnumber the male, and have the cramped small feet. After shrieking themselves hoarse, in a higher pitch of voice than I ever heard before, they approach the visitors to receive largess. Now, their manner of doing this I denounce as the most revolting specimen of self-distortion and pedestrianism imaginable. I can think of no juster simile than a frog trying to walk upright with half its hind legs amputated and stilts fastened to the stumps. Why the deformed feet should ever have been termed "small" I am at a loss to imagine, all that I have seen being quite the reverse. The bottom of the foot, it is true, is bandaged, and compressed into a hoof-like smallness, with the toes all forced into the sole, and on this the shoe is fitted; but look at the ankle, instep, and heel, and you will see nothing but an immense shapeless mass, closely resembling the foot of an elephant.

Whenever the Celestial vocalists have hobbled up to you and taken a seat,—perhaps on your knees if they should happen to take a fancy to you,—the polite thing is to order supper for the company ad libitum, and by this means the proprietors and musical talent of the establishment[11] recompense themselves; for although there is no entrance-charge, by George! they do make you pay for supper.

It is a pity some of the members of teetotalism do not undertake a proselytizing expedition to China, for in these intellectual entertainments of the people they would find a fair field for their labour. The etiquette of the sing-song is that a man must never refuse the wine-cup from the hand of one of the attendant sirens, and I am quite sure the sirens use the strongest persuasion and their most fascinating arts to ply it. It sometimes unfortunately happens that a victimized Chinaman becomes unduly elated, and attempts to steal a kiss; and when this happens, as the ladies are thickly befloured and daubed with paint, the poor fellow quickly assumes a floury appearance, while the lady's countenance becomes variegated with irregular lines of commingled colour.

The Chinese have another polite mode of making beasts of themselves, consisting of a sort of forfeit game, in which one holds up his fingers and the other, before seeing them, quickly guesses the number held up, the loser's penalty being to swallow a cupful of wine or samshoo, and then, to show his superior breeding and capacity, to hold it aloft, bottom up, after each draught.

The professional ladies are always open to an engagement, and are usually invited to attend evening parties, to enliven the guests by their melody and flirtation. Upon these occasions each siren carries a fan, upon which is inscribed her list of songs, and this is handed round the company to select from. The wives and daughters of the host are never present at these soirées musicales, for they, poor creatures, being only upon a par with the goods and chattels, are considered unworthy to mix with their lords in public. In all affairs but the most private domestic ones they are entirely ignored, and it would be the greatest breach of good manners for one Chinaman to ask another after his wife's health, and[12] would be vulgar to talk of female relatives at all. Of course, where woman occupies such an inferior position, her rights are frequently usurped; and it is no uncommon thing for one of the singing ladies to monopolize a man with several wives.

While at Hong-Kong I had the satisfaction of visiting a grand New Year exhibition that only takes place once every ten years. It consisted of an immense building of bamboo and matting, after the general style of Chinese theatres. The people excel in this style of building, and will finish one of these temporary structures in a few days, and without using a single nail in the work. The walls and roof are simply bamboo, lashed together with rope, then thatched with rushes, and covered with matting; the whole completely watertight, and strong enough to resist the wind and weather. That which I visited was designated the Temple of some long-named Chinese divinity, and was of vast extent, covering several acres of land. The interior contained a little of every production of China, a fair sprinkling of European articles, and an endless variety of shows and amusements. Some parts were devoted to stalls of raw produce, while others contained every kind of manufactured article. One of the most attractive scenes for the Chinamen was a show of models of a great variety of wild animals, comprising almost everything, from a mouse to a camelopard. Although this dummy menagerie gave the greatest satisfaction and elicited numberless "Hi-ya's!" from the astonished Celestials, I am pretty certain that many of the supposed representations could never have found an original, and I am quite sure that had a tiger seen the tremendous monster intended for himself, it would have certainly frightened him. Theatres, sing-songs, lecturers, quack-doctors, mountebanks, tumblers, jugglers, fortune-tellers, all were to be enjoyed for the sum of two dollars paid at the door.

The Temple was said to contain 1,000,000 lanterns,[13] and was altogether remarkably well got up. I met the Chinese jugglers for the first time at this place, and I must say they are remarkably dexterous. One of the best tricks I saw them execute is this—the performer, after showing the audience that he has nothing concealed about him and going through a series of gymnastics to convince them, will suddenly stop, stoop down, and from under his ordinary Chinese robe produce an immense bowl filled to the brim with water; so full, indeed, that the slightest movement would spill some, yet the trick is executed without a drop falling to the ground.

While lounging through the "palace of 1,000,000 lanterns," I found the first opportunity to study that absurd jargon, "pidgeon English." I was watching one of the most expert jugglers, when a fine, portly, evidently well-to-do Chinaman came up, and addressed me with—

"Hi-ya! this piecee man belong numbah one. Can do so fashon? ga la!"

More by good luck than comprehension, I happened to hit upon his meaning that the man was very clever, and his inquiry as to whether I approved of the trick. After a few more general and equally ambiguous remarks, in which some of my interlocutor's friends joined and made a worse confusion, he thought we had had enough of the wizard, and invited me to partake of some Chinese good cheer in these words:—

"S'pose you no wantche look see, mi wantche you come along mi catchee samshoo."

Having nothing better to do, and thinking it a good opportunity to ascertain a little of Chinese character, I accepted his proposal, and we adjourned to a restaurant department close by, where I spent a short time very pleasantly—telling the Chinamen about railways, balloons, submarine telegraph, &c., and receiving in return copious information upon pidgeon (business) and the Chinese politics of Hong-Kong. My friends were loud[14] and unanimous in praise of the colony, and declared it, and all pertaining to it, "numbah one;" while they quite as heartily expressed their dissatisfaction with the state of their country and its Manchoo Government. At last, I was obliged to leave them in a hurry, having a confounded middle watch to keep, and we parted with mutual protestations of good will, amidst which might have been prominently distinguished, "Engleman numbah one," "Chinaman numbah one," "Chin-chin, ga la!" &c.

Hong-Kong is highly appreciated by the Chinese, who, to escape from the tyranny and rapacity of their Manchoo rulers, stifle their national pride, and flock to it in great numbers. Those who have preferred British jurisdiction to the unendurable state of their own country are mostly respectable men; but, of course, there is another and a disreputable party. Hong-Kong, besides affording shelter and advantages to the honest and worthy, has been quite as useful to bad characters and criminals from the mainland; and as these latter have not been slow to avail themselves of its protection, the result is that gangs of robbers and pirates have become located amongst the large native population. Until quite lately, a walk at evening, outside the precincts of the town, was likely to terminate unpleasantly, as these fly-by-night gentlemen were often hanging about with an eye to business. Many Europeans have returned from a late walk considerably edified upon this point; some have never returned, for the Chinese marauders are particularly unscrupulous. A couple of philanthropists one night thought to relieve me of the burden of my purse while I was taking a moonlight stroll barely beyond the houses of Victoria; but the arguments of a Penang lawyer proved so effectual—thanks to Sergeant-Major Winterbottom and its own toughness—that they were glad to forego their unwelcome attentions and decamp, leaving a memento of the meeting in the shape of an ugly-looking rusty knife.

This sort of thing, however, is becoming less frequent,[15] in consequence of the increased police force; but there is another and a much greater evil, almost as bad as ever—that is, piracy. The whole coast, for several hundred miles north and south, is infested with pirates, and the peculiar formation of the land about Hong-Kong, (with its many bays, creeks, inlets, and rivers of every description,) affords them a rendezvous with the most perfect means of concealment. Many piratical craft carry on their depredations quite within sight of the colony; some vessels have even been plundered, and their crews massacred, upon its waters, with a large fleet of British gunboats lying uselessly almost within gunshot-range. Some of the wealthiest Chinese in Hong-Kong have been discovered to be in connection with the pirates, and even Europeans have been implicated.

About five years ago a large English brig was captured, and many of her crew murdered, in full sight of the signal-station at Victoria Peak. This case happened to come under my own observation.

The North Star sailed from Hong-Kong early one morning, bound for Japan, in ballast, but carrying some 12,000 dollars in specie. Her crew consisted of seventeen persons all told, including two passengers, to whom the treasure belonged. The wind being very light, the vessel made but little progress, and towards evening became nearly becalmed about seven miles from the anchorage. About this time the Chinese pilot left, and was observed to communicate with a native junk which had followed in the wake of the brig all day, unfortunately without exciting the apprehension of those on board.

Soon after the pilot's departure, the Chinese steward brought the captain his revolver, and asked him if he wished it to be cleaned; unsuspectingly he discharged all the barrels and returned it to the steward. At this moment the junk—which had gradually been edging down, the light airs sensibly affecting her broad lateen sails, though the brig was almost stationary—having[16] approached within fifty yards, suddenly became alive with men, although only two or three had previously been visible. Putting out large sweeps they commenced pulling rapidly towards the brig.

The captain of the North Star perceived the danger too late, and rushed to the cabin for a musket (four of which comprised the whole armament), calling upon the crew to arm themselves as best they could, and get the watch below on deck. The pirates crashed alongside, and instantly cast a shower of stink-pots on the deck of their prey, killing the man at the wheel, and severely burning two others of the crew. Fore and aft the pirates boarded in overwhelming numbers. The captain ran on deck with a musket, and with him, similarly armed, the two passengers and the second mate. At the same time the mate, in the fore part of the vessel, had snatched up a deck handspike, the carpenter an axe, and the rest of the crew whatever they could lay their hands on. The captain and his supporters levelled their pieces, and with care and coolness pulled the trigger, the caps snapped—but that was all. The steward, after so cunningly inducing the captain to empty his revolver, had filled the nipples of each musket; he was, of course, the accomplice of the pirates, and jumped on board their junk directly she touched the sides of the vessel he had betrayed.

In a moment the captain, second mate, and one of the passengers were cut down, shockingly wounded by the swords and spears with which the pirates were armed, while the remaining passenger jumped overboard. Meanwhile, overpowered by numbers, and without arms to defend themselves, the remainder of the crew, with the exception of two or three who escaped, had been massacred. The mate, after desperately defending himself with his heavy handspike, and breaking the skulls of several assailants, received a fearful gash across the face, destroying both eyes. The carpenter buried his axe in the brain of one pirate, but, before he could recover[17] himself, was cut down by another. In a similar way all the crew, except two men and a boy, were stretched dead or dying on the deck. The three who escaped and afterwards gave evidence, saved themselves by climbing up the forestay and hiding in the top. They were part of the watch below, and directly they emerged from the hatchway saw one of their shipmates lying half under the fore trysail (the halyards of which had been let go by the pirates while seeking ropes to make their junk fast alongside) weltering in his blood; this, and the horrid noise of the slaughter taking place abaft, warned them to seek safety aloft, while the trysail screened them from observation.

After getting the treasure on deck, and placing it on board their junk, the pirates plundered the North Star of everything of value, and then left her, sweeping themselves rapidly to seaward. When the junk was a long way off, the three survivors descended from their place of concealment, did all they could to alleviate the sufferings of the few yet alive on deck, and steered in for the harbour with a light breeze that had sprung up. After midnight the wind fell again; and, lowering a small boat, two of the three got into her, and pulled for the shipping. They reached my ship first; and, sending them on to the next vessel (H.M.S. Impérieuse) for a surgeon, we manned a cutter, and set off for the North Star. We soon reached the unfortunate bark, and then gazed upon a fearful scene of butchery. The mate and three of the crew were still living, but appeared too horribly mangled for any chance of recovery; the rest were all dead, some being literally hacked to pieces. The boats from the Impérieuse soon arrived, and we took the brig in tow. The surgeon pronounced every case but one hopeless. Out of the sixteen Europeans on board at starting, only five escaped; the four sailors, and the passenger who jumped overboard. The escape of the latter was something marvellous; while in the water, the pirates threw three bamboo spears at[18] him, which did not strike him, but even furnished a means of support. They then paid no further attention to him; so, swimming close under the stern of the brig, he remained there perfectly hidden for some time. Being a capital swimmer, he at length determined to push off and attempt to reach the shore, although fully seven or eight miles distant. He did so; and, after being in the water for nine hours, reached land, and was carried to Hong-Kong by fishermen.

During some months I made voyages on the north-east coast of China, from Hong-Kong to Swatow, Amoy, Foo-chow, and Shanghae. I mixed as much as possible with the natives at each place, and found all alike heartily disgusted with their present rulers. Much of the cruelty and duplicity generally attributed to the natural character of the Chinese is the consequence of the evil government of the Manchoo dynasty.

From infancy the people have become habituated to scenes of blood and torture, similar to those inflicted upon their ancestors during the last two centuries by the Tartar conquerors. Made callous and degraded by the ceaseless persecution of their authorities; unnaturally branded with the shaven-headed badge of slavery; their spirit broken and debased by a system of grinding tyranny; their lives and property at the mercy of the most merciless officials in existence, and of judges solely influenced by bribery; "cut into a thousand pieces," according to law, or otherwise cruelly tortured to death for any rebellion against their foreign Emperor's unrighteous sway; frequently decapitated upon bare suspicion, but always if related to a rebel—how can it be a matter of surprise if the Chinese seem imbued with cunning and deceit, the usual resource of the weak and sorely oppressed?

Since the colony of Hong-Kong was founded, the natives, through intercourse with foreigners, have become acquainted with the superior laws, governments, &c., of those they have been taught to consider "outer barbarians."[19] This has tended to make them more dissatisfied with their own national constitution; can we, then, feel astonished at the exclusive policy of the Manchoo government? Why, seclusion is their salvation; too surely they know that their power consists in the weakness, ignorance, superstition, and degradation of their Chinese slaves. The great Ti-ping revolution proves their fears are well founded, from the fact of its originating entirely from the contact of Christian civilization with China.

As for fishermen, pirates, and wreckers, the whole coast of China is as thick with them as the fabulous Straits of Baffleman is with monkeys—where they say a ship's yards cannot be squared on account of them. Upon one occasion, while anchored in foggy weather off the island of Namoa, close to Swatow, I had a capital opportunity of noticing the remarkable keenness with which those light-fingered gentry are ever on the alert for plunder. Early in the morning, before daylight, while in charge of the deck, I suddenly heard a distant and wide-spread splashing of the water. At first I naturally supposed it to be a shoal of porpoises; but as the noise became more distinct, I fancied I could distinguish the regular sound of oars. Directly I became convinced of this, I made the gunner load a couple of guns, and turned all hands out. In a few minutes the fog cleared a little with the dawn of day, and I was able to discern an innumerable fleet of boats pulling and sailing rapidly towards the ship. I had scarcely discovered them when they suddenly ceased rowing, and rested on their oars, having, I fancy, perceived the smoke issuing from our funnel. Seeing their hesitation, we gave them a blank cartridge, and this, with the noise of our men at the capstan weighing anchor, frightened them off; for they immediately "topped their booms," and soon disappeared in the surrounding mist.

In the neighbourhood of Swatow the people are much excited against their government, and at one place—within[20] twenty miles of that city—they have been in open rebellion for many years. The Viceroy of the province having several times had his troops defeated by them, found it much easier to make an arrangement by which they were to govern themselves, while nominally under the Manchoo régime; therefore, at the present day, the Goo-swah men, who inhabit a mountainous part of the sea-coast, live, to a certain extent, independent of the Manchoo rule.

While thinking of the north-east coast, I must not forget the capital shooting I have had at Foo-chow. Wild water-fowl are found at this port in vast quantity, in fact, in numbers such as I have never seen equalled in any part of Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, that I have visited. The whole river and surrounding country literally swarm with an infinite variety of wild swan, geese, duck, curlew, and water-fowl of every description. During six months of the year, sometimes more, this game is found in plenty, generally appearing about the commencement of October, and departing by the end of March. The best shooting-ground about Foo-chow was the false mouth of the river and the adjacent country. This became my favourite haunt, and comprised a broad sheet of shallow water full of mud and sand-banks; low land on each side, marshy and intersected by creeks and canals, with many bamboo or reed swamps, and here and there a few hills. I generally started from the ship, at the anchorage, about midnight, in a covered native boat, with two or three Chinamen to work her, my Chinese boy, and a Malay, as body-guard and general assistant in the work of slaughter upon the feathery tribe. Reaching my destination generally before daylight, I had ample time to make all preparations, amidst the quacking of ducks and the constant rushing sound of innumerable wings. At the earliest peep of dawn, or a little before, I got ashore upon the sand-bank to which the boat might be fastened, and almost always[21] found myself within shot of immense flocks of wild fowl.

Sometimes I had the misfortune to land upon a bank of treacherous consistency, and upon such occasions became stuck fast in the mud; and Chinese mud is of a wonderful stickiness and tenacity, as those who have had experience of it can well testify. There is often considerable danger in such a fix, for every effort to extricate oneself simply tends to make a deeper immersion. The only sure plan is to use a plank on the surface of the mud; so that I always carried several with me for emergencies of such a muddy nature. For the first shot I usually had a long musket, loaded with grape cartridge, and a wire one; the effect of this amongst a closely packed flock, often within sixty yards, may be easily imagined. I frequently bagged five or six brace of duck, or several geese, as a commencement. The swans and geese were generally off, after the first alarm; but I often had several shots, with the double-barrel which my Malay carried after me, amongst the ducks or teal. As for snipe and curlew, I have many a time seated myself in the centre of a sand-bank, and, with the Malay loading my guns as fast as he could, kept up an incessant fire upon them in flocks eddying round and round the shoal, but unwilling to leave it, until the rising tide compelled their flight, or my guns exterminated them. After this I would return to the boat for "Chow-chow," and when it was despatched, cross over to the mainland, probably getting a few brace of widgeon on the way. Early morning, or about twilight, I always found the best time for sport; during the day the birds are very wild. I have tried all sorts of dodges to get close. I have dressed as a Chinese field-labourer—umbrella hat, rush waterproof, and everything; but although such a Chinaman can be seen working within thirty yards of the birds, I could never get so close by a long way. The abundance of game about Foo-Chow is almost incredible. I have[22] sometimes shot curlew in the dark, guided by the noise they made, and finding them by the cries of a wounded bird. I have shot wild swans so large, that when a Chinaman carried one with the head over his shoulder, its feet draggled on the ground; and very seldom returned to my ship without a boat literally loaded with spoil.

During shooting excursions and my frequent intercourse with the Chinese country people, I have nearly always found them exhibiting traits of character we give them little credit for; but only when they are completely by themselves, and none of the Manchoo troops, officials, or employés of any description are in the vicinity, have I found them particularly friendly to foreigners—very inquisitive, although not so outwardly, by reason of their great politeness and calm behaviour; hospitable and obliging. To qualify this, yet to render still more interesting the natural disposition of the people, it is easily perceived they have a sort of undefined dread of, and dislike to us, caused by the lying teaching and bitterly hostile reports circulated by the entire body of Manchoo officials concerning the "foreign devils," which, for my part, I have always done my best to expose wherever I have wandered amongst the deeply interesting natives. But few Europeans are aware of the entire misrepresentations the Manchoo Government circulate about foreigners, much less of the monstrous atrocities attributed to them; and I dare say, if propriety allowed me to mention some I have been told by the Chinese, most people would disbelieve them, especially since the British Government has entered into alliance with the Manchoos.

I was eye-witness to a fearful specimen of the so-called "paternal" Government's displeasure at Foo-chow some years since. It appears the Viceroy of Fu-keen issued an edict to prevent the Cantonese ascending the river to trade, for some fault they had committed. Before, however, this edict could have become generally known, three Canton[23] lorchas sailed up the river laden with merchandise. They were fired upon by the batteries about the mouth of the river, yet, regardless of this (for the Cantonese are a brave, obstinate race), they passed up and arrived within a short distance of the European shipping. At this point, about sixty of the Mandarin gunboats (row-galleys), without any warning or communication whatever, opened fire upon and pulled for the lorchas. Apparently, the first two allowed them to board unresistingly; and this no sooner took place than a savage slaughter of their helpless crews commenced. Some were cut down and brutally mutilated upon the decks, their heads being chopped off and their bodies thrown overboard; others jumped into the river, only to be there killed by the soldiers in the gunboats, who followed them wherever they swam, spearing them, and thrusting them under water. The crew of the third lorcha, seeing the terrible fate of their comrades, endeavoured to prevent the government troops from boarding, and made a gallant resistance. Their defence, however, though desperate, was unavailing. The gunboats surrounded them, and poured in showers of grape and canister; the lorcha had but three guns of small calibre to reply with, and soon lost so many men that those remaining could no longer beat the enemy off. At last, being boarded, some of her defenders jumped overboard, and the rest, fighting and disputing inch by inch, were quickly dispatched. Some of the European shipping sent boats to try and rescue the poor wretches from the water, and, fortunately, managed to save a few. Thus, for breaking a proclamation of which, very probably, they were ignorant, these unfortunate men were all massacred, and the ships, with their cargo, confiscated to the Mandarins.

After some voyages upon the coast, my vessel was ordered to Whampoa, to be dry-docked and her bottom overhauled. Before entering the dock, and while lying at anchor on the river, I was one evening surprised to see a[24] san-pan (literally three planks, i.e. a little boat) containing two Chinese girls, and a third, neither Chinese nor European, hanging about the ship; its occupants evidently desirous to communicate something, yet half fearful to venture. The lady of the unknown nationality seemed endeavouring to attract my attention. I was alone on the quarter-deck, with the exception of an old weather-beaten quartermaster. I beckoned her to come alongside, and descended the gangway ladder. As I was going over the side, the old quartermaster came up to me and exclaimed—

"Keep your weather eye lifting, sir; she's a pi-ar Portuguee."

"Well," I replied; "what if she is?"

"Well, d'ye see, sir, them Portugees is awful wild craft. I've got a remembrancer here," touching his ribs; "one of 'em gave me in Rio, just because she thought I was backing and filling with a chum of hers."

"If a Rio girl fell in love with you, and you made her jealous, you old sinner, what has that to do with a Whampoa girl? Besides, we shall have no time for falling in love here."

"Ay! ay! you don't know 'em, sir; the breed's the same all over; and, as for time, why, they'll be in love with you afore you can say 'vast heaving there."

"You're out of your reckoning for once, quartermaster; call Mr. ——, if I am not on board by eight bells;" and with this I disappeared over the side.

Directly I jumped into the boat, it was shoved off, and dropped astern with the tide.

My attention was, of course, directed to the lady designated a "pi-ar Portuguee" by the quartermaster; I at once discovered that she was a Macao Portuguese, very handsome; and, to all appearance, in great affliction. For some time she made no reply to my inquiries as to what was the matter, but commenced sobbing, and crying as if her heart would break. At last she ceased,[25] and related the cause of her trouble to the following effect:—She was the daughter of a rich Macanese, who was principal owner of one of the Whampoa docks, and was also Portuguese consul at that port. Her mother was dead, and her father had determined to compel her to marry a wealthy Chilianian half-caste; in fact, everything was arranged for the marriage to take place in ten days' time. She hated the fellow, in spite of his dollars, which, it appeared, was her father's idol, and was resolved to suffer anything rather than submit. She came off to my ship to try and obtain a passage down to Hong-Kong, where she had friends who would take care of her. Here was the deuce to pay, and no pitch hot, as the sailors say. In a moment, almost, I was to become the champion and protector of this forlorn damsel. However selfishly I tried to reflect, I could not help being sensibly impressed with her extreme beauty and utter wretchedness. The piquante style of her pretty broken English, as she implored me to give her a passage to Hong-Kong and save her; the knowledge of the cruel fate which awaited her—the entire confidence which she was only too willing to repose in me—her unprotected position and passionate, ingenuous, ebullition of feeling—all conspired to interest me deeply in her favour.

The longer I listened the more interested and determined to help her I became. She was very young, and it seemed irresistible to sympathize with and pity her. At last, in the midst of a protestation of assistance on my part, and of fervent thanks on hers, we were interrupted by one of the China girls thrusting her head under the mat cover of the boat, and exclaiming—

"Hi ya! missee! more bettah go shore,—belong shih tim cheong" (ten o'clock).

The poor girl seemed quite alarmed to find it so late, and told the boatwomen to pull ashore as fast as possible.

We soon reached the bank, but my interesting friend[26] would not allow me to land with her, stating she lived close by; however, she promised to meet me at the spot we then occupied, the next evening. The China girls quickly pulled me off to my ship, and then I was alone to think over the singularity and probable issue of the adventure.

Poor Marie! would that I had never met her—that she had accepted the Chilianian, or some prophetic spirit had whispered a warning in time to save her from her sad fate. However, it was ordained otherwise, and all that is left me is her memory. True to her promise, she saw me the following evening; then the next; and so for several consecutive days. It happened that, fortunately for the fulfilment of our appointments, Marie's father never returned from the docks, at the opposite side of the river, till late in the evening. We were thus constantly thrown together, and who can wonder that we insensibly allowed ourselves to become deeply attached?

Upon the ninth day after our first meeting, my ship was undocked, and prepared to sail for Hong-Kong in the morning; the morning, too, that, as Marie told me with tears in her eyes, would usher in her bridal day. Although Marie and I had never till then spoken of love, we both knew that it was mutual, and at this moment of peril and uncertainty we threw off all disguise and expressed our true feelings for each other. She felt no regret at sacrificing all other ties for my sake—I was but too anxious to risk anything to save her. On the evening of this, the last day that was to separate us, Marie entered her cruel father's dwelling for the last time; and, having quickly made some slight preparations, rejoined me in the boat with which I awaited her.

This boat was the same in which I had first seen her, and the poor girls who worked it being slaves of one of the old Whampoa laundresses, I determined to rescue them from their doubtful future, and prevent them making any disclosure as to Marie's escape, by carrying them[27] down to Hong-Kong with her, and there giving them liberty.

I had already made every preparation on board, and had taken the gunner and carpenter into my confidence, as I had decided to stow them away in the sail-room; and to do this rendered it necessary for them to pass the berths of those officers. About midnight, sending the quartermaster of the watch off the deck upon an errand to get him out of the way, I smuggled the girls aboard and secreted them at the back of the sail-room well hidden by spare topsails, &c., piled up before them.

Early in the morning we lighted fires, and soon after daybreak, with steam up, commenced to get under weigh. Just then, as I fully expected, off came Marie's father and the old laundress—the one to look for a daughter who vanished on her bridal morn, the other for her poor slave girls—with warrants from the British consul for the delivery of the three girls if found on board. I was in charge of the deck, and took care to receive the bereaved parties at the gangway. After hearing their complaints, I reported the case to the captain, and received his orders to have the ship searched. This duty I took upon myself, rousing all hands out, and searching every part of the ship except the sail-room, which I took care to allow no one to approach. By the time the unsuccessful search was concluded, the anchor had been weighed, and we immediately commenced to drop down the river.

When we reached Hong-Kong, Marie landed and went to reside with her friends. She had become my betrothed, and seemed truly happy in the thought that nothing now could cause our separation. Little either of us thought at that happy time how ruthlessly all these bright prospects would be altered, and what sadness was yet in store for us. Alas! how little at that happy time either thought how soon the ruthless destroyer would annihilate a bond we had sworn should last for ever.

Marie was very lovely. Rather darker than the[28] generality of Macao women; her complexion was a beautifully clear deep olive; the skin delicately soft, with the rich blood mantling through upon the slightest emotion; her eyes large, jet-black, lustrous, and almond-shaped, as those of the Spanish creoles of South America—eyes which can form a language of their own, so deeply expressive, so ever changeful, and heart-speaking—were exquisitely fringed with long silken lashes and arching brows; her hair, dark as the raven's wing, waved in rich profusion round her finely tapered shoulders; the Grecian nose and delicately formed nostrils spoke of her high caste; while a short full upper lip, so richly coloured, adorned a mouth small but singularly expressive, and studded with teeth of pearly whiteness. This young creature, nurtured in a southern clime, could scarcely number sixteen summers, and yet her petite figure, lithe and graceful as it was, had attained its full development. She was, in truth, an unsophisticated child of nature—ardent, passionate—the very creature of impulse.

In a small secluded dwelling, shaded by evergreen foliage, in one of the prettiest parts of Hong-Kong, every moment I could spare from my ship was devoted to Marie. We were supremely happy. We had no thought or care for the morrow, we were too fully absorbed in the present. The old quartermaster's warning proved his experience, although, with one exception, it was unnecessary in my case, yet the exception was sufficient.

To many of those warm impassioned temperaments of the East love becomes as necessary as life itself. Marie was one of these. Natures like hers could be moulded by love to any form. The house of Marie's relatives was one of two built together; but for this it would have been in total seclusion, the bend of the hills it rested on hiding all other buildings in the distance, and entirely screening it from observation. The next door and only neighbours consisted of two Portuguese sisters and an Englishman, the husband of the eldest.

London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith.
London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith.

The[29] Portuguese being natives of Macao, were slightly acquainted with Marie, and we gradually became intimate with them. The youngest of the sisters was very good-looking, and being of a very merry disposition, we often had great fun. Now, it so happened that Marie's love was so intense, so selfish, and so exacting, she could not bear me to pay the slightest attention to another. So at last, to realize the old adage, that "true love never did run smooth," she took it into her passionate little head to become jealous. This jealousy may be a very mild affair amongst our colder Northern women, but with a fiery little piece of impetuosity like Marie it was more serious. With such temperaments, jealousy instantly generates an all-consuming passion for revenge.

For a little while I had noticed Marie's more than usual excitability, accompanied by occasional bursts of grief, without any apparent cause; but, knowing her extreme sensitiveness, I thought but little of it. At last the cause was revealed, and this history nearly terminated in its revelation.

The house had a verandah in front, connecting it with that adjoining, from which it was simply divided by a wooden partition. One evening I and Theresa, the unmarried Portuguese, were conversing from the respective balconies. I fancied Marie had received me rather crossly that day, and to vex her thought I would have a little fun with her pretty neighbour. This thoughtlessness very nearly resulted in a tragical termination. After laughing and chatting with Theresa for some time, I went close up to the partition between the verandahs; and, leaning round it, pretended to kiss her. Instantly I heard Marie, with an exclamation, rush towards me. As I withdrew, I fortunately caught the shadow of an uplifted hand on my own side of the partition; and, while turning, I rapidly threw up my arm, just in time to arrest the descending blow, aimed by Marie with a stiletto. I[30] received but a slight scratch, and soon took the weapon from my fierce little love, who instantly, with characteristic revulsion of feeling, threw herself into my arms in a passionate burst of grief. We were soon reconciled; this was Marie's first and last jealousy.




Hung-sui-tshuen.—Clanship in China.—Hung-sui-tshuen's Genealogy: his Education.—Extraordinary Visions: Description of them.—Description of Hung-sui-tshuen: his Early Days: his Visions Explained: his Conversion: how Effected.—Hung-sui-tshuen's Preaching: his Religious Essays.—The God-worshippers.—Destruction of Idols.—Progress of God-worshippers.—Numbers increase.—Hostilities commence.—God-worshippers Victorious.—"Imperialist" Cruelty.—Bishop of Victoria.—Chinese Dynasty proclaimed.

Hung-sui-tshuen is a name now familiar in most parts of Europe as that of the chief—or King, as his followers term him—of the great Ti-ping revolution in China. Unfortunately much misapprehension exists as to him and his cause. Such information as I may give my readers, that has not come under my personal observation, has been derived from the actors themselves, especially all relating to the origin of the Ti-pings, their progress until I met them, and the description of their great leader—in fact, my knowledge of Hung-sui-tshuen has been obtained principally from his Prime Minister and cousin (Hung-jin), his chamberlain, and many of his chiefs and own clan. Since my return to England, I have had the pleasure to peruse, for the first time, the admirable little work of the late Rev. Theodore Hamberg, missionary of the Basle Evangelical Society to China—"The Visions of Hung-sui-tshuen, and Origin of the Kwang-si Insurrection." This, and the pamphlet entitled "Recent Events in China," by the Bishop of Victoria (published some nine or ten years ago), coincide in most particulars with the information I have gathered from direct sources; and,[32] as all my journals, notes, and memoranda fell into the hands of the Imperialists during my service with the Ti-pings, I have found them very useful in recalling facts I might otherwise have forgotten.

Hung-sui-tshuen was born in the year 1813, at a small village in the Hwa district,[2] some little distance from the city of Canton. His ancestors, originally from the north-east boundary of the Kwang-tung province, soon after the complete subjugation of the Chinese by the Manchoo Tartars, A.D. 1685, with many other families loyal to the Ming, through the persecution and exactions of the invader, abandoned their homes and sought refuge in the southern parts of Kwang-tung and Kwang-se, the two most southerly provinces of China. Here, to the present day, their descendants are known by the name of Hakkas (settlers) by the Punti people (natives of the soil).

The genealogy of Hung-sui-tshuen's family is one of the most ancient in China. During ten centuries, until the era of the present dynasty, they trace members of their house occupying the most exalted stations in the empire. So far back as the Sung dynasty, A.D. 1000, many of the Hungs were prominent literati; from that time till the Manchoo invasion, numbers of them have been members of the Han-lin College—the highest literary rank in China. For many generations the dignity of Minister of State was attained, and this was particularly the case throughout the sovereignty of Sung. During the Ming dynasty (the last Chinese one) likewise, the Hungs invariably numbered men of renown and literary attainments among them. They became allied to the Imperial family by marriage; and it was one of the Hungs who, as generalissimo of the Chinese forces, fought the last battle in defence of Nankin and the Ming prince. The prince was treacherously killed by some of his own followers, while the general perished with the greater number of his troops, being totally defeated by the Tartars, who thus destroyed the last attempt to keep them north of the river Yang-tze-kiang.


Like most countries, China has had her feudal period, the earliest and last authentic records of which refer to the ninth and tenth centuries. In this, as in many important events, the Chinese have been before western nations, their feudal system having terminated anterior to the meridian of that of Europe. A system of clanship, however, prevails in many parts of China; all persons of the same surname, though frequently numbering tens of thousands, being considered near kindred; and, singularly enough, not being allowed to marry amongst themselves. I am inclined to believe this is much lessened at the present day, for I have generally found that members of a clan or kindred do not reverence any one head of the entire name, but one much more nearly related to themselves, and who is seldom elder, or chief, of more than some hundreds. Previous to the incursion of the Manchoos, Hung-sui-tshuen's kindred formed a vast and powerful body; their stanch support of the last struggles for the Ming dynasty, and the sanguinary persecutions they, in common with other obnoxious families, suffered from the invader, greatly reduced their number. Upon the outbreak of the Ti-ping revolution, the Hung clan was supposed to number upwards of 20,000 persons; subsequent to that event the greater part were massacred by the Imperialists, simply because they were the connections of a rebel! Of Hung's immediate relatives, who, to the number of five or six hundred, peopled his native village under the authority of his father, not one remains; men, women, and children, all who were unable to join him, were mercilessly slaughtered by the ruthless Manchoo, and their very dwellings swept from the face of the earth.

Now, although the honourable and ancient lineage of Hung-sui-tshuen has never been disputed, some persons,[34] with a mendacity truly astonishing, have amused themselves by designating him the "Coolie King." Not only was Hung of good family—a secondary consideration in China, where personal rank is everything[3]—but his own position, as a member of the literati, was one of the most honourable. These are qualifications, it is probable, the persons who styled him "Coolie King" do not possess.

For many generations Hung's progenitors had been the chiefs or elders of their clan. His father fulfilled this capacity, and governed the affairs of his own and many surrounding villages. In spite of Hung's line of ancestry and his father's eldership, they were far from being well supplied with the good things of this life; in fact, their freehold was barely sufficient to support them. The family mansion was by no means suitable to the former dignity of the name. An ordinary Chinese farmer's cottage, containing nothing but the simplest articles of use, was the birthplace of one of the greatest men the empire has ever produced. At the earliest age, Hung exhibited a remarkable aptitude for study, became an inmate of the village school at seven years of age, and in less than twice that time had become proficient in the usual course of Chinese education; besides which, he studied by himself the history of China, and the higher branches of Chinese literature. Even at this early period, he was universally distinguished for his extraordinary talents, which were so highly appreciated by his teachers and relatives, that they united in defraying the expense of his further education. At sixteen years of age the want of means put an end to his studies; within a year, however, a young fellow-student took him as a companion. After this, when eighteen years of age, he was appointed schoolmaster of his native village, by the unanimous wish of the people.


About this time Hung commenced to attend the public examinations at Canton. These examinations confer upon successful candidates one of four literary degrees, commencing with a district examination, leading to a departmental one, to a provincial one, and finally to a Pekin examination, from which members of the Han-lin college are selected.

Although Hung-sui-tshuen was always one of the most distinguished at the district examinations, through the corruption of the Manchoo officials, to whom bribery alone is a passport, he was unable to obtain his degree. At last, upon another visit to the public examinations, about the year 1836, an event took place that ultimately, in no slight manner, affected his future career. This I cannot do better than give in the words of the Rev. T. Hamberg:—

"In the streets he found a man dressed according to the custom of the Ming dynasty, in a coat with wide sleeves, and his hair tied in a knot upon his head. The man was unacquainted with the Chinese vernacular tongue, and employed a native as interpreter. A number of people kept gathering round the stranger, who used to tell them the fulfilment of their wishes, even without waiting for a question from their side. Sui-tshuen approached the man, intending to ask if he should attain a literary degree, but the man prevented him by saying, 'You will attain the highest rank, but do not be grieved, for grief will make you sick. I congratulate your virtuous father.' On the following day he again met with two men in the Siung-tsang street. One of these men had in his possession a parcel of books consisting of nine small volumes, being a complete set of a work, entitled, 'Keuen-shi-leang-yen,' or 'Good Words for Exhorting the Age,' the whole of which he gave Hung-sui-tshuen, who, on his return from the examination, brought them home, and after a superficial glance at their contents, placed them in his bookcase, without at the time considering them to be of any particular importance."

Once more, in the year 1837, Hung-sui-tshuen attended the examinations. Upon this occasion, after being placed high on the list, his rank was afterwards[36] lowered. This, with the gross injustice and partiality of the examiners, so affected him, that he returned home very ill. His illness lasted for a considerable time, during which he underwent a marvellous series of visions or dreams.

In the account of Hung's visions and earlier life, it will be necessary to quote frequently from Mr. Hamberg's little work, he having received in detail many important facts I only had in substance from Hung-jin. I feel the more confident of the indulgence of my readers from the fact of the interesting nature of all I shall quote, and, moreover, the absolute necessity of doing so in order to enable them to form a correct judgment of the noble character and almost superhuman career of the Tiping-wang.

It must be remembered that in a country like China, where literary distinction, until Manchoo corruption altered it, was the recognized path to honour and fame, everything tended to excite the hopes and ambition of Hung-sui-tshuen, who was more than usually intellectual, and whose failure to attain eminence, through the degenerated policy of the Manchoo dynasty, who no longer observe the rights of the literati in their selection of public officers, must have been accompanied with a degree of mortification and bitterness never experienced by Europeans, who have a variety of paths to distinction.

The visions of Hung-sui-tshuen, as related by Hung-jin, are thus published in Mr. Hamberg's account:—

"He first saw a great number of people, bidding him welcome to their number, and thought this dream was to signify that he should soon die, and go into the presence of Yen lo-wang, the Chinese king of Hades. He therefore called his parents and other relatives to assemble at his bedside, and addressed them in the following terms:—'My days are counted, and my life will soon be closed. O my parents! how badly have I returned the favour of your love to me! I shall never attain a name that may reflect its lustre upon you.' After this he lost all strength and command over his body, and all present thought him about to die—his outward senses were inactive, and his body appeared as dead, lying upon [37]the bed; but his soul was acted upon by a peculiar energy, so that he not only experienced things of a very extraordinary nature, but afterwards also retained in memory what had occurred to him. At first, when his eyes were closed, he saw a dragon, a tiger, and a cock entering his room, and soon after, he observed a great number of men, playing upon musical instruments, approaching with a beautiful sedan-chair, in which they invited him to be seated, and then carried him away. Sui-tshuen felt greatly astonished at the honour and distinction bestowed upon him, and knew not what to think thereof. They soon arrived at a beautiful and luminous place, where on both sides were assembled a multitude of fine men and women, who saluted him with expressions of joy. As he left the sedan, an old woman took him down to a river, and said, 'Thou dirty man, why hast thou kept company with yonder people and defiled thyself? I must now wash thee clean.' After the washing was performed, Sui-tshuen, in company with a great number of virtuous and venerable old men, among whom he remarked many of the ancient sages, entered a large building, where they opened his body with a knife, took out his heart and other parts, and put in their place others, new and of a red colour. Instantly when this was done, the wound closed, and he could see no trace of the incision which had been made.

"Upon the walls surrounding this place, Sui-tshuen remarked a number of tablets with inscriptions exhorting to virtue, which he one by one examined. Afterwards, they entered another large hall, the beauty and splendour of which was beyond description. A man, venerable in years, with golden beard, and dressed in a black robe, was sitting in an imposing attitude upon the highest place. As soon as he observed Sui-tshuen, he began to shed tears, and said, 'All human beings in the whole world are produced and sustained by me; they eat my food and wear my clothing, but not a single one among them has a heart to remember and venerate me; what is, however, still worse than that, they take of my gifts and therewith worship demons; they purposely rebel against me, and arouse my anger. Do thou not imitate them.' Thereupon he gave Sui-tshuen a sword, commanding him to exterminate the demons, but to spare his brothers and sisters; a seal, by which he would overcome the evil spirits; and also a yellow fruit, to eat which Sui-tshuen found sweet to the taste. When he had received the ensigns of royalty from the hand of the old man, he instantly commenced to exhort those collected in the hall to return to their duties to the venerable old man upon the high seat. Some replied to him, saying, 'We have indeed forgotten our duties towards the venerable.' Others said, 'Why should we venerate him? let us only be merry, and drink together with our friends.' Sui-tshuen then, because of the hardness of their hearts, continued his admonitions with tears. The old man said to him, 'Take courage, and do the work; I will assist thee in every difficulty.' Shortly after this, he turned to the assemblage of the old and [38]virtuous, saying, 'Sui-tshuen is competent to this charge.' And thereupon he led Sui-tshuen out, told him to look down from above, and said, 'Behold the people upon this earth! hundredfold is the perverseness of their hearts.' Sui-tshuen looked, and saw such a degree of depravity and vice, that his eyes could not endure the sight, nor his mouth express their deeds. He then awoke from his trance, but still being under its influence, he felt the very hairs of his head raise themselves, and suddenly seized by a violent anger, forgetting his feebleness, put on his clothes, left his bedroom, went into the presence of his father, and making a low bow, said, 'The venerable old man above has commanded that all men shall turn to me, and all treasures shall flow to me.' The sickness of Sui-tshuen continued about forty days, and in vision he often met with a man of middle age, whom he called his elder brother, who instructed him how to act, accompanied him upon his wanderings to the uttermost regions in search of evil spirits, and assisted him in slaying and exterminating them. Sui-tshuen also heard the venerable old man with the black robe reprove Confucius for having omitted in his books clearly to expound the true doctrine. Confucius seemed much ashamed, and confessed his guilt.

"Sui-tshuen, while sick, as his mind was wandering, often used to run about his room, leaping and fighting like a soldier engaged in battle. His constant cry was, 'Tsan-jau, tsan-jau, tsan-ah, tsan-ah! Slay the demons, slay the demons!—slay, slay; there is one, and there is another. Many, many cannot withstand one single blow of my sword.'

"His father invited magicians, by their spells, to drive away the evil spirits he thought possessed his son; but Sui-tshuen said, 'How could these imps dare to oppose me? I must slay them, I must slay them! Many, many cannot resist me!' As in his imagination he pursued the demons, they seemed to undergo various changes and transformations, at one time flying as birds, at another time appearing as lions. Lest he should be unable to overcome them he held out his seal against them, at the sight of which they immediately fled away.

"During his exhortations he often burst into tears, saying, 'You have no hearts to venerate the old father, but you are on good terms with the impish fiends; indeed, indeed, you have no hearts—no conscience more.' He often said that he was duly appointed Emperor of China, and was highly gratified when any one called him by that name; but if any one called him mad, he used to laugh at him, and to reply, 'You are, indeed, mad yourself; and do you call me mad?' When men of bad character came to see him, he often rebuked them and called them demons. All the day long he used to sing, weep, exhort, reprove by turns, and in full earnest."

The following is the description of Hung-sui-tshuen, given by his cousin Hung-jin, upon his return to health:[39]

"Sui-tshuen's whole person became gradually changed, both in character and appearance. He was careful in his conduct, friendly and open in his demeanour; his body increased in height and size; his pace became firm and imposing, his views enlarged and liberal. His friend describes him as being, at a later period, a rather tall man, with oval face and fair complexion, high nose, small round ears, his voice clear and sonorous. When he laughed, the whole house resounded; his hair was black, his beard long and sandy, his strength of body extraordinary, his power of understanding rare. Persons of vicious habits fled from his presence, but the honest sought his company.

"From his youth, Hung-sui-tshuen was generally liked by all, because of his open and straightforward character. He was gay and friendly, but not dissolute. Being superior in talent to most of his fellow-students, he often used to make sport of them, and cause them to feel his sharp wit; but still, his friends were fond of listening to his remarks, as they generally contained true and noble ideas, and acknowledged his superior intellect. After his sickness, his whole person became changed, his manners noble and dignified. He sat erect upon the chair, his hands placed upon his knees, and both his feet resting a little apart, but never crossed upon the ground, without leaning backwards or to either side; and, though sitting for hours, he never appeared fatigued. He did not look aslant or backwards; his pace in walking was dignified, neither quick nor slow; he now spoke less and laughed seldom. After he had begun to worship, he was very strict in regard to his own conduct. In his words he was often severe, and easily offended others. He liked to sit down and talk with honest and sincere men, though they were ever so poor and of low estate; but he could not bear with the profligate, even if they were ever so rich and high in station."

The visions of Hung-sui-tshuen, marvellous as they were, and deeply significant upon many important points, could never have led to any earthly result but through the medium of some earthly key. This came at last, and the whole train of circumstances admit of no other interpretation than the will of a divine, inscrutable Providence. It is doubtful whether any one impressed with a sense of the awfully mysterious power of an Almighty Creator can dispute the cause of Hung-sui-tshuen's visions, conversion, and ultimate career; or that they rival many of the miracles of old which have been handed down to us, dimmed by the obscurity of time, and rendered difficult of[40] comprehension by the subtleties of language as well as by the figurative style of the ancients.

For several years Hung-sui-tshuen continued his studies and acted as village schoolmaster. On one occasion, while engaged as teacher at a village some ten miles distant from his native place, a cousin, Le, while searching his bookcase, chanced to come across the small volumes, "Good Words for Exhorting the Age." Le inquired the nature of the works, but Sui-tshuen was unacquainted with the contents and lent them to him to read. It is stated by the Rev. T. Hamberg:—"These books contain a good number of whole chapters of the Bible according to the translation of Dr. Morison, many essays upon important subjects from single texts, and sundry miscellaneous statements founded on Scripture."

Le read the books and returned them, stating their contents were very extraordinary, and differed entirely from Chinese books. Sui-tshuen then took the books and commenced reading them closely and carefully. He was greatly astonished to find in these books what he considered an explanation of his own visions of six years before, and that their contents corresponded in a singular manner with all he had experienced at that time. He now understood the venerable old one who sat upon the highest place, and whom all men ought to worship, to be God the Heavenly Father; and the man of middle age, who had instructed him and assisted him in exterminating the demons, to be Jesus the Saviour of the world. The demons were the idols, his brothers and sisters were the men in the world. Sui-tshuen felt as if awaking from a long dream. He rejoiced in reality to have found a way to heaven, and a sure hope of everlasting life and happiness. Learning from the books the necessity of being baptized, Sui-tshuen and Le now, according to the manner described in the books, and as far as they understood the rite, administered baptism to each other. They prayed to God, and promised not to worship evil spirits,[41] not to practise evil things, but to keep the heavenly commands; then they poured water upon their heads, saying, "Purification from all former sins, putting off the old, and regeneration." When this was done they felt their hearts overflowing with joy, and Sui-tshuen composed the following ode upon repentance:—

"When our transgressions high as heaven rise,
How well to trust in Jesus' full atonement;
We follow not the demons, we obey
The holy precepts, worshipping alone
One God, and thus we cultivate our hearts.
The heavenly glories open to our view,
And every being ought to seek thereafter.
I much deplore the miseries of hell.
O turn ye to the fruits of true repentance!
Let not your hearts be led by worldly customs."

They thereupon cast away their idols and removed the tablet of Confucius, which is generally found in the schools, and worshipped by the teacher as well as the pupils.

In a little while Hung-sui-tshuen returned to his native village. He soon converted to the religion his cousin Hung-jin, and an intimate friend, Fung-yun-san, also a teacher.

While at home, Sui-tshuen and his friends attentively studied the books, which Sui-tshuen found to correspond in a striking manner with his former visions—a remarkable coincidence, which convinced him fully as to their truth, and that he was appointed by Divine authority to restore the world—that is, China—to the worship of the true God.

I must particularly recommend to the notice of my readers the sound reasoning and wisdom of Hung-sui-tshuen's own explanation, and the high and exalted determination his subsequent acts have so nobly fulfilled.

"These books," said he, "are certainly sent purposely by Heaven to me, to confirm the truth of my former experiences. If I had received the books without having[42] gone through the sickness, I should not have dared to believe in them, or have ventured, on my own account, to oppose the customs of the whole world; if I had merely been sick, but had not also received the books, I should have had no further evidence as to the truth of my visions, which might also have been considered as merely productions of a diseased imagination."

Then he raised his voice and spoke in a bold manner:—

"I have received the immediate command from God in His presence: the will of Heaven rests with me. Although thereby I should meet with calamity, difficulties, and suffering, yet I am resolved to act. By disobeying the heavenly command, I would only rouse the anger of God; and are not these books the foundation of all true doctrines contained in other books?"

Under this conviction, Sui-tshuen, when preaching the new doctrine to others, made use of his own visions and the books, as reciprocally evidencing the truth of each other. He revered the books highly, and if any one wished to read them, he urgently told them not to alter or mark them in any manner, because, said he, it is written therein, "Jehovah's word is correct" (Ps. xxxiii. 4).

The small volumes, "Good Words for Exhorting the Age," that have exercised such a wonderful effect upon a great proportion of the Chinese, through the individual acts of Hung-sui-tshuen, were the production of Liang Afah, one of Dr. Milne's Chinese converts. Consequently it may be argued that contact with Europeans has been instrumental in producing the great Ti-ping revolution, and that to Dr. Milne and his convert, Liang Afah, may be attributed the honour of being agents in converting Hung-sui-tshuen and in originating the first Christian movement in modern Asia.

Although, through the foreign idiom, want of commentaries, and use of pronouns (unintelligible through the absence of the relative), Hung-sui-tshuen, as well as his[43] earlier converts, misunderstood some parts of Liang Afah's volumes, still it is indisputable that the grand truths of Christianity were fully and completely appreciated by them. As the Bishop of Victoria has written:—"Stung with a sense of injustice, and feeling the full weight of disappointment, he found his knowledge of Confucian lore no longer the road to office and distinction. It was at such a critical season of the future hero's career that the truths of the Holy Scriptures were presented to his notice, and the pure doctrines of Christianity arrested his mind."

Hung-sui-tshuen, after some time, again returned to his teachership in the other village, leaving Hung-jin to expound and study the new doctrine. Sui-tshuen's own relatives were soon converted from idolatry and received baptism.

With his few followers he now experienced the usual worldly effects of devout opposition to the sinful and idolatrous practices of neighbours. Hung and his friends lost their scholastic employment and became very poor. Unable longer to maintain themselves at home, they determined to visit other districts and preach the true doctrine, hoping to support themselves by the sale of a few articles they carried with them for the purpose.

Hung, Fung-yun-san, and two other friends left their native villages and started upon a proselytizing mission to the independent tribes of Miau-tze. Passing through the village of Hung's relatives, the Le family, they converted and baptized several of them. Afterwards Hung-jin was engaged as teacher at this place (Clear-far), and in course of time baptized upwards of fifty persons.

Sui-tshuen and his friends continued their journey, everywhere preaching the new doctrine, teaching men to worship the one God, Jehovah, who sent his Son to atone for the sins of the world; and in every place they found some willing to accept their words. Into the wild and mountainous regions of the Miau-tze, Hung and Fung-yun-san[44] journeyed alone, their friends having left them. They were fortunate enough to meet with a teacher who kept a school for Chinese instruction to the aborigines. Being ignorant of the Miau-tze dialect, after converting the schoolmaster and leaving a few tracts with him, they continued their journey to a part of Kwang-si where Hung had relatives.

Hung at last reached the village of his cousin Wang, and at this place preached with such devout eloquence as not only to convert hundreds to Christianity, but to cause many to believe that he and Yun-san were descended from heaven to preach the true doctrine.

To relieve his cousin from the support of so many guests, two converts of the Hung family having likewise arrived, he ordered Yun-san and the others to return to Kwang-tung. Fung-yun-san, however, was moved to continue teaching the Gospel; therefore, although the two returned, he remained preaching by the roadside. Meeting with some workmen he knew, he journeyed with them to a place named Thistle Mount, where, assisting them in their work, he at the same time taught them the way to immortal life.

Some of the workmen, convinced by Yun-san's preaching, went to their employer and informed him. The master engaged Yun-san as teacher of his school, and was himself soon baptized. Yun-san remained in the neighbourhood of Thistle Mount several years, and preached with great zeal and success; so that a large number of persons, whole families of various surnames and clans, were baptized. They formed congregations among themselves, gathering together for religious worship, and became soon extensively known under the name of "the congregation of the worshippers of God." In the meanwhile Hung-sui-tshuen returned home, and greatly displeased Fung-yun-san's relations by having returned without him. During 1845-46 Hung remained at home, employed as village teacher. He wrote many[45] essays, discourses, and odes upon religious subjects, all of which were afterwards improved and printed in the "Imperial Declaration of Ti-ping," at Nankin.

Hung-sui-tshuen unceasingly continued his preaching of Christianity, baptizing many people who had learned to believe in God and our Saviour. He often met Hung-jin, still a teacher at the village Clear-far, once expressing his hatred of the tyrant Manchoo thus:—

"God has divided the kingdoms of the world, and made the ocean to be a boundary for them, just as a father divides his states among his sons; every one of whom ought to reverence the will of his father, and quietly manage his own property. Why should now these Manchoos forcibly enter China, and rob their brothers of their estate?"

Again, at a later period he said:—

"If God will help me to recover our estate, I ought to teach all nations to hold every one its own possessions, without injuring or robbing one another; we will have intercourse in communicating true principles and wisdom to each other, and receive each other with propriety and politeness; we will serve together one common heavenly Father, and honour together the doctrines of one common heavenly Brother, the Saviour of the world; this has been the wish of my heart since the time when my soul was taken up to heaven."

It is a pity the monarchs of Europe and their statesmen possess not the sentiments of the "Coolie King."

In the latter part of the year 1846, a Chinaman named Moo arrived at Hung's village from Canton. He informed him missionaries were preaching the true doctrine in that city. Sui-tshuen and his cousin Hung-jin were unable to visit the city, being engaged by their schools. Moo, upon his return to Canton, mentioned to a Chinese assistant of Mr. Roberts (missionary) the existence of the God-worshippers. This assistant having written and invited Hung and his cousin to Canton, in 1847 they[46] visited that city, and studied Christianity under Mr. Roberts and other missionaries. Upon the expiration of one month they returned to their village with two converts; they all preached here a short time, and then went back to Canton, Hung-jin remaining at home. For some time Hung-sui-tshuen continued his studies in Canton; but at last, through the intrigues of some of Mr. Roberts' assistants, who became jealous of his superior talent, he left that city, and started upon a tour to Kwang-si, in search of his friend Fung-yun-san.

After a journey of much suffering, by reason of his poverty, Sui-tshuen at last reached the abode of his cousin Wang. He soon heard of Yun-san's earnest and successful career at "Thistle Mount;" and, rejoicing, joined him, preaching the Gospel and teaching everywhere.

These primitive Christians soon numbered two thousand, and were increasing day by day. Rapidly the surrounding country came under the influence of the new doctrine. "Men of great influence, and graduates of the first and second degrees, with great numbers of their clans, joined the congregation."

Hung-sui-tshuen, upon his arrival, immediately replaced their former books with copies of the Bible he had brought from Canton; reserving only such parts as were of the New Testament.

Ere long commenced the iconoclastic impulse that has since proved one of the greatest characteristics of the Ti-ping revolution. In the department of Siang, Kwang-se, an idol named "Kan-wang-ye" had long been celebrated, the natives far and near believing in its power. Hung-sui-tshuen becoming acquainted with their grossly superstitious and ignorant veneration for this idol, was greatly enraged, and with three friends, including Fung-yun-san, started for the temple. Reaching the place, they found the idol of a dreadful and imposing aspect; nothing daunted, Sui-tshuen with a stick dashed the idol to pieces,[47] destroying its fine raiment and the vessels of spices and incense.

When the people became aware of this desecration of their idol, they set about apprehending the perpetrators. A young boy becoming, as they thought, possessed by the demon, told them not to molest the destroyers. The people therefore desisted, and this event greatly advanced the reputation of Hung-sui-tshuen, soon leading to an important addition to his followers.

The iconoclastic zeal thus introduced was quickly followed up by the destruction of many images. Upon this the officials, for the first time, came into contact with them, and Fung-yun-san and another were imprisoned, mainly through the malignancy of a rich graduate named Wang, who bribed the magistrate for that purpose. Eventually, the God-worshippers induced the same official to release their friends, but only Fung-yun-san was restored to them; the other had expired in prison, through the brutal treatment of his Manchoo jailers.

About this time—the latter part of 1848—Hung-sui-tshuen's father died, at the age of seventy-three. He had long given over the errors of idolatry, and had received Christian baptism. Upon his death-bed he admonished his children, saying:—"I am now ascending to heaven: after my decease, you must not call any Buddhist priests, or perform any heathen ceremonies, but merely worship God, and pray to him."

At the end of 1848, Hung-sui-tshuen and his friend Fung-yun-san left the congregation of God-worshippers at Thistle Mount, and returned to their homes.

About the middle of 1849 they again set out for their friends in Kwang-si. At the end of this year, during his absence, the first son of Hung-sui-tshuen was born; at the instant of his birth the following singular circumstance took place:—"Thousands of birds, as large as ravens and as small as magpies, made their appearance. They continued long hovering about in the air, and finally[48] settled in the trees behind the dwelling of Sui-tshuen. These birds remained in the neighbourhood of the village about one month, to the astonishment of the people, who said that the crowd of birds came to do homage to the new-born king."

Upon their arrival, Hung-sui-tshuen and Yun-san were joyfully received by the God-worshippers. They now heard of singular occurrences having taken place among the brethren during their absence. It appeared that, often while engaged in prayer, one or other of them was seized by a sort of fit, and falling to the ground in a state of ecstasy, was moved by the spirit, and uttered extraordinary words of exhortation, reproof, or prophecy. The more remarkable of these rhapsodies were noted down, and reserved for the inspection of Hung-sui-tshuen. Those he principally pronounced as true were uttered by one Yang-sui-tshin, who afterwards became one of the principal Ti-ping chiefs. This same Yang was said to possess the power of healing sickness by intercession for the afflicted, many having been cured in a wonderful manner, after prayer to God.

Hung-sui-tshuen compelled his followers to observe strict order, and although Fung-yun-san was the original chief and founder of the congregation, they all, with one accord, acknowledged the superiority of the former; electing him as their leader, as well for his personal merit as his extraordinary ability to command and organize a strict discipline among so heterogeneous a multitude as themselves.

At this time, Hung prohibited the use of opium, and even tobacco, and all intoxicating drinks, and the Sabbath was religiously observed. About the same period he sent to Kwang-tung for his whole family, giving as his reason, that a pestilence would shortly visit the earth, and carry off the unbelievers. Singularly enough, some parts of Kwang-si were visited by a malignant distemper, whereby the number of his adherents was greatly increased,[49] many believing they escaped disease merely by joining the God-worshippers.

About the end of the year 1850, a civil war broke out between the Punti men and the Hakkas. Although at first the Hakkas were victorious, being a more hardy and adventurous people than the Puntis, the superior numbers of the latter soon prevailed, who, not contented with defeating the enemy, followed up the victory by even destroying their habitations. In dire distress, the Hakkas sought a refuge among the God-worshippers, willingly adopting their religion.

So great a celebrity had the God-worshippers attained in Kwang-si, that not only the Hakkas came to them, but many outlaws, who refused allegiance to the Manchoo; and all persons in distress, or in any way afflicted, together with their families.

With a far-seeing discernment, Hung-sui-tshuen had long expected the course of events that at last resulted from the presence of so many various elements, for the most part obnoxious to the Government. His plans were arranged, his resolution fixed, and he only awaited a favourable opportunity to act. The following ode, which he composed about this time, affords an index of his intentions:—

"When in the present time disturbances abound,
And bands of robbers are like gathering vapours found,
We know that heaven means to raise a valiant band
To rescue the oppressed and save our native land.
China was once subdued, but it shall no more fall.
God ought to be adored, and ultimately shall.
The founder of the Ming in song disclosed his mind,
The Emperor of the Han drank to the furious wind.
From olden times all deeds by energy were done,
Dark vapours disappear on rising of the sun."

This ode is highly significant to the Chinese. Hung alludes to the many bands of robbers rising like the vapours on the mountain tops; he expresses his intention[50] to allow them to fight and fatigue each other, when he would easily become their master,—such being the plan expressed by the founder of the Ming dynasty in his song—comparing himself to the aster, a flower that only begins to blossom when others have passed away; and, after they have ceased to contend, remains undisputed master of the field.

The defeat of the Hakkas ere long realized Sui-tshuen's predictions. The God-worshippers gradually became involved in the quarrels of their new allies, and at last were not only accused of annoying the worship of others, and destroying their idols, but also of helping the outlaws and fostering rebellious intentions against the usurping dynasty. Sui-tshuen and Yun-san at this period left "Thistle Mount," and retired to the privacy of a friend's house situated in a mountainous recess. The Manchoo soldiers were sent against them here; but, afraid to enter the glen, contented themselves with blockading the pass, sure of the ultimate capture of the inmates. "At this critical moment it is reported that Yang-sui-tshin, in a state of ecstasy, revealed to the brethren of Thistle Mount the impending danger of their beloved chiefs, and exhorted them to hasten to their rescue." A considerable body marched against the soldiers who watched the pass, routed them with ease, and Sui-tshuen and Yun-san were carried off in triumph.

Hung-sui-tshuen now concentrated all his followers, who had already converted their goods into money, and formed a common treasury. They were thus prepared, if necessary, for the emergency of flight. Fear for the safety of themselves and families quickly brought the entire congregation of the God-worshippers together. "Old and young, rich and poor, men of influence and education, graduates of the first and second degrees, with their families and adherents, all gathered round the chiefs. Wei-ching alone brought with him about one thousand individuals of his clan."[51]

Previously to this, the God-worshippers had suffered much persecution from the local authorities, many being imprisoned and killed by want and ill-treatment. Soon the jealous fears of the Manchoo officials led them to send troops against a native movement which they knew full well they had good cause to dread by reason of their own tyrannical rule.

Hostilities having once commenced, a bold and energetic course became imperative. A strong body of soldiers being on the march for their present position, Hung-sui-tshuen prepared to receive them. Abandoning Thistle Mount, he took possession of the market-town Lieu-chu, close at hand. This small city was surrounded by a broad river, protecting it from sudden attack, which Sui-tshuen soon fortified so strongly that, when the soldiers arrived, it was impregnable. From this place Sui-tshuen sent messengers into Kwang-tung, calling upon the remaining relatives of the two clans, Hung and Fung, to join him in Kwang-si. Before they could do this, Sui-tshuen, from want of provisions, was compelled to move his camp. This he effected in a fine strategic manner. To deceive the Imperialists as to his real intentions, he placed a number of women and boys belonging to the town in a house close to the river, and in the direction of the besiegers' camp, ordering them to beat the drums throughout the following day; while he, with his entire force, evacuated the place at night without giving the foe the slightest suspicion of his movement.

The Imperialists, as soon as they discovered the trick that had been played upon them, detached light troops in pursuit; but these, venturing too closely upon the rear of the retreating forces, were repulsed with severe loss. The Imperialists now, according to their usual habits, commenced to vent their cowardly rage upon the unoffending inhabitants by burning several thousand houses, and plundering indiscriminately.

They slaughtered numbers of the townspeople upon[52] the slightest suspicion that they were God-worshippers, or even friendly disposed towards them.

"Many of these unhappy victims evinced great self-possession, and resignation to their fate. One named Tsen said to the soldiers, 'Why do you delay? If you are to kill me, then do so,—I fear not to die.' He, with many others, refused to kneel down, and received the death-blow in an upright posture. These cruelties greatly incensed the populace; and many, who otherwise would have remained quietly at home, desirous to worship God without taking part in the insurrection, were thus forced to leave their abodes and join the army of Hung-sui-tshuen."

After evacuating the town of Lieu-chu, Hung took up his new position at a large village, Thai-tsun, and at this place received very considerable additions to his force. Two female rebel chiefs of great valour, named respectively Kew-urh and Szu-san, each bringing about two thousand followers, here joined him, submitting to his authority and adopting the religions opinions of his people. About this time eight chiefs of the San-hoh-hwui, or Triad Society—a confederation of many years' standing, sworn to expel the Manchoos and free China of their hateful presence—entered into negotiations with Hung-sui-tshuen to join his army, which he agreed to upon condition that they would conform to the worship of the true God. He sent teachers to them, and when they were sufficiently instructed, permitted them to join him.

Unfortunately, it now happened that out of sixteen teachers, one of the number was found guilty of peculation, by having withheld from the public treasury his share of the presents they had received from the Triad chiefs for their instruction. Having often before been convicted of violating their regulations, this last offence was no sooner proved against him than Sui-tshuen and his own relatives condemned and punished him, according to the full rigour of their law, by decapitation. When the chiefs of the[53] Triads found that one who had just been their teacher was capitally punished for so slight a transgression, they became uncomfortable, and said:—"Your laws seem to be rather too strict; we shall, perhaps, find it difficult to keep them; and upon any small transgression you would, perhaps, kill us also."

Upon which, seven of them departed with their men, and afterwards surrendering to the Imperialists, turned their arms against the God-worshippers. One chief—Lo-thai-kang—preferred remaining with the latter.

The varied elements of his followers—the simple God-worshipper, the discontented Hakka, with Triads, outlaws, and other known opponents to the Manchoo rule—were all destined, by Hung-sui-tshuen's comprehensive mind, soon to establish for themselves an important political existence. The Bishop of Victoria wrote:—

"The literary talent, the moral greatness, the administrative ability, the mental energy, the commanding superiority of the latter soon won for him the post of leader and director of the movement; and Hung-sui-tshuen became, by universal consent and the harmonious deference of Teen-tih (Fung-yun-san) himself, the chief of the insurgent body. He found in the tumultuous bands, who, inflamed by civil discontent, had been engaged in hostilities with the provincial rulers, the nucleus and the body around which the persecuted Christians gathered as a place of refuge and safety. He transformed a rebellion of civil malcontents into a great rendezvous and rallying-point for his oppressed co-religionists. He rendered the insurrection a great religious movement—he did not transmute a Christian fraternity into a political rebellion. The course of events, and the momentous interests of life and death—the dread realities of the rack and torture, imprisonment, and death—drove him to use in self-defence all the available means within reach, and to employ the resources of self-preservation. He joined the rebel camp, preached the Gospel among them, won them over to his views, placed himself at their head, and made political power the means of religious propagandism.

"The adoption of the Imperial style, at so early a period as 1850, shows the grand projects and the vast designs which speedily unfolded themselves to the view of the new leader. Nothing but an expulsion of the hated Man-chow tyrants, the subversion of the idolatrous system, and the incorporation of the whole nation into one empire of 'universal peace,' as the servants of the one true God, and the believers in the one [54]true Saviour Jesus Christ, with Taeping-wang himself, the political head and religious chief of the whole—could henceforth satisfy minds inflamed by enthusiasm and animated by past success."

Before the close of the year 1851 the standard of a national revolt was raised, and a Chinese dynasty proclaimed. Hung-sui-tshuen again moved his camp, marching upon and capturing the city of Yung-ngan. He was here elected Emperor by the enthusiastic acclamation of his followers. It is said Sui-tshuen offered the supreme dignity to each of the four chiefs, Fung-yun-san, Yang-sui-tshin, Siau-chau-kwui, and Wai-ching (the last, a powerful leader of some thousands of his own clan); and that, only after their refusal and unanimous election of himself, he accepted power, appointing them princes of the four quarters; the position in which they afterwards became known to Europeans. From this period the style God-worshippers became relinquished in favour of the title of the new dynasty, Ti-ping-tien-kwoh.


[2] See Map of China.

[3] The Chinese place little value upon hereditary rank; but, in lieu thereof, have the extraordinary custom of ennobling a meritorious or successful person's ancestry, though the honours are not inherited by his descendants.



The Manchoo Party.—The Ti-ping Party.—The Ti-ping Character.—Conflict with Manchoos.—Chinese Gunboats.—First Ti-ping Position.—Its Appearance.—Ti-ping Hospitality.—Ti-ping Country described.—Effects of Intervention.—San-le-jow.—Ti-pings Superior to Imperialists.—Ti-pings and Chinamen.—Ti-ping Costume.—The Honan Ti-pings.—The "Chinese Paris."—Interview with Chung-wang: his Appearance: his Religious Feelings: his Penetration: his Policy.—Commission from Chung-wang.—San-li-jow.—A Ti-ping Army.—Its Friendly Bearing.—Arrival at Shanghae.

About the beginning of the year 1860 the rapid success of the Ti-ping revolution excited considerable attention. From the unfavourable impressions I entertained with regard to the Manchoo Imperialists, I felt very desirous to become acquainted with their adversaries, whose professed intention was not only to subvert the tyrannical foreign dynasty, but to overthrow national idolatry and establish Christianity throughout China. I therefore determined to relinquish my profession for a more unfettered life on shore, which would afford me an opportunity of seeing something of the Ti-pings—a resolution which gathered strength from the fact that Marie and her relatives were about to leave Hong-Kong and take up their abode at Shanghae.

I had long observed that although the majority of people condemned the revolution, they were infinitely less worthy of credence than those who supported it.

The anti-Ti-ping and pro-Manchoo party comprised:—All persons who were in any way connected with the iniquitous opium traffic; all British placemen and officials who[56] represented Lord Elgin's politics or Chinese treaties; all foreign mercenaries, whether interested in the Chinese customs or army; all Roman Catholics, but especially Jesuits and French; all missionaries who felt jealous of the Ti-ping Christianity, because they could not arrogate to themselves a direct credit for its propagation; and, lastly, all merchants and traders, who, trusting to make a fortune in a few years, and, being philosophers of the "After me the Deluge" school, cared not at all for the future of China, or the vast question of its regeneration and Christianity, because the execution of those glorious reforms might interfere with their traffic.

The friends of the Ti-pings comprised:—Many humble, devout missionaries, who rejoiced at the result of their indirect contact with the Chinese; many large-minded, large-hearted men, who admired the cause of a people and the welfare of an oppressed nation more than the favourable articles of the Elgin treaty; all persons who deprecated Europeans becoming the hired mercenaries of the most corrupt Asiatic despotism in existence; and all merchants not addicted to opium-smuggling, but satisfied with more honourable and righteous branches of commerce.

I thus found that interested persons were adverse to the revolution, while those who were favourable to it were disinterested. This is no psychological phenomenon. The explanation is very easy. It was simply a question of selfishness and dollars versus philanthropy and liberality. I must confess that, until I became personally acquainted with the Ti-pings, the reports of their maligners (preposterous and exaggerated as they were) made me very suspicious of the people they abused, although I had already begun to sympathize with them.

Before resigning my appointment, I obtained a berth as chief mate in a small steamer which was under the command of an old brother officer of mine, who had lately quitted the same service. I consequently embarked and[57] proceeded with Marie and her friends to Shanghae. The little steamer I joined was employed upon the inland waters of the Shanghae district, trading to the Ti-ping territory for silk, so that my wishes for a meeting were soon to be gratified. The owners of the steamer were Chinese, though nominally British, in order to obtain a register, and so we had things very much our own way on board.

The evening before we were to start for the interior, a boat-load of cargo came alongside—at least, what I imagined to be such. To my utter amazement, when I mentioned its arrival to the skipper, I found out that the cargo was no other than boxes of specie.

"What!" I exclaimed, "carry treasure amongst the rebels?"

"Why, of course we do; what in the world should prevent us?" said the skipper.

"Well," I replied, "it is singular for any one to send boxes of dollars right into the hands of people they term 'hordes of banditti,' 'bloodthirsty marauders,' 'desolators,' &c."

"My dear fellow, that's all bosh: don't you see if outsiders are made to believe the Ti-pings to be so bad, they will not trust themselves, or their money, amongst them; so those who know better are able to monopolize the silk trade."

"What! are all those reports about the Ti-pings false, then?" I asked.

"To be sure they are, or how do you suppose any silk could be obtained?"

This reply satisfied me completely. If the Ti-pings were "desolators," it was certain no silk could be left, or produced, while, if they were "marauders" and "brigands," it was equally certain no one dare carry large sums of money into their territory to trade. I was not a little pleased with this conclusion; before long I had ample proof of the total injustice and gross falsehood[58] of nearly every charge brought against the revolutionists.

I received on board about 40,000 taels (over £13,000 sterling) during the evening, with a Chinaman to negotiate for the purchase of the silk when we should arrive in the silk country.

Early in the morning we got under weigh, and proceeded on our voyage, past Shanghae and up the Wong-poo river. We no sooner got clear of the shipping and crowd of junks anchored above the city, than I received orders to have all our armament put in order and ready for immediate use. For so small a vessel she was very well armed with a 9 lb. pivot gun on each broadside, a swivel 4 lb. in the bow, and another right aft. Our crew consisted of eight European seamen, myself, captain, second mate, and engineer; besides four Chinese firemen, a Chinese engineer, a cook, and our European steward; we also carried a member of our European firm as supercargo.

The Wong-poo river for some fifty miles preserves an average breadth of about 250 yards, after which it rapidly decreases, and loses itself in a series of interminable lagoons. The whole country in this direction (due S.W. of Shanghae) is flat and alluvial, everywhere intersected by creeks and canals, and mostly in a high state of cultivation.

The tide being strong against us, we did not reach the last imperialist city, Soong-Kong, about twenty miles from Shanghae in a direct line, till mid-day. Soon after leaving port, the Manchoo troops commenced their annoyance. Every station we passed the gunboats would come off and attempt to stop us, their crews shouting and yelling like fiends, sometimes even firing blank cartridge to arrest our passage. One squadron, bolder than the rest, after we had passed Soong-Kong and were approaching the limits of Imperialism, thought fit to send us a dose of iron, and although we took the previous saluting very quietly, this was rather too striking an example of[59] their favour to pass without return. I therefore brought one of our 9-pounders to bear, and gave them its warning message just over their heads, not wishing to hurt them unless compelled, especially as all their shot passed wide of us, excepting one that cut a funnel stay. Not satisfied with this, the whole squadron—some seven or eight—put off from the bank and pulled after us, each opening fire with its bow gun. Our captain called all hands to their stations, those not employed at the guns being armed with Sharp's rifles; and, suddenly changing our course, we put right about, gave a cheer, and steamed at the Mandarin boats full speed. Directly this was done, and the Imperialists saw so many Europeans, and heard our terrific yell, they thought no more of "loot," or seizing us; but round they went, turned tail, and pulled off as desperately as they could, while those astern dashed to the bank and tumbled ashore one over the other in dire confusion and alarm, leaving their boats to take care of themselves or become the prize of the "foreign devils."

To give them a lesson, we contented ourselves by taking all their flags; and, setting the boats adrift on the stream, proceeded on our course.

These Chinese gunboats, when well manned, form very effective mosquito flotillas. They are about fifty feet long and seven broad, are manned by about twenty-five men, and pull from ten to twenty oars a-side. They are usually armed with a gun (from 4 to 24-pounder) mounted upon a platform in the bow, and another in the stern. They are very shallow, sit light upon the water, and pull very fast; they are also furnished with the usual bamboo sails, but only go well before the wind. These war-boats are almost innumerable, being found in large numbers all through the rivers and inland waters of China; and since the British arsenals have been thrown open to the Manchoo government, they have become formidable from the guns they have been supplied with, and the instruction[60] their crews have received from English artillerists in using them.

When we came to the narrow part of the river, we were exposed to continual insult and annoyance from the Chinese on the banks, who, not content with assailing us with every opprobrious epithet in their vocabulary—the least being "Yang quitzo" (foreign devils), frequently pelted us with mud and stones. Soldiers, gun-boat braves, and villagers seemed striving to emulate each other in illustrating their hatred of the foreigners who, having allied themselves to the Manchoo government, had only just succeeded in driving the Ti-pings away and re-establishing the rule of the Tartars; placing our miserable assailants in possession of territory they could never have reconquered themselves—and this is how they displayed their gratitude!

The British and French had but lately made war upon the Ti-pings, having driven them from Shanghae and its neighbourhood, therefore the least we might have expected was common civility from our allies; they, however, seemed to think otherwise, by treating us as enemies.

Towards dusk we approached the last Imperialist station, between which and the first Ti-ping outpost stretched a neutral ground of a few miles. As we could not reach the Ti-ping territory before dark, it was necessary to anchor for the night; but this we dare not attempt while in the Imperialist jurisdiction. Since the reinstatement of the Imperialists, piracy had become incessant, so much so, that a silk boat could scarcely ever make a trip without being attacked, many having been plundered and the Europeans in charge murdered. The whole country swarmed with robbers, and the river with pirates; the first being the Imperialist soldiery, and the latter mostly Imperialist gunboats. In consequence of this, we determined to reach the neutral ground, the commencement of which was a small and shallow lake, where we could lay comparatively safe from enemies, whereas, if we remained on the river, we should be at the mercy of any[61] who might attack us from its banks, here scarcely sixty yards apart.

Amidst the curses and yells of the last outlying picket of Imperialists we shot into the lake, and anchored in its centre to wait for daylight. The night passed over without any particular excitement, though the watch on deck had frequently to warn off with a shot or two some boats hovering about. Getting under weigh in the morning, we soon came to the first Ti-ping position—a few houses with a palisade round them, and a gingall battery held by a small detachment of troops. I was much struck by the pleasant style in which they communicated with us. In place of making an offensive demonstration of force, and conducting their inquiries with the gross and insulting arrogance of the Imperialists, they simply put off a small boat, from which one officer boarded us, who behaved in a strikingly friendly and courteous manner while pursuing his investigations. When satisfied as to our intentions, he gave us a pass to proceed, and took his departure, leaving me with a very favourable impression of my first interview with a real, live Ti-ping.

After passing several small villages, in all of which the inhabitants were busily at work gathering in their crops, and apparently much better off than the Imperialist peasantry on the other side of the lake, we came to the extensive village of Loo-chee, some sixty miles from Shanghae by the river. At this place there seemed a large and varied trade. Silk boats, country boats, and Shanghae boats, were moored off the village in great numbers, all filled with merchandise, for which there seemed a good and ready market. The crowds of people about were all well dressed, the shops were fully stocked, and in every way the village seemed in a most flourishing condition. One singular circumstance which I noticed was the total absence of mendicants; though an ordinary Chinese market village of the same extent and prosperity would have swarmed with them, here not one was to be[62] seen. Outside the village, the fields were alive with labourers gathering in the rich and heavy crops, it being harvest time; while far as the eye could reach stretched plains covered with the ripe grain, glistening and golden in the morning sun. In vain I gazed around for some trace of the "desolaters." If I looked to the village, I saw nothing but crowds of well-to-do, busy, complacent-looking Chinamen, and great piles of merchandise just landed from the boats; if I looked to the country, I perceived nothing but the richness and beauty of nature; yet this was a part of Ti-pingdom, and all the people I saw were Ti-pings or subject to them. At last, a little outside the village, I noticed a heap of bricks, such as the Chinese build their houses with; going up to it, I found the track of the "desolaters" after all; for this proved to be the remains of an immense joss-house they had destroyed—not a stone was left standing upon another; in their iconoclastic zeal they had literally crushed the Buddhist temple into the dust, for I could not find one whole brick amongst the débris, although it covered more than an acre of ground. Here and there, amongst the tall, rank grass, peeped out the mutilated remnants of the former divinities of the temple. I began to think this "desolating" and "murdering" à la Ti-ping not quite so bad as some parties had represented.

We remained at Loo-chee a few hours, while our supercargo and interpreter made inquiries about the silk. I observed but few Ti-ping soldiers in the village; the six or seven who rowed an officer off to us constituted quite half the garrison. They were all attached to the Loo-chee custom-house, and the officer who boarded us was le chef de la douane. While strolling through the village I was astonished by the very friendly and unrestrained manners of the people; I was seized upon and carried into many houses to partake of tea and Chinese wine, the Ti-pings actually struggling with each other to get me into their respective dwellings. The kindly behaviour of[63] the soldiers was the more remarkable from the totally opposite conduct of the Imperialist braves, whose feeling towards us we had so lately experienced. Yet the Imperialists were our allies, and we were assisting them against the Ti-pings. It was even possible that friends or relatives of these Ti-ping soldiers had been killed by the British and French before Shanghae; still, anomalous and incredible as it must seem, our friends, the Imperialists, treated us as though we were enemies, and our enemies, the Ti-pings, treated us as friends.

At last, amid the hearty adieux of the natives, we steamed away from Loo-chee for another village, some twelve miles farther inland, where we expected to find silk.

Some three years later I visited Loo-chee again. A letter which I wrote upon the occasion appeared in the Friend of China, a Shanghae newspaper, and in the month of October, 1863, was reproduced, accompanied by the following observations:—

"At this juncture, when Gordon declares the Taepings to be incapable of government (he never had an opportunity of judging, or knowing anything about them, except how they could fight), it is not out of place to reproduce the writing of the only respectable foreigner we know in the Taeping fighting service—a service of which, in so far as intercourse with the Taeping goes, he has had several years' experience."

The letter referred to was as follows:—

"The general appearance of the country lately wrested from the Ti-pings by the British, and again given up to Imperial rule, cannot be passed without a feeling of pity for its sad alteration. Throughout the whole extent of this country, Europeans are now exposed to insult, the natives being as constrained and repulsive as is usual in Mandarin localities. Indeed, they are a vagabond and scanty lot, many large villages now exhibiting hardly one person to each house. The crops alone are in a flourishing[64] condition—reared by Ti-pings for the Imperial commissariat—a rich harvest indeed.

"Custom-houses, or rather squeeze-houses, are springing up in every direction, and the poor Chinese trader is in a perfect whirlwind of mystification as to whom he ought to pay and whom not. The baneful effect of all this is very visible. There is an indescribable gloom and stagnation over the land, and everything on it. Even the birds appear less happy, for they do not chirp as of old. Of trade—there is none. The extensive village of Loo-chee, about sixty miles from Shanghae by water, is the last Imperialist station in this direction. When I was last here, some two and a half years ago, all was joyous as a marriage feast. It was a place of much trade and importance; now the only things to be remarked are a few piratical war-boats, with their usual villanous-looking crews, under the Imperial flag. Where formerly exuberant life and happiness were found, all now is wretchedness. Between Loo-chee and the nearest Ti-ping station comes a neutral ground of some ten miles in extent. This is almost a desert, and well it may be, when the Imperialists scour over it. At last we reached the first Ti-ping outpost. What a contrast! Now, indeed, all is smiling happiness. In place of insult we meet kind looks and salutations of welcome. Even the children run along the banks with cries of delight. Poor little things, they know not but that they may soon be homeless, bereft, perhaps, of parents, or even life itself."

When the above letter was written, the Imperialists, with the assistance of foreigners, had only lately succeeded in recapturing the village of Loo-chee; shortly afterwards I again passed the place, and the only change to be observed was a new Buddhist temple in course of erection upon the ruins of the old. A striking example of the effect of British intervention: the Ti-pings destroy the heathen temples and establish the Holy Scriptures on their sites, but the Manchoos build them[65] up again, and exterminate the worshippers of the True God.

So great a confidence had my friend, the Captain, in the Ti-pings, that directly we came to their territory he told me I might discharge and clean all our arms, and put them away until we re-entered the Imperialist lines.

Before arriving at our destination, we passed many villages, all thriving and apparently doing considerable trade; one especially attracted my attention—it was a very large walled village, named San-zar, and seemed to be the centre of an immense commerce. This place was fortified and well garrisoned. We stopped there and took in a supply of provisions, which were very cheap. I particularly remember San-zar, because I found in it the best sponge cake I ever tasted in China. The village was very extensive, containing upwards of five thousand houses; the shops were numerous, and at the time I first visited it every article of Chinese consumption was to be found in abundance. I passed through it lately—upon my return to England—and found everything sadly changed; the Imperialists were close at hand, and the inhabitants had fled away; the shops were closed, excepting here and there where some trader, more venturesome or avaricious than his fellows, seemed determined to drive his business till the last; the streets were silent and trafficless; in some parts the depopulation was so complete as to strongly remind me of Goldsmith's "Deserted Village."

Shortly after leaving San-zar, we arrived at San-le-jow, the termination of our voyage, a fortified position, three Chinese miles (one English) from the city of Pim-bong. San-le-jow is situated within the silk district, into which we should have proceeded further, but the creek was spanned by a bridge too small for our vessel to pass. We were therefore compelled to remain at anchor, and send boats in for the silk. All the specie was placed in them, comparatively unprotected, only the supercargo and two of our crew going in charge of it; and yet it[66] was taken into the very heart of Ti-pingdom in perfect safety.

We remained about three weeks at San-le-jow, while our supercargo was absent purchasing silk; and during this time I determined to see as much of Ti-pingdom and the Ti-pings as possible. I constantly visited the neighbouring villages to endeavour to ascertain what feeling the country people entertained for the Ti-ping rule. I was pleased to find them in every instance completely happy and contented; and was particularly struck by the gratified manner in which they would attract my notice to their long hair—the emblem of the Ti-ping and freedom, as opposed to the Manchoo and the shaven-headed, tail-wearing badge of slavery they inflict upon the Chinese. During my rambles I took my servant, A-ling, with me, and, as he was a capital interpreter, I was enabled to fully investigate all I cared for or found interesting.

As San-le-jow was only about twenty miles distant from the important provincial capital, Soo-chow, I engaged a boat, took A-ling with me, and, reaching the city, spent seven or eight days there very pleasantly.

I have visited many parts of Asia, but never in my life, not even amongst people of my own race, have I met with the kindness, hospitality, and earnest friendship I experienced from the Ti-pings. I shall never forget the deep impression I received at the moment I first met them: it was instantaneous, I required no further knowledge or explanation; I felt a mysterious sympathy in their favour, and, from that day to this, my frequent intercourse with them has only strengthened and cemented my first opinions.

The testimony of persons who have themselves seen the Ti-pings is unanimous as to their striking superiority over the Imperialists. Not only is their personal appearance infinitely more pleasing, but their entire character, physically and morally, exhibits the same wonderful superiority.[67]

All Europe has for many years considered the Chinese the most absurd and unnatural people in the world; their shaven head, tail, oblique eyes, grotesque costume, and the deformed feet of their women, have long furnished subjects for the most ludicrous attempts of caricaturists; while the atmosphere of seclusion, superstition, and arrogance, with which they delight to surround themselves, has always excited the ridicule and contempt of Europeans. Now, among the Ti-pings, these things, with the exception of the physiognomy, have all disappeared, and even their features seem improved—probably through their mental and bodily relief from thraldom.

One of the most remarkable contrasts between the Ti-pings and their enslaved countrymen, the Imperialists, and the first to attract the observation of foreigners, is their complete difference of appearance and costume. The Chinese are known as a comparatively stupid-looking, badly-dressed race; the disfigurement of the shaved head not a little causing this. One presents a type of the whole—a dull, apathetic countenance, without expression or intelligence, except what resembles the half-cunning, half-fearful manner of slaves; their energies seem bound, their hopes and spirits crushed by wrong and oppression. The Ti-pings, on the other hand, immediately impress an observer by their intelligence, continual inquisitiveness, and thirst for knowledge. It is, indeed, utterly impossible, judging from their different intellectual capacities, to come to the conclusion that they are both natives of the same country—a difference more marked cannot be conceived. The Ti-pings are a clever, candid, and martial people, rendered peculiarly attractive by the indescribable air of freedom which they possess. Where you would see the servile Tartar-subdued Chinamen continually cringing, the Ti-pings exhibit, even in the face of death, nothing but the erect, stately carriage of free men.

It is a singular fact that the handsomest men and women in China are to be seen in the Ti-ping array. This[68] may possibly be partly the result of their difference of dress and of wearing the hair, but the main cause is undoubtedly the ennobling effect of their religion and freedom. The dress consists of very broad petticoat trousers, mostly of black silk, bound round the waist with a long sash, which also contains their sword and pistols; a short jacket, generally red, reaching just to the waist and fitting tight to the body, forms their upper garment. But it is the style in which they wear their hair that forms their principal ornament: they allow it to grow without cutting, it is then plaited into a queue at the back of the head, into which is worked a tail of red silk cord, and it is always worn wound round the head in the form of a turban, the end, a large tassel, hanging down on the left shoulder. Their shoes are of varied colour, with flowers and embroidery worked all over them (the boots of Imperialists are quite different, being not only slightly of another shape, but always plain).

During my subsequent intercourse with the Ti-pings I found the above costume the summer one of the soldiers; the body-guards of the different chiefs wear their own particular colours, the edges of the jacket being always embroidered and braided with a different one, forming a regular uniform. In the cold weather they mostly wear fur-jackets, or other warm garments. The colours of their clothing vary much, in some cases the jacket being black silk and the trousers white, and in others blue, black, white, red, or yellow, according to their different corps. Yellow is the colour of only the highest chiefs, or of their king. The chiefs all wear long outside dresses, reaching to nearly the feet, of either blue, red, or yellow silk, according to their rank. On the head they wear a silk scarf, or hood, with a jewel fastened to the front as the badge of their position. In hot weather one and all wear large straw hats very prettily embroidered, the crown quite small, and the brim about a foot broad, which gives them a very gay and singular appearance. The[69] great chiefs, who are titled Wang (generalissimos, or governors of districts), have a much more costly and elaborate dress. Upon all occasions of importance they wear their state robes and coronets, and the appearance they present when so arrayed is really magnificent. Being almost invariably men of a very energetic and expressive mien, when attired in their long robes, covered with ancient Chinese designs, fabulous animals, or fancy patterns, all worked in gold, silver, and jewels, with their jewelled coronets, and with their gold embroidered shoes, it would be utterly impossible to imagine a more splendid or effective costume.


Many of the Ti-pings come from the province of Honan, and the Chinese say the natives of that part are the handsomest in China. The truth of this I fully believe, for having made it a particular point of inquiry to ascertain the native place of every Ti-ping I have met of more than ordinary appearance, I have invariably found the best-featured were either Honan men or came from the hilly parts of the Kiang-si province. Honan forms a central portion of China, and has long been remarkable for producing some of the best soldiers; but it is especially its braves, who man great numbers of the Mandarin gunboats which are used all through the inland waters, that are celebrated for their courage. The Honan people are easily distinguished by the lightness of their complexion; the shape of their nose, which is high and well-formed like the European; the largeness, and little approximation to the oblique, of their eyes; and their superior stature. In a few cases I have met men not inferior to any race in the world for beauty, while it would be difficult to imagine a more picturesque bearing than they present with their dark massive hair wound around their heads by scarlet silken fillets, so as to form a shade for their expressive eyes and animated countenances. Some of these youthful Honan Ti-pings are as well featured and handsome as an Andalusian beauty, their black[70] eyes and long lashes, olive complexion, and beardless faces rendering the resemblance more striking.

Upon my arrival at Soo-chow I received the kindest reception, and obtained an audience of several of the principal chiefs in the city. But little trace of the former magnificence of the "Chinese Paris" remained; its present possessors had only captured the city a few months, and the sad traces of civil war were everywhere around. The Imperialist troops had themselves burned and devastated the once rich suburbs, and the Ti-pings, in their usual manner upon the capture of a city, had destroyed all public and private buildings of the Manchoo construction, or any that tended to remind them of the hateful Tartar occupation. New suburbs, however, were springing up in every direction, and a considerable trade likewise, all commerce being carried on outside the walls. Within the city itself, the destruction had been extensive, and numberless workmen were employed erecting handsome new dwellings, those for the principal chiefs being of the best description. No trade was permitted within the walls, a very necessary precaution in China, for otherwise the place would be instantly filled by numbers of the enemy disguised as traders, &c. In this the Ti-pings have only acted as every other dynasty during its commencement, all (the present Manchoo included) having pursued the same policy. Many persons ignorant of this, after visiting Ti-ping cities, have reported that the inhabitants never return to them from fear of the new rulers; but we must remember the late war in America and the occupation of Atlanta by the Federal troops, who compelled the inhabitants to leave the city; it will then be seen that the military occupation of fortified towns by the Ti-pings is much about the same as it is with people of our own race. Outside the ramparts a crowd of soldiers and labourers were hard at work throwing up fortifications, while, inside, others were converting the remaining streets into extensive barracks.[71]

I found the chief in command was the Chung-wang, Le, who for the last few years had held the supreme position of Commander-in-Chief of all the Ti-ping forces. He very kindly granted me an audience, and made me live in his palace while I remained at Soo-chow, although he had only lately been driven from Shanghae, and hundreds of his men killed (rather say murdered, for they were slaughtered without the slightest justification) by the British.

I had long felt a desire to behold the celebrated leader of the Ti-ping forces, who, until the intervention of England, had been invincible, and now my wish was gratified. I no sooner found myself before the Chung-wang than I respected him—he appeared so unmistakably a master spirit, with the innate nobleness of presence of one born to command and govern.

For a chief of so exalted and powerful a position, and who, moreover, had received ample provocation to treat Englishmen as his deadliest enemies, Chung-wang received me with remarkable condescension and kindness. Whereas the meanest official understrapper of the Manchoo government would with the most insulting hauteur receive any foreigner (unless under coercion, as when the treaties have been arranged), and consider himself degraded by any contact, the Chung-wang, generalissimo of some four or five hundred thousand men, second personage in the Ti-ping government (being only inferior to the Tien-wang, the king), and Viceroy of the whole territory (at that period more than twice the size of England, and containing more than 70,000,000 inhabitants), advanced from his vice-regal chair, and shaking me by the hand in English style, made me be seated close to himself. He seemed about thirty-five years of age, though the trace of arduous mental and physical exertion gave him a rather worn and older appearance. His figure light, active, and wiry, was particularly well formed, though scarcely of the Chinese middle height; his bearing erect and dignified, his walk[72] rapid but stately. His features were very strongly marked, expressive, and good, though not handsome according to the Chinese idea, being slightly of a more European cast than they admire; the nose straighter than usual among Chinese; the mouth small, almost delicate, and with the general shape of the jaw and sharply chiselled lips, expressive of great courage and determination. His complexion dark; but it was his brow and eyes that at once told the observer he beheld a great and remarkable man. It was not alone his singularly high and expansive forehead, but the eyebrows and eyes, which, instead of being placed obliquely, as is the usual characteristic of the Chinese, were quite dissimilar: the eyes were nearly straight, the only Chinese part being the shape of the eyelids; and the brows, placed high above them, were almost even, the inner, in place of the outer, ends being slightly elevated. This peculiarity I have never seen so prominent in any other Chinaman; I have seen a few natives of Honan approach to it a little, but it gave the Chung-wang an un-Chinese look.

His large eyes flashed incessantly, while the lids were always twitching. From his very energetic features, and the ceaseless nervous movement of his body (some part being continually on the move and restless, either the legs crossing or uncrossing, the feet patting the ground, or the hands clasping, unclasping, or fidgeting about, and all by sudden starts), no one would imagine he could possess such perfect coolness in battle; yet I have often since observed him in action, when, in spite of his apparent excitability, his self-possession was imperturbable, and his voice—always low and soft, with a musical flow of language, slightly affected by a wound he received from a piece of a British shell before Shanghae, in the month of August, 1860—unchanged, save being more rapid and decisive in moments of the greatest danger. When I obtained my first interview with the Chung-wang, I found him rather plainly dressed. Instead of the long robes[73] and large coronets, constituting the state dress of all the superior chiefs, he was simply attired in an ordinary scarlet quilted jacket. On his head he wore a scarlet hood, of the usual shape, surmounted by a kind of undress coronet peculiar to himself, consisting of a large and valuable jewel in the front, with eight curious gold medallions, four in a row on each side.


While in Soo-chow I became one of the congregation of Ti-pings during their performance of divine service on Sunday. The Sabbath is observed not upon the same day as in Europe, theirs being the Saturday of our reckoning. My interpreter was with me, and translated every part of their service. Their numbers, and apparent devotion, could not have been objected to by the most orthodox Christian.

I shall ever remember with feelings of the liveliest pleasure the first few days I spent with the Ti-pings at Soo-chow. I could not move through its streets without experiencing the excessive friendliness of these warm-hearted converts to Christianity and civilization, thousands of whom were afterwards destroyed by a nation whose religion and civilized institutions they were earnestly striving to imitate.[74]

Nor can I ever forget the eager manner with which, the moment I was seated in his house, my entertainer for the time being would give a copy of the Bible to my servant—waiting impatiently with the book in his hands till the etiquette of presenting me some tea had been observed,—asking if it was the same as mine; and his satisfaction, when, after hearing parts of it translated, I assured him that it was.

The conversation I had with the Chung-wang naturally touched upon his late repulse from Shanghae by the British and French. He seemed to feel that event very deeply, and deplore the suicidal policy of those he had always striven to make his friends. The points of his communication were:—Why had the English and French broken faith with him? the English particularly, whose solemn written guarantees of neutrality the Ti-ping government held. The Ti-pings and the English worshipped the same God and the same Saviour, and were consequently of one religion and brotherhood, why, then, did they assist the common enemy, the Manchoo imps—the idol-worshippers and enemies of our Heavenly Father and Jesus the heavenly elder brother? By what right or law did the English soldiers take charge of the native city of Shanghae, preventing him, their friend, from capturing it, and defend it for the very Manchoos with whom at the time they were themselves at war?

Neither shall I ever forget the noble, enlightened, and patriotic designs, which absorbed them:—to propagate the Bible, to destroy idols, to expel the Tartars from China, and establish one complete and undivided native empire; to become brothers with the Christian nations of the West, and introduce European sciences and manufactures—seemed always their principal wish and determination.

He continually inquired: "Why are the English inimical to us? Have we ever done them the slightest[75] harm? Have we not always acted with good faith and friendship?"

"Cannot your foreign nations see," he said, "that the imps of Hien-fung (the Manchoo Emperor of China), knowing you are of the same religion and family as ourselves, are plotting to establish a connection with you in order to produce trouble, misunderstanding, and separation between us? To do this they will tell many lies, pretend to be very friendly, and for the time let you do much trade to fool you."

This observation of the Chung-wang's is a good proof of his penetration and judgment; he only forgot to notice the fact that the Manchoo government had been compelled to pretend friendship, to allow increased trade, &c., by the British occupation of Pekin, in the first place; he was, however, undoubtedly right as to their after intrigue.

Another very important remark the Chung-wang made, was:—"If you take Shanghae and a few le round it into your protection, how will you be able, in such a limited space, to dispose of your merchandise, or carry on any traffic with the interior, if I, in retaliation, choose to prevent you?"

When I told him any such policy on his part would probably lead to a war with the English, he replied:—

"Never! unless you reckon upon my forbearance; I have all the silk and many tea districts in my possession, and I can stop all your trade in a moment if I am so inclined. If I beat you, in event of hostilities, I shall then make you reasonable and cause you to mind your own affairs without interfering in our endeavours to expel the Manchoo; but if, on the other hand, you beat me, who can prevent my destroying all the silk and tea plantations, and so removing for ever the only thing you come to China for, and the only cause you would fight about? My soldiers are brave and innumerable, they cover the silk and the tea lands."[76]

These arguments of the Chung-wang were perfectly just and unanswerable. What honest-minded man really acquainted with the facts of the case can deny it?

With all his shrewdness and foresight, the Chung-wang was himself too enlightened and large-hearted to hit upon the true reason for British hostility. It did not occur to him that at the close of an expensive war which had resulted in the legalization of the opium trade, and had otherwise benefitted the English, it would not suit their policy—however beneficial it might prove to the Chinese—however imperatively it might be demanded by the sacred voice of humanity, to interfere with the advantages derivable from the Elgin treaties, the indemnity, and the traffic in opium—the use of which is prohibited upon pain of death by the Ti-pings.

The kindness I experienced was disinterested, genuine, and without a motive. Though some persons have considered their striking friendliness to foreigners has been the carrying out of a plan in order to secure the non-intervention of the European powers, all I saw of the Ti-pings, their earnest religious enthusiasm, patriotism, and generally noble sentiments, impressed me seriously. Before leaving Soo-chow I became warmly attached to their cause, than which—all my future intercourse has convinced me—a more righteous, or holy, never existed upon earth, and I therefore determined to aid and advocate it to the utmost of my power.

When upon the point of returning to my vessel, I informed the Chung-wang of my intention, and volunteered my services, at the same time requesting him to furnish me with some document or pass that would enable me to return, or travel, to any part of his dominions. The Chung-wang, after a short conversation with some of his chiefs, told my servant to inform me he would give me an honorary commission upon his staff, and then I should be able to act in whichever way I might find best, and to traverse every part of Ti-pingdom without let or hindrance.[77]

At last my commission was made out, the Chung-wang affixed his seal, and amidst the congratulations of the surrounding chiefs I became an honorary Ti-ping officer. I afterwards learnt that in consideration of my being a foreigner, and the nature of the commission, the usual formalities of investiture had been foregone; such as examination upon the Bible, swearing allegiance to the Ti-ping wang, and to expel the Manchoo.

After taking leave of my new friends and comrades, I discharged the boat I had arrived in, taking my departure on board a gun-vessel the Chung-wang had kindly placed at my disposal. While on my passage, I observed many people apparently returning to their homes in the neighbourhood of Soo-chow; I halted at some of the villages on my route, and found in all of them huge yellow placards, which my interpreter read as Ti-ping imperial proclamations calling upon the people to return to their homes without fear, to remain quiet, and lawfully to render a certain amount of tribute (a little over a third of the Manchoo taxation) to the Ti-ping general treasury. At the gateways of Soo-chow, and at several villages I passed, I saw heads hung up with notices attached, stating they were those of soldiers decapitated for plundering the country people, one for smoking opium, and another for carrying off a villager's daughter.

It was a singular fact that about every fourth village had been completely burned and destroyed. Sometimes I passed three villages, the two outside ones perfect and the central one entirely gutted. Upon inquiry, the country people said the Imperialists had been the destroyers; others said the inhabitants having run away and gone off with the "imps" (Imperialists), they had punished them by burning their habitations; while some said the destroyed villages had been fortified and defended by the Manchoo troops, and so, when captured by the Ti-pings, had been destroyed. This last I had reason to believe the correct account, for I noticed in all the ruined[78] villages various traces of strife, and some seemed to have been surrounded with a wall or stockade and the houses loopholed; while, here and there, half hidden among the débris and tall rank weeds, lay some human skeletons.

When I reached the steamer, no silk having arrived, I had time to see more of the country. In one direction, some few miles from San-li-jow, I found a considerable tract of land perfectly desolated, not a dwelling nor habitation of any sort standing, and the fields untended, with the rice or paddy growing wild.

It appeared this part had been severely contested by the Ti-ping and Imperialist troops, and between them it had become a solitude. I made several trips to this locality with my gun, and always returned well recompensed with golden plover and pheasants, which I generally flushed among the ruins of what had once been houses. The paddy-fields about here were impenetrable, being mostly a perfect jungle six or seven feet high, and full of ugly-looking green and yellow diamond-speckled snakes.

In the villages around San-li-jow I particularly noticed the exactitude with which the Ti-ping soldiers paid the country people for everything they required. I was told in one that a soldier dare not so much as take an egg without paying for it, and the villagers all stated it was "good trade" with the Ti-pings, because they gave a better price than the Imperialists.

In a few days after my return from Soo-chow the silk arrived, and while we were busily employed taking it on board, a large Ti-ping army came in sight. Some were marching along ashore, but by far the greater number were being transported by water; for miles, as far as the eye could reach, the sinuosities of the creek were covered with the sails of the vessels. I counted the number of boats passing within half an hour at one hundred, and the numbers in each at a fair average of twenty; therefore, the flotilla continuing to pass for seven hours, I estimated[79] the approximate strength of the army at 30,000 men, including those ashore. Many of the leaders came alongside in their boats, and spent a few minutes on board with us; amongst them I found one or two I had met at Soo-chow, who informed me they were proceeding to attack the important provincial capital, Hang-chow. All who boarded us were very eager to purchase firearms, and I was sorry we could not muster half a dozen stand for them altogether. Many brought guns on board with the locks out of order, and by repairing these our engineers reaped a munificent reward. During the whole time the flotilla was passing we received many salutations and friendly remarks, and I did not hear a single insulting or depreciating expression made use of towards us; whereas, amongst Imperialist troops it would be impossible to venture without being subjected to the grossest insult and contumely.

It has been the invariable habit to immensely exaggerate the strength of the Ti-ping armies, and this force upon the march for Hang-chow was supposed by Europeans to number several hundred thousand. It was commanded in chief by the Ting-wang, Prince of the Eastern Provinces.

When all our silk had arrived, we gave the chief of San-li-jow a farewell dinner on board, he having treated us with much hospitality and kindness during our stay; and after an exchange of presents (we gave him a few bottles of cherry brandy, some boxes of percussion-caps, a couple of muskets, and a few other things; and in return received a present of some pigs, fowls, ducks, and pieces of silk, a much more valuable one than ours) started for Shanghae.

We returned to the Wong-poo river, and Imperialist territory, by a different route to that by which we had left it, and in this direction, likewise, found one of the most prominent changes in the country—the total destruction of the idols and Buddhist temples. The desolating traces of civil war were also more visible.[80]

We anchored for the night preceding our re-entry into the Imperialist lines, getting all our arms in readiness. Starting early in the morning, we fortunately caught the ebb tide, and so, after running the gauntlet past our allies, reached Shanghae safely the same afternoon.

Of course, my first moment was devoted to Marie. The relations she was living with—the poor relations of the family—acted with great kindness towards us; they were completely estranged from Marie's miserly father, and looked favourably upon our attachment. Fortunately my occupation was very much of a sinecure; so, often during the day I found time to fulfil our almost hourly assignations. Each night I returned to my ship with Marie's whisper "Till to-morrow" dwelling in my heart.

A short half-month of unmingled happiness soon passed away, and again came the hour of separation. We were to part—not with the whispered promise upon our lips, not with the anticipated pleasure of the morrow in our hearts; but for long weeks, perhaps even months: the very uncertainty was painful.

Mournfully sounded the last "adios" from the shore, but more mournfully still the echo that followed me over the waters from the little boat fast disappearing in the gloom of night, as we steamed out of the harbour—"adios!"




Organization of the Ti-pings.—Hung-sui-tshuen's Manifesto.—Hung-sui-tshuen Emperor.—Proclamation of Rank.—Ti-ping Titles.—Siege of Yung-gnan.—Ti-ping Successes.—Their Moderation in Victory.—King Yang's Proclamation.—Tien-Wang's Proclamation.—Cruelty of Imperialists.—Cause of the Revolution.—Chinese History Reviewed.—Corrupt Government.—Tartar Ride.—Manchoo Barbarity.

The Ti-ping Revolution, even during its earlier stages, when emerging from the obscurity of mere local insurrection, was conducted in a very systematic and organized manner.

Just four months after the first outbreak, and four months previous to the capture of Yung-gnan, the Manchoo governor of the province (Kwang-si), whose letter is translated and quoted by Consul Meadows, wrote as follows:—

"Both Hung-sui-tshuen and Fung-yun-san are skilled in the use of troops. Hung-sui-tshuen is a man of dangerous character, who practises the ancient military arts. At first he conceals his strength, then he puts it forth a little, then in a greater degree, and lastly comes on in great force. He constantly has two victories for one defeat, for he practises the tactics of Sun-pin (an ancient Chinese warrior and celebrated tactician). The other day I obtained a rebel book, describing the organization of one army. It is the Sze-mar system of the Chow dynasty. A division has its general of division; a regiment has its colonel; an army consists of 13,270 men, being the strength of an ancient army, with the addition of upwards of a hundred men. * * *

"The rebels increase more and more; our troops—the more they fight the more they fear. The rebels generally are powerful and fierce, and they cannot by any means be likened to a disorderly crowd, their regulations and laws being rigorous and clear."


Thus it appears that even before the rebellion attained a political status, its organization was perfect, and that, too, within four months of its commencement. In spite of the mass of trustworthy evidence on this point, and the latterly improved constitution of the Ti-pings, some persons have foolishly declared the Ti-pings possess no organization whatever. The partisan spirit of such people carries them altogether beyond their mark; for any one, not totally ignorant of Chinese character, is perfectly well aware that for any body of Chinese to exist without organization is impossible. We have only to look towards Java, Australia, California, India, or wherever a body of Chinese may be found separate, to see they are invariably organized. The colonies formed in the above countries are all governed by chiefs of their own electing. At Batavia and various other parts of Java, Borneo, &c., these chiefs and their inferior officials, hold a recognized position in the Dutch administration. From their very cradles precepts of order and submission are so well engrafted and inculcated, that no nature is so amenable to control as a Chinaman's.[4]

Hung-sui-tshuen, previous to the capture of Yung-gnan, issued the following reply to the celebrated Commissioner Lin's summons to surrender:—

"The Manchoos who, for two centuries, have been in hereditary possession of the throne of China, are descended from an insignificant nation of foreigners. By means of an army of veteran soldiers well trained to warfare, they seized on our treasures, our lands, and the government of our country, thereby proving that the only thing requisite for usurping empire is the fact of being the strongest. There is, therefore, no difference between ourselves, who lay contributions on the villages we take, and the agents sent from Pekin to collect taxes. Why, then, without any motive, are troops dispatched against us? Such a proceeding strikes us as a very unjust one. What! is it possible that the Manchoos, who are foreigners, [83]have a right to receive the taxes of the captured provinces, and to name officers who oppress the people, while we Chinese are prohibited from taking a trifling amount at the public cost? Universal sovereignty does not belong to any one particular individual, to the exclusion of all the rest. And such a thing has never been known, as one dynasty being able to trace a line of a hundred generations of emperors. The right to govern consists in possession."

In this manifesto the insurgents claim the throne, from the fact that, being Chinese, to them by right it belonged.

This document, from which the above is an extract, proved such an effective and injurious one to poor Commissioner Lin, that he never rallied from the shock. Before dying, he memorialized his Emperor, informing him the rebels professed Christianity, and derived their origin from the hated "barbarians" (Europeans).

Hung-sui-tshuen effected the capture of the city of Yung-gnan by a very extraordinary stratagem:—

"The insurgents advanced quickly to the walls, which are not very high, and by throwing an immense quantity of lighted fire-crackers into the town, the continued explosion of which brought confusion among the soldiers within, and caused them to retreat, they easily succeeded in scaling the walls and entering the city."

Hung-sui-tshuen was no sooner proclaimed first emperor of the new dynasty of Ti-ping (Extreme Peace), with the title of Tien-teh-Ti-ping-Wang (Heavenly Virtue Extreme Peace King), than he immediately issued his manifestoes in imperial style.

During the first two months, the framing of new regulations, electing of officers, and bestowing rewards upon those who had previously distinguished themselves, were attended to. Proclamations calling upon the soldiers to fight bravely, and promising them reward, were issued, in one of which the seventh commandment is rigorously enforced by the following passage:—

"There shall assuredly be no forgiveness, and we expressly enjoin upon the soldiers and officers not to show the least leniency, or screen the offenders, lest we bring down upon ourselves the indignation of the great God our Heavenly Father."


The following is the proclamation bestowing upon the five principal leaders their rank and title:—

"Our Heavenly Father, the great God and supreme Lord, is one true Spirit (God); besides our Heavenly Father, the great God and supreme Lord, there is no Spirit (God). The great God, our Heavenly Father and supreme Lord, is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent—the supreme over all. There is not an individual who is not produced and nourished by him. He is Shang (Supreme). He is the Te (Ruler). Besides the great God, our Heavenly Father and supreme Lord, there is no one who can be called Shang, and no one who can be called Te.

"Therefore, from henceforth all you soldiers and officers may designate us as your lord, and that is all; you must not call me supreme, lest you should encroach upon the designation of our Heavenly Father. Our Heavenly Father is our Holy Father, and our Celestial Elder Brother is our Holy Lord, the Saviour of the world. Hence our Heavenly Father and Celestial Elder Brother alone are holy; and from henceforth all you soldiers and officers may designate us as your lord, and that is all; but you must not call me holy, lest you encroach upon the designation of our Heavenly Father and Celestial Elder Brother. The great God, our Heavenly Father and supreme Lord, is our Spiritual Father, our Ghostly Father. Formerly we had ordered you to designate the first and second ministers of state, together with the generals-in-chief of the van and rear, royal fathers, which was a temporary indulgence in conformity with the corrupt customs of the present world; but, according to the true doctrine, this was a slight encroachment on the prerogative of our Heavenly Father, for our Heavenly Father is alone entitled to the designation of Father. We have now appointed the chief minister of state and general-in-chief to be designated the Eastern King, having charge of all the states in the Eastern region. We have also appointed the second minister of state and assistant general-in-chief to be designated the Western King, having charge of all the states in the Western region. We have further appointed the general of the advanced guard to be designated the Southern King, having charge of all the states in the Southern region. And we have likewise appointed the general of the rear guard to be designated the Northern King, having charge of all the states in the Northern region. We have furthermore appointed our brother Shih-tah-kae to be assistant-king, to aid in sustaining our Celestial court. All the kings above referred to are to be under the superintendence of the Eastern king. We have also issued a proclamation designating our Queen as the lady of all ladies (Empress), and our concubines as royal ladies. Respect this!"

The above document was translated by Dr. Medhurst. All words commencing with a capital letter are placed in the proclamation certain degrees higher than the rest.[85] All words used to denote the Almighty being elevated three spaces, those denoting the chiefs one space.

By observing the passages in italics, it cannot fail to be understood that the appellation "Elder Brother" has not the blasphemous tendency some persons have imagined. Even had it, is that a reason why thousands of Christians in error should be slaughtered by a cruel intervention? Why, the very idea is monstrous! Yet some have been found who made the term "Elder Brother" an excuse for exterminating the Ti-pings, instead of doing their duty by teaching them better if necessary. There is another and more important reason why, had Hung-sui-tshuen, or rather the Tien-wang—as we shall for the future, in conformity with his title amongst his followers, term him—literally called himself the brother of our Saviour, Englishmen should be the last to throw stones at him; for have they not their Unitarians, who deny his divinity altogether? Why, then, do these war Christians go to China to defend the name of the Saviour, when here in England their zeal is more required. If people are to be massacred for making a wrong use of the attributes of our Saviour (when they do so through ignorance), then the slaughter should commence at home, with those who have every opportunity of acquiring a more correct knowledge. It would be as reasonable to suppose that Hung-sui-tshuen arrogates to himself the attributes of God by his title Tien-wang (Heavenly King), as that he considers himself the equal of Jesus, and one of the Trinity, by his style of "Younger Brother."

His titles, Tien-wang, Younger Brother, &c., are no more to be literally understood than any of the extravagant designations of the Manchoo Emperor (Celestial Ruler, Monarch of the Universe, Brother of the Sun, &c.), the Llama of Thibet, or any other Asiatic ruler; but is only the usual Chinese metaphorical style of naming their princes, and setting forth their dignity and high position. The Ti-pings are themselves the very last to entertain any[86] other idea; and often when I have questioned them, they have ridiculed such an heathenish and absurd belief as that their chief was more than mortal. Their replies have always been essentially practical; such as—"He is but a man like themselves, though a very great one." His prophecies, however, were believed to be inspired; his divine commission to earthly sovereignty and propagation of the Faith was likewise universally believed, though the blasphemies attributed to him, and circulated by interested European maligners, are without foundation. "Younger Brother" is the usual and touching Chinese figurative style of expressing an affectionate and dependent situation. The Tien-wang, when using it, simply expresses that relative position he wishes his people to believe he occupies, as our Saviour's faithful servant and disciple.

The Ti-pings, as we may now fairly call them, were allowed but short respite in the city of Yung-gnan. A large army of Imperialists, under the command of a celebrated Tartar general, Woo-lan-tae, invested the city upon every side, reducing the besieged to fearful extremities; till, at last, death by famine or the sword seemed their only fate. During November, 1851, all their outposts had been driven in with great loss, their spirits were damped, and the close of their existence seemed near at hand.

At length, after enduring incredible sufferings from famine and sickness, and a close siege of five months, during the night of the 7th of April, 1852, the Ti-pings sallied out from the city in three divisions, and after severe fighting, in which their losses were very heavy, succeeded in cutting their way through the besiegers and marching to the north-east, unfortunately leaving many of the sick and wounded prisoners, all of whom were barbarously tortured and put to death. Shortly after their escape from Yung-gnan, the Ti-pings laid siege to the provincial capital, Kwei-lin, but being unprovided with guns or sufficient powder to mine the walls, after a[87] month spent before the city, they raised the siege, and marched into the adjoining province of Hoo-nan. At this time the total strength of the Ti-pings, men, women, and children included, numbered less than ten thousand persons. After capturing the city of Taou-chow, in the southern part of Hoo-nan, during the next three months they pressed steadily northward, capturing many cities on the way, and overthrowing all opposition. Early in September they arrived before the capital city of the Hoo-nan province, Chang-sha, and intrenching themselves, commenced a regular siege, which lasted more than two months. Upon this important place all the Imperialist forces were immediately concentrated, and the plains before the city became the battle-ground of many severe actions, generally favourable to the Ti-pings. During the months of September, October, and November, the latter made several attempts to carry the city by assault, but were each time severely repulsed by the garrison, who held out with determined bravery. Upon the 29th of November, the last assault upon Chang-sha was repulsed with heavy loss to the besiegers, and upon the following day the siege was abandoned, and they moved off in a north-westerly direction.

The next movement of the Ti-pings was attended with better fortune, for, reaching the Tung-ting lake, they carried the city of Yoh-chow, which was situated at the junction of the lake with the river Yang-tze-kiang, by storm. Considerably enriched by the granaries and treasury of that city, they changed their line of march and proceeded in a north-easterly direction, down the course of the Yang-tze, conveyed by the large fleet of junks and war-boats they had captured on the lake. Upon the 23rd of December they reached the city of Han-yang, upon the north bank of the river. Capturing this place with but slight opposition, they crossed to the south side, and invested the vice-regal city Wu-chang-foo. After mining the walls and making a practicable breach, upon[88] the 12th of January they assaulted and carried the city, the lieutenant-governor of Hoo-nan falling in its defence, together with a large number of his officers and troops. Collecting immense booty from these two cities and the adjoining unwalled emporium, Han-kow, early in February, with a vast fleet loaded with men and stores, they proceeded down the river. On the 18th, the large and important city of Kew-kiang, situated close to the junction of the Poyang lake with the river, fell before their arms. The city of Ngan-king, capital of the province of Ngan-Hwui, was captured on the 25th. On the 4th of March Wu-hoo was taken, and on the 8th the Ti-ping forces sat down before the walls of Nan-kin.

These successes of the insurgents were followed by the degradation of all Imperialist leaders who should have prevented them. The court of Pekin deprived the imperial commissioner Keshen of his rank of Lieutenant-General of Tartar bannermen; Sae-shang-ah, the general of the Imperialist troops in Hoo-nan, was sentenced to be decapitated; Sin, the Viceroy of the two Kwang, was deprived of his vice-royalty and two-eyed peacock's tail; while all their property was confiscated to the government. Meanwhile the Ti-pings, by their moderation and success, by their kindness, and protection of the country people who did not oppose them;—by controlling their troops and followers from committing the usual excesses and crimes—the scourges of war, even in civilized countries; had obtained for themselves the goodwill and confidence of the people in a very large degree. Reinforcements poured in from every side; all those in local revolt, or in any way aggrieved by their tyrannical authorities; all who were in any manner dissatisfied with the foreign dynasty, or felt a spark of patriotism, flocked to the Tien-wang's standard. And now, as the Bishop of Victoria has said, before the ancient capital of the empire, a body of some 100,000 men, bound together by one religious hope and by one political aim,—the highest and most noble purposes[89] of human ambition—those of civil and religious liberty—were congregated; following implicitly the guidance of a leader they believed sent by divine authority to expel their foreign masters, and overthrow idolatry throughout the length and breadth of the land. Marvellous and unparalleled beyond conception was this rising-up of the people,—as a psychological phenomenon it stands unrivalled in extent and magnitude in modern history. To behold leagued together, not only the effeminate Chinese, but even their women,—wives and daughters fighting by the side of their husbands and fathers, inspired by one common hope and ardour—all animated by a great religious and political object, for the attainment of which they had suffered and fought many years,—is an event never before realized in the history of China.

The Bishop of Victoria thus writes of them:—

"Throughout their long line of march, for 1,500 miles, over fertile and populous districts, plunders, murder, and rape, the usual attendant curses of Asiatic warfare, were denounced and punished by death. With more than Puritanical strictness, they waged an internecine war with the most dearly cherished sensual habits of their countrymen. The ten moral rules of the Decalogue were enforced, and a stricter interpretation attached to its terms. Amorous glances, libidinous songs, and all the common incentives to profligacy, were prohibited and abandoned. The drinking of wine, the smoking of tobacco, gambling, lying, swearing, and, above all, indulgence in the fumes of opium, were denounced and abolished with a moral determination which permitted no half measures."

During the triumphant march of the Ti-pings from the city of Yung-gnan, many proclamations were issued by the Tien-wang and his chiefs, to justify their rebellion and inform the people. The earliest and most important was the following, issued by Yang, the Eastern King:—

"We hereby promulgate our explicit orders in every place, and say, Oh, you multitudes! listen to our words. We conceive that the empire belongs to the Chinese, and not to the Tartars; the food and raiment found therein belong to the Chinese, and not to the Tartars; the men and women inhabiting this region are subjects and children of the Chinese, and not of the Tartars. But, alas! ever since the Ming dynasty lost its [90]influence, the Manchoos availed themselves of the opportunity to throw China into confusion, and deprive the Chinese of their empire; they also robbed them of their food and clothing, as well as oppressed their sons and ravished their daughters; and the Chinese, notwithstanding they possessed such an extensive territory and multitudinous subjects, allowed the Tartars to do as they pleased without making the least objection. Can the Chinese still deem themselves men? Ever since the Manchoos have spread their poisonous influence through China, the flame of oppression has risen up to heaven, and the vapour of corruption has defiled the celestial throne, the offensive odour has spread over the four seas, and the demoniacal influence has distressed surrounding regions; while the Chinese, with bowed heads and dejected spirits, willingly became the servants of others. How strange it is that there are no men in China! China is the head, Tartary is the feet; China is the land of spirits, Tartary the land of demons. Why may China be deemed the land of spirits? Because the true Spirit, the great God, our heavenly Father, made heaven and earth, the land and the sea (and the Chinese honour him); therefore from of old China has been termed the land of spirits. Why are the Tartars to be considered demons? Because the devilish serpent, the king of Hades, is a corrupt demon, and the Tartars have been in the habit of worshipping him; therefore may the Tartars be considered demons. But, alas! the feet have assumed the place of the head, and demons have usurped the land of spirits; while they have constrained our Chinese people to become demons like themselves.[5] If all the bamboos of the southern hills were to be used as pens, they would not be enough to detail the obscenities of these Tartars; and if all the waves of the Eastern sea were to be employed, they would not be sufficient to wash away their sins, which reach to heaven. We will merely enumerate a few general circumstances that are known to all men. The Chinese have a form peculiarly their own; but these Manchoos have commanded them to shave the hair round their heads,[6] and wear a long tail behind, thus causing the Chinese to assume the appearance of brute animals. The Chinese have a dress peculiar to themselves, but these Manchoos have caused them to wear knobs on their caps, with Tartar clothes and monkey caps,[7] while they discard the robes and head-dress of former dynasties, thus causing the Chinese to forget their origin. The Chinese have their own laws and regulations; but the Manchoos have manufactured devilish enactments, so that our Chinese people cannot escape the meshes of their net,[8] nor can they tell how to dispose of their hands and feet,[91] by which means our young men are brought entirely under their control. The Chinese have their own language; but the Manchoos have introduced the slang of the capital, and interfered with Chinese expressions, designing thus to seduce the Chinese by their Tartar brogue. Whenever drought and inundations occur, the government manifests no compassion; but quietly sees our people scattered abroad or dying of hunger, until the bleached bones are as thick as jungle, by which the country is depopulated. The Manchoos also have allowed corrupt magistrates and covetous officers to spread themselves over China, flaying the skin and devouring the fat of our people, until both men and women meet and lament by the roadside to see our fellow subjects reduced to want and poverty. Offices are to be obtained by bribes, crimes are to be bought off with money, rich fellows engross all authority, while heroes are filled with despair, by which means all the noble spirits in the empire are overwhelmed with despair, and die. Should any, animated with a patriotic feeling, seek to revive China from its ruins, they are accused of fostering rebellion, and their whole race exterminated, by which means all heroic ardour is repressed in China. But the ways in which the Manchoos have deluded China, and abused it, are too numerous to detail, for they are cunning and artful in the extreme.... These Tartars, forgetting the meanness and obscurity of their origin, and taking advantage of Woo-san-kwei's introduction, have usurped dominion in China, where they have carried their villanies to the utmost. Let us for a moment look into the origin of these Manchoo Tartars. Their first ancestor was a cross-breed between a white fox and a red dog, from whom sprang this race of imps that have since increased abundantly. They contract marriages without ceremony, and pay no regard to the relations of life or the rules of civilized society. At a time when China was destitute of heroes, they seized upon the government of the country; the wild fox thus ascended the imperial throne, and these unwashed monkeys, having put off their caps, rushed into the royal court, while our Chinese people, instead of ploughing up their holes and digging down their dens, have allowed themselves to be taken in their devices, to be insulted over by them, and to obey their command; and what is worse, our civil and military officers, coveting the gains of office, have bowed down in the midst of these herds of dogs and foxes. A child three feet high is generally esteemed very ignorant; but if you were to tell him to make obeisance to a parcel of dogs and swine, he would redden with indignation. And what are these Tartars but dogs and swine? Some of you have read books and are acquainted with history: and do you not feel in the slightest degree ashamed? Formerly Wan-theen-seang[9] and Sea-fang-teh[10] swore that they would rather die than serve the Mongols. Sze-ko-fah[11] and Ken-shih-see[12] swore that they would rather die than serve the Manchoos. These facts must be familiar to you all. According to our calculations, the Manchoos cannot be above a hundred thousand, and we Chinese amount to more than fifty millions; but for fifty millions to be ruled over by a hundred thousand is disgraceful. Now, happily, a retributive Providence being about to restore the country to its rightful owners, and China having some prospect of a revival, men's minds being bent on good government, it is evident that the Tartars have not long to rule. Their three times seven, or 210 years' lease, is about to expire, and the extraordinary personage of the five times nine has already appeared.[13] The iniquities of the Tartars are full; high heaven has manifested its indignation, and commanded our celestial king sternly to display his heavenly majesty and erect the standard of righteousness, sweeping away the demoniacal brood, and perfectly cleansing our flowery land."

After[92] exhorting the Chinese to join the rebel forces, the proclamation concludes thus:—

"You, our countrymen, have been aggrieved by the oppressions of the Manchoos long enough: if you do not change your politics, and with united strength and courage sweep away every remnant of these Tartars, how can you answer it to God in the highest heavens? We have now set in motion our righteous army, above to revenge the insult offered to God in deceiving Heaven, and below to deliver China from its inverted position, thus sternly sweeping away every vestige of Tartar influence and unitedly enjoying the happiness of the Ti-ping dynasty."

In contemplation of making an immediate attack upon Nankin, during the march towards that city the following proclamation was issued by the Tien-wang:—

"Hung, Captain-General of the army, having entire superintendence of military affairs,[93] and aiding in the advancement of the Ti-ping, or Great Pacificating Dynasty, in obedience to the will of Heaven, issues this important and triumphant proclamation, to announce that he has punished the oppressors and saved the people.

"It appears that, throughout the empire, rapacious officers are worse than violent robbers, and the corrupt mandarins of the public offices are no better than wolves and tigers, all originating in the vicious and sottish monarch at the head of affairs, who drives honest people to a distance, and admits to his presence the most worthless of mankind, selling offices, and disposing of preferments, while he represses men of virtuous talent, so that the spirit of avarice is daily inflamed, and high and low are contending together for gain; the rich and the great are abandoned to vice without control, whilst the poor and miserable have none to redress their wrongs, the very recital of which exasperates one's feelings, and makes one's hair to stand on end. To refer to the case of the land revenue in particular, it appears that of late the exactions have been increased manyfold, while the taxes due up to the thirtieth year of the last king's reign were at one time said to be remitted, and then again exacted, until the resources of the people are exhausted, and their miseries grown to excess. When our benevolent men and virtuous scholars contemplate these things, their minds are deeply wounded, and they cannot restrain themselves from rooting out these plundering officers and wolfish mandarins of each prefecture and district, in order to save the people from the flames and floods in which they are now involved. At the present moment our grand army is assembled like clouds; the province of Kouang-se has been settled, and Chang-sha (the capital of Hoonan) tranquillized; and being now about to proceed towards the region of Keang-see (Keang-nan? that is, the province of which Nankin is capital), we deem it necessary to announce to the people that they need not be alarmed; while agriculturists, mechanics, merchants, and traders, may each peacefully pursue their occupations. It is necessary, however, that the rich should have in readiness stores of provisions to aid in the sustenance of our troops; let each clearly report the amount of his contributions to this object, and we will furnish him with receipts, as security that hereafter the money shall be all repaid. Should there be any bold and strong men, or wise councillors among you, let them with one heart and effort aid us in our great design, and, when tranquillity is restored, we will have them promoted and rewarded according to their merit. All the officers of prefectures and districts who resist us shall be beheaded; but those who are ready to comply with our requisitions must forthwith send unto us their seals of office, and then they may retire to their native villages. With regard to the rabble of wolfish policemen, we shall, as soon as we succeed, hang up their heads as a warning to all. Being now apprehensive lest local banditti should take occasion from our movements to breed disturbances, we wish you people clearly to [94]report the same, and we will immediately exterminate them. If any of the villagers or citizens dare to assist the marauding mandarins in their tyranny, and resist our troops and adherents, no matter whether they reside in great or small places, we will sweep them from the face of the earth. Be careful. Do not oppose.

"A special proclamation."

Another proclamation was issued on the march by the Eastern Prince:—

"Yang-sui-tsing, especially appointed General of the Grand Army engaged in sweeping away the Tartars and establishing the new dynasty, issues this second proclamation:—

"I, the General, in obedience to the royal commands, have put in motion the troops for the punishment of the oppressor, and in every place to which I have come, the enemy at the first report have dispersed like scattered rubbish. As soon as a city has been captured, I have put to death the rapacious mandarins and corrupt magistrates therein, but have not injured a single individual of the people, so that all of you may take care of your families and attend to your business without alarm and trepidation. I have already issued proclamations to this effect, with which I presume you are acquainted. I have heard, however, that throughout the villages there are numbers of lawless vagabonds, who, previous to the arrival of our troops, take advantage of the disturbed state of the country to defile men's wives and daughters, and burn or plunder the property of honest people. I, the General, have already apprehended some of these, and decapitated about a score of them; now, because their localities are somewhat removed from the provincial capital (Ngan-king), these persons flatter themselves that I, the General, am not aware of their proceedings, which are very much to be detested. I have, therefore, sent a great officer, named Yuen, as a special messenger, with some hundreds of soldiers, to go through the villages, and, as soon as he finds these vagabonds, he is commissioned forthwith to decapitate them, while the honest inhabitants have nothing more to do than to stick up the word 'Shun' (obedient) over their doors, and then they have nothing to fear.

"A special proclamation."

While the number and moral power of the Ti-pings increased together, those of the Imperialists as rapidly declined; their extortion and cruelty driving numbers of the people to the ranks of the insurgents. Captain Fishbourne, (Impressions of China, p. 83,) has observed:—

"We know that the authorities at Canton were taking heads off by forties and sixties a day, and the Viceroy admitted that he had taken off [95]three hundred in one day. I visited the execution-ground, and saw pools of blood from recent executions, and the heads were piled up in old bottle-racks. If these were the numbers for two or three provinces, what must those have been for the other provinces in addition? And yet, as the march of the insurgents was so triumphant, these all could not possibly be the heads of insurgents, or even people remotely connected with the movement. It is much more probable that they were the heads of helpless and unoffending people, that were taken off to satisfy the Emperor that Lin, the Viceroy, was making some progress against the insurgents."

These horrible atrocities of the Manchoo rulers were continued for years, and every province the Ti-pings had visited became drenched with the blood of innocent victims. Not only were the entire relatives of any man who had joined the rebellion slaughtered, but many thousands even upon mere suspicion. Do we not remember the brutal Commissioner Yeh's boast, that he had decapitated upwards of 70,000 rebels in one month, in the province of Kwang-tung alone? And these were peaceful villagers dragged from their homes without any crime on their part (for at that time the Ti-pings were far away), and without even knowing what had become of the relative for whose fault they suffered. This being only the slaughter effected by one mandarin, what must have been the enormous number massacred in cold blood by the numerous button, feather, and tail-dignified Manchoo butchers, sent to perpetrate their horrid revenge upon the helpless women and relatives of the men they have never been able to withstand in fair fight, and would never have been able to resist, even in their walled cities, but for the foreign assistance they received.

Almost the first point to be considered with regard to the Ti-ping revolution is its cause, and whether the cause justified rebellion. But few persons have ever denied the existence of ample grounds for the Chinese to rebel against the Manchoo dynasty; their bloodthirsty, murderous rule, their gross tyranny and corruption, their unrighteous usurpation and possession of the Chinese throne, being pretty generally acknowledged. I am no[96] advocate of revolutionary principles or outbreaks against constituted authority, but we must always distinguish between the laws of a country and the unrighteous decrees of a tyrant usurper. Moreover, the progress of liberty and right has always been maintained through collisions with oppressive ruling powers; and the great leaders of the people may be the rebels of to-day, and yet should the morrow crown them with success, they may become the heroes and patriots of the age.

The state of China previous to the Ti-ping rebellion was deplorable in the extreme: the grinding oppression of nearly two centuries had apparently obliterated all that was good and noble in the land, and the debasing influence of the Manchoo invaders seemed likely to consummate the entire destruction of the moral, social, and political condition of the Chinese. To form a proper judgment upon the state of affairs, it is necessary to review Chinese history from the period of the Manchoo invasion.

The last Emperor of the last Chinese dynasty—the Ming—was driven to commit suicide through the success of an insurrection of the people, caused by his misrule, A.D. 1643. Upon the death of the Emperor, the insurgent chief met with universal submission, both at Pekin and in the provinces, and proclaimed himself Emperor. Woo-san-kwei, however, the general of an army employed in resisting an attack of the Manchoos, refused to acknowledge him. The newly made Emperor immediately set out for the city held by Woo, carrying with him from Pekin the latter's father in chains. The usurper having put him to death, to revenge that of his father, as well as that of the late Emperor, Woo-san-kwei made peace with the Manchoos and, calling them in to his assistance, soon defeated the would-be Emperor. When, however, the Tartar king found himself in Pekin, he instantly seized upon the sovereignty, and no effort of the Chinese was able to drive him from the throne, or defeat his hardy[97] and veteran troops. Dying almost immediately after this acquisition, he appointed his son Shun-chy as his successor, A.D. 1644; and so commenced the Manchoo Tartar dynasty, the seventh emperor of which is now reigning. A great portion of the South held out against the foreign government for many years, especially the maritime province of Fo-keen. In Kwang-tung and Kwang-si provinces, the Manchoos were often severely defeated by the natives, who, to the present day, hate them with intensity, and it was not till A.D. 1654 that these provinces were subdued. In many other parts the Chinese still struggled gallantly against the invader; but dissensions amongst themselves, and a general want of combination, proved fatal to their cause. But for this singular want of accord it is probable the Manchoos would soon have been driven back to their native wilds.

A.D. 1669, with the exception of Fo-keen province, the islands of the coast, and mere local opposition, the whole empire was subjugated by the Manchoos. To maintain their power, all the principal cities were garrisoned by Tartar troops of the Eight Banners (a regulation still observed), and these being constantly drilled and kept in a good state of efficiency, together with the main body stationed at Pekin, have succeeded in suppressing the patriotic efforts of the Chinese. At last, in 1674, Wu-san-kwei attempted to remedy his error of calling in the Manchoos, by raising the National standard and declaring against them. The southern provinces, and especially Kwang-tung and Kwang-si, constituted the area of the struggle. Wu-san-kwei dying soon after the outbreak, the national party were unable to find a single person competent to replace him, and although for nine years they successfully resisted the power of the Manchoos, after a long struggle without any combined action, they were compelled to submit. During the general dispersion of the patriots, the last of the Ming princes fled to the kingdom of Pegu for safety, but being delivered[98] up to the Manchoos, was by them put to death; he was the last of his race, for man, woman, and child, every scion of the Ming, had been ruthlessly slaughtered. This was the last national effort of sufficient strength to endanger the power of the foreign dynasty, although to the present day many thousands of Chinese exist among the fastnesses of the mountainous regions of Kwang-si, Kwei-chow, Yun-nan, and Sze-chuan, who have never been subdued, or submitted to the badge of slavery—the tonsure—imposed upon their countrymen by the Tartars. Many of these having fled to the aboriginal independent tribes, have been included in the general term Miau-tze, and in Kwang-si alone they number upwards of 400,000 persons. Besides these, secret societies were formed, whose members were sworn to attempt the subversion of the Manchoo dynasty; but none have been able, hitherto, to carry out their designs; not even the celebrated "Triad Society," at present existing, or the equally extensive one, "The Association of Heaven and Earth."

Upon the defeat of Wu-san-kwei's movement, the slaughter of the Chinese was immense, the province of Kwang-tung was nearly depopulated, upwards of 700,000 of its inhabitants having been executed within a month. This is vengefully remembered by the Cantonese even yet. Many thousands of Chinese families left their country in the course of the struggle, and not less than 100,000 are stated to have emigrated to Formosa, where they resisted the Manchoos till the year 1683.

To completely destroy the patriotic element, the Manchoos compelled the conquered Chinese to shave the thick tresses they had been accustomed to wear as a cherished ornament from the most ancient times, and to wear a tail, and in other respects to adopt the Tartar style of dress upon pain of decapitation. Many thousands are stated to have preferred death to this national degradation: an alteration of national costume is of all others the most open and crushing work of conquest; and in China it[99] undoubtedly had the effect of breaking the spirit of the people—all who would not suffer thus, losing their heads. The ancient Chinese costume is now resumed by the Ti-pings, but previous to their outbreak was confined to the Miau-tze and refugees, and to a very exact representation upon the stage of the Chinese theatre.

So prompt and merciless have been the punishments inflicted by the Manchoo government, upon the slightest suspicion of rebellion, that, until the Ti-ping insurrection, they have successfully extinguished every outburst of national hatred. In 1756, during the reign of Kien-loong, fourth emperor of the Manchoo dynasty, a great rising amongst the Miau-tze, and descendants of the refugees, occurred; but, after several years' war with no material advantage upon either side, they relinquished their aggressive movement and contented themselves with their independent position. In 1806, a great combination amongst the hardy inhabitants of the southern sea-board—the provinces of Fo-keen and Kwang-tung—took place; a large fleet of more than 600 Ti-mungs (sea-going war junks, generally carrying about twelve guns) was organized, and for some years waged a successful war against the Manchoos, at one time seriously threatening the dominion of the latter. At last the usual cause of failure to all former and future national efforts—internal dissension—proved fatal to their cause. The two principal commanders having disagreed, led their respective divisions to a bloody combat. The Manchoo government now, with their usual policy of treacherous conciliation where they cannot conquer, commenced intriguing with the weaker of the two divisions, and eventually induced it to accept a general amnesty to such as would submit and return to their allegiance, at the same time rewarding the leaders with bribes of rank and riches. The insurgents who had submitted were then allied to the Tartar forces, and employed by the crafty government against their former comrades, who in a short time were[100] compelled to surrender and accept the proffered amnesty. And now, throughout the land, the treacherous ferocity of the Manchoos ran riot. Hundreds of the deceived patriots were distributed over the numerous execution grounds, and, fed by the perfidious diplomacy of the government, the sword of the executioner terminated an association that at one time promised the liberation of the country.

This great naval rebellion was not the only endeavour made by the Chinese to break the foreign yoke. During the reign of Kea-king, the fifth Manchoo emperor, many formidable revolts had taken place, but again the want of unity proved fatal to their success. In 1813, the dissatisfied Chinese endeavoured to finish the Manchoo dynasty by assassination, many members of the insurrection having sacrificed themselves in the attempt. At the termination of Kea-king's reign, in the year 1820, all extensive rebellion had been suppressed. The reign of his successor, Taou-kuang, was, however, marked by more revolt and insurrection than had been known since the time of the first Manchoo usurper. In 1832, a great rising took place among the Miau-tze, whose leader accepted the designation of "Golden Dragon," assumed the yellow (Imperial) dress, and announced his intention to overthrow the foreign dynasty and establish a native one. This rebellion had a wide-spread, though secret organization, but the outbreak not being simultaneous, the partisans in distant provinces were all cut off in detail; while the rising in Formosa failed owing to the dissension of its leaders. After successfully resisting the Manchoo troops, and several times defeating them with immense slaughter, the want of unanimity and simultaneous rising upon the part of the confederates induced the main body of insurgents to make favourable terms with the government, and retire unimpeded to their independent regions.

Slowly, but surely of late, the Chinese nation has been[101] recovering from the crushed and subdued condition to which the sanguinary invasion and iron despotism of the Manchoos had reduced it. Gradually, as returning vitality and patriotism increased, opposition to the oppressor multiplied and became more formidable and portentous. As the Chinese have gained strength, so their masters have lost it; the power and resources of the latter have long become overgrown and exhausted, and nothing but the broken-spirited and abject state of slavery they had reduced the nation to could have prevented their expulsion long since. At length, during the reign of the last emperor, the national feeling could no longer be controlled, and in the year 1850 the great Ti-ping rebellion burst forth—so marvellous in every phase of its commencement, organization, and progress, that ere now, but for the unjustifiable meddling of England, it would have resulted, not only in the subversion of the Manchoo dynasty, but, in all human probability, the establishment of Christianity throughout the limits of the immense Chinese empire. Sir John F. Davis has observed:—"Distinctions sufficiently broad are still maintained to prevent the amalgamation of the original people with their masters;" these, combined with the intense hatred caused by the horrible cruelties inflicted upon the people during the troublous times of famine and disturbance preceding the Ti-ping rebellion, undoubtedly tended to promote the success of the latter, and alienate the best disposed from the Manchoos. During the years 1838-41, many parts of the empire became plunged in misery and want;—so severe was the famine, that many thousands perished, while multitudes were driven to insurrection. The government, in order to quell the natural results of the distress, resorted to the most barbarous measures; it has even been stated by the Roman Catholic missionaries who were on the spot,—"that after suffering severe torture, many of the people were burnt alive!" The war with Great Britain, in 1841, added to the miseries of the Chinese, for the Manchoo[102] government, the weaker they became, were the more savage and ruthless in suppressing every indication of disaffection.

Mr. Tarrantt, editor of the Friend of China, and a resident in China for a quarter of a century, in 1861 wrote thus:—


"So little is known of the machinery of Chinese government that ignorance of it is the best, if not the only excuse for the countenance given by Western nations to the Manchoo dynasty. Conservative as we are in political principle, largely imbued with a feeling of veneration for what is ancient, if at the same time honour deserving, and desiring above all things peace on earth and goodwill amongst mankind, the repugnance which we entertain towards the Pekin government, and sympathy with those in arms against it,[14] has been solely produced by long observation of the thorough worthlessness of the rulers, and the impossibility for them to become better. We old-fashioned moralists of the West, in our ideas of the uses of a government, give some consideration to the feelings of the mass; and no officer may fatten himself with impunity on the public purse, unless he give some show of service for the public weal. Here in China, on the contrary, extortion by officials is an institution; it is the condition on which they take office; and it is only when the bleeder is a bungler that the government, aroused by the victims' cries and riotings, step in to check the depletion. Are our readers aware of the smallness of the established salaries of provincial officers—of the two Kwang, to wit? Can they believe that the Viceroy, ruling over a country twice the size of England, is allowed as his legal salary the paltry sum of £60—say $25 a month—not even the pay of four of his chair-bearers and an ostler? How does he live, then? will be the question. The answer is, by extortion, by selling justice. Fees of office would be the most polite term, perhaps, to apply to the thing, the average sum total of these per annum being £8,333.

"The system adopted throughout the empire is this:—You, the son of Dick, Tom, or Harry, get your qualification as a scholar, bring it to me at Pekin, fee the chancellerie, and then you shall have a post. Directly you have that, squeeze away right and left, and when you have enough to buy a higher post, you know where to come for it. As we said some years ago, when writing on the subject, 'it flourishes on its own rottenness,' the chances which high and low alike possess of fattening on the public vitals being the greatest support the Manchoo dynasty possess. Next to the Viceroy, or governor-general, is the governor, whose salary is £50, increased with fees averaging £4,333 a year. Each of these officials possess power of life and death without reference to the government.... The creature who—mayhap before he got into office, neglected by all his relations—luxuriated on a miserable dole of rice and greens, and would no more think of paying a couple of mace[15] to chair-coolies to carry him, than he would think of flying, from the day he receives his diploma cannot walk a hundred paces on common earth if he were paid to do it. He rises with the sun from the couch of his speedily increased harem, either to receive the morning call of some other 'useless,' or to be borne in his chair, followed by pipe-bearer and card-deliverer, to make a round of calls on brother officials of similar uselessness. How is the work of the Mandarinate performed? we hear some say. Performed? By underlings who hold the entrée by the back stairs, and sell justice or service to each suitor according as he can pay for it.... And these are the things who govern the empire."


During the month of July, 1863, issues of the same newspaper—then established at Shanghae—contained the following statements; and statements that no person with the slightest knowledge of the position and history of China can deny:—

"Our local readers must be as able as ourselves to form an opinion on passing events; and hardly one of us, we think, but must be satisfied that we are on the eve of a crisis in the affairs of the great nation on whose borders we dwell. Let us take a hasty glance at the position. A little over two hundred years ago, the Manchoos, under an ancestor of the present incumbent of the throne, overran the country. The cruelties which these savages perpetrated were of the most horrid description—in Kwang-tung alone over seven hundred thousand people—man, woman, and child—being massacred within a month.

"The Chinese, prior to this inroad, were a rich people, the houses of the better classes being buildings of convenient formation and durability. There is not much apparent wealth among the Chinese now, any sign of it being a temptation to government officers to extort from the holders. From the day these Tartars came into the country, China has been steadily deteriorating, and now the people may best be likened to herds of grovelling swine, living merely for the day, stultified in intellect by the most degrading superstition. Under the Manchoos, in fact, China exhibits to the world the saddest of all spectacles—the spectacle of a people unable to raise themselves in the social scale, to attain the full stature of man.[104] To keep themselves on the throne, the Manchoos determined on three courses:—

"First. To make every Chinese shave the front of his head, and wear a tail. Those who would not do this were deemed rebels, and decapitated.

"Second. They declared it treason in all those who met secretly.

"Third. They vested all elevation to civil office in the sovereign himself, at Pekin, making the language of the court the official medium, and guarding against local faction by permitting no one to hold office in the district in which he was born. Every civil officer of the Manchoo government, in short, is a stranger to the people he rules over; he knows none of the ties of friendship for his flock. And, further to widen the breach between ruler and ruled, the sovereign allows his officers little or no salary; but, in its place and stead, sanctions—directs—as full a bleeding of the people's purses as said people can bear without open revolt.

"And these three courses have been as effectual as could be possibly anticipated.

"It was a long while before the Manchoos succeeded in the head-shaving and tail arrangements, especially about Shou-shing, in Che-kiang, and down south, in Kwang-se, where there are people (Miau-tze) who have never submitted to the badge.

"The secret meeting interdict, again, has met but small favour, and it was only last week that the Chinese newspaper, published at the N. C. Herald Office here, had a notice in it of the apprehension, by the Manchoos, of Messrs. Quan, Wan, and others, within the British concession, ostensibly because they were in league with the Soo-chow rebels, but really because they are leading men of the San-hoh-hwae (Triad Society, sworn to put down the Manchoos).

"The office-granting scheme has met the greatest success. The ambition of every petty farmer in the country is to train a son who is clever at his books, and, aided by his richer clansmen with the means to travel to the capital, has a chance of becoming one of the country's grandees; and, by a far-seeing device, the emperor grants antecedent honours; so that if a son is honoured, the father is honoured—that is to say, if a Chinese, by merit and skill, succeeds in raising himself to a mandarinate of the highest class, becomes, to speak equivalently, an earl or a duke, the father of that fortunate grandee, although performing on the homestead the functions of a cow-herd, becomes ennobled also; the honours, in short, are retrospective from the son to the father, not forward, hereditarily, from the father to the son.

"And it has been by these means that the system of Tartar rule has become to be liked by the people. They overlook the villanous extortions which the sons have to practise on the people to elevate themselves. They are blind to all, and simply determine that the end justifies the means. There[105] is a general fling around of stolen sugar-plums, he being happiest who, in the scramble, gets the largest handful."

The enormous multitude of victims slaughtered during the progress and maintenance of the Manchoo dynasty will never be known by Europeans; though—judging by all authentic records of their invasion of China, its constant rebellions against their authority, and the murderous rule they have exercised—the destruction of life considerably outnumbered the hosts sacrificed in the track of the greatest destroyers of the human species upon record, from Alexander the Great to Genghis-Khan. The barbarity of the Manchoo rule is unparalleled in ancient or modern history; while the fiendish nature of their punishments by torture—especially those for treason—and the records of the "board of punishments," instituted by them, constitute the blackest spot in the annals of mankind.

Upon the character of the last great rising of the Chinese against their oppressors, the Ti-ping rebellion, the Bishop of Victoria, in 1854, wrote:—

"The finger of Divine Providence appears to us signally conspicuous in this revolution. The moral, social, and political condition of China was almost hopelessly wretched and debased. Its whole system of government, of society, and religion, was to be broken up, remodelled, reconstructed, and renewed. In looking about for an agency available for such an end, the mind was depressed and perplexed. The government was corrupt, the scholars were feeble and inert, the gentry were servile and timid, the lower classes were engrossed in the struggle for subsistence, the whole nation seemed bound hand and foot, with their moral energies paralyzed, their intellectual faculties stunted, and their civil liberties crushed beneath the iron gripe of power and the debasing influence of sensuality. Political subjection to an effete despotism, and addiction to opium, had enervated the national mind, and rendered the Chinese helpless as a race.

"From themselves no reformer seemed likely to arise. Their canonized virtue of filial piety was perverted and abused as the grand support of despotism. But it is in this state of perplexity and despondency that we turn to survey the present movement, its chief actors, and its accomplished results; and beholding we admire, and admiring we thank God for what our eyes are privileged to see."


[4] This strong tendency of the Chinese to combine and organize is well noticed in "Impressions of China," by Captain Fishbourne, at pages 415 to 418.

[5] Alluding to the establishment of the Tartar Budhism.

[6] The badge of slavery imposed by the Manchoo Tartars upon their conquest of China.

[7] The form of head-dress and insignia of nobility introduced by the Manchoos.

[8] Referring to the elaborate and merciless laws of treason and disaffection established by the Manchoos.

[9] Wan-theen-seang would not submit to the Mongols, and was slain by Kubla Khan.

[10] One of the adherents of the Sung dynasty, who, on being seized by the Mongols, refused to eat, and so died.

[11] Killed himself when the Ming dynasty was irretrievably lost.

[12] Lost his life in fighting for the Ming cause (1644).

[13] "Allusion to an expression in the Book of Diagrams, under the Këen diagram, or five and nine, where it is said that 'the dragon flies up to heaven,' which means that a new monarch is about to ascend the throne of China.—Translator."

[14] The Ti-pings.

[15] A mace is worth about 5d.



Shanghae to Han-kow.—River Scenery.—Silver Island.—The Salt Trade.—Nin-gan-shan.—Tu-ngliu.—Its Auriferous Soil.—Kew-kiang.—River Scenery.—The Yang-tze River.—The Braves of Hankow.—Chinese Politeness.—Manchoo Policy.—Fire and Plunder.—A Chinese Rudder.—Scenery around Ta-tung.—Appearance of the Country.—Chinese Chess.—Perilous Adventure.—Crew of Mutineers.—Critical Position.—Gallant Rescue.—Explanation.—Alarm of Pirates.—Plan of Operations.—Its Advantages.—The Result.—Another Alarm.—"Imperialist" Pirates.

After remaining two idle weeks at Shanghae, our vessel was ordered to Han-kow. This coincided exactly with my wishes, for, as we should pass Nankin, and possibly communicate with its garrison, it would be a good and early opportunity for me to become acquainted with the position of affairs, and the best and easiest method of fulfilling the object of my commission from the Chung-wang. Accordingly, with a limited cargo, and a good supply of coals, we weighed anchor again, and started upon our voyage up the great river, "the Son of the Sea."

We had but a rough time of it at first, for after leaving the mouth of the river—so wide that, but for the large island of Tsung-Ming in the centre, land is not visible from either side—we only reached the Lang-shan crossing, the most difficult navigation of the river, at night. It therefore became necessary to anchor, and a gale coming on from seaward, what with its fury, and the strength of a four-knot flood tide, we passed a remarkably unpleasant night; and, after continual apprehension of parting our[107] cables and drifting ashore, found in the morning that we had dragged our anchors nearly a mile.

The banks of the river about its embouchure are bordered by highly-cultivated fields, in some parts covered with low wooded land. The banks are increased and elevated under a regular system, the peculiar formation of the overhanging trees giving a pleasing and verdant aspect to the country. The numerous sand-banks about the Lang-shan hills on the north bank, and the town and hills of Fu-shan on the south, render that part of the navigation of the river (known as the Lang-shan Crossing, the channel taking a sharp turn towards the Lang-shan hills) particularly dangerous. Several fine vessels have been lost, and one, the Kate, a new steam-ship, became a total wreck there while engaged upon her first voyage. She ran ashore, and in a moment the immense strength of the tide capsized her, when, sliding off the sand-bank, she sank in deep water, many of the crew and passengers losing their lives, while the whole valuable cargo, including a large amount of specie, went to the bottom.

The dangers of the deep, or rather the shallow, are not the only perils of this part, for it is infested with pirates and robbers of every description. Sometimes they are rebels, sometimes fishermen, and sometimes large piratical vessels from the coast; but more frequently still they are Imperialist war-junks, whose crews, though consisting of government troops and sailors, are pillagers of the most ruthless description. At the time I made my first voyage up the Yang-tze-kiang, piracy, and murder of the crews, of the smaller European vessels engaged in the river trade, were of frequent occurrence. In fact, a ship scarcely ever made a voyage without being attacked.

The river scenery from Lang-shan to the city of Chin-kiang (115 miles), the first of the river treaty ports, for the greater part is flat, the surrounding country being of a low alluvial soil. It is, however, of a much more attractive description than might be supposed. The[108] cultivated parts are embedded amongst luxuriant foliage, and the infinite variety of the smaller species of tree gives a variegated and shadowy appearance to the scene.

I have found some parts of really exquisite beauty. A thick border of trees, bushes, and bamboo seems to form a complete barrier to approach from the river, but at last a small creek appears running directly through this wall of vegetation: for some little distance this is completely shrouded and arched in by the luxuriant growth of osier and small weeping-willows; but then a break in the vista discovers, through a network of foliage, a small lake of pure limpid water, whose sides are bounded by fruit-trees and highly cultivated gardens; while a snug little homestead, enveloped in flowering creepers, and half-buried by shrubs of Asiatic beauty, peeps out from amidst the surrounding mass of forest. I have come unexpectedly upon many little nests like this; the very suddenness with which they burst upon one being of itself charming.

At Chin-kiang the current is of great velocity; and, while attempting to steam round the south end of "Silver Island," we were literally overpowered by its strength, and swept down the river; but, trying the north end, we found a little more protection, from the formation of the river bank, and managed to pass the critical point.

Silver Island is a most picturesque and exquisite spot. It rises directly from the centre of the river to a height of some 400 feet. It is completely covered, from the river's brink to its very summit, with a rich display of every variety of Chinese vegetation. One of the most important Joss-houses (Budhist temples) in the empire is situated at the foot of this island, the interior filled with images of every devil and divinity the Chinese religious calendar contains; and besides all these monstrous representations, a modelled menagerie of every kind of wild animal known to the Chinese zoographer. A goodly number of Budhist priests are attached to this place, whose time is principally devoted to the cultivation [109] of the island (the whole of the trees, plantations, and flowers having been raised by them), and to keeping up a ceaseless beating upon several drums to soothe the great fish they believe carries the world on its back, and so prevent it wriggling and producing earthquakes; which are caused, they say, whenever the drums throughout the world are silent, and the "Joss" fish cannot hear the beat of one.

London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith. SILVER ISLAND.
London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith.

At Chin-kiang is established a corps of the foreign mercenaries of the Imperialist maritime customs, an organization patronized by the British government as a means of securing the indemnity money guaranteed in payment of the British expenses for a war undertaken to avenge the capture of the opium-smuggler Arrow, and apparently to facilitate the opium trade in general.

Upon an island a few miles above Chin-kiang I found some capital deer-shooting. I brought down several, and found them of the hog-deer species, with large tusks. Great flocks of wild duck and teal were plentiful all over the river, and our guns kept the table well supplied.

Some eighteen miles above Chin-kiang we came to a great salt mart, a large village on the north bank, named E-ching. On the opposite side of the river we observed a considerable body of Ti-pings marching in the direction of Chin-kiang, which city was already invested. Although many hills in the neighbourhood of Chin-kiang were occupied by the Ti-pings, I was unable to communicate with them, our stay at that place being so short. E-ching is the emporium for the salt trade with the interior. Here the large junks from the coast discharge their cargoes, which are then stored ashore, and when disposed of to merchants from the distant provinces, re-shipped in river junks, and carried up the Yang-tze.

The salt trade is a government monopoly, from which they reap enormous profits; and if the British government had made war upon China for the purpose of[110] establishing a trade in that article, and not in opium, they would, instead of destroying and demoralizing them, have conferred a vast benefit upon the Chinese, and benefited themselves.

Salt at E-ching, upon an average, is of the same price as the common rice (the staple article of food in China), seldom selling for less than three taels (one pound sterling) per picul (130 pounds weight). A few hundred miles farther up the river, though of the commonest and dirtiest sea description, it is frequently sold at more than double that price. Of course, where an article of such immense and important consumption is declared contraband, and monopolized by the government, a large amount of smuggling exists. Until the Yang-tze-kiang was opened to foreign trade, little, if any, smuggling was effected upon its waters; but upon the advent of Europeans, many of them made large profits by secretly conveying salt, even sometimes in their steam-ships, while numberless sailing craft—usually the semi-European, semi-Chinese lorchas—were solely occupied in this illegal traffic.

Soon after passing E-ching we came upon the Ti-pings at a place in the vicinity of Nin-gan-shan, a village some short distance inland, formed by a sharp bend of the river to the northwards. This elbow they had just fortified with a rather heavy, formidable-looking battery. The guns, however, were very inferior, being of the usual clumsy Chinese make and fitting. The river at this point was considerably reduced in width, being little more than half a mile across, and the south bank being formed of cliffs, some two hundred feet high, and being also in the hands of the Ti-pings, rendered the position highly favourable. From this point both sides of the river were in Ti-ping possession; therefore, whenever we required to stop we could do so, and land with perfect safety and immunity from insult.

Above Chin-kiang the country gradually assumes a[111] more massive and imposing formation. High ranges of mountains are visible inland, and in some places descend even to the river's edge; while generally the country becomes of a more undulating, diversified appearance. In the neighbourhood of Nin-gan-shan the hilly part of the soil presents strong indication of auriferous qualities. I afterwards went over the spot with an old Californian miner, who declared the place was full of gold; but, unfortunately, we had no time to try it.

At Nankin I remained but a short time, barely sufficient to obtain the necessary permit from H.M.S. Centaur, stationed there to represent the British interests at the Ti-ping capital. The Centaurs seemed on good terms with the Ti-pings, for their ship was crowded with them. Several boats put off from the shore with provisions for sale, and one official came on board with a request for us to remain and trade. This was impossible, for though we much wished it, and though the foreign merchants were entirely dependent upon the Ti-pings for silk, and a great proportion of tea, yet the British government in its Elgin treaty (June 1858, by articles IX. and X.), had completely placed a veto upon trade with them; though afterwards they asserted that the Ti-pings would not trade. Of course, had we attempted to trade as the Ti-pings desired, we should have been seized and prevented by H.M.'s representative on board the Centaur, for breaking the treaty with the Manchoo emperor of China.

After purchasing a few fowls and some eggs, we proceeded on our voyage to Han-kow.

Some forty miles above Nankin we passed between the East and West Pillars, two immense masses of rock nearly a thousand feet high, and projecting, with a sheer descent, some little distance into the river. Both were in the possession of the Ti-pings. The summits were fortified, and at the foot of each strong batteries were erected. These two giant sentinels are termed by the[112] Chinese the gates of the upper river; beyond them the flood tide ceases to be perceptible.

When off the city of Tu-ngliu some 380 miles from the mouth of the river, we were compelled to seek a sheltered anchorage, and to remain there several days through stress of weather. Even at such a considerable distance inland, the storms are sometimes so violent, and the waves of the river so disturbed, that smaller vessels are unable to brave their fury; the swiftness of the current adding considerably to the danger.

The sheltered nook we sought already contained a weather-bound vessel. Our fellow-captive proved to be an English schooner upon a trading cruise about the river. She was manned by Chinese sailors, but the owners and another European were in charge. The three days we remained at anchor passed pleasantly enough, our position being perfectly sheltered, and the boisterous state of the river affecting us but little; while each day we visited the schooner's people, or they came to us.

I made several shooting trips ashore with our companions, and we always returned well rewarded for our trouble, the place literally swarming with pheasants. The country was mostly of a low hilly formation, and being uncultivated, the hills, full of low shrubs and gorse, made a capital cover. We shot pheasants even in the farm-yards of the few houses about, and the inhabitants told us we might catch them at night roosting all round their dwellings. My companions from the schooner, who had been in California and Australia, declared the hills about Tu-ngliu contained gold; they also stated the whole river was full of it, and showed me some large specimens they had washed at a place named Hen Point, some twenty miles below the city of Ngan-king.

We fully intended to test the Tu-ngliu soil, but the weather clearing rendered necessary our immediate departure.

Some miles before reaching the treaty port of Kew-kiang,[113] we passed a remarkable rock termed the Little Orphan. Several hundred yards in circumference at the base, at the distance of thirty fathoms from the north bank of the river it rises perpendicularly about four or five hundred feet. The summit is crowned by Budhist temples and idols, the only communication being by means of a stair cut in the sides of the rock by the priests. When passing this singular place once afterwards, my Chinese crew informed me no European could ascend the rock and live, it being protected by some Chinese demon, or genii, peculiarly averse to "foreign devils."

A few hours before arriving at Kew-kiang we passed the entrance to the Poyang Lake, a channel considerably broader than the river itself. The clear transparent waters of the lake afforded a pleasing contrast to the thick and muddy current of the river, and we steamed about a mile into it, for the purpose of obtaining a good supply and filling all our available casks. The appearance of this lake is magnificent in the extreme. Lost in the far distance, its limpid surface is surrounded by tall impending cliffs, in some places terminating abruptly at the margin of the water, while in others the intervening space is filled up with a most luxuriant growth of under-wood, overshadowed by the bending branches of gnarled and giant trees. The numerous valleys formed by the hills contain the summer resting-places of many of the Chinese nobility, whose handsome palaces fill every appropriate situation. The cloud-enveloped summits of one high range of mountains on the western shore, are crowned with eternal snow, presenting a most fantastic appearance, and affording many a wild and weird theme to Chinese romancers.

Kew-kiang we found in the direst state of confusion. The Imperialist troops had declared their determination to massacre the hated "Yang-quitzo," or drive him off their soil; and all the European residents were blockaded[114] in their quarter. An English gunboat, and one of the large merchant steamers, were lying off the concession, prepared to render their assistance and protection, and when we arrived, at the request of the consul—who expected his consulate would be attacked again that night,—we moored in a position where our guns would prove effective in case of danger. The night, however, passed off pretty quietly, and the braves only made a further demonstration by smashing the few remaining panes of glass they had left whole upon a former assault. A day or two previously they had made a grand attack upon the settlement, destroyed several new buildings of the merchants, and very nearly demolished the British Consulate; but when the residents, in self-defence, were compelled to shoot a few of them, they retreated for the time. The mandarins, as at all the river ports, pretended they could not control their soldiers; whereas, they deliberately set them on, to try and prevent the settling of the Europeans, and the fulfilment of the treaty.

Some of the river scenery between Kew-kiang and Han-kow is wild, and really sublime in its grandeur. In many places huge masses of mountain rise steeply out of the channel to more than a thousand feet. At one part an immense cliff, named Ke-tow (Cock's Head), overhangs the stream, its base washed by the waves; while, moving under its shadow, innumerable flocks of shag, startled by the passing vessel, rose from their nests in the time-worn crevices, and eddying round and round overhead, produced a loud rushing noise from their myriads of wings, while the shrill discordant cries they uttered, increased by the singular note of the great "Bramley kites," reverberated with a thousand echoes from the perforated and honeycombed face of perpendicular rock. If a musket be fired near Ke-tow, the very air becomes blackened by an immense multitude of birds issuing from the cliff, while the noise of their cries is perfectly deafening. Their number is so prodigious that one might fairly suppose all the birds in China were congregated together at this place.

London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith. KE-TOW.
London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith.

A [115]little further on, another magnificent view of the river is found, where, between high impending mountains, at Pwan-pien-shan (the Split Hill) it is darkly imprisoned. The hills in this neighbourhood are covered with wild tea, and numerous limestone quarries are burrowed along their sides. Wherever the mountains retreat from the river the intervening country is profusely cultivated, and the sloping sides of the hills, covered with a rich and varied semi-tropical foliage, sweep down to the low land. The distant pagodas, marking with their carved and many-storied, time-worn, monumental sculpture, the site of some town or anciently celebrated locality—the occasional village, partly hidden in some half-sequestered spot—the curious but ingenious apparatus of the fisherman on the river's brink, with his reed hut here and there peeping through the rushes of the bank—the peasants toiling and irrigating the paddy-fields—the bright Eastern sun, and clear sapphire sky, above the changeful bosom of the "Son of the Sea," now rushing between massive rocky walls, then bursting into lake-like fulness, studded at intervals with a low and feathery reed-topped or cultivated rice-waving island—and the waters, tipped with the snowy wings of the passing vessels—all these are objects which produce a landscape surpassingly beautiful. China has been termed "a vast and fertile plain;" but, I believe, a trip up the Yang-tze will show as diversified and grand a scenery as almost any part of the world.

But then comes a dark side of nature, for this is truly a land where "all save the spirit of man is divine." Throughout all these beauties of country one must tread with care, for it is a land of enemies; all through the Yang-tze's course we experienced nothing but aggravating annoyance and insult from the Imperialists; wherever they were, landing became not only disagreeable, but[116] dangerous. This was a drawback of serious importance, but one which would have ceased to exist were it not for the policy of the British government, which, by preventing the success of the friendly Ti-pings, and strengthening the Imperialists, has perpetuated the evil.

In order to avoid the strength of the tide, we were obliged to keep close in to the bank, while at the same time we kept a stand of muskets and fowling-pieces well loaded to check our dastardly aggressors.

Although Kew-kiang was bad enough, at Han-kow we found confusion worse confounded. It was simply impossible to pass through the streets except in parties of four or five, well armed. The British consul, Mr. Gingall, had gone out with some of the petty local authorities to mark a ground for the consulate and British concession, but with his marine guard received such a heavy stoning from the braves and populace, that they were compelled to beat a speedy retreat. A placard had been posted by the braves, threatening to massacre all the European residents upon a certain date; this was succeeded by an official proclamation from the Chinese governor, calling upon the soldiers to remain quiet, because the "foreign devils" were to be "hired and used" to fight the Ti-ping rebels, after which his excellency would employ his braves to drive those "barbarians" out of China. At the time, I paid but little attention to this, looking upon it as a piece of the usual Chinese bravado; recent events, however, have led me to think otherwise. One part of the proclamation has been fulfilled, it remains to be seen whether the other will succeed.

While passing through a public street one evening, a brave made a spring at me from a narrow side alley; fortunately, I carried a coat on my arm, and throwing this up, received the blow of his short sword without injury. I was of course armed, and before my assailant could repeat the blow, his arm was arrested by a Colt's revolver ball. Several braves were collecting, but when[117] they saw the fate of their leader, and found me armed, they "skedaddled" pretty sharply.

Some Europeans did not escape so easily, but were brutally murdered. Nearly a year later affairs were but little improved, for a Mr. Little, of Dent & Co.'s, was severely maltreated without having given the slightest provocation; and several of the firm's junks were seized and carried off by the braves. This was avenged by H.M. gunboat Havoc seizing and burning the gunboat whose crew had beaten Mr. Little. The Chinese officials, with their usual policy of exciting the people against Europeans, posted proclamations, and gave out as a fact, that the English had fastened all the braves they caught to the gunboat, and burnt them alive. I explored the country in every direction, within a radius of twenty-five miles around Han-kow, upon shooting excursions, and I invariably found, that wherever the natives were distant from Imperial troops, or officials, they were kind and courteous to Europeans. I entered numerous villages to rest and obtain refreshment, and at many received polite and dignified invitations from some of the people to enter their dwellings. I must say, the Chinese are one of the most polite and well-behaved people I have ever met. Although bursting with curiosity to ascertain my country and business, I never found them guilty of the slightest rudeness, or annoying inquisitiveness; upon the contrary, they would wait until their etiquette of presenting tea, etc., had been observed, and then, pretending to be unconcerned, commence their inquiries indirectly. With all this, I could not fail to notice the half-dubious, half-disliking style of their manner;—the universal result of their government's misrepresentation, and the stringent orders which they received to treat Europeans as barbarians unworthy of civilized (Chinese) treatment or consideration. Can we not remember the sort of treatment foreigners received till lately in China, upon the following Manchoo maxim of intercourse with Europeans?[118]

"The barbarians are like beasts, and not to be ruled on the same principles as citizens. Were any one to attempt controlling them by the great maxims of reason, it would tend to nothing but confusion. The ancient kings well understood this, and accordingly ruled barbarians by misrule. Therefore to rule barbarians by misrule is the true and the best way of ruling them."

It was on this principle that all the benefits of Chinese law were denied Europeans; so that, even in cases of accidental homicide, they were required to be delivered up, not for trial, but execution.

Sir John Davis, formerly governor of Hong-Kong, wrote:—

"The rulers of China consider foreigners fair game; they have no sympathy with them, and, what is more, they diligently and systematically labour to destroy all sympathy on the part of their subjects, by representing the strangers to them in every light that is the most contemptible and odious. There is an annual edict or proclamation displayed at Canton at the commencement of the commercial season, accusing the foreigners of the most horrible practices, and desiring the people to have as little to say to them as possible."

Although at the present time British subjects are not delivered up to be executed by Manchoos, and although Europeans are not defamed and attacked so openly as was the case previous to the late wars, the government is every bit as industriously maligning them to its subjects, and striving all in its power to prevent free trade or intercourse. Why are the Manchoos so inveterately embittered against foreigners? is the natural question. Certainly not because they are unable to appreciate the benefit of trade; they love their own interests too well to be averse to the only remaining prop to their rule—trade with foreigners, and consequent help to crush the rebellion. But the truth is, with unmistakeable foresight they see that the free contact of their Chinese subjects with European nations will eventually ruin them; they know their rule is hated and unrighteous, and they know that wherever the people become enlightened and improved, their murderous gripe will be torn from the throat of the[119] nation. While liking our trade, they hate our communion! The latter they have reason to dread, though not if they can always succeed in obtaining our military aid against the effects of our intercourse, as they have done in the case of the Ti-ping rebellion.

At Han-kow I left the steamer, to take command of a new schooner belonging (nominally) to the same owners. As her interior accommodations were not quite finished, I took a small house until such time as she should be completed. While residing ashore, I suffered from an attack of fever—a complaint very prevalent amongst Europeans in China—that at one time seemed almost certain to destroy my life.

One night when convalescent, but still very weak, I was aroused by a strong smell of fire; in a moment almost, thick volumes of smoke rushed into the room, and I heard the loud crackling of burning wood close at hand. Getting from my bed, and hurrying some clothing on as quickly as possible, I got to the door of my house, and found the next one in a complete blaze, and my own just igniting. My servants no sooner opened the back door and attempted to save my property, than a crowd of braves rushed in and commenced to plunder all they could lay hands on. I was too weak to do much, but, taking a sword, endeavoured to drive them off; I followed one a few paces from the door, and thrust at his body, but was too weak to hurt him much, and the point of my weapon glanced on his ribs; the fellow did not even drop his booty, but successfully made off with all the bedding. Fortunately at this juncture assistance from some neighbouring European residents arrived, or I should have lost everything. With their help and that of the coolies, the greater part of my things were saved, but much had been carried off by the "Imps." The origin of the fire was attributable to the incendiary acts of the Imperialist soldiers, who had set fire to the adjoining house, as also to an European dwelling, out of malice, and hatred of the "foreign devils."[120]

For the few days before taking up my quarters on board the schooner, a friend kindly accommodated me. I then engaged a Greek seaman as mate, shipped a Chinese crew, a Malay boatswain, and prepared to leave. Our voyage progressed very favourably until we reached a place a little below the treaty port Kew-kiang, where, although hitherto dropping down with the tide at the rate of three or four miles an hour, my course was abruptly arrested for several days. Between Kew-kiang and the mouth of the Poyang Lake is situated a large island, and instead of taking the usual channel, my stupid Chinese pilot preferred the other side of the island. In consequence of this, when about half-way past, stem on we went, and stuck hard and fast aground. After a tiresome day's work we managed to get afloat again in about six inches more water than the schooner was drawing, and then made fast for the night. In the morning, after sounding in every direction, and finding the only channel very shallow, and as intricate as the maze at Rosherville Gardens, I obtained a fisherman from the shore, who, for the consideration of a few strings of cash, piloted us out; our own pilot being perfectly ignorant of his duties. I have since found it a common thing for Chinamen who have spent all their lives sailing about the Yang-tze river, to be utterly unacquainted with its pilotage.

Through this affair, the vessel's rudder became injured, and we had barely cleared the island, making sail to a fresh breeze, when away it went.

It now became necessary to bring up for repairs: so picking out a creek with a village named Chang-kea-kau at its entrance, I ran the schooner into it, anchored, and sent ashore for carpenters to make a new rudder. In about a week's time, the village blacksmiths and carpenters managed to turn out a contrivance they termed a rudder; but of all the rudders I ever saw it beat them hollow. They could neither make round bolts, nor long bolts: so instead of bolting the rudder together, they fastened the[121] first part to the rudder-post with huge square nails (they could only cut square holes in timber, having no tool to bore large round ones), and the second part to the first, and the outside piece to the second, with huge iron clamps driven on at the sides: the whole concern stuck and plastered together with lumps of iron bands and braces in every direction, in a way that none but a Chinaman could contrive.

With immense exertion of mechanics, I managed to get this monster shipped in its place, after which I was enabled to make sail and proceed.

At the city of Ta-tung, about 150 miles above Nankin, and fifty below Ngan-king, the capital of Ngan-whui province, I anchored for three days. This city is the chief salt mart up river, all the salt from E-ching coming there, previously to being distributed over the country. The scenery about Ta-tung is very fine—lightly wooded hills gradually rising, range after range, far into the interior. I took a ramble ashore with Philip, my mate, to hunt up some game; our way lay over ridges of low hills covered with a forest of dwarf firs, none over six feet high, mingled with specimens of the smallest of all small trees, the dwarf oak. This Lilliputian forest was succeeded by a tangled undergrowth, and fine plantation, which compelled us to pursue the narrow tracks leading through it. During our progress we were often startled with the loud whirr of the pheasant springing from almost under our feet, and although the high cover made it difficult to get a shot, we obtained several brace. At last we came to a more open part of the hills, where the forest was succeeded by wild flowers and shrubs, while small lakes were frequent in the valleys below us. The hills became higher and more rocky, the few trees about them being of large size,—in fact, the tallest I have seen in China. From the rocky nature of the country, and the running appearance of the chain of lakes, I fancied a large spring was somewhere in the neighbourhood, and I was right; for, after[122] following a beautiful and gradually ascending valley some distance, we came to a cold mountain spring of the purest water I ever tasted in China. We threw ourselves upon the grass and drank the pure mountain draught to our heart's content, and, while resting ourselves, inhaled the powerful aromatic odour of the wild magnolia growing in profusion around. The magnolia is the only flower I have found in China possessing fragrance, all others, however beautiful, being without perfume. Whilst rolling on the turf we had observed some birds, apparently of the duck species, fly overhead in the direction of some tall trees through a gorge on the hills; it being the middle of summer, these birds excited our curiosity, and we determined to follow them and if possible get a shot. When we arrived at the foot of the trees, to our surprise we saw many of these duck-like birds flying in and out of nests among the branches; we shot three brace and a half, and found them to be the beautiful and delicious little wood or summer duck. When I returned on board, I instantly sent some of my crew ashore with a small cask to fill at the spring, and ever afterwards I remembered that cool water and its romantic valley.

The few villages about seemed very poor; they had continually been visited by Ti-ping or Imperialist soldiers, and this, of course, had proved disastrous to the inhabitants, for we all know what hungry disciplined troops are in an enemy's country, but few of us realize the effect of undisciplined Chinese. The houses, however, had not been destroyed, and the only mark of the Ti-pings was the remains of a large Budhist temple, each separate brick, as usual, being broken to pieces, so that nothing but heaps of rubbish remained. The people spoke very vengefully about the visits of the Imperialist troops, who, they said, had used their women shamefully, and killed several of the husbands and fathers who had attempted to defend them. The Ti-pings, they informed me, had treated them well, and had only made them contribute provisions for[123] the army; one soldier having used violence to a girl, had been decapitated, and they showed me the place where his head had been exposed. They also spoke very kindly of one leader of the Ti-pings, the Ying-wang, who had allowed nothing to be taken from them without payment for it.

During my voyage in the schooner, I became acquainted with the Chinese game of chess, which, although resembling that of Europe in a few pieces, and the object of the game, is in every other particular totally different. I had several Chinese on board, passengers to Shanghae, and they taught me how to play.

The board, instead of being divided into black and white squares, as with us, is of one colour—generally black—and divided by lines on which the pieces stand, and move as shown in the following rules and annexed diagram:—

King—Can only move one square at a time, and only straight or sideways as a castle, neither can he move outside his nine points, nor into a square exposed to the adverse king from the opposite side of the board, without any intervening piece.


Mandarins, or Shields—Can only move within the nine points, one at a time, diagonally, as a bishop; they take the same way.

Bishops—Can only move upon their own side of the ditch, always move two points at a time, and take the same way. Their move is diagonal.

Knights—Move and take the same as with us, go all over the board, but cannot move when the angle at the first point of the move is occupied by another piece. They cannot jump over a piece as with us, but must have the road clear.

Castles—Move and take, and have entirely the same value as with us.

Guns—They move only as a castle, but can only take by jumping over an intervening piece.

Pawns—Move one point at a time, straight forward, take the same way, and when they cross the ditch, can take and advance, forwards or sideways, like a castle; but still only one point at a time. They cannot, however, move backwards. It requires a move of the pawn, and half a move of the knight, to cross the ditch. Castles and guns can go as far beyond as willing in one move.

I passed close to the Nankin fortifications, but did not anchor, as I saw quite sufficient to guide me in joining the Chung-wang there without stopping; the place being evidently open and easy of access.

At Chin-kiang I heard terrible rumours of pirates, about the Lang-shan crossing and entrance of the river; and the more the deeds of the pirates were talked about, the greater embellishment they received from the imagination of the narrator, so that, at last, bad as they certainly were, the deeds attributed to them would never have been recognized by the perpetrators themselves.

With all the exaggeration, the danger was really too great to be despised, and I made arrangements to sail down to Shanghae in company with two European vessels also bound there, one a fore and-aft-French schooner, the other an American lorcha.

The first night after leaving Chin-kiang, being in advance of my consorts, I observed an English schooner right ahead, with her ensign flying union down. At the time I made her out she was scarcely half a mile distant, and the moon shining brightly upon her, with[125] my glasses I easily distinguished her signal of distress. As we approached each other from opposite directions, in a few minutes we had closed to within speaking distance; so, rounding to, I hailed to know what was the matter. I could only faintly distinguish, in reply, "Come on board; I will anchor."

After passing me by a few hundred yards the strange vessel brought up, and lowering a boat, I proceeded to board her, leaving my Greek mate to bring the schooner a little closer, and then anchor. Before getting alongside I noticed two Europeans on the quarter deck of the schooner, waiting to receive me, and to my surprise saw they were both armed. As this looked suspicious, when under the shadow of the vessel's side I loosened my revolver in its sheath. When I reached the gangway, I observed many of the Chinese crew watching my approach, and all, apparently, in a state of excitement. This put me upon my guard still more, for it was evident something was wrong; and, coupling the appearance of things with the signal of distress, that something was most likely dangerous. I ascended the gangway ladder with caution, and well I did so, for my head had scarcely appeared above the rail when a Chinaman made a rush at me with both hands stretched out, evidently intending to push me overboard. Thanks to my watchfulness and sailor training, I was able to meet this attack successfully, in spite of my awkward situation. Clinging to the side ladder with my knees, I quick as thought ducked my head and shoulders inboard, seized my assailant round the waist before he could take hold of me, and, aided by his own impetus, threw him clean over my head into the river. He uttered one cry as, plunging into the fierce and turbid tide of the Yang-tze, he disappeared for ever. This passed within two seconds, and, drawing my revolver, I sprang on board before several other Chinese rushing to the gangway could reach me. The sudden display of the hollow barrel within[126] a couple of feet, and pointing straight at the head of the foremost, checked them, and at that moment the whizzing of a bullet amongst them, accompanied by the sharp crack of a rifled pistol, and followed by the appearance of the two Europeans at my side, drove them back.

The whole crew, however, seemed springing from every direction, some from the hatchways, some from forward, and some from aft; and with the usual gesticulation of Chinese about to fight, commenced stripping themselves of their outer clothing, and uttering fierce crys and yells to encourage each other.

I had barely a moment to receive the explanation of the schooner's captain, who thrust a spare cutlass into my hand—that a mutiny had taken place, and having secured the ringleader he wished me to carry him down to Shanghae in irons—when the crew were upon us. Jumping and yelling like a legion of fiends let loose, they hurried towards us, brandishing the bamboo spears and the knives they had armed themselves with. For a moment we hesitated to fire upon them, but that moment's delay very nearly cost us our lives. Thinking they possessed no firearms, we believed we could awe them into submission with our revolvers. Suddenly one of them jumped forward and discharged two heavy horse pistols point blank at me and the captain of the schooner. The din of the report, the smoke, and our surprise, combined with an indefinite sort of feeling (upon my part at least) that we were half blown to pieces, caused a moment's inaction almost fatal to us. The whole of the crew, some eighteen or twenty, rushed forward. Fortunately the captain (who I imagined was the mate) of the vessel, being farthest away from the discharge of the pistols, was not in the least startled, but firing at the man who held them, brought him to the deck, and then discharging several shots amongst the crowd, gave me time to recover myself.

I did not feel wounded. My next perception was, that[127] I was engaged with half a dozen men pushing fiercely at me with their spears. For some seconds I defended myself desperately with the cutlass, successfully warding all their thrusts, actually forgetful of the revolver I held in my left hand. I was soon reminded of its use by another man coming towards me, pointing a huge pistol like the first two that had so nearly finished me. This entirely recalled my presence of mind, and bringing my revolver into play, I had the satisfaction of seeing him fall in the smoke. At the same instant, however, the slight distraction had nearly proved successful to my spear assailants; one transfixed me, as I thought, though afterwards it appeared I was barely scratched, and the transfixing sensation was caused by the spear tightly pinning my clothes, while before I could parry it, another made a thrust full at my breast. With no time to sweep my cutlass round, I dropped it, and seized the spear-haft within an inch of my body, at the same time using my revolver and shooting the man. Before I could level at another enemy, the man whose spear was fast in my clothes abandoned it and closed with me. Over and over we rolled on the deck. I was unable to use my pistol, and he to use his knife. My left wrist was firmly grasped by his right hand, while my right hand was fully engaged restraining his left, armed with a large dagger.

While struggling on the deck I saw several Chinamen approaching with uplifted spear, to slaughter me in my helpless condition, but each time I had seen the schooner's mate jump over me, exclaiming, as he thrust with his sword, "Lā, lā," and each time I had seen an enemy fall. At last I received a severe blow on the head, and, half-stunned, felt my antagonist releasing his left hand. Just at this moment I was sensible of some one dragging himself along the deck close to me, and ere I could distinguish who or what it was, my revolver was taken from my hand, the Chinaman who had hitherto been holding it abandoned his grip, and knocked my right hand from his left.[128] Instead of feeling his knife pierce me, a pistol was discharged, so close that the flash singed my hair, and the Chinaman fell motionless across me.

From the effect of the blow I had received, and the shock of the near report, I lay for a moment unable to move. I was then aroused by the mate of the schooner dragging the Chinaman off me and assisting me to rise, exclaiming, "Eh, monsieur capitaine, hope I, be gar! vous have no die—Zese sacré—all dead, all run down le fond de calle—de hole, be gar!"

When I recovered my feet, I saw the deck was deserted, except by ourselves and seven or eight Chinamen lying dead or wounded, and the captain of the schooner, who was sitting on the deck with my revolver in his hand—for he it was who had so opportunely rescued me from my antagonist.

Upon examining the captain, we found he had received a severe-looking wound from the first discharge, a ball from one of the horse pistols having struck his breast, and then, glancing, passed through the fleshy part of his left arm.

Of the prostrate Chinese four were dead and four severely wounded. All this happened in far less time than it takes to read it, and just as it was all over my two consorts arrived, and the vessels being anchored close alongside, their owners came on board to ascertain the cause of all the noise and firing.

The Frenchman whom I had taken for the mate of the schooner, proved to be part owner of her. She was from Shanghae, and bound to Chin-kiang with a cargo of sundries and opium. When close to the Lang-shan crossing the crew were observed to be acting very suspiciously, and the lowder (Chinese captain) having altered the course of the vessel, to steer her away to the northern entrance of the river, a favourite haunt of pirates, the captain and owner at once determined to seize and make him a prisoner, rightly suspecting that they had shipped a crew in league with the pirates.[129]

Arming themselves, they went on deck and immediately seized the lowder at the helm, one making him fast while the other threatened him with instant death in case of resistance. Directly the crew saw this they seized up boarding-pikes, hand-spikes, &c., and commenced rushing aft to attack them; but while the captain kept them off with a levelled rifle, the owner, putting his revolver to the lowder's head, swore to blow his brains out if the crew advanced another step.

This had the desired effect, for the lowder quickly called to his colleagues to desist, who at once retired to the fore part of the vessel, leaving their leader in the hands of the Europeans.

After they had been sailing for several hours up the river in this position, they met me; and during their occupation, when I was boarding them, the crew had managed to release the lowder, and made the attack upon us to try and capture the vessel, well knowing the fate which awaited them at Shanghae as pirates.

Had it not been for the prowess and dexterous swordsmanship of the owner, the Chinamen, although with great loss, would undoubtedly have overpowered us. The Frenchman had been maître d'armes in a French regiment, and more than nine killed and wounded were due to his sword, for, besides those left on deck, five or six who had fled below were wounded. Poor fellow! some little time afterwards he was killed by pirates, almost upon the scene of our encounter, when, after bravely defending himself alone on the deck of his vessel against a host of assailants, and killing sixteen with his own hand, the pirates, unable to overcome his splendid swordsmanship, retired to their own vessel and killed him by throwing stink-pots[16] upon him.

We dressed the captain's wounds as well as we were [130]able, and after throwing the dead overboard, and permitting the Chinese to dress their own wounds, we made them all fast; and, remaining by the schooner all night, we had the satisfaction of seeing her taken in tow for Chin-kiang, by a passing river steamer, in the morning.

After this, in company with my consorts, I weighed anchor and proceeded on my voyage to Shanghae. Towards dusk we came within sight of the Lang-shan hills, and as it would have been dangerous to attempt the crossing at night, especially in the vicinity of pirates, we determined to anchor until daylight.

About midnight, I and the mate were alarmed by the look-out man, who rushed into our cabin, singing out—"Jen-dow-li! Jen-dow-li!" (Pirates coming! Pirates coming!)

Jumping out of our berths we hurried on deck, turning all the crew out to get the schooner under weigh.

Rather more than a quarter of a mile up river we observed two heavy junks, and as we were lying to the ebb tide, they were right straight ahead. As they were so distant, and apparently peaceful, people not so experienced as ourselves would never have taken the slightest alarm, and consequently would have become an easy prey.

I perceived at a glance the modus operandi of the junks ahead—they had anchored exactly abreast of each other, but some distance apart; they had then run out a stout rope from the bow of one to the other, and having waited for a dark and favourable opportunity, had weighed their anchors and were now dropping down upon us with the tide, rapidly and noiselessly, hauling in the rope on board either vessel as might be necessary, intending to let it catch across our bows or cable, and thus be swept alongside instantaneously by the strong tide, when their crowds of men could board and make short work of us. Many a vessel unsuspicious of this cunning device has been easily captured, when otherwise she might have beaten off the pirates, or escaped through superior sailing.[131]

Getting under weigh, I determined to drop down with the tide according to the plan of the pirates, as it was likely by that means my movement would for some little time remain undiscovered and give me an opportunity to close with my consorts, anchored more than a mile below.

The moon having just gone down, and the night become quite dark, my design succeeded admirably, and I lessened the distance between myself and allies by at least three quarters of a mile before the pirates gave any sign that they had discovered they were not closing with me. At last, however, we could dimly discern their spreading foresails through the darkness, as they made sail in chase; I was not slow to follow their example, and Philip and myself having armed, prepared to go on board our consorts, they carrying guns, while our vessel mounted none. The only danger was, that our friends might not be keeping a look-out, and that we should have no time to prepare them for defence, or get the guns ready.

We were soon relieved on this point, for our pursuers had the kindness to open fire upon us, and so effectually arouse the crews of the other vessels.

From the loudness and rapidity of the reports, I knew our antagonists were of the formidable west coast class (Ti-mungs), mounting ten or a dozen 12 to 32-pounders. I had but little fear of the result, however, if once on board our friends' vessels, for I knew they each carried two long nines, which well worked—and two of us were good gunners—would soon put the pirates to flight.

The cannonade had only lasted a few minutes, when I perceived the sails of my two consorts close by. I instantly put the lowder in charge of my vessel, and directing him to steer directly after us, took six of my best men in the boat, and pulling to our allies, left my mate and three of the crew on board one of them, and took the other three on board the second with myself.[132]

According to pre-arrangement, I took charge of the operations. The plan I determined upon was to concentrate our fire upon one of the attacking vessels, and to manœuvre so as to bring her into the centre of a circle, the radius of which would be described by our two vessels and the other pirate ship. If this could be carried out, we would be in a position to keep one of the enemy's vessels in the way of the other,—or that one which might be in the centre of the circle, between the fire of its consort and our vessels. Hailing my schooner, I ordered her to keep away in the opposite course until I should open fire, and then to sail back and follow in my wake. This ruse had the desired effect, for while one Ti-mung bore away to engage the schooner, the other seemed inclined to follow our two fighting ships, and act as a cover to her consort's attack.

In a short time we had the satisfaction to bring the two Ti-mungs nearly in a line; and to prevent my own vessel getting too far away and thus running the risk of being carried by the board before we could come to her assistance, we opened fire immediately. The advantageous position we had obtained soon became evident; our opponent mounting about ten broadside guns could of course only fire five at a time, and as both the vessels under my charge carried swivel guns, we could reply with four; the only chance the pirates possessed to overmatch us, was by engaging each of our armed vessels, when the odds would have been more than double in their favour. This, however, they neglected to do, and while one was chasing my schooner,—that now having tacked was following us round in a circle,—and unable to bring a gun to bear on her, having nothing but broadside guns mounted, we were particularly engaged with our more immediate adversary, and completely sailing round her. The pirates' firing was bad and ineffective, not one shot in twenty striking us. I knew that, generally, vessels of the Chinese could only fire their guns with any aim when directly abeam;[133] therefore the continual change of position I compelled her to observe, sadly interfered with their shooting.

In a short time the accuracy of our firing commenced to tell, and our antagonist hauled off to join his consort, making signals to her at the same time. The latter at once abandoned the chase of my schooner, and bore down to assist her companion. I now saw a good opportunity to finish the combat; both vessels were approaching us, and we were steering straight to meet them; I therefore loaded with a double charge of grape and canister, and running down upon them, when within fifty yards, luffed right across their bows, and with our heavily charged guns raked them fore and aft.

It was too dark to see the result of that discharge, but we heard quite enough yelling to convince us it had proved sufficiently destructive to both vessels. The pirates, after a confusion in which it would have been easy to carry them had we had any men to board with, hauled off, and crowded on all sail to escape. This they might not have been permitted to do so easily; but while following them to bestow a few parting shots, the vessel I was on board ran bang ashore. This at once put an end to further pursuit; besides, the Ti-mungs could float in less than half the water we could, by reason of their flat and shallow build. I warned off our other two vessels, and both instantly lowered their sails and anchored while they could. Running a line out to one of them, we soon hove off the bank; as we were getting amongst the Lang-shan shoals, the only thing to be done was to remain at anchor quietly till daylight. We came out of the action with a loss of only one man killed,—his head had been smashed with a round shot,—one wounded by a splinter, one with a grape-shot lodged in his seat of honour, and a pet monkey, belonging to the captain of the vessel I was on board, missing. The loss of the pirates must have been heavy, especially from the salvo of grape and canister at close quarters.[134]

The engagement had barely lasted half an hour, and upon its favourable termination we spent the remainder of the night, or rather morning, in glorification, winding up with a well-spread morning supper. We might fairly have expected we had had enough of pirates for one voyage, yet it was not so, and we were to see more of them before reaching Shanghae.

The morning broke dim and foggy, so thick, in fact, that we were unable to weigh anchor and proceed till late in the day. In consequence of the thick weather, we chose the north channel to pass the Lang-shan crossing, as there we could find good soundings to steer by. We had been following this for some time, and the day had become one of that unsettled changeable kind, leaving us at one moment in the centre of a dense fog, and anon in the midst of a perfectly clear spot surrounded by thick banks, when, during a momentary glimpse of clear weather, a large fleet of Chinese trading junks passed us on their way up the river from Shanghae.

These junks reported that they had been attacked by pirates only a mile or so below, and that two of their number had been captured; the pirates, they said, were in long low boats, imperceptible in the fog until right alongside. This put us upon the qui vive; Philip and myself still remained on board the armed vessels, and sending my schooner on ahead, we followed her, one on each quarter. The fog again closed in upon us, and we had progressed but a very short distance when we heard a tremendous outcry from on board the schooner just ahead: it was so thick, that we were unable to discern anything, but we could plainly hear the Chinamen yelling out that they were attacked by "Jen-dow."

I was just about ordering a gun to be fired to frighten the pirates off, when, before I could give the order, we heard a splashing of oars, and the next minute bang went a gun within half a dozen yards, and a charge of grape or canister hissed and hurtled about our ears. I had[135] barely time to jump off the gun I was sitting upon, depress it to the lowest limit, and fire it off with the cigar in my hand, when the long narrow boat I had laid the gun for—just issuing from the dense fog into the space of a few feet, within which anything could be distinguished—crashed alongside, full of the dead and dying. Every man in that boat seemed stricken, but we had no time for observation, for the instant she touched our side—probably torn to pieces by the grape and langridge—she turned over and sank. From the noise of oars all round us, it appeared as though many boats were rapidly pulling away; only one more came in sight, just sufficiently to receive a dose from the foremost pivot gun, after which she disappeared in the mist. In a few minutes the fog considerably lifted, and there in the distance we saw a squadron of the Imperialist gunboats—of the smallest size—pulling inshore as fast as they could. If instead of employing British gunboats against the Ti-pings, the British authorities had sent them against these, they might have rendered a real service, for many a poor fellow has lost the number of his mess, slaughtered by these murderous wretches, who subsequently became the comrades of British officers and sailors in the waters of both Ningpo and Shanghae. The fog clearing, without further adventure or mishap, we safely reached our destination.


[16] An earthenware jar filled with a suffocating combustible, forming a very formidable weapon. It is thrown as a hand grenade.



Fall of Nankin.—Manchoo Cowardice.—Immense Booty.—Sir George Bonham's Arrival at Nankin.—"The Northern Prince."—The Ti-pings fraternize.—Sir George Bonham's Dispatch.—The Ti-ping Reply.—Further Communication.—Its Friendly Nature.—Ti-ping Literature.—Its Religious Character.—Bishop of Victoria and Dr. Medhurst's Opinions.—Ti-ping Publications.—The New Testament.—Monarchy Established.—Occupation of Nankin.—A Fatal Mistake.—Imperialist Advantages.—Advance of the Ti-pings.—Manchoo Operations.—The Tsing-hae Army.—The Retreat.—Tien-wang's Mistake.—His Opportunity Lost.—Manchoo Tactics.—Imperialist Outrages.—Ti-ping Moderation.—The Triad Rebels.—They Evacuate Amoy.—Captain Fishbourne's Description.—Triads Capture Shanghae.—Imperialist Aggressions.—Jesuits' Interference.—The French attack the Triads.—Shanghae Evacuated.—British Interference.—Its Consequences.

Upon the 19th of March, 1853, after a short siege of only eleven days, Nankin, the ancient capital of China, fell into the hands of the Ti-pings. Considering the importance of the city, and the strong garrison it contained, its capture was effected very easily. It was attacked from the river, upon the northern side, and while one division sprang a mine under the north-east angle of the wall, another blew down the I-Fung gate, both storming together and carrying the city with but little resistance. The Chinese troops in garrison are stated to have numbered about 15,000, though, considering the unusually large proportion of Tartar troops, it is probable their strength must have been greater. They made scarcely a show of opposition to the stormers, many taking to flight and escaping through the south and west gates, or surrendering and joining the Ti-pings. The Manchoo troops of the Eight Banners are[137] estimated to have mustered at least 8,000, and including their families, not less than 20,000. Yet these men, who had already, in the wars with Great Britain, shown they could fight well and bravely, and who were now in a position to offer a stubborn defence, were killed with hardly an effort to defend themselves. It might naturally have been expected that, for the honour of their nation, for their emperor, for their wives' and their children's, and their own lives, in fact, for everything dear to them, they would at least have made a determined resistance. They well knew from the insurgents' proclamations, and their previous acts, that they would meet with little mercy, but seemed to have been completely paralyzed, and neither able to fight nor flee, throwing themselves on the ground before the victorious Ti-pings and crying "Oh Prince, Prince, spare us! spare us!"

Two days after the capture of Nankin, the Tien-wang announced by proclamation that he had established his court and seat of government there.

It is believed the Ti-pings were materially assisted in the capture of the city by confederates within the walls, who lighted signal fires and created confusion; while the fact of their finding confederates everywhere, even in the Imperialist camps, to post their proclamations with impunity, proves the wide-spread popularity of the movement at that time. With remarkable celerity, within twelve days after the capture of Nankin, the principal adjoining cities were taken and garrisoned. Chin-kiang, Yang-chow, and Kwa-chow fell into the hands of the Ti-pings without opposition, the garrisons having fled with precipitation on their approach.

The capture of these important cities was even of more moment than that of Nankin; for Chin-kiang being situated at the southern entrance of the Grand Canal into the Yang-tze, and Kwa-chow at the northern, gave them entire command of the canal itself, the great medium of communication between the southern provinces and the[138] capital, and the route by which all the grain supplies were conveyed to the north. Immense booty was captured at these places, and conveyed to Nankin. At the latter city the military chest that fell into their hands alone contained about £120,000 sterling; while the stores of rice and provisions were enormous. At Kwa-chow they captured more than a thousand junks laden with tribute grain on its way to Pekin by the Grand Canal.

The singular panic of the Manchoos was probably caused by their fear of a retributive Providence having overtaken them for the indiscriminate slaughter of the Chinese by their ancestors; for in no other way is it easy to account for the helplessness with which they resigned themselves to their fate at Nankin.

The Chinese people at this time seemed to look upon the success of the rebellion as certain. Distant cities commenced to send tribute to the Tien-wang, and a deputation from Hang-chow was directed by the Ti-ping authorities to return, as they were not in want of money, and did not wish the people of Hang-chow to become compromised; thus displaying a praiseworthy consideration for their countrymen, whose fate they well knew would be sealed if they fell into the power of the Manchoos after offering allegiance to themselves.

Exaggerated reports of the Ti-ping successes had reached Shanghae, and it was rumoured they were on the point of attacking that city. In consequence of this, and to undeceive the Ti-pings with regard to the Manchoo proclamations which were diligently circulated, stating the foreign "barbarians" were about to send their war ships against the insurgents at Nankin, Sir George Bonham, H.M.'s plenipotentiary in China, decided to pay a visit to Nankin, partly to explain the British intention of perfect neutrality, and partly to ascertain the extent, creed, and objects of the revolutionists.

Before leaving Shanghae a meeting was held at the British Consulate, to consider the course of policy to be[139] adopted in the event of an attack by the insurgents. Captain Fishbourne, R.N., senior naval officer upon the station, reports:—

"The question was raised as to whether we should undertake the defence of the city. Sir George Bonham, however, decided that it was incompatible with the line of policy he had determined on."

It is only a pity that later British representatives have not been influenced by a similar sense of justice.

With these views Sir George Bonham embarked on board H.M.S. Hermes, and started for Nankin on the 22nd of April, 1853. The first appearance of the Ti-pings is thus described by the commander of the ship:—

"The sight which met our eyes on our fairly opening Chin-kiang-foo to view was a very striking one. Their scouts had evidently sent forward the news of the approach of an enemy, which had flown like lightning almost, and had called up armed warriors in all directions to resist attack. The river-side for a full mile was lined by batteries and stockades, which were all occupied by men in red head-dresses—some with red belts, and dresses made parti-coloured by a large patch on each man's breast and back, with the badge of the Taeping-wang's army. Thousands, again, were occupying the heights, waving hundreds of banners in defiance. Many others were crowding down towards the river-side as if to be the first in the fight, should we attempt to land, or to support those in the forefront. Here and there were to be seen men in red or yellow hoods, and capes of the same colour, on horseback, galloping along the lines, their standard-bearers and guards hurrying after them as best they could, all evincing an enthusiasm and a unity of purpose that proved them something more than mere hirelings."

Upon the arrival of the Hermes at Nankin, she anchored outside gun-shot from the batteries, in order to avoid misunderstandings, she having been fired upon at Chin-kiang by the Ti-ping forts, when she was followed closely by an Imperialist flotilla, which took advantage of her proximity to lead the Ti-pings to believe that she was one of the foreign vessels of war they had stated in many proclamations were engaged to assist them. Mr. Meadows, of the consular service, accompanied by Lieutenant Spratt, proceeded on shore for the purpose of negotiating a meeting[140] between Sir George Bonham and the chief authorities at Nankin.

Mr. Meadows was received in the northern suburb of Nankin by the Northern Prince, and the Tien-wang's brother, the Assistant Prince. In his report of the communication with these two chiefs, he says:—

"But I also explained, as authorized, the simple object of his (Sir George Bonham's) visit; viz., to notify the desire of the British government to remain perfectly neutral in the struggle between them and the Manchoos, and to learn their feeling towards us, and their intention, in the event of their forces advancing towards Shanghae.

"To all this the Northern Prince listened, but made little or no rejoinder; the conversation, in so far as directed by him, consisting mainly of inquiries as to our religious belief, and expositions of their own. He stated that, as children and worshippers of one God, we were all brethren; and after receiving my assurance that such had long been our view also, inquired if I knew the heavenly rules (Tien-teaou). I replied that I was most likely acquainted with them, though unable to recognize them under that name; and, after a moment's thought, asked if they were ten in number. He answered eagerly in the affirmative. I then began repeating the substance of the first of the Ten Commandments, but had not proceeded far before he laid his hand on my shoulder in a friendly way, and exclaimed, 'The same as ourselves! the same as ourselves!' while the simply observant expression on the face of his companion disappeared before one of satisfaction, as the two exchanged glances.

"He then stated, with reference to my previous inquiry as to their feelings and intentions towards the British, that not merely might peace exist between us, but that we might be intimate friends. He added, we might now, at Nankin, land and walk about where we pleased. He reverted again and again, with an appearance of much gratitude, to the circumstance that he and his companions in arms had enjoyed the special protection and aid of God, without which they would never have been able to do what they had done against superior numbers and resources; and alluding to our declarations of neutrality and non-assistance to the Manchoos, said, with a quiet air of thorough conviction, 'It would be wrong for you to help them, and, what is more, it would be of no use. Our Heavenly Father helps us, and no one can fight with Him.'"

Captain Fishbourne, of the Hermes, says:—

"Meanwhile the news soon spread amongst the insurgents that we were brethren, and numbers came immediately to fraternize. They appeared much pleased at our wearing our hair long in front like themselves, and [141]without tails.... Numbers continued to flock on board, and as the question of friendliness was settled, we weighed, to move closer to the city walls, whilst many of the insurgents fell into the capstan to assist, and seemed to enjoy it all as great fun. In a manner quite unlike any Chinese we had ever met, they at once met us on the most friendly terms, and remained so the five days we were there. * * *

"29th (April). Again the decks were crowded with visitors; some, on going down amongst the men, observed some josses (idols) that they had picked up as curiosities, some of them from Rangoon, and intimated by gestures that these were very bad and useless. They conducted themselves in a frank and friendly way towards all; their bearing was quite different to that of any Chinese that we had ever met; so much so, that our men remarked it; and had any one asserted ten days previously that so many hundred Chinese would have been on board, and yet nothing have been stolen, not one in the ship but would have said, 'It is impossible.'"

A slight misunderstanding having occurred with regard to the unceremonious style in which the Ti-ping chiefs replied to the first letter sent to them immediately upon the arrival of the Hermes, Lae, a secretary of state, proceeded on board to arrange matters for Sir George Bonham's reception. This was settled to take place the next day; but he, apprehending difficulties in the way of ceremonial might perhaps interfere with the good feeling then existing, sent an excuse, accompanied by the following dispatch, which was delivered by Captain Fishbourne and Mr. Meadows:—

"Hermes, off Nankin, April 30, 1853.

"I received yesterday your message conveyed through the ministers sent on board for that purpose, to the effect that you were willing to receive me in the city, in the event of my being desirous of paying you a visit. It was at first my intention to see you on shore, but the weather and other circumstances prevent my doing so, and therefore I have to convey to you in writing the sentiments I should have communicated to you verbally, had I visited you. These sentiments are to the following effect."

After stating the position of the British nation with regard to the Manchoo government, the existence of the treaty and trading regulations, &c., the dispatch goes on to say:—

"Recently, however, it came to my ears that a contest was going on between the native Chinese and the Manchoos, and that you, the Eastern [142]Prince, had taken Nankin. A variety of reports connected with the subject were in circulation, and certain of the Manchoo authorities had issued a proclamation to the effect that they had borrowed the services of ten or more steamers of Western nations, which would proceed up the Yang-tze to attack your forces. This is altogether false. It is the established custom of our nation in nowise to interfere with any contests that may take place in the countries frequented by our subjects for commercial purposes. It is therefore totally out of the question that we should now in China lend the services of our steamers to give assistance in the struggle. Of the lorchas hired by the Manchoo authorities, and the square-rigged vessels purchased by them, I know nothing. British merchant vessels are not allowed to hire out their services for such contest; but I cannot prevent the sale of vessels, the private property of British subjects, any more than I can prevent the sale of cotton manufactures or other merchandise."

Again the dispatch states:—

"In short, it is our desire to remain perfectly neutral in the conflict between you and the Manchoos."

This guarantee of neutrality would have effected much good, and avoided much evil, had it been acted up to; but unfortunately such was not the case—it did not suit the policy of England to act on that occasion in the same manner as when the Confederate steam rams were seized in the Mersey.

Sir George Bonham's dispatch was carried ashore by Captain Fishbourne, who was received by several chiefs, whom he thus describes:[17]

"The appearance and bearing of all those men gave me the idea that they were clever, decided, and determined; and from the constant solemn appeal to heaven to witness their assertion, or in reference to their belief, they showed themselves to be under a settled conviction that their mission was from thence."

The following dispatch is the reply of the Ti-ping chiefs to Sir George Bonham's:—

"We, Prince of the East, Yang, the Honae teacher, and the master who rescues from calamity (an ecclesiastical title), Principal Minister of State, and Generalissimo; and

"Prince of the West, Seaou, Assistant Minister of State, and also Generalissimo, both subjects of the Celestial dynasty, now under the sway of T'aí-ping, truly commissioned by Heaven to rule; hereby issue a decree to the distant English, who have long recognized the duty of worshipping Heaven (God), and who have recently come into the views of our royal master, especially enjoining upon them to set their minds at rest and harbour no unworthy suspicions.

"The Heavenly Father, the Supreme Lord, the Great God, in the beginning created heaven and earth, land and sea, men and things, in six days; from that time to this the whole world has been one family, and all within the four seas brethren; how can there exist, then, any difference between man and man? or how any distinction between principal and secondary birth? But from the time that the human race has been influenced by the demoniacal agency which has entered into the heart of man, they have ceased to acknowledge the great benevolence of God the Heavenly Father in giving and sustaining life, and ceased to appreciate the infinite merit of the expiatory sacrifice made by Jesus, our Celestial Elder Brother, and have, with lumps of clay, wood, and stone, practised perversity in the world. Hence it is that the Tartar hordes and Elfin Huns so fraudulently robbed us of our celestial territory (China). But, happily, our Heavenly Father and Celestial Elder Brother have from an early period displayed their miraculous power amongst you English, and you have long acknowledged the duty of worshipping God the Heavenly Father and Jesus our Celestial Brother, so that the truth has been preserved entire, and the Gospel maintained. Happily, too, the Celestial Father, the Supreme Lord and Great God, has now of His infinite mercy sent a heavenly messenger to convey our royal master the Heavenly King up into heaven, and has personally endowed him with power to sweep away from the thirty-three heavens demoniacal influences of every kind, and expel them thence into this lower world. And, beyond all, happy is it that the Great God and Heavenly Father displayed His infinite mercy and compassion in coming down into this our world in the third month of the year Mowshin (1848),[18] and that Jesus our Celestial Elder Brother, the Saviour of the world, likewise manifested equal favour and grace in descending to earth during the ninth month of the same year, where, for these six years past, they have marvellously guided the affairs of men, mightily exhibited their wondrous power, and put forth innumerable miraculous proofs, exterminating a vast number of imps and demons, and aiding our Celestial Sovereign in assuming the control of the whole empire.

"But now that you distant English have not deemed myriads of miles too far to come and acknowledge our sovereignty, not only are the soldiers and officers of our celestial dynasty delighted and gratified thereby, but even in high heaven itself our Celestial Father and Elder Brother will also admire this manifestation of your fidelity and truth. We therefore issue this special decree, permitting you, the English chief, to lead your brethren out or in, backwards or forwards, in full accordance with your own will or wish, whether to aid us in exterminating our impish foes, or to carry on your commercial operations as usual; and it is our earnest hope that you will, with us, earn the merit of diligently serving our Royal Master, and, with us, recompense the goodness of the Father of Spirits.

"Wherefore we promulgate this new decree of (our sovereign) T'aí-ping for the information of you English, so that all the human race may learn to worship our Heavenly Father and Celestial Elder Brother, and that all may know that, wherever our Royal Master is, there men unite in congratulating him on having obtained the decree to rule.

"A special decree, for the information of all men, given (under our seals) this 26th day of the 3rd month of the year Kweihaou (1st May, 1853), under the reign of the Celestial dynasty of T'aí-ping."



With a faithfulness above all praise, the Ti-pings have never broken their promises, and although the British government have thought fit to repudiate theirs, still, with an integrity really wonderful, the Ti-pings, although they might fairly have done so, have never retaliated. Had ministers of enlightened mind, or even ministers of honour, taken advantage of that clause of the Ti-pings' line of conduct—and which in spite of the British hostilities has remained unaltered—to go "out or in, backwards or forwards," how great a result would have been attained for themselves, and how glorious a future of freedom and Christianity for the Chinese!

Sir George Bonham, it appears, took umbrage at some imaginative want of respect in the dispatch of the Ti-ping chiefs; still, the following extracts from a communication received from Lo-thai-kang, commander of Ti-ping forces at Chin-kiang, the Triad chief who joined the society of "God-worshippers" in Kwang-si, should have appeased his indignation:—

"We humbly conceive that when the will of Heaven is fixed, man cannot oppose; and when views and feelings are correct, corrupt imaginations cannot interfere therewith; hence it is that honest birds select the [145]tree on which they roost, and that virtuous ministers choose the sovereign whom they intend to serve. But, alas! these false Tartars have displayed their unruly dispositions, in fraudulently depriving us of our lawful patrimony; at home they have injured the subjects of our state, and abroad they have warred against foreign states. On a former occasion your honourable nation, with upright views, marched into our territory, for which you had doubtless good and sufficient reason; but the impish Tartars opposed your entrance, which the inhabitants of China viewed with displeasure; but now our royal master has received the command of Heaven to punish offenders, to show kindness to foreigners, and harmonize them with the Chinese, not restricting commercial intercourse, nor levying transit duties on merchandise, while he leads forward his martial bands, to the number of hundreds of myriads, overcoming every opposition; from which it is clear that the period has arrived when both Heaven and man unite in favouring his design, and faithful and brave warriors exert themselves on his behalf. But these fiendish Tartars, finding their strength gone, and their resources exhausted, have attempted to drive on your honourable nation to exert yourselves in their behalf, unabashed by the recollection that, on a former occasion, when matters went easily with them, they made it their business to oppose you; and now, when they are in extremities, they apply to you for succour, wishing to set our two nations at variance, in order to avail themselves of any advantage arising therefrom. This, we presume, is already seen through by you.

"We remember, moreover, how on a former occasion we, in conjunction with Bremer, Elliot, and Wanking (?), in the province of Canton erected a church, and together worshipped Jesus, our Celestial Elder Brother. All these circumstances are as fresh in our recollection as if they had happened but yesterday."

It is utterly impossible that anything could have been more satisfactory than this first communication with the Ti-pings. Not only were all their documents couched in the most friendly manner, affording a striking and total contrast to those of the Manchoo; but in practice as well as theory their conduct was excellent. They substituted for the old and insulting epithets, "barbarian" and "foreign devil," hitherto applied to all Europeans, the kindlier appellation of "foreign brethren;" while instead of assuming the repellant and exclusive manner of the Imperialists, they evinced the warmest friendliness and most candid demeanour. So pleasing was their conduct generally, that all persons having communication with[146] them were unanimous in expressing their favourable impressions. Captain Fishbourne, describing his visit in the Hermes, says:—

"It was obvious to the commonest observer that they were practically a different race. They had Gutzlaff's edition of the Scriptures—at least they told us so; we know they had twenty-eight chapters of Genesis, for they had reprinted thus much, and gave us several copies; and some of them were practical Christians, and nearly all seemed to be under the influence of religious impressions, though limited in their amount. They believed in a special Providence, and believed that this truth had had a practical demonstration in their own case. That though they had had trials and incurred dangers, these were to punish and to purify. They had also successes, such as they could have had only by God's special interference. They referred, with deep and heartfelt gratitude, to the difficulties they had encountered, and the deliverances which had been effected for them, when they were but a few, and attributed all their success to God.

"'They,' said one, speaking of the Imperialists, 'spread all kinds of lies about us; they say we employ magical arts. The only kind of magic we have used is prayer to God. In Kwang-se, when we occupied Yung-ngan, we were sorely pressed; there were then only some two or three thousand of us; we were beset on all sides by much greater number; we had no powder left, and our provisions were all gone; but our Heavenly Father came down and showed us the way to break out. So we put our wives and children in the middle, and not only forced a passage, but completely beat our enemies.'

"After a short pause he added, 'If it be the will of God that our Prince of Peace shall be sovereign of China, he will be the sovereign of China; if not, then we will die here.'

"The man who, in every extreme, spoke these words of courageous fidelity to the cause, and of confidence in God, was a shrivelled-up, elderly little person, who made an odd figure in his yellow and red hood; but he could think the thoughts and speak the speech of a hero. He, and others like him, have succeeded in impressing with their own sentiments of courage and morality the minds of their adherents."

The Hermes brought away from Nankin the following books, which were published and circulated amongst the Ti-pings, viz.:—

1. The Book of Religious Precepts of the Ti-ping Dynasty.
2. The Trimetrical Classic.
3. An Ode for Youth.
4. The Book of Celestial Decrees.
[147] 5. The Book of Declaration of the Divine Will, made during the Heavenly Father's Descent (in the Spirit) upon Earth.
6. The Imperial Declaration of Ti-ping.
7. Proclamations from Eastern and Western Kings.
8. Arrangement of the Army.
9. Regulations of the Army.
10. A New Calendar.
11. Ceremonial Regulations.
12. Book of Genesis, Chap. I.—XXVIII.

These furnished abundant proofs of the Christianity of the whole movement. Errors, and some very grave, undoubtedly existed; but although these have been sometimes animadverted upon in unmeasured terms, the grand truth that the Ti-pings admitted and recognized the principal points of the Christian faith, remained. Yet some persons seemed to imagine the insurrection totally unworthy of Christian sympathy and consideration, because their tenets of belief were not perfect; forgetting that everything must have a commencement, and forgetting the universally imperfect commencement of Christianity, even from the time of the Apostles. Those who have made the religious error of the Ti-pings an argument against them are not worthy of the smallest attention; for, although they have been forward enough to declaim against the struggling Christians, they have been altogether backward in the slightest attempt to teach them better. Their own Christianity is scarcely so faultless that they can afford to consign tens of thousands of professing, though ignorant, Christians, to destruction; and were they ever so correct themselves, still less should they be guilty of so unchristian an act.

The earnestness with which the Ti-ping government endeavoured to promulgate the saving Word of God, is illustrated by the fact, that then, and ever since, they circulated the Scriptures and all religious publications entirely free of charge, a circumstance unparalleled in the history of the world. Captain Fishbourne reports:—

"Before leaving Nankin they furnished us with many copies of books [148]which they had published, and of which they appear to have had a large store, as they circulated them by every possible means; they were seen by some officers of the Hermes in boats that they had sent off to drift down the river amongst the Imperial flotilla."

This singular mode of proceeding seems to imply that even at that early period they recognized the truth of the Divine promise, "My word shall not return unto me void," and with a holy simplicity were acting in full confidence as to the results.

The Bishop of Victoria, in his estimate of the books of the Ti-pings, has used the following language:—

"There are important questions which we have to consider respecting the character of the religion of the insurgents; e.g.: Are its doctrines essentially those of the Christian religion? Do the elements of truth preponderate over those of error? Are the defects, which may be observable among them, such as constitute a reasonable ground for condemning the whole movement as one of unmingled evil, and the work of Satanic power? Or, on the other hand, are they the natural shortcomings of a body of imperfectly enlightened men, placed in a situation of novel difficulty, labouring under almost unexampled disadvantages in their pursuit of truth, without spiritual instructors and guides, with only a few copies of the Holy Scriptures, and those apparently in small, detached, and fragmentary portions, with no forms of prayer or manuals of devotion, having their minds distracted amid the arduous toil of a campaign and the work of religious proselytism, with no definite views or clear knowledge respecting the sacraments, the Christian ministry, or the constitution of a Church—engaged in a struggle for life and death—and yet, amid all these hindrances and drawbacks, evincing a hopeful, praiseworthy, and promising vigour of mind and independence of action, in the great undertaking of a moral revolution of their country?

"We do not hesitate to assert that ours is the latter and more favourable view."

The following are the Rev. Dr. Medhurst's opinions of the same publications. Of one hymn in particular, from "The Book of Religious Precepts of the Ti-ping Dynasty," he says:—

"These lines constitute the redeeming feature of the whole book; they deserve to be written in letters of gold, and we could desire nothing better for the Chinese than that they were engraven on every heart. This one [149]hymn is worth the four books and the five classics of the Chinese all put together:—

"'How different are the true doctrines from the doctrines of the world!
They save the souls of men, and lead to the enjoyment of endless bliss.
The wise receive them with exultation, as the source of their happiness;
The foolish, when awakened, understand thereby the way to heaven.
Our Heavenly Father, of His great mercy and unbounded goodness,
Spared not His first-born son, but sent Him down into the world,
To give His life for the redemption of all our transgressions,
The knowledge of which, coupled with repentance, saves the souls of men.'"

Of "The Book of Religious Precepts of the Ti-ping Dynasty," he further says:—

"This is decidedly the best production issued by the insurgents. The reasoning is correct, the prayers are good, the ceremonies enjoined (with the exception of the offerings) are unobjectionable; the Ten Commandments[19] agree in spirit with those delivered by Moses, and the hymns are passable. The statements of the doctrines of human depravity, redemption by the blood of Jesus, and the renewal of the heart by the influence of the Holy Spirit, are sufficient to direct any honest inquirer in the way to heaven."

"'The Ode for Youth,'" he says, "gives some admirable lessons regarding the honour due to God, who is the Creator and Father of all. It sets forth in very clear terms the coming of Jesus into the world for the salvation of men by the shedding of His blood on the cross, and then goes on to detail the duties that are required of us as parents and children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, relatives and friends; concluding with instructions as to the management of the heart and external senses. Altogether it is an excellent book, and there is not a word in it which a Christian missionary might not adopt, and circulate as a tract for the benefit of the Chinese."[19]

"'The Book of Declaration of the Divine Will, made during the Heavenly Father's Descent upon Earth,' details the examination and detection of a traitor, on whom they were about to confer an appointment, when the Father is said to have come down from heaven in person,[20] on purpose to arraign and cross-question the delinquent; and having brought his reason to light, to have returned to heaven.

"There is no word of their having seen any form; but the idea of the Father's presence seems to have been impressed upon the minds of the bystanders.

"'The Book of Celestial Decrees' purports to be a collection of communications from God our Heavenly Father, and Jesus our Celestial Elder Brother. This is little, if anything, superior to the preceding work.

"Their almanac appears to be in some measure founded upon that originally prepared for the Chinese by the Jesuits, but prepared by those who did not know much upon the subject, and therefore they have adopted 366 days, the almanac copied from having been one for leap-year. They, however, stated in contradistinction to the ordinary Chinese almanac, that there are not any such things as lucky days, 'as whoever shall with a true breast reverence the Heavenly Father, the High Lord God, will be looked upon by Him with complacency, and whatsoever times such please to attend to their business, will be lucky and fortunate to them.'

"The book entitled 'The Regulations for the Army of the Ti-ping Dynasty' is very remarkable for the complete organization which it shows to exist amongst them, and for the very enlightened regulations it establishes for the treatment of the people amongst whom they may be.

"'The Trimetrical Classic,'[21] so called from each line containing only three words, is a very remarkable document, as evidencing that the writer, if there was but one, possessed great knowledge of both Old and New Testament history, of the plan of salvation, and of practical Christianity. He appears, also, to have much knowledge of Chinese history, and uses it to guard against the hostility likely to rise amongst Chinese against the Western nations, from the idea that they were entirely indebted to them for a knowledge of the true God."


Although the above reports are very favourable as to the Ti-pings' religion, still, upon many vital points they were undoubtedly defective; but to qualify their shortcomings they subsequently published the Bible in its full integrity, Old and New Testaments inclusive, copies of which, with the Tien-wang's Imperial seal, are in possession [151]of several gentlemen in England.[22] Therefore, to denounce the Ti-ping movement as evil and anti-Christian, because there exist some errors of belief, is not only most unjustifiable, but even implies that a person using such an argument doubts the promised efficacy and result of God's Word.

The information gathered up to this time upon the religion of the Ti-pings is particularly interesting and satisfactory; and if all Christian men did not feel disposed to help them, they at least ought not to have interfered against them; yet such was not the case, for even at that early period many misnamed Christians, without in the least personally knowing anything of the movement, very loudly decried it. Wrongful as this may seem, it only forms a part of the great psychological problem—why it is that the minds of men will always, by a vast majority, follow wrong instead of right?

The opposition the Ti-ping rebellion has met with from those whose profession of Christianity should have made them its friends, can excite no wonder; for, throughout the history of the world, has truth, freedom, or Christianity, ever become manifest otherwise than through a dismal vista of disbelief and bloodshed? It is a sad reflection, and a proof of our frail, if not vile, mortality!

Some few months after the visit of the Hermes, the French war steamer Cassini proceeded to Nankin; she brought to Shanghae a reprint of the remainder of Genesis, of Exodus, and a portion of the New Testament, consisting of St. Matthew's Gospel, printed from the version of the Rev. Dr. Gutzlaff.

This is the first account we have of the New Testament being seen amongst the Ti-pings, although in some of their [152]previous proclamations it had been referred to: it proves the progress they were making; for many of their errors were to be attributed to the fact that their belief was grounded almost entirely upon the Old Testament. The Ti-pings have been sadly abused for polygamy, &c., although I do not remember that such facts have been made a casus belli against the Imperialists; but it must be remembered that as their laws were framed and already constituted when the New Testament first came into their hands, everything required to be altered; therefore people should recall the maxim of Bacon, "that nature should be imitated by politicians, in the gradual character of her changes," and have the justice to admit, that Hung-sui-tshuen, having made his laws as to marriage, &c., could not possibly either overturn them at once, or see any reason to do so until the truth either gradually dawned upon him, or was inculcated by some of the many missionaries who overspread China. It seems very remarkable that none of them ever entertained this idea, excepting the American, Mr. Roberts, who turned it to no advantage.

In the meanwhile, the possession of Nankin entirely altered the tactics of the Tien-wang. Instead of continuing his rapid and triumphant march, overcoming the Manchoos almost by the terror caused by the advance of his forces, he settled down at what he had decided should become the capital of his new empire; gathering together his followers in and about Nankin and the neighbouring cities. For a month or two the whole Ti-ping forces were busily engaged drilling, and fortifying the cities they retained. During the same period, the Tien-wang and his chiefs were employed constituting a regular government, with its attendant courts and tribunals.

The government instituted was monarchical, Hung-sui-tshuen (the Tien-wang) being the monarch; the other chiefs, titled Wang, bearing the same relation to him as royal princes, that E-ching-wang, the Prince of Kung,[153] and the Soong-wang (one of the late Manchoo emperor's uncles) do to the Manchoo dynasty.

The five principal leaders, besides their rank of Prince, constituted both the Privy Council and Ministry. Six boards were formed, similar to those of Pekin, with an additional one for Foreign Affairs. Yang, the Eastern Prince, was appointed Prime Minister; Wei, the Northern Prince, President of the Board of War; Fung, the Southern Prince, of the Boards of Justice and Finance; Siau, the Western Prince, of the Civil Office Board and Ecclesiastic Court; and Shih, the Assistant-Prince, of the Board of Public Affairs and the Foreign Office.

The above arrangement was, however, subsequently altered, in consequence of the increasing extent of the revolution. The five princes then resigned their inferior appointments to others, continuing their duties as Privy Council to the Tien-wang, and Supreme Generalissimos of the five military divisions, into which their whole rule and territory were divided. Other chiefs were elected to the dignity of Wang, with a rank secondary to that of the Princes, and the whole formed a sort of parliament. All the important affairs of state, such as the military expeditions to be undertaken, plans of defence, &c., had first to receive the sanction of this parliament, and were then submitted to the Tien-wang for his approval. To a certain extent, the Tien-wang was despotic in his government, for nothing could be undertaken without his special sanction. This rule, although supreme, was still far from constituting a despotism; and the ultimate decisions vested in him, have, singularly enough, never created dissension in council. This is to be accounted for not only by the fact that his subjects regarded him as endowed with theocratical attributes, but also to the wisdom of his mandates.

As it was impossible, during their belligerent state, to give full effect to their Civil Boards or officials, the whole system of government resolved itself into a military one,[154] pending such time as peace should be obtained, when they would be at leisure to cultivate the arts and sciences, and form a legislature upon an entirely civil basis.

The occupation of Nankin has proved fatal to the success of the Ti-pings hitherto. Insurrection, of whatever kind, to be successful, must never relinquish the aggressive movement; directly it acts upon the defensive, unless possessing some wonderful organization, its power is broken. The principal element of revolutionary success is rapidity of action, and when once this is forsaken, the consolidated strength of an established constitution is advantageously brought to bear against rebellion.

The Tien-wang, by settling down at Nankin and commencing to defend his position, committed a vital error, and one that lost him the empire. If, instead of so doing, and affording his enemies time to rally and recover from their wild panic, and concentrate their forces, he had aimed at the one terminal point, Pekin, beyond all doubt, the very éclat of his victorious march would have carried him with an almost resistless triumph into possession of the capital, and the consequent destruction of the Manchoo dynasty would have given him the empire. The very fact that for years afterwards, in spite of this unfavourable re-action, the Ti-pings have been enabled, not only to hold their own against the Imperialists, but to have utterly crushed them—had it not been for the intervention of England—proves how easily they might have followed up their first advantages.

Two courses were open to the Ti-pings, either of which, judging by their career, would have led to the extinction of the oppressive Manchoo rule. The first was, without a pause, to have continued their march upon Pekin, abandoning each city as they seized it, and while enriching themselves from the captured stores and treasuries, and strengthening their forces by the crowds of discontented wherever they might pass, not to have permitted the slightest reduction of their numbers by detaching isolated garrisons.[155]

The second would have been to have abandoned Nankin, and concentrated all their forces in the southern provinces,—Kwang-tung, Kwang-se, Kwei-chow, and Fo-keen,—a part of China, more than any other, bitterly opposed to the Manchoos, and more important still, the native provinces of the principal Ti-ping leaders. In this case, the whole of the country south of the Yang-tze river could in a short time have been completely wrested from the Manchoos, and then, if unable to obtain the whole empire, they would at least have established a southern kingdom in perfect integrity—and how superior this course of action would have been to the irregular one they pursued!

It was not only a great mistake, but a great absurdity for the Tien-wang to establish a capital, and set up a new dynasty before accomplishing either of the foregoing courses.

Although for several years numbers continued flocking to the Tien-wang's standard, still, they were not of the best material; the wealthier classes, directly they found the revolution paused, paused too, and time showed them that the obnoxious element was the Christian religion. So long as the movement, in the earlier stages of patriotic excitement, was looked upon as a means of overthrowing the foreign dynasty, it was a national and a popular one; but as the foreign derived religious character transpired, the bigoted and proud Chinese naturally began to eye with suspicion a movement so vast, aiming not only at the subversion of the reigning dynasty, but of the time-honoured superstitions, ceremonies, and faith of the nation. The stationary phase, prejudicial to any revolution, was doubly so to the Ti-ping, as it fully displayed that the Christian, or foreign innovation, was as much their profession as the popular anti-Manchoo feeling; but for this, the whole population of China would have risen en masse to throw off the foreign yoke.

Through our Faith the Ti-pings have heroically, and,[156] until the British Government added their weight to the adverse scale, successfully maintained an unequal struggle for years. Should we not then rather have assisted than opposed them? Why should we, who pride ourselves upon our superior freedom, oppose the advance of Christianity, and perpetuate a most corrupt and barbarous government in Asia—a government more foreign to the people whom it crushes than the Russian is to the Poles? Can the British nation sympathize with the rebels to one and not with those to the other, particularly when the latter are endeavouring to propagate the Christian faith? Can the English nation, one of the most Christian and enlightened in the world, deny all sympathy to those carrying on the greatest patriotic struggle on record, a struggle that would, by the admission of many high-minded missionaries, have Christianized more than one-third of the human race?

The Imperialists gained many advantages through the stationary position of the Ti-pings. Whereas, before, they contented themselves with following an advancing and triumphant army, and occupying the towns and districts as they were evacuated, they were now enabled to recover from the demoralizing effects of their numerous defeats, and to concentrate their efforts upon one or two points. The prestige of success, a great element with Chinese troops, was for a time lost to the revolutionists, and the Tartar forces despatched from the north combining with those lately following at a respectful distance in the rear of the Ti-pings, soon invested Nankin and Chin-kiang with apparently overwhelming numbers.

The blockade of Nankin, notwithstanding the strength of the investing forces, was neither close nor effectual. Several expeditionary armies were formed and despatched by the Tien-wang to raise the country in different directions. He seems to have reckoned too much upon the patriotic spirit of his countrymen, besides committing the error of settling down and attempting to consolidate his[157] own power before overthrowing that of the enemy. It is even very probable, if all these expeditionary armies had been combined into one and marched upon Pekin, that that city would have fallen.

In May, 1853, a small army of about seven thousand men crossed to the northern bank of the Yang-tze-kiang, and after defeating a body of Tartar troops who disputed their passage, proceeded rapidly in a north-west direction, through the provinces of Ngan-whui and Ho-nan. Kai-fung, the capital of Ho-nan, the city containing the only tribe of Jews found in China, was unsuccessfully attacked.

Passing rapidly on, the Ti-pings effected the passage of the Yellow River, and attacked the city of Hwae-king. Here they were likewise unsuccessful, and a large army of Imperialists having collected, some from the north, some from the neighbouring garrisons, and united with a considerable force that had been detached in pursuit from the army of observation before Nankin, the siege was raised, and the Ti-ping line of march to the northward checked. Diverging to the westward for nearly 200 miles, they entered the province of Shensi, and on the 4th of September captured the city of Yuen-keuh. This was the first city of magnitude taken since leaving Nankin, and the treasure and supplies found at this place proved very acceptable to the worn and destitute army. They once more turned northwards, and marched steadily forward in the direction of Pekin, capturing many important cities on the way. Late in the same month they entered Chih-le, the most northern province of the empire, and that in which Pekin is situated. Advancing with rapidity, and capturing city after city, towards the end of October they reached the Grand Canal, and proceeding by this, in a few days arrived at and captured the town of Tsing-hae, distant some twenty miles from the port of Tien-tsin. Tsing-hae now became the head-quarters of the Ti-ping army; while the main body occupied the[158] place, a column was detached against Tien-tsin, before which city it appeared on the 30th October; but being repulsed with considerable loss, the whole army went into winter quarters at Tsing-hae.

In the meanwhile, the Manchoo court at Pekin was seriously alarmed at the progress the Ti-pings were making, they being now distant but a few days' march. Every exertion was made to stop their further progress; not only was the Manchoo garrison of Pekin despatched against them, but large bodies of Mongols were engaged and sent before Tsing-hae early in November; and these forces combining with the Imperialist troops that had followed the Ti-pings from the first day they crossed the Yang-tze, and continually receiving reinforcements from every garrison town they passed, now closely blockaded the Ti-ping position.

Soon after the departure of the first northern army, in May, a large force was marched back upon the old route taken by the Ti-pings in their advance upon Nankin. Proceeding up the Yang-tze-kiang, Ngan-king, the capital of the province of Ngan-whui, was captured and made a base for further operations. Many cities were captured, and their stores and treasuries convoyed down to Nankin. Two strong columns were now detached from Ngan-king, one in a westerly direction, penetrating through the provinces of Kiang-si and Hoo-nan, while the other started due north to the reinforcement of the army blockaded at Tsing-hae. Early in 1854, the western army having passed the Tung-ting lake, retraced a part of their old line of march, capturing the numerous cities on the bank of the Yang-tze river. About May this army arrived before the three cities of Han-kow, Han-yang, and Wu-chang, the capital of Hoo-peh, conveying the immense supplies they had already captured; after a short siege, these important places fell, thus placing the Ti-pings in possession of all the principal cities from thence to Chin-kiang, a distance of more than 450 miles, and comprising the richest and most fertile portion of the Yang-tze provinces.[159]

In the meanwhile the northern column (which left Ngan-king some time in November, 1853), making forced marches through Ngan-whui, struck the Grand Canal in the province of Kiang-su, and rapidly following its course through Shang-tung, city after city falling before its victorious march, crossed the Yellow River in March, 1854, and captured by storm, on the 12th April, the strongly-fortified city of Lin-tsing, on the border of the northern province, Chih-le.

During this time the army at Tsing-hae remained closely blockaded. While, entirely cut off from all supplies or reinforcements, it became fast reduced by sickness, famine, and the sword; the enemy, upon the contrary (but a few days' march from Tien-tsin, the great northern commercial city and grain depôt; in the immediate vicinity of Tartary, and, moreover, hardy and inured to the keen wintry storms, so trying to the lightly-clad southerners, comprising the Ti-ping forces) had everything in their favour. Large bodies of Mongolian troops were hired and despatched by the Manchoo government against the blockaded rebels—the Manchoo reserves, and even a large contingent of volunteer Chinese, were sent to swell the imperialist ranks; and while time fast reduced the number and efficiency of the Ti-pings, their foe day by day became more numerous and formidable. The small Ti-ping army at the first scarcely mustered seven thousand strong. Owing to the rapidity of their march, the numbers who joined them by the way were inconsiderable, compared with the resources of the enemy; the only addition they received of any importance was in the province of Ho-nan, where a detachment of local insurrectionists, nearly five thousand strong, joined them; but this reinforcement was more than cancelled by their losses in battle and from disease. The courage and discipline of this small army must have been something wonderful. The steadfast perseverance of their onward march, in the face of seemingly insurmountable[160] difficulties; their steady resistance to the overwhelming numbers of the fur-clad hardy Tartar cavalry—an arm in which they were totally deficient, and could not effectually oppose; their firm endurance of the rigours of the northern winter, close to the icy steppes of Tartary, to which they were unaccustomed, and for which they were unprepared; their isolated march of more than fourteen hundred miles; the heroism with which they supported attack, and finally their successful escape,—all constitute one of the most remarkable campaigns of modern times.

During the months of November and December the besieged made several desperate but unavailing sorties, the enemy in each case repulsing them with heavy loss. At last, early in February, 1854, after an occupation of more than three months, hopeless of success, with famine in their camp, and no prospect of succour from their friends, the whole garrison sallied out and succeeded in cutting their way through the besiegers. With gallantry hitherto unknown to the Chinese, this small but heroic band commenced the most arduous operation of any army,—a retreat in the presence of a vastly superior enemy. Inch by inch they retired, continually facing about to repel the pursuing host. Masses of Tartar cavalry whirled around them, now charging impetuously on front, rear, and flanks, now hurrying in advance to dispute some difficult passage; heavy columns of infantry, surrounding them on every side, rushed incessantly to the attack, confident in their overwhelming numbers, and encouraged by the hope of reward; yet never for a moment did they succeed in breaking the unfaltering and orderly retreat of the Ti-ping army, which slowly retired with its face to the foe, until, after three months' endurance, a junction was effected with the forces which garrisoned the city of Lin-tsing.

It is a singular fact that the Manchoo government dreaded the approach of the small Ti-ping army more than the advance of the allied English and French upon[161] Pekin in 1860. An extract from a memorial of the Board of Censors to the Emperor, found in the Summer Palace, runs thus:—

"In 1853, when the Cantonese rebels overran the country, advancing impetuously towards the north, the alarm excited in the capital was many times more serious than that now manifested."

The fate of the Manchoo rule hung trembling in the balance, and the consciousness of well-merited destruction struck terror to the hearts of the corrupt and sanguinary government. A little more energy and determination at this period would have won the empire; had the first northern army been able to maintain itself at Tsing-hae until the arrival of the second, the dynasty of Ta-tsing would have terminated. The combined forces could assuredly have captured and held Tien-tsin until the arrival of further reinforcements from Nankin, even if the possession of that city, the grand supply depôt of Pekin, had not caused the fall of the capital. The extraordinary northern march, and the length of time that little army was able to retain its menacing position, afford ample evidence that greater strength would have ensured its success. Through neglecting that favourable and momentous opportunity, the Tien-wang forfeited the grand object of his efforts when open to his grasp. That his powerful mind was unequal to the occasion is far less probable than that his expectations of his countrymen were not realized. It is impossible that he could be ignorant of the advantages of combination, and it appears certain that he reckoned upon the general rising of the Chinese, as well as on the omnipotent assistance of God. This is, in fact, manifestly plain from his proclamations, and affords the only reasonable explanation of his sending several small armies unsupported in totally divergent courses, rather than concentrating all his available forces, and aiming directly at the head-quarters of the Manchoo dynasty.[162]

Although several smaller detachments joined the Ti-ping army at Lin-tsing, it was unable to advance upon Pekin again; the favourable moment having once passed, did not return. Several severe actions were contested with no material advantage upon either side, and the semi-steel-clad warriors of inner Mongolia were well matched by the undefended revolutionists. Greatly harassed by the numerous cavalry of the enemy, in May, 1854, the Ti-ping army slowly turned towards the south, continually engaging the Imperialist forces and capturing many important cities to the north of the Yang-tze river.

It is not generally known that Le-hsiu-ch'-éng, subsequently famous as the Chung-wang, was the leader of the first northern expedition; but, during my acquaintance with him, he has frequently reverted to it. From his statements I inferred that he received no particular order to march on Pekin, but simply a general one to conquer the country, and deliver the people from the Manchoo rule. The direct march upon the capital was his own determination, and the reinforcement eventually despatched to his assistance was not at first intended, but was sent to him in consequence of the request for more troops which he forwarded to Nankin by disguised messengers after his passage of the Yellow River. He declared that his troops had been within sight of the walls of Pekin, and that he could easily have captured the city if the reinforcement had joined him earlier; also that his retirement from Tsing-hae was caused entirely by the volunteer troops of the Pekin district, the Mongols and Manchoos being unable to stand against the attack of his men. If this be true, it seems a singular fact that the Tartar dynasty should owe its safety to the Chinese, although in the Pekin district it may fairly be assumed that they have long become entirely Tartarized.

Meanwhile the Manchoos resorted to the most corrupt practices of a most corrupt government, in order to[163] obtain the necessary supplies to make their defence. The sale of titles, offices, and degrees was carried to an enormous extent. Twenty-three notifications were published in the Pekin Gazette, putting up for sale every rank, honour, or emolument in the kingdom. Prisoners were allowed to purchase their freedom, exiles their return; functionaries were allowed to buy titles for their maternal relatives, and any one and every one was allowed to purchase for his father a rank superior to his own; in short, a system of entire bribery and corruption was established.

Posthumous honours were also accorded to those who had been killed in battle, extending to the fourth, fifth, or entire generation of their ancestors; while those who ran away to fight another day received every kind of degradation; all the complicated details of cunning deception and bombastic warfare were resorted to by the Manchoo government in its extremity.

The following document discloses facts connected with the troops of the "paternal" government which might well have aroused the people to join the Ti-ping standard of freedom.

Translated by Rev. Dr. W. H. Medhurst, Shanghae, Nov. 1, 1853:[23]

"The petition of Luh-yu-ch'hang, Yuon-kwei-leang, Yeh-fung-chun, Chin-sze-hang, Kin-ping-chin, and Wang-keing-chau, with many others who reside in the various tythings of the 27th hundred, and have to complain of robbery, rape, murder, and arson, imploring that steps may be taken to repress further outrage, and save the lives of the people.

"We, the above-named people, living in the quiet villages of the various tythings of the 27th, and the 4th tything of the 25th hundred, two or three miles distant from the city of Shanghae, depend upon husbandry and weaving for our support, without mixing in any outside disturbances. But recently, on the 30th of October last, in the afternoon, the volunteer soldiers belonging to the contingent from Hoo-kwang, came suddenly in a body, armed with weapons, and rushed upon our villages, entering into our several houses, to plunder our property; and when we reasoned the matter with them they answered with scorn, and proceeded to ravish our females; when we further pointed out the evil of these proceedings, they immediately beheaded Wang-chang-kin and Wang-keau-ke, while they stabbed to death Tsien-king-pang, Chang-ko-kwang, and How-seih-ch'hang, besides wounding nine others, both male and female. They then burnt down our houses, amounting to seventy-seven apartments, a list of which is appended to this petition.

"Our lives are now in the greatest danger, and the cry of complaint is heard throughout the whole country on this account. We have dared to prefix our names to the present petition, and pray in a body the great officers to compassionate the poor people, who are after all the foundation of the country. We implore your gracious attention to this request, and pray you to repress these volunteer soldiers, commanding them to obey the laws and protect the people. A most fervent petition. Hien-fung, 3rd year, 10th month, 1st day. November 1st, 1853."


The following was the only notice taken of the above petition by Lew, the Imperial commissioner:—

"Such things are doubtless very wrong, but they are the work of idlers and vagrants, who personate my soldiers. I will issue strict orders to my troops. Now go and be satisfied. I hope a worse thing will not befall you."

While this was the common behaviour of the Imperialist troops in every direction, the Ti-pings were acting as real deliverers to the people; whatever excesses the besottedness of their spiritless countrymen may at a later period have driven their new levies to commit. I cannot do better than offer the contrast presented by the conduct of the Ti-ping soldiery, in an account the Rev. Dr. Medhurst gives, in a letter quoted in "Impressions of China," by Captain Fishbourne:—

"Having obtained admission into the city of Shanghae this afternoon, I proceeded to one of the chapels belonging to the London Missionary Society, where I commenced preaching to a large congregation, which had almost immediately gathered within the walls. I was descanting on the folly of idolatry, and urging the necessity of worshipping the one true God, on the ground that he alone could protect his servants, while idols were things of naught, destined soon to perish out of the land; when, suddenly a man stood up in the midst of the congregation, and exclaimed:—'That is true, that is true! the idols must perish, and shall perish. I am a [165]Kwang-se-man, a follower of Thai-ping-wang; we all of us worship one God (Shang-te), and believe in Jesus, while we do our utmost to put down idolatry; everywhere demolishing the temples and destroying the idols, and exhorting the people to forsake their superstitions. When we commenced two years ago, we were only 3,000 in number, and we have marched from one end of the empire to another, putting to flight whole armies of the Mandarins' troops that were sent against us. If it had not been that God was on our side, we could not have thus prevailed against such overwhelming numbers; but now our troops have arrived at Tien-tsin, and we expect soon to be victorious over the whole empire.' He then proceeded to exhort the people in a most lively and earnest strain to abandon idolatry, which was only the worship of devils, and the perseverance in which would involve them in the miseries of hell; while by giving it up, and believing in Jesus, they would obtain the salvation of their souls. 'As for us,' he said, 'we feel quite happy in the possession of our religion, and look on the day of our death as the happiest period of our existence; when any of our number die, we never weep, but congratulate each other on the joyful occasion, because a brother is gone to glory, to enjoy all the magnificence and splendour of the heavenly world. While continuing here, we make it our business to keep the commandments, to worship God, and to exhort each other to do good, for which end we have frequent meetings for preaching and prayer. What is the use, then,' he asked, 'of you Chinese going on to burn incense, and candles, and gilt paper; which, if your idols really required it, would only show their covetous dispositions, just like the Mandarins, who seize men by the throat, and if they will not give money, squeeze them severely; but if they will, only squeeze them gently.' He went on to inveigh against the prevailing vices of his countrymen, particularly opium-smoking. 'That filthy drug,' he exclaimed, 'which only defiles those who use it, making their houses stink, and their clothes stink, and their bodies stink, and their souls stink, and will make them stink for ever in hell, unless they abandon it.'

"'But you must be quick,' he adds; 'for Thai-ping-wang is coming, and he will not allow the least infringement of his rules,—no opium, no tobacco, no snuff, no wine, no vicious indulgences of any kind; all offences against the commandments of God are punished by him with the severest rigour, while the incorrigible are beheaded—therefore repent in time.'

"I could perceive, from the style of his expressions and from his frequently quoting the books of the Thai-ping dynasty, that he was familiar with those records, and had been thoroughly trained in that school. No Chinaman who had not been following the camp of the insurgents for a considerable time could have spoken as he did.

"He touched also on the expense of opium-smoking, 'which drained their pockets, and kept them poor in the midst of wealth, whilst we who never touch the drug, are not put to such expense. Our master provides [166]us with food and clothing, which is all we want, so that we are rich without money.'

"I could not help being struck also, with the appearance of the man, as he went on in his earnest strain. Bold and fearless as he stood, openly denouncing the vices of the people, his countenance beaming with intelligence, his upright and manly form the very picture of health, while his voice thrilled through the crowd, they seemed petrified with amazement: their natural conscience assured them that his testimony was true; while the conviction seemed to be strong amongst them, that the two great objects of his denunciation—opium and idolatry—were both bad things, and must be given up.

"He spoke an intelligible Mandarin, with an occasional touch of the Canton or Kwang-si brogue. His modes of illustration were peculiar, and some of the things which he advanced were not such as Christian missionaries were accustomed to bring forward. The impression left on my mind, however, was that a considerable amount of useful instruction was delivered, and such as would serve to promote the objects we had in view, in putting down idolatry, and furthering the worship of the true God."

At this time the city of Shanghae was in possession of the Triad rebels (the society sworn to expel the Manchoos), who have not unfrequently been confounded with the Ti-pings, to the prejudice of the latter.

Late in the summer of 1853, some few months after the capture of Nankin by the Ti-pings, the Triad society, alive to the advantages of the movement, rose up against the obnoxious Manchoos in many parts of the country.

About the end of July, a body of the Triads succeeded in gaining possession of the city of Amoy, one of the treaty ports, meeting with but slight resistance, the inhabitants being glad to receive them. By their singularly moderate conduct, the movement became very popular; in fact, all their supplies were brought in by the country people, and their principal strength was composed of these villagers, who remained and fought against the Imperialist troops as long as the insurrection lasted. Several cities in the neighbourhood were captured, and the wealthy classes remained aloof from both contending parties; their disposition towards the government was far too adverse for them to assist it; but they contented[167] themselves with simply withdrawing their support, well knowing the savage revenge the "paternal" rulers would wreak upon them and their helpless families, if they were to join the rebellion, and it should afterwards fail. The country people throughout the district remained hostile to the Imperialists until their recapture of Amoy, when, to save their own and relatives' lives, they were compelled to return to the Manchoo slavery, those being lucky who escaped the indiscriminate vengeance of the government.

Captain Fishbourne, senior naval officer on the station, was present at Amoy when it was captured by the Triads. He reports:—

"The insurgents having placed guards over the European Hongs, there was nothing to apprehend, so we proceeded to Hong-kong, when, after landing Sir George Bonham, we returned in the Hermes to Shanghae."

Upon the 11th of November the city of Amoy, which had been for some time besieged by a vastly superior force of Imperialists, was evacuated by the Triads, who, being short of supplies, marched out of the city in broad daylight unmolested by the cowardly besiegers, who then marched in to perpetrate the most revolting barbarities, in their ordinary manner, upon the defenceless inhabitants. A large squadron of pirates composed the naval force employed by the Imperialists in their siege of the city, in the same manner as in their attack upon Ningpo when held by the Ti-pings, on the 10th May, 1862, although upon this latter occasion the Imperialist pirates were successful, an alliance having been entered into between them and the British squadron commanded by Captain Roderick Dew, R.N.

Captain Fishbourne, who was an eye-witness of the return of Amoy to Manchoo rule, thus describes it:—

"Having engaged pirates, the authority was committed to them, to sanction the atrocities that these would certainly commit; and, as if that were not sufficient, they encouraged them to more than they might otherwise be [168]inclined to, for they promised them six dollars for each head they would bring in.

"On the entry of these savages, the first thing they did was to disperse in every direction in search of heads; regardless of anything save that the people who possessed them should be helpless; it mattered not to them that they were equally infirm and unoffending: they had heads—these they wanted.

"All found were brought to the Chinese admiral" (it is said, the same pirate chief who afterwards became Captain R. Dew's ally), "whose vessel was close to us, so we saw all that was passing. He then issued a mandate for their destruction. At first they began by taking their heads off at the adjoining pier; this soon was fully occupied, and the executioners becoming fatigued, the work proceeded slowly, therefore an additional set commenced taking their heads off on the sides of the boats. This also proved too slow for them, and they commenced to throw them overboard, tied hand and foot. But this was too much for Europeans; so missionaries, merchants, sailors, marines, and officers, all rushed in, and stopped further proceedings. The mandarins, executioners, staff and all, took themselves off very quickly, for fear of consequences they could not calculate upon, but which they felt they had richly deserved: 400 poor creatures were saved from destruction; 250 of these were wounded—some with twenty, others less, but more dangerous wounds. Some had their heads nearly severed; about thirty died. The Mandarins then removed their scene of butchery a mile outside the town; and during the next two days, after having obtained possession, they must have taken off upwards of two thousand heads, or otherwise destroyed that number of people. For days bodies were floating about the harbour, carried out by one tide and brought back by another, each time not quite so far, so that finally they were only disposed of by being taken to sea.

"The only feeling the brutal pirates evinced, was that of disappointment at being deprived (as they said) by us of three thousand dollars.[24]

"Often during the operations, the poor people complained of the treatment of the Imperialists; and it was certainly pitiable to behold the needless destruction of property—needless if the Imperialists had been soldiers or men—such never won or kept an empire; yet none of the Imperial forces are better.

"Nor can it be said that these were the acts of subordinates, for which the government was only remotely responsible, for they were specially dictated by the Viceroy of the province, who was a Tartar, and an uncle of the Tartar emperor. He even enjoined the violation of solemn compacts entered into between the Mandarins and heads of villages, before they would give up the leaders in the revolt. The Mandarins avowed, that after the government of Amoy was established, they meant to carry fire and sword through the surrounding districts, as the people were all tainted with revolutionary principles."


Well may it be asked—Were the people of England aware of these enormities when they cherished and sustained the Manchoo? It cannot be credited; and, therefore, it is well to point out what kind of government they supported, what description of men they made war upon, and what were the results of their interference.

On the 7th of September, Shanghae, another of the treaty ports, was captured, and several other places in the neighbourhood were attacked by different bodies of Triads. At this city also they seem to have behaved with remarkable moderation, and are said to have found about £70,000 in the treasury.

Although totally unconnected with the great Ti-ping revolution, they still looked hopefully towards it, and, after some little hesitation, sent a deputation, as likewise from Amoy, tendering their allegiance to the Tien-wang. He, however, refused to accept them, despite the enormous advantages he would have derived from the possession of the treaty ports, until such time as they should understand and profess Christianity; and it was probably one of the teachers he sent to them, whose speech was reported by Mr. Medhurst in the letter quoted from a few pages preceding.

Captain Fishbourne reports of them:—

"They know nothing of Christianity, but are very tolerant, and allowed the missionaries a latitude in teaching, never before enjoyed. They have lost all faith in idolatry, and no longer cared to preserve appearances, by continuing idolatrous worship, though some of them still use superstitions and idolatries. They have behaved with much moderation, and the facilities for trade have been even greater than under the Tartar Imperial rule. Of course the import trade has been limited, because of the disturbed state of the country; the export trade, on the other hand, [170]had been unusually great, not from any protection or facilities afforded by the Imperial authorities, but a desire on the part of holders of goods to realize."

While the Triad insurgents continued to manifest the most friendly feeling towards the European residents at Shanghae, the Imperialist troops collecting to the siege of the Chinese city, in their usual style, became very dangerous and hostile. It was reported by Captain Fishbourne:—

"Thus the Imperial troops made it a habit to place their targets for ball practice, so that the riding-course and principal place of resort for all foreigners, should be rendered dangerous, or impassable."

Several times the European settlement was attacked by them, and was once attempted to be fired; and, at last, so outrageous had they become, that the British and French forces—in all less than three hundred men—were compelled to attack their camp, and drive them further away from the settlement, inflicting a loss, it is said, of three hundred killed; losing themselves only two killed and fifteen wounded.

As it is universally known these Triad rebels were in every way inferior to the Ti-pings, and as they were allowed to capture the treaty ports, and their conduct was always so friendly to Europeans, and so far superior to that of the Imperialists, it does seem a little extraordinary that the British public have not penetrated the falsity of the statement subsequently urged against the Ti-pings, in order to attempt the palliation of the infamous policy of driving them from Shanghae and Ningpo,—that the treaty ports must be held against the Ti-pings, because, if the latter were to capture them, an immense amount of British property and British lives would be destroyed, &c.

During the Triads' occupation of Shanghae, a formidable, though at first secret, opposition was insidiously at work against them among the European community—the[171] hostile intrigues of the Jesuits. These priests, with a constancy and perseverance worthy a better cause, are found plotting and making converts to a pseudo sort of Christianity all over the country. It so happens, that to propitiate the Chinese, or not to shock them by too great a departure from "old custom," they are allowed to retain most of their idolatrous forms of worship, to which are added the usual figures of the manifold saints, &c., of the Romish church. Now the Ti-pings, who are strict iconoclasts, having several times fallen foul of Roman Catholic establishments in the interior, and in each case mistaken the figure of the Virgin Mary with a male child in her arms for the very similar idol of Budha, have naturally confounded Jesuitism with the Budhism it resembles. Consequently, the Tartar-worshipping Jesuits are the most bitter enemies the Ti-pings have ever had, knowing, as they do, that the success of the latter would entirely destroy their work, and drive them from the many positions they hold throughout China. Therefore, when the Jesuits ascertained the Triads not only announced themselves as being about to join the Tien-wang, but had actually sent deputations to, and received instructors from him, they at once commenced intriguing for their overthrow. The French consul and the French senior officer on the station were both priest-ridden and bigoted men, and eventually, for certain valuable considerations, assistance was afforded to the Imperialists, and the Triads were driven out of a Chinese city without the slightest shadow of justice or reason.

Both the English and French authorities deprived the Triads of the duties they were justly entitled to levy on all export or import trade. At last the French admiral, appropriately named La Guerre, determined that the time had arrived to fulfil his own and his Jesuitical colleagues' peculiarly unrighteous intentions. The Triads were suddenly attacked (December, 1854) without having given the slightest provocation, and[172] several of their men, who were engaged constructing a battery outside one of the city gates, murdered by the French sailors. A few days later they surprised fifteen poor rebels asleep in the same battery, and these were also butchered. Two days previous to this, Admiral La Guerre savagely bombarded the city, although it contained upwards of 20,000 innocent inhabitants, among whom the shot and shell committed much slaughter. Allied to the ferocious Manchoo, the French closely blockaded the city, and cut off all communication.

Some people delight in terming the Ti-pings bloodthirsty monsters, &c.; but the following extract proves that the French not only excelled the rebels, but even surpassed the Imperialists in wanton cruelty. In "Twelve Years in China,"[25] by John Scarth, Esq., we find the following episode of the blockade by the civilized and most Christian allies of the Manchoo:—

"The French proclaimed a strict blockade, and shot down all that attempted to hold communication with the rebels. We saw one evening a poor old woman that had been attempting to take a basket of food for some poor person in the city, struck by a ball from the French lines; her thigh was broken, and she lay helpless on the ground. How horrible did war appear, when the sentry levelled his rifle again, and fired at the poor old creature, driving up a shower of earth close to her side. Another shot, and another, were fired; at last she was hit again in the back! she cried to us for help, but we could render no assistance, except by sending to report the circumstance at head-quarters. Shot after shot was fired. There were some rebels watching the butchery from the walls; they could see us distinctly. We were within rifle distance; and feeling that if I were in their position, I would shoot at every foreigner I saw, while foreigners were committing such acts, I went away really for safety's sake, sick at heart to see such monstrous cruelty. The woman, it was afterwards reported, lay on the spot moaning till nearly midnight, when her cries ceased, and it was supposed some of the rebels had got her into the city out of the way of further immediate harm."

The French eventually breached the walls, and with [173]their creditable allies assaulted the city, only, however, to be beaten back with a loss of one-fifth their number. The Triads were at last starved out, and upon the Chinese New Year's night (17th February, 1855) evacuated Shanghae, and cut their way through the Imperialist lines. Three hundred, who had surrendered themselves to Admiral La Guerre, were by that officer given up to the Mandarins, and tortured to death. During three days every atrocity was perpetrated by the Imperialists upon the unfortunate inhabitants caught within the city, or the rebels who were hunted down in the country. Upwards of 2,000 were barbarously put to death within three days. As Messrs. J. Scarth, Sillar, and others have written,—"The Imperialist soldiers even burst open the coffins in the burial-grounds, and dragged out the rebel corpses and beheaded them." Women were horribly mutilated and put to death; rebels were crucified and tortured with red-hot irons; some were starved to death in the streets of the city; others were disembowelled, and very many slowly cut to pieces. When the Triads captured the city, they killed only two men, tortured none, and respected private property. The papers at Shanghae stated,—"When the French and Imperialists got possession of the city, however, there was something like slaughter. Heads were hung round the city walls in bunches; the Pagoda Bridge had nineteen on it, and in some places they were piled up in heaps!"

The conduct of those British officials who seemed anxious to carry out the Manchoo-assisting policy of Sir John Bowring, Admiral Stirling, and others, is thus severely reflected on by Mr. Scarth, who was present:—

"The very inconsiderate zeal which characterized the conduct of Mr. Lay, the then acting Vice-Consul, and Mr. Wade, at that time one of the officials in the Chinese Custom-house service, and the open manner in which these gentlemen lent their aid to the Mandarins, was strongly commented on by nearly all the foreign community."


At page 217 of his interesting work he says:—

"A schooner going from Woo-sung to Hung-kong was suspected of being about to take Chin-ah-Lin[26] and several other of the city people; a force consisting of Chinese troops and some English marines, accompanied by the acting Vice-Consul (who seemed to be imbued with some extraordinary motives), went down to search the vessel. This was discovered; but those desirous of preventing further bloodshed quietly continued, notwithstanding, in the work they were determined upon, getting the unfortunate men away from danger."

Some who are acquainted with such matters may understand this "extraordinary" exploit, while those who know little of Chinese affairs may naturally wonder whether the "15,000 dollars" offered for Chin-ah-Lin's head by the Vice-Consul's Mandarin friends had anything to do with it.

Not only at the Shanghae massacre in 1855 did British officials display their taste for the Manchoo alliance. During 1854-5-6 Englishmen continually interfered against the rising of the oppressed Chinese. In 1854 Sir J. Bowring allied the British fleet with the forces of that notorious monster Yeh, and thus contributed to the extermination which desolated the province of Kwang-tung. The city of Canton was almost the only place in the province still held by the Mandarins. It was secured to them by British means, and its security doomed to death more than one million innocent people.

While Yeh busied himself with exterminating man, woman, and child, and razing to the ground nearly every village through which the rebels had passed, H. B. M.'s ships of war chased the rebel squadrons along the China coast, dealing with them as pirates, because, forsooth, they were armed, and because they had captured Chinese vessels when endeavouring to force the blockade of Canton; H.M.'s ship Bittern and the steamer Paou-shun hemmed in one division of the rebel fleet in the Gulf of [175]Pe-chi-le, sinking nearly every vessel, and giving up the crew of the only one captured to the Manchoo executioners. Two junks escaped and joined another squadron at Chusan. Yet these vessels shortly afterwards allowed two missionaries to pass their blockade, because, as the chiefs said, "they were good men, and preached the faith of Yesu!" In the harbour of Shih-poo the destruction of another fleet is described in "Twelve Years in China":—

"The junks were destroyed, and their crews shot, drowned, or hunted down, until at last the whole number, about 1,000 souls, were sent to their last account,—the Bittern's men aiding the Chinese soldiers on shore to complete the wholesale massacre! the whole were not killed; one man was remanded and kept over for examination! The evidence against the fleet as pirates, was to be collected after the execution of the victims!"[27]

British policy towards China has, during the last decade, been influenced by men led by a small party of Chinese custom-house mercenaries, who, while hired by the Manchoos, were permitted to bias, not only Sir John Bowring, but even Lord Elgin. The independent and honourable policy of Sir George Bonham and his colleagues gave place to an "interested Mandarin-worshipping" diplomacy that has made England the ally and saviour of the most sanguinary, corrupt, and worn-out despotism in the world. Messrs. Wade and Lay, sometime Lord Elgin's interpreters, and sometime the custom employés of the Manchoo, may have thought the views they imparted to the former were correct; but at all events they were too much personally interested in the welfare of their Mandarin friends to be impartial. The principal effect of this has been that the Manchoo-influenced officials have united the representatives of England with the Jesuit-influenced representatives of France in perpetuating the Tartar cruelties, and in destroying the Ti-ping attempt to liberate China and establish Protestant Christianity throughout the empire.


At Canton, Shanghae, and elsewhere, in 1854, the Chinese would have succeeded in their righteous endeavours to throw off the Manchoo yoke; at Shanghae, in 1860, at Ningpo and Shanghae in 1862, and upon other occasions, the Ti-ping revolution would have succeeded but for British intervention.


[17] See "Impressions of China."

[18] Alluding to Hung-sui-tshuen's visions.

[19] See Appendix A.

[20] Dr. Medhurst here makes a misapprehension. The Ti-pings believe the Holy Spirit descended into their midst and possessed Yang-sui-tshuen, the Eastern Prince, who became its mouthpiece and medium. This closely resembles revivalist meetings in Ireland, &c.; but the religious metaphorical language of the original Chinese, with its fine subtilty, makes any literal translation impossible; therefore the most limited signification should be placed upon any English version of this, the bonne bouche of the anti-Ti-pings.

[21] See Appendix A.

[22] Copies of the first five books of the Old, and the whole of the New Testament, printed by the Ti-pings at Nankin, are now to be seen in the Indian Court of the Crystal Palace (Sydenham), where they are exhibited by Mr. J. C. Sillar.

[23] Shanghae was at this time in possession of the Triad rebels.

[24] They received ample satisfaction afterwards at Ningpo, when, allied with the British, they obtained 3,000 dollars' worth of heads, with full interest.

[25] Page 207.

[26] The Triad leader.

[27] Hong-kong Gazette, 12th October, 1855.



Home.—Its Desolation.—Intelligence of Marie.—Consequent Proceedings.—Preparations for Pursuit.—River Tracking.—In Pursuit.—The Lorcha Sighted.—Stratagems.—Alongside the Lorcha.—On Board the Lorcha.—Critical Position.—A Friend in Need.—Failure.—Lorcha again Reconnoitred.—Increased Difficulties.—Another Attempt.—Alongside the Lorcha again. Marie Discovered.—Marie Rescued.—Safe on Board.—Marie's Explanation. The Lorcha in Pursuit.—She gains on us.—The Lorcha opens fire.—Safe among the Ti-pings.

Eager to meet my betrothed, I had no sooner moored my vessel in the Shanghae anchorage, and reported at the Consulate, than I sought her at her aunt's dwelling, which was situated at the back of the American settlement, at a considerable distance from any other European habitation.

When I drew near the house, an indescribable presentiment of evil seemed to possess me,—one of those prophetic warnings, so common, but yet such a psychological mystery.

I walked rapidly along, until the turning of some rising ground, a little distance in front, brought me within sight of the house. When I reached the ridge that had concealed it from view, I paused a moment, almost expecting to find that the building had vanished.

There, however, stood the house, safe enough to all appearance; so, feeling reassured, I walked on. As I drew close, almost expecting Marie would run forth to welcome me, I failed to discern any smoke issuing from[178] the chimneys, or any sign of life about the dwelling. My former fear now returned in full force; I was within a few paces of the house, and it appeared to be uninhabited.

I hurried forward to the door; it was unfastened; the lock was wrenched off, and had evidently been broken open. I passed within, and loudly called upon the former tenants by name; but echo alone replied. Passing from room to room, I saw furniture scattered about in every direction, broken and thrown down. The house presented a picture of utter ruin.

I ran through the rooms, still vociferating, and still mocked by the echo of my own voice. They were silent and deserted. I was evidently the only living thing within the walls. At last, hoarse with shouting, I stood in silent despair, gazing on the destruction around. Marie and her relatives had disappeared, and the scene of ruin told a tale of violence.

For some moments all was still and quiet. At length, aroused by the sound of footsteps in the lower rooms, a sudden hope cheered me, and I hurried to meet them. A glance showed me I had deceived myself; a couple of Chinamen, with eyes and mouth wide open, gaping at the broken furniture, stood before me. I questioned them anxiously, trusting to gain some intelligence, but all to no purpose. To my inquiries they replied by stating that, having heard my hallooing, they had come to see what was the matter. Further questioning simply elicited, "Gno puh-shettah, gno puh-shettah" (I don't know, I don't know). Turning them out, I searched every nook and corner, but without avail. All my efforts were fruitless, no trace of anything that could enlighten me was apparent—not a vestige, not a clue, rewarded my long and anxious search.

All clothing and personal effects had been removed, and many light articles of furniture; the heavier ones were broken and overturned. It was impossible to tell[179] what might have been destroyed or carried off by thieves after the house had been deserted.

At last I was compelled to confess to myself that further search was hopeless; I had searched diligently, and could discover nothing. Sorrowfully I turned away from the house, and proceeded to several Chinese dwellings in the neighbourhood; but at each received the unsatisfactory answer, "Puh-shettah, puh-shettah."

Taking my interpreter with me, I called at many houses, but without success; not the slightest information could I gather; the whole affair remained a profound and impenetrable mystery. Everything led me to believe some violent act had been perpetrated; besides, I was quite certain that Marie would never have gone away willingly without first communicating with me.

One evening when in my cabin, tired out with the day's useless searching, and absorbed with bitter reflections, an old friend of mine, Captain L., erstwhile of the Turkish Contingent, came on board to see me, having just arrived from Hankow. After I had related the mysterious disappearance of Marie, L. suddenly jumped from his seat with a loud exclamation, and, questioning me a little further, declared he had obtained a clue as to her destination.

It appeared that, while on his passage from Chin-kiang, the steamer had passed close to a large Portuguese lorcha, and he had just caught a glimpse of a girl on deck, of whom he then took no further notice, but who he now felt sure was Marie.

I felt overjoyed at the discovery. L., my friend, had called with me at Marie's relatives' several times, so I had every confidence that his opinion was correct, and I determined to follow the trail so singularly found. He declared he would accompany me, and kindly professed his readiness to start at once.

Early in the morning I went ashore to the owners of the schooner, and gave up the command to a friend.[180] Philip, the mate, preferred joining me; he had served in the Greek insurrection against the Turks, and was a fine brave fellow.

Fortunately one of the river steamers—at that time few and far between—was to leave Shanghae in the afternoon, so it was just possible I might reach Chin-kiang before the lorcha's arrival, though that would depend entirely upon the winds she had experienced. Accordingly, a few minutes before the bell rang, the whistle blew, and the skipper gave the hoarse command to "cast off." L., Philip, and myself, made our way on board the Yang-tze (named after the river) with our baggage. We each took an ample supply of everything, as it would be necessary, in case the lorcha should have left Chin-kiang previous to our arrival, either to purchase or hire a vessel of some description to follow her. During the passage to Chin-kiang, we kept a regular watch the whole time, one or the other of us never leaving the deck, but, telescope in hand, keeping a sharp look-out. Heavily hung the time, until we made Silver Island ahead. I had put every possible interpretation upon Marie's presence—if, indeed, it were she—on board the lorcha. I had adopted every imaginable theory, but all to no purpose; the same idea would not remain five minutes, and I was forced to give up the mystery as unfathomable. Silver Island now hove in sight, and with my friends I waited impatiently on deck, and scanned the vessels in port, until, steaming slowly through the scanty shipping, we came to an anchor; but, although several lorchas were there, my friend did not recognize the one we sought for.

As the steamer remained but a short time at Chin-kiang, and it became necessary to leave her as soon as possible, I sent my interpreter (whom I had taken, together with my cook, and a female attendant for Marie in case I should find her), amongst the numerous junks, to hire one for us to live in for a few days, as there was no accommodation on shore. In a little while he returned[181] successful, and leaving the steamer, we all took up our new quarters in a large Hankow junk, certainly not the most comfortable in the world, but still very well under the circumstances. The worst of it was, my sleeping berth that night happened to be in the joss-house, a little den surrounded by a broad shelf filled with the most horrible-looking small devils, of all colours and monstrosity, starting forth from red-painted and tinsel-gilded little temples; and although the crew seemed perfectly oblivious of the fact, by permitting the gods' or imps' desecration by the presence of the "foreign devil," a confounded old she-Chinese disturbed me at frequent periods throughout the night, by crawling into my place through a little hole at the back, to replenish the joss-sticks and incense, and to chin-chin Joss. The witches of Macbeth were nothing to that old hag, as she stuck herself at my feet, faintly seen by the dim light of a distant pot of oil burning from the end of a small piece of pith, and slowly rocked herself about, muttering some unintelligible jargon, out of which I could only distinguish, "tomety feh, tomety feh, tomety feh!"

From the excited state of my mind; the irruptions of that aged party—probably the great-grandmother of half the crew; the surrounding phalanx of little devils, occasionally lighted up by a red and sudden glow of the burning joss-sticks; the distant noise of the gambling crew, in the fore part of the junk (Chinese sailors are inveterate gamblers, generally spending the whole night at it when practicable), and the irritable, restless thoughts all this induced, it may easily be imagined how very delightful my numerous dreams were that night. It seems a singular fact that nearly all the Chinese idols are of the most terrible and demoniacal aspect; it is, however, easily to be accounted for, as the Chinamen say the beneficent gods, being good, cannot do them any harm; but the devils and evil gods being bad, they think it necessary to propitiate them.[182]

Directly we arrived at Chin-kiang, I proceeded to the Custom-house, and ascertained that a lorcha had passed up the river only the preceding day. I therefore at once sent my interpreter to look out for a convenient and fast-sailing junk, either for sale or hire. The next day he fortunately succeeded in finding one, a cut-down up-river junk, of a particularly fast and shallow description; she had been altered into a semi-European style, and furnished with a keel, and comfortable cabins inside, was about 60 tons burthen, and altogether just the sort of craft I wanted. On the river she would certainly be faster under sail than the lorcha, and without wind she could either be tracked along the bank or impelled by the large sweeps (yulos) she carried.

As, in the event of rescuing Marie, I determined to proceed with the vessel to Nankin, the Chinese owner, who was also skipper, would only come to terms upon my paying down half the value of his craft, guaranteeing the remainder in case of loss, and hiring her at a monthly rate. To this I instantly agreed, and hurrying all the preparations forward, late on the same evening was enabled to start in chase of the lorcha.

A stern chase is proverbially a long one; but in this case I had means of progressing that the chase had not. The wind was too light for sailing against the strong current, therefore I knew the lorcha must either lay at anchor waiting for a breeze, or, if small and drawing but little water, progress slowly by tracking along the bank; while, upon the other hand, with my lighter vessel I should be able to keep close in to the shore, and track along at the rate of two or three miles an hour.

Tracking is a very common operation in China, resembling our canal tracking, only instead of horses the crew of the vessel pull her along, a rope being taken ashore from the mast-head, to which the men yoke themselves with a bridle having a wooden bar to rest upon the chest; then away they start, singing in chorus some melancholy[183] falsetto monostich, or improvising as they go. At many parts there are regular trackers, who make it their business. It is a hard and unprofitable life, and these poor people, among others, are frequently seized by officials, and compelled to track government vessels for many hundred miles without reward, and then left to find their way home the best way they can, if they do not starve in the meanwhile.

The night was fortunately a bright moonlight one, and I was enabled to make considerable progress. Before daylight, however, the moon vanished behind the distant hills, and, with her disappearance, we were compelled to anchor till morning. At break of day I was up, eagerly scanning the distant bosom of the river for the bark I was following. Nothing but the sails of a few Chinese junks rewarded my long and anxious gaze. Yet it was possible the lorcha might be hid from view by the first bend of the river, where, scarcely three miles off, its waters disappeared behind the land.

Rousing up my friends, and leaving them to follow me by tracking slowly along, I dressed myself in Chinese clothes, put on a broad Chinese hat, took my rifle and a good glass, and landing with my interpreter, started off on the scout, making for an eminence some two or three miles distant, close to the channel of the river. When arrived at its summit, I found it commanded a capital view of the water for many miles; a glance told me the lorcha was nowhere near, neither could I distinguish her in the distance. Suddenly, my interpreter declared he could see her. Knowing what powerful vision the Chinese frequently have, I instantly brought the spot he pointed out—some eight or nine miles away—again into the range of my glass. I saw several junks' masts, and after a long and careful scrutiny, made out a couple much larger than the rest, which might possibly be those of the lorcha; but at that distance, with nothing but the bare masts, amongst others showing over some low land, I could not be certain.[184] The Chinaman still persisted that he was right; and, trusting he might prove so, I returned on board.

During all that day we tracked steadily forward, and towards evening I had the satisfaction of plainly observing the lorcha in the distance. She was also being tracked, but was too heavy to move fast, so that we were rapidly gaining on her, and in four or five hours ought to be alongside. The difficulty would be to ascertain whether Marie was on board, and if so, how situated. When I reflected that my friend had observed her from the steamer as he passed, it did not seem improbable that I might see her also; but her apparent freedom sadly interfered with the idea that she had been carried off by force and was detained against her will. Had it been so, she might have made signs of distress, or called for help, when the steamer passed so close.

It was impossible to form any plan, or arrive at any fixed conclusion. Circumstances alone could guide us. We had now entered the Ti-ping territory, so I felt quite confident of safety on shore, whatever might betide; besides, my commission from the Chung-wang would doubtless obtain me assistance if I required it.

It would be quite easy for us to pass right alongside the lorcha without exciting the slightest suspicion. In the first place, her people could have not the least idea of our pursuit; and, in the second, we had but to hoist a Chinese flag, and if they should happen to take any notice of our vessel, they would simply think her a Chinese one, while we could closely observe them from our small cabin windows.

It was just about dusk when the lorcha ceased tracking, and came to an anchor under some steep hills. We were not more than half a mile astern, so, concealing ourselves, but making the Chinamen lounge about the decks, and stick up an old flag full of Chinese characters, without the slightest hesitation we held on our course. The lorcha had anchored within thirty yards of the bank, so, giving[185] our vessel rather a broad sheer into the stream, we passed close to her, in fact, almost grazing her side. From our hiding-places we could see that her crew were mostly Portuguese, and that she was armed heavily enough to sink our lightly-built vessel in an instant; but Marie was not visible, neither could we distinguish any trace of her.

As my friend was positive it was the same craft he had previously seen, it was quite certain that some woman must be on board; therefore I determined to ascertain who she was. Continuing on past the lorcha for nearly a mile, until the turning of the river hid her behind the hills she was anchored abreast of, we hauled close in to the bank and made fast there.

Besides a larger boat, we carried one of the small canoes used at some parts of the Yang-tze. In this I decided to drop down the river whenever the moon should set, and endeavour to discover whether Marie was on board the strange vessel.

To favour my design, towards midnight the weather became heavy, and the moon soon after sank behind a thick bank of clouds; not a star could be seen, and the night was perfectly dark. I now dressed myself with loose black silk trousers, such as were used by the Ti-pings, tucking the ends into a pair of soft-soled Chinese boots, a tight black silk jacket, and a thick black felt Canton cap. I carried a pair of revolvers carefully loaded in my belt, placed a coil of rope in the boat, and also a common Chinese sleeping quilt. My friends desired to come with me; but I decided otherwise, for it would be desirable to use stratagem rather than force, and three of us, besides the man to manage the boat, would overcrowd her. Neither would I allow them to cast off the vessel and drop after me; for if I should find Marie and rescue her, it would be necessary to keep out of the range of the lorcha's guns. I therefore pressed the hands of my comrades, took my interpreter, a Canton man, whom I knew I could depend upon, and, with one of the best[186] men of my crew to manage the boat, pushed off and commenced dropping down with the tide. I had scarcely left my vessel when a sudden thought struck me, so, turning back, I requested my friends to walk down the bank, take a couple of the crew with them, all well armed, and station themselves on the shore directly opposite the lorcha.

The strength of the tide swept the frail boat rapidly along, and soon I found myself abreast of the hills close to the termination of which I knew the lorcha lay at anchor. It was so very dark under the shadow of the high land, that when we discerned the vessel we were within a few hundred feet of her, and drifting down right upon her bows. We instantly slipped overboard the small grapnel made fast to the end of the line I had placed in the boat, and when it reached the bottom, held on to it, and waited to make our last preparations for boarding. I found we were still undiscovered; indeed, it would have been impossible to distinguish our little canoe in the surrounding darkness even at that short distance. After waiting a few moments, I whispered Aling (my interpreter) to slack away the line, while the man in the stern steered us as required with his paddle. Crouching low down in the boat, we slowly glided under the bows of the lorcha, till we drifted right upon her cable, grappling which I prepared to mount to the deck. Aling was to follow me so far, and then remain stationary; he would thus be able to assist me in case I should retreat to the bows with Marie, and, besides, would bring up the other end of the line, after reeving it through a ringbolt in the stern of the boat, both to secure a good means of descent and to prevent the boatman, who we knew had no knife, from shoving off in ease of alarm.

Slowly and noiselessly I clambered up the cable, and raising my head above the lorcha's bulwarks peered cautiously around. At last I was able to distinguish the forms of many of the crew lying about the deck covered[187] up in their quilts. This was as I expected it would be, and, moreover, I trusted they were the Chinese part of the crew, for it was winter, and I calculated the Portuguese would prefer sleeping below.

I proceeded very deliberately with my investigations, knowing that I had plenty of time before daylight, and had no occasion to risk a discovery by being too precipitate. Aling soon joined me, and I was just whispering some instructions into his ear, when, with an exclamation, up started a man within arm's length, until then concealed by the foresail, upon the opposite side of which he must have been reclining. For a moment I feared we were discovered, and sending Aling down into the boat, drew a revolver, while I prepared to follow him. Instead of approaching me, the man walked aft. I then knew he must be the look-out, who, having slept on his watch, had probably gone aft to ascertain the time. Not a moment was to be lost if I intended to take advantage of his absence; softly calling upon Aling to return, I waited until he had reached me, and then, slipping over the rail, wrapped my quilt about me and walked aft.

Carefully stepping over the recumbent sleepers, I had just reached the main-mast when I saw the drowsy watchman returning. I instantly threw myself down on the deck, and, drawing the quilt over me, pretended to be seeking sleep. The device succeeded famously, for, whether the man had seen me or not, he evidently considered me to be one of the crew. Drawing the corner of the rug from over my eyes, I saw him disappear down the fore-scuttle. Most likely his watch had expired, and he went to rouse his relief. Directly his head was below the combings of the hatch, I started to my feet and continued getting aft. When I reached the cabin skylight I spread myself out by the side of it and gazed below. A bright lamp was burning, and everything inside was plainly visible. I could see a full musket-rack, table, books, telltale compass, an open chart, a revolver-case, and all the[188] paraphernalia of a nautical drawing-room; but what riveted my eyes more than all were the sleeping-berths—one on each side—with their curtains drawn. It was useless gazing through the skylight; the only plan to see the occupants of these berths would be to open the curtains and look in. Another instant and perhaps the fresh look-out man would be on deck. I had no time to spare. If the venture was ever to be made, now was the moment to put it into execution. I hesitated no longer, but, rising up, stole to the companion and cautiously crept down the stairs, lifting foot after foot with a noiseless cat-like movement. When I reached the bottom, I found myself fronting another berth; but the loud snoring I could hear satisfied me that she whom I wanted was not there. I passed on to the cabin door. After listening a few minutes, I became satisfied the inmates, whoever they might be, were fast asleep. Little did those wrapped in the sleep of security dream that one who might prove their deadliest enemy was in their midst! I must have strangely resembled the midnight murderer, as with stealthy step I glided across the cabin, and, reaching the lamp, turned it low and dim. One of the sleepers moved uneasily. I shrunk down into the darkest spot under the table. Again all was quiet. I crawled up to the nearest berth, moved the curtain half an inch, and peeped in; the back of a man was visible. Slowly I crossed over to the opposite side, and, performing the same operation at the foot of the berth, saw a bearded face on the pillow. Marie was not in that cabin.

A small passage led from the after-part of the saloon, apparently dividing two after-cabins from each other. I quickly passed into it, and paused at a door upon my left. I listened for a little while to the profound, oppressive silence, in which I could plainly distinguish the palpitation of my own heart; at last I fancied I heard a female voice within. I was just pressing my ear to the panelling when a coarse ejaculation in a man's voice proceeding from the[189] opposite cabin made me start back; the handle was grasped; I had just time to crouch down at the farthest end of the passage, when the door was rudely thrust open. A man came forth, evidently in a state of intoxication, and, fortunately turning away from my direction, shook his fist at the door I had just left; then muttering a curse, blundered into the outer cabin. I could hear him unfasten a locker, take something forth, and then followed a gurgling, clucking sound; the bottle was dashed down upon the table with a clash, and then the drunkard staggered up the companion-way on deck. Surely I heard a woman's voice again! I dared not remain to satisfy myself. I had not a second to lose; if the man should return before I could escape from the cabin, he would certainly discover me, and then all hope of rescuing Marie would be at an end. I hurried through the cabin and up the companion undiscovered, although an exclamation from one of the berths made me fear it was otherwise.

Upon reaching the deck, I found I was safe from any discovery upon the part of my intoxicated friend, for he was stretched at full length upon the deck, and already in the lethargic sleep of drunkenness. I stooped over him to scan his features, and while doing so plainly heard voices in the cabin. Undoubtedly I had been noticed passing through it. As I turned towards the forepart of the vessel, I saw the watchman coming straight towards me. He had most likely observed my movements, and was coming aft to ascertain what I was about, mistaking me for one of the crew. I snatched up my quilt from where I had left it, placed it over my head and shoulders, and pulling my trousers out of my boots, assumed the Chinaman as much as possible, and walked to meet him. Fortunately it was the darkest hour of the night—that immediately before the grey of morning,—and the thick clouds made it still more sombre. Until close up to me I did not perceive he was followed by a Chinaman; the man himself was a Portuguese. I loosened one of my[190] revolvers, and taking it by the barrel under my quilt, prepared to fell him. These Macao Portuguese nearly all speak the Canton dialect, with which I was unacquainted; and as the Chinese portion of the lorcha's crew would certainly be Cantonese, I expected he would address me in their language, and discover me at once. To my surprise he spoke in the Pidgin English by saying:—

"What thing wantchee aft side, Jack?" To which I replied, with indignant emphasis,—

"Hi-ya! what ting? wantchee look see what-tim, ga-la!"

The Portuguese, seemingly dissatisfied, seized hold of my rug. Just then the Chinaman who had followed him interfered, and, pulling me away, exclaimed to him,—

"What for foolo pidgin? No wantchee play ga-la!"

The Portuguese still seemed suspicious; but, giving me a pull, Aling—for it was he—laid himself down as if to repose, and I quickly imitated him. Although this vigilant look-out now left us, for more than an hour he continued pacing the deck close by; daylight was fast approaching, and we were tied to the spot. Aling told me that when he saw the look-out come aft he suspected it was to overhaul me, and, thinking the man would speak to me in Cantonese, he followed him to assist me. It was principally for emergencies of this sort I had brought Aling with me.

At last the watchful mariner moved aft to see what time it was, I imagine; so, taking the opportunity, we both got forward, and, casting off the line, descended into the boat. It was impossible to attempt any further discovery that night, for although I had not been followed by the inmates of the outer cabin, it was evident they had heard me pass, or something had disturbed and made them wakeful; besides, it was too late now, for daylight was already breaking. Bitterly disappointed, I was compelled to order my companions to pull the boat away from under the lorcha's bows by hauling[191] in the line, to weigh the grapnel, and to paddle inshore. Directly we reached the bank, I was met by my friends, who rushed forward to inquire what success I had met with; in a few words I told them all. At first they declared they would return with me to the lorcha, jump on board, force the cabin I had heard the female voice proceed from, and if Marie was there endeavour to carry her off; soon, however, they decided upon a more reasonable course. Our boat was too small to carry all; the sharp look-out would most likely discover us; there certainly would not be time to paddle the boat, heavily laden, up stream, and adopt my last manœuvre; and we were quite unequal to cope with the four or five Europeans and some ten or twelve Macao Portuguese, besides Canton men, on board. The thing was plainly impracticable; our only course was to wait until the next night, and then try the same plan over again. I had made several important discoveries. If Marie was on board, I knew where to find her. I had acquainted myself with the interior arrangements of the lorcha, and I was enabled to form a pretty accurate estimate of her crew; so that I had obtained some valuable facts to guide me upon a second attempt.

I returned to my vessel much disturbed in mind; the menacing gesture of the drunken brute I had seen in the passage, the voice proceeding from the cabin he appeared to threaten, the possibility that Marie was the inmate who had evidently excited and angered him, were painful reflections.

Soon after my return on board the day broke, and my companions retired to obtain the rest they had been without all night. For my part sleep was out of the question; I was in a complete fever, and unable to do or think of anything else than the probable result of my next attempt to discover Marie. The day was perfectly calm; undisturbed by a ripple, the broad expanse of the mighty Yang-tze glided swiftly past, glistening in the[192] lurid sun like a sheet of liquid gold. Unable to proceed, through want of wind and the strength of the current, the lorcha remained at anchor; while many times during the weary day I landed, and, concealed amidst the bushes, watched her through my telescope. I was unable to discover anything. The day was very cold, and but few of the crew were about the decks. At last, towards evening, I made my last reconnoitre, accompanied by my friend and one of our crew,—the latter for the purpose of acting as a scout upon the movements of the lorcha; for, a light breeze having sprung up, it was just possible she might attempt to get under weigh.

It was upon this occasion I made a discovery that led to important results. My attention was attracted to her stern windows. It was a fortunate circumstance that we had gone rather below the vessel, as otherwise we could not have noticed them. After closely watching these ports until quite dark, and observing nothing of the interior of the after-cabin or its inmates, we returned to our vessel with sanguine hopes for the issue of the night's adventure.

My impatience became gratefully relieved in one way by the early setting of the moon, but, upon the other hand, the night continued bright and starlight,—in fact, so bright that it was evidently impossible to repeat my modus operandi of the previous night. Here was an apparently insurmountable difficulty, for I should never be able to approach the lorcha undiscovered! For several hours I remained in deep consultation with my friends; but after discussing every plan we could imagine, the fact remained patent, that none could be effected without attracting observation; unless, indeed, I could hit upon the exact moment for relieving the look-out man at some period between midnight and the dawn, and when the rest of the crew would almost certainly be fast asleep. I had almost decided to adopt this course, when my friend and Philip proposed another. Their idea was, to get our vessel under[193] weigh in the middle of the night, tack down the river, and then get athwart hawse of the lorcha, as if by accident; drop an anchor foul of the lorcha's, and while all hands would be forward working to get the vessel clear, find an opportunity to prosecute my search. This certainly appeared feasible, and almost superior to the other plan; but, fortunately, while considering which to adopt, I hit upon something better than either. I suddenly remembered the ruse the Chinese pirates had attempted with me; prompted by this, I conceived a plan that in all respects promised to take me silently and undiscovered to the position I desired—under the stern of the lorcha. Directly I unfolded the project to my companions, they agreed with me that it was impossible to conceive a better.

It was already nearly midnight; we therefore commenced our preparations without delay. Upon this occasion, I decided to take my friend as a companion; we each dressed in black clothes, and besides taking our revolvers, placed a couple of rifles in the boat. In the meanwhile, according to my instructions, Philip had made the crew prepare a large drag, in the form of a cross, made with two short and broad spars, lashed together at their centres. When this was ready, the end of a long coir rope was made fast to the middle, the other end being fastened to our canoe, with a few fathoms to spare, which were passed ashore. The drag was now placed in our large boat, and being pulled far out on the river, was tossed overboard; this was signalled by showing a lamp. Directly I saw the light, I gave the word to start away: Philip and three of the crew, well armed, taking the end of the rope, walked down the bank, keeping our canoe close under its shadow, and progressing as fast as the drag at the other end of the rope was drifting with the current. After proceeding in this order for twenty minutes, during which we had slowly been hauling in the line till we had coiled nearly half of it in the canoe, we arrived fairly abeam of the lorcha, and,[194] almost immediately afterwards, felt the jerk of the rope as it caught across her cable. Gradually easing it out, our companions dragged us carefully past the vessel—scarcely a hundred feet distant. At length the rope was all payed out to the bare end, and taking a small line, one end of which was retained by our companions ashore, we let go from the bank, and the current quickly swept us into the stream until we were checked by it in a direct line astern of the lorcha, now dimly visible in the distance. We had one Chinaman in the boat to steer and paddle as necessary, and slowly and cautiously we began hauling in the rope. We had not proceeded far, when we came up to the drag towing some 70 or 80 yards astern of the lorcha. To the upper arm of this we made fast a lantern with a candle and matches in it all ready to light in a moment, and then continued hauling upon the rope, which, as we took it inboard, was passed over the stern by the Chinaman, and pulled ashore to Philip and his men, by means of the small line.

When within fifty feet of the lorcha, we paused awhile, and watched closely to ascertain whether any of her crew were visible; we were soon satisfied that our approach could be conducted with perfect impunity, for her stern was high, and not only protected us from the observation of the look-out in the fore part of the vessel, but would hide us from the view of any one except a person coming to look directly over the taffrail. We could distinguish by the light from within, only half-subdued by thin drapery, four stern ports, two on each side; but to see who, or what, was in the cabins, it would be necessary to remove the curtains. Stealthily and silently we now urged ourselves forward, passing the rope along, hand over hand, till at last there we lay right under the lorcha's counter—like a pilot-fish under the lee of a huge shark. Erecting myself in the boat, I found that my shoulders reaching just to the sill of the ports, I could easily raise myself up; but, to my chagrin, found they were too small[195] for me to pass through. It was evident that originally only two ports had existed, but they were now divided into four, by a slight stanchion, or framework, passing down the centre of each. The curtains of the starboard side were closely drawn, the glass part of a sliding sash closed, and it was impossible to see within. Slacking away the rope a little, I grasped the other part of it, and changed our position to the port counter.

The curtains were not so carefully closed at this side, and looking through the open space I was able to view the whole interior of the cabin. My first glance was attracted by the same man I had seen issue from it on the previous night; he was seated at a table, and I saw directly by his flushed face that he had been drinking again very freely. The light from a large lamp was brilliant, and I could observe his every expression with ease,—he was evidently labouring under strong excitement, and in a few moments I saw him pour out a stiff "second-mate's nip" of neat brandy, and gulp it down. His appearance became, if possible, still more inflamed, and several times he started up and went towards the cabin door, snatching up a key from the table. Upon each occasion, after hesitating and listening at the open door, with a fresh effort, and a drop of brandy to obtain resolution, he resumed his seat, gritting his teeth and clenching his hands savagely. His manner plainly told of some evil intention, and that he was endeavouring to raise his determination to put it into execution. The glass sash was not quite closed, and as he retired from the door for the last time I heard a bitter "carajo!" hiss through his teeth with fierce aspiration; followed by a few words uttered with energy in some Spanish patois, from which I could gather: "carajo! my proud beauty—you scorn my love, do you? Wait a little! wait a little, my lady; we shall change places soon."

The man's appearance was so unmistakably South American that I felt no surprise at his language. I had no doubt that his speech referred to the inmate of[196] the opposite cabin, so I instantly returned under its windows to try and make some opening to see who she was. L., my friend, handed me a large bowie-knife he had fortunately brought with him; I managed to pick the window open with this, and moving the curtain with my fingers, I peered cautiously through. I had no occasion to search further—Marie was before me. Yes, there lay my betrothed; within a few feet, almost within reach of my hands; yet I could neither touch, or embrace her—she was in the power of the ruffian I had just seen. My fingers trembled nervously with the curtain and sides of the port, while my heart heaved with sudden and powerful excitement. For some moments I remained thus, riveted and powerless. At the first glance I saw nothing but Marie; but when the sudden shock had passed, a single moment explained the situation. She was sleeping upon a sofa couch, and the table, chairs, and every moveable article of furniture in the cabin, were piled against the door. Her face was turned away from me, but I needed not to look upon that to recognize her; the graceful form, perfectly outlined against the white drapery of the couch, told that it was Marie.

When my thoughts returned, I became convinced I could not be better placed for rescuing her. She was alone, within my reach, and I was at the most concealed spot about the lorcha to take advantage of the opportunity. A dark shadow surrounded the vessel, and, besides this, our little boat was drawn close up under her stern. Nothing seemed likely to interfere with my scheme to effect her escape except one thing, and that was, the ports were too small for egress by them! My friend took my place in the bow of our boat to survey the situation; the instant he placed his hand upon the port, he drew his knife and commenced hacking away at the stanchion: if this could be removed, there would be room to pass through the two ports thus let into one. Desperately my friend slashed away at the woodwork; his knife was[197] sharp, and he made rapid progress. Marie still slept on, and I would not awaken her for fear any sudden exclamation might startle him in the opposite cabin.

The observations and action thus described occupied but a short time. Thoughts are quick, but at such a crisis they speed like lightning. Our work, too, was rapid, and soon would be accomplished; and it would only remain to bring Marie from the cabin to the boat, through the stern ports of the lorcha.

The stanchion was about four inches thick, and my friend had cut it more than half through, when, suddenly he sank down in the boat, exclaiming, "hish." Reaching to me, he whispered that some one was unlocking the cabin door from the outside. I instantly changed places with him, and, raising myself cautiously to a level with the port, peeped through. I saw the door slowly opening, while a hand passed through was holding the furniture that had been piled up, and keeping it from falling as the door was gradually pressed inwards. Marie had evidently fallen into a deep sleep through excessive fatigue, for even this noise did not wake her.

Not a moment was to be lost. I turned to my friend, and whispered him to hand me one of the rifles from the stern of the boat. Upon receiving the weapon, I placed its muzzle close to the cut on the stanchion and fired. Before the smoke cleared away I grasped the sill of the port, the shattered woodwork gave way, and I raised myself into the cabin. Directly I was able to discern anything, I saw that Marie had started from her couch, and was gazing in a terrified manner in the direction of the report; but, calling upon her by name as I advanced nearer, she recognized me and rushed into my arms.

As I hurried her towards the stern ports, the door was pushed further open. For a second I paused, and fired my revolver at the man I had previously seen in the opposite cabin, just as he appeared in the doorway with a pistol in each hand. My shot took effect, for he fell[198] prostrate across the threshold. Immediately afterwards I heard the loud shouting of the alarmed crew, and the noise of hurrying footsteps approaching the cabin.

Upon reaching the port, I found L. all ready to receive me, and hastily passed Marie into the boat. Just as we shoved off, the door was burst wide open, and in rushed a crowd of men, some holding lights, and all armed. We hauled in upon the part of the rope fast to the drag, and, reaching it, set light to the lantern on its upper arm. Directly this was done we cut each part of the rope, letting go one end, and thus sending the drag floating down the river, while the other end was made fast to the bow of our boat. The lantern was not only intended to throw the people of the lorcha off our track, but it was to be a signal to our friends on shore to haul away upon the rope and pull us to the bank. It had just tautened, and pulled us out of a line with the drag, when crash went a volley of musketry from the lorcha, and we heard the bullets go singing past in the direction of the floating light.

Within three minutes after cutting the rope we reached the bank, and were tracked up stream by Philip and his men. Before getting abeam of the lorcha we had the satisfaction to hear a boat pull away from her in pursuit of the now distant lantern.

Upon reaching my vessel I took Marie to the best cabin, and left her with the ayah I had brought to wait upon and attend to her. For some time I was left to my own reflections, my friends being engaged getting the vessel under weigh, and making the crew track her along the bank.

At last Marie was ready to receive me, and on my joining her she gave me an account of all that had happened since our last parting. It appeared that everything had gone on quietly and happily until a few evenings previous to my arrival at Shanghae, when one night Marie and her relatives were startled by a loud knocking at the[199] door. This was no sooner opened than in rushed ten or a dozen men, led by the one I had shot, who was no other than Manoel Ramon, the Chillinian I had rescued her from in the first place at Whampoa. He declared he intended taking them all to Hong-kong, where he stated Marie's father was waiting to receive her. He allowed them to take their clothes and a few light articles; they were then taken to a lonely part of the river, and carried on board the lorcha, which directly afterwards weighed anchor and commenced dropping down the river. Upon getting well clear of Woo-sung, at the entrance of the Shanghae river, the lorcha was stopped alongside a junk, and Marie's two relatives—her aunt and uncle—were put on board, and the vessels instantly separated. Ramon then informed her that her father was dead, that he had been made his heir, and that a settlement had been left her upon condition that she should marry him. For the first few days he had renewed his old protestations of affection, and treated her respectfully; but latterly, finding her aversion immovable, his bearing had entirely altered.

Rapidly flew the time, as, absorbed in our happiness, we remained unconscious of its flight; at last I was startled by the increased motion of the vessel, and knew that a fresh breeze had sprung up. This change had not lasted long, when my friend L. came to the cabin-door and beckoned me to go out to him. Wishing Marie good-night, and leaving her to obtain the repose she needed, I followed him into the outer cabin, and eagerly inquired what had occurred.

"Why, that confounded lorcha's in full chase, and will certainly overhaul us within three hours," said my friend.

I hurried on deck with him, and found it was just daylight, and although we had undoubtedly made considerable progress before the lorcha had started in pursuit, yet there she was, some five or six miles astern, and crowding all sail in chase.[200]

After thinking it over a little while, we decided that sending the light adrift upon the river had brought about the pursuit. When the men sent in chase had come up to it, they doubtless saw at once that it had been sent to drift down the river, and as it was certain it could not have been started above the people they were in pursuit of, it was equally sure that we must be above it. We had not thought of this at the time; we only valued it as a ruse to throw off the close pursuit we expected, and so give us time to return to our vessel undiscovered. So far we were successful, but the whole style of the drag proved to the lorcha's people that we must be above them, and up the river, which caused her to give chase so soon.

We were at this time some twelve or fourteen miles below Nankin, and I at once determined to make for that place with all speed. The sails were wetted down fore and aft, and everything done to make them draw as well as possible. The breeze was moderately strong, but freshening, and the stronger it came the quicker would the lorcha overhaul us, for being of an European and heavier build, and spreading loftier and lighter canvas than we did, it would tell considerably in her favour. Fortunately the wind was dead aft, so our flat and shallow bottom was in this case an advantage, whereas, a beam or leading wind would have made it quite the reverse. The wind increased so quickly that in less than two hours the lorcha had rapidly gained upon us, and was coming up hand over hand in a cloud of canvas. She was yet more than two miles astern, but I was still some six miles below Nankin, and although the breeze was now very strong, I could not, with an adverse tide, hope to reach that city before we were within the range of her pivot gun.

We tried every plan to increase our speed; an old awning was rigged out as a stun'-sail upon one side, and a spare tarpaulin on the other, besides which, several large flags were fastened together, bent to a large bamboo, and[201] hoisted above the mainsail to serve as a gaff-topsail. It was now blowing half a gale of wind, and over a three or four knot tide, the old vessel was staggering along under a press of sail she had never felt before. Following directly in our wake, like a sleuth-hound on the trail, the lorcha presented at this time a striking, though to us unpleasant, picture. Rolling heavily from side to side, her snow-white sails pyramid-like in form, and reaching from the deck to the very summit of her long and taper spars, now bending like willows to the blast; a long furrow of foam following in her wake, and two lines of water leaping from each bow, and tossing high into the air a silver spray, through which the morning sun formed myriads of tiny rainbows; the stoop of the vessel, as with a movement like the bending of a buffalo to the charge, she plunged forward burying her bows deep into the rushing surge, and anon raising them high above as though to shake the dripping element from her head—all these phases in the appearance of our pursuer made her look a thing of life and beauty. While gazing and thinking thus, I was abruptly recalled from the romantic to the stern reality of the scene. The lorcha suddenly luffed up, puff went a column of smoke from her lee bow, and while it was eddying amidst her cordage the splash of a shot a few fathoms from our stern, accompanied by the booming of a cannon, told me the danger had now commenced in earnest, and that our pursuer was aware of our connection with the affair of the previous night.

The shot had fallen so close under our stern that it was certain the next five minutes would find us within range and entirely commanded by the lorcha's guns. Upon the other hand, another half-hour might see us safe under the walls of Nankin, unless some of our spars should be crippled, or a shot strike us below the water-line. If either of these misfortunes should occur, before we could make repairs aloft the lorcha would be alongside; if hulled, before reaching the Nankin batteries we should sink. I[202] therefore made every preparation to run into the bank and get ashore, in the event of such an emergency.

I placed Marie in the hold, right upon the bottom of the vessel, where she would be below the water-line far enough to be safe from the lorcha's fire. My friends and self got our rifles and a few things ready in case we should have to take to the shore. We had the sails continually wetted, and made the crew run fore and aft the decks to help the vessel's way. In a few moments the lorcha luffed up again, bang went her "long Tom," and the shot came whistling over our heads, passing some yards clear of our rigging. We were now fairly within range, and our pursuer fired at us as quickly as the pivot-gun could be loaded and brought to bear. This kind of work went on for some time, till at last the outworks of Nankin showed up only a mile or so ahead. The lorcha had hitherto fired exclusively at our spars, but directly these forts opened to view, she began aiming at our hull. Several large rents were torn through our sails, though fortunately none of our spars had been struck; but the gunnery practice of our enemy now became close and dangerous. Two or three shots hurtled past a few feet over the decks, but then crash came one right amidships, tearing in at one side and passing clean through the other, as we rounded a sand-bank and became nearly broadside on to the lorcha. As we fell into line again another smashed through the stern, and, knocking off the helmsman's head, passed over the bows, raking us fore and aft, but fortunately killing no one else. The lorcha having to round-to each time she fired, in order to get her pivot-gun to bear, her way was checked very considerably; and to this may our escape be entirely attributed. At the time our helmsman was struck we had already reached the first of the Nankin batteries. The people on board the lorcha now saw their mistake, and, ceasing firing, kept steadily on in chase. They changed their tactics—fortunately for us—too late. Hoisting a flag the Ti-pings had given me when I left Soo-chow, I [203] steered past the point of the island just below Nankin, and passing the batteries—crowded with soldiery gazing upon the chase—ran into the creek, leading between some fortifications direct to the walls of the city, and there anchored.

London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited Lith. ESCAPE FROM THE LORCHA.
London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited Lith.

Directly I ran up the Ti-ping flag I was boarded by an officer from the principal fort. To him I showed my commission from the Chung-wang, and requested protection from the pursuing vessel. He pulled quickly ashore, and just as the lorcha was rounding the point of the island and preparing to follow me into the creek, I had the satisfaction to see a gun fired across her bows, upon which she hauled off and gave up the pursuit, her retreat accelerated by another shot from the fort sent right into her.

While watching her through my glass, I plainly observed her owner, Manoel Ramon, propped up in a chair on the quarter-deck.



Ti-ping Operations.—Chinese Apathy.—The Ti-ping Difficulty.—Popular Feeling.—Opposed to the Ti-pings.—England's Policy.—Her Motives.—Dr. Bridgman describes Ti-pingdom.—His Description of the Ti-pings.—X. Y. Z.—Ti-pingdom in 1857.—Its Internal Economy.—Lord Elgin at Nankin.—Gallant Exploit.—Its Interpretation.—Hung-jin arrives at Nankin.—Hung-jin's Adventures.—Mr. Hamberg's Narrative.—Hung-jin's Pamphlet.—Hung-jin Prime Minister.—Nankin Invested.—Resumption of Hostilities.—"Indemnity" demanded.—Conditions of Peace.—Cause of Wars with China.—England's Foreign Policy.—The Opium Wars.

Towards the close of 1854, the detached armies of Ti-pings were gradually compelled to abandon their isolated positions, and retire closer upon their capital. During October, after forwarding all the supplies obtainable to the treasury and granaries of Nankin, the Western armies evacuated the important cities of Wu-chang, Han-yang, and Hankow, and collecting the garrisons of the many others between them and Nankin, retired quickly upon the latter, the siege of which the Imperialists were beginning to press with a vigour encouraged by the weakness of the garrison. This army falling rapidly upon the rear of the enemy's works, put them to flight with great slaughter, and completely raised the siege. After this, another force was marched to the relief of Chin-kiang, which was also invested by a considerable Imperialist army. At the close of the year, both Nankin and Chin-kiang were effectually relieved, and the besieging armies driven back upon the cities of Soo-chow and Shanghae in confusion. With the exception of the Northern army, in occupation of the north side of the Yang-tze from Ngan-king[205] to Kwei-chow, nearly all the Ti-ping forces were concentrated in and about the cities of Nankin and Chin-kiang, when, again committing the error former experience should have taught him to avoid, the Tien-wang separated his forces, and despatched several armies upon widely divergent courses.

The principal operations were conducted towards the south, in the provinces of Kiang-su, Ngan-whui, and the borders of Che-kiang and Kiang-si, and towards the west, along the old route of the Yang-tze and beyond the Tung-ting lake. Early in 1855 the Western division, successful in all its operations, reached the city of Hankow, and Wu-chang, the provincial capital, was for the third time carried by storm, the Manchoo defenders suffering fearful loss. The Ti-pings now held the three cities for a longer period than before; but, although they obtained numerous recruits, they were unable to occupy the adjoining provinces permanently and rescue them from the Manchoo rule. The people at large, finding the revolution was to a certain extent stationary, naturally waited for some grand and combined movement likely to overthrow the Manchoo rule, and, however much they would have rejoiced at the change, were careful to avoid implicating themselves against the government until the prospect of success became more apparent. The fearful experience of former failures warned the nation to be cautious—in fact, the cautious alone remained in the land of the living, the indiscriminate massacres after the slightest attempt at rebellion having exterminated nearly every noble and patriotic spirit in China. Besides, many who might otherwise have hazarded the venture held back on account of the Ti-ping profession of Christianity (a change of the ancient national train of custom and ideas what they not only looked upon with suspicion, but with actual abhorrence). The hatred of the Manchoo must indeed have been intense—or rather, the hand of God powerful—to overcome the old and jealous[206] prejudices of more than 2,000 years, and give the Tien-wang even any adherents.

The Southern army, breaking into several divisions during 1855, was mostly victorious; many cities were captured, and large supplies of every necessary and war material taken. Partisans were sent into all the southern provinces and many local insurrections stimulated, but all too feeble and desultory to be of any real assistance to the cause; though the prompt and savage punishments inflicted by the Manchoo authorities undoubtedly proved very damaging, the fear they inspired awing the people into submission, and terrifying them from rising in rebellion again.

For more than a year the Southern and Western armies maintained their position; but early in 1856 they were again forced to retire upon Nankin, which had become reinvested by the Imperialists. It will thus be seen that, while the Ti-pings were detaching small armies just able to overcome the local Manchoo authorities, the Imperialists, after reinforcing the provincial troops so as to enable them to dispute the ground with varying success, invariably concentrated all their reserves and spare forces before Nankin. Considering that the Imperialists had vastly superior numbers, and, moreover, held the whole of the revenue, and completely surrounded the insurgents upon every side, the greatly superior organization and courage of the Ti-pings is sufficiently proved by the fact that they were able to compete with their more advantageously situated enemy so successfully.

In the middle of the year, the Imperialists were attacked by the recalled Ti-ping forces, before the city of Chin-kiang, and were defeated with heavy loss; about the same time, their lines before Nankin were assaulted by another division and completely broken up.

In this year an event took place, the consequences of which have proved almost fatal to the Ti-ping revolution. From a period long anterior to the commencement of the[207] movement, the position of Europeans in China was most unsatisfactory. The growing dread the Manchoos entertained of foreign intercourse urged them to the adoption of the most repulsive and arrogant behaviour upon all occasions, and it was just at the period this was becoming almost unbearable that the Ti-ping insurrection took place. It was therefore only natural that Europeans should regard the rising power favourably. Directly the organization and professions of the Tien-wang became fully known, it was almost the universal practice to warmly advocate his cause, and sound thrilling pæans in his praise. The clergy and religious world went half mad with joy; the societies for providing Bibles for the naked savages who could not read them, almost feared their work was coming to an end; and the mercantile part of the foreign world entered into the wildest speculations (excepting the opium smugglers). Eagerly the clerical expounders of mercy and goodwill wrote home glowing accounts of the success of their teaching—blessed by an overruling Providence!—eagerly the whole body of merchants, officials, adventurers, &c., watched for some favourable prospect of profit, or, as the thing is speciously termed, of "placing our commercial and political relations upon a satisfactory basis"! All these benevolent and large-minded Europeans waited a little, and when they found the profitable change would probably take a long time to perfect, while in the interval their gain might be diminished, it was absolutely wonderful how their sympathy—like Bob Acre's courage—oozed out at their fingers' ends. Events soon occurred that extinguished the last remnant of philanthropy. The missionaries (only a certain portion of them, be it remembered) found out they could not take all the credit of the rebellion to themselves,—or rather the religious element of it; therefore they gradually cooled down, and some of them began to revile it, at the same time taking precious good care not to put themselves to inconvenience by going to teach[208] the Ti-pings where they were in error. The political and commercial body also found they would have to wait for their ambitious and profitable projects, which did not suit them at all.

It was at such a crisis, the seizure of the opium-smuggling lorcha Arrow afforded a pretext for an appeal to arms; and this furnished all those favourable circumstances, hitherto expected from the Ti-ping movement, by a shorter and more direct road. It was sufficient for a portion of the body mercantile, that they would get their nefarious opium traffic legalized, and their general trade increased; it was sufficient for the body politic that they would be able to place their diplomatic affairs upon a satisfactory standing, and so humble the power of the Chinese government as to be able to do with it whatever they liked, compelling it to conform to their will in every way—and all for nothing, as the Manchoo government would be made pay the expenses England would incur by an aggressive war. The Ti-pings were at once thrown overboard. It mattered not that their cause was righteous and holy; it was no longer profitable to the British trader or his government, and with the usual error of mean selfishness, they took it for granted that the Manchoos would always remain powerless, or else forget to retaliate when they became able, for the gross treatment they had received; neither could they perceive that although delays might interpose before the final success of the Ti-pings, yet that, after a short probation, the willing and unrestricted commerce the latter would encourage, would be more profitable than the unwilling and forced trade the Manchoos were coerced into. Although meanness is generally the result of ignorance, it seems almost a fatality that so large a portion of Englishmen should have acted so wrongfully, and have been so forgetful of their national fair-play. The whole affair speaks too plainly of avarice and incompetent statesmanship.[209]

Commander Brine, R.N., in his valuable and fairly-expressed work, "The Taeping Rebellion," at pages 271-2, very truthfully observes:—

"The principal reason for the decline of the popularity of the rebellion amongst Europeans may be found in the great change that has occurred in our political relations with the Manchoo government."

Again, speaking of the treaty settled after the "lorcha Arrow war," he says:—

"Two of its clauses, noted below, not only made the further progress of the Taepings unprofitable, but absolutely made their simple existence most objectionable to all Europeans who hoped to open trade with those provinces lying adjacent to the upper waters of the Yang-tze. When Lord Elgin proceeded to Han-kow, he evidently looked upon them as a mere body of rebels, sooner or later to be suppressed by government, and that they in the interval interfered with the due carrying into execution the terms of his treaty. Consequently he was not inclined to show them much favour."

In this perfectly true conclusion is concealed the real motive of the conduct the British Government has pursued towards the Ti-pings. Not only in China, but over the whole world—from Denmark to America, from Abyssinia to Brazil, from New Zealand to Japan,—the policy of England has been derogatory to her dignity, and would be calculated to elicit merely feelings of contempt were it not so dangerous to her future welfare. It seems, however, that the majority of Englishmen are satisfied with a course of administration which advocates "peace at any price," except when war can be undertaken with impunity, and some aggression committed upon a weak neighbour, who is then compelled to pay all the expenses. I, for one, protest against such lowering of England's dignity and "just influence." I protest against the sacrifice of national honour to mercenary interest,—of principle to profit.

Commander Brine's opinion has been amply verified—he wrote it early in 1862; since which period England, regardless of all pledges of neutrality, has deliberately[210] upheld the Manchoo dynasty, and made war upon the Ti-pings, not to support any high principle, but prompted by regard for the indemnity money to be wrested from the Imperialists, influenced by the profits of the opium trade, and anxious to support the Elgin treaty, which otherwise would have become inoperative.

It is no less singular than true, that the wars with the Manchoo government in reality weakened it but very little:—in the first place, the British troops were always met by the local forces, none being withdrawn from opposition to the internal danger, which was dreaded much more than any arising from the foreign expeditions;—in the second, the indemnity money being deducted from the increased duties levied upon the foreign trade, instead of impoverishing the Manchoo exchequer, was taken directly from the pockets of the foreign merchants; and although the exchequer was so much less in hand, it could hardly be looked upon as a loss, considering that only one-fifth of the gross customs revenue of the ports open to foreign trade was taken, and that the trade has enlarged amply enough to make the returns, minus the indemnity, more than equal to what they were before the war.

Subsequent to the visit of H.M.S. Hermes, and the French steamer Cassini, the next communication between the Ti-pings and Europeans took place a little more than a year later, when the American minister visited Nankin in the U.S. frigate Susquehanna. The few extracts I give from the accounts of the Rev. Dr. Bridgeman, and another writer, X.Y.Z., each members of the expedition, coincide exactly with all opinions ever given of the Ti-pings by credible people who have held personal intercourse with them; and it is a singular, if not a sinister circumstance, that these accounts are all totally different from the dispatches of Sir F. Bruce (British minister at Pekin), and consuls of similar tendencies, who have either never seen the Ti-pings, or at all events know nothing of their government, life, and manners.[211]

The following are extracts from the Rev. Dr. Bridgeman:—

"1. Their government is a theocracy, the development apparently of what is believed by them to be a new dispensation. As in the case of the Israelites under Moses, they regard themselves as directed by one who has been raised up by the Almighty to be the executor of his will on earth.

"5. Their government is administered with remarkable energy.

"Far in the distance, hovering over the hill-tops—southward from Chin-kiang-foo, the guardian city of the Great Canal, and northward from Nankin, we saw encamped small bands of the Imperialists, while all the armed multitudes in, and immediately around these two cities, wrought up almost to frenzy, seemed eager to rush forth and take vengeance on them as their deadly foes,—'fat victims,' said they, 'fit only for slaughter.' They exulted as they exhibited to us the scars and the wounds they had received in bloody conflicts with the Manchoo troops, always called by them, 'monster imps.'

"6. Their order and discipline are no less remarkable than their energy. Under this new régime, both tobacco and opium are prohibited.

"Every kind of strong drink, too, would seem to come into the same category, and if any is used, it is only by special permission."

At the city of Wuhu:—

"The people had returned:—whole families,—men, women, and children,—were seen in their own houses, merchants in their shops, and market people going and coming with provisions; all most submissive to the officers and police, as they passed along the streets.

"It was at their 'holy city,' however, as they frequently called their new capital, that their order and discipline were observed in the greatest perfection. Parts of the city were appropriated exclusively for the uses of the wives and daughters of those men who were abroad, as their armies, or elsewhere employed in the public service.

"Everywhere else, as well as in the 'holy city,' extreme watchfulness was observed in the maintenance of order; and all irregularities, and infractions of the laws, were rebuked or punished with a promptitude seldom seen among the Chinese. All persons, without exception, had their appointed places and their appropriate duties assigned, and all moved like clockwork."

Their unity of purpose Dr. Bridgeman speaks of as follows:—

"There is no community separate from their one body politic; at least none appears, and no traces of any could we find."


Of their religion he reported:—

"Christians they may be in name; and they are, in very deed, iconoclasts of the strictest order. They have in their possession probably the entire Bible, both the Old and New Testaments; and are publishing what is usually known as 'Gutzlaff's Version' of the same.

"Their ideas of the Deity are exceedingly imperfect. Though they declare plainly that there is 'only One True God,' yet the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures,[28] the equality of the Son with the Father,[29] and many other[213] doctrines generally received by Protestant Christians, as being clearly revealed in the Bible, are by them wholly ignored. True, they have formulas in which[214] some of these doctrines are taught; but then they are borrowed formulas, and they have used them without comprehending their true import. So I believe; and I think this is made manifestly plain in the new version of their Doxology, or Hymn of Praise, where Yang-sen-tsing, the Eastern King, is proclaimed the Paraclete—the Holy Spirit."[30]

Dr. Bridgeman continues:—

"Our Saturday we found observed by them as a Sabbath-day; but they appeared not to have any houses for public worship, nor any Christian teachers, ministers of the Gospel so called. Forms of domestic worship, forms of prayer, of thanksgiving, &c. &c., they have; and all their people, even such as cannot read, are required to learn and use these. We saw them repeatedly at their devotions; some of them were exceedingly reverent and devout, while others were quite the reverse. Most, who were asked to do it, promptly recited that form of the Decalogue which is given in their tracts.

"A form of baptism was spoken of by them; but no allusion was made by them to the ordinance of the Lord's Supper.

"We found them, according to their reformed calendar, discarding the old notions of lucky places, times, &c."

Speaking of the public notices seen on the walls, he says:—

"The distribution of food, of clothes, and of medicines; the payment of taxes, the preservation of property, the observance of etiquette and decorum; and injunctions to repair to certain quarters for vaccination,—these were among the topics discussed in them. One document announced the names of sundry candidates who had been successful in winning honours at a recent literary examination in the Heavenly capital."

Thus, it appears, the "ignorant coolies" were literary coolies. It was late in 1854 when Dr. Bridgeman visited [215]Nankin, and thus wrote concerning the power and extent of the rebellion:—

"Their numerical strength, and the extent of territory under their control, are by no means inconsiderable. They said they had undisputed control from Chin-kiang-foo, four hundred miles up the Great River; and that besides the large numbers of troops garrisoned and intrenched about Chin-kiang, Kwa-chow, and the 'Heavenly capital,' they had four armies in the field, carrying on active aggressive operations; two of these had gone northward, one along the Grand Canal, and one farther westward; they were designed to co-operate, and after storming and destroying Pekin, to turn westward and march through Shansi, Shensi, Kians-oo, into Sze-chuen, where they are expected to meet their other two armies, which from Kiang-si and the Lake provinces, are to move up the Great River, and along through the regions on its southern bank.

"The personal appearance of their men in arms, and of their women on horseback, was novel. They formed a very heterogeneous mass, having been brought together from several different provinces, principally from Gnang-wui, Keang-si, Hoopeh, Kwang-si, and Kwang-tung. The finest men we saw were from the hills of Kiang-si, and those from Hoonan were the meanest and least warlike. Their arms and accoutrements were quite after the old fashion of the Chinese; but their red and yellow turbans, their long hair, and their silk and satin robes, so unlike the ordinary costume of the 'black-haired' troops, made the insurgents appear like a new race of warriors. All the people we saw were very well clad, well fed, and well provided for in every way. They all seemed content, and in high spirits, as if sure of success."

It will be seen that Dr. Bridgeman thought—as every one else did until the arbitrary interference of the British Government—that the "progress, and ultimate success," of the Ti-pings was certain, "under the inscrutable providence of God."

The following are extracts from the communication written by X.Y.Z., and published in the North China Herald at that time.

"There is no change of policy or of feeling towards foreigners since the visit of the Hermes. On the part of the people the same friendly feeling was manifested that was observed a year ago.

"The visit of the Susquehanna has put us in possession of facts which prove that the insurgents have undisturbed control of a large extent of country, so large as to furnish a guarantee to their ultimate success. [216]There seems to be nothing that can prevent their triumph, but internal dissensions, of which at present no symptoms appear.

"The city itself (Nankin) is under strict martial law, and indeed is at present a mere military camp. The most rigid discipline and perfect order are maintained.

"In passing through the city, little was seen to distinguish it from other Chinese cities, except that some of the streets are very wide, and appear to be kept in a state of cleanliness not often seen in China.

"Whatever Hung-sui-tshuen may mean by calling himself the brother of Jesus, it is but justice to say that no evidence was found of its being insisted on as an essential article of faith among the mass of his followers. And several officers who subsequently visited the steamer, when asked what was meant by it, professed themselves unable to give any information upon the subject. They were so evidently puzzled, that it was plain their attention had never been called to the matter before."

Speaking of the composition of the Ti-pings, X.Y.Z. says:—

"A few were from Kwang-se. These latter were all young men of unusually fine appearance and more than ordinary intelligence, and they were distinguished by some peculiarities of dress."

Of the civil administration he says:—

"The expedition reached the city of Wuhu on Thursday morning. Here the most cordial feeling was manifested by the authorities and people. The visit to this place was of great interest, as it afforded an opportunity of learning from personal observation the character of the insurgent rule over the people in districts which are no longer the seat of war. The state of things is entirely different from that at Nankin. The people are engaged in their ordinary avocations, shops are opened and trade carried on, as under the old régime, though the former prosperity of the place is by no means restored."

Upon perusing such statements, the British public will doubtless wonder at the nature of the reports which emanated from their government, that "the Ti-pings destroyed everything and restored nothing,"—were "ruthless desolaters," "bloodthirsty marauders," "hordes of banditti," &c. It must, however, be remembered, that the authors of these statements knew nothing about the Ti-pings; in some cases had never seen one, and in all[217] cases were anxious to meet the views of their official superiors by prejudicing the public mind against the Ti-pings, and thereby in some degree justifying the unwarrantable line of policy which the British Government had decided on.

The year 1857 passed over without any important military movement, and the Ti-ping Government was engaged in consolidating its power in the districts and cities it held. The extent of territory and amount of population entirely under their control was very considerable. They held possession of about three-fourths of the large province of Ngan-whui, one-third of Kiang-su, one-third of Kiang-si, and parts of Hoonan and Hoopeh. In Kwang-si, Kwang-tung, Fo-keen, and Yun-nan, Ti-ping agents were actively at work inciting the people to rise.

In the meanwhile, the administration of their territory was being perfected;—the title "Wang" was reduced into a sort of feudal rank, into which all governors of cities, lieutenant-governors, and governors of provinces, and generalissimos, were admitted. The whole of their land was divided into departments, or circles, each department into four districts, and each district into twenty-five parishes. After the governors of departments, or provinces, came the district chiefs, or magistrates; then the parish magistrates; and then the five village magistrates, or authorities, appointed over each circle of twenty-five families. The Ti-ping territory included at this period not less than 70,000 square miles, with a population of about 25,000,000. At parts where the Manchoo troops had been driven out of the country, a regular system of monthly taxation was established, considerably more moderate than the old. A tariff for the whole empire was published; while throughout all their cities, the machinery of a regular government was constituted, and the whole conducted with considerable energy and success. The "Land Regulations of Political Economy of the Ti-ping Dynasty" were put into force, and a large[218] part of China reclaimed to native administration. By these regulations, all land was divided into nine classifications, and arranged according to produce. Divisions of fields were arranged according to the number of persons in a family, and the whole property was regulated as the document states, "so that all the people in the empire may together enjoy the abundant happiness provided by the Great God, our Heavenly Father and Universal Lord." Periodical seasons were appointed for the examinations of literary candidates, and filling of vacant offices. Harvest regulations and community of interest were thus provided for:—

"As soon as harvest arrives, every vexillary must see to it, that the five-and-twenty parishes under his charge have a sufficient supply of food; and what is over and above of the new grain he must deposit in the public granary. This must be done with respect to wheat, pulse, flax, hemp, silk cloth, fowls, and money; for the whole empire is the universal property of our Heavenly Father, and when all the people of the empire avoid selfishness, and consecrate everything to the Supreme Lord, then the sovereign will have sufficient to use, and all the families in the empire, in every place, will be equally provided for, while every individual will be well fed and clothed."

From this system, and the vice-royalty of the governors, or wangs, the Ti-ping government assumed a patriarchal feudal constitution. The following regular conscription was levied:—

"If any man throughout the empire has a family, including wife and children, amounting to three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine individuals, he must give up one to be a soldier. With regard to the rest, the widowers, widows, orphans, and childless, together with the sick and feeble, shall be excused from service, and shall all be fed from the public granary."

Religious observances were thus enjoined, in a manner which evinces a spirit far different from that which the world was led to suppose actuated the Ti-pings:—

"In every circle of five-and-twenty families, the youths must every day go to the church, where the vexillary is to teach them to read the holy books of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the proclamations of the [219]duly-appointed sovereign. Every sabbath the five cinquevirs in the circle must lead the men and women under their charge to the church, where the males and females are to sit in separate rows. On these occasions there will be preaching, thanksgivings, and offerings to our Heavenly Father, the Great God and Supreme Lord. All officers and people, both within and without the court, must every sabbath go to hear the expounding of the Holy Book, reverently present their offerings, and praise our Heavenly Father." "All the officers throughout the empire, every sabbath day, must, according to their rank, reverently and sincerely provide animals, with meat and drink-offerings, for worship, in order to praise our Heavenly Father; they must also explain the Holy Book. Should any fail in this, they shall be degraded to the level of plebeians."

During 1858 the Ti-pings continued their work of organization, and undertook no military movement of importance. In consequence of so large a concentration of their forces, supplies began to run short, and the city of Chin-kiang was promptly abandoned, and a considerable force detached into the province of Kiang-si. They still retained possession of both banks of the Yang-tze for a distance of about 400 miles, and large reinforcements were sent from Nankin to all their possessions upon the northern side of that river.

In the meanwhile, Canton had been taken by the English and French forces, the Taku forts had been captured on the 20th of May, and on the 3rd of July the Elgin treaty was concluded; a treaty that in all respects proved nearly the death-warrant of the patriots.

On the 8th of November, Lord Elgin started from Shanghae upon the expedition up the Yang-tze-kiang as far as Hankow.

On approaching Nankin, the squadron came into collision with the Ti-pings in a similar, though more serious manner, than on the occasion of the visit of the Hermes. Lord Elgin, with the characteristic arrogance of Englishmen in foreign lands, disregarded the frequently repeated and urgent request of the Ti-ping authorities; namely, that to avoid misunderstandings as to men-of-war approaching their fortifications during a time of battle and[220] blockade (especially considering the Manchoos had engaged some foreign vessels, and reported continually that foreign war-steamers were preparing to attack Nankin, &c.), "a small boat should be detached, to communicate with the garrison; in which case there would be no chance of collision." By referring to the visit of the Hermes, and the correspondence that took place, it will be seen that she was followed by the Manchoo flotilla, which took advantage of her presence to engage the Ti-ping forts, the anxiety of the Ti-ping authorities upon which point pervades all their communications to Sir George Bonham. Perfectly indifferent, then, to the observance of a courtesy which any powerful belligerent in like circumstances to those of the Ti-pings would have compelled, Lord Elgin sent the gunboat Lee ahead of the squadron,—"to communicate if possible," as he reported. But instead of attempting the only correct mode of communication in the case, by sending a boat in first, the Lee, by her backing and filling in front of the batteries and fortified positions, aided by the presence of a powerful squadron in the rear, apparently awaiting the result of her reconnoitre, naturally led the Ti-pings to suppose she was on the scout from a hostile fleet. In consequence of this, the batteries opened fire on the Lee, and the rest of the squadron, prepared for the event, steamed up and opened upon them with "considerable effect." Not satisfied with this, "they on the following morning re-descended the stream to Nankin and bombarded the forts, with but little reply for an hour and a half." What a gallant exploit for British seamen! To silence forts which were perfectly harmless, and slaughter the inmates at their ease.

The Church Missionary Intelligencer of December, 1860, gives the following account of the transaction:—

"In the latter end of 1858, a British squadron, with Lord Elgin, passed up the river as far as Hankow, not without exchanging shots, on more than one occasion, with the Tai-pings, and a consequent loss of life was caused, which, by due precautions, might have been avoided. On approaching [221]Nanking, the capital city of Ngan-hwui, the insurgents and Imperialists were found to be in action. The British vessels were not recognized by the Tai-pings: they were the first bearing the British flag which had ascended the stream so far. Under the misapprehension that they were acting in concert with the Imperialist fleets of junks which commanded the river, the Tai-pings fired a shot at the leading vessel, the Lee, and was replied to by the Furious, Cruiser, Dove, and Lee, in full chorus. The garrison of the forts was soon in flight, the guns abandoned. A little timely explanation might have prevented this collision. On the return voyage, when these forts were again approached, such an explanation was resorted to. The water had fallen so low that the two large vessels had been left behind, and the two gun-boats were alone on their way to the river's mouth. To engage the forts on going up, when the force was strong, was a pleasant divertissement; but to venture on the same experiment with two gun-boats, was, if possible, to be avoided; and that the more so, as the nature of the channel compelled them to steer immediately under the city walls, so that the decks could easily have been swept by gingalls. On this occasion, therefore, that was done which should have been done before—a communication was opened with the insurgents, and the gun-boats passed the forts unmolested."

The first act of the wolf and lamb drama was thus performed, and "those outlaws," the Ti-pings, who might possibly "interfere with the carrying into due effect the terms of his treaty," were reported to head-quarters, as not only having insulted and fired upon the British ensign, but having actually violated a flag of truce—but it was not reported that said flag of truce was unknown to the Ti-pings, and therefore could not be recognized.

The affair is thus reported by Secretary Wade:—

"My orders were to inform the rebels that we took no part (?) in the civil war, and interfered with no one who did not molest us. (?) That a gun-boat had been detached from the squadron before it passed Nankin, for the express purpose of explaining the object of our expedition had the rebels desired to ask it; that they had fired eight shots at the little vessel so detached without a single shot being returned by her; that the forts which had so fired had been made an example of, and that the fact, together with the lesson they had themselves received, might satisfy them of the absurdity of provoking our men-of-war to hostility."

At the time the expedition passed Nankin it was[222] generally supposed the four principal chiefs besides Hung-sui-tshuen, the Tien-wang, were dead. The Southern and Western Princes had fallen in action, and it was rumoured the Eastern and Northern Princes had lost their lives in the capital, in consequence of their attempt to rebel against the authority of their king. I can only say that the report of the execution of the Northern and Eastern Princes, together with large numbers of their particular followers, has been very much exaggerated. The princes, and some who supported them, seem to have been put to death for treason.

The earlier half of 1859 was unmarked by any important military movement upon the part of the Ti-pings. The most interesting event of this period was the arrival of the Tien-wang's relative, Hung-jin, at Nankin, after many fruitless attempts to reach that place.

It will be remembered that upon the capture of the first city in Kwang-si, Hung-sui-tshuen had sent messengers into Kwang-tung calling all his and Fung-yun-san's remaining friends and relatives to join his standard. Before this could be effected he was compelled to abandon the position. Hung-jin, in the meanwhile, had started upon the journey with some fifty friends of the two chiefs. Upon approaching the neighbourhood of the place appointed to effect a junction, they ascertained that the "God Worshippers" had raised their camp and marched away, and that the Manchoo authorities were seizing and cruelly murdering every one connected with them. Hung-jin now sent back into Kwang-tung all his friends, excepting three, who, with him, made their way deeper into the country, and endeavoured to join the army of "God-worshippers." The Mandarins were, however, so strictly upon the watch for all travellers or suspected persons, that he found himself under the necessity of abandoning his attempt and returning home. Upon reaching the Hwa-hien district, Hung-jin found that from henceforth home to him was but a name. The Manchoo butchers were already in his[223] native village, and he was compelled to seek a refuge amongst strangers. In a short time he again set forth, with several relatives of Fung-yun-san, to join the Ti-pings; but finding the vigilance and cruelty of the Mandarins still more severe than before, they were obliged to return unsuccessful. After another fruitless attempt in the beginning of 1852, the chosen messenger of Hung-sui-tshuen and his relatives in Kwang-tung, again arrived with letters calling upon all faithful adherents of the two clans, Hung and Fung, to join him at the city of Yung-gnan. Upon this, the old rendezvous at Paddy-hill was selected as a place for assembling. Before the day appointed for a general meeting, and when only some two hundred members of the respective clans had arrived, Kiang-lung-chong, the messenger, who had grown too bold and reckless after the easy triumphs he had been accustomed to with the Ti-pings, acted without precaution in the gathering, and involved those already present in destruction. With these insufficient numbers he raised the standard of insurrection, which being instantly reported to the district Mandarin, a considerable body of soldiers were sent against them. The insurgents went bravely to the fight, but being few and wholly unaccustomed to warfare, were soon thrown into confusion. Kiang-lung-chong and a few others were killed, a considerable number made captive by the troops, and the rest dispersed.

Hung-jin with about a dozen friends arrived at Paddy-hill just after the defeat, being totally ignorant of the disaster. He and his companions were seized by the people of the neighbourhood and imprisoned in a house, previously to being delivered up to the Mandarins. As the Rev. Mr. Hamberg's narrative states:—

"Hung-jin, lively and enthusiastic, desirous to lead his friends to honour and to glory, now sat down in the midst of them in deep sorrow and despair, and would gladly have given his own life to save those whom he [224]had brought with him into distress. Feeling the cords wherewith his hands were tied together give way a little, after some effort he got them free, and proceeded to unloose those of his friends who were accessible, and succeeded in liberating six of his companions from their bonds. After it had become dark, they opened the door, and in the rainy night hastened away to the mountains.

"Hung-jin, whose liveliest hopes had been so suddenly frustrated, who had drawn upon himself the hatred and revenge of so many involved in the present disaster, and who had no place of refuge left to himself, now felt his own guilt and despair too hard to bear. He therefore unloosed his girdle and was going to strangle himself, when one of the fugitives came up to him. Hung said, 'Try to escape and save your life, I will put an end to my existence in this place.' The other then seized his hand and drew him forward, exhorting him to continue his flight in company with him, which he did. The next day, when Hung awoke from a short rest in the bush, he missed his companion. He now prayed to God, the Heavenly Father, to spare his life and protect him amidst so many dangers. During the daytime he lay concealed in the bush, and during the night-time he went on. Once the people in search of fugitives passed very close to him without observing him. Finally, after having passed four days and four nights in the mountains without any food, he arrived at the house of some near relatives in a very exhausted state. Here he was concealed six days in a mountain cavern, and afterwards his relatives gave him some money, with which he went on board a passage-boat to go to another district, and seek refuge with more distant relatives of the Hung clan. But even among these, new trials awaited him; for also from their place a few of the Hung clan had gone to Paddy-hill, whose further fate was unknown. Some of the relatives of those missing were now inclined to revenge the supposed death of their brethren, and deliver Hung-jin to the Mandarins, but an old venerable headman took him under his protection, and gave one of his grandsons to Hung-jin as a guide, and this young man, being a Christian convert, conducted him to Hong-kong in the end of April, 1852, and introduced him to me. I was astonished to hear a person from the interior of China speak with such interest of, and display so much acquaintance with, the Christian religion. I liked to listen to his animated narratives about Hung-sui-tshuen, Fung-yun-san, and their followers, though at the time I could form no clear conception of the whole matter, which then was little known and still less believed. He wrote a few sheets of paper, containing a short account of himself and Hung-sui-tshuen, which I put into my desk, until I should have further evidence as to their contents. I expected that Hung-jin, who wished to study the Christian doctrine and be baptized, would remain for some time at Hong-kong; but upon my return from a tour on the mainland he had departed, as he had no means of support in that place. In November, 1853, Hung-jin, who up [225]to that time had been engaged as schoolmaster at some place in the interior, again visited me. He was still very desirous to be baptized, and seemed to be sincere in his wish to serve God. He declared himself willing to leave all matters in the hands of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will, and to seek above all the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Hung-jin, with three of his friends from Clear-far, have since been baptized, and are still studying the Holy Scriptures, with the hope, in the Providence of God, hereafter to be enabled to instruct their countrymen in the way of salvation."

Early in 1854, with the funds from the sale of his little work, which Mr. Hamberg kindly gave him, Hung-jin embarked for Shanghae, en route for Nankin; he also carried with him a number of religious books. After remaining at Shanghae several months, during which he was neither able to reach Nankin nor communicate with his friends, he returned to Hong-kong. In the mean time Mr. Hamberg had died, and Hung-jin was received by members of the London Mission Society, and by them employed as a catechist and preacher during the years 1855 to 1858. In the Missionary Magazine he was soon after spoken of thus:—

"He soon established himself in the confidence and esteem of the members of the mission, and the Chinese Christians connected with it. His literary attainments were respectable; his temper amiable and genial; his mind was characterized by a versatility unusual in a Chinese. His knowledge of Christian doctrine was largely increased, and of the sincerity of his attachment to it there could be no doubt."

Similar opinions were entertained by many devout and earnest missionaries who were intimately acquainted with Hung-jin for a period extending over six years; but Mr. Frederick Bruce, the British minister at Pekin (who never saw Hung-jin, or, I believe, any other Ti-ping in his life), true to the policy of his employers, thus writes from amidst his Manchoo friends at Shanghae:—

Dispatch to Lord Russell.
"Shanghae, September 4th, 1860.

"Hung-jin has sent to the missionaries in manuscript a pamphlet which has made a considerable impression upon them. I see no guarantee [226]for the soundness of his doctrine or for the purity of his life. I rather look upon his pamphlet as a crafty device to conciliate the support and sympathy of the missionary body at the time when the insurgents meditated the seizure of Shanghae."

It may naturally be asked, What has this to do with England's policy towards China, and why should it affect the honourable neutrality she was pledged to maintain? The answer simply is—a misrepresentation of the acts and intentions of the Ti-pings might afford some colour of justification for a line of policy which could not be defended.

The Bruce dispatch further states:—

"But as the chief (Hung-sui-tshuen) is an ignorant fanatic, if not an impostor," &c.

We thus find this representative of the British Government not only volunteering his unsupported opinion against a weighty mass of evidence as to the religion, education, and acquirements of the chief, but actually constituting the same tribunal as the sole judge of a solemn question which must rest alone between Hung-sui-tshuen and his Creator.

About the middle of 1858, Hung-jin once more determined to try and join his relative, the Tien-wang, and with this intent started in disguise, and gradually made his way (by land) into the province of Hoopeh. In December of the same year, while Lord Elgin's expedition was at Hankow, he was heard from at a small town in the neighbourhood; in fact, he managed to put on board one of the vessels a letter for Mr. Chalmers, his teacher at Hong-kong. In the spring of 1859, he at last reached Nankin, and soon after was appointed to the high rank of Kan-wang (i.e., Shield Prince), in which position, and his subsequent one of Prime Minister, he became familiar to Europeans. A letter which he wrote to the Rev. Mr. Edkins, nearly a year later, contained the following passage relating to the Tien-wang:[227]

"On meeting with his relative, the Celestial king, and having daily conversations with him, he was struck by the wisdom and depth of his teaching, far transcending that of common men."

Hung-jin—or rather the Kan-wang, as we must call him in future—joined his friends at a troublous time, more than usually so even to a man who, like him, had lived the prime of his life in difficulties and danger. Within a few months after his arrival at Nankin, that city was closely invested by a large and overpowering Imperialist army. Although since 1853, Nankin had frequently been in a state of siege, upon no previous occasion had it been so hardly pressed. Towards the close of 1859, the besieging forces were increased from 50,000 to upwards of 100,000 fighting men, all supplies were cut off from the city, and the Imperialists flattered themselves that a short time would see the garrison starved out. Darkly, though, closed that year around the Ti-ping capital—surrounded as it was by savage foemen, thirsting for the blood of its starving inhabitants—a danger, still more deadly, and more bitter, was looming in the distance, although at the time impalpable and scarcely conceived. It was a danger menacing the patriots from civilized and Christian men, men who, in other lands, have given their blood and treasure to causes far less deserving of their sympathy; in short, it was the creation of the "China indemnity" extortion. Evil as the effect of the Elgin treaty concluded in 1858 must have been to the Ti-pings, it is yet possible that the successes they shortly attained might have counteracted the prejudices so unjustly excited against them; but when to this was added the question of indemnity, the Ti-pings were doomed. It is probable that had they remained quiescent until such time as the love of gold was satisfied, they might then have been uninterfered with; unfortunately it was otherwise, a rapid series of victories threatened destruction to the Manchoo dynasty, and with it, of course, to the "China indemnity;" consequently, if the expenses of this "little war" were to[228] be secured, immediate action became necessary, and the ruin of the Ti-pings inevitable.

In June, 1859, the British plenipotentiary, not satisfied with the route viâ Peh-tang, as proposed and decided upon by the Chinese authorities for his passage to Pekin, had the coolness to choose his own path, and when the mandarins naturally resisted such arrogance, to endeavour to force it at the cannon's mouth. What would Englishmen think, and do, if a Chinese fleet carrying an ambassador were to arrive in England, and, refusing to land their ambassador according to our customs, advance their fleet past all our fortifications without paying them the slightest respect? This would be a very similar case to the Taku fort disaster; and, moreover, it must be borne in mind that the affair took place just after peace had been concluded, which must have given it the complexion of a resumption of hostilities rather than that of a peaceful embassy.

The excuse generally made for this sort of thing is, that it is impossible to deal with semi-civilized nations as you would with civilized ones, that is to say, the civilized nation is to descend to the level of the semi-civilized one. This reasoning, illogical and dishonourable at all times, is in this case totally inadmissible, for it is at the least doubtful whether any cause for an appeal to arms existed. It appears, however, that elasticity of principle and inconsistency in action may be regarded as the important elements in the policy of England—can it be better illustrated than by her conduct to Germany and Denmark, to America and Brazil, to Russia and China?

Admiral Hope, a useful man to such a ministry, to use a nautical simile, "went stem on like a Nor'-west buffalo" to the Taku forts, and sacrificed a number of brave men needlessly. This led to the resumption of hostilities, and we find Lord John Russell writing upon November 18th, 1859, to Mr. Bruce:—

"Unless, therefore, the most ample apology should be promptly made [229]and the other demands specified in my previous dispatch complied with, you are instructed to state that a large pecuniary indemnity will be demanded by her Majesty's Government from that of China."

By altering a few words, how like the ultimatum of a highwayman this would read. Lord John Russell evidently did all he could to justify the anecdote of Alexander the Great and the robber.

The Chinese indemnity plot thickened rapidly. Lord Russell's next dispatch to Mr. Bruce, dated January 3rd, 1860, contained the following:—

"We go to seek redress for these wrongs" (the resistance offered by the Manchoo troops to the destruction of their barriers, defences, &c., at the Taku forts, by Admiral Hope), "and to require that the word of the emperor should be observed, and that an indemnity should be paid for the loss of men" (killed trying to kill the Chinese troops who very correctly opposed their unjustifiable attempt to force the fortified entrance of the Pei-ho river), "and the heavy expense of obtaining redress" (for their own fault).

Lord John Russell arrived at the superlative degree of the "China indemnity" upon February 8th, 1860, when he penned the following to Mr. Bruce:—

"It has been decided between her Majesty's Government and that of the Emperor of the French that the amount of indemnity-money to be demanded of the Chinese Government shall be in each case a sum of 60,000,000 francs," "towards the expense of the joint expedition now on its way to the China seas."

Here was decisive action following promptly upon threats and intimidation; who can say but that the finale to the Danish question might have been different had the Foreign Secretary possessed equal facilities for arranging the indemnity to be paid by Germany?

Upon the part of the British representatives it is denied that the Chinese Government proposed Peh-tang as the route our plenipotentiary should proceed by to Pekin; it is, however, admitted in the blue book upon affairs in[230] China, 1859-60, at page 43, that Mr. Bruce was requested not to pass the river barriers:—

"They" (the Imperial Chinese commissioners) "would wish that on his arrival at the mouth of the river he would anchor his vessels of war outside the bar."

As this was disregarded by Mr. Bruce, it may naturally be inferred that the request so constantly reiterated throughout the Chinese dispatches, "that he (Mr. Bruce) must go by way of Peh-tang," was really made, but was treated by the British plenipotentiary with the same contempt and want of courtesy.

The instructions given to Lord Elgin upon his second embassy to China were issued from the Foreign Office, April 17th, 1860; the conditions of peace to be offered to China were:—

"First. An apology for the attack on the allied forces at the Pei-ho" (i.e. the Chinese Government must apologize for defending itself). "Secondly. The ratification and execution of the treaty of Tien-tsin" (a treaty extorted from the Chinese when under compulsion, the terms of which would probably not have been really evaded). "Thirdly. The payment of an indemnity to the allies for the expense of naval and military preparations." (No wonder the Chinese ministers wrote "then the demand for indemnity is yet more against propriety. Were China to demand repayment of England, England would find that her expenses did not amount to one half of those of China.")

Most undoubtedly previous to the Arrow war the position of Europeans in China was very unsatisfactory; but it is quite as certain that this resulted as much from our aggressive and lawless proceedings, as from the natural aversion of the Manchoo government for our intercourse. From beginning to end, the whole history of the British connection with China is discreditable. However just may have been the cause of complaint, it is beyond all doubt that mean and disgraceful subterfuges have been adopted as the casus belli for each campaign undertaken[231] against that empire. Can an Englishman be found (excepting the opium traders, &c.) who does not lament that blackest page of English history—the war that was waged upon China in 1840, under the following circumstances:—

"In agreement with a treaty signed by British merchants, Captain Elliott, her Majesty's superintendent of trade, caused 20,283 chests of opium to be delivered to Commissioner Lin. The opium was destroyed by order of the emperor. The conditions for terminating the war were, that China should pay £1,200,000 for the opium; £3,000,000, which amounts to £1,000 per head, for the destruction of 30,000 of her unoffending subjects, and bear the expense of her own defence!"

The last war, which commenced in 1856, and was ultimately concluded by the ratification of the treaty of 1858, by Lord Elgin in 1860, was equally iniquitous with the first, and in the same manner was originated by the detestable opium smuggling, the seizure of the opium smuggler Arrow being made the pretext for hostilities. Whatever may hereafter be alleged, at the present time but few can be found to deny the fact, that the wars with China have always been waged to force the opium trade, and that by the last one the legalization of that vile traffic was compelled.

Not without reason did the Manchoo great council of state use the following passages in their dispatch to Commissioner Ho, who was at Shanghae endeavouring to settle pacifically the Taku affair, and the ratification of the treaty of Tien-tsin, previous to the resumption of hostilities:—

"To come to the British minister's request to be properly (or courteously) received when he comes north to exchange treaties, if his intention be indeed peace (or friendly), he will (or let him) leave it to the commissioner to think over all details whatsoever of treaty arrangements in which management (adjustment, compromise) may with propriety be effected; and negotiations being set on foot at Shanghae, when both parties are perfectly agreed, let him come north without a fleet, and with a small retinue, and wait at Peh-tang, for the exchange of the treaties; in which case China will certainly not take him to task for what is past."


Referring to his former attempt to force his passage past the Taku forts, when Admiral Hope was repulsed,

"But if he be determined to bring up a number of vessels of war, and if he persist in proceeding by way of Takoo, this will show that his real purpose is not the exchange of treaties, and it must be left to the high officer in charge of the coast (or port) defences to take such steps as shall be essential" (lit. as shall accord with right).

This proposition, of course, was not entertained by Mr. Bruce or Lord Elgin, who proceeded to act upon Lord Russell's instructions—"for the joint occupation of Chusan, or some other portion of the Chinese territory, in addition to the city of Canton, by the British and French forces till the indemnity is paid." So to obtain "material guarantees" for this indemnity, the civilized nations proceeded to batter the semi-civilized one into compliance, and the allied forces started upon the Pekin campaign.

However wrong the Manchoos may have been, it cannot be denied that the British modus operandi in China has been equally bad; and whatever right there may be on the civilized side, it would be difficult to read the correspondence between the two governments and not admit that the semi-civilized one has the best of the argument.

Commerce is a great and important element in the prosperity and civilization of every nation, and especially so to England; but there is something greater and more noble than commerce—that is, honour. The advantages of trade, to be permanent and beneficial, must be conducted honourably, and that is exactly what the Government of Great Britain has been unable to do. All over the world its foreign policy, and its attempts to force trade where it can be done with impunity, have not only lowered the "just influence" of England and brought her into contempt, but, in many cases, have created a burning resentment in the breasts of those who have been[233] wronged, that neither the present nor future generation will forget. In every quarter of the globe mischievous interference has taken place, often followed by those aggressive wars which have been denounced by every great and enlightened statesman from the time of Queen Elizabeth.


[28] This statement of Dr. Bridgeman's was incorrect. The opinions of nearly all the other missionaries,—including the Rev. Drs. John, Medhurst, Muirhead, Edkins, &c.,—acquainted with the Ti-pings and their works, agree with the following explanation by the Bishop of Victoria, of their acknowledgment of the inspiration of the Bible; besides which, the proclamation of the Tien-wang (see page 84) fully states their belief in the Divine equality of the Son (Celestial Elder Brother) with the Father.

"While the imperial titles are raised by only one space, it is interesting to observe that in their list of authorized books (published as a preface to each volume), with the imprimatur of Tae-ping-wang, the words 'Old' and 'New Testament' each receive an elevation of three spaces in the enumeration, whereas Tae-ping-wang's name, even when forming a portion of the title of books of their own original composition, is only raised by one space. This seems to be a plain recognition of the paramount divine authority of the Holy Scriptures as God's Book, above books of human authorship, and suggests the hope that where so vital an element of essential truth is present, errors will be rectified and defects expurgated, by the general circulation and perusal of the Word of God, as the best and surest corrective of imperfect views on the more mysterious doctrines of the Gospel. The portions of the Holy Scriptures which they have already published, exceed in quantity of contents all the other books which are of their own composition added together. In the books recently brought from Nankin, there is an impression in red ink, from a large moveable die or stamp, with the two characters, Che Chun—'the Imperial Will permits'—surrounded by the usual imperial symbols. This imprimatur is stamped upon the first page of the text in every book. With such a fact as this before us, every unprejudiced mind will perceive that there is a new era of hope for the Chinese empire."

[29] Another part of the same explanation states the Ti-ping idea of Christ's Divinity; while again, the following verse from the "Ode for Youth" clearly sets forth his divinity and atonement. Were this not so, it would evidently be the height of injustice to blame a people just arising from the depths of idolatry and ignorance for a fault common amongst ourselves; for have we not Socinians as well as Unitarians?

"It has been customary in native compositions, whenever the Chinese names or titles of the Emperor occur, to commence a new column, as a mark of honour, and to place the imperial name higher in the page by the space of two Chinese words. The name of the Supreme Being is similarly honoured, but has the distinction of being raised three spaces in the page. An interesting modification of this usage is perceptible in the imperial proclamations and manifestoes of Tae-ping-wang. The name of Almighty God the Father is elevated three spaces; that of Jesus Christ is raised two spaces; and the imperial name and titles of Tae-ping-wang himself are lowered one degree from the customary position, and receive the elevation of only one space. As minds are differently biassed, this fact will be differently judged. To us, however, it appears an indication that the insurgent leaders, although viewing Jesus Christ as inferior to the Father as touching his humanity, recognize his superiority to the most exalted of earthly potentates as touching his divinity."

The unmistakable interpretation to place upon this, is,—no Chinese mind could possibly place the Son upon a perfect equality with the Father,—their entire system of thought and education debars this from their comprehension; but with a reverence beyond all praise, the Tien-wang actually lowered his own position to avoid trespassing upon the divine attributes of his Saviour: which he has thus expressed in the verse of the "Ode for Youth":—

Jesus, His first-born son,
Was in former times sent by God;
He willingly gave His life to redeem us from sin.
Of a truth His merits are pre-eminent.
His cross was hard to bear,
The sorrowing clouds obscured the sun;
The adorable Son, the honoured of Heaven,
Died for you, children of men.
After His resurrection He ascended to heaven,
Resplendent in glory, He wields authority supreme.
In Him we know that we may trust,
To secure salvation and ascend to heaven."

Such are the sentiments of a man, who, besides his voluminous religious compositions, has written the history of China; corrected her classics: written innumerable works upon civil administration and foreign arts and sciences, and who has nevertheless been designated in England as an "ignorant impostor and coolie." The British public must indeed have been "green and greasy" (as Sir James Brooke once observed) to take in all the secretary and under-secretary's reports, and swallow the bullock, horns and all.

[30] In this opinion Dr. Bridgeman is also wrong; even his fellow-voyageur X.Y.Z. thought differently, and wrote: "The titles applied to these kings are no doubt mere empty names, without any specific meaning, and are not necessarily to be understood as implying a claim to super-earthly dignity."



The Sz-wang's Domestic Life.—Approach to Nankin.—Interior of Nankin.—A Ti-ping Banquet.—Maou-lin, the Chung-wang's Son.—The Chung-wang's Palace.—The Chung-Wang's Levee.—Ti-ping Chiefs.—Chung-wang's appearance.—Council of War.—The Review.—Cum-ho.—The March.—The Ti-ping Army.—Its Organization.—Selection of Officers.—Equipment of the Army.—Its Formation.—The Enemy in View.—Their Retreat.—Preparations for Attack.—A Night Attack.—A Stockade carried.—Charge of Manchoo Cavalry.—The Repulse.—The Enemy retreat.—The Pursuit.—Complete Rout of the Manchoos.—Maou-lin's Bravery.—Return to Nankin.

When I found the lorcha so effectually driven off, I instantly landed, both to thank the chief in charge, and let him know who I was, and what I wanted. I went ashore with my friend, and found that the high official in charge of all the forts, batteries, and suburbs of Nankin, was the Sz-wang. We were received by him in his official dwelling with much civility, which changed into the greatest kindness directly he saw my commission, and found that we were aiders and abettors of the Ti-ping cause.

The Sz-wang was an elderly dignified man, and had formerly been a high mandarin at Hankow; but when the Ti-pings first captured that city, he had joined them with all his family. He entertained us very comfortably to a rather luxurious dinner, consisting of bêche-de-mer, bird's-nest soup, &c.; after which, the ladies and little Sz-wangs were introduced with the wine,—just at the time they would have been retiring from the table if in Europe. I was quite surprised with their appearance, it was in such direct opposition to the strict seclusion in[235] which the women are kept amongst the Chinese. I afterwards found that the free intercourse and elevated position of their women was one of the innumerable innovations which marked the Ti-pings' superiority to the Imperialists. A little son of the Sz-wang—the eldest of two—was put into my arms, and, to my astonishment, commenced prattling the Lord's Prayer in Chinese, although certainly not more than four years old. The Sz-wang's wife, his two daughters, and several other ladies of his household, all took part in a free and general conversation, quite unlike anything ever seen amongst the Chinese elsewhere. About ten in the evening, after family prayers, they retired for the night. The prayers were commenced by the Sz-wang reading a chapter from the Bible; after which a hymn was sung, every one standing; and then he dismissed us all with a short extempore prayer. I returned on board highly pleased with my first night at Nankin.

The next morning I landed with my friend, and obtaining horses the Sz-wang had promised the previous evening to have ready, we started for the city, the nearest point of which was about two miles distant. Our way ran through a long and populous suburb, in which a very large provision trade was being carried on, and great numbers of shaven-headed Imperialists were to be seen about, all apparently busily engaged disposing of their merchandise. The walls of Nankin cover an immense area, being at the least eighteen or nineteen miles in circumference; but for many years the greater part of the enclosed space has been destitute of houses, and only used for gardens, or to cultivate corn and other cereal produce. The Chinese have an old saying "that if two men on horseback were to start in the morning and ride in opposite directions, round the walls, it would be evening before they met." This is hardly an exaggeration, on account of the angles and irregular turning of the ramparts.

When we arrived before the N.E. gate, much delay took[236] place previous to our being admitted. The escort kindly furnished by the Sz-wang carried passes for us, and besides this I showed the gate-keepers my commission. None but bonâ fide Ti-pings were allowed to pass in or out, and then, only after a minute search; and I noticed that all who entered or came forth carried a little wooden ticket at the waist, which had to be exhibited to the guard. The walls, although of immense thickness, and at the lowest part upwards of fifty feet high, were very poorly furnished with artillery, merely two or three light pieces being mounted upon each bastion, generally some 150 yards apart.

At last the warder-in-chief of that particular gate of Tien-kin (the Holy City), came to us, and after a severe questioning we received permission to enter. Passing through three high gates, under a tunnel at least 100 feet long, we stood within the capital of the Ti-ping. A sharp ride of more than half an hour brought us to the inhabited part of the city, in its southern quarter. Our way passed through fields of grain, interspersed with gardens, small villages, and detached houses. We passed many soldiers, each of whom halted to salute us as "Wa-choong-te" (foreign brethren). The southern part of Nankin was thickly inhabited, and seemed altogether of a better and more handsome style than any Chinese city I had previously seen. Many large palaces and official buildings occupied prominent positions; the streets were very wide and particularly clean, a rare thing in China; and the numerous people had all a free and happy bearing, totally the reverse of the cringing and humbled appearance of the Manchoo-governed Chinese. Upon reaching the Chung-wang's palace, I had no occasion to announce myself, for almost the first person I saw was my old acquaintance Le-wang, the Commander-in-Chief's adjutant-general. I introduced my friend to him, who, welcoming us warmly, carried us off, taking each by a hand with his usual frank and friendly manner, and so leading us into the palace.[237] The Chung-wang, it appeared, was engaged planning important movements with several of the generals and chiefs. The southern half of the province of Ngan-whui, at this time (early spring of 1861) entirely under the control of the Ti-pings, was threatened by a large Imperialist army marching upon its western borders; and the Chung-wang was about to take the field against them himself.

The Le-wang, having to join the council, left us to the care of the Chung-wang's son and attendants, who certainly gave us no cause to complain of their want of attention or friendliness, with which they almost overpowered us.

Directly we were left to them, they took it into their heads that we must be hungry; it was no use protesting they were mistaken, because the polite thing in China is, if you want anything very particularly, you must persistingly declare that you do not. The cooks were accordingly set to work; and in a short time a table was spread; the two or three elderly officials seated themselves complacently with us, although I do not believe they were a bit more hungry than we were; and the crowd of youthful pages, sons of retainers, &c., formed themselves into an admiring circle all round. The Chinese have a wonderful idea of the eating capacity of foreigners, and the earnest manner in which the Chung-wang's pages pressed dish after dish upon us, as though our very lives depended upon the quantity of viands we could stuff with at once, proved they shared the common opinion of their countrymen.

Throughout the repast a regular flow of Ti-ping young gentlemen passed through the hall, each coming up to us and saying in a positively affectionate manner, "Tsin-tsin, Yang ta jen?" (How do you do, Foreign Excellency?) When the plates and dishes were cleared away, they came up and shook hands, and all lingered around us, each evincing the warmest and kindest feelings.

The remarkable kindness and respect I have always[238] experienced from the Ti-pings, has long since filled my heart with sincere friendship for them; but in this I am not singular, for every European who has had communication with them has been similarly impressed.

The council of war having risen, I was very kindly received by the Chung-wang in the evening, who at once gave orders to prepare quarters for me and my friends in his own palace, and also expressed a wish that I should accompany him on his expedition. I then informed him about my betrothed, and the ladies of the palace, all eager to see her, kindly promised to take every care of her and supply every comfort and accommodation during my absence. When all the arrangements were settled, I returned on board with my friend, accompanied by the Chung-wang's son, Maou-lin, who, from our first meeting, had seemed to attach himself to me, and who now wished to remain with me on board our vessel till our return to the city.

Maou-lin, at that time, although only fifteen years of age, was already celebrated for his courage and leadership in battle. He was excessively fond of Europeans, always shook hands, and could say "good bye," "how do you do," and use a few other English expressions. His appearance was beautiful and delicate as that of a young girl, his voice the softest and most melodious. How great must have been the enthusiasm that could inspire a form fragile as his with a spirit so heroic! From his young and feminine appearance it would never be credited that he could possess such dauntless bravery in battle, yet have I seen him eclipsing the valour of the bravest men; danger and fear were feelings he had never known: brought up amidst the struggles of the Ti-pings for their lives, he had been a soldier almost from his cradle, and had become inured to peril and warfare. Brave boy! as I write of him his sweet voice is ringing in my ear, and I almost feel the power of his large earnest eyes. During some years I felt the brother he always called me, and thoroughly[239] appreciated his beautiful character—brave, generous, deeply religious, affectionate and impulsive—I never found, even amongst my own race, one so truly admirable. And now where is he? If living, an outcast and refugee in his native land, the land he loved so well and fought for so nobly. If dead, one of the many thousand victims to a cruel and unjustifiable hostility.

In the morning I moved my vessel farther up the creek, and leaving her in the charge of the lowder, close up to the city gate, landed with Marie, my two friends, and Maou-lin, and proceeded to take up our quarters in Nankin. The Chung-wang's ladies received Marie very affectionately, and, thanks to her knowledge of Chinese, she was soon quite at home with them. In a short time the stranger girl was amply supplied with rich dresses à la Chinoise, a style of costume excessively becoming, consisting of loose petticoat trousers, and a nicely cut over-garment reaching just below the knees, tight at the neck, half tight at the waist, with loose sleeves, and a loose embroidered skirt, open at the sides.

The Chung-wang's palace was a very extensive and handsome building, only lately erected. Entering through an immense archway, supported by beautifully sculptured granite columns, the outer door of a large courtyard was reached. Passing through this, the covered way led direct to the grand entrance of the palace, with its carved and gilded columns, and roof covered with a brilliant representation of Chinese mythology. Upon each side of the spacious courtyard, a range of low profusely decorated colonnades extended past the front of the palace to the grounds in its rear. Over the principal door was placed a board with a gilded inscription, which told to what purpose the building was dedicated. The door itself was covered with huge painted dragons, and opened upon a court fronting the Chung-wang's tribunal. Here, and throughout the palace, the cunning of the Chinese artisan was thoroughly displayed, the stonework, windows,[240] woodwork, ceiling and walls, forming a series of most exquisite and curious specimens of sculpture; while every available portion of the building was curiously carved in wood and stone; a work far from being completed, and estimated to occupy three years more at least. On either side of the grand entrance stood a gigantic drum, always sounded when the Chung-wang held a court, or for purposes of assembly or alarm. Immediately within the portals a magnificent piazza extended a short distance up to the open court fronting the tribunal, the roof formed of two immense domes, each one mass of gold and silver, twisted into spiral flutings resembling a shell-fish, peculiar to Chinese mythology. The domes were supported by a number of brilliantly decorated columns, twined by serpents. The Hall of Judgment, upon the other side of the stone court, was decorated in crimson, except the walls, which were hung with large yellow satin tablets, recording the honourable deeds of the Chung-wang, the compliments and rewards received from the Ti-ping king, and various moral proverbs from the Chinese classics; while, between these, tablets of stone were engraved with texts from scripture; the intervening portions of the wall containing a tablature of mythology, battles, and landscapes, similar to the decorations around the outer colonnades, and all illuminated in brilliant colours and with much ingenuity. The sides of the Judgment Hall were ornamented in the same style as the other parts of the palace, with miniature landscapes, covered with natural shrubs and trees,—peach, acacias, magnolias, with their powerful aroma, camelias of the most delicate hue, and others peculiar to China, all perfectly developed upon the most minute scale. Half shrouded by beautiful little weeping willows and the sensitive mimosa, diminutive porcelain cities rested on the sides of tiny lakes, sparkling with gold and silver fish; while here and there, hills covered with flourishing vegetation in one part, and barren and rocky in another, rose from amidst the trees,[241] with several porcelain pagodas. The tribunal, the table fronting it, and the surrounding chairs, were covered with yellow satin, and directly behind and above the former a grand canopy of the same material, of yellow and scarlet, was suspended. The ceiling was hung with handsome glass lanterns and lustres, prettily ornamented with rich silken cords and tassels reaching almost to the cornices, the standards and banners of the Chung-wang drooped in heavy silken folds to the ground. Passing on from the Judgment Hall, after traversing several broad chambers, whose sides were filled with small offices containing secretaries, scribes, &c., another open court was reached, with an orchestra and musicians at each side; passing which, the Audience Chamber was entered; then the apartments of the palace officials, and another court, and finally the "Heavenly Hall," or place of worship; beyond which were the private rooms of the Chung-wang and his household. At the back of the palace a garden of rock-work, full of grottos, ponds of water crossed by Chinese bridges, and all manner of grotesque Chinese conceits, with a spacious summer dining pavilion in the centre, extended to the colonnade. The rooms placed at the disposal of myself and friends looked directly upon this, and prettier quarters it would have been impossible to find in all Nankin.

The Chung-wang's residence was the grandest and most gorgeous in the city, with the exception of the Ti-ping-wang's (Tien-wang), whose palace covered an immense area, and was surrounded by a large yellow wall, crowned with tall and graceful minarets, and a mass of green, golden, and scarlet roofs.

A few days after my arrival at Nankin, the Chung-wang held a grand levee to arrange the military operations for the year. Upon this occasion I had the pleasure of meeting the enlightened Kan-wang (Hung-jin, the Tien-wang's cousin), and the "accomplished prince," the Chang-wang. I have already given the opinions of our missionaries[242] with regard to the Kan-wang's superior intellect and truly Christian character. In the Overland Register, published at Hong-kong on the 25th of August, 1860, he is spoken of thus:—

"His intercourse with Chinese Christians was what is termed edifying, calculated to promote their purity and stimulate their zeal. With other Chinese he was the proselytizer, fearlessly exposing their errors, and exhorting them to repent and believe the Gospel. Over young men his influence was peculiarly beneficial. In fact, whether the individuals were young or old, the case was, as was once observed by Mr. Chalmers, 'Whenever you see any one having long and frequent intercourse with Hung-jin, you may be sure there is something good going on in him.'"

The Kan-wang was the head of the Ti-ping administration, and was called First Minister. During an intimacy of several years I proved him to be not only a good Christian, but a man of most honourable principles, of enlightened mind, and thoroughly civilized. It is, however, a task of much difficulty and delicacy to draw a distinction amongst the Ti-ping chiefs, simply because so many of them were equally distinguished. I may, however, say that after the Tien-wang, the Chung, Kan, Chang, Ying, I (the Tien-wang's eldest brother), and Tsan wangs were the greatest. The Chang-wang was a sort of Home Secretary or Minister of the Interior; neither this chief nor the Kan-wang held any executive military command, although both were frequently in the field in order to introduce civil administration into conquered provinces. The Chang-wang was considered the most learned and accomplished man in the Ti-ping ranks, and hence his title, "Accomplished Prince." His modest and unpretending manner, politeness and education, made him one of the most agreeable of companions. This chief, the Kan-wang, the Chung-wang's son, Maou-lin, and several other men of rank, were studying the English language from books supplied them by some missionaries. The Rev. Griffith John, describing his visit to Nankin, wrote:—


"The Chang-wang[243] at Nankin begged of me to inform the 'Foreign Brethren,' for him, that the following are his views:—'You have had the Gospel for upwards of 1800 years, we only, as it were, eight days. Your knowledge of it ought to be correct and extensive; ours must necessarily be limited and imperfect. You must therefore bear with us for the present, and we will gradually improve. As for the Gospel, it is one, and must be propagated throughout the world. Let the 'Foreign Brethren' all know that we are determined to uproot idolatry, and plant Christianity in its place.'"

I can answer for it that Chang-wang has done all in his power to carry out his determination; his request for foreigners to "bear with" the Ti-pings for awhile, and the reason he gives for it, afford a good example of his just and liberal opinions. In age he was probably about 35, of middle height, and with a thoughtful, intelligent, and almost pensive style of countenance. The Kan-wang seemed at least ten years older, rather stoutish and tall, and with an open, pleasing face, expressive of a kind and benevolent character. His little son was being taught English, from a number of picture books written in Chinese and English, and would always put his little hand in mine and lisp, "Good morning, how do you do?" whenever I entered his father's palace.

The Kan and Chang wangs were well acquainted with geography and mechanics, and besides, possessed books of reference, with plates, upon every imaginable subject of Western civilization and science, which they were constantly studying.

The chiefs all attended the Chung-wang's levee in their state robes and coronets. The Chung-wang himself appeared with a beautiful crown; he was the only chief besides his Majesty, the Tien-wang, who wore one of real gold. The metal was beaten out thin, into beautiful filigree-work and leaves, and formed into the figure of a tiger, the eyes being of large rubies, and the teeth rows of pearls. At each side was an eagle with outstretched wings, and on the top a phœnix. The whole crown was magnificently decorated with large jewels set into the[244] gold, while pearls, sapphires, and other gems hung all around. In his hand the Chung-wang carried a jade-stone sceptre or "yu-i," curved at each end, and covered with groups of sapphires, pearls, garnets, and amethysts. His state robe was a gorgeous affair, reaching almost to the feet, of beautifully embroidered yellow satin, stiff with gold bosses and dragons worked in gold, silver, and scarlet threads. Yellow embroidered trousers, and boots of yellow satin, similarly ornamented, completed a costume, than which—set off by his handsome and energetic features—it would be impossible to imagine one more magnificent. When the Chung-wang entered the Audience Hall and proceeded to his state chair, all the assembled chieftains rose to their feet, and passing before him, dropped upon one knee and saluted him, and then returned to their seats, after which, the deliberations were entered into.


When the result of the council had been submitted to and approved by the Tien-wang, orders were given to the generals to march at once upon their several destinations. The Ying-wang was despatched with a large force along the northern bank of the Yang-tze river, in the direction[245] of Han-kow and the province of Hoo-peh. Reinforcements were ordered to the Shi-wang in Kiang-si, and the Kan-wang, with a large retinue, was sent to the borders of Kwei-chow to accept the allegiance of a strong body of insurgents from Kwang-tung, which had lately been tendered to the Ti-ping emperor. Each of these chiefs, when prepared to start upon their expedition, assembled their troops and harangued them in a most energetic manner. Their addresses were received with acclamation, and it required but little penetration to prophesy the Manchoo troops would have but small chance of successfully opposing these enthusiastic and determined men. With all their excitement they seemed possessed with a firmness of purpose, and settled conviction to succeed. I conversed with many while marching towards the city gates, and found all alike imbued with the earnest belief that God, or as they expressed it, "The Heavenly Father," was with them. Some were quite boys, of fifteen or sixteen years. I asked several if they were not afraid to go to battle and be killed, and one daring-looking little fellow, pointing to a great cicatrice along the side of his neck, and another on his breast, told me he had received the wounds fighting the "Demon-imps" (Manchoos), and that he intended soon to have his revenge. Several of the elder soldiers told me in a very serious manner that it was a good thing to be killed fighting the "demons" (the Manchoos were so called because of their idolatry), as they would then certainly go to heaven.

The Chung-wang, previous to commencing his march to Ngan-whui, reviewed his body-guard in the large parade ground. This brigade, 5,000 strong, marching under the Chang-wang's standard of green, was composed of one of the finest bodies of men I have ever seen in my life. Until the repulse from Shanghae it was their boast that they had never retreated or turned their backs upon a foe. They were all natives of Kwang-si, the Chung-wang's province, and came principally from the Maoutze, or[246] aboriginal mountaineers, who have never at any period of the Manchoo invasion, become subject to, or been subdued by them; and who, at the present time, still retain the ancient Chinese customs and their own form of government, entirely independent and free of all allegiance to the reigning dynasty. These Maoutze are the very bravest soldiers in China, and are easily to be recognized by the enormous quantity of their hair; for never having succumbed to and adopted the usurper's badge of slavery—the shaved head—their hair has grown from infancy, reaching almost to their feet when loose, and when dressed forming a tail of great thickness, which, when wound round the neck, acts as a protecting armour that no sword can penetrate in the day of battle.

Besides his brigade of guards, the Chung-wang reviewed another, composed of remarkably fine Honan men, and commanded by Ling-ho, an adopted son. This chief, celebrated for his reckless and dashing gallantry, had been repeatedly and dangerously wounded. He was particularly attached to Europeans, and at the time I met him, had two with him, one a Corsican, who held the position of Lieutenant-Colonel in his regiment, and the other a Sardinian, who was a Major. They had served with him several years, were both married, and perfectly happy and contented, although they had passed a considerable time without seeing another European than themselves. The men they commanded were greatly attached to them, and ready and willing to follow them anywhere. These two brigades, the body-guard of the Foo-wang, second in command, and a small body of cavalry, were all the troops the Chung-wang took with him from Nankin; but these were the very élite of the Ti-ping forces. The strength of the whole division was about 7,500, which was to be considerably increased by reinforcements in Ngan-whui.

At last, after all the other expeditionary forces had started, the Chung-wang himself set forth. Marie I left in tears, but perfect safety and comfort. After the last farewell[247] she was led into the inner apartments by her particular friend, Cum-ho (the Good Gold), the Chung-wang's second daughter, a remarkably pretty girl of about her own age. During the few weeks which had elapsed since our arrival at Nankin, her Excellency Mademoiselle Cum-ho had been the inseparable companion of Marie. My friend was generally with me, and I began to fancy that her "Foreign Brother" was latterly assuming a very unbrotherly and more affectionate relation. We were the first Europeans the Chung-wang's ladies had ever seen, and my friend was a fine handsome specimen of the race, therefore, it was not very astonishing that Mademoiselle Cum-ho should have looked favourably upon him. Poor fellow! he must have experienced considerable difficulty in making love, for at the time he scarcely knew five Chinese words.

Field artillery was a thing totally unknown to the Chinese armies when I joined the Chung-wang, but previous to leaving Nankin I prevailed upon him to give me men to work them and the requisite authority to mount three light 6-pound French field-pieces, and carry them with us. My friends and self were each capitally mounted with strong and hardy Chinese horses, for which the Chung-wang would not hear of payment. With our small battery of artillery we were attached to his guards, and marched rapidly forward. Besides my interpreter and cook, the Chung-wang very kindly supplied us with a couple of pages each. This system of pages is a very common one in the Ti-ping armies; every chief or officer of rank has a number of them; they accompany him into the thickest of the fight, each carrying a gun, which they hand to him and re-load as fast as he can discharge them.

At the cities of Wuhu, Taeping-foo, Taeping-hien, and several others we halted, and were joined by large reinforcements, so that before we approached the neighbourhood of the enemy the strength of our army was but little short of 27,000 men, independent of the camp followers, while the baggage, coolie, and commissariat[248] departments amounted to upwards of 15,000. During the march I had capital opportunities of observing the greatly improved state of the country under Ti-ping rule, and also of admiring the conduct, character, and efficiency of their armies.

Much has been stated about the desolating and ruthless character of the Ti-pings, but I entirely deny the accusation. I have been on many a long march with them and have never found them act with the barbarity that marked the late American war, or commit the atrocities perpetrated in Poland and Circassia, or act as Englishmen have done to the unfortunate natives of New Zealand. The Ti-pings never committed wanton devastation, never destroyed crops of standing corn, as has been done by civilized troops in New Zealand, in Algeria, and in the Shenandoah Valley.

The perfect organization of the Ti-ping armies contrasted favourably with that of the Imperialists. The former, unpaid and voluntary, observed strict discipline; the latter, receiving hire, constantly mutinied; all military crimes, especially those of ill-using the villagers and opium-smoking, were promptly and severely punished. Outrages, no doubt, were committed by the Ti-ping forces, but, if so, it was by those raw recruits who neither understood nor cared for the Ti-ping cause. The great body of the army observed a moderation unknown to the Imperialists; were it otherwise, instant execution was sure to follow. If a village was invested, its inhabitants might command security by tendering allegiance and conforming to the customs of the conquerors. If a village was merely passed by, a moderate contribution was required. There may have been, particularly in latter years, exceptions to this course, but it was not the less the fundamental rule which guided the operations of the Ti-ping armies. If they occupied a district for any length of time, peace and contentment reigned there; it was only when they rested but for a short period,[249] and were followed by the Imperialists, or, perhaps, by hordes of local banditti and straggling bands of camp followers, that the country was desolated. Such was my experience. Each Ti-ping Wang or Prince has under his special control 100,000 people, including one army. Between the Wangs and generals of armies come nine descriptions of officers, ranking as ministers, and other great officers in charge of civil and military departments of state. The military organization and all the titles, are those used previous to the conquest of China by the Manchoo Tartars. Each Ti-ping army, or keun, is composed of 13,125 officers and men, under the command of a general (keun-shwae), and is divided into five divisions (ying), front, rear, right, left, and centre.

A division musters 2,625 strong, commanded by a general of division (sze-shwae), and contains five leu, or regiments, the front, rear, left, right, and centre.

A regiment is composed of 525 men and officers, commanded by a colonel (leu-shwae), and is divided into five tsuh, or companies, the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth.

A company is composed of 104 men and officers, commanded by a captain (tsuh-chang); then come four lieutenants (leang-sze-ma), distinguished as the north, south, east, and west, each in command of four sergeants (woo-chang), and twenty privates (woo-tsuh).

The lieutenants, and all above, have each a banner with his designation inscribed on it, which increases in size with the rank of the officer.

Each division of an army is divided into three classes, or brigades. The first consists of bonâ fide Ti-pings, that is to say, all who are of more than six years' standing; the second brigade, of acknowledged brethren, of more than three but less than six years' service; while the third, and generally largest brigade, includes all new levies, and less than three years' service men. Each brigade is again divided into three classes. The best[250] and bravest men are armed as musketeers, or cavalry; the next class as heavy gingall and halbert men; and the third as spearmen. A great proportion of the three arms are flag-bearers, while the standards of the chiefs are borne by officers of stanch Ti-pingism and approved courage. The rank of these latter is upon an equal footing with that of the commissioned officers, and the position is considered the most honourable in the army. The bravest men I have ever seen in my life were some of these standard-bearers. It is their duty to lead on the whole army by advancing with their colours far in front, and I am certain many a brave ensign must have fallen by the fire of his comrades, at times wonderfully eccentric. Attached to each division of guards (or the first class of the three brigade divisions) is one large black flag, and when this is advanced, the division is compelled to follow it upon pain of death, the rear rank men carrying drawn swords to decapitate any who might attempt to run. This flag possesses not only the signification the "black flag" does with Europeans, but must never be carried in retreat before an enemy, nothing but death being permitted to arrest its progress. This was well known to the Imperialists, and, until assisted by British troops, officers, and supplies of shell, artillery, &c., they rarely, if ever, awaited this terrible attack, and even if courageous enough to do so, their chance of success was but small indeed.

The absence of all mercenary attraction to their ranks arose from the wish of the Ti-ping Government to have no adherents who could possibly join them from other than religious or patriotic motives, these being recognized as the element that contributed so largely to success. The appearance of the men is quite a sufficient guarantee of the beneficial effects of the system, for, instead of being taken from the very lowest dregs of the people, as with the Imperialists, it is nearly always the case that they are men of respectability, from either the[251] working, servant, or trading class; frequently they are of much higher social position, and this is generally the case with the Kwang-tung and Kwang-si men, whose superiority is such that it is mostly from their ranks the officers are selected.

One of the wisest and most advantageous regulations of the Ti-ping army is, that officers of every grade can rise by merit alone; a regulation highly beneficial, most of their leaders having proved very superior men; among others the Chung-wang, who, unaided, rose by his brilliant attainments alone to the highest military rank.

The total inability of the Manchoos to alone meet the Ti-pings with any chance of success, is easily to be understood when the different military constitutions of the two powers are made known; for how is it possible that armies entirely composed of the very lowest and most degraded of the people, and whose officers obtain their rank by corruption and bribery, can be able to compete with the patriotism of the Ti-pings, or the superior talent of their chiefs?

The cowardice and cruelty of the Imperialists have long been notorious, and, after the experience foreign officers have lately had, the courage and humanity of the Ti-pings should have become equally so. I can assure my readers that it is no slight devotion to the sacred cause of civil and religious liberty, and not a little hatred of the Manchoo oppressor, that encourages these people in their gallant struggle for freedom, and makes them so cheerfully accept all the rigours, deprivations, and incessant dangers of their cause. Any one who had seen them undergo the terrible sufferings that I have would never afterwards doubt this. There is one case especially, which shall be related in its proper place, the horror of which I shall never forget, and that, sad to say, was caused entirely through the interference of the British Government. It was occasioned more particularly by the arrival of the Anglo-Chinese, or "Vampire-Fleet,"[252] as it was called by the foreign residents of Shanghae, under command of Manchoo Admiral—but British Captain—Sherrard Osborne, and the progress of the mercenary contingents commanded by Major Gordon, R.E., and others.

The equipment of the Ti-ping armies was much the same as that of the Imperialists. What few cavalry they possessed were armed with heavy swords of the yataghan shape, generally double-handled, and with a very broad and thick blade; their firearms were light matchlocks, and European muskets or pistols when they could obtain them. The musketeers carried matchlocks, useless in wet weather, and European-made double-barrelled guns, muskets, and pistols, generally of very inferior quality. The second-class brigades usually carried one large gingall to four men, the weapon when in use resting upon a tripod. The spearmen simply carried a long bamboo with an iron spike in the end, and the usual short, heavy Chinese sword, used by all their infantry. The spears were proportioned to the men, and ranged from eight to eighteen feet long. The flags were all attached to twelve-feet spears. Besides the above-mentioned weapons, many men from the northern provinces were armed with the Tartar bow, which was a much more accurate-shooting weapon than either matchlock or gingall. Regiments of guards generally mustered upwards of 2,000 strong. To each regiment were attached twelve buglers in the shape of horn-blowers, the instrument used being a long brass tube like a French horn, and sounding like a number of cow-horns concentrated. Troops could be manœuvred by the notes of this instrument perfectly well. Besides the buglers, a corps of drummers formed the other part of each military band, together with players upon the hautboys, Chinese fifes, and serpent horns. Those who have seen a Ti-ping army will readily agree with me that it is one of the most picturesque and impressive sights in the world.[253] The very becoming style of the soldiers' dress, the brilliancy of the colours, the quantity and richness of the silken flags, and the peculiar way in which the bearers wave them about, or carry them streaming in the wind,—the forest of spears presented by the spearmen of the army, the number of mounted officers,—all unite in producing a vivid impression.

It was in such style that after a twenty days' march we came upon the Imperialist troops in the neighbourhood of the Poyang Lake. Directly the Chung-wang became aware of the enemy's vicinity, clouds of skirmishers were deployed in front of the leading divisions, and the cavalry divided into two bodies, one covering each flank. The advancing army meanwhile continued its march in close columns, each column being four deep, and at wheeling distance from the parallel columns on either side. This formation of the Ti-ping armies much resembles the movement by "fours" of the British army; but the files are single—what is usually termed the Indian file, and each acts independently of the others. When it is required to form line of battle, the columns simply halt and wheel into line upon either flank, joining the points of the formations upon each side. It will thus be seen that, instead of marching front forward as European columns, they advance end on, and the front of each company when on the march is at right angles to the head of the column. The line of battle is formed four deep in consequence of this, but, if necessary, is easily made less by the rear files being right or left faced, and marched off parallel to their former position. The leading battalions are always formed of the spearmen or poorest troops; the second line of battle is composed of the second class men; and the third, or reserve, of the best troops and guards.

In this order we advanced upon the Imperialists. I had divided my artillery,—my friend with one piece and a company of thirty men joining the right wing;[254] Philip with another gun and the same number of men, the left; while I remained, with the third gun, in the centre.

Throughout the day no collision with the enemy took place; numberless videttes and pickets of Tartar cavalry were driven in, but we nowhere came upon them in force. At last, just before dark, we came within full view of the Manchoo army, drawn up in battle array in the centre of a great plain immediately beyond the hilly ground from which we were about to debouch. Our army was immediately halted upon its commanding position, and a body of cavalry sent forward to reconnoitre. The Chung-wang himself went with this force, and I accompanied him. When we had approached to within a mile of the enemy, we halted and surveyed them through our glasses. I estimated their strength at somewhere near 50,000, but what puzzled me most was the fact that about a third of this force was well-equipped and hardy Tartar cavalry. The Ti-pings certainly could not form square to resist them, and how otherwise they could repulse their charges I did not know.

The Manchoos allowed us but small time to make our observations, for while we were busied with them a large body of cavalry had been detached from the nearest wing, and was galloping at full speed to intercept our retreat. As they considerably outnumbered us, we followed the tactics of that celebrated general who with twice 10,000 men marched up the hill and then marched down again; only he walked, and we galloped away as fast as we could. The Tartars could not catch us, and as we neared our lines gave up the chase with one of those yells Tartars alone know how to make.

The enemy occupied a remarkably unpleasant position for a Chinese army, because they had but small room for running away, and this made us believe they must either be very superior troops, or else have large supports somewhere out of sight in their rear. Their situation answered[255] to the rim of a fan, each side being cut off by water,—the Poyang Lake on one hand, and the river Yang-tze-kiang on the other. At the very apex of this position we knew the Imperialists held the city of Hu-kau, a strongly-fortified place; therefore we suspected they either depended upon supports from thence, or on finding protection within its walls, in event of defeat in the field.

As it was too late to commence any operations, we encamped upon the rising ground for the night. Towards midnight, however, our pickets came in with the report that the enemy were in full retreat. The Chung-wang immediately ordered the army to follow in pursuit. Tents were struck, the different corps assembled, and in a few minutes we were advancing at a quick step, every man carrying a lantern, according to the practice of the Chinese troops at night. After crossing the plain, we met with more broken and irregular ground; skirmishing parties were sent out, and we had not advanced far when those from the front fell back with intelligence that the enemy were strongly posted in a row of stockades and intrenchments directly on our line of march.

The Foo-wang was at once ordered to make a reconnaissance in force, and feel the enemy's position preparatory to a grand attack at daybreak. With my two friends, L. and Philip, I joined this corps and with it pushed rapidly forward, the men still carrying their confounded lanterns; we had, however, taken with us fifty of our gunners armed with old Tower muskets, and, leading them without lanterns, marched a little aloof upon the right flank of the column. We soon discovered the enemy, whose whole line of intrenchments was illuminated with lanterns, and directly our lights were seen a most tremendous roar of gongs, drums, and war-horns commenced. Scouts were sent out dressed all in black, and without lanterns, to ascertain the nature and strength of the defences. With several of my men I went upon the same errand on the extreme left of the[256] enemy. Crawling along the ground, and taking advantage of every inequality and cover, we got within 100 yards of the last stockade upon the left: it was apparently furnished with several pieces of artillery upon its front, surrounded with a moat, and altogether a formidable field-work. Before retiring, I crawled away to the left of it, and found the nature of the ground so unequal, and so many bushes scattered about, that I fancied, if no pickets were posted at that part, it would be quite practicable to advance a sufficient body of men under cover to carry the work by a coup-de-main. If this could be done, the position would be turned, and in all probability the enemy would be compelled to abandon his whole line of defences.

I rejoined the Foo-wang, whom I found manœuvring to alarm the Manchoos and induce them to discover their force. Every man was carrying two lanterns, one upon each end of his spear placed horizontally across his shoulders, while quite a number of others were made fast to bamboos stuck in the ground. After I proposed my plan to him, he decided to maintain his advanced position until the Chung-wang's opinion was ascertained; for which purpose one of his principal officers returned with me to our main body. The Chung-wang approved of my design, and placed 500 of his own guards under my command, and an equal number of the Foo-wang's; directing the attack to be given just before daylight, when the whole army should advance after and follow up my movements, while a grand demonstration should be made upon the right of the works by the Foo-wang's corps. At the appointed hour my division of stormers assembled, all clothed in black silk jacket and trousers, every man well armed with a musket, and carrying a bamboo spear to leap the moat with, if necessary; meanwhile, the main body of the army was noiselessly massed behind us, and the Foo-wang's division made more display of lanterns and more feints to attack than ever. Of course my party[257] left their lanterns behind, and the main body took the same precaution for a wonder. Moving rapidly towards the cover, we reached it just as the Foo-wang commenced a false attack. Philip was with me, but I had left my friend L. behind with the guns, with orders to follow me into the stockade with them, in event of our taking it.

Slowly my men crept along in the direction of the work; we passed the spot I had previously made my observations from, and had actually reached within fifty yards of the parapet before we were discovered; the whole of the garrison being apparently crowded upon the right side, watching the distant firing instead of their own neighbourhood. Directly the enemy observed us, rising erect with a tremendous cheer, we rushed to storm the place, while the reserve kept up a heavy fire upon the defenders to cover our assault. Passing to the rear of the stockade with but little loss, for the fire of our supports swept the parapet, we charged up to the ditch under a shower of arrow-headed rockets. At this point men were dropping all around, for the fire of our comrades no longer supported us; fortunately the ditch was dry, and leaping into it, my men became well protected, for these Chinese stockades have no flanking angles. But now a new weapon was brought into play. Unable to show themselves, the garrison commenced throwing "stink-pots," over the parapet, amongst us. The burns and suffocating fumes of these singular missiles were fearful. Directly my men were all loaded—some placed upon the flank of the stockade and the rest in its rear, so as to open a cross fire—we clambered up the rampart, and lining the parapet, opened fire upon the crowd huddled up in the interior. The advantage of the position was entirely ours, for my men on the flank, enfilading the parapet, shot down all who attempted to dislodge us, while upon our side we rendered them the same service.

In almost perfect safety, for a few moments, we poured a close and deadly cross fire into the mass of the enemy;[258] but then, our supports storming upon the front of the stockade, the defenders began to rush to their only side of escape, and went over the parapet as fast as they could. Jumping into the place sword in hand, we soon drove out or cut down the few who still resisted, though not without loss, for many of the defenders were armed with spears, with which they at first had a considerable advantage over my short-sworded comrades, the spears we had carried being left outside the ditch. The commander of the work was a brave Tartar officer, who fought desperately and killed several of our men with arrows. When these were all used, he rushed into the mêlée with his heavy Tartar sword. If all the garrison had fought like him, I doubt whether our enterprise would have proved so successful, for we were considerably outnumbered. Wishing to save the life of this officer, I ran up to him with the point of my sword lowered, and called upon him to surrender; but, suddenly impelled forward by a rush of men, I came within reach of his weapon, which in an instant was descending full upon my head. Instinctively I raised my arm to the guard; at the same moment a pistol was fired. I felt a pressure on my head, and the Tartar rolled over at my feet; I turned to my rescuer, and found Maou-lin; the brave boy had just had time to interpose his blade, which was driven down with much force upon my head, and then so effectually to use his revolver.

By this time the stockade was ours: its former masters were all driven out or killed; but, rapidly as this happened, we had but small time for rejoicing, for scarcely had the last fugitive disappeared over the parapet, when we heard the noise of a heavy column of the enemy rushing to recapture the place. While the attacking troops were approaching the right flank of the work, the dull rumbling in the rear told us the whole force of the enemy, or at least a strong division, was moving to surround us. We had just time to man the parapets when[259] the advancing column rushed forward to the assault. Crouched down in a double line, we waited until the foremost ranks were within a few paces of the ditch; our first line then delivered their fire, and stepped back to reload. The advance was checked, and the attacking forces, crowded together by the press from their rear, presented a living wall to our second volley, delivered within ten feet. Before the killed and wounded had well fallen, another volley poured in by our first line completely broke them, and, leaving a heap of stricken men all along that side of the stockade, they turned and fled.

Daylight had now arrived, and opened upon a crowded field of battle. The enemy appeared in great strength massed in rear of the stockades, while a movement to their left flank was being executed as fast as possible, under cover of their whole cavalry, whose advance had caused the rumbling noise in our rear. At a glance, I perceived the enemy's left was completely turned, and the whole Ti-ping army was forming upon some hilly ground almost at right angles to the line of stockades. Up this the Tartar cavalry was charging at full speed in three strong lines, each at least 5,000 strong. I naturally expected to see them ride straight over the Chung-wang and all his men, for I had not at that time seen the Ti-ping method of resisting a cavalry charge. Suddenly, and while the cavalry were still at a considerable distance, the whole front of our army gave way, and wheeling to the left, ran to the rear at the double quick. I fully expected that when the lines reached the parallel marching order a general flight would take place; but, to my astonishment, the right files of each line stood fast, and the remaining files sweeping past the parallel position, doubled back and formed a complete circle. The second line advanced, and planted its gingalls in the intervening spaces, the halberdiers forming a second line of circles; while the third line, advancing from the reserves, doubled up to the front, and entering those of the spearmen, composed an inner[260] circle of musketeers. Upon the left of the army, and in a line with the stockades, the Foo-wang's division was formed en échelon, extending from the front of the main body to little more than half a mile from the stockade I held. This force was slowly moving up so as to close with the position and rest its left flank upon it. Our cavalry was formed into two bodies, one upon the right of the army and the other in rear of the reserves. Such was the order in which the Ti-pings awaited the charge of the Tartar cavalry.

The bright rays of the morning sun now flashed across the serried ranks of the hostile armies and played fitfully on the glistening arms of the long lines of Tartar cavalry as they dashed up the slopes in all the pomp and circumstance of war. In far less time than is occupied in perusing the account, the foremost Tartars had mounted the crest of the rising ground, and charged full upon the front of our army. On they went, line after line sweeping up the slight ascent, waving their scarlet plumes and many-coloured banners. At last this gallant array was burst asunder; a sheet of flame ran along the whole of our line, followed by the crash of rolling musketry, mingled with the frequent and hoarse reports of the heavy gingalls, before which the first line of cavalry fell back broken and disorganized. The second line spread out till the first had retreated through the openings, then closing again, they dashed forward, only to meet a like repulse; and now the third and strongest line advanced, doomed to utter destruction. Upon the extreme left of the Foo-wang's line, now within a few hundred yards of the stockade, my three pieces of artillery were suddenly unmasked and opened upon the charging cavalry. Within pistol-shot distance, grape and canister enfilading the dense lines of men and horses, carried destruction through their ranks. The fire was steadily maintained by alternate guns, and the hissing noise of the mitraille, as it rushed through the air, followed by the dull sounding thud as man and horse went down before it, was plainly [261] heard at my position. Leaping and struggling clear of the fallen men and horses, the Tartars actually reached and endeavoured to break the formation of spearmen; but with knee to the ground and their lances firmly placed, these successfully maintained their ranks, while at such close quarters every shot told upon the crowd of horsemen with deadly effect, the circle of musketeers running round and round and keeping up an incessant fire, loading as they passed towards the rear of the circle and firing as they came to the front. Some circles were broken, and in a moment overwhelmed and trodden under hoof; but in those instances the victors paid a heavy penalty for their temporary success; from the circles on each flank and those of the second rank and the reserves in line, a withering cross fire swept their squadrons from front to rear and flank to flank.


The last and most desperate charge of the enemy's cavalry was repulsed with tremendous loss. Their order was no sooner broken than, rushing from the right of the army, our cavalry brigade, nearly 2,000 strong, came sweeping along the whole front, and, falling upon the flank of the retreating and disordered enemy, completed their rout.

All this transpired in a few minutes, and even before the final repulse of their cavalry, the Imperialists, unable to change front with sufficient celerity or advantage, evacuated their line of intrenchments and commenced retreating in good order, waving their numerous flags in a figure of eight and sweeping the ground with them, according to that method of defying an enemy peculiar to China. The Imperialists had evidently received heavy reinforcements during the night, for, without reckoning their defeated cavalry, their strength was at least double that of our entire army; but at that time this was considered by the Ti-pings as no great advantage.

The enemy was so completely outflanked, that, directly[262] the last cavalry charge had been repulsed, the Chung-wang hastened to follow up his advantage. Line of battle was re-formed and the whole army advanced at a run upon the retreating and manœuvring columns. Abandoning the captured stockade, with my detachment I rejoined the army, and, passing through the Foo-wang's division, carried off the guns to the extreme right, now actively engaged with the retiring left wing of the Manchoos in Chinese fashion, that is to say, by waving of flags, distant volleys of gingalls, &c., with yells, abuse, and gesticulation. The position was still very unfavourable to the enemy; their long front was yet diagonal to ours, and although their left wing was falling back as fast as possible, so as to form a parallel line of battle, our whole line was performing a side march to maintain its flanking attitude, and moreover, was already engaging the troops attempting to take up a fresh alignment.

Consequent upon the imperfect system of Chinese drill, the retreating troops were unable to effect a regular formation; one company would halt too soon, another too late, and some not at all. Neither was our advance much better, for the only well-formed position of a Chinese army is when it remains stationary. The flag-waving and abusive part of the action did not last long, for, seizing the opportunity, the Chung-wang advanced the second brigades. Moving my guns well upon the right and out of the eccentric line of fire from the heavy gingalls, I took up a position enfilading whole divisions of the enemy, and opened upon them with considerable effect.

For a little while the Imperialists stood this, and returned a sharp fire from their gingalls and long matchlocks, but several lines of our third brigade, or musketeers, forming at intervals with the second and first, charged them amidst tremendous cheering. They broke, and throwing away their arms, fled in confusion upon their centre. A well-timed charge of our cavalry changed their flight into a complete rout, and rushing frantically[263] upon the stationary divisions of the centre, and those occupied in changing ground, they threw the whole into disorder.

Not a moment was lost in following up the blow; our right wing and centre, reserves and all, rushed upon the disorganized multitude, while the Foo-wang with our left wing and the cavalry moved forward obliquely, and attacked the enemy's right and the remnant of cavalry he had re-formed in its rear. For some little time this part of the field was well disputed, but at length, the left wing and centre, driven back upon the right with immense slaughter, involved the whole army in inextricable confusion. The reserves, without firing a shot, turned and fled from the field, while their comrades, struggling and surging in one huge mass, endeavoured to follow their example, while some few struggled to arrest the victorious advance. Vainly strove the bravest Tartar officers to animate their men; the hardiest veterans, extricating themselves from the confusion, uselessly sacrificed their lives attempting to re-form and gain time for the broken lines to rally and open out in order; equally vain were the fierce efforts of the main body, as, rolling and staggering along, they wavered, hesitated, and sent forth storms of fire upon friend and foe alike, while the rallied horsemen feebly charged the Foo-wang's cavalry, and, driven back, hovered in rear and flank of its defeated infantry. The day was irretrievably lost for the Manchoos. Nothing could stop our impetuous charge, as with deafening shouts the whole army swept on victorious, driving them back with fearful carnage. In vain the Imperialists endeavoured to deploy; the head of every formation no sooner appeared than the volleys of our musketeers swept them away, or the charging spearmen and halberdiers annihilated them. Thrown into disorder and mingled with the fugitive crowd, the right wing, no longer able to oppose the Foo-wang, was burst asunder by our cavalry. The Imperialists were totally routed. Halting the reserves and centre, the[264] Chung-wang re-formed them and moved in the direction of Hu-kau, while the two wings and the cavalry pursued the panic-stricken multitude, eventually either driving them into the waters of the Poyang Lake, some three miles from the field of battle, or making prisoners of them.

In the mean while the Chung-wang advanced rapidly upon the small city of Hu-kau, to where the reserves of the Imperialist army had already retreated. A quick march of less than three hours brought us before its walls, and, advancing my little battery, I prepared to enfilade the parapet and cover the advance of our stormers. This, however, proved unnecessary, for the enemy, profiting by their late experience, had evacuated the place and embarked in numerous junks and gunboats upon the Yang-tze river.

During the late engagement Maou-lin and Ling-ho had particularly distinguished themselves. In vain had my two friends and the Corsican and Sardinian officers attempted to compete with their valour. Foremost in every assault Maou-lin or his adopted brother made themselves conspicuous. All had received spear-wounds in the mêlée, but, fortunately, none were very severe, and under the soothing influence of the herbal decoctions the Chinese surgeons so well understand the use of, they soon became healed. Our total loss in killed and wounded was less than two thousand, while that of the enemy was immense: the whole battle-field and line of retreat was literally covered with their slain, while hundreds had perished in the waters of the Poyang Lake.

Hu-kau had been a military depôt of the Imperialists, and in it we captured considerable stores of grain and war material. After an occupation of several weeks, the object of the expedition in the defeat of the Imperialist army, having been so successfully accomplished, the Chung-wang abandoned that place, and sending back the divisions that had joined him in Ngan-whui with large[265] convoys of grain, and the sick and wounded of the army, to be carried to Nankin, he advanced with his first division through the southern part of Ngan-whui into the province of Che-kiang, upon a march of observation, preparatory to the grand campaign of the summer, that had been decided upon at Nankin by the military council.

I returned with the larger portion of the army to Nankin, and took my friends with me, as it was my intention to communicate with agents at Shanghae and transact various affairs connected with forwarding the Ti-ping cause. The Chung-wang was so pleased with the effectiveness of my little field battery that he kept it with him, and before parting with him I received his best thanks, whilst each of my friends were given a certificate for their gallantry in the action and the capture of the stockade.



Prospects of the Ti-pings in 1860.—Their Operations.—Relief of Nankin.—Rout of the Imperialists.—Ti-ping Successes.—British Interference.—Ti-pings advance on Shanghae.—The Chung-wang's Address.—Mr. Bruce's Notification.—Mr. Bruce's Dispatch.—The Future of China.—The Chung-wang's Dispatch.—Mr. Bruce's Inconsistency.—Missionary "Holmes."—His Statement.—His Uncourteous Behaviour.—His Inconsistencies.—Suppressed Missionary Reports.—Rev. Griffith Johns' Report.—Newspaper Extracts.—The Shanghae Massacre of Ti-pings.—Newspaper Extracts.—The Author's Reflections thereon.

Gloomy, indeed, were the prospects of the Ti-pings at the opening of the year 1860. The garrison of Nankin, reduced to less than 20,000 men by the continual reinforcements despatched to the armies in Kiang-si, Ngan-whui, and the north bank of the Yang-tze—a proceeding rendered necessary by the shortness of supplies in the capital—was cut off from all communication with its armies in the field by a series of works forming a complete line of circumvallation from the Tsin-hwai river, which enters the Yang-tze a few miles above Nankin, to Yentzeke, a position about five miles below the city, and situated on the Yang-tze river. Large fleets of Imperialist war-junks blockaded the river communication of the city from below, while, far as the eye could reach, over hill and valley, the many-bannered hosts of the besieging army occupied the whole surrounding country. It seemed but a question of a few weeks more whether the Imperialists would have the courage to storm the city, or whether starvation would exterminate the noble[267] and patriotic band of the first Christian movement in China. It was then the power and organization of the Ti-pings were displayed to their fullest extent; at no time, since the erection of their standard of liberty, had their cause been threatened by so imminent a danger, and at no time had their movements been so skilfully conducted, as during the three months preceding the relief of Nankin. The tactics first adopted were those of distracting the attention of the besiegers, and obliging them to detach portions of their force. In accordance with this project, the army in the Eastern province of Ngan-whui, commanded by Le, the Chung-wang (formerly general of the first Northern expedition), and the army in Kiang-si, commanded by the I-wang (the Tien-wang's brother Shih-ta-kae), by forced marches placed themselves upon the rear of the besieging army, and seriously threatened its lines of communication.

The Chung-wang, starting from the vicinity of Wuhu and Tai-ping-foo, on the south bank of the Yang-tze, by a flank march in a south-easterly direction, placed himself immediately in the rear of the grand army of Imperialists encamped before Nankin. Detaching a strong column to threaten the cities of Soo-chow and Chang-chau, the principal depôts of the enemy, he hurried his main body by forced marches to the provincial capital Hang-chau, and, after heavy fighting, upon the 19th of March mined the walls, and obtained possession of the outer city. The Manchoo garrison, after holding out in the inner or Tartar city for six days, were succoured by a considerable force from Kiang-su, which joining them, recovered the city; the Ti-pings retiring, after inflicting severe loss amongst their opponents.

In the meanwhile, the I-wang, concentrating his forces upon the Kiang-si frontier, also invaded the Che-kiang province, but from a point more to the south. After capturing the prefectural cities Ku-chau and Yen-chau, and descending the Tsien-tang river to within a[268] short distance of Hang-chau, he suddenly turned north, and effected a junction with the Chung-wang.

This strategy, however, had not the anticipated effect, and the Imperialist army, besieging Nankin, continued to direct their main efforts to the recapture of that city. The garrison, in consequence, became reduced to the greatest straits, and suffered terrible privations. During all their trials, their hope and courage never faltered for a moment; in the midst of his perishing people, the Tien-wang calmly and sublimely taught them to call upon God as the sure means of deliverance from their pressing danger.

Hanging his banner from the walls of his palace, and seated within full view and range of the Manchoo commander's camp, upon a hill directly opposite, the Tien-wang devoutly composed a special doxology for the use of the garrison. From the soldiers on the walls to the little children in their mothers' arms, by day and by night, the voice of praise and supplication ascended to the heavens. Whatever we may consider the faults and errors of these men, most of them are now in the presence of their Maker; and if a full and earnest and Christian belief in His Word can benefit mankind in a future state, they—and, after a close intercourse of several years with the Ti-pings, I say it without a shadow of doubt—will be rewarded.

At last, finding it impossible to effect the relief of the capital by distant operations, it became imperative to assemble an army of relief without delay. Arrangements were accordingly made for a simultaneous attack by the armies in the field, and a sortie in force by the garrison. The combined forces of the Chung and I-wangs marched directly upon the rear of the besieging army, and on the 3rd of May, the garrison sallying forth from each gate of the city, according to preconcerted signal, the advanced guard of the approaching army burst through the Imperialist lines, and effected a junction with them. The day[269] was bitterly cold, and, taking advantage of a thick snow-storm, the van of the army of relief—which, to the number of nearly 20,000, had, by a successful raid for horses, been mounted for the occasion—made their charge with complete success.

Directly the combination was effected, the entire force turned upon the Imperialist army. The right and left wing of the besiegers, considerably distant from the centre through which the Ti-ping cavalry had charged, and, moreover, unable to perceive the movements taking place, through the snow-storm and grey light of the morning, and being informed only of the sortie, moved forward upon the city, confident in their numbers, and expecting to easily drive back the weakened garrison, and enter the city with them.

Meanwhile, leaving a detachment with the troops from the city to hold their ground, the Ti-ping cavalry charged straight back upon the enemy's centre, and falling upon them while they were yet re-forming and in confusion, drove them off the field with tremendous slaughter. Then, forming into two bodies, they attacked each wing of the Imperialist army, which, having discovered the arrival of reinforcements to the garrison, was now retreating to its lines. It was at this critical moment the Ti-ping cavalry, after literally riding over the reserves in rear of the lines, came down upon them. Pressed by the attack of the garrison in their rear, and unable to cross the creeks and ditches in face of the cavalry in any order, the carnage became fearful. All the trenches, dug by their own hands, were choked by the bodies of the Imperialists—scarcely a man that had crossed those limits escaped. When the work of slaughter could be safely entrusted to the garrison alone, the cavalry followed in pursuit of the retreating enemy. The whole Ti-ping army having now arrived upon the field, the rout of the Imperialists became total—arms, flags, ammunition, and provisions, everything that made them an army,[270] were abandoned, and in the wildest panic its miserable remnants fled for refuge to the district city of Tan-Yang.

It is estimated that they lost no less than 60,000 men during the action and pursuit. The country for many miles was covered with their bodies, which also filled the creeks, and stopped the running waters.

Vigorously following up their successes, town after town, including that of Tan-Yang, fell into the hands of the Ti-pings. Several Imperialist armies marched from Soo-chow and Chang-chow to oppose them, but in each case were totally defeated; the second in command was killed, while Ho-chun, the Manchoo Commander-in-Chief, committed suicide. The mass of disorganized troops dispersed themselves all over the country for plunder, and great numbers flocked to the magnificent city of Soo-chow, the gates of which were closed against them; they then gave themselves up to all kinds of excesses, and setting fire to the extensive and wealthy suburbs, committed every description of pillage and rapine. When the Ti-ping army approached, a few days later, the authorities abandoned it, and this, the most important city in Central China, fell into their hands upon the 24th day of May.

During the next three months the Ti-pings were engaged in taking possession of all the cities within a considerable distance, and in establishing their rule throughout the adjoining departments, including the silk districts of Ly-hong, Wu-seih, Kin-tang, Es-hing, Tay-saam, Tsat-lee, Kia-hing, Hu-chau, &c. Supplies were forwarded to Nankin in large quantity, the Budhist idols and temples were demolished far and wide, and in their stead the Ti-pings introduced the Holy Scriptures to every household within their jurisdiction. Their regular and moderate system of taxation was enforced, and those country people who at the first alarm had fled from their homes were gradually returning. At Shanghae, in the meanwhile, the report of the Ti-ping successes, and the[271] prospect of their early advance upon that city, was made the occasion for the first display of that un-English perfidy that has since been carried to such a monstrous extent.

It will be remembered that the British authorities had already recognized the Ti-pings as a belligerent power, and were therefore not only bound to observe a strict neutrality by every article of international law, but had actually sought and communicated with them, and in the person of Sir George Bonham solemnly guaranteed in writing their observance of neutrality, receiving from the revolutionists a similar assurance. Yet, in flagrant violation of the professions of non-intervention, Mr. Bruce took upon himself, in his capacity as superintendent of British trade, to commit a breach of neutrality by the following proclamation and its fulfilment:—

"The undersigned issues this special proclamation, &c.

"Shanghae is a port open to foreign trade, and the native dealers residing therein have large transactions with the foreigners who resort to the place to carry on their business. Were it to become the scene of attack and civil war, commerce would receive a severe blow, and the interests of those, whether foreign or native, who wish to pursue their peaceful avocations in quiet, would suffer great loss.

"The undersigned will therefore call upon the commanders of Her Majesty's naval and military authorities to take proper measures to prevent the inhabitants of Shanghae from being exposed to massacre and pillage, and to lend their assistance to put down any insurrectionary movements among the ill-disposed, and to protect the city against any attack.

(Signed)      "Fredk. W. A. Bruce.

"Shanghae, May 26, 1860."

The solemn pledges made by England were thus deliberately violated, but, as will be seen, that injustice was prompted by mercenary considerations, masked by philanthropic pretensions. Besides this, we find Mr. Bruce audaciously, if not idiotically, declaring his intention to violate a British guarantee:—

"And it appeared to me that without taking any part in this civil contest, or expressing any opinion on the rights of the parties, we might [272]protect Shanghae from attack, and assist the authorities in preserving tranquillity."

As Mr. Bruce states defending cities for the Manchoos by shooting down the Ti-pings is "without taking any part" in the internecine war, it would be amusing to have his ideas as to the meaning of "taking part." Not satisfied with injuring the rights of an acknowledged belligerent, Mr. Bruce, a few days after, adds insult to injury. The Kan-wang having forwarded a dispatch to the consuls of England, France, and the United States, Mr. Bruce issued the following instructions to the British Consul:—

"With reference to the letter addressed to you, in common with the consuls of France and the United States, by one of the leaders of the insurgents, I am clearly of opinion that it is both inexpedient and objectionable on principle that her Majesty's consuls should hold any communication with the insurgents at Soo-chow, and I have, therefore, to instruct you to take no notice of it."

It would be satisfactory to know upon what "principle" Mr. Bruce excuses this act of injustice, and, also, where he obtained his ideas of belligerent and neutral "principles." The inconsistency of his conduct will be seen a little further on, when, although taking "no notice" of the Ti-ping dispatch, he sends them a communication which he expects they are to notice.

Throughout the rebellion, the Ti-pings had naturally been anxious to obtain possession of some seaport at which they would be enabled to trade with foreigners, and obtain supplies of arms and munitions of war, as the Imperialists did at the treaty ports. After Soo-chow had been occupied about three months, the Ti-pings, relying on the pledges that had been given, marched upon Shanghae to take possession of it, the Manchoo power being completely crushed.

Previous to this advance, Soo-chow had been visited by a large number of missionaries and mercantile gentlemen,[273] who all reported most favourably upon the character, aim, and religion, of the insurgents. Of these reports, however, those only were made public to the people of England which contained false and garbled accounts, intended to justify the violation of neutrality and the defence of Shanghae. Before referring to the suppressed reports, we will notice the attack upon the city. Depending upon the British guarantees and good faith, the Chung-wang—leaving the bulk of his forces to garrison different places, and march against the remaining Manchoos in the field—advanced upon Shanghae himself to treat with the foreign representatives; and expecting no opposition, instead of throwing his large and victorious army rapidly upon the city, simply brought with him a portion of his own body-guard, and some 3,000 irregular troops, more as an escort than for any offensive purpose. On approaching the city, the Chung-wang addressed and forwarded to the Foreign Ministers the following communication—the very same which Mr. Bruce ordered the consul to take "no notice of."

"Le, the Loyal King of the Heavenly Dynasty, &c., to the Honourable Envoys, &c.

"Previous to moving my army from Soo-chow I wrote to you, acquainting you that it would soon reach Shanghae, and that if the residences of your honourable nations and the mercantile establishments would hoist yellow flags as distinguishing marks, I would give immediate orders to my officers and soldiers prohibiting them from entering or disturbing them in any way. As you would consequently have received and perused my letter, I supposed you would act according to the tenor of it. I was not aware, however, until yesterday, that the people of your honourable nations had erected churches in other places in the prefecture of Sung-keang in which they taught the Gospels, when my army, being at the town of Sze-king, fell in with a body of imps (Imperialists), who resisted its progress, when my soldiers attacked and destroyed a number of them. Among these imps there were four foreigners, one of whom my soldiers killed, as they did not know to what country he belonged. However, in order to maintain my good faith to treat foreigners well, I caused the soldier who had killed the foreigner to be at once executed, thus keeping my word.

"Afterwards, seeing that there was a church at Sze-king, I then knew [274]for the first time that the people of your honourable nations came there to teach the Gospel, and that although they had not hoisted a yellow flag, they had not been assisting the imps.

"But though the past is done with, precautions can be taken for the future. My army is now about to proceed directly to Shanghae, and in the towns or villages through which it will pass, should there be churches, I earnestly hope that you will give orders to the people of them to stand at the doors to give information that they are churches, so that there may be no mistakes in future.

"My forces have already arrived at Tseih-paen, and they will soon reach Shanghae. I therefore earnestly hope that you the honourable envoys will call the people of your nations before you, direct them to close their doors, remain inside, and hoist yellow flags at their houses, when they need have no fear of my soldiers, as I have already given orders to them that they must not, in that case, molest or injure any one.

"As soon as I myself arrive, I purpose discussing with you all other business. In the meantime I send this hasty communication, and take the opportunity to inquire after your health.

"Tai-ping, Tien-kwo, 10th year, 7th moon, 9th day (August 18th, 1860)."

When the Chung-wang had arrived within a short distance of Shanghae, Mr. Bruce, although taking "no notice" of the Ti-ping communications, was sufficiently inconsistent to forward the following despatch:—


"Reports having reached us of an armed force having been collected in the neighbourhood of Shanghae, we, the commanders of the military and naval forces of her Britannic Majesty at Shanghae, hereby give notice that the city of Shanghae and foreign settlement are militarily occupied by the forces of her Britannic Majesty and her ally the Emperor of the French; and they warn all persons that, if armed bodies of men attack or approach the positions held by them, they will be considered as commencing hostilities against the allied forces, and will be dealt with accordingly.

"Shanghae, August 16, 1860."

This precious notification was sent on board a gun-boat and taken to a place entirely out of the line of march of the advancing forces, and of course was not delivered. Unprepared for foreign hostility, the Ti-pings, upon the 18th of August, appeared before Shanghae, and driving in[275] the Tartar outposts advanced with a run to the walls, perfectly unacquainted with the fact that they were manned by English and French soldiers. Instead of the friendly reception always given by the Ti-pings to foreigners, and which they expected would now be returned, they were met with a storm of shot, shell, and musketry. The few following extracts are from the official organ, and give an account of the unjustifiable slaughter of men whose great hope was to enter into close and friendly relations with their "foreign brethren," for whose "strict neutrality" the British Government had solemnly pledged itself:—

"The camp had an earthwork all round, on which several American cannon were mounted. Since the allied occupation of the city all executions have been perpetrated here. Against this place the rebels advanced with unusual boldness. The Chinese soldiers and officers fought for some time with great spirit, but at last ran away as fast as possible, followed by the insurgents, who hoped to rush pell-mell with them to the city, and get through the west gate."

Now commences the "reception" given to the patriots by men whom, from first to last, they have considered and treated as brethren.

"Captain Cavanagh then ordered the bridge to be destroyed, and gave the insurgents a rather warm reception from the city-wall with rifles and canister.

"In the course of the afternoon two guns of Captain McIntyre's Madras mountain train were seen coming along outside the city wall, with only a small moat between them and the foe"—(Foe! The word is false: the Ti-pings came as friends, not foes)—"who were dodging about behind graves, houses, and trees, towards the south gate; but, curious to relate, not a shot was fired."

The "curious" thing to relate is the wonderful forbearance of those men, who, although several hundred of their comrades were mowed down by the savages on the walls, never retaliated with a single shot, but even permitted two guns to be placed in a commanding position from which they were subsequently used against them with fatal effect.[276]

"The nature of the country outside the gates gave ample scope to the enemy to conceal themselves, so it was only when a group could be observed that the howitzers and a Chinese gun—the latter under Gunner Warwick—could be used with effect. The insurgents, however, are certainly no cowards, and constantly showed themselves near the wall from the south and the west gates.

"The firing of the foreigners, both from the cannon and rifles, was excellent. As soon as canister was useless, the foe were treated to shell, thrown time after time into the very middle of their flags.

"When driven back from the south gate, the rebels retired past the south-west angle, where Lieutenant O'Grady, who was waiting for them in the piquet-house with some marines and Sikhs, gave them another dressing.

"Captain Maxwell, at the little south gate, had given his Loodianahs plenty to do, and although they were only armed with Brown Bess, they inflicted no small loss on the enemy.

"Gunner Deacon, Royal Marine Artillery, had rigged up a gun belonging to the Taoutae, and worked it in the coolest manner and with great success.

"Among others killed on the enemy's side was an European who had made himself very conspicuous. Accompanying him was a half-caste, who unfortunately managed to escape. There were several foreigners to be seen among the insurgents, and another is supposed to have fallen outside Captain Budd's position."

The murderous sentiment expressed in the foregoing passage would be much more appropriately applied to the conscience-bound mercenaries who defended Shanghae. All the gallant deeds related were, literally, the slaughter of some 300 Ti-pings who made no reply whatever to the dastardly fire of men, who upon that day inflicted an indelible stain upon their nation's scutcheon.

The official report continues:—

"As soon as it could be done in safety, parties were sent from the various posts to burn down such houses in the suburbs as could afford shelter to the enemy, and the fires raged outside the west and south gates during the whole of Saturday night. Thus ended the first day's work, with no small loss to the enemy, but without a single casualty to report on the foreign side."

The officials not only carefully ignore the burnings and destruction committed by British troops, when they[277] write of precisely similar doings upon the part of the Ti-pings, but actually report upon the "gallantry" of certain officers and men concerned in this butchery of unresisting victims.

The report proceeds with the next day's exploits:—

"Sunday morning broke upon a scene of conflagration and destruction. Our gallant allies (the French) set to work, in a manner peculiar to themselves, to drive away the danger, and, to prevent its recurrence, fired the suburb, which is by far the richest and most important collection of native houses. It is here that the Chinese wholesale merchants live. An immense quantity of goods, especially sugar, was stored there, and as the conflagration in its rapid progress licked up a sugar hong, or soy factory, the flames sprang up with fearful grandeur.

"About two o'clock the Kestrel and Hong-kong came steaming down against a strong tide past the burning suburb. The firing, too, had recommenced at the south gate from double-shotted guns and howitzers. Driven from their cover by these means, and compelled to take up a new position, the enemy laid himself open to some fine rifle practice. McIntyre's guns were too well handled to let them hide in any of the buildings yet standing, and Lieutenant O'Grady, with some marines, opened a most destructive fire from the look-out. This gallant officer is really an excellent shot, and we believe it is reckoned in this affair twenty men fell to his rifle, with scarcely one intervening miss."

What can the people of England think of a British officer coolly resting his rifle, through sheer gaîté de cœur, upon the parapet, and shooting down twenty of his fellow-creatures while in perfect safety himself? not a single shot in reply being directed towards any part where Europeans were stationed.

The terrible work was thus continued:—

"On Monday morning, the 20th August, the enemy had advanced in greater strength than ever. It was really a curious sight to see them moving along every one of the little paths which run parallel to the city walls, each man carrying a flag, and all moving in Indian file, but in excellent order, and quite calm and steady. On they came without hesitation, perfectly within range, and seemed to direct their attention principally to the west gate. Lieutenant O'Grady had been sent there with some marines to assist Captain Cavanagh; and the Madras artillerymen having rigged up a gun, a heavy fire was kept up, and the insurgents have to [278]thank the nature of the ground that their loss was not very large. Strange to say, scarcely a shot was returned."

When interested people state this, one can easily imagine what the truth must be.

"During the night the dispatch boat, Pioneer, had proceeded up the river, and began dropping 13-inch shells in among the rebel flags. One of these exploded right in the very centre of about 100 red banners, which immediately afterwards disappeared.

"Some pretty examples might be given of the splendid way the shooting was carried on. A large number of yellow flag rebels were observed to enter a long white house about three-quarters of a mile off. Captain McIntyre" (who would have been killed on the first day outside the walls, if the Ti-pings had only thought fit to answer the murderous fire poured upon them) "put a shell through the roof, and among others is supposed to have wounded the second officer in command of the rebel army."

It was not the second in command, it was the Chung-wang himself who was wounded, a piece of shell striking him on the cheek, and causing a slight impediment of speech ever afterwards. The last attempt the Ti-pings made to enter Shanghae was repulsed on Monday night. Of the next day the report states:—

"On Tuesday but very little work took place, as the rebels had retreated quite out of range. The conflagration raised by the French in the water suburb was still raging, and it was melancholy to see hong after hong, full of valuable goods, falling a prey to the devouring element."

After the advance of the Ti-pings upon the first day, when they were unexpectedly driven back with a loss of about 3,000 men, they met Mr. Milne, a missionary. These men were Chinese, and must have been maddened by the unprovoked slaughter of their relatives and comrades, but instead of wreaking vengeance, as naturally to be expected from Asiatics, with a forbearance beyond all praise they did not even make him a prisoner, but, upon finding he was a missionary, sent him to the city gates with a guard to protect him from any straggling and vengeful soldier. Mr. Milne reached the gate in safety,[279] but his guard while retreating were each shot down by British soldiers upon the walls!

At the time this unparalleled breach of faith took place at Shanghae, England was bound by every tie, legally or theoretically binding, to maintain a strict neutrality between the two contending powers. Not only by Sir George Bonham's, Consul Meadows', Lord Elgin's, and Mr. Bruce's guarantees was the nation pledged to a neutral position; there was also an Ordinance of Neutrality passed by Sir John Bowring, Governor of Hong-kong, in 1855, the principal clause of which is as follows:—

"That it shall be a misdemeanour punishable by not more than two years' imprisonment, &c., for any British subject within any part of China to assist either the existing Chinese government, or any or either of the different factions at present engaged, or who may be hereafter engaged in opposition to the government, by personal enlistment in the service of either of the said several parties, or by procuring other persons to enlist in such service, or by furnishing, selling, or procuring warlike stores of any description, or by fitting out vessels, or by knowingly and purposely doing any other act to assist either party, by which neutrality may be violated."

It is therefore highly improbable that Mr. Bruce dared upon his own responsibility to violate all these existing bonds and regulations: much more does it resemble the policy of secret instructions. A perusal of the despatches of the Minister at Pekin must lead to this conclusion, more particularly when a comparison is drawn between the following extracts from a despatch of Mr. Bruce to Lord Russell, dated Shanghae, June 10th, 1860, and his defence of Shanghae only a few weeks later:—

"Without discussing" (he is discussing with Earl Russell, therefore the plan of intervention was undoubtedly submitted to him) "whether intervention, under the peculiar circumstances of the civil contest in China, be justifiable or not, or whether it would be expedient, with a view to opening the Yang-tze river to trade, to recapture towns, such as Nankin and Chin-kiang, which command it, I am inclined to doubt the policy of attempting to restore by force of arms the power of the Imperial government in cities and provinces occupied, or rather overrun, by the insurgents."


Yet scarcely two months elapse when Mr. Bruce acts in direct contradiction to this opinion!

The following passage from the same despatch speaks in the very strongest terms against intervention:—

"The Chinese officials, pressed for money, and relying on foreign support, would become more than ever cruel, corrupt, and oppressive; and the Chinese, deprived of popular insurrection, their rude but efficacious remedy against local oppressors, would with justice throw on the foreigner the odium of excesses which his presence alone would render possible. The consequence would be, popular hostility, reprisals, and that train of events which would render it necessary to appropriate permanently the province occupied, or to retire from it, leaving behind a bitter ill-will among the people. No course could be so well calculated to lower our national reputation, as to lend our material support to a government the corruption of whose authorities is only checked by its weakness." (!!!)

Such is the opinion of a resident British minister, an opinion constantly reiterated. The people of England may then well wonder at conduct in such direct opposition to the reports of the Government representative in China. The observations of Col. Sykes, M.P., &c., in his advocacy of a high principle, are worthy of attention. At page 18 of his valuable little work "The Taeping Rebellion in China," he states:—

"Incredible as it may appear, while we were shooting down those who asked for our friendship, and were defending a city belonging to a government with which we were at war, and collecting custom duties by Mr. Lay and other British subjects, on account of the Emperor of China, that very emperor was sanctioning British and French officers and soldiers being tortured and put to death at Pekin, and the Prince Kung, the brother of the emperor, in whom we are now placing such implicit confidence, was at that time in such a position at Pekin as to have been able to prevent the cruelties perpetrated upon our officers and men."

People generally disregard everything connected with China, considering the policy towards that empire, and its affairs, of but small moment to themselves or state. Unless engaged in the China trade, in a selfish and narrow-minded point of view it may be so; but if we reflect upon the immensity[281] of the Chinese empire, its direct population of one-third of the human race, and its indirect brotherhood with about one-half (including Malays, Tartars, Eluths, Mongolians, Thibetians, Cochin-Chinese, Anamese, &c.),—upon the fact that this vast Empire has outlived all the mighty ones of Europe,—that her civilization, Christianity, and power, has yet to come,—if we think why and for what purpose the Creator has fashioned one-half his people of the same race, or ponder as to the future of a people who constitute a body sixteen times more numerous than the population of Great Britain, and who may possibly at a future time attain a position in the world proportionately equal to the present greatness of England herself—if these facts are reflected upon, they will present deep and interesting themes to the mind of every man not entirely absorbed with his own littleness, and who can rise above the exigencies of the present moment.

Repulsed from the walls of Shanghae by those whom he had always regarded as brothers in the same Faith, the Chung-wang sent the following proclamation to the European consuls on the 21st August:—

"Le, the loyal Prince of the Heavenly Dynasty, &c., &c., addresses this communication to you, the Honourable Consuls of Great Britain, United States of America, Portugal, and other countries.

"That good faith must be kept is the principle which guides our dynasty in its friendly relations with other peoples; but deceitful forgetfulness of previous arrangements is the real cause of foreign nations having committed a wrong. When my army reached Soo-chow, Frenchmen, accompanied by people of other nations, came there to trade. They personally called upon me, and invited me to come to Shanghae to consult respecting friendly relations between us in future. Knowing that your nations worship, like us, God the Heavenly Father and Jesus the Heavenly Elder Brother, and are therefore of one religion and of one origin with us, I placed entire and undoubting confidence in their words, and consequently came to meet you at Shanghae.

"It never occurred to my mind that the French, allowing themselves to be deluded by the imps (the Chinese Imperial authorities), would break their word and turn their backs upon the arrangement made. Not only, however, did they not come on my arrival to meet and consult with me, [282]but they entered into an agreement with the imps to protect the city of Shanghae against us, by which they violated their original agreement. Such proceedings are contrary to the principles of justice.

"Now, supposing that the French take under their protection the city of Shanghae, and a few li (a mile or two) around it, how will they be able, within that small space, to sell their merchandise, and to carry on conveniently their mercantile transactions?

"I have also learnt that the French have received no small amount of money from the imps of Hien-Fung (the emperor), which they have without doubt shared amongst the other nations. If you other nations have not received the money of the imps, why did several of your people also appear with the French when they came to Soo-chow and invited me to Shanghae to confer together? It is as clear as daylight that your people also appeared at Soo-chow, and urgently requested me to come to Shanghae. Their words still ring in my ears; it is impossible that the affair should be forgotten.

"My army having reached this place, if the French alone had broken their engagements, coveted the money of the imps, and protected their city, how was it that not one man of your nations came to consult personally with me? You must have also taken money from the imps of Hien-Fung and divided it amongst you. Seeing, again, you committed a wrong, without taking into consideration that you would have to go to other places than Shanghae to carry on commercial business. You do not apparently know that the imps of Hien-Fung, seeing that your nations are of the same religion and family as the Heavenly Dynasty, used money to establish a connection; this is employing others to kill, and using schemes to cause separations.

"The French have been seduced by the money of the imps, because they only scheme after profits at Shanghae, and have no consideration for the trade at other places. They have not only no plea on which to meet me, but still less have they any ground on which to come before God the Heavenly Father, and Jesus the Heavenly Elder Brother, or even our own armies, and the other nations of the earth.

"Our Sovereign Lord was appointed by heaven, and has ruled now for ten years. One half the territory he possesses contains the rich lands in the east and south. The national treasury contains sufficient funds to supply all the wants of our armies. Hereafter, when the whole face of the country is united under our sway, every part will be contained within our registers, and our success will not depend on the small district of Shanghae.

"But with human feelings, and in human affairs, all acts have their consequences. The French have violated their faith, and broken the peace between us. Since they have in advance, acted thus contrary to reason, if they henceforth remain fixed at Shanghae to carry on their mercantile business, they may so manage. But if they again come into our territory [283]to trade, or pass into our boundaries, I, so far as I am concerned, may in a spirit of magnanimity, bear with their presence and refrain from reckoning with them on the past. Our forces and officers, however, who have now been subjected to their deceit, must all be filled with indignation, and desirous of revenge; and it is to be feared that they will not again be permitted, at their convenience, to repair to our territory.

"On coming to Soo-chow I had the general command of upwards of one thousand officers, and several tens of thousands of soldiers, a brave army which has power to put down all opposition, and whose force is as strong as the hills. If we had the intention of attacking Shanghae, then what city have they not subdued? What place have they not stormed?

"I have, however, taken into consideration that you and we alike worship Jesus, and that, after all, there exists between us the relationship of a common basis and common doctrines. Moreover, I came to Shanghae to make a treaty in order to see us connected together by trade and commerce; I did not come for the purpose of fighting with you. Had I at once commenced to attack the city and kill the people, that would have been the same as the members of one family fighting among themselves, which would have caused the imps to ridicule us.

"Further, amongst the people of foreign nations at Shanghae, there must be varieties in capacity and disposition: there must be men of sense, who know the principles of right, and are well aware of what is advantageous and what injurious. They cannot all covet the money of the impish dynasty, and forget the general trading interests in this country.

"Hence, I shall for the present repress this day's indignation, and charitably open a path by which to alter our present positions towards each other. I am extremely apprehensive that if my soldiers were to take Shanghae, they would not be able to distinguish the good from the bad, in which case I shall be without grounds to come before Jesus, the Heavenly Elder Brother.

"Out of a feeling of deep anxiety on your behalf, I am constrained to make an earnest statement to you foreign nations, as to what is wisdom and what folly in these affairs, and as to the amount of advantage and injury of the different courses open to you. I beg you, foreign nations, again carefully to consider what course would be gainful, what a losing one.

"Should any of your honourable nations regret what has occurred, and hold friendly relations with our state to be best, they need have no apprehensions in coming to consult with me. I treat people according to right principles, and will certainly not subject them to any indignities. Should, however, your honourable nations still continue to be deluded by the imps, follow their lead in all things, without reflecting on the difference between you; you must not blame me if hereafter you find it difficult to pass along the channels of commerce, and if there is no outlet for native produce.


"I have to beg all your honourable nations to again and again weigh in your minds the circumstances; and now write this special communication, and trust you will favour me with a reply.

"I beg to make inquiries after your health.

"Taeping, Tien-kwo, 10th year, 7th moon, 12th day."

With strange, but most probably compulsory inconsistency, after the defence of Shanghae, Mr. Bruce, although previously opposing any intervention or help to the Manchoos in the strong terms already quoted in his despatch to Lord Russell concerning that event, abuses the Ti-pings almost as strongly, as if to justify the outrage he had been guilty of towards them. In one part of the despatch referred to, dated Shanghae, September 4th, 1860, Mr. Bruce, speaking of the Ti-ping advance upon Shanghae, states:—

"They were perfectly, however, aware of our intention to defend the town. It was explained to them in the most unequivocal manner by Mr. Edkins during his late visit to Soo-chow, to whom they seem to have attributed an official character. It probably conduced to the ungracious reception he met with."

Now this passage is entirely contrary to fact, which will be perceived directly on perusing the account given by Mr. Edkins himself. At another part of his defence, Mr. Bruce states:—

"It is certain that even Hung-jin (Kan-wang), from whom, as educated in a missionary school, and therefore better instructed in religious doctrine, and of more liberal views than the Ti-pings in general, the Protestant missionaries expected great things, declined to abandon or postpone the attempt on Shanghae."

This hollow accusation against Hung-jin in particular, and the Ti-pings in general, is as ridiculous as it is so to call the Ti-pings illiberal, because they would not desist from capturing an important city of the enemy, the possession of which was absolutely necessary for their existence.

It is now desirable to notice the following extract from the same despatch. The Mr. Holmes referred to in it[285] visited Nankin about the same time Shanghae was defended, and wrote an account of what took place in such terms as to render it difficult to believe it ever emanated from the pen of a minister of the Gospel, particularly when it is remembered that the stronger the grounds might have been to condemn the religious belief of the Ti-pings, the greater the duty of Mr. Holmes to fulfil his mission and teach them better. Mr. Holmes was sent to China as a missionary and not as a theological critic; neither was he required to teach those who were perfect in the Faith; his services were required by (and had he done his duty would have been given to) people struggling through the clouds of paganism and ignorance, such as he describes the Ti-pings to have been encompassed with. Why, then, did Mr. Holmes make no attempt to succour those who acknowledged the same Saviour, whose Word he professed to teach, who had accepted the Bible in its full integrity, and who, in my presence, have implored missionaries to remain among and teach them those mysteries they were not able to interpret? Why did Mr. Holmes report in such an uncharitable spirit of men freely receiving and professing Christianity, and make not the slightest effort to rectify the faults he so condemned? Mr. Holmes has thus laid himself open to severe censure; but he is not the only missionary to blame. Although vast sums of money are contributed in England, and expensive missions sent to people and countries that will not profess; how is it that no attempt has been made to help the millions at one time constituting the Ti-ping revolution, who not only professed Christianity as their principal object, but who fought, suffered, and died for it.

Mr. Bruce goes on to state:—

"I enclose herewith a very interesting account given by a Mr. Holmes, a Baptist American missionary, of a trip he had made lately to Nankin....

"I beg particularly to call your Lordship's attention to Mr. Holmes's general reflections at the close of his letter....

"But as the chief is an ignorant fanatic, if not an impostor, and the [286]bulk of his adherents are drawn from the dangerous classes of China, the result is the rule of the sword in its worst form....

"Their system differs in nothing, as far as I can learn, from the proceedings of a band of brigands organized under one head."

Mr. Bruce, it will be seen, went quite out of his way to enclose this "interesting account" from an "American Baptist missionary," but quite overlooked the reports of the British missionaries, which were entirely suppressed.

As for Mr. Bruce's reflections upon the "ignorance" of the Ti-ping-Wang, and the form of "brigandage," those who follow through this history will probably feel justified in questioning the accuracy of his conclusions and in condemning the spirit which dictated them.

The following are extracts from the "particularly recommended" account, and embrace the principal points:—

"We ran all night, and next morning anchored in the mouth of the creek which leads from the river up to the city of Nankin. On inquiring for some one with whom we could communicate, I was invited to enter the fort, and on doing so was received by a tall Kwang-si officer. He greeted me as his ocean brother, and drawing me down to a seat beside him in the place of honour, entered at once into conversation."

Upon entering the city, Mr. Holmes states:—

"We were received by a venerable-looking and very polite old man, whom we learned to call Pung-ta-jen (his Excellency Mr. Pung). He had been requested by the Chang-wang to entertain us with supper.... We found him exceedingly polite and affable, and I thought I could discern some appearance of real religious character, which is more than I can say for any other man I met."

Mr. Holmes was thus received by the Chang-wang:—

"On being seated, he began the conversation as follows:—

"'Wha-seen-sung (be assured), foreigners and men of the Heavenly kingdom are all brethren. We all believe in the Heavenly Father and Son, and are, therefore, brethren. Is it not so?'

"I then mentioned the object for which I had come, speaking of the deep interest which had long been felt in their cause by foreign Christians.

"After receiving assurances from him of their gratification at my arrival, we retired.


"The Tien-Wang, we were informed on the evening of our arrival, was much gratified at our coming.

"After this, the Chang-wang invited me in to see him again. Being quartered in his house, it was quite convenient to go in at any time.... He then proceeded to give an outline of Christianity, which, though very loose and general, contained little that could be objected to:—God, the Creator of all things; Jesus, his son, the Saviour of the world; the Holy Spirit—the words correct in the main, though I afterwards became convinced that neither he, nor any of them, had any adequate idea of their true signification. 'Was this what we believed, also?' he asked, when he had finished his recapitulation. I gave him to understand that I had no objection to make to what he had said, but that they appeared to have other doctrines which I did not understand the import of, for example, Mr. Pung had spoken of worshipping the Heavenly Father, the Heavenly Brother, and the Tien-Wang, and of these three being one. To this he simply replied that Mr. Pung had preached erroneously."

Now this plain avowal of the correct and intimate knowledge the Ti-ping leaders possessed of Christianity might well, one would suppose, have satisfied even Mr. Holmes; for what more could be expected from men but newly awakened to the truth, and yet struggling towards the gradually increasing light?

Another striking example of the enlightened character of the Ti-ping chiefs is thus given by Mr. Holmes, and should certainly have impressed him favourably:—

"Another similar chair was placed near him (Chang-wang), on which he invited me to be seated, and at once began to question me about foreign machinery, &c. He had been puzzled by a map with parallel lines running each way, said to have been made by foreigners, which he asked me to explain. He then submitted to my inspection a spy-glass and a music-box, asking various questions about each."

The following account may be designated coolly insolent and not trustworthy, being founded on fictions:—

"John i. 1.—Christ is here pronounced to be God; does Tien-Wang claim to be God or man? Matt. xxii. 29, 30.—How is this to be reconciled with the statement that the Western Prince has contracted a marriage in the other world? Matt. xx. 25-26.—How is this to be reconciled with the Tien-Wang's assumption of authority in spiritual matters? John iii. 13, [288]Gal. i. 8, Rev. xxii. 18-19.—How can Tien-Wang have another revelation? This document the Chang-wang was afraid to present to his chief. He returned it to me, and I supposed that I should hardly find a man bold enough to keep it in his possession."

This may be the American Baptist mode of procedure, but we may easily believe it is hardly the style in which an English missionary of ordinary good manners and education would act. If a Chinaman were to arrive in England and draw up a similar list of queries, and send them to the Queen, it would afford a precisely parallel case. The Chang-wang, after assuring Mr. Holmes his hyperbolical theories were "erroneous," must have felt himself grossly insulted by the latter's uncourteous catechising. When about to leave Nankin, Mr. Holmes states:—

"On Wednesday we had determined to return. On announcing our intention, we were entreated to remain a few days longer. He (Chang-wang) also invited me to come back again, and bring with me my family, offering to give me a place in his own house. On our departure a sum of money was offered us to 'buy tea,' as it was stated, 'on our way home.' This we declined.... He insisted that he would have no face if he sent away a guest without making him some present, and substituted a piece of silk, which, with several little articles received before, are preserved as memorials of the visit. A present of a small globe, with several other foreign articles, were very gladly received on his part."

From the extracts I have given, one might naturally suppose Mr. Holmes would have returned from his visit favourably impressed; with what astonishment, then, will be perused the following "reflections":—

"I shall content myself with a few general reflections upon the state and prospects of this movement. I went to Nankin predisposed to receive a favourable impression.... I came away with my views entirely changed. I had hoped that their doctrines, though crude and erroneous, might, notwithstanding, embrace some of the elements of Christianity. I found, to my sorrow, nothing of Christianity but its names, falsely applied, applied to a system of revolting idolatry."

How does this agree with the well-known uncompromising iconoclasm of the Ti-pings? How can it be reconciled[289] with the statements given by Mr. Holmes as to the Christian knowledge of the Chang-wang? which, he says, "contained little that could be objected to," or the passage, "I gave him to understand that I had no objection to make to what he had said"? Is it from this Mr. Holmes derived his idea of "revolting idolatry"? The narrative continues:—

"Their idea of God is distorted until it is inferior, if possible, to that entertained by other Chinese idolaters. The idea which they entertain of a Saviour is likewise low and sensual, and his honours are shared by another." (Compare this with the Tien-Wang's proclamation at page 84, giving the titles to the chiefs, and strictly forbidding himself to be addressed by any appellation that may infringe upon the attributes of the "Celestial Elder Brother" (our Saviour), and then judge of its truth.) "The Eastern King is the saviour from disease, as he is the saviour from sin." (The Eastern King had been dead some years.) "Among the features of their theology that shocked me most may be mentioned the following:—They speak of the wife of the Heavenly Father, whom they call Tien-ma (Heavenly Mother), &c., &c."

If Mr. Holmes was so "shocked," it would have been his duty to teach instead of to criticise them, especially as they "entreated" him to remain, or "come back" to them.

He further states:—

"I had hoped, too, that though crude and erroneous in their notions, they would yet be ready to stand an appeal to the Bible" (meaning his arrogant list of queries), "and to be instructed by those competent to expound its truths. Here, too, I was disappointed."

This is palpably unjust, when in the same narrative he states they "entreated" him to stay with them. Such are the opinions of the missionary on whose testimony the British Government mainly rely.[31]


It now becomes necessary to notice the suppressed missionary reports, furnished by members of the London Mission Society and Propagation of the Faith Society.

These reports appeared a few years back in the Missionary Magazine, but I venture to again make them public, not only to support and prove my own view of the Ti-ping revolution, but because I feel certain that only a very small proportion of the British people can have seen them, as, if it had been otherwise, a far different policy would have been employed in the treatment of the Ti-pings.

The following extracts are from the narrative of a journey amongst the Ti-pings, by the Revs. Edkins, John, Macgowan, and Hall, bearing date "Shanghae, July 16, 1860:"—


"From the information acquired, it is evident that the religious element enters very powerfully into this great revolutionary movement. Nothing can be more erroneous than the supposition that it is a purely political one, and that religion occupies but a subordinate place in it. So far is this from being the case, that, on the contrary, it is the basis upon which the former rests, and is its life-perpetuating source. The downfall of idolatry, and the establishment of the worship of the true God, are objects aimed at by them, with as much sincerity and devotion as the expulsion of the Manchús, and the conquest of the empire. In opposition to the pantheistic notions of the philosophers of the Súng dynasty, they hold the doctrine of the personality of the Deity; in opposition to the popular polytheistic notions, they have the clearest conception of the unity of God; and in opposition to the fatalism of philosophical Budhism, they believe in and teach the doctrine of an all-superintending Providence. This appears on the very surface, and no one can be among them for any length of time without being impressed with it. They feel that they have a work to accomplish, and the deep conviction that they are guided by an unerring finger, and supported by an omnipotent arm in its execution, is their inspiration. Success they ascribe to the goodness of the Heavenly Father, and defeat to his chastisements. The Deity is with them, not an abstract notion, nor a stern implacable sovereign, but a loving father, who watches tenderly over their affairs, and leads them by the hand. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are their proposed standard of faith now, as they were at the commencement of the movement.



"The feeling which they entertain towards foreigners is apparently of the most friendly nature; they are always addressed as 'our foreign brethren.' 'We worship the same Heavenly Father, and believe in the same elder Brother, why should we be at variance?' They seem to be anxious for intercourse with foreigners, and desirous to promote the interests of trade. The opening up of the eighteen provinces to trade, they say, would be most pleasing to them. Some would say that policy would make them talk in this way—suppose it did; how is it that policy, or something akin, does not make the Imperialists speak in the same way? They say that foreigners will be respected whenever they pass through their territory; and the respectful attention they have paid to those who have visited them is a sufficient proof of their sincerity.

"A great deal has been said about the cruelty of the 'long-haired rebels'; but in this there has been much exaggeration and misrepresentation. In no instance have we witnessed any traces of wilful destruction. It is true they kill, but it is because they must do so or submit to be killed. They burn, but so far as our observation went, it is invariably in self-defence. Much of the burning is done by the Imperialists before the arrival of the rebels, and the cases of suicide are far more numerous than those of murder. The fact that all the women have been allowed to leave Súng Kiang, and that they are known, in many cases, to have made attempts to save men and women who had plunged themselves into the canals and rivers, is a proof that they are not the cruel relentless marauders that they have been represented, to be by many. They are revolutionists in the strictest sense of the term; both the work of slaughter and of plunder are carried on so far as is necessary to secure the end. These are evils which necessarily accompany such a movement, and are justifiable or otherwise in so far as the movement itself is so."

The following letter was written by the Rev. J. Edkins and the Rev. G. John, giving a report to the secretary of their society of a visit to the Ti-pings at Soo-chow. It is dated "Shanghae, August 16, 1860," and proves the incorrectness of Mr. Bruce's statements, that Mr. Edkins informed the Ti-pings, "in the most unequivocal manner," that Shanghae would be defended against them, and that Mr. Edkins met with an "ungracious reception."

"Shanghae, August 16, 1860.

"By the last mail you were informed that two letters had just been received from Soo-chow; one from Hung-jin, the Kan-wang, to Mr. Edkins, and another from the Chung-wang, to Mr. Edkins and myself, inviting us both to Soo-chow, to meet the former king. We felt that only one course of action was left open to us as Christian missionaries. We were exceedingly anxious to have an interview with this man, for the purpose of ascertaining the truth on various points of interest—of encouraging him in his praiseworthy endeavours to correct the errors connected with the movement—of learning what might be done towards spreading the truth among his people—and of suggesting plans and improvements for his consideration. With this object we left Shanghae on the 30th ult., accompanied by three other brother missionaries. At one point we passed a floating bridge, which had been constructed by the Insurgents, and left in charge of some of the country people. A proclamation was put up on shore, exhorting the people to keep quiet, attend to their avocations, and bring in presents as obedient subjects. One of the country people remarked, as we were passing along, that the proclamation was very good, and that if the rebels would but act accordingly, everything would be all right. 'It matters very little to us,' said he, 'who is to be the emperor—whether Hien-fung or the Celestial King—provided we are left in the enjoyment of our usual peace and quiet.' Such, I believe, is the universal sentiment among the common people. A part of the bridge was taken off to allow our boats to pass through, after which it was closed again very carefully. The country people were, for the most part, at their work in the fields as usual. The towns and villages presented a very sad spectacle. These once flourishing marts are entirely deserted, and thousands of the houses are burnt down to the ground. Here and there a solitary old man or old woman may be seen moving slowly and tremblingly among the ruins, musing and weeping over the terrible desolation that reigns around. Together with such scenes the number of dead bodies that continually meet the eye were indescribably sickening to the heart. It must not be forgotten, however, that most of the burning is done by the Imperialists before the arrival of the Insurgents, and that what is done by the latter is generally in self-defence, and that more lives are lost by suicide than by the sword. Though the deeds of violence perpetrated by the Insurgents are neither few nor insignificant, still they would compare well with those of the Imperialists. The people generally speak well of the old rebels. They say that the old rebels are humane in their treatment of the people, and that the mischief is done by those who have but recently joined them. We were glad to find that, both at Soo-chow and Kwun-shan, the country people were beginning to go among them fearlessly to sell; and that they were paid the full value for every article. We were told at the latter place that to sell to the rebels is good trade, [293]as they give three and four cash for what they formerly got only one cash.

"We reached Soo-chow early on the 2nd inst., and had an interview with the Kan-wang on the same day. He appeared in a rich robe and gold embroidered crown, surrounded by a number of officers, all of whom wore robes and caps of red and yellow silk. On our entering he stood up and received us with a hearty shake of the hand. He said that our visit made him very happy, and that his heart was quite set free. He then made kind inquiries about his old friends in Shanghae, both native and foreign. He was much pleased to hear of the progress of the Gospel at Amoy; of the recent accession of converts to the Church in the neighbourhood of Canton and Hong-kong; and of the late revival in the West. 'The kingdom of Christ,' said he, 'must spread and overcome every opposition; whatever may become of the celestial dynasty, there can be no doubt concerning this matter.'

"He then put off his crown and robe, and dismissed his officers; after which we had a free and confidential conversation on various points. We gladly accepted an invitation to dine with him. Before partaking of the viands prepared for us, he proposed that we should sing a hymn and pray together. Having selected one of Dr. Medhurst's hymns, he himself started the tune, and sang with remarkable correctness, warmth, and energy. After a short prayer offered up by Mr. Edkins, we sat at table. The conversation turned almost exclusively upon religious subjects, in fact, he did not seem to wish to talk about anything else. He seemed to feel very grateful to Dr. Legge, Messrs. Chalmers, Hamberg, Edkins, and others, for their past kindness to him. He told us that his object in leaving Hong-kong for Nan-king was solely to preach the Gospel to the subjects of the celestial dynasty; and that on his arrival he begged permission of his cousin to be allowed to do so. The chief, however, would not hear of it, but insisted upon his immediate promotion to the rank of king. Though thoroughly devoted to the new dynasty, and determined to live or die with it, he told us repeatedly that he was much happier when employed as a Native Assistant at Hong-kong, than now, notwithstanding the dignity conferred upon him and the authority with which he is invested. We were escorted on horses to our boat at a late hour.

"We visited him again on the following day. On our arrival at his residence, we found a foreign merchant waiting upon him, and the Kan-wang considerably agitated in mind. The reason of this we afterwards learnt was, that he had heard that the letters which he had sent to the representatives of foreign powers at Shanghae had not been opened; and that the city was held by English as well as French soldiers. The first he spoke of as a personal insult to himself, and the second as a direct violation of the principle of neutrality which foreigners should adopt between the two contending parties. * * *


"Though we told him that these were matters with which we, as Missionaries, had nothing to do, still we could not but feel a secret sympathy with him.

"After the merchant had left, we had a very interesting conversation with him on various matters, but especially the character of Taeping Wang, the chief. Before separating, he proposed that we should commend each other to the care of Almighty God, and invoke His blessing in prayer. After singing a hymn, he engaged in prayer. His prayer was exceedingly appropriate, fervent, and scriptural. He prayed that all the idols might perish, that the temples should be converted into chapels, and that pure Christianity should speedily become the religion of China. This was a most interesting spectacle—a spectacle never to be forgotten.

"We were all much pleased with the Kan-wang. His knowledge of Christian truth is remarkably extensive and correct. He is very anxious to do what he can to introduce pure Christianity among his people, and to correct existing errors. He says, however, that he can do but very little actively in this work, and that hence he is very anxious to get as many Missionaries as possible to Nan-king, to teach the people. 'I cannot do much,' said he, 'but if you will come, I will get you chapels, exhort the people to attend, and will attend myself regularly.' He has prepared a prayer for the use of the soldiers, which is remarkably good. He wished us to prepare a series of simple prayers for general distribution. We took with us a number of copies of the whole Bible, and a good selection of tracts, all publicly delivered to his care. These will, I have no doubt, do their work among not a few. He expressed his opinion that the Chief is a pious man, notwithstanding all his errors. He devoutly worships God, and is a constant reader of the Scriptures. The Bible and the 'Pilgrim's Progress' seem to be his favourite books. The Kan-wang thinks that much may be done in course of time towards putting him right on various points. It is very gratifying to find that he does hold the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God, and the standard of faith."

The following extracts are quoted from the press of China, upon the subject of repelling the Ti-pings from Shanghae. The Overland Register, Sept. 11th, 1860, in its general summary, states:—

"However affairs may be affected at the North by the action of the Allied Forces, the late proceedings at Shanghae will probably inflict a damage which no success at the North will or can compensate for, and the case is the more dangerous because that interested persons are led to scandalize the insurrection, that the shame of the slaughter of the Insurgents before Shanghae by the arms of Christian England and Catholic France [295]may be lessened. It will be seen from the details given elsewhere that the advance of the Insurgents upon Shanghae has been checked by the direct interference of the allied forces in concert with the Imperial rabble, and by way of adding insult to injury, and of stemming the tide of indignation which a truly christian public sentiment might be expected to pour upon the policy which dictated such action. Sundry individuals are persuaded to write down the Insurgents who have survived the shooting down, and make them out worse than their heathen countrymen. Hardly had the echo of the Christian muskets died away and the heathen allies finished cutting off the arms and legs of the slain to secure their ornaments, when it is found out suddenly that the rebels are blasphemous outlaws, and do not understand the doctrine of the Trinity as taught in the theological schools of England and other Christian countries, and upon the word, every man who would save the reputation of the allied councils, at once commences to damn the Insurgents for blasphemy, that he may be able to bless the Allies for foul and cruel murder. We have especial reference to a lengthy dissertation by one Rev. J. L. Holmes, which is far too long for republication in this edition, and which should not find place if it were possible; and though shame may cause many to accept any excuse for the unwarranted and cruel slaughter of the half-christianized victims who came to be converted, not killed, yet we trust there may be found some whose Christianity will take precedence of nationality even, and that the Insurgents may find sympathizers, even though that sympathy involve condemnation of the policy which prompts either to shoot them or write against them.... The fact is, a gross and unmitigated error has been committed at Shanghae, and all the writing that can be published cannot alter the error or excuse it. The Insurgents did not come professing a pure Christianity, on the contrary, every missionary who has visited them, and even their traducer, who shared their hospitality at Nankin, received their parting gifts of friendship, and then returned to print five columns of detraction and abuse in the North China Herald, bearing testimony that the Insurgents admit the imperfection of their religious knowledge, and only beg that teachers might be sent them, so that they might know the truth as it is in Jesus; and the Christian world may well cry 'shame!' upon any Missionary of the Gospel, who going among them, instead of seeking to instruct them, spends the time of his hospitable reception in seeking out their errors and publishing them in order to turn sympathy away from them and palliate the crime that had already been perpetrated at their expense."

Speaking of the French Jesuitical influence working against the Ti-pings, The Overland Register continues:—

"That France should spurn the Rebellion, it is but natural, for the Insurgents have the Bible, and next to the devil, a free Bible may be supposed [296]the object of direst attack on the part of a Jesuitical priesthood. But it will be long ere the stain upon British honour and justice and Christian profession is erased. It is currently stated that the French are savagely bent upon the utter destruction of the Insurgents, and that they will insist upon an attack upon Nankin." (This was mooted at that time, as per Mr. Bruce's despatches, but was not executed, because, as another writer stated, "They have it in their power, we are told, and nobody doubts the truth of the statement, to ruin the foreign trade at Shanghae, and they also have it in their power to form with the representatives here of foreign powers provisional regulations by which in existing circumstances the destruction of that trade may be prevented." This was thoroughly appreciated; therefore, while gradually destroying the Ti-pings and undermining their cause, neutrality was also pretended.) "Such a thing is by no means beyond the bounds of possibility, so that ere long the world may be edified with the sight of the 'Defender of the faith,' in company with the 'woman arrayed in purple and scarlet,' and the disciples of Buddha, all joining in the hue-and-cry after the rascally Bible-reading insurgents.

"Happy are they who fall by the merciful administration of Christian warfare, for if once their power is broken, there are other Governor Yehs in China to take the place of the cowardly brute who tortured and slaughtered 60,000 of his countrymen in the Canton province, and Shanghae may be treated to the same spectacle which six years ago sent a thrill of horror all over the civilized world, with only this difference—that the responsibility will rest upon those professedly Christian nations who will have been the cause of them."

This has happened; but the thrill of horror was either not felt, or the professing Christian nations have become exceedingly callous; but then, "six years ago," it was Yeh who did all that; during 1860-1-2-3-4, it was done by Christian nations.

"The political creed of the insurgent leaders is all that could be wished by the most enthusiastic admirers of what strong nations call 'international comity,' when the weaker party have anything worth possessing. If the proclamations and other writings from insurgent sources are sufficient authority (and we know of no reason why they should be otherwise regarded), their position is about as follows:—

"1. That Chinese, not Tartars, shall rule China; and surely no Western nation can find fault with that.

"2. That the exclusive policy heretofore maintained by the Imperial Government shall be superseded by a liberal policy, so that China may become one in the great Congress of Nations, instead of standing aloof in childish pomposity.


"3. That a free access be given to the arts and manufactures of other nations.

"4. That kindly relations be cultivated with all foreign people, and the resources of the country be developed by a liberal exchange of its products for those of other lands.

"5. That the improvements in various mechanical arts, the inventions of foreign nations, be introduced into the country.

"We have neither time nor space to complete the list, but it may be said, generally, that in the political creed of the insurgent leaders there appears, from beginning to end, a complete revolution of the Chinese ideas in every important particular, and there is not an item of it that should not meet with the warm sympathy of every man who cares for the welfare of any country besides his own, or even any man whose only interest in foreign nations is limited to what may be got out of them...."

It has lately been the common practice to represent the Ti-pings as "monsters of cruelty," "ruthless devastators," &c. The following extracts, from a communication by a "correspondent of the North China Herald," republished in the Nonconformist of Nov. 14th, 1860, give some authentic particulars respecting the Shanghae massacre of Ti-pings. Upon the approach of the Ti-pings to the walls of the city, the writer states:—

"When it was discovered that they were real rebels, orders were given to fire on them. They waved the hand, begged our officers not to fire, and stood there motionless, wishing to open communication and explain their object. No notice was taken of this, but a heavy fire of rifles and grape was kept up on them for about two hours, when they retired with a loss estimated at two hundred. Here, as at the South-gate, they seem to have essayed to open communication, and to have been replied to in the same way. After they had been driven back, the French soldiers rushed frantically among the peaceful inhabitants of the place, murdering men, women, and children, without the least discrimination. One man was stabbed right through as he was enjoying his opium-pipe. A woman, who had just given birth to a child, was bayoneted without the faintest provocation. Women were ravished and houses plundered by these ruthless marauders without restraint. Everything was taken away from the poor people, who were trying to escape, and thrown into a heap, so as to do away with the possibility of ever being reclaimed. Unless the article or articles were immediately yielded, the bayonet was brought in to decide the question."


The truth of these statements can be supported by the evidence of my personal friends, some of whom were wounded when trying to rescue helpless women from unheard-of barbarity.

"After this sort of work had been going on for some time, the beautiful temple of the 'Queen of Heaven' was set on fire by the French. The fire had been extending ever since, so that now the Eastern suburb presents a sad spectacle. The burning of the Southern and Western suburbs by the English, and the greater part of the Eastern suburb by the French, has deprived thousands of their happy homes and reduced them to irretrievable poverty."

Recounting the events of the following day, the author states:—

"Now the firing and shelling commenced. The Insurgents stood it for several hours like men of stone, immovable, without returning a single shot. At length a well-directed shell from H.M.S. Pioneer, bursting in the midst of one of the hamlets, and another from the Racehorse, which followed the former in about two seconds, bursting in the midst of the other hamlet, started them fairly."

At Si-ka-wei, a village some few miles from Shanghae, the following proclamation was found posted upon the Roman Catholic church:—

"The Chung-wang herewith commands his officers and soldiers that they may all be thoroughly acquainted with it. Having received the Heavenly decree to lead my soldiers everywhere to fight, the soldiers have already come to Shanghae and have pitched their tents at the chapel. Now it is ordained that not the minutest particle of foreign property is to be injured. The veteran soldiers are supposed to be acquainted with the Heavenly religion, that foreigners together with the subjects of the celestial dynasty all worship God and equally reverence Jesus, and that all are to be regarded as brethren (or to belong to the body of brethren). The veteran soldiers will surely not dare to offend, but I have been thinking that the soldiers who have but recently joined us are ignorant of this being a place of worship, and are unable thoroughly to understand that their religion is one with, and their doctrine has the same origin as, ours. Hence the propriety of issuing this command. Because of this, all the soldiers, whether veterans or otherwise, are commanded to be fully aware that, hereafter should any one be found guilty of injuring the property, goods, houses, or chapels of foreigners, it is decreed that he will be decapitated [299]without mercy. Let all tremble and obey. Don't disobey this command. 7th month, 15th day."

The Times of India contains the following, in the article from its Shanghae correspondent, dated October 24th:—

"I thank you for having done what you could for your suffering fellow-creatures in China, but the work is not done yet. Hitherto you have heard nothing but the details of rebels being handed over to the Imperialists for torture; of Shanghae, with its notorious execution-ground, being held by English and French troops; of a steamer manned by sailors from French ships of war, and loaded with rice, being sent to the relief of Imperialist cities; of English officers and sailors fortifying cities and mounting guns, and instructing the Tartar soldiers in fighting against the rebels; of guns being plundered from the Taepings; of duties being collected for the Imperialists; and last, not least, of innocent blood having been shed by Englishmen, and all this without one single act of retaliation, a circumstance perhaps unparalleled in the history of the world."

But enough of extracts from the press; it is sufficient to state that, with few exceptions, the whole British press of China and India emphatically condemned the flagrant violation of honour, of international law, and of solemnly pledged neutrality. Although too late to prevent the deeds in China that have tarnished the national honour of England, it is yet possible that similar atrocities may be in future arrested, if the British people will only be a little more watchful of the dealings of their Government with foreign nations, and will seek wider sources of information as regards them than such as may be presented through ordinary channels. It is, moreover, of particular importance that, upon every question of foreign policy, a man should be competent to judge for himself: to content oneself with "home policy" is simply absurd, for while other nationalities and other races exist, home policy will entirely depend upon foreign conduct, and the relations that are established abroad; in fact, as much so as the conduct and management of a household is regulated by society and the customs of its neighbours.


[31] The opinions of Mr. Holmes afford a fair sample of the anti-Ti-ping missionaries.



Ti-ping Polygamy.—Ti-ping Women.—Their Improved Position.—Abolition of Slavery by the Ti-pings.—Its Prevalence in China.—Moral Revolution effected by Ti-pings.—Their Religious Works.—Their Conduct Justified.—Jesuit Missionaries.—Consul Hervey's Despatch.—Apathy of Missionaries.—Its Consequences.—Chinese Antipathy to Christianity.—Christianity of the Ti-pings.—Their Forms of Worship.—Ti-ping Marriages.—Religious Observances.—The Ti-ping Sabbath.—Its Observance.—Their Ecclesiastical System.—Forms of Worship.—The Mo-wang.—Ti-ping Churches.

During my intercourse with the Ti-pings, if one part of their system and organization appeared more admirable than another, it was the improved position of their women, whose status, raised from the degrading Asiatic régime, approached that of civilized nations. This improvement upon the ignorant and sensual treatment of 2,000 years affords strong evidence of the advancement of their moral character. Although the practice of polygamy has by some war Christians been used as an argument to justify murdering the Ti-pings, I do not remember an instance in which those ultra-moral personages have endeavoured to teach the Ti-pings the difference between the law of well-beloved Abraham's time, upon which many of their religious rules are framed, and the later dispensation of the Gospel. It is, however, a great mistake to imagine that the Ti-pings are either confirmed or universal polygamists. In the first place, as they have thrown off all the other heathen practices of their countrymen, there is no reason to suppose they would make this an exception. In the second place, I know that many who have become[301] enlightened by the New Testament, have abandoned polygamy; while a vast number of the rest, only partially instructed, are either averse to it, or simply maintain the establishment of one principal and several inferior wives, or concubines, according to ancient custom, and as a mark of high rank. It is also a fact that in some countries a plurality of wives is rather beneficial than otherwise; and it may be that China is one of these. But above all, however detestable we may consider polygamy, where is the Divine command against it?

The Ti-pings have abolished the horrible custom of cramping and deforming the feet of their women. But although, under their improved system, no female child is so tortured, many of their wives have the frightful "small feet;" having, with the exception of the natives of Kwang-se, some parts of Kwang-tung, and the Miau-tze, originally conformed to the crippling custom. All children born since the earliest commencement of the Ti-ping rebellion have the natural foot. This great benefit to the women, their consequent improved appearance, and the release of the men from the tail-wearing shaven-headed badge of former slavery, form the two most conspicuous of their distinguishing habits, and cause the greatest difference and improvement in the personal appearance of the Ti-pings as compared with that of their Tartar-governed countrymen. The much higher social position of the Ti-ping ladies over that of their unfortunate sisters included within the Manchoo domestic régime, has long been one of the brightest ornaments of their government. A plebeian Ti-ping is allowed but one wife, and to her he must be regularly married by one of the ministers. Amongst the Chiefs, marriage is a ceremony celebrated with much pomp and festivity; the poorer classes can only marry when considered worthy, and when permitted to do so by their immediate rulers. In contradistinction to the Manchoos, the marriage knot when once tied can never be unloosed; therefore, the custom of[302] putting away a wife at pleasure, or selling her—as in vogue among the Chinese—or the proceedings of the British Court of Divorce, has not found favour in their sight.

Every woman in Ti-pingdom must either be married, the member of a family, or an inmate of one of the large institutions for unprotected females, existing in most of their principal cities, and superintended by proper officials; no single woman being allowed in their territory otherwise. This law is to prevent prostitution, which is punishable with death, and is one which has certainly proved very effective, for such a thing is unknown in any of the Ti-ping cities. The stringent execution of the law has, in fact, been rather too severe, for I have seen cases where women have rushed about the streets to find new husbands directly they have received the melancholy tidings of their late beloved's decapitation by the "demon imps." It is possible these bereaved ladies may not have been on the strength of the regiment; but at all events this acting of the law was rather too exaggerated. The conduct of the Chinese lady who fanned her husband's grave to dry it previous to her early acceptance of a new lord, and so preserve a correct propriety, is more excusable than this. Woman is by the Ti-pings recognized in her proper sphere as the companion of man; the education and development of her mind is equally well attended to; her duty to God is diligently taught, and in ordinary worship she takes her proper place; many of the women are zealous and popular teachers and expounders of the Bible; in fact, everything is done to make her worthy of the improved position she has attained by reason of the Ti-ping movement.

The institutions for unprotected women are presided over by duly appointed matrons, and are particularly organized and designed to educate and protect those young girls who lose their natural guardians, or those married women whose husbands are away upon public duty, and who have no relations to protect and support them. Very many of the women accompany their husbands upon[303] military expeditions; inspired with enthusiasm to share the dangers and severe hardships of the battle-field. In such cases they are generally mounted upon the Chinese ponies, donkeys, or mules, which they ride à la Duchesse de Berri. In former years they were wont to fight bravely, and could ably discharge the duties of officers, being however formed into a separate camp and only joining the men in religious observances. The greatest physical comfort to the women is their enjoyment of natural feet and the ability to move about as they wish; though, unfortunately, it is only amongst the youngest that this prevails entirely. It is utterly impossible to describe a more striking contrast than that presented in the walk and carriage of two women, one having the compressed, and the other natural feet; the former, even when standing still, has a very unsteady appearance, but when stumping along with the usual uncertain tottering gait, apparently in danger of rolling over at every step, the crippling custom excites the utmost disgust and the greatest commiseration for its victims. And yet this revolting exhibition is by the Chinese described as "swaying elegantly from side to side like the graceful waving of the willow tree!"

It is, probably, due to the feet—and Chinese feet are naturally very well formed—being of their natural shape, and the consequent elegance of carriage, that many of the Ti-pings' wives have been selected as the handsomest prisoners captured during the war, and that they appear in such advantageous contrast with the Imperialists.

The detestable system of slavery is totally abolished by the Ti-pings, and the abolition made effective by punishment with decapitation upon the slightest infringement of the law by male or female. The law as far as the slavery of men was concerned had no great occasion for existence, such cases being uncommon in China; but the real necessity for such an important innovation consisted in the fact that every woman was more or less a slave. The head wives of the aristocrat and the plebeian, although[304] not actually recognized as slaves, are still purchased by the bridal present, upon receipt of which, and never otherwise, they are handed over to their purchaser, or husband. The inferior wives are simply bought; with or without the knowledge of their family, for no equality of position is required, as they are selected according to the fancy of their future master, from relatives or slave-dealers as the case may be. Besides those who are purchased for wives, a great proportion of the women of China become the concubines of successive masters, by whom they are sold from one to the other; many are bought for domestic slavery; but vast numbers are purchased for a life of public infamy. The establishments set apart for this purpose are immense, and contain several hundred women purchased at the tenderest ages and reared to this wretched existence. At Hong-kong, at Shanghae, and several other places in China, buildings of this class are maintained upon the British territory, and the Hong-kong colonial government, and Shanghae municipal council, regularly tax and recognize them. It is the common practice of the poorer Chinese to sell their female children, and when the vastness of the population, and the fact that these children are mostly purchased for immoral purposes, is considered, the consequences may easily be imagined. At many and widely separated parts of China, I have seen comely young maidens from twelve to twenty years of age, offered for sale by their mothers, or speculators, at prices varying from six to thirty dollars, so that, as I have frequently heard the Chinese say, "You may sometimes buy a handsome girl for so many cash a catty (weight of one pound and a third) less than pork." This is the precise state of things which the Ti-pings would not tolerate amongst themselves, and which they would in time have taught all China to abhor were it not for foreign interference.

If the Ti-pings had not been interfered with, it is possible, though very improbable, they might have caused a temporary falling-off of trade, consequent upon the [305] nullification of Lord Elgin's treaty, the usual effects of civil war, &c., and it is quite certain the residue of indemnity, as far as the Manchoos were concerned, would have been lost; but whatever might or might not have been the result, trade would not have suffered much, for the Ti-ping power would soon have been supreme. Far nobler, then, would it have been for England to have avoided the contamination of the Manchoo alliance, and to have preserved the respect and friendship of at least a portion of the Chinese empire.

London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith.
London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith.

The wonderful achievement of the Ti-pings, not only in effecting an important moral revolution, but also a national deliverance of their countrymen, affords an almost incredible psychological phenomenon. Rising, as it were intuitively, from the lowest depths of moral degradation, they suddenly recognize and instantly abandon all those vices and national evils which had become engrafted upon the Chinese mind by the solemn and unswerving practice of 2,000 years. With meteor-like perception, the great originator of the revolution becomes convinced of the degradation of his countrymen. China, rooted to her antiquity, her seclusion, and her apathy, beyond the most distant hope of change or improvement, yields to this new influence, and bows before the teaching of the almost unknown student, Hung-sui-tshuen. The traditional lore of more than 2,000 years, the mystic and deeply-venerated teaching of ancient sages, the profligacy and idolatry sanctioned and indulged in for ages, are suddenly disregarded. But in one way can this be accounted for. Divine Providence has manifested itself in a manner as marvellous and superhuman as in the recorded miracles of old. The miraculous interpositions of Divine Power in the olden times appealed to the senses of small portions of a semi-barbarous people by a physical and visible wonder. This most extraordinary of revolutions has effected the moral regeneration of a vast proportion[306] of the human race by an invisible and wonderful agency. Therefore, whatever may be the apparent result of the hostility of foreign dynasties, of this we may rest assured, the Almighty Power that has seen fit to kindle the glimmering sparks of the first Christian movement in modern Asia has lighted a torch that may not easily be extinguished, faint and obscure as that light may burn amid the gloom of persecution which, in all climes, and in all ages, has marked the dawn of Christianity. Nations may rejoice over the seeming triumph of their policy, and may witness unmoved the martyrdom of the noble Ti-ping leaders, but nevertheless the moment will arrive when that smouldering spark will burst into a fire that may not be controlled by human agency.

I have probably had a much greater experience of the Ti-ping religious practices than any other European, and as a Protestant Christian I have never yet found occasion to condemn their form of worship. In the first place, the principal and most important article of their faith is the Holy Bible in all its integrity—Old and New Testaments entire. These have always been circulated through the whole population of the Ti-ping jurisdiction, and printed and distributed to the people gratuitously by their Government. Besides the Bible, numerous religious works by the Tien-wang (the Tai-ping king), and Kan-wang (his prime minister), have been commonly circulated among their followers; but I entirely deny that these, or any single one of them, tend to alter, modify, or supersede any part of the Word of God, as some persons have taken upon themselves to intimate. These works have been issued as the individual explanations and opinions of the two authors, but never as any essential article of belief. Had such not been the case, is it likely the Bible would have been given in a complete form, by which any peculiar and erroneous teaching of the Tien-wang would have become exposed? And is not this free and unlimited circulation of the Scriptures the very[307] best and most certain prospect of improvement? So anti-Christian, however, have been the arguments of nearly all opposed to the Ti-pings, that it is even possible some of their sect may dispute this truth.

Any one influenced by a sense of justice or Christian feeling will naturally wonder why a large proportion of idolaters, suddenly converted to the faith and accepting the Bible with joy, should require any defence for their unavoidable errors—errors common among the most perfect, and such as new disciples must, in the natural order of learning the holy mysteries, have been surrounded with. The answer must be, that all those in any way interested in the suppression of the Ti-pings, carefully circulated all the errors they could detect and all they could invent, cautiously concealing the fact that, whatever errors there might be are to be attributed to the Ti-pings not being able to thoroughly master, and rightly interpret, in a few years what no Christians have been able to do unanimously in nineteen centuries.

It may be asked, What had the religion of the Ti-pings to do with the war that has been waged against them?—was that religion the true casus belli? Was any casus belli ever stated? Assuredly not. With none of the circumstances allowed by men to justify killing their species—such as a just war, a defensive war, &c.—the Ti-pings have been most wantonly massacred. It may be urged by some that the sanguinary war maintained by the revolutionists can be held as a proof of their un-Christian character, and that they are endeavouring to propagate their faith by the sword. The simple reply to this is, that the Ti-pings have proved themselves to be far more merciful than their enemies. Oppressed and persecuted, their patriotism became aroused; they sought not to establish their faith by the sword; they sought to recover their patrimony from the usurping Tartar. They fought to uphold Christianity, not to crush it. Far from being incited by fanaticism to deeds of blood, it is a well-known[308] fact—particularly stated by the Revs. Griffith John, Joseph Edkins, Lobschied, Muirhead, and others—that the Ti-ping chiefs have always deplored the great loss of life consequent upon their struggle for liberty. In the tenth century, Christianity was introduced into Denmark by the sword, in the thirteenth into Prussia, and became established throughout Europe by religious wars. All Christianity has been compelled frequently to maintain itself by force of arms. The seventh century witnessed the wars against the Saracens; and if, as some people have stated, the Ti-pings had been fighting for the purpose of establishing their religion, and were wrong for so doing, then it is a sad reflection that all Christianity must be wrong, and that our Christian ancestors should have become either martyrs or Mohammedans.

The annals of history, and the practices of modern civilization, sufficiently prove the necessity of civil liberty for the enjoyment of Christian worship; why, then, should the Ti-pings be blamed if, in order to obtain the latter, they have been compelled to fight for their freedom?

The rise of the Ti-ping rebellion singularly resembles many events mentioned in sacred history, and many of the Ti-pings have delighted in comparing themselves to the Israelites of old. Even should the revolutionists have placed a warlike interpretation upon such passages from the New Testament as, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I come not to send peace, but a sword;" "for he beareth not the sword in vain;" who among us dare judge them as misinterpreters of Gospel, remembering the conversion of the heathen is executed according to the will and pleasure of the Lord, and not by any rule or formula laid down by man? It would be idle and presumptuous to say this must be the plan, or that shall be the manner; and yet there have been found ministers of the Gospel who are ready to justify the outrages committed on the Ti-pings, because they think they[309] have not accepted the Word of God in the manner they should have done!

When the statements of the various missionaries are perused, it must be wondered how it is that those who have been sent to China through the Christian generosity of the British public, have never yet attempted to succour or guide aright the great Christian revolution. The Bishop of Victoria, the Revs. Griffith John, Muirhead, Edkins, Mills, Milne, Lobschied, Lambath, and many others too numerous to mention, have rejoiced in the most eloquent terms about the Ti-pings, have partially approved, and criticised their acts, when sending their reports to England. What have they done to assist those who have "entreated" them, as Mr. Holmes, the Baptist missionary, was entreated, to come and teach the Word of God? Absolutely nothing!

Last year, it was estimated that the whole number of Protestant Christian converts in China, the result of more than thirty years of missionary labour, was some 1,400, and these included all the employées of the different mission establishments, many of whom, I have good reason to know, have an amount of faith similar to that of the Portuguese rice Christians of Macao, who, not long since, struck in a body, and told the priests they would not be Christians any longer, unless they received another quarter of a catty more rice per day. England sends more missionaries amongst the poor benighted heathen than any other nation; yet the work of all she has sent to China put together will not equal the proselytes of one Jesuit. The Jesuits penetrate the vast Chinese empire in every direction, shaven-headed, and dressed as natives. With a sublime earnestness of purpose, many of them devote their lives to their missionary work; adopting the strange and hostile country, and giving up for ever all ties of home, kindred, or nation, these devoted men never depart from China, but, till death relieves them, labour with that unfaltering perseverance[310] so eminently characteristic of the order of Jesus. I do not, by any means, advocate either the principles of the Jesuits, or their peculiar mode of propagating them; but what I do maintain is, that while the self-sacrifice of the Jesuits forms one extreme of missionary labour, so the confinement of Protestant missionaries to the treaty ports constitutes the other, and that many could be well employed in the interior.

What excuse can missionaries give for their surprising negligence of the Ti-ping rebellion? Can it be that ministers of the Gospel egotistically preferred their 1,400 converts to the 70,000,000, and upwards, of those who might have become Christians under the Ti-ping authority during 1861-2, had our missionaries helped them, and our Government permitted them to exist? Of course not! Well then, why? Let the British officials who prevented the few missionaries who would have gone to the Ti-pings reply for them, and those who would not go at all reply for themselves. Their reasons must indeed be plausible to find approbation. If the Ti-pings were very bad, all the more occasion for teaching them; if very good, how is it the missionaries allowed them to be sacrificed without protest? In all probability no reply would be given; but the conduct of the British consuls at Canton, Ningpo, and Shanghae, affords the true answer, as far as those missionaries who were willing to preach the Gospel to the Ti-pings are concerned. At Canton they were refused passports to the territory of insurgents. At Ningpo the missionaries were withdrawn from that city when it was captured by the Ti-pings, as Mr. Consul Hervey states in his despatch of Dec. 31st, 1861, to Mr. Bruce:—

"I would here state that with a view of avoiding needless discussions with the insurgents.... I thought it best to desire our missionaries to abandon the city.... The city has now become a gigantic camp, and a scene of desolation and riot, and has therefore ceased to be the fit and proper abode for teachers of Christianity and propagators of the [311]gospel. (?) This step will tend to simplify considerably our future relations with the Taepings at Ningpo."

This sinister passage must be remembered when considering the treacherous expulsion of the Ti-pings from the city by the allied Anglo-Franco-Manchoo piratical fleet.

Do the subscribers to the mission funds expect Mr. Consul Hervey to be the director of the missionaries, or a competent judge of "a fit or proper abode for teachers of Christianity"?—if so, in the latter case they are wofully deceived.

Captain Corbett, R.N., writes to Admiral Hope from Ningpo on the 20th December, 1861:—

"The missionaries are gradually removing out of the city. I thought it my duty to remonstrate with them against remaining where, in the event of any difficulty arising between ourselves and the Taepings, they would prove a source of great embarrassment to us."

Why all this anxiety to force the missionaries away from their duty? To get them out of the way before the commencement of the hostilities already decided upon, seems the only answer!

At Shanghae Mr. Consul Medhurst has interfered with the missionary work; but, above all, Mr. Bruce's regulations actually prohibit the communication of missionaries or any other British subject with the Ti-pings; in consequence of which, I was compelled to smuggle the Rev. W. Lobschied up to Nankin in May, 1862.

It will thus be seen, the teaching of the Word of God, and the spreading of the Gospel unto the uttermost ends of the earth, has, in China, been made subservient to official intrigue. This may somewhat explain the extraordinary apathy of missionaries, although it certainly cannot justify their neglect of their Master's orders. Missionaries should be servants of Christ alone; but out in China, it[312] appears, they are either politicians, or they permit the object of their sacred mission to be perverted by unscrupulous officials, and thereby become secularized.

Whatever may have been the benefit of the missions hitherto, their wanton, cruel sacrifice of the greatest Christian movement this world has ever witnessed has dimmed their glory with a shadow all time cannot remove; it is even needless to blame them for neglecting the innumerable and less favourable points of the Ti-ping religion—the grand and unalterable fact was the possession of the whole Bible as their only faith, and the hitherto unparalleled free circulation of it by the martyred revolutionists.

Only last June, the Bishop of Victoria, at the Highbury College grounds, referred to some of the remarkable scenes incident to the rebellion, and observed—"that in Amoy, which had suffered deeply, missionary work had made more progress than in any other city in China! One effect of the Ti-ping movement had been the wide-spread destruction of idolatry, by which a vast work had been done, preparatory to that of the missionary."

The idols, indeed, were all destroyed, but the missionaries did not step in. And now that the Ti-pings have been driven from their former possessions, and nearly exterminated, all the idols have been replaced by the Manchoos; and the missionaries may rest assured it will take them infinitely longer to overthrow the re-established Budhism than it occupied the Ti-pings in the first place. The Chinese have been edified by witnessing the Europeans fighting to suppress what has always been looked upon by natives as a religious movement, alien to the ancient and national faith of the country, in fact, as Christianity, or the religion of the foreigners. This being the case, it would be absurd to expect the Chinese will again come forward and adopt the creed for which they are daily beholding the Ti-pings suffer,—a creed to which they are naturally averse, and[313] dare not profess if they would, not only from dread of their Manchoo Government (which will certainly keep a sharp look-out to suppress any new outbreak of a movement which so nearly overthrew their own dynasty), but from the very fact that they have seen the strong and resistless "foreign devils" allied to the Manchoos for the express purpose of exterminating the Ti-ping Christians. There can be no ground for cavilling about the right of the Ti-pings to such denomination, the fact being that they accepted the Bible, acknowledged it as the Word of God, and worshipped His Son, as the Tien-wang has written, "as the Saviour of men's souls." Can the missionary-made Christians do more?

For my part, I shall ever rejoice, because I have been in a position to render what little assistance I could to many hundreds of the Ti-pings who have requested me to give them the foreign interpretation of different articles of faith; and I shall ever regret that, while missionaries are sent with exhaustless munificence into parts that will not profess Christianity, to the Ti-pings, under whose authority millions have professed and accepted the Scriptures with an enthusiasm and firmness of purpose never excelled, not one has been sent or volunteered to go.

It is difficult to understand, how ministers of the Gospel should not have felt a generous sympathy with men, whose profession of Christianity not only entitled them to the brotherhood they have always claimed with Europeans, but actually deprived their movement of a very great element most essential to its success—the popular national rising against the Manchoos.

Even Mr. Bruce, their greatest enemy, has stated,—

"My impression is that both the prospects of the extension of pure Christianity in China through the instrumentality of these men, and the success of the insurrection among the Chinese, viewed as a political movement against the Tartar Government, have suffered materially from the religious character Hung-sui-tshuen's leadership has imparted to it.


"Not only the gentry and educated classes, but the mass of the people, regard with deep veneration the sages upon whose authority their moral and social education for so many generations has reposed. And the profession of novel doctrines resting on the testimony of a modern and obscure individual, must tend not only to deprive the revolt of its character as a national rising against the Tartar yoke, but must actually transfer to the Tartars and their adherents the prestige of upholding national traditions and principles against the assaults of a numerically insignificant sect."

What could appeal more powerfully to our sympathy than this statement of an enemy? But for their profession of Christianity the Ti-pings would have carried the whole population of China with them long ago. Mr. Bruce in the above statement, and all persons acquainted with Chinese character, agree that the minds of the people are so immutable and apathetic, and so fixedly rooted to the ancient superstitions and idolatry of their country, that all change seems impossible. This being admitted, is it not certain that some superhuman effort must be made?

The Chinese, with their strong and peculiar idiosyncrasies, will never be taught Christianity: whenever they become Christians, it will be in exactly the same manner the Ti-pings became so, viz., by their own readings of Scripture, as the Author shall see fit to inspire them, but certainly not through foreign teaching or interpretation. If the Ti-ping rebellion should be utterly extinguished, the result will be dismal for generation after generation. The cause of true religion will have been delayed and driven backwards. It is to be hoped that it may be otherwise, and that the Bishop of Victoria prophesied truly when he said that—

"On the eventful day on which the flag of Taeping-Wang floated triumphantly from the battlements of Nankin, a light has been kindled in the empire of China, which shall never be extinguished, and those first and faint glimmerings of truth will brighten with increasing clearness, and 'shine more and more unto perfect day.'"


As I have already stated, the principal feature of the Ti-ping faith is their acknowledgment of the Holy Bible as the word of the True God. All their religious practices are deduced from its authority, and, in so far as they have been able to effect it, their form of worship and belief assimilates to Protestantism. All the principal sacraments of the Protestant religion are either observed or celebrated with such error or approximation as they have been interpreted with. The holy communion, unfortunately, has not been correctly understood; in its place every fourth Sunday the Ti-pings are in the habit of partaking of grape-wine. Each Sabbath three cups of tea are placed upon the altar as an offering to the Trinity; it is only since 1859, when Hung-jin, the Kan-wang, joined the Ti-pings, that the cups of tea have been tasted; previously, they were a part of the offerings rendered up at each worshipping,—a custom generated by their confusion of the ancient sacrifices mentioned in the Old Testament with the offerings and the Lord's Supper of the New.

Baptism constitutes the principal and most important of their sacraments. Until the arrival of the Kan-wang at Nankin, none but grown-up persons who, after a strict and lengthened examination, were found duly qualified, were admitted to the fellowship of the Ti-pings and baptized as Christians. The following were the forms observed, as issued by the royal authority of the Tien-wang, in the "Book of Religious Precepts of the Ti-ping Dynasty":—


"They must kneel down in God's presence, and ask Him to forgive their sins; they may then either take a basin of water and wash themselves, or go to the river and bathe themselves; after which they must continue daily to supplicate Divine favour, and the Holy Spirit's[32] assistance to renew their hearts, saying grace at every meal, keeping holy the Sabbath day, and obeying all God's commandments, especially avoiding idolatry. They may then be accounted the children of God, and their souls will go to heaven when they die; all people throughout the world, whether Chinese or foreigners, male or female, must observe this in order to obtain salvation."


The prayer of the recipient of baptism was as follows:—

"I [A. B.], kneeling down with a true heart repent of my sins and pray the Heavenly Father, the Great God, of His abundant mercy, to forgive my former sins of ignorance in repeatedly breaking the divine commands, earnestly beseeching Him also to grant me repentance and newness of life, that my soul may go to Heaven; while I, from henceforth, truly forsake my former ways, abandoning idolatry and all corrupt practices, in obedience to God's commands. I also pray that God would give me His Holy Spirit to change my wicked heart, deliver me from all temptation, and grant me His favour and protection, bestowing on me food and raiment, and exemption from calamity, peace in this world and glory in the next, through the mercies of our Saviour and elder Brother, Jesus, who redeemed us from sin. I also pray that God's will may be done on earth as it is done in Heaven. Amen."

These prayers, together with many others, were slightly altered by the Kan-wang, whose superior, in fact perfect knowledge of Christianity as practised by the English Protestant Church, led to the improvement of many and important forms of the Ti-ping worship. Unfortunately through the total loss of the numerous and valuable original Ti-ping documents I had gathered during my service and intercourse with those people, I am unable to give my readers a literal translation, or do more than notice what may be never otherwise known or rendered verbatim to this world. All my journals, manuscripts, and other original papers, collected upon the spot, have, although often recommenced, been successively captured by the Imperialist troops, with the rest of my baggage; therefore I must request those who may feel an interest in my narrative, to excuse the incompleteness of any parts I have recounted from memory.[317]

Marriage among the Ti-pings is solemnized with remarkable strictness, and the ceremony is performed by an officiating priest, or rather presbyter. All the heathen and superstitious customs of the Chinese are completely relinquished. The ancient customs by which marriages were celebrated—the semi-civilized espousal of persons who had never previously seen each other; the choice of a lucky day; the present of purchase-money, and many others—are abolished. Those only that seem to be retained are the tying up of the bride's long black tresses, hitherto worn hanging down, and the bridegroom's procession at night, with music, lanterns, sedan-chairs, and a cavalcade of friends (and in the case of chiefs, banners and military honours), to fetch home his spouse. As a natural consequence of the absence of restraint in the enjoyment of female society, marriages amongst the Ti-pings are generally love matches. Even in cases where a chief's daughter is given in alliance to some powerful leader, compulsion is never used, and the affianced are given every opportunity to become acquainted with each other.

I have frequently seen the marriage ceremony performed, and I can only say that, excepting the absence of the ring, it forms as close and veritable an imitation of that practised by the Church of England as it is possible to imagine. When the bridal party are all met together, they proceed to the church (i.e. "the Heavenly Hall," within the official dwelling of each mayor of a village or circle of twenty-five families, excepting in the case of chiefs, who are married in their own hall), and after many prayers and a severe examination of the bride and bridegroom's theological tenets, the minister joins their right hands together, and when each have accepted the other, pronounces a concluding benediction in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To the best of my belief divorce is not only not permitted, but actually unknown or thought of. Adultery is punishable with death; and[318] it may be that this is the only case in which the Ti-pings consider a complete release a vinculo matrimonii justifiable. All their rules upon the subject, and in fact their entire penal code, I once possessed; unfortunately I have no translations, and none are to be obtained outside their ranks.

All Budhistic ceremonies are rigidly prohibited at funerals, and also the common Chinese sacrifices to the manes of their ancestors, while a form of Christian burial is established, and a regular service read over the coffin by an officiating minister.

Various forms of prayer, ceremonies, and thanksgivings are used upon all felicitous or adverse events:—upon the commencement of all expeditions, at births, building of houses, previous to battles, after victory and after defeat, for daily use, for all sick and wounded persons, for harvest, for rulers and princes, for blessings and success vouchsafed, which they invariably attribute to God.

In every household throughout the length and breadth of the Ti-ping territory the following translation of the Lord's Prayer is hung up for the use of children, being painted in large black characters on a white board:—

"Supreme Lord, our Heavenly Father, forgive all our sins that we have committed in ignorance, rebelling against Thee. Bless us, brethren and sisters, thy little children. Give us our daily food and raiment; keep from us all calamities and afflictions, that in this world we may have peace, and finally ascend to Heaven to enjoy eternal happiness. We pray Thee to bless the brethren and sisters of all nations. We ask these things for the redeeming merits of our Lord and Saviour, our Heavenly Brother Jesus' sake. We also pray, Heavenly Father, that Thy holy will may be done on earth as it is in Heaven; for thine are all the kingdoms, glory, and power. Amen."

Frequently I have watched the Ti-ping women teaching this prayer to their little children, the board containing it being always the most prominent object in the principal apartment of their dwelling. Children have often run up to me on entering a house, and then pulling me towards the board, commenced reading the prayer.


The seventh day is most religiously and strictly observed. [319] The Ti-ping sabbath is kept upon our Saturday, and no sooner has the last knell of the Friday midnight sounded, than, throughout Ti-pingdom, the people are summoned to worship their God. The Sabbath morn having been ushered in with prayer, the people retire to their rest or duties. During the day two other services are held, one towards noon and the other in the evening. Each service opens with the Doxology:—

"We praise Thee, O God, our Heavenly Father;
We praise Jesus, the Saviour of the world;
We praise the Holy Spirit, the sacred intelligence;
We praise the Three persons, united as the True Spirit," &c.

This is followed by the hymn:—

"The true doctrine is different from the doctrine of the world.
It saves men's souls, and affords the enjoyment of endless bliss.
The wise receive it at once with joyful exultation.
The foolish, when awakened, understand thereby the way to heaven.
Our Heavenly Father, of His infinite and incomparable mercy,
Did not spare His own Son, but sent Him down into the world,
To give His life for the redemption of all our transgressions,
When men know this, and repent of their sins, they may go to heaven."

After this the minister reads aloud a chapter of the Bible, and then follows a creed, which is repeated by all the congregation standing, similar to that contained in the Ti-ping trimetrical classic, than which a more closely resembling counterpart of our Apostles' Creed it would be difficult indeed to imagine.

"But the Great God,
Out of pity to mankind,
[320]Sent His first-born Son
To come down into the world.
His name is Jesus,
The Lord and Saviour of men,
Who redeems them from sin
By the endurance of extreme misery.
Upon the cross
They nailed His body,
Where He shed His precious blood,
To save all mankind.
Three days after His death
He rose from the dead,
And during forty days
He discoursed on heavenly things," &c.[33]

After this the whole congregation kneeling, the minister reads a form of prayer, which is repeated after him by those present. When this litany is concluded, the people resume their seats and the minister reads to them a sermon, after which the paper containing it is burnt. During the singing of hymns the voices are accompanied by the music of very melancholy-sounding horns and hautboys. Upon the conclusion of the sermon the people all rise to their feet and with the full accompaniment of all their plaintive and wild-sounding instruments, render with very great effect the anthem:—

"May the king live ten thousand years, ten thousand times ten thousand years."

Then follow the Ten Commandments, with the special annotations affixed to each:[34]

"1. Worship the Great God.
2. Do not worship depraved spirits.
3. Do not take God's name in vain. His name is Jehovah.
[321]4. On the seventh day is the Sabbath, when you must praise God for His goodness.
5. Honour father and mother.
6. Do not kill or injure people.
7. Do not commit adultery, or practise any uncleanness.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not lie.
10. Do not covet."

The services are concluded with a hymn of supplication, and then large quantities of incense and fire-crackers are burnt.

The Sabbath is most strictly kept; not the slightest infraction is permitted: shops are closed, work suspended, and even military operations if possible. Upon that day, between services, the chiefs meet together to discourse upon religious subjects and frequently to supplicate the assistance of Divine Providence for a deliverance from the incessant dangers and perils of their hazardous life. Meanwhile the ecclesiastics, until church-time arrives, proceed through the camps and dwellings, examining and instructing the soldiers, women, and children.

The ecclesiastical system of the Ti-pings is a form of presbytery. The Tien-wang is king and high priest over his people; four princes occupy the next rank in the lay government of the Church, and after them several grades of clergy, who have to pass special and very severe examinations before obtaining their orders. These clerical examinations are conducted by the Ecclesiastical Court, presided over by the four principal divines and four princes, at Nankin; but before office is bestowed upon successful candidates, the whole of the papers, essays, and work of the student are submitted to that extraordinarily diligent man, the Tien-wang, subject to his approval or rejection. Not only this, but the whole work of his vast territory and numerous followers, passes through and is culminated in his hands.

Over each parish of five-and-twenty families, a minister[322] is placed, and a Church, or Heavenly hall, is built for him; over each circle of twenty-five parishes, a superior or elder of the Church is appointed, who, in rotation, visits all the churches under his control upon successive Sabbaths. In like manner the chief ecclesiastic of the district performs his duty, and above him, the superior of the department. Once during each month, the whole of the people are assembled—soldiers, civilians, men, women, and children, in some prominent locality under the canopy of heaven; a platform is erected, and their chief Wang or governor preaches to them, and gives a general lecture upon the subject of all orders, military, civil, and social administration. This mass meeting is also practised previous to any grand or important movement taking place.

Issuing forth from the gates of the city, the entire populace follow their governor, who, proceeding to the elevated position selected for him, generally a small hillock or rising ground, harangues them with great energy and enthusiasm. His large—eight-foot square—wang flag is planted by his standard-bearer immediately behind him, while his two snake flags (the armorial insignia of the chiefs) are held upon either hand by their particular bannermen. The foot of the hillock is encircled by the chief's body-guard, outside whose cordon the troops, with their numerous and many-coloured banners, are formed in brigades; between which, the civilians, men, women, and children, are congregated.

As nearly as I can remember, the following is verbatim the delineation of an address I heard the Mo-wang deliver at Pau-Yen. Upon reaching a table in the centre of the elevated platform, he said aloud, "Let us praise the Heavenly Father;" upon which he knelt down, the whole multitude following him and praying for several minutes. The Mo-wang then rose and asked, "Are all the country magistrates present?" Receiving an affirmative answer, he then spoke as follows:[323]

"The great God our Heavenly Father has sent the Tien-wang to rule over us, and to subdue the rivers and mountains to his dominion. This is by the great goodness of the Heavenly Father. All you country people, therefore, should listen reverently to the commands of the king, which I now proclaim. Formerly the people suffered much; now you have found peace, and the land is again becoming rich. I exhort any who still remain away from their homes to return to them without fear. The previous distresses which you have endured were sent by the will of Heaven. They are now past, to return no more. All among our troops who are so wicked as to rob or abuse you shall be punished with death. If there be any such now among you or prowling through the country, bring them to me, and I will punish them as they deserve. I also exhort you to regularly render the tribute and taxes due to the king. You have eaten the bitter, you may now enjoy the sweet. As for you, O Heavenly soldiers (Tien-ping), we trust only to the help of the Heavenly Father, and expect to obtain the empire. Listen then to the commands of the king. From the beginning till the present all our sufferings and battles have been for you, O people of the middle kingdom, that you might be freed from the hated dominion of the Manchoos. We have hitherto succeeded only by the favour of the Heavenly Father. Whenever, therefore, you go to fight them, let your heart be true to Him, and never suffer the imps to overcome you. When you go forth, do not rob the people, do not commit violence upon females, nor burn houses. If any of you do these wicked things, I will not pardon but certainly punish you."

At these gatherings, the infinite variety of military costume, the bright and gorgeous colours, the rich floating folds of the silken flags, the whole variegated appearance of the multitude of well and becomingly dressed members of a new people, as it were, united for the cause of freedom, and imbued in a wonderful and enthusiastic manner with the fixed determination of Christianizing their mighty empire,—all these combined, presented to the moralist a grand and imposing aspect.

Besides the priests appointed to regular parochial duties, great numbers are attached to the army, and each Wang, or chief of high rank, is provided with several, both to perform the household religious services, and instruct the immediate followers of the chief.

The clergy are all dressed entirely in black; the elders,[324] or superiors, being distinguished by an ornament of pearls worn on the front of their head-dress.

The churches of the Ti-pings are not separate buildings, but consist of a Sacred, or "Heavenly hall," specially constructed for the purpose of Divine worship, in all the principal official buildings, and palaces of the princes or Wangs. In every case the Heavenly hall is the most important portion of the building, and its consecrated character is never violated by being used for other than religious purposes.



[32] It has, notwithstanding such evidence of their appreciation of the fact, been stated that the Ti-pings denied the Trinity and the Holy Ghost.

[33] Trimetrical Classic. See Appendix.

[34] Annotations. See Appendix.



Ti-pingdom in 1861.—Its Armies.—The Foreign Policy of England.—Its Consequences.—Admiral Hope's Expedition.—Comments thereon.—Its Results.—Lord Elgin's Three Points.—Official Communications.—Secret Orders.—Evidence of such.—Their Object.—Official Communications.—Mr. Parkes' Despatch analyzed.—Newspaper Extracts.—Official Papers.—Mr. Parkes' Measures.—His Arrogant Behaviour.—Result of the Yang-tze Expedition.—Ngan-king Invested.—Modus Operandi.—The Ying-wang's Plans.—His Interview with Mr. Parkes.—Sacrifices his Interests.—Sketch of the Ying-Wang.—Hung-jin's Adventures.—The Chung-wang's Operations.—The Results.—Siege of Hang-chow.—Its Capture.—Manchoo Cruelties.—Position of the Ti-pings in 1861.

Far brighter dawned the spring of 1861 upon the Ti-ping cause than did the opening of the previous year. In nearly every direction the revolutionists were victorious: the principal forces of the Manchoo emperor were completely routed, and a considerable portion of the most valuable territory in China had fallen into their hands, and was fast becoming thoroughly consolidated as a part of their possessions. It seemed as though at last their heroic struggles were about to receive their well-merited reward. So great was the prestige of their late triumphs that, wherever they marched, whole armies of Imperialists vanished away without striking a blow, or, if unable to seek security in precipitate flight, defended themselves with the wild unorganized desperation of despair.

The extent of country entirely under the Ti-ping rule was very considerable. Along the line of the great Yang-tze river, from N.E. to S.W., their territory extended[326] from its banks below Chin-kiang into the central part of the province of Kiang-si, south of the Poyang lake, a distance of more than 360 miles; while from the boundaries of their possessions N.W. of the river to the opposite limits in the S.E., an irregular breadth of 200 to 250 miles included the whole of their settled dominions, forming an area upwards of 90,000 square miles, and containing a population of some 45,000,000. Besides this, large portions of the provinces of Hoo-peh, Hoo-nan, Fu-keen, Che-kiang, and the distant Sze-chuan, were occupied by powerful Ti-ping armies. The lowest approximate strength of their forces at this time might be estimated at 350,000; but a large proportion consisted of mere boys. This force was divided into five principal armies, the remainder doing garrison duty at Nankin, Soo-chow, and many other of the most important cities within their jurisdiction. One of the five armies in the field was commanded by the Ying-wang in the province of Hoo-peh: the Chung-wang commanded a large force in the southern districts of Ngan-whui; the Shi-wang, with a very powerful army, was operating in the central part of Kiang-si; and the Kan-wang, having proceeded to the province of Hoo-nan, was joined by upwards of 40,000 insurgents from the old seats of rebellion against the Manchoo dynasty,—the provinces in the southern limit of the empire, Kwang-tung, Kwang-se, and Kwei-chow; and, besides this force, far away upon the western boundary of China, Shih-ta-kae (I-wang), the Ti-ping emperor's brother, in command of a large army, was successfully operating in Sze-chuan. In fact, north, south, east, and west, the star of the patriots shone brightly in the ascendant, while that of the Manchoos seemed setting in the gloom and darkness, through which, upwards of two hundred years ago, it had struggled into existence. The greatest empire in the world appeared at length about to be relieved from that incubus which for two centuries had paralyzed its hopes and energies; the enlightenment of[327] China seemed approaching, step by step with the advent of Christianity, which, following rapidly on the expulsion of the Tartar, with its vast train of benefit and improvement, promised, not alone to place that empire upon the pedestal of greatness yet reserved for her, but to realize corresponding advantages for the whole civilized world. One dark cloud alone appeared to cast a shadow upon so bright an horizon—the policy of the British Government. Language can scarcely express how seriously the interests of the universe, and of England in particular, have been prejudiced by a persistence in the suicidal measures dictated by a policy so mistaken.

Forcibly as the moral effect of the general foreign policy of England has been denounced by statesmen, how few have been found to raise their voices in the British senate in protestation against the practical evils which that policy has engendered in the far East, a country abounding in tea and silk, and now paralyzed by opium instead of being enriched by the manufactures of Great Britain. The moral effect of bad statesmanship, however much it may weaken England's just influence and the future peace of Europe, cannot sensibly affect the present wealth and pursuits of the people. Trade, politics, civilization, and religion, are pretty well balanced and regulated throughout Europe; therefore, whatever evil might result from the foreign policy of the British Government, no particular improvement could be expected to take place in a state of affairs which we consider almost perfect. But very different are the results of our peculiar kind of foreign policy in the case of China. With that extensive empire present relations are unsatisfactory, and the mutual benefits to be derived from a free intercourse are yet hidden in the vale of futurity. Mutual benefit is hardly the correct expression, for from a country which may be regarded as the richest in the world in proportion to its extent and population, England would derive far greater commercial advantages than she could possibly bestow. Whenever[328] a prospect of the most satisfactory relations offered, and whenever a free intercourse was not only offered, but actually established by any section or part of that innumerable people, it would be only natural for England to rejoice, if not for the sake of the Chinese, and the higher objects of humanity, at least for selfish motives. But this is exactly what the British Government has proved incapable of appreciating, by preferring temporary interests to those which were much greater and far more lasting.

The Ti-pings offered not only satisfactory relations and free intercourse, but every advantage that England could possibly wish for or be benefitted by. Christianity and civilization, as practised among ourselves, would have become morally and physically certain under their rule. The detestable opium trade would have been completely annihilated, and British produce would have taken its place, to the benefit of the Chinese, and the relief of the choked markets and distressed operatives of England. The fulfilment of the Ti-ping law, that European "brethren" should "go out or in, backwards or forwards, in full accordance with their own will or wish," whether for pleasure or "to carry on their commercial operations," did throw open the whole of their territory to free intercourse and trade, and would have done the same for the entire Chinese empire. The exclusiveness and hatred of the Manchoo Government to the "outer barbarians" and "foreign devils" was by the Ti-pings changed into friendship and kindness. Modern improvements would have been extensively introduced. The trade, at present restricted to a few treaty ports, would have become universal throughout the empire, and the vast stores of mineral riches, almost unknown to foreigners, would have yielded forth their mines of wealth, while a general and enormous commerce, perfectly free and unfettered (excepting opium), would have thrown open an empire richer in itself than all Europe. To England especially, as the[329] greatest commercial power, an inexhaustible source of profit would certainly have been established, and would have produced, without aggression or usurpation of territory, a revenue far excelling any derived from India. All these and many other important advantages were partially established by the Ti-pings, and would undoubtedly have been completed upon the final overthrow of the Manchoos.

Strong as these inducements should have been to cause England to adopt a different policy towards China, and much as such a course would have tended to her own advantage, there was another and a higher consideration which she should have permitted to influence her. As a powerful and influential nation, a duty was cast upon her, if not to extend the hand of friendship to a people who were nobly struggling to follow her in the path of civilization and to learn the true religion, at least not to thwart such efforts, and, by untimely interference, render them hopelessly inoperative. Personal experience, the reports of men of intelligence and honour, all prove but too plainly how the friendly Ti-ping nation was crushed by British interference. It has been urged that the friendly professions of that people were not genuine, and that their undertaking would never have been performed. Had such a course, so opposed to their nature, been pursued, surely it would have been more grateful to the martial spirit of England to resort to arms for the purpose of enforcing an observance of good faith and honour, than for that of avenging the capture of a wretched opium smuggler.

Upon the 11th of February the expedition under command of Admiral Hope, started for the Yang-tze-kiang with the object of opening that river to foreign trade, in accordance with the treaty lately concluded at Pekin. In all respects this expedition was of the greatest importance, as well to the Chinese as the foreigners whom it most particularly interested. Its results were entirely prejudicial[330] to the Ti-pings. The diplomatic and military authorities of the expedition mostly opposed the Ti-ping movement for its interference with the "carrying into due effect the terms of the treaty" just forced from the Manchoo at the cannon's mouth, and the almost certain prospects of its success, which would not only sadly affect the "China indemnity," but their own individual prospects of office and aggrandizement expected through their intercourse with the suddenly changed polite and obliging Manchoo mandarins. The deputation of the mercantile community attached to the expedition was utterly absorbed with its trading pursuits, and looked upon anything and everything likely to interfere with its immediate profits with no little amount of hostility: the future was completely ignored; its expectations were an uninterrupted trade for three years, and a return to England with a large fortune; therefore it is hardly to be wondered at that it looked with hatred upon the change progressing in the shape of the Ti-ping revolution. Besides the personal and spontaneous prejudice entertained by these two classes against the Ti-pings, it seems pretty certain that directly after all the efforts of the Manchoo Government to repel foreigners by force had failed, intrigues to deceive and induce them to act against the rebels they were unable to subdue, were successfully adopted. Even Mr. Bruce (who had stated in his despatches—"If there is one art of diplomacy understood by the Chinese it is that of separating interests which ought to be identical") seems to have been thoroughly imposed upon, while the false professions of the Manchoos, in order to obtain the assistance of the British against the Ti-pings, have had no small share in consummating that gross outrage. Again discussing the policy of assisting the Imperialists (which the latter had requested, making great protestations of "friendship," "mutual commercial interests," &c.), he says:—"It is evidently for the interest of the Chinese authorities to induce us to embark in a[331] course of action which will embroil us with the insurgents."

Yet, eventually, Mr. Bruce chose to place implicit faith in their professions, and took one occasion out of many, in that disgraceful affair of the Anglo-Chinese fleet (depending upon the truth of the truthless Prince Kung, whose hands yet reeked with the blood of our murdered countrymen), to give his favourable opinion to the British Government; and the British people, depending upon their representatives, who depended upon the Government, who depended upon Mr. Lay, who depended upon Wan-siang, president of the Manchoo Foreign Office, who depended upon Prince Kung, who depended upon some one else, actually permitted the very laws of the land to be set aside, by allowing the ordinance of neutrality to be broken, and the Foreign Enlistment Act to be declared null and void. Fortunately the disgraceful affair terminated in the most ignominious manner, and the British sailors were saved the degradation (that had been thrust upon the soldiers) of becoming the mercenary braves of a corrupt and sanguinary despotism.

Upon the opening of the Yang-tze to trade, and the selection of the cities of Han-kow, Kiu-kiang, and Chin-kiang as the treaty ports, it became necessary to enter into some agreement with the Ti-pings, who commanded the river throughout its principal positions; in fact, by their possession of Nankin, Wu-hoo, Tae-ping-foo, the cities of Seaou-shan, Tung-shan, and several others, this trade was almost as completely in their power as the valuable silk trade had been since May, 1860. In consequence of this, Admiral Hope (ignoring, with all the arrogance of superior strength, the fact that the murderous repulse of the Ti-pings from Shanghae had given them a perfect right to make it a casus belli, and to retaliate upon British commerce, lives, or any other possession) communicated with the Ti-ping authorities at Nankin, and pledged the neutrality of the British nation once more.[332]

The Earl of Elgin's instructions to Admiral Hope contain the following:[35]

"It is obvious, however, that before British vessels can navigate the river in safety, some understanding must be arrived at with the rebels, who are believed to be in possession of certain points upon it. It is with the view of obtaining your assistance towards the accomplishment of this object that I now address myself to your Excellency.

"Nothing, I am confident, would so surely tend to the establishment of such an understanding on a satisfactory basis as your Excellency's own presence and authority, if your other engagements should permit of your proceeding up the river in person. At any rate, I would venture to suggest that a naval force, sufficiently large to inspire respect, should present itself before Nankin, and that the rebel authorities should be informed that we do not appear as enemies, or with the intention of taking part in the civil war now raging in China, but that we require from them some sufficient assurance that British vessels proceeding up or down the river for trading purposes shall not be interfered with, or subjected to molestation by persons acting under their orders."

In his letter of instruction to Mr. Parkes, who accompanied the admiral as diplomatic secretary or agent, Lord Elgin gave three points to be observed:—

"January 19, 1861.

"1. That attempts on the part of foreigners to introduce into the disturbed districts munitions of war and recruits should be vigorously repressed."

"2. That the dues of the Chinese Government on foreign trade, both inwards and outwards, should be collected at Chin-kiang or Shanghae."

"3. That we should maintain an attitude of strict neutrality between the Imperial Government and the rebels."


Notwithstanding existing pledges of neutrality, the Imperialists were supplied with ships, stores, arms, and every munition of war they required, at Shanghae and all the treaty ports.

The revenues were secured to the Tartars, and the ports of collection defended against the Ti-pings.

By assisting the Imperialists in every possible way; protecting the treaty ports and constituting Imperialist bases of operation against the Ti-pings at each of them;[333] allowing trade with the Imperialists and prohibiting any with the Ti-pings;—by supplying the Imperialists with revenue, and protecting it against the Ti-pings;—by defending Shanghae for the Imperialists and shooting down the Ti-pings when they demanded it in 1860 and 1862;—by supplying the Imperialists with arms to the prejudice of the Ti-pings.

The following passage appears in the letter of instructions addressed by the Earl of Elgin to Mr. Parkes, viz.:—

"It is not possible to anticipate with certainty the reply which the rebel leaders may give to the communication which the admiral is about to make to them, although there is, I think, reason to hope that they will not receive it in an unfriendly spirit; nor, if it were possible, would it be necessary that I should attempt to do so on the present occasion, as you are already fully acquainted with the views that I entertain respecting the policy which it is expedient to adopt towards them, and the objects which we ought to endeavour to accomplish under the provisional arrangement for opening up the Yang-tze, which has been entered into by Mr. Bruce and Prince Kung."

Reading these instructions together with the third of the three articles above cited, it would not be unreasonable to conclude that a policy of neutrality was intended to be acted upon: how far such intentions were sincere may be gathered from the following "orders" addressed to Commander Aplin.

Coromandel, Nanking, March 28, 1861.


"You are, in company with Mr. Muirhead, to wait on the chief authorities of the Taepings, for the purpose of making the following communication, leaving a copy with them, should they wish you to do so, and noting their answers in the margin for my information.

"(Signed)      J. Hope,
"Vice-Admiral, and Commander-in-Chief."

"Commander Aplin,
Her Majesty's ship Centaur, Nanking."


"I am directed by the Commander-in-Chief of the naval forces of her Majesty the Queen of England in China, to acquaint you that it is his intention to have beacons put up on the river-side between Woo-sung and Fu-shan....

"That the Governments of England and France having ordered that any attempt of the Taeping army to enter Shanghae or Woo-sung shall be repelled by force; and it being clear, therefore, that the presence of the Taeping troops in that vicinity can be productive of no good to them, and may lead to collision, it is very desirable that they should not approach within two days' march of these places, and the Commander-in-Chief requests that orders may be sent to the officers in command of their troops to this effect; copies to be supplied to me. Should this be done, he will exert his influence to prevent any hostile expedition issuing from these places for the purpose of attacking the Taeping troops."

With regard to this document, in the first place, the statement that the English Government had "ordered" Shanghae and Woo-sung to be defended vi et armis, is simply untrue. The Foreign Secretary's first "orders" with regard to the defence of Shanghae, or any other treaty port, bear date, "Foreign Office, July 24th, 1861," and are given to Mr. Bruce:—

"I have received from the Admiralty, together with other papers, a copy of Vice-Admiral Hope's letter to you of the 8th of May.... I have caused the Admiralty to be informed, in reply, that I am of opinion that Vice-Admiral Hope's measures should be approved; and I have now to instruct you to endeavour to make arrangements to secure the neutrality of all the treaty ports against the rebels. The Government of Pekin will probably make no difficulty in abstaining from using the treaty ports as bases of operations against the rebels, provided the rebels on their side refrain from attacking those ports.... You will understand, however, that her Majesty's Government do not wish force to be used against the rebels in any case, except for the actual protection of the lives and property of British subjects.

"I am, &c.,
"(Signed)      J. Russell."

If then orders had been issued to Admiral Hope or any one else, they must have been secret orders, for none[335] are upon record to such effect as stated in the communication to the Ti-ping authorities. Moreover, the condition upon which the neutrality of the treaty ports was proposed in the Foreign Secretary's despatch was not observed. The Pekin Government was never asked to abstain from using Shanghae as a base of operations against the Ti-pings; on the contrary, they were not only assisted to make it one by the moral and indirect support of the British authorities, but by the actual assistance of British soldiers and sailors in the field, chiefly headed by Admiral Hope, who almost before the ink of his guarantee was dry openly violated it. What renders this flagrant disregard of all truth and honour still more to be deplored is the fact that the Ti-pings, in their wonderfully earnest endeavours to cultivate the friendship of Europeans, complied with every requisition of even Admiral Hope and his colleagues. They agreed not to attack Shanghae for the space of one year, upon the special understanding that the British upon their part would prevent the Imperialists from using that city for any aggressive or belligerent purposes; and although not even the shadow of an attempt was made by Admiral Hope, or any other British authority, to fulfil the pledges given upon the part of England, with an almost incredible forbearance and good faith, the Ti-pings to the very day, nay, nearly to the very hour, faithfully, but entirely to their own prejudice, refrained from any attack upon Shanghae. As for the orders with regard to Woo-sung, they can only be attributed to the exuberant imagination of the diplomatic Admiral, such place having never upon any occasion been referred to by the "orders" from the Foreign Secretary.

It is difficult indeed to consider Admiral Hope's communication, either in accordance with the public instructions of Lord Elgin and Earl Russell, or other than in direct opposition to them. Of course it would be idle to suppose that either Mr. Bruce, the minister to Pekin, Admiral Hope, Mr. Parkes, the diplomatic agent, or any[336] of the consuls, would have dared to systematically violate the orders of their Government; it can therefore only be concluded that secret orders were given.

To those who cannot reconcile Admiral Hope's and Mr. Parkes's communications with the Ti-pings, with the explicit instructions they had each received, and can neither approve of their idea of "strict neutrality," it must appear that the Admiral's communication at Nankin was simply a very unsailor-like trap to catch the Ti-pings. The plot was doubtless very creditable to the ingenuity and diplomatic finesse of those who planned it; but those admirable politicians, though remarkably indifferent moralists, cannot easily reconcile it with honour and justice. Had the drama been enacted nearer to home, it would from its very clumsiness have attracted attention; but as it occurred so far away, scarcely a soul but those personally interested either knew or cared anything about it.

The intention evidently was to induce the Ti-pings to promise not to attack Shanghae, and then, by converting that city into a base and nucleus for the Manchoos, to compel them to do so for their self-preservation. The theory was a bold one, and would have been realized were it not for the extraordinary forbearance of the Ti-pings, which forced Admiral Hope, and the others, to commence hostilities themselves. The conditions upon which the insurgents had agreed not to attack Shanghae, the violation of the British pledges, and the true position of affairs, of course, formed no part of the programme to be made public; and it was correctly considered that China was too far away, and the British people not sufficiently interested to scrutinize matters very closely. Thus it is that a few unprincipled officials have been able to attempt the justification of their conduct, upon the pleas, that the Ti-pings broke faith and attacked Shanghae, and that the leaders of this great Christian and patriotic movement were a horde of banditti who desolated everything, and meditated the destruction of Shanghae, &c. &c. &c.

The reply[337] of the Ti-ping authorities to Admiral Hope's "strict neutrality" despatch, as translated by government interpreters, is thus:—

"Mung, the Tsan-sze-keun (successor elect to the Prince Tsan), of the heavenly Tai-ping kingdom, issues the following urgent orders to the Ching Tsin-kwan, Ai-teene, and Moh-hun-te" names of certain high officers, "for their information:—

"'Whereas officers, deputed by the Admiral of Great Britain, have come to the palace of the Tsan-sze-keun, and stated that, as Shanghae and Woo-sung are depôts of their commerce, they have undertaken the protection of those two places, in order that the safety of all classes of the people living there may be secured; they therefore request that the forces of the Celestial dynasty may not go to those two places, the same being unnecessary, and not likely to be attended with any material advantage. The Tsan-sze-keun accordingly issues these urgent orders to his younger brethren, in order that they may direct the troops composing the different divisions that, whenever they arrive in the vicinity of the places named, they must not approach nearer to them than 100 li, an arrangement which will conduce to the advantage of both parties. They are also to understand that the capture of those places is to form no part of the plan of campaign for the PRESENT YEAR.'"

This decree sufficiently evinces the anxiety of the Ti-ping Government to act in accordance with the wishes of that of England.

Commander Aplin thus reported the result of his mission to Admiral Hope:—

"With reference to the communication made by me to the chief Taeping authorities at Nankin.... I received a promise to-day that the order should be given, as requested, respecting the beacons; that, with regard to the 2nd paragraph of the communication, an order would be sent to their officers in command not to attack Shanghae or Woo-sung THIS YEAR"....

Mr. Parkes, in his report of the means by which the agreement of the Ti-pings to Admiral Hope's communication was obtained, states:[36]


"We replied that, of course, any insurgents having the folly to attack Shanghae, after the Governments of France and England (?) had determined to protect that port, would meet certain destruction, but that the object of the Commander-in-Chief was to prevent collision and unnecessary bloodshed. We had long been doing all in our power to avoid this; (!!!) we took no part in the struggle between the Taepings and the Imperialists, with whom we were also at peace, and should fall out only with those who injured us ... and any Taeping movement upon Shanghae would be considered as an attempt to injure us. (!!) Were they, on their part, equally anxious to maintain a friendly understanding with us, they would surely write the orders they had been requested to furnish if this were the case, and a refusal to do so would naturally lead us to mistrust their intentions." (!!!)

Mr. Parkes continues:—

"I endeavoured to make clear to them the objects of British policy in China; (?) that our interests here were strictly commercial, and that they must disabuse their minds of an impression which I fancied they entertained, that we, like themselves, sought the possession of territory, and therefore that our interests were opposed to theirs. It was for the protection of our commerce, and for that purpose only, that we stationed a force at Shanghae."

Mr. Parkes had ample room to dilate on this subject, for it is difficult to imagine in what light, save that of an usurpation of territory, the Ti-pings could behold the seizure of Shanghae, Woo-sung, Ningpo, &c.

"Experience," continues Mr. Parkes, "had proved to us that we could not trust to the Imperial Government to protect the place, either against the Taeping forces, or the inferior bodies of insurgents...; that experience had also shown that, owing to their imperfect organization and discipline, plunder and violence marked the progress of the Taepings; and consequently, to secure the safety of our people and their property, it was necessary we should protect ourselves. (!!) That this mode of protection was perfectly efficient, but as it put us to expense and inconvenience, we should be glad when it was rendered no longer necessary by the restoration of the country to order, whether this was effected by its becoming wholly Taeping, or by reverting to Imperial rule, and when Shanghae or any other place that the English Government might see fit to protect, would revert to the hands of the governing power.... They (the Taepings) wished to know, however, in which way the Admiral would 'use his influence' to prevent their being attacked by the Imperialists from Shanghae; and whether one of their officers would be allowed to visit Shanghae to learn what arrangements were made in this respect."


This very singular extract is much open to objection. 1. If "experience had proved" that the Imperialists were unable to withstand the Ti-pings, how is it that Mr. Parkes states, with regard to the defence of Shanghae, &c., "we should be glad when it was no longer rendered necessary by the restoration of the country to order," particularly when the policy that was pursued naturally prolonged the struggle and delayed that result? 2. The inaccuracy of the statement that, "to secure the safety of our people and their property, it was necessary we should protect them ourselves," is thoroughly proved by the capture of Ningpo by the Ti-pings on the 9th December, 1861, when not the slightest particle of British property was touched, and all foreigners were treated as "brothers" by the Ti-pings; and, moreover, by the fact that not a single case is upon record in which the Ti-pings have ever retaliated upon European life or property when they might have done so with every justification. 3. Then, with regard to the "any other place that the English Government might see fit to protect," when the whole of the province, with the exception of Shanghae, was in the possession of the Ti-pings, and when the entire silk and a great proportion of the tea trades were also in their undisturbed possession, why was not Shanghae surrendered to the rising and triumphant power, as Ningpo had been; particularly when we are told that "it was rendered no longer necessary, by the restoration of the country to order," to pursue the policy of defending the treaty ports, or any other place, "that the English Government might see fit to protect"?

Mr. Parkes continues his report thus:—

"I then said that our discussion had chiefly related to Shanghae, and to the warning given them by the Admiral not to approach that port; but I was anxious to learn how far the friendly dispositions they professed" (more than the Imperialists ever did) "would induce them to abstain from obstructing our commerce, and whether they were disposed to agree to propositions of the following nature:—


"1. No Taeping force to advance within 100 li of any Chinese port or place open by treaty to British trade, provided that the Tartar government do not send out expeditions from those parts or places to attack the Taepings." (It was upon this condition the Ti-pings promised not to attack Shanghae during the "present year," 1861.)

"2. The Taeping authorities or forces not to obstruct the transit of native produce to the aforesaid ports or places, nor to prevent British merchandise passing from thence into the interior." (This clause always was, and has been, faithfully and regularly observed; and such being the case, upon what grounds but the extraction of the "indemnity" from the Imperial customs at Shanghae, can the plea of injury to trade upon the capture of that city by the Ti-pings rest, seeing that elsewhere they never injured, but did their utmost, even amidst the sanguinary and fierce prosecution of civil war, to foster and preserve it?)

"At the close of the interview I had to go into some further explanations as to the rights and duties of neutrality, in consequence of their having asked whether the English vessels of war at Nankin would carry supplies from them to the besieged garrison at Ngan-king, which I, of course, told them could not be done."

This savours rather highly of hypocrisy when it emanates from one of those fully acquainted with what was to be. "Of course," their destruction being predetermined, the Ti-pings "could not be" assisted; can Mr. Parkes and his superiors explain the conduct described in the following extract by the same "rights and duties of neutrality"?

"TO THE EDITOR OF THE Shanghae Times.

"Sir,—Do the authorities think that the terms of the treaty were that foreign vessels should be allowed to transport troops and ammunition for the suppression of this revolutionary movement in China?

"That foreign vessels should be the chief instruments in the hands of this imbecile government to do their dirty work, although garnished with gold. Can it be possible that H. B. M.'s Government will allow its ships to take passengers from here—ostensibly as coolies, but really as soldiers—a fact to which the whole foreign and native community here are alive? Can it be possible that, after so much experience and the sacrifice of so many of our countrymen, we are going to throw ourselves needlessly into the boiling caldron?

"Let us look before we leap. Vessels are loading here with soldiers for Shanghae" (Imperialist soldiers). "The fact is known at Hong-kong, [341]and it will create much difficulty. Let the history of the three past wars with China teach us not to create another.

"Yours, &c.,
"A Friend to China.

"Hankow, January 11, 1862."

For some months this disgraceful work proceeded, till at last the following official sanction appeared:—

"Shanghae, March 21, 1862.

"Sir,—The Taoutae" (Manchoo governor of the walled Chinese city of Shanghae) "having been anxious for some time past to get a reinforcement from the army under General Tseng-kwo-fan" (Manchoo general commanding Imperialist troops up the river Yang-tze) "for the relief of this garrison and that of Sung-kiang-foo, and having repeatedly questioned me as to the possibility of allowing a few British vessels to be chartered for the purpose of bringing the troops down....

"The Taoutae accordingly entered into negotiations with a house here for the employment of a certain number of steamers for the conveyance hither of 9,000 men.... I at once addressed Sir J. Hope a letter, ... and from his answer ... you will observe that he entirely approves of the measure.

"I have, &c.,
(Signed)      "W. H. Medhurst."

This arrangement, in accordance, we are bound to believe, with the "duties of neutrality," was executed by the house of Mackenzie, Richardson, & Co., of Shanghae, in consideration of the sum of 180,000 taels (£60,000) paid by the Manchoo Government.

While the British steamers have passed the walls of Nankin, crowded with Imperialist troops, hastening to the destruction of the Ti-pings in the neighbourhood of Shanghae, I have sat on the silent batteries and sympathized with the too credulous people who, faithful to their promises of neutrality, foolishly allowed the Tartar troops to pass scathless right under the muzzles of their guns, simply because they were safely sheltered by the British ensign flying over them. The ruse of shipping the soldiers as coolies, and so smuggling them past the Ti-ping positions, was abandoned upon the legalization of the trade by the same admiral and authorities who, but a few months previously, had explained the "duties of neutrality" to the Ti-pings, and had given them to understand it was impossible their stores could be conveyed to Ngan-king, as any such act would constitute a breach of neutrality! After the legalization, the Imperialist braves were carried down to Shanghae by thousands, and many a time I have longed to put a shot through the hulls of their conveyances; but the Ti-pings would not allow me, because, as they said, it might hurt the "foreign brethren"! Meanwhile, directly the cowardly rabble had passed out of range of the batteries, their yells of bravado could be plainly heard, and British oak and British seamen became hidden and disgraced by a cloud of Manchoo flags waved in defiance, whenever it could be done in safety.


As Mr. Parkes and his co-adjutors did not obtain an instant compliance with their grossly unjust demands upon the Ti-pings, viz., not to attack Shanghae, a city belonging to them by every known right as natives of the soil, if they were able to capture it from the Manchoos; not to levy duty upon the British vessels passing through their territory, and to avoid all the principal ports, the great sources of revenue to their enemies, simply because their capture of such places might interfere with the British trade—they took more active measures, viz.:—

"To effect this, we proceeded early on the following morning to the palace of the Tien-wang ... and on arriving there at 10 A.M. handed the following note to an officer, with the request that it might be sent to the Tien-wang:—

"The undermentioned British officers, namely, Captain Aplin, senior naval officer in the Yang-tze river, and Mr. Parkes, having been engaged during the last five days in fruitless endeavours to arrange certain important [343]business with the Taeping authorities, and being greatly inconvenienced by the delay thus occasioned, respectfully request admission to the Tien-wang, or that the Tien-wang will appoint an officer to meet them with full authority to settle their business without further trouble.'"

Let Englishmen apply this arrogant document to themselves. The Tien-wang was crowned sovereign over a vast territory; his large armies were in victorious possession; and he, being invested with all the mystery and divine attributes common to eastern monarchs, became a much more unapproachable object than western rulers, even to his own people. What would Englishmen do if some foreign official, dissatisfied with waiting "five days" in negotiation with their proper authorities "to arrange certain important business," were to force themselves into Her Majesty's palace, and "request" her to personally treat with them, or "appoint an officer to meet them," and so infringe official etiquette?

Not satisfied with issuing this presumptuous summons, Mr. Parkes proceeds:—

"After having repeatedly inquired whether the Tien-wang had taken any notice of our application, and been as often told that it had been sent in to him, we at last ascertained that instead of this having been done, our note had been forwarded to the Tsan-sze-keun" (one of the Ti-ping secretaries of state, and the proper authority to receive any communication). "We now told the officer who had deceived us to bring back our note, and while waiting for it the Tsan-sze-keun and Le Teen-tseang, a chief who had taken a prominent part at all the interviews, sent to tell us that the orders we wanted should be ready to-morrow. We took no notice of this message, and they sent a second time to say that they wished to see us at the Tsan-sze-keun's residence. To this we replied that having found it necessary to make an application to the Tien-wang himself, we could not now return to them, and that if they" (the persons appointed by the Ti-ping Government to transact such business) "wished to speak with us they should come to the palace."

If Mr. Parkes had met with the fate of Mr. Richardson and others in Japan, or experienced indignities similar to those suffered by Mr. Edan, political agent at the Bhootanese court, during his superlatively arrogant dictation[344] to the Ti-ping chiefs, can it be denied that it would have been his own fault?

In his explanation of thrusting himself into the Tien-wang's palace, and outraging all the Ti-ping rules and ceremonies, Mr. Parkes has evidently forgotten himself, and represented his own conduct as that of the Ti-pings. He says:—

"It was clearly necessary to take a stand of this kind when we saw that the ignorance and pride of these people induced them to assume the same absurd and insufferable pretensions in their treatment of foreigners that characterized the Mandarins in days that are past."

This little conceit of the diplomatic agent is really amusing, by reason of its being perfectly unique. I cannot remember another instance in which the Ti-ping has been compared with the Manchoo in behaviour to foreigners or anything else. When people set themselves to work deliberately to injure others, it generally happens that they strive to vilify them in order to justify themselves. To this motive, I suppose, we must ascribe the "clearly necessary stand" of Mr. Parkes.

The result of the Yang-tze expedition, in so far as the Ti-pings were concerned, amounted to a treaty of neutrality between them and England; a promise on their part not to attack Shanghae, and to remain 100 li (about 30 miles) away from it during the "present year" (1861), upon condition that the British authorities prevented the Imperialists from attacking them from that place, or using it for belligerent purposes; and a pledge from Admiral Hope, that if the Ti-ping forces were to attack the other treaty ports, all British subjects being "unmolested both in their persons and property, the commanders of the vessels of war stationed there will receive directions in no way whatever to interfere in the hostilities which may be going on, except for the purpose of protecting their countrymen, should it be necessary to do so." It also resulted in their being compelled to break their engagements, and thus[345] expose themselves to British hostility and encourage the violation of solemn pledges of neutrality. Grave as are the accusations which may be brought forward against a number of British officials, it must be admitted that their conduct fully justified the most severe animadversions.

In the meanwhile, during the negotiations at Nankin, the Ti-ping forces mentioned in the first pages of this chapter were severally engaged prosecuting, upon the whole, a very successful series of operations.

The city of Ngan-king (capital of Ngan-whui province) having become closely invested by an Imperialist army of some 20,000 men, and a flotilla of several hundred gun-boats, the Ying-wang was charged with the relief of that city during his march up the course of the Yang-tze to his destined operations in the province of Hupeh.

Although Ngan-king had been threatened by Imperialist forces during some eighteen months, until the spring of 1861 it had never been seriously menaced, the Manchoo braves having contented themselves with the ordinary phase of Chinese warfare—watching, flag-waving, and yelling at a safe distance from any probable vicious attempt of the dangerous Chang-maous.[38] Ngan-king, however, was a place of great strength for Chinese warfare; it formed the point d'appui of all Ti-ping movements either to the northern or north-western provinces, and previous to any attack upon their capital, Nankin, or its fortified outposts, its reduction was an absolute necessity. The city being built right on the brink of the great river, was absolute mistress of that important highway, without which, and its invaluable water communication, any extensive movement of the Manchoo armies in an easterly direction became impracticable. At last, therefore, the Manchoo warriors girded up their loins, that is to say, tucked up the bottoms of their petticoat inexpressibles, fiercely wound their tails around their cleanly-shaven caputs, made a terrible display of huge flags, roaring gongs, horridly painted bamboo shields, and a most extravagant waste of gunpowder, and moving forward with terrific cloud-rending yells, established themselves safely out of cannon-range of the walls, and proceeded to complete the investment of the doomed city by building themselves in with a formidable series of earth-works and stockades, from which they could neither climb out nor enemies climb in. As a rule, the Chinese never fight unless they are obliged to. Not that they are so cowardly as some Europeans have mistakenly seemed to believe, but rather from those singularly refined traits of reasoning which, with these peculiar people, border closely upon the absurd. For instance, having myself often spoken with Chinamen regarding their ineffective and almost childish, but for the merciless treatment of the vanquished, military tactics, I have always been answered to the following effect:—


"Hi-ya, how can? Two piecee man no can stop one place aller same time, spose nother piecee man must wantchee come, mi must wantchee go; spose mi must wantchee stop, nother piecee man no can come."

Singularly enough this principle is generally applied. If a determined resistance is certain, those who should attack content themselves by safely fortifying themselves at a distance, as in the case at Ngan-king; but should the determination of the defensive party be doubtful, then an attack, with no little impetuosity and daring, will almost surely take place.

Now, the Ti-pings have never been known as remarkable for the logic, cowardice, or whatever it may be termed, generally peculiar to the race of Chinese: upon the contrary, their reputation has ever been that of fighting men. In consequence of this certain prospect of hard knocks in the event of their being irrational enough to try and climb over the walls of Ngan-king when the Ti-pings were determined to try and prevent them, the Imperialists[347] very wisely made themselves masters of the situation by establishing a complete cordon of stockades around the city, extending from the river above to a point just below its walls, calculating, with a perfect philosophy, that when the rice within the city became finished, those without might make a good breakfast, then scale the walls free from any "hard knocks," and, better than all, gather the heads of the helpless and famished garrison, ad libitum; thus capturing the city, obtaining the emoluments of a long and easy campaign, and winding up with the head-money, all without the danger of fighting.

Meantime, although the city was fast becoming straitened for provisions, the Ying-wang confined his efforts for its relief to distant operations, probably considering its garrison amply sufficient not only to maintain the place, but to prevent any complete blockade by sallying forth upon the Manchoos, as their strength, although less than half that of the besiegers, was considered such as would not be likely to diminish their possible chance of victory. In this case, however, too much was expected from a mostly newly-levied force, exposed to the attack of Honan braves and Tartar troops, the best forces in the service of the Manchoo emperor.

The Ying-wang, his plans, and the success attending his hitherto operations, became known to the Yang-tze expedition, under Admiral Hope, in March. Upon the 22nd of that month Mr. Parkes visited the Ying-wang at the city of Hwang-chow, situated upon the northern bank of the river, 50 miles from the treaty port Han-kow. In his report of the interview he states:—

"At the gate by which we entered I observed a proclamation in the name of the Ying-wang, assuring the people of protection, and inviting them to come and trade freely with the troops. Another proclamation, addressed to the latter, prohibited them from that date from wandering into the villages and plundering the people. A third notice, appended to the heads of two rebels, made known that these men had been executed for robbing the people of their clothes while engaged in collecting grain for the troops."


This statement, to those who know anything about the Ti-pings, appears perfectly true; how does Mr. Parkes reconcile it with his report that "plunder and violence marked the progress of the Ti-pings"?

"He informed me that he was the leader known as the Ying-wang (or Heroic Prince); that he was charged from Nankin to relieve Ngan-king, and had undertaken a westward movement with the view of gaining the rear of the Imperial force, and besieging that city on the western side. So far he had been completely successful.

"Leaving Tung-ching, a city forty miles to the north of Nankin, on the 6th instant, he marched in a north-westerly direction upon the city of Hoh-shan, thus avoiding all the Imperialist posts in the districts of Yung-chung, &c. On the 10th he took Hoh-shan, where there was no considerable force to oppose him; and then turning to the south-west, reached Yung-shan on the 14th, which fell in the same way. Hastily securing the munitions of these two places, of which he stood in need, he pressed on to Kwang-chow, and succeeded in surprising a camp of the Amoor Tartars, killing, as the Ying-wang said, all the men, and capturing all the horses. This, and a small affair at Paho, placed him in possession of Kwang-chow, which he entered without opposition on the 17th instant. He had thus taken three cities, and had accomplished a march of 600 li (say 200 miles) in eleven days, and was now in a position either to attack in rear the Imperial force which he had just turned, and draw them off from Ngan-king, or, postponing that operation, to occupy Han-kow, from which he was distant only fifty miles. He added, however, that he felt some hesitation in marching upon the latter place, as he had heard that the English had already established themselves at that port.

"I commended his caution in this respect, and advised him not to think of moving upon Han-kow, as it was impossible for the insurgents to occupy any emporium at which we were established, without seriously interfering with our commerce, and it was necessary that their movements should be so ordered as not to clash with ours."

Now this exaggerated "caution" and absurd regard for "our commerce" made the Ying-wang sacrifice his own interests.

His expedition was planned for the express purpose of capturing Han-kow (preparatory to that of Wu-chang, the capital of the Hupeh province, situated directly opposite, on the other side of the Yang-tze); the relief of Ngan-king was to be effected en route, either by the direct attack[349] of his army or by the effect of its success elsewhere. At the time of his interview with Mr. Parkes, either operation was simply a matter of choice, for Han-kow was almost undefended and offered an easy capture; while having completely outmanœuvred the besiegers of Ngan-king, he might have fallen upon their rear, and, with a sortie of the garrison, probably exterminated them. Of course, to effect either plan a continuation of his hitherto prompt and decisive action was imperative; this, however, became arrested by the unfortunate and prejudicial presence of the English, who, in the midst of his successes, established themselves at the city the capture of which formed the terminal point of his campaign. Of course, Mr. Parkes does not report the threats of hostility thrust upon the Ying-wang to deter him from advancing upon, and occupying the Eldorado on which foreigners of every degree were greedily intent, trusting to the terms of the Elgin treaty with the Manchoo Government for the fulfilment of their golden visions. But it were idle, indeed, to suppose so energetic a commander as the Ying-wang would allow all the fruits of his past operations and the favourable prospects of a rapid prosecution of his movement, to be lost either by "hesitation in marching upon Han-kow," or by the advice of Mr. Parkes. The Ying-wang undoubtedly received a threat of "strict neutrality" in event of his appearing at Han-kow—that sort of "neutrality" with which Mr. Parkes was "fully acquainted," and which has invariably been assumed towards the Ti-pings, but which some might interpret by the words, "gratuitous hostility."

The Ti-ping cause suffered from British contact in this, as in every other instance, as the Ying-wang delayed his march upon Han-kow, and sent to Nankin for orders. His army, although mustering nearly 50,000 men, did not possess a fighting strength of more than half that number, the rest being simply the coolies in usual attendance upon all Chinese armies; therefore delay in the enemy's country simply meant defeat. The critical and favourable moment[350] to strike a successful blow was lost, and while the great cause of Christianity and freedom was once more paralyzed by the incubus of British interests, the opponents to both received such ample time to concentrate their out-generalled forces, that when, after a delay of several months, the Ying-wang received orders to advance upon Han-kow, and open communication with the British authorities, he encountered their vastly superior army close to the city of Ma-ching, and after a most desperately contested battle, was defeated with heavy loss, and then gradually driven beyond the city of Ngan-king without having been able to succour that position, or obtain the slightest advantage from his previous brilliant exploits.

The Ying-wang, although only twenty-four years of age, had already, by his extraordinary courage, obtained one of the highest positions among the Ti-pings, ranking at this time as a generalissimo of the army, and a noble of the first degree, with the honourable title of Ying-wang (Heroic Prince). By the Imperialists he had received the cognomen of "Sze-ngan-kow" (Four-eyed dog), in consequence of his remarkably rapid and successful strategy; and next to the Chung-wang his presence inspired more fear in Manchoo bosoms than the vicinity and operations of any other Ti-ping leader. Singularly romantic were the antecedents of this young and gallant chieftain. A youthful Cantonese student, while immersed in studying the wise proverbs of the Chinese classics, he chanced to meet a fellow-scholar related to some of the Hung family, who had originated and still formed so important a part of the Ti-ping rebellion. Shortly afterwards, having been unfairly treated in his examination by the corrupt government officials, he turned towards the new doctrines of the Ti-pings, and, with the assistance of his friend, paid a visit to Hung-jin, the future Kan-wang, who at this time, 1857, was fulfilling the duties of Christian teacher and catechist to the London Missionary Society at Hong-kong. Of an impulsive and enthusiastic disposition, he[351] soon became a convert to Christianity, which Hung-jin preached with an eloquence that obtained the future Prime Minister of Ti-ping-wang the confidence and entire approval of all missionaries and Christians for many years, though, singularly enough, when the time of Hung-jin's elevation to the second place among the Ti-pings arrived—that is to say, the moment when by his power and influence it might naturally have been known that his exertions to Christianize China would have become immense, and would have been accompanied by proportionately gigantic results—his English pretended friends for the most part abandoned him.

The Ying-wang added one more to the large number of proselytes obtained by the earnestness and devotion of the warm-hearted and noble-minded Hung-jin. He had been for some months under the tuition of the latter, and had become greatly attached to him, when, deeply impressed by the information of the imprisonment of Hung-jin's mother, wife, and several other relatives, by the Canton mandarins, because of their connection, though very distant, with the principal members of the Ti-ping rebellion, and that they were only saved from execution by the efforts of some missionaries, he formed the determination to rescue them from imprisonment and ill-treatment.

Proceeding with his fellow-student to the city of Canton, they managed, through bribing some of the prison warders, to obtain a moment's admission to the aged mother of Hung-jin. To their surprise they found with her, besides other relatives, a granddaughter of surpassing beauty, who was the orphan of Hung-jin's brother—a brother who, with nearly the whole of his family, perished during the ruthless massacres of the innocent kindred of the Ti-ping rebels. Although their first meeting lasted but a few minutes, it seems the future Ying-wang and the beautiful captive maid became mutually attached. In their case, however, the romance admits of explanation. I have myself seen both the Ying-wang and the lady, and[352] I consider that of each sex they were by far the most handsome I ever beheld in China. I can, therefore, easily believe that when in the wretchedness of her captivity, the young and noble-looking student appeared before her surrounded by all the extra attractions of his position as her deliverer, the lonely and miserable girl turned towards him with her whole heart. Not less natural seems the passion of the student, whose newly-aroused religious enthusiasm predisposed him to entertain the warmest feelings towards those he came to rescue and whose cause he had already espoused. During the short moments of his first interview, he told the prisoners to be prepared for an attempt to escape upon a certain night. The appointed time arrived, but no rescue, for the would-be deliverer, betrayed by one of the gaolers whom he had bribed and trusted, was seized while making his way into the prison by means of false keys, and thrust, helpless as themselves, among those anxiously awaiting his assistance. Brought before the cruel Manchoo mandarins, he was sentenced to the barbarous death by "cutting into a thousand pieces," while Hung-jin's mother, wife, niece, and several other relatives, were condemned to torture and decapitation.

Time flew onwards, and at length the evening before the fatal day arrived. What dread and overpowering feelings those poor doomed creatures felt upon that last day of life, while anticipating the horrid tortures coming with the morrow's sun, I do not know; but what I can tell is, that suddenly, about midnight, the doors of their prison were burst asunder, and the whole of the captives liberated by an insurrection of famine-maddened Chinamen.

These tumults, created for want of rice, are of very frequent occurrence in China, and are often attended with great loss of life; in nearly all such cases the rioters break open the prisons and augment their strength with the released captives. To such an event were the Ti-pings indebted for their brave Ying-wang, for many a future victory, and for the Manchoos' oft-repeated defeat.[353]

Making his way down to the European settlement, Hung-jin's pupil, with his teacher's mother, wife, and niece, and several male relatives of the Hung family, found safety under the kind protection of some European missionaries. In the morning they all embarked and took passage to Hong-kong on board an American river steamer plying between the two places, and within four or five hours anchored in safety under the folds of the flag of freedom.

Hung-jin's happiness in the release and society of his wife and mother may easily be imagined; but soon rumours of other Manchoo persecution reached him, and, dreading the sudden death of his dearest relatives, if captured, he determined to make his way to Nankin, and then return for them, if such a plan proved practicable. His travel through the country and ultimate arrival at Nankin has been noticed in another chapter; suffice it, therefore, to say, he was accompanied by him who afterwards became the Ying-wang, himself disguised as an itinerant surgeon, and the latter as his attendant. Upon their arrival at Nankin, Hung-jin was detained and created Kan-wang by his relative the Ti-ping-wang, while his companion, receiving a commission in the Ti-ping army, was given letters to a number of Ti-ping partisans in the provinces of Kwang-tung, Fo-keen, and Kiang-si, and also received instructions to bring the Kan-wang's relatives from Hong-kong, and having delivered his despatches, to return to Nankin in company with those who would join his party (several Ti-ping officers accompanying him) by the way. Reaching Hong-kong safely, disguised as wandering mendicants, the whole of the refugees succeeded in arriving at the first rendezvous in small parties of two or three, under his guidance. At this place several hundred men mustered in arms, and recruited at other parts of their route. After many encounters with the Manchoo troops and many perilous adventures, the Ying-wang having principally contributed to the successful efforts of his comrades by[354] his distinguished gallantry, re-entered Nankin with the Kan-wang's family. Soon after the successful issue of his mission, the Ying-wang was promoted, and received the beautiful niece of his patron and friend in marriage.

The Ying-wang having studied for a military life and possessing undaunted bravery, soon rose in the Ti-ping army, and during the famous victories obtained over the besiegers of Nankin in May, 1860, while in command of a small division, defeated the Tartar body-guard of Chang-kwoh-liang, second in command of the Imperialist army, and killed that general, falling himself desperately wounded in the moment of victory. Upon his recovery he received the title and position of Ying-wang.

While in the west, successes that would undoubtedly have led to the capture of Han-kow and other important positions were rendered nugatory through the presence of the English; in fact wherever the Ti-pings carried on their operations apart from that baneful influence, good fortune crowned their efforts.

The Shi-wang in Kiang-si, the I-wang in Sze-chuan, the Kan-wang in Hoo-nan, and the Chung-wang in Che-kiang, were successful in each province.

Although the movements of the three former Wangs were very extensive, and although the Shi-wang had captured the capital and many other large cities in Kiang-si, and in June had occupied the city of Wu-chang-hien (situated a few miles below the Ying-wang's position at Hwang-chow, but on the opposite side of the river, and from which two points the armies of the Shi and Ying Wangs would have co-operated in the reduction of Han-kow, but for the stoppage of their movements caused by the presence of British authorities and merchants at that city, and the menaces they had been treated to by the politicians of the Yang-tze expedition), all these operations paled before those of the Chung-wang in Che-kiang. Pressing rapidly forward with a small army of observation, the Commander-in-Chief[355] made a false attack upon the important city of Hang-chow, the provincial capital, strongly garrisoned by Tartar troops of the Eight Banners, and after satisfying himself as to the strength of the enemy, by a rapid and brilliantly executed series of manœuvres, succeeded in capturing the important cities of Chapoo, Hayen, Kashen, Hoo-chow, Hi-ning, &c., and, in fact, obtaining complete possession of all that most valuable territory extending from the south of the Ta-hoo lake to the walls of Hang-chow, and from the banks of the river Yang-tze to the sea at Shanghae, with the exception of that small portion adjacent to the latter city that was guaranteed by the agreement with Admiral Hope to remain a neutral ground during the "present year."

In consequence of the tactics pursued by the Commander-in-Chief as the result of his short campaign of observation, the main body of the two armies respectively commanded by the Shi and Kan Wangs were recalled from their distant successes and concentrated at the important cities of Hwuy-chow (capital and centre of the green tea districts in Ngan-whui, upon the south of the Yang-tze, at the time completely under the jurisdiction of the Ti-pings) and Soo-chow, with a large force already under the personal command of the Chung-wang himself. These two columns were marched, the one from Soo-chow in a south-westerly, and that from Hwuy-chow in an easterly direction, co-operating with each other upon the city of Hang-chow.

The Manchoo force concentrated at Hang-chow for its defence, and for the general defence of the Che-kiang province, numbered 125,000 men, of whom 35,000 were Tartars of the Eight Banners, the whole commanded by the Imperial commissioner and Tartar general, Luy-chang, assisted by the noted Chinese commander Chang Yuh-leang.

At the commencement of the Chung-wang's campaign, a movement took place which was attended by a success[356] that put in action the hostile operations of the British Government, and thus brought disaster to the Ti-pings, whose available forces amounted to about 295,000 men, as opposed to 420,000 Manchoo Imperialists. Although to a casual and uninformed observer these figures may appear greatly advantageous to the Imperial cause, such was very far from being the case. With the exception of their Tartar troops and certain portions of the Chinese regulars, the Manchoo Government could not depend upon its defenders. Those who might fairly be trusted did not exceed two-thirds of the total number; the rest, comprising the militia (braves), were comparatively useless in the field, and many of the veteran Ti-pings confidently advanced against a greater odds than ten to one.

The two divisions of the Chung-wang's army uniting under the walls of Hang-chow, commenced the siege of that city with much vigour. The Tartar garrison being of great strength, and aided by an army in the field, for nearly a month the progress of the besiegers was not very material. Numerous actions occurred, and a severe struggle was maintained, without any decided success upon either side. At last, unable to carry the city by direct attack, after severely repulsing a sortie of the garrison, combined with an attack of the army of co-operation, the Chung-wang determined to reduce the city by cutting off its communications, and with this intent organized operations that, judging by their results, proved of the very gravest importance to Manchoo, foreigner, and Ti-ping alike.

Establishing the main body of his army in lines of circumvallation around Hang-chow, a strong division of nearly 50,000 men was detached under the command of the generals Hwang and Fang, with orders to capture all the important cities to the south-east of Hang-chow, and terminate the expedition with the full possession of the seaport Ningpo, one of the treaty ports open to foreign trade.[357]

Dividing into two columns, respectively commanded by the above-mentioned generals, the division pushed rapidly forward, acting under the direct orders of the Shi-wang, who superintended the movement against the enemy's communications, while the Chung-wang himself conducted the siege operations. The columns of Hwang and his colleague Fang, during the month of November, successively captured all the cities to the south and south-east of Hang-chow, while other expeditionary columns detached by the Shi-wang obtained possession of all situate between the possessions of the Ti-pings in the north and north-east, round to the westward, and to the positions occupied by the two subordinate generals; thus completely cutting off every communication of the besieged city. After reducing the departmental and district cities, Shaou-shing, Fung-wha, Yü-yaou, Yen-chow, Tsze-ke, and many others, and after receiving a deputation from the European residents of Ningpo, who left them highly satisfied, the leaders of the two columns effected a junction of their forces, and, moving upon Ningpo, carried that city by a sudden assault on the 9th of December, 1861. Meanwhile, other divisions, detached from the Chung-wang's army, captured and garrisoned all the southern, western, and eastern departments of the province, so that when, upon the 29th of December, the garrison of Hang-chow succumbed to famine and the determined assault given by the besiegers on that day, the whole of Che-kiang became subject to the Ti-ping Government.

In consequence of these successful operations, the end of the year found the Ti-pings in almost entire possession of the two richest and most densely populated provinces of China, Che-kiang and Kiang-su, while the small portion of Kiang-su yet held by Manchoo authorities was comprised within a radius of thirty miles around Shanghae. Faithfully observing their part of the agreement made with Admiral Hope and his coadjutors, the Ti-pings refrained from any advance upon Shanghae, even[358] although the non-fulfilment by the British authorities of the conditions upon which the said agreement was made fairly released them from its obligations; but directly the "present year" had expired, every other position in the province being already in their hands, troops were moved forward to drive the Manchoos from this their last stronghold in the province.

As has been already observed, the position of the Ti-pings was one which but for the interference of the British Government must undoubtedly have caused the overthrow of the Manchoo Tartar dynasty. They possessed the valuable silk districts, the tea districts of Ngan-whui and Che-kiang, the cotton districts of Kiang-su, and the potteries and porcelain manufacturing districts of Kiang-si, which together constitute the principal sources of revenue in the empire. The repulse of the Ying-wang, and consequent fall of Ngan-king upon the 5th of September, afforded the Imperialists but little compensation for their defeats everywhere else. Ngan-king, completely invested by land and water, and unrelieved by the Ying-wang, after its garrison had endured the most terrible privations, fell into the hands of the besiegers. Three regiments of the garrison, unable to endure the horrors of the famine raging within the doomed city, which had reduced them to cannibalism of the most frightful description, human flesh being eagerly sought at the price of eighty cash per catty[39] and devoured with avidity, surrendered to the Imperialists upon condition of a free pardon, but were massacred to a man, and their headless bodies cast into the Yang-tze. After this the remaining portion of the fighting men came to the usual Chinese arrangement with the besiegers, and leaving the city unmolested, reached the Ti-ping position at Loo-chow. Then came the triumph of the Manchoos, who, entering the city, ruthlessly slaughtered the non-combatant inhabitants: men, women, and children, whose mutilated bodies [359] were borne down towards the sea by the swiftly rushing waters of the great river. I beheld them mangled with every atrocity that fiends could perpetrate, floating down the stream in hundreds, huddled together, while the river steamers, Governor-General and Carthage, surrounded by the ghastly remnants of mortality, became impeded in their movements.

MAP OF CHINA Showing the position of Ti-ping Tien-Kwoh, or the settled dominions of the Ti-pings at
the close of the year 1861, the zenith of the Ti-ping Power. Also indicating the most important movements
places &c., connected with the Revolution from its commencement.
London Day & Son (Limited)
MAP OF CHINA Showing the position of Ti-ping Tien-Kwoh, or the settled dominions of the Ti-pings at the close of the year 1861, the zenith of the Ti-ping Power. Also indicating the most important movements places &c., connected with the Revolution from its commencement.
London Day & Son (Limited)

The capture of Hang-chow and the entire of the Che-kiang province concluded the operations of the Ti-pings in 1861. They had now attained a magnificent position; the richest provinces and most important cities of China had become subservient to them, the most valuable sea-coast in the world was partly theirs, their base of operations against the Manchoos could not be surpassed, and it only now remained to capture the commercial city of Shanghae. The whole of the trade of the interior, valuable beyond calculation, was justly theirs,—it had been so since 1860; but yet that city was maintained by British forces as the citadel of the Manchoos, whereby the Ti-pings were defrauded of the export and import duties which belonged to them, but which, in the hands of the Manchoos, not only answered for the "indemnity," but served to obtain for them all munitions of war needed to carry on the struggle. Under these circumstances, the possession of Shanghae became imperatively necessary, and yet such was the chivalrous observance of good faith on their part that they refrained from hostilities until the expiration of the "present year," although long since released from all moral obligations, and prompted by all considerations of self-interest and aggrandisement to subjugate Shanghae without a moment's notice or delay.


[35] See Parliamentary "Correspondence respecting the opening of the Yang-tze-kiang river to foreign trade."

[36] See Blue Book, "Upon the Rebellion in China," presented to Parliament April, 1862.

[37] See "Further Papers relating to the Rebellion in China," presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of her Majesty.

[38] Long-haired, a name given the Ti-pings because of their tresses.

[39] About fourpence per 1.333 lb. avoirdupois.



Life in Nankin.—Ti-ping Character.—Its Friendly Nature.—Religious Observances.—Cum-ho.—Curious Adventure.—A Catastrophe.—Love-making.—Difficulties.—Trip to Shanghae.—Reflections.—On the Yang-tze River.—Life on the River.—An Adventure.—The Deserted Lorcha.—The Murdered Crew.—"Mellen's" Fate.—Arrival at Shanghae.—Return Voyage.—Sin-ya-meu.—A "Squeeze Station."—The "Love-chase."—Fraternizing.—Wife-purchasing.—The Grand Canal.—China under Manchoo Rule.—Its Population.—The Manchoo Government.

After my return to Nankin from the Chung-wang's army, I spent some very pleasant months in that city. The warm summer weather of central China produced a sort of lassitude both of mind and body, and for a time, while leading a happy and listless life, mixing with the kind and enthusiastic Ti-pings, or wandering through the beautiful gardens of the Chung-wang's palace with Marie, the outer world became forgotten. Aroused each day with the rising sun, my friend, Philip, and I would meet the Chung-wang's household at the morning prayers in the "Heavenly Hall." Here, from about six o'clock till seven, I regularly joined in the prayers of people whose devotion I have never seen excelled elsewhere. The men and women were separated by occupying different sides of the Hall, and the worship was generally conducted by the Chung-wang's chaplain. After a long form of supplication, the anthem was chanted, followed by a doxology and hymn; the officiating minister then closed the service by reading a written prayer, which when finished was always set on fire and consumed.


Oftentimes[361] while kneeling in the midst of an apparently devout congregation, and gazing on the upturned countenances lightened by the early morning sun, which poured its golden rays through the quaintly carved windows, have I wondered why no British missionary occupied my place, and why Europeans generally preferred slaughtering the Ti-pings to accepting them as brothers in Christ; and while scanning the assembled Christian Chinese, praying from the Bible we Europeans trust in and declare to be our guide, I have felt a sympathy and enthusiasm for their cause that never can be weakened or subdued.

About an hour after prayers the great drums at the palace entrance would sound for the morning meal. When the family were assembled, the following form of grace was given by the master of the house, or, in the absence of the Chung-wang, by his brother:—

"Heavenly Father, the Great God, bless us thy little ones. Give us day by day food to eat and clothes to wear. Deliver us from evil and calamity, and receive our souls into heaven."

After breakfast the household would disperse upon their various daily occupations,—the ladies to their private apartments, there to employ themselves with embroidering the exquisitely ornamented shoes and silken garments in vogue among the Ti-pings, to perform more domestic duties, or amuse themselves with music and singing.

The Chung-wang's cousin, Yu-wang (the Admired Prince), being Vice-President of the Board of War, and member of the Tien-wang's Privy Council, seemed generally overwhelmed with business. First he would gallop off with a numerous escort to the offices of the "Board of War." Having returned from thence, after the mid-day meal he would don his state robes and attend the royal court. This chief possessed a high reputation for wisdom in council, sanctity in living, and bravery in the field.[362]

Besides his civil appointments, he was a general of the "Loyal troops of the palace of the Tien-wang" (the veteran élite of the Ti-ping forces). He was married to but one wife, though many of his associates were polygamists, and, although a young man, was of a remarkably grave and religious character, so much so, that even his little running pages seemed affected by it and forgot their wild mischievous propensities.

Each day the major-domo mustered his people to prayers, to feed, and to work. The captain of a detachment of the Chung-wang's body-guard regularly drilled them in the large courtyard of the palace. The Commander-in-Chief's adjutant-general, Lee-wang, daily conducted the business connected with his office, employing an immense number of scribes, officials, and soldiers, who waited and carried away huge sheets of yellow proclamations almost larger than themselves. In another part of the Chung-wang's palace his private secretaries seemed for ever writing, or rather painting, interminable Chinese characters on large-sized paper and small-sized paper, which they continually added to the vast heaps of manuscript piled up around them, while I have often wondered what it could all be about.

These various duties were executed with a wonderful exactitude and regularity, almost mechanical; indeed, throughout Nankin and every part of Ti-pingdom I have always found a similar state of methodical organization.

I frequently visited the Minister of the Interior, the Chang-wang (Accomplished Prince), and other chiefs, with my two companions, and we were always received with such kindness and hospitality that every house in Nankin became our home. We usually employed a part of each day instructing the Ti-ping soldiers in gunnery or drilling them upon a plan combining the line and column formation of European tactics with their own more undisciplined manœuvres. The Chinese are well known for[363] their imitative ingenuity; but we found these free Chinamen still more easily taught, their quick acquirement of English words and extraordinary aptitude for every kind of instruction being really marvellous.

When I look back upon the unchangeable and universal kindness I have always met with from the Ti-pings, even while their dearest relatives were being slaughtered by my countrymen, or captured by the Manchoos to be tortured to death and their wives and daughters when not killed infamously outraged and passed from hand to hand by the rabble Imperialist soldiery, it almost seems to be a dream, so difficult is it to comprehend their magnanimous forbearance, when, according to the lex talionis in vogue among civilized nations, they should have executed every Englishman they met with similar barbarities to those practised upon the unfortunate Ti-ping prisoners given up by British officers (during the years 1862-3-4) to the Manchoo authorities.

During all my intercourse with the Ti-pings I can recollect nothing more unpleasant than being made "bogie" to frighten unruly children; and even this was of rare occurrence, so great a feeling of respect for Englishmen did their parents entertain. Sometimes, while strolling through a city, I have been pointed out as a white man bogie to little yellow-skinned Ti-pings by their black-haired pretty mother, qualified, however, in most cases by a polite invitation to enter and partake of a cup of tea; and so the only offence that could be taken at becoming "bogie" would be from the unflattering opinion one's appearance caused in the juvenile imagination. How different are the scowling looks and the epithet "Yang-quitzo" applied to us with the aspiration of hate by our Manchoo allies!

The kind and friendly feeling of the Ti-pings I often found so excessive as to be absolutely annoying. For hours together I have been quite wearied out by their attentions. Some impulsive Ti-pingite would seize a hand[364] of his "foreign brother" and retaining it between his own for several hours, all the time maintain an energetic conversation, perfectly regardless as to whether I understood him or not; probably when tired he would leave me in the hands of a particular friend, who in turn, after exhausting his own conversational powers and my patience, would give me up to another. To those who have experienced the ordinary dislike and contumely of the Chinese, the surprising friendliness of the Ti-pings is no less remarkable than pleasant. The ingenuous earnestness with which they always welcomed Europeans as "Wa-choong-te" (brethren from across the seas), and the apparent sincerity with which they would claim the relationship as fellow-worshippers of "Yesu," seems to have impressed all who have really been among them with similar feelings of unmingled pleasure.

When I remember in what manner these people have been treated by my country, I almost feel the blush of shame at being an Englishman. None who love their country can behold its foreign policy with satisfaction, or hope for its future. It requires but a glance at the history of the greatest nations of ancient and modern history to perceive our danger, and the parallel between our present position and the meridian of their greatness. The yearning for self-aggrandizement has caused the overthrow of many nations, and day by day we see the rich colonies forming part of some overgrown aggressively created empire, seceding from and breaking the power of their former oppressor. Well for us or our descendants will it be if by changing our policy and pursuing one of righteousness and non-aggression, England is preserved from destruction amid the regular and successive crash of falling nations.

Can we look upon our acquisition of India, of our old American colonies, of New Zealand and the Cape of Good Hope annexations, &c., or our wars with China, Burmah, Japan, and last though not least, our war upon[365] the Ti-ping Christian revolution, without remembering the fate of the mighty empire of Imperial Rome? Can we ponder with satisfaction over the former greatness of Spain, Portugal, and Holland, the decline of their power, and its causes? In connection with this subject I cannot forbear quoting the following extract from a letter written by the Bishop of Victoria to the Archbishop of Canterbury, dated Hong-kong, May 23rd, 1853, and in which, referring to the Ti-ping revolution, he states:—

"And if Britain, and, above all, Britain's Church, neglect the call, and arise not to her high behest as the ambassadress of Christ and the heraldress of the cross among these Eastern empires, then the page of history will hereafter record the melancholy fact that, like Spain, Portugal, and Holland, who each enjoyed their brief day of supremacy and empire in these Eastern seas, and then sank into insignificance and decay, so Britain, wielding the mightiest sceptre of the ocean, and ruling the vastest colonial empire of the world, failed to consecrate her talents to Christ, and, ingloriously intent on mere self-aggrandizement and wealth, fell from her exalted seat in merited ignominy and shame."

At Nankin each day the signal for prayer was given from the Tien-wang's palace, when the great gongs within the first courtyard were sounded. The signal was then repeated from house to house, till at last the brazen reverberation having died away in the most remote corners of the city, and having been echoed along the massive ramparts by the solitary watchmen to the distant suburbs, the knee of every man within, or in the adjoining villages without the walls, became bent in prayer. Often have I stood upon the old time-worn mural defence of Nankin, with the last lingering light of sunset throwing strange fantastic shadows around me, and listened to the humming noise rising up from the praying people below. At other times I have gazed from that same ancient wall at midnight, as the last hollow tap from the sentinel's bamboo drum was sounded, have seen the whole populace assemble to welcome the Sabbath day; then turning towards the[366] distant hills, crowned with the fortifications and numerous tents of the idolatrous Imperialists, I have felt that God would never forsake those who so fervently believed and studied his word.

Dark days have come upon the Ti-ping cause; but although many have perished who hopefully assured me "the Heavenly Father would protect them," and although others are now wanderers from what they had settled as a Christian territory, so long as even one righteous believer shall remain, I have faith in God's word for their eventual success.

The idol-worshippers and the worshippers of mammon have together made merry over persecuted Christians, but if right is ever vindicated upon earth, and if the Bible shall not for the first time in its history cause the entire extermination of those who suffer for professing it, a day will come when their unholy rejoicing shall be turned into trouble and lamentation. That day of retribution may be far distant, yet recent events would seem to prove it near; and whenever it does come, how terrible it will be.

Time flew onward at Nankin with seemingly treble rapidity, so happily passed the days with myself and European comrades. At last a shadow came athwart the general happiness. My friend, since our return to the city, had taken every advantage of his honourable scars to forward his dumb suit of her ladyship Cum-ho, the Chung-wang's daughter, and as he thought with great success. Nearly every day Miss Cum-ho and Marie would join us in the palace gardens, and from simple "Chin-chining," pressing one hand on the region of his heart, &c., my friend somehow managed to pick up a little Chinese in a very short time, by which his courtship no doubt was considerably benefited. For awhile things went on thus; but one unpropitious morning the pretty princess was entrusted with a little brother for a ramble in the gardens. As usual, at the commencement of a large shrubbery my[367] friend and her ladyship took the wrong path, and so became separated from Marie and myself.

We could not have strolled far, when suddenly a most tremendous screaming arose in the direction of the palace. Leaving Marie to follow me, I ran in the direction of the noise as fast as possible. When close up to the termination of the shrubbery, I heard voices proceeding from a little by-path, and, following it up, soon ascertained the cause. It appeared that the princess having become absorbed with my friend's endeavours to study the Chinese language, forgot her young brother, and left him to his own devices, when, with the usual perversity of small people, he straightway got into mischief. Not content with making mud pies on the open walks of the shrubbery, or otherwise innocently amusing himself, this wretched child saw fit, in an evil moment, to investigate the dark and tortuous windings of the path in which I found him.

Late rains had made the out-of-the-way part this infant mind determined to explore, a perfect quagmire, through which he had successfully wriggled along, until, reaching one of those large earthen jars peculiar to China, sunk into the ground, and filled with agricultural compost, the Chung-wang's youngest "olive-branch" tumbled in. After the first suffocating dip, he had managed to stick his head out and give tongue in his loudest key. The scene of disaster being only a few hundred yards from where the servants lived in rear of the palace, the noise had attracted the attention of several, who at once hastened to the spot; and they had just succeeded extracting their young lord from his unenviable position when I arrived among them.

His little Excellency was led off by the faithful serving-men, while I returned for Marie, and after seeing her to the palace, ran down the shrubbery to its end, and there, calmly oblivious to all besides themselves, found my friend and his companion side by side on one of the garden seats. Miss Cum-ho was terribly frightened at my tale, not only[368] for the sake of her brother, but because the affair would make known her meetings with my friend. We had no time to make any arrangement by which this might be avoided, for I had scarcely told them of the mischance when up came a couple of young pages in search of the lady.

Upon reaching the palace, the Mrs. Chung-wang appeared, superintending the washing of her son and ready to receive her delinquent daughter. Two old duennas, of particularly vinegar aspect, advanced upon the girl, who for a moment clung to my friend's arm. That moment, however, must have sufficed to show the Chung-wang's better-half the state of her daughter's affections, whom she now sharply upbraided while being dragged into the palace. Poor Cum-ho disappeared in tears, doubtless severely pinched by her two guards, while the injured "parent," after seeing her purified boy carried in before her, retired with a Parthian exclamation of "Yang-quitzo," thrown at my friend.

It was the first time I had ever heard an European called "foreign devil" in Ti-pingdom, and Mrs. Chung-wang must have been hugely offended to have uttered such a thing. Turning to L——, I exclaimed, "Well, old fellow, what do you think of it?"

"Think," he answered; "why it's the last I shall see of Cum-ho."

"Yes, I suppose it will be; but that won't trouble you much?"

After a moment's thought, my friend seriously said to me:—"My dear fellow, I really believe I love that girl; Chinese or not, she is a good, warm-hearted creature, and—I think she loves me; besides, she is very pretty. What do you think of her hair? is it not long and beautiful? I do not believe any English girl has such tresses. She has a straight nose too, and her eyes are very fine; don't you think so?"

"Yes, there's no question about it; she is a very good-looking[369] girl, but, unfortunately, you must remember she is the Chung-wang's daughter."

"I don't care if she's the Lord Duke of Macaciac's daughter; if she loves me I will see her again."

"Have you spoken to her about love?" I asked.

"I cannot exactly say I have, for I do not know the Chinese version of the verb, but I believe she understood what I meant when I tried to. How do you express "I love you" in Chinese?"

"Gno gnae ne," I told him as well as I knew.

"Noo nay nee; well, I think I shall remember that; noo nay nee; yes, that's simple enough; but how shall I meet Cum-ho again to tell her so? that's the question."

"Trust to the Chinese Cupid, if there is one; besides, if she loves you, depend upon it you will hear from her somehow before long; but I must say I still retain a vivid remembrance of some of your Hong-kong attachments; there was A-far, the pretty daughter of Canton Jack, our boatman; do you forget how desperately in love you fancied yourself with that sun-burnt, black-eyed, rough-headed 'Sanpan girl?'"

"Oh, nonsense," replied my friend, pettishly, "there's a vast difference between the two; at that time I was fresh from England and could not be much smitten by a Chinese boat-girl, with the thoughts of the dear girls at home filling my mind. But now I have been so long in China I have almost forgotten what an English woman is like; you cannot deny that Cum-ho is handsome; see what a beautiful little mouth she has, what teeth, what ——."

"There, that will do, my friend; it is needless to recapitulate the fair celestial's charms, you are evidently a victim of the little Chinese god; but I will just ask one thing; apart from the danger of becoming obnoxious to so powerful a chief as the Chung-wang, who would certainly never look with pleasure upon an alliance between his daughter and yourself, leang-sze-ma (lieutenant) in his[370] guards though he has made you,—how would you feel disposed to carry home to England a Chinese wife?"

"Home!" said he, bitterly; "most likely I shall never see home again, at all events I love the girl, and I am determined not to give her up so easily; if I escape the gingall-balls and rusty spears of those rascally Imps, the Chung-wang may yet be willing to give me his daughter; it appears to me the marriage ceremony of the Ti-pings is much like ours, and if nothing else will succeed, why, an elopement à la Ti-ping Gretna Green may."

"You shall never do anything so rash," I responded, as we entered the palace and proceeded to our quarters, "we shall be leaving Nankin for some days very shortly, and when we return, if you are still of the same mind, we will resume the subject and see what can be done."

After this event Cum-ho was never permitted to meet us, although she managed now and then to send a message by Marie to the "Yang-quitzo." The misfortune of that confounded child would have proved a source of much merriment, but for the interruption of our pleasant promenades it effected. Besides making a prisoner of Cum-ho, it very considerably annoyed Marie and myself; for the vigilance of the elder ladies of the household having become aroused, they carefully watched over my betrothed wherever she went. I cannot but admit that, one and all, the women of Ti-pingdom were paragons of modesty and propriety, and although in this case their espionage proved rather vexatious, I did not admire them less for it.

Previous to this, I had determined to take a trip to Shanghae in order to ascertain, if possible, the purport of the will left by Marie's father, and also to make various arrangements with regard to obtaining supplies of grain, European arms, &c., for Nankin; all of which the Manchoos were able to obtain ad libitum from Europeans at the treaty ports, although furnishing the same articles to the Ti-pings was strictly prohibited by the British authorities, in spite of their pledged neutrality. Before setting[371] out upon my journey, I had an interview with the Minister of the Interior, Chang-wang, who gave me a number of passes, requesting me to bestow them upon respectable Europeans and inform them Nankin was open to trade. A few foreign vessels were occupied trading to the city, and among them my friend Mellen, with two of his own lorchas. I had met him several times when in port, and shortly before I set out for Shanghae he had sailed with the vessel he was on board, intending to return with a cargo of rice, &c.

When all was ready for a start, I had no small difficulty in getting my friend away with me; Philip I left behind to continue drilling and otherwise instructing the soldiery, and also as my agent for other affairs. Besides the bother with my friend, I experienced a more serious one before getting the crew of my vessel to obey orders. These men during my stay had become thoroughly Ti-pingized, and having allowed their hair to grow, did not seem at all inclined to shave and adopt the Manchoo badge of slavery again. So attached to the Ti-ping re-establishment of Chinese customs had they become, that I was compelled to call in the Sz-wang to make them shave and leave Nankin. It may be that, as a rule, the Chinese are pretty well contented with and accustomed to the monkey tail, but let their national spirit once be aroused upon the subject, they feel the degradation bitterly. With scarcely an exception, the whole crew violently protested against resuming the guise of the Tartar, and one fine young fellow felt so acutely while under the hands of the barber that he actually cried like a child.

At last, however, the tresses were all shorn off, and having parted with Marie with the full intention of making her my wife when I returned, and having given her a letter for Cum-ho, concocted by my friend from a Morison's Chinese and English Dictionary, the anchor was rudely dragged forth from its snug hiding-place in the muddy bottom of the Nankin creek; then clapping my[372] shiny-headed men on to the halyards fore and aft, all sail was made, and Nankin bidden adieu for a time.

The Yang-tze river, at its mildest mood and lowest period in the middle of winter, is still a mighty and a swift-running stream; but in summer, when swollen with the vast torrents from the melted snow of the region of great mountains, amid which it rises far away beyond the western limits of Thibet, its waters rush fierce and foaming far into the country upon either side of its proper channel. Such was the case upon my departure from Nankin.

Sailing was out of the question, because what little wind there came was, as the sailors say, dead on end. But although our canvas could not help us on our way, the boiling tide did, and that at the rate of nearly five knots an hour. I have many a time floated along the bosom of that grand Yang-tze, and with nature all beautiful around me, crew and servants obedient to the slightest wish, and, above all, a sympathizing friend, fancied more complete happiness impossible.

At such moments I have often reflected upon the great Ti-ping movement, and wondered whether my partisanship could have blinded me to any of its defects, and so led me to disagree with the manifold tales of horror and detraction narrated by persons who opposed the rebellion. I have even tried to persuade myself that I was a fool, that I had been imposed upon and deceived by the Ti-pings as to their real character, and that the hostile reports were true. But then I could not help feeling myself sincerely a well-wisher of the rebels; I knew that I became a partisan from my conviction of the righteousness and favourable characteristics of their cause, and from no mere worldly interest or attraction; and, moreover, against the hearsay adverse testimony I could certainly plead, "seeing is believing," and prefer my own eyesight and personal experience to the tales of others, the greater proportion of whom had never even seen a Ti-ping under any circumstances, much less when at their home and uninfluenced [373] by the horrors of Asiatic warfare. Besides this, nearly all my friends and acquaintances were entirely of the same opinion as myself, including the Revs. W. Lobschied, Griffith John, and other missionaries, who had really seen Ti-ping life and manners.

A Mast Head View Of Nankin From The River As It Appeared On The Morning Of Departure.
London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str,
Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith. A Mast Head View Of Nankin From The River As It Appeared On The Morning Of Departure.
London, Published March 15th 1866 by Day & Son, Limited Lithogrs Gate Str, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Day & Son, Limited, Lith.

These driftings on the Yang-tze were productive of much meditation. Far from the trammels, disturbance, and troubles of the great cities of men, with the warm pure air blowing freshly upon us, we could think only of the justice and reason of things, completely unbiassed by the stereotyped customs and formal conventionalities of society; but the living voice of Nature all around us, manifested in the murmur of the moving waters, the humming noise of manifold insects, the myriad lamps of the fire-fly at night, and the brilliant-coloured feathery songsters in full chorus among the reed-beds' luxuriant foliage by day, whispered a better and more comprehensive theory of existence. So far as society was concerned, it might have been extinct, for we were at such times perfectly isolated, myself and friend were alone with regard to companionship, will, and authority. Of course this sort of life requires change; it is all very well for a few months; but then one seems to wish for something more than the voice of nature, and the novelties of strange people, new faces, and busy life, become excessively attractive.

To descend unto the mere creature comforts of such living:—at four in the morning we arose; As-sam, with meek devotion, or rather serpent-like Asiatic stealthiness, would bring coffee, containing just a dash of strong waters, with a little breakfast of rice-cake or toast, by way of fortifying oneself in a cholera country. This sailors' inseparable morning stimulant despatched,[40] habited in thin white silk, we were douched with many buckets of water, drawn overnight and separated from the thick muddy particles of the Yang-tze by settling and cooling till morn, when the clear part was poured off for use; then a couple of brawny Chinese mariners would rub us down like young horses, and our day began.


If the locale was favourable and the breeze light, a stroll along the river's bank, gun in hand, keeping time with the progress of our vessel with the tide, almost surely supplied us with many fat pheasants, wild pigeons, and some of the numerous Chinese summer water-fowl, or snipe and curlew of singular variety. A stroll to the trees and bushes further inland would possibly reward us with a few woodcock, rice-birds or ortolan, and other delicious game peculiar to China.

Whenever the game-bag became full, or the sun too high to be pleasant, we returned to our floating home, probably with some fish purchased from a solitary dip-net fisherman, working at a little clear spot among the tall bulrushes overhanging some tideless deep pool, the favourite resort of his legitimate prey.

About 11 a.m. our breakfast was served, that breakfast a feast for an epicure: choice and fragrantly-scented tea the principal beverage, and fish, newly plundered from the rich stores of the river, the standing dish. How shall I sing your praises, ye finny tribes of the Yang-tze? Large and small, long and short, thick and thin, flat and deep, every conceivable shape and colour, with every possible flavour appertaining to fishes of any part of the world, or the most approved delicacy, I safely pronounce ye unequalled by your brethren of foreign seas, lakes, or running streams. Above all ranks the delicious Ke-yu (chicken-fish), combining the qualities of British salmon, turbot, and whiting, equally the favourite of natives and Europeans, and in some of the distant cities eagerly purchased at fabulous prices by the wealthy gourmands.

The remnants of fish being carried away, the hot and[375] greasy face of As-sam would be thrust into our cabin, followed by that individual's other parts, carefully bearing to his yet strong-appetited masters a brown and juicy pheasant or wild duck, done as he knew how to do them, with Chinese ingenuity and cunning spices. A plentiful supply of fruit—oranges, pears, pumelos, peaches, li-chees, and Chinese preserves—finished a cheap, though almost Sybarite repast; and last, but not least in a hot climate, one glass of ice-cold water was forthcoming.

If the day was not oppressively hot, we would while away the time with books, or my friend would bring out his soft-toned flute, and join in melody with the birds, huge dragon-flies, and other flying, creeping, and crawling things, which had all woke up to be happy in the bright sunshine.

Should we, perchance, fall in with some fellow wanderer, we met as brothers and equals; but this did not often happen. Swiftly roll the yellow waters, yellower still in the fierce sunlight, spreading away over islands, villages, and cultivated fields, far into the interior. Sometimes, when in flood, even 500 miles from its mouth, this mighty river is bounded here and there by the glittering horizon of its own waters. At one spot the roof of a tall house just shows above the stream; at another the tops of some great trees may be noticed bending along with the rushing tide.[41]

Purple, dim, and vast, rise the mountains, lazily flaps the white canvas, while through the tall bulrushes beautiful little summer ducks skim about, great "Bramley" kites wheel high above, uttering their piercing cries, and in and out of the feathery-topped bamboo strange and brilliantly-plumaged birds incessantly play. Still we glide with the flowing waters, which, from unknown mysterious regions flow onward, flow ever, towards the great outside ocean, whither for hundreds of centuries it has flowed, untired and unceasing, and whither it will flow to all eternity.


"Ho-li" is echoed along the decks, and reverentially our long-tailed cook brings burning charcoal between iron pincers. The day is too hot now for work, for talking, almost for thinking, and whilst the tide sweeps along, we slowly puff our cheroots and recline under the grateful shade of the awning in a state of semi-coma.

Lying on the flat of our Saxon backs, and lazily wreathing reflective-producing columns of smoke from our Manilas, we build castles in the air, loftier far and not so grim as those which ever and anon frown back at the mountains on either side. We dream with revolver in belt and gun at hand, ready to knock over stray unwary ducks, or savage, plundering, military Manchoos, should it become necessary. Little kings are we in our own right; obsequiously bends As-sam, pattern of boys and servants, to our lordly nod; meekly answers A-foo, lowder, captain, and pirate that he is; for the white men are strong, the Chinese think, and we must be civil to them while awake, even if we murder them when asleep.

We have no bad smells here, no wear and tear and flurry of cities; our habits are primitive, and for the most part, we own the open heavens only as our roof, and breathe the pure and uncontaminated atmosphere of the temperate zone.

A mid-day siesta, for at night we must be watchful of straggling piratical Manchoo gunboats, followed by another gunning excursion in the cool of the evening, or possibly a few minutes passed in some secluded village; then dinner at dusk, almost the same as breakfast, excepting the addition of curry (real curry, not as is often the case, a yellow-looking mess of that name only), some of[377] the many descriptions of Chinese vegetables, and pastry made by that clever As-sam; followed by a game of chess, a duet with my concertina and friend's flute, and a fragrant Manila to accompany the constitutional after-dinner quarter-deck promenade, terminate the pleasures of the day.

While daylight lasted we were generally safe; but whenever night spread her sable mantle over river, shore, and man alike, the utmost vigilance was required. By generally keeping underweigh all night, and choosing the centre of the stream, with one or two exceptions I avoided any serious danger from the Imperialist braves and gunboats, as one well-directed shot would mostly satisfy them; some of my friends, however, were not so fortunate, and on this occasion of my river life I came upon a scene of horror I never shall forget.

After successfully running past the fortifications and flotillas situated at the commencement of the Imperialist jurisdiction, early one morning, when within a few miles of Chin-kiang, we came in sight of a lorcha close in to the river's bank. As the wind was too scant to be useful for vessels bound up the river, at first I paid but little attention to the otherwise singular position of the strange craft, but when nearly abreast, to my astonishment I discovered her to be the Fox, my friend Mellen's lorcha. The daylight was now pretty well developed, and almost at the same time I was enabled to discern some one on deck waving a large white signal. Upon this I steered directly for the lorcha, and when sufficiently near, saw the figure was that of a woman, apparently alone; that the vessel was evidently derelict, from the confusion and dismantled state of her rigging, and that she was run ashore high and dry, her bow actually projecting a considerable way over the land.

Running as close alongside as we could without grounding, we anchored in the stream right abeam of her, and arming ourselves and a couple of good men, my friend[378] and I proceeded to board the lorcha. Upon doing so we were met at the gangway by the old nurse of Mellen's children, who was wringing her hands and loudly vociferating the peculiar lament in vogue among the Chinese women when in grief.

A deserted ship has at all times a disheartening, melancholy sort of effect, upon a sailor at all events; but although I had seen such a thing before, even far away upon the vast ocean hundreds of miles from the nearest land, I never experienced so sudden and so fearful a chill as the moment my feet touched that lorcha's deck. It was not the grievous aspect of old As-su, neither was it the deserted appearance of the vessel itself, but the atmosphere seemed heavy with some undefinable horror, that unearthly smell, or rather perception, of human blood which those who have discovered deeds of slaughter will easily appreciate, but which I cannot further explain.

Of course my first endeavour was to gather something from the old nurse, meanwhile my friend proceeded aft towards the lorcha's cabin. Before I could distinguish anything tangible from the sobbing "hi-yo hi-yo's" of As-su, I was startled by his horrified exclamation.

"Great God! come here, A——," called he in the sharp accents of powerful excitement. In a moment I was by his side and gazing down through the torn-off cabin skylight.

I have passed among the bodies of thousands killed in the sanguinary Chinese battles; I have moved slowly along creeks, ay, even the broad Yang-tze itself, literally choked with poor remnants of humanity; quite lately I have wandered through once happy Ti-ping villages, at this time tenanted alone with the starved, dead, and the miserable living cannibals, yet existing upon their former companions. I have passed through all these fearful scenes, yet never did I feel the overpowering horror I experienced while gazing into that lonely[379] cabin; lonely, indeed, for only the bodies of the ruthlessly murdered composed its ghastly tenancy.

Blood stained the sides, the ceiling, and the furniture, while the deck of that gory cabin seemed one coagulated mass. Doubled up at the foot of his berth my poor friend Mellen, one of the bravest among the brave, lay mangled and hideous; above him, in the very attitude of protecting her husband, stood the corpse of his noble-hearted wife, frightfully disfigured and covered with wounds; while the innocent little child lay gashed and lifeless by its father's side. I will not further horrify my readers with a description of the fearful nature of the wounds inflicted upon these unfortunates; suffice it to say that although Mellen himself was cut up with many, his brave wife was literally hacked to pieces.

I afterwards ascertained, through inquiries made in the vicinity by my interpreter A-ling, and from the testimony of the nurse As-su, who escaped the fate of her mistress by secreting herself, that my friends had been thus brutally murdered by a number of Imperialist soldiery in combination with some of the crew.

Poor Mellen had on board a large amount of money, some £6,000 sterling. At E-ching his crew had informed the Mandarins of this, and they, taking the opportunity to pocket a large sum by simply gratifying their hatred of a solitary "foreign devil," had authorized a party of soldiers to murder him. These soldiers assembled on board a large Ti-mung close to where I found the Fox; but as the latter happened to pass them during the day, and moreover, in company with another vessel, their designs were frustrated for a little while. With true Chinese cunning, however, these wretches managed to get Mellen into their murderous clutches. At the village of Kwa-chow, within sight of the treaty port Chin-kiang, the Chinese lowder (captain), by making some plausible excuse, induced his master to anchor there and allow him to go on shore. Returning on board with a[380] couple of soldiers disguised as merchants, this wretch (who was actually the father of Mellen's wife, and whose life his master had once saved at the peril of his own) pretended the pseudo traders were anxious to have a large cargo taken to Nankin, to be embarked some distance up the river, and for which they agreed to pay a very high freight. Mellen was very unwell, and trusting to the statements and integrity of his Chinese father-in-law, unfortunately agreed to return up the river and take in the fictitious cargo for the Ti-pings. That same night his vessel was anchored but a short distance from the Ti-mung and her bloodthirsty crew. About midnight the assassins took to a couple of small boats and pulled for their prey. At this time the confederates among the lorcha's crew made a noise on deck, probably to get Mellen out in the dark, when their work would be safer than in a light cabin with a deadly revolver to oppose them. Mrs. Mellen, leaving her sick husband below, ran on deck with a revolver, and seeing the two boats close alongside, instantly fired several shots at them. As the yelling savages swarmed on board, she ran down to her husband closely followed by them, and then the butchery commenced. Poor Mellen was killed rising from the berth, and ere he could draw the sword I found half unsheathed just underneath him. His wretched wife, after suffering every torture and atrocity the cruel Chinese particularly excel in, died over her husband's body, faithful to the last, with one arm round his severed neck, the other upraised as though to ward the blow her eyes had seen coming ere they closed for ever. Poor girl! I can never forget the horribly mutilated state in which I found her: it would hardly have been possible to touch an unwounded spot on her body. She had killed one and hit another of the murderers; they stated ashore that she was as bad as a "Yang-quitzo" (all this my interpreter ascertained); and they wreaked a most ferocious vengeance upon the defenceless woman. When the victims were[381] killed, the treasure was carried off, and the whole vessel pillaged fore and aft; and when everything of the slightest value had been taken, the crew and soldiers, after running her ashore upon the bank, took their departure. The old nurse, after some time, had ventured from her hiding-place, and for four days had been living on the deck of the charnel ship when we boarded her.

Having sent news of the tragedy to Chin-kiang, a steamer came to the spot and towed the Fox down to Silver Island, where the mangled bodies were removed and given Christian burial. And so terminated my friendship with poor Mellen and his courageous wife; since then all my friends, I may say, in that distant and fatal land have perished by the sword, by sudden death, or by the deadly diseases of the country.

The facts of the foregoing barbarous murders I forwarded to H.M.'s consul at Chin-kiang, who, with the officers of the gunboat on the station, beheld the bodies and saw them buried, yet no redress was ever sought from the allies of the British Government. This is but one of many and many a similar specimen of the Manchoo feeling towards Englishmen, and this is the style of people who are to be firmly established throughout China by the overthrow of the Ti-ping rebellion by the aid of British arms.

Leaving my vessel at Chin-kiang (I had at this time entirely purchased her from the previous owner), in charge of A-ling, I took a passage to Shanghae with my friend on board one of the river steamers. When all business was arranged, I set out upon my return to Nankin, leaving L—— in charge of a fine lorcha we had jointly purchased as a blockade-runner to the Ti-ping capital, to follow me as fast as wind and tide would allow. I found out Marie's relatives, and they told me that Manouel Ramon had inherited all her father's property, that he had raised a foreign contingent of Manila-men and Portuguese, with which he had joined the Imperialists,[382] and that he was determined to be revenged upon myself and betrothed.

While at Shanghae I sought out many Europeans who owned lorchas, Ningpo boats, and other river craft, and stating the advantages to be derived from trade with Nankin, induced a goodly number to undertake the risk, to whom I bestowed the passes given me by the Chung-wang. When I had settled various transactions with regard to obtaining arms, agents, and a correspondence with that portion of the Shanghae press known to be impartial, I returned by steamer to Chin-kiang, accompanied by Captain P——, whom I had formerly seen in command of the schooner whose crew had mutinied at the Lang-shan crossing. I had met him in Shanghae, and he willingly took a share of my vessel at Chin-kiang, agreeing to run her himself in the Nankin trade.

Upon reaching Chin-kiang and taking up my quarters on board the old craft, I determined to proceed with her to a town some thirty miles up a branch of the Grand Canal, purchase a cargo of rice, and take it with me to Nankin. This idea was soon put into force, and after the lowder had collected his men from the gambling dens in the village immediately opposite the city of Chin-kiang, on the other side of the river, we got underweigh. With a light breeze and beautiful weather we proceeded merrily on our trip, with that exhilarating feeling the prospect of a visit to a strange and interesting country always produces.

After being swept down stream for more than an hour, just below Silver Island, we came to the entrance of the creek up which lay our further course. Steering into its mouth, we left the swift and turbid waters of the great Yang-tze, and landing our crew with their collars and rope, slowly tracked along the quieter stream. Our destination was the town of Sin-ya-meu, the great emporium of that part of China. From the river inland the whole country is richly cultivated, and the style of agriculture and farm-house[383] seems more nearly approaching that of England than I have observed elsewhere. Barley, wheat, rye, and oats greet the eye in place of the interminable paddy-fields of most parts of China. Haystacks are seen about the farms, and the dwellings are all of a large and spacious build. The country is slightly wooded and full of wild pigeons, and of these my friend and self obtained many, thanks to our double-barrels. These pigeons are quite unlike any I have seen in other countries; their colour very closely resembles that of the dove, but the breast and wings are like the golden plover; and a beautiful circlet round the neck, similar to the ringdove, with a large black tail, completes their exquisite plumage. The delicacy of this bird excels that of any other I have ever tasted, yet the Chinese pay no attention to their presence, and neither attempt to catch, eat, tame, or do anything else with them.

This country would be perfect were it not for the imperfections of the people who inhabit it, or rather, the evil qualities of its rulers, for I believe the Chinese themselves are capable of almost any improvement. During my trip to Sin-ya-meu I particularly noticed the abominable extortion of the Manchoo Government. Although the distance from the mouth of the creek to the town is considerably less than thirty miles, I passed no fewer than fifteen custom-houses established along its banks. The creek is a very broad one, and forms the principal route for the wood rafts bound from Han-kow (up the Yang-tze) to the town. I passed many on my journey, and conversed with the merchants to whom they belonged, who all bitterly complained of the gross extortion of the Customs officials, and assured me that by law no more than two duty-stations were authorized, yet at each of the fifteen they were squeezed of the same amount of duty that ought only to have been paid twice.

Sin-ya-meu I found to be a very extensive unwalled town, the centre of an immense trade. What little[384] business is transacted at the treaty port Chin-kiang, is entirely dependent upon Sin-ya-meu; and unless the native merchants can be induced to establish themselves at the former city, it will never become a place of much commercial importance.


While the invaluable A-ling was negotiating for the rice, I took a trip as far as the walled city of Yang-chow-foo with my friend P——. This town and the district has long been famous for its women, who, the natives say, are the handsomest in China. Although our experience was limited to a couple of days, from what we saw in the country and town during daylight, and in the sing-songs at night, we were able to form the same opinion. The women, though darker than those of the Honan province, are quite as straight-featured and much more rosy and robust. They also appeared taller than is usual in south and central China, and their eyes seemed larger and not quite so oblique.[385]

When within a few li of Yang-chow, a turn of the creek placed our boat close to a pair of damsels on the bank, but they no sooner espied the strange faces of myself and P——, than they rushed towards a neighbouring farm-house, screaming "Yang-quitzo-li" (foreign devils are coming) at the top of their shrill voices. We had just that moment been talking of the reputed loveliness of the Yang-chow ladies, and P——, with his head full of the subject, jumped ashore and ran after the two fugitives in order to have a nearer opportunity to satisfy himself as to their superior charms. With my boy As-sam I followed my friend on shore. The girls, terrified by the pursuit of the "foreign devil," were headed by that individual just before they managed to hobble up to the house. Their crippled feet sadly interfered with what would otherwise have been their very graceful figures. Their faces were certainly very pretty, and the excitement added not a little to their interesting appearance. At first, when P—— appeared between themselves and their home, they clung to each other and continued to yell, while several Chinamen came running towards them armed with hoes and spades, and the dogs of the farm joined chorus with a tremendous barking. But when the ladies found my friend did not attempt to carry them off, but continued in front of them bowing and scraping like a French dancing master (although this, of course, they did not know), and when the advancing Chinamen observed my fowling-piece and one of the snapping curs had been saluted with a large stone between its eyes, which changed the baying into howling, the commotion gradually subsided, although paterfamilias, and materfamilias, who now put in her appearance, seemed by no means satisfied.

When the farmer's men, carrying hoes and other agricultural instruments, for the nonce converted into warlike weapons, arrived upon the scene, P—— suddenly thrust a hand into an inside breast pocket of his coat, and[386] winding up a small musical-box he carried there, changed the combative feeling of the natives into the greatest surprise and curiosity. Taking advantage of the pause, while the astounded people seemed to look upon my friend, with "the British Grenadiers" issuing from the region of his heart, as a "Joss" man, I told As-sam to inform the head of the family that we had landed to inquire the way to Yang-chow. This seemed to brighten the old fellow's dingy countenance without the aid of water, although he still seemed dubious as to whether we were "Joss" men, robbers, or honest travellers. One of his sons at this moment displayed a remarkable genius by guessing the cause of my friend's music, and it afterwards transpired that the clever youth had an old musical-box in a forgotten corner of the paternal dwelling, which had been obtained from the foreign-frequented city of Chin-kiang a year or two ago, but had been broken by over-winding just when it began to play.

The two pretty daughters having been conveyed to the inner apartments by their watchful mother, who, I believe, penetrated the real cause of our visit, and did not seem very much inclined to dazzle the vision of the strangers from afar with their celestial charms, we were invited to tea by their father, and the musical-box was produced for the general delight of the company.

After tea and rice-cakes had been despatched, the musical-box nearly worn out, and the girls peeping through the bamboo screen fairly propitiated by our gentle manner and extraordinary tales, the old farmer discovered that he had in former days been acquainted with As-sam's father in Canton; at once we were pressed to remain and partake of dinner, and the already genial humour of the old man became redoubled.

The day passed over very comfortably, except that at dinner the Chinese yeoman would persist in being polite, and as this involved the fishing-up of pieces of meat from the dinner bowls with his own chop-sticks and the careful[387] depositing of the same morsels in his visitors' basins, it was not exactly pleasant.

Towards evening we were gratified by the presence of the young women to perform various duties in the principal room, in which we were established. Whether the small cups of rice-spirit at dinner had made their father unusually relaxed in domestic régime I do not pretend to say, but he certainly called his daughters up to him, and actually permitted them to be gazed upon by strangers and to gaze in return, and to listen to their marvellous tales of other lands, these latter singularly improved upon by As-sam whenever my knowledge of the Chinese language was at fault.

To my unqualified surprise, when upon the point of taking our departure, As-sam asked me to let him have fifty dollars and stop it from his wages, as he wished to buy our host's youngest daughter! It appeared that the old gentleman, warmed with the recollection of his friendship for our servant's father, or impressed with As-sam's importance and wealth through the eloquence of that cunning individual himself, and seeing him in connection with Europeans, whom the Chinese always look upon as overburdened with dollars, had offered him his daughter in marriage for the sum of fifty dollars. I refused to be a party to the transaction, so As-sam had to leave without a bride, although he promised to return and claim her whenever he had saved her value. I bade the farmer and his household farewell, wishing more than ever for the success of my Ti-ping friends, who had abolished this buying and slavery of women among themselves, and intended, God willing, to do so throughout the land.

Upon reaching Sin-ya-meu I found the faithful A-ling had obtained the cargo of rice and loaded our craft with it. We therefore at once set out upon our return to Nankin, choosing the route by the Grand Canal, which would bring us into the Yang-tze river at Kwa-chow, some few miles above Chin-kiang.[388]

Placing the crew on to the yu-lo's (which, working in a figure of eight motion, urge a vessel along upon the same principle as the screw propeller), by these large oars our vessel was soon impelled beyond Sin-ya-meu and into the Grand Canal. This magnificent work of olden time is artificial for an extent of some 550 miles. Originally throughout nearly the whole of this length, its sides were built of marble, with an uniform breadth of more than 150 feet, and a depth of not less than 25. Since the conquest of China by the Manchoos, however, this great work has been sadly neglected, and at many parts the marble sides are no longer visible. At frequent intervals between Hang-chow (the capital of the Che-kiang province, where the canal terminates in the waters of Hang-chow bay) and the city of Lin-tsing (where it joins a branch of the Pei-ho river and continues on for about 180 miles up to Pekin, the capital of China), the canal is no longer navigable, while the sluices, having become neglected, have broken down the raised embankment and flooded the surrounding country. This vast work was executed about 600 years ago by Koblai Khan, the first Emperor of the Yuen or Mongol dynasty, as a means of supplying the sterile province of Chi-le (in which the capital is situated) from the rich and fertile provinces of Keang-su, Shang-tung, and Che-kiang, through which the canal is constructed.

Not only the Grand Canal, but every other work of art, antiquity, and manufacture, has been injured and allowed to fall into decay by the Manchoo dynasty. Although the latter claim descent from the refugee Mongol Princes, who were expelled from China by the first of the native dynasty of Ming, A.D. 1366, they have done far less towards any advancement of the physical or moral prosperity of China. During the Mongol era many great works of public benefit and improvement were preserved and others created, but since the epoch of the Manchoo China has seriously deteriorated in every phase of[389] her antique civilization. The Manchoo conquerors are self-evidently preying upon the nation at the present day, even although they have been in possession two hundred years, and exhibit not the slightest wish to improve or benefit the people, whom they only plunder. They seem to be actuated by the knowledge that their reign is but for a time, and consequently rule against freedom or improvement in order to make that time as long as possible. They have proved themselves to be unequalled destroyers, and have produced absolutely nothing. All Chinese of mind and education declare that the Manchoo dynasty cannot last; even the highest officials of the very Government itself have made the same observation to members of the last British Embassy to China. Had the Ti-pings not possessed Christianity, China would have risen to their standard as one man; had the revolution not seemed likely to interfere with British "indemnities" and opium trading, it would have succeeded; and had not England interfered, the wretchedness of China would have been relieved by the change of dynasty, the necessity for which becomes more apparent daily.

The only advancement China has undergone during the Manchoo rule has been her rapid increase of population within the last century. For more than one hundred years after the conquest the depopulating effect continued in full force. Thousands of the Chinese emigrated to Formosa, Hae-nan, Thibet, Cochin-China, Ava, Siam, the territories of the Miau-tze, and other independent tribes; while many thousands fell by the sword, and a greater number perished by famine, the inevitable and most deadly companion of war in that densely populated and closely cultivated country. But since the Chinese have become used to the Tartar yoke, about the middle of the eighteenth century, the population has continued increasing at the Malthusian ratio of doubling every twenty-five years. Still this enormous increase is estimated to have simply restored to the land the number of people it maintained[390] before the Manchoo invasion. This conclusion is formed from the most moderate data, but, as Malthus himself observes, "The more difficult as well as the more interesting part of the inquiry is to trace the immediate causes which stop its further progress." The loss of life by the Ti-ping revolution may be one cause, for it is a moot question whether war be not one of the ordained methods to arrest the pro-creative power. This, however, is a consideration for those who have made such theories their study. At all events it is certain that the great increase of the population of China has ceased, and it is palpable that, with already more than three hundred inhabitants on a square mile, the soil is unable to support any further multiplication of its children.

The increase of the population of China seems another likely enemy of the continuance of the Manchoo dynasty. The ranks of the people having become full again, all the old hatred of the Tartar, his tail-wearing badge of servitude, extortion, monopoly of office, oppression, &c., naturally assume a more formidable aspect. The means of livelihood are also more precarious, and the famine riots have become more frequent and threatening, the impoverished people of course turning against the Government whose extortion not a little helps to create their misery. The number of malcontents become continually increased, while the impotence and corruption of the Government, or rather the Manchoo subjugators, is daily more apparent to them.

It is a singular fact that the Tartars have never amalgamated with the Chinese, and that at the present day, by their organization of the eight tribes of "Bannermen," they are as distinct as during the reign of their first Emperor. Manchoo troops of the "eight banners" garrison every important city in China, Manchoo officers hold every military command, but I never found a Chinaman who would admit relationship to one, or that did not feel himself insulted by the supposition.[391]

Whether the cause may be patriotism, famine, increase of population, or the extortion and oppression of the Government, certain it is that at this period[42] the Chinese are unusually disaffected towards their rulers, and that, besides the Ti-ping movement, there are distinct rebellions progressing in each of the eighteen provinces.

The Manchoo Government is generally admitted to be hopelessly oppressive, cruel, and totally corrupt; it is also believed that they have, and by their system are compelled, to oppose Christianity and modern civilization. In the face of all these facts he must indeed be a very wise or a very foolish man who will either venture to believe that the Manchoo-Tartar dynasty can endure, or will wilfully criminate himself by upholding their cause. Most probably the British Government thought only of their own interests during their late interference, and it is at least doubtful whether a sincere mercenary motive or a sincere desire to perpetuate the Manchoo dynasty would have been the most wicked.


[40] The coffee of the morning watch (4 a.m. to 8 a.m.) has become so inveterate and cherished a custom that I have had a main-yard carried away in a sudden squall while rousing the men from the galley-fire and their hook-pots.

[41] The immense volume of water composing the Yang-tze in the middle of summer must be incredible to those who have not seen it. In consequence of its great rise (some 35 feet) and strong current, villages and towns are always built upon high ground throughout the whole length of its course.

[42] Commencement of the year 1865.



Ti-ping Revolution in 1861.—Official Correspondence.—Its Review.—Professions of Neutrality.—How carried out.—Captain Dew's Interpretation.—Ti-ping Remonstrance.—Cause of British Hostility.—Mr. Bruce's Assertions.—Mr. Bruce's Second Despatch.—Mr. Bruce's Difficulty.—His Inconsistency.—Despatch No. 3.—Inconsistent Statements.—Ti-pings approach Ningpo.—Interview with Ti-ping Chiefs.—Mr. Hewlett's Interview with "Fang."—General Hwang's Despatch.—General "Fang's" Despatch.—Capture of Ningpo.—British Intervention.—Ti-ping Moderation.—Open Hostilities commenced.—Commander Bingham's Despatch.—Taeping Reply.—Commander Bingham's Rejoinder.

In order to form a just appreciation of the position of the Ti-ping revolution at the close of the year 1861, it becomes necessary to review briefly the political relations of each party engaged in it from the period of ratification of the Yang-tze expedition treaty of neutrality with the Ti-pings (by Admiral Hope), and the commencement of actual hostilities against them at the opening of the year 1862.

By the following review of the official correspondence (as given in Blue Book form of "Papers relating to the Rebellion in China" for 1861) men of every party, partial or impartial, may form an opinion as to British policy in China.

Exactly thirty-six days after his solemn pledges of non-intervention—given in accordance with his instructions from Lord Elgin—to the Ti-ping authorities, at their capital, Admiral Hope, upon hearing of the capture of Chapoo, penned the following orders, dated H.M.S.[393] Scout, Nagasaki, May 8, to Captain Dew, H.M.S. Encounter:—

"You are further to put yourself in communication with the leader of the rebel forces, and to point out to him that the capture and destruction of the town of Ningpo would be extremely injurious to British trade, and that of foreigners generally, and, therefore, that you require him to desist from all hostile proceedings against the town, and, without committing yourself to the necessity of having recourse to force, you will remind him of what took place last year at Shanghae, and the impossibility of his capturing the place should you find yourself compelled to assist in its defence, a course, you will add, you are unwilling to adopt, as placing you in a hostile position in regard to the Taepings generally, with whom we have no wish to quarrel."

In this despatch the Admiral states he has no "wish to quarrel" with the Ti-pings, yet, in violation of his own pledges, and his orders to "maintain an attitude of strict neutrality," he constitutes himself dictator over their operations—operations unavoidable during their expulsion of the Manchoos, and essential to their self-preservation, general interests, and military honour—and interferes between the belligerents and their natural rights; and then continues as follows:—

"You will further, immediately on your arrival at Ningpo, place yourself in communication with the Chinese authorities for the purpose of ascertaining what their means of resistance are, and the probabilities of their proving successful; and should you find them amenable to advice, you will point out to them such measures as circumstances may render expedient, and you will place every obstruction in the way of the capture of the town by the rebels...."

At this time not only was British national faith pledged to a neutral course, but the Admiral's actions were diametrically opposed to his instructions.

Mr. Bruce, writing some time previously to Lord Russell upon this subject, in a despatch dated Tien-tsin, January 3, 1861, states:—

"But I have directed Mr. Sinclair" (Consul at Ningpo) "not to undertake the defence of the city, and to confine his efforts, should it be attacked, to a mediation, which may save the place from being the scene of pillage and massacre."


In a despatch to Admiral Hope, upon the same affair, Mr. Bruce writes:—

"I do not consider myself authorized to protect the town of Ningpo from the insurgents...."

In his instructions to the consul at Ningpo, Mr. Bruce stated:—

"But I do not consider myself authorized to afford any military protection to the town of Ningpo, or to take any active measures against the insurgents.... Your language should be, that we take no part in this civil contest, but that we claim exemption from injury and annoyance at the hands of both parties...."

These professions of neutrality received the following sanction from the British Government:—

"Foreign Office, March 28, 1861.

"Sir,—Her Majesty's Government approve the instructions which you gave to Mr. Consul Sinclair, as reported in your dispatch of the 3rd of January last, with reference to the probability of the rebel forces attacking Ningpo.

"I am, &c.,
(Signed)      "J. Russell."

How, then, can Admiral Hope's offering "every obstruction in the way of the capture" of Ningpo by the Ti-pings be accounted for, otherwise than as the result of secret instructions from the British Government; for it would indeed be preposterous to imagine that the Admiral dared act in direct opposition to the public orders, or that, having done so, his disobedience would have received the unqualified approval his "every obstruction" policy did.

Admiral Hope, in a despatch to Mr. Bruce, of the same date as the "every obstruction" one, in detailing his plan, wrote:—

"There can be no doubt of the importance of Ningpo to our trade under existing circumstances, and should you therefore find it expedient to sanction forcible interference for its security, I request you will communicate with Captain Dew direct...."


By this it appears that a British Admiral would have felt himself justified in considering his Government's orders, his own pledges, and the national honour, secondary in consequence to the temporary advantages arising from "our trade." Lord Russell, upon receipt of the Admiral's "every obstruction" despatch, instructed Mr. Bruce as follows:—

"I have received ... a copy of Vice-Admiral Hope's letter to you of the 8th May, respecting the measures adopted by him for the defence of Ningpo.... I have caused the Admiralty to be informed, in reply, that I am of opinion that Vice-Admiral Hope's measures should be approved.... You will understand, however, that Her Majesty's Government do not wish force to be used against the rebels in any case except for the actual protection of the lives and property of British subjects."

Professions of neutrality are here reiterated, although at the same time the Admiral's hostile policy is approved of. Meanwhile, in the face of these plain orders to "observe neutrality," Admiral Hope thus addressed the Ti-ping chief in command of Chapoo:—

"The following communication from Vice-Admiral Sir James Hope, K.C.B., commanding the naval forces of Great Britain in China, is made to the General commanding the Taeping troops at Chapoo:—

"1. I have been informed that the troops under your orders have lately captured the town of Chapoo, and that there is an intention on their part of advancing on Ningpo.

"2. As the capture of Ningpo would be extremely injurious to British trade, and that of foreigners generally, I beg you to desist from advancing on that town within a distance of two marches.

"3. Should these my wishes be disregarded, and I sincerely trust they may not be, as it would be with deep regret that I should place my forces in a hostile position towards the Taepings, with whom we wish to maintain amicable relations, I may be compelled to assist in the defence of Ningpo, and in that case I need hardly point out to you the hopelessness of success on your part, whilst what occurred at Shanghae last year is still fresh in your memories.

(Signed)     "R. Dew, Captain.

"Encounter, June 11, 1861."

In this despatch the Ti-ping general is insulted by menace; an unmanly reference is made to Shanghae; a[396] hostile attitude is threatened if the Ti-pings capture cities the possession of which is most essential to the success of their cause—and yet, withal, a wish "to maintain amicable relations" is professed!

Upon the 8th August, 1861, after the singular interpretation of neutrality by his subordinates and Admiral Hope, Earl Russell indited the following order to Mr. Bruce:—

"Her Majesty's Government desire to maintain, as they have done hitherto, neutrality between the two contending parties in China. If British subjects are taken prisoners by either party, you should do your utmost to save them from torture or capital punishment, but otherwise you should abstain from all interference in the civil war."[43]

When the massacre before Shanghae, in 1860, is remembered, when the subsequent approval of Admiral Hope's hostile intentions is considered, and when the various modes in which our pledges of neutrality were indirectly violated are counted, this despatch will require no comment.

In fulfilment of the desire (to maintain neutrality, "as they have done hitherto," upon the part) of his Government, Captain Dew gave all the assistance he possibly could to the Manchoo defenders of Ningpo; besides framing eight plans[44] for the defence of the city against the Ti-pings; according to Mr. Bruce:—

"He fitted twelve heavy guns with carriages, &c., to mount on the walls."

Again, in the same despatch,[45] Mr. Bruce states:—

"Captain Dew had gone farther, than he was strictly warranted in doing, in his desire to save the city of Ningpo...."

We are forced to believe this fitting of heavy guns, and defence of Chinese cities, a part of the neutrality Her Majesty's Government had "hitherto" maintained, and in their opinion a true interpretation of this order, "that excepting intercession for British prisoners our authorities should abstain from all interference in the civil war!"


Captain Dew's next interpretation of this order took the form of a buccaneering exploit against the Ti-ping custom-houses. Upon the occupation of the country between the silk districts and Shanghae by the Ti-pings, Europeans were sent in charge of the silk boats plying on the inland waters, one being placed with each valuable boat load, in order to pass it through the Ti-ping territory as foreign property. Consul Medhurst, in a despatch to Captain Dew,[46] writes:—

"The consequence is, that foreign escorts go inland without passports, and a number of irresponsible seamen are introduced into the country ... the result of this state of things cannot be good.... The principal danger to be feared by persons sending up country arises, not so much from the acts of the rebels themselves, as from the squeezing and plundering propensities of the Imperialist forces, and from the pilfering attacks of lawless peasantry.... Both kinds of marauders might be kept in good check through visits made periodically by Her Majesty's gun-boats.... If you approve of this scheme, I would suggest your sending a gun-boat up in the course of the next few days...."

Captain Dew having approved the "scheme," we will proceed to notice what he did. Instead of paying attention to "both kinds of marauders" pointed out by Consul Medhurst as the "principal danger," the Captain, towards the middle of June, as stated in The Friend of China, employed himself about the following piratical outrage:—

"Sixteen boats freighted with bales of silks and cocoons, with some Europeans in charge of them, and belonging to European firms in Shanghae, were passing a Taeping custom-house at Loo-chee, some distance up the Shanghae or Wong-poo river. They were brought to, and a small duty of four dollars per bale of silk was demanded. The boats belonging to two of the firms paid the duty and proceeded on their voyage, but the person in charge of the boats belonging to Messrs. Adamson & Co., of Shanghae, refused to pay it, and he was then told he could not proceed until the duty was paid, and the boat and bales of silk were consequently taken possession of. This was construed into an act of 'atrocious piracy,' and the Flamer and Captain Dew went to Loo-chee to demand restitution. Explanations were given by the Taeping Governor of the district, but they were unavailing; the unqualified restoration of the silk was insisted on under a threat of bombardment; the boats and bales of silk were therefore surrendered to Captain Dew, but as some small arms were missing, Captain Dew took possession of the guns of the custom-house, and seized some customs' police, and took them away with him to be detained until the arms missing from the boat should have been returned. The letter written by the Governor of the district, named Wan, to the authorities of Shanghae, consequent upon this outrage, is dignified and forbearing, and it were well for us to act in the spirit it manifests. The above are only examples of our professed neutrality; many others, however, have occurred."


The following are extracts from the letter written upon the subject by the Ti-ping chief, Wan:—

"I find on inquiry, that the silk, &c., lost by your merchant, was seized in lieu of duties, in consequence of an attempt on his part to get by the custom-house and evade payment of duties, on which he was arrested, and your charge, therefore, that he was plundered, is utterly without foundation.

"The Truly Sacred Lord who has established the Divine Dynasty, has also established custom-houses wherever the country is quiet, and by his law all merchants who pass these must pay the regular duties, and your merchant in daring to force his way through and evade the payment of customs, and you in coming here and making a disturbance and squeezing the money back, have behaved in a manner at utter variance with propriety....

"A special communication."

Meanwhile, Mr. Bruce, the chief diplomatist, unable to justify this increasing aggression otherwise, fiercely assailed the Ti-ping theology and civil administration. In a despatch to Lord Russell, dated at "Pekin, June 23, 1861,"[47] he takes upon himself to state (supremely indifferent to, or rather ignoring, the valuable testimony of the Revs. Griffith, John, Edkins, Medhurst, Muirhead, Legge, &c.):—


"The evidence of all classes of observers seems unanimous, both as to the destructive nature of the insurrection, and as to the blasphemous and immoral character of the superstition on which it is based."

Does Mr. Bruce and those who agree with him, venture to term our Bible the so-called "blasphemous and immoral superstition?"—for on that, and that alone, is the Ti-ping faith established. The following extracts from the same dispatch, and two others, having been approved by Her Majesty's Government, contain a complete key to the course taken against the Ti-pings, and lay bare a policy deduced from false premises, and founded upon utter violation of principle. The three despatches under consideration consist of—1. Mr. Bruce to Lord Russell, June 23, 1861; 2. Mr. Bruce to Vice-Admiral Sir J. Hope, Pekin, June 16; 3. Vice-Admiral Sir J. Hope's reply to Mr. Bruce, dated, Impérieuse, Hong-kong, July 11.—Dispatch No. 1 states:—

"In the enclosed letter to Sir James Hope, to which I beg to draw your Lordship's attention, I have stated at length the dangers to which the progress of the insurrection exposes British interests in China.... Our permanent interests are those of trade, the prosperity of which is linked with order and tranquillity. We have, in addition, a temporary interest arising out of the indemnities payable from the custom-house revenue, which is, however, intimately linked with the former.

"What is to become of these interests if the ports fall into the hands of the rebels?"

Here we have the true cause of British hostility to the Ti-pings. Not that our Government feared the trading "interests" would suffer if the Ti-pings captured the treaty ports—by no means; but they dreaded the certain loss of the "temporary interest arising out of the indemnities." They knew full well, as a quotation from dispatch No. 3 will prove, the Ti-pings had never injured our trade; that although the capture of the ports might cause a temporary stagnation, those who would take them came as their "brothers" in Christ, and ultimately would have established a free and general commerce throughout the[400] country; but they also knew that the success of the Ti-pings would imperil their existence, by stopping the indemnification for the last unnecessary and aggressive war with China, and by sweeping away the immense revenue derived from the vile opium traffic.

In the same despatch, Mr. Bruce, with his usual acumen, winds up his syllogism of fallacious assertions—"The nature of the insurrection is destructive" and its religion "blasphemous and immoral;" the insurrectionists are able to capture the Imperial cities, therefore, the "commercial prosperity" of the treaty ports and the "temporary interests" would be destroyed by the success of the Ti-pings—in the following words:—

"The motives of the far larger part of the force are, I apprehend, a desire to live on the spoils of the rich and industrious, to carry off women, and to lead a life of alternate adventure and licence, with little feeling for the Taeping cause.... I see, therefore, little hopes of communities like those of Shanghae and Ningpo escaping destruction.... The commercial prosperity of the ports would receive a fatal blow.... The proceeds of the custom-houses would fall off, and nothing but force would enable us to receive the proportion of duties we are entitled to" (the indemnities) "under the convention of Pekin, out of their diminished receipts."

Now, I submit, these forebodings with regard to the indemnity having been verified by the capture of Ningpo and the rapid success of the Ti-pings, led to the participation of England in the Chinese internecine war. If Mr. Bruce, by the above-quoted statements, intended to advise his Government to assist the Imperialists—and they cannot admit of any other interpretation—how can that distinguished and consistent statesman reconcile them with his strong disapproval of any such policy expressed only a few months before, and which I have already quoted in a previous chapter:—

"No course could be so well calculated to lower our national reputation, as to lend our material support to a Government the corruption of whose authorities is only checked by its weakness."


Mr. Bruce first states, the worst possible policy England could choose would be to interfere against the Ti-pings; and then he declares, if we do not interfere, "that nothing but force would enable us to receive" indemnities and enjoy trade. The present British Government has thought fit to adopt the suicidal course pointed out by Mr. Bruce, and now it has experienced the fact that "no course could be so well calculated to lower our national reputation." The last testimony of Mr., or rather, Sir F. Bruce; of Mr. Lay, C.B., late Inspector-General of Chinese Customs; of Captain Sherrard Osborne, R.N., late Admiral of the so-called Anglo-Chinese flotilla; and of all who have the least opportunity of knowing anything about the subject, unite in confessing the evil of the past policy exercised towards the Ti-pings, and state that the Manchoo Government, despite the fact that it owes its very existence to the help of the British, has thoroughly returned to its exclusiveness, its evasion of treaty obligations, and its hatred of the "outer-barbarians" who have saved it from extinction.

We will now proceed to notice despatch No. 2, addressed by Mr. Bruce to Admiral Hope, which affords further proof of the false principles on which British interference was founded:—

"The Government will soon be in possession of the accounts ... of the agreement entered into by the rebels not to attack Shanghae for a twelvemonth, and of the corresponding assurance that, if we are not molested in trading up the river, our desire and intention are to remain neutral in the civil contest now in progress in China....

"Her Majesty's Government will probably abstain from rendering active assistance at present to the Imperial Government, both on account of the assurances of neutrality we have given to the insurgents, and on account of the serious and indefinite consequences to which any such intervention would in all probability lead."

The signification of the "at present" will be seen upon perusal of the following paragraph, which exactly describes the plan very shortly adopted by the British[402] Government, in direct violation of those "assurances of neutrality we have given to the insurgents":—

"Another course is open to consideration, namely, that of taking the open ports or the principal ones under our protection and safeguard, and declaring that we will repel by force any attack upon them by the insurgents. Considering that by treaty we have an interest in the revenue derived at these ports from trade, and that this, the only source of our indemnities, would be materially diminished, if not altogether destroyed, should they be assaulted and captured ... I think it may be urged, with truth, in justification of such a course, that it affords the best means of protecting our interests.... But this course is not unattended with difficulty. The insurgents would naturally object, that in leaving the revenue and administration of these places in Imperial hands, we do in reality assist the Imperialists."

This conclusion is correct; for, so impossible was it to usurp the treaty ports and not "in reality assist the Imperialists," that the mask was thrown off by openly making war upon the Ti-pings. The only "difficulty" to allude to, which indeed is really almost creditable to the conscience of Mr. Bruce, was the fact that England was pledged to the opposite policy; but it must be remembered that the only tie which bound her to carry out that policy was one of justice and honour, while strong temptations to its violation were in existence; also, that it is not the lot of every minister to be able to discern how the commercial interests of his country may be best provided for.

"To this we should reply that we exercise the legitimate right of self-defence in protecting our own interests, and that if in doing so we are obliged to limit the belligerent rights of the insurgents, the cause is to be found in the ruthless nature of the war they wage."

This excuse is the principal one given by the British Ministry to justify its breach of faith; but "the cause" must, from what has already been stated, be regarded as utterly false.

But, should we for a moment admit the hypothetical "ruthless nature of the war they wage," by what right were we "obliged to limit the belligerent rights of the[403] insurgents," when it is universally admitted that the Imperialists are quite as ruthless, if not more so? Moreover, did the British Government attempt to limit the belligerent rights of either North or South in America? yet the one was ruthless enough, and the cotton trade was injured. Unscrupulous persons who would justify the destruction of semi-civilized people, when it can be done with impunity, may say these cases are not parallel; nevertheless, the only difference is, that with America we have treaties allowing Englishmen to settle and trade everywhere, while in China the treaty limits the settling and trading to certain parts. The principle of non-intervention applies quite as strongly to the one nation as the other; moreover, the Ti-pings never did, or would have attempted to, blockade the trade of any port at which Europeans were settled. Did either belligerent so far study foreign interests in America?

To resume our review of despatch No. 2, Mr. Bruce continues:—

"The Government would, no doubt, wish to hear from you whether Nankin could be attacked with success by a purely naval force." ...

After deprecating any partial hostilities against the Ti-pings, the despatch continues:—

"And on the other hand, we should lose a favourable opportunity of placing our relations with the Emperor on a satisfactory footing, if we were deprived by some incidental event of the power of making our aid a matter of bargain with the Imperial Government.... The longer we are able to preserve an indifferent attitude between the two parties, the more inclined they will be to bid higher for our friendship and support."

What an accomplished frequenter of the Rialto the author of these creditable sentences would have made! This despatch was written on the 16th June, 1861; within seven months open hostilities were initiated against the Ti-pings by Admiral Hope, in direct violation of his Government's existing orders to maintain neutrality; and within nine months the British Government adopted the[404] policy "of taking the open ports under our protection," and violated all pledges of neutrality by prosecuting a regular, though never openly declared, war upon the insurgents.

The following are the most important passages from despatch No. 3. They plainly state that our "commercial interests" would not suffer from the acts of the rebels, and that trade was not injured by them, although completely in their power.

After disapproving of any attack upon Nankin, Admiral Hope states:—

"The Taeping authorities will be open to easy access by us so long as Nankin remains the seat of Government; and from such experience as our short intercourse has afforded, I see a fair prospect of our acquiring sufficient influence with them to enable us to carry all points which are essential to our commercial interests, even to that of eventual abstinence from molesting the consular ports.

"It is further clear that we cannot afford to quarrel with them, as at any moment they might stop the whole trade of Shanghae, at this time by far the largest portion of that from China."

Nothing can be more to the point than this admission that the Ti-pings did not injuriously affect our trading interests; but the opium traffic and indemnities were threatened, and to save them the treaty ports were held against the victorious patriots.

In his reply to the three despatches quoted from, Earl Russell wrote:—

"I have to state to you that Her Majesty's Government agree with Admiral Hope in regarding an attack on Nankin as highly impolitic, but it might be expedient to defend the treaty ports if the Chinese" (Manchoos) "would consent not to use those ports for purposes of aggression."

It will thus be seen Lord Russell did not authorize the defence of the treaty ports even "if the Chinese (Manchoos) would consent not to use those ports for purposes of aggression," as he indefinitely states that in event of such action upon the part of the Manchoo Government,[405] "it might be expedient to defend" them. Yet, although even this ambiguous suggestion could not become an absolute order in the absence of the fulfilment of the condition precedent, the British authorities in China acted as though Lord Russell had imperatively ordered the military occupation of the ports, upon the proviso having been agreed to by the Imperial belligerent; and it was not till after the open violation of the oft-guaranteed neutrality by the commencement of systematic hostilities against the Ti-pings, that the Foreign Secretary publicly authorized the proceedings.

Admiral Hope declared "all points" could be carried with the Ti-pings, even regarding their avoidance of the treaty ports, "essential to our commercial interests." Most undoubtedly he was correct. The Ti-pings never injured the trade, and would have abstained from molesting the treaty ports had they been made neutral; but the ports having become the principal depôts of the enemy, naturally compelled them to endeavour to obtain possession of them.

When the agreement or treaty of neutrality was made with the Ti-ping authorities by the leaders of the British expedition opening up the Yang-tze to trade, Mr. Parkes reported:—

"They wished to know, however, in which way the Admiral would use his influence to prevent their being attacked by the Imperialists from Shanghae; and whether one of their officers would be allowed to visit Shanghae, to learn what arrangements were made in this respect."

No such arrangements ever were made, although upon that condition had the Ti-pings consented to refrain from capturing Shanghae for "one year." When at length they were driven to attack the very citadel of the enemy, they truthfully gave this reason:—

"If there were no impish (Manchoo) forces at Shanghae and Woo-sung, the Chung-wang and She-wang would certainly not think of sending their troops to take those places."


Upon July 28, the British Consul at Shanghae wrote to Mr. Bruce:—

"The Imperialist authority does not extend beyond a circuit of from fifty to sixty miles from Shanghae, and I see no reason whatever to suppose that they will ever be able to drive the rebels beyond that limit.... The presence of foreign forces in this city alone saves its authorities from summary ejection. But, if the rebels were allowed to take possession, the country in our immediate vicinity would at once lapse into the wretched state of anarchy which exists beyond the rebel lines; the native population would inevitably disappear, property would miserably deteriorate." ...

Mr. Bruce, in his notice of this despatch to Lord Russell, states:—

"Your Lordship will observe that he states that the capture of Shanghae would be fatal to the commercial prosperity of the port. To me it is rather a matter of surprise that trade should continue at all.... The export of silk between June 1860 and June 1861 has, in spite of these disadvantages, amounted to 85,000 bales."

Directly after this we find Mr. Bruce bearing testimony that Ti-ping "success in any locality is attended with its total destruction!" Admiral Hope admitted that the insurgents had the Shanghae trade, "by far the largest portion of that from China," entirely in their power, but did not stop it; Mr. Medhurst (Shanghae Consul) declared the whole country within "fifty to sixty miles" was under Ti-ping jurisdiction; and Mr. Bruce notices the large export of silk from the districts where silk, he states, meets with "total destruction"! Now, common sense may inquire whether this totally destroyed country, "wretched state of anarchy," "native population that inevitably disappeared," and "property that miserably deteriorated," could have managed to produce 88,112 bales of silk in the year 1861? This, with only one exception, was the largest amount ever exported from China in one year. The silk districts were entirely in the possession of the Ti-pings, and every bale had passed through their hands. A reference to the table of statistics[48] will convince the most sceptical that the Ti-pings actually increased the valuable trade, but that since their expulsion from the silk districts, the produce and exportation of that article has fallen off more than one half.


There is another matter to be considered with regard to the political morality of Mr. Bruce. At the beginning of the year 1861 he officially stated:—

"It does not appear to me necessary to take any part in this conflict; but our material interests at Shanghae justify us in insisting on its being exempted from attack until the insurgents have sufficiently established their superiority to enable us to consider the contest as respects that part of China at an end. In that case, the population of the town will be quite ready to acknowledge the new power, and the authority of the Mandarins will fall without a blow."

Yet, when, according to the extracts from the despatch of Consul Medhurst, this "until" had arrived by the complete establishment of the Ti-ping superiority, Mr. Bruce singularly enough forgets his declaration of only a few months previous.

The Ti-pings at length, after successively capturing the important cities of Shou-shing, Fung-wha, Yü-yaou, and Tsze-kee, came in contact with the British authorities at Ningpo. Having occupied every part of the Che-kiang and Kiang-su provinces, to the south of the Yang-tze, with the exception of the three treaty ports, Shanghae, Ningpo, and Chin-kiang, the Ti-pings, both to preserve their conquests and prosecute their cause, were obliged to advance upon those cities, which had become the strongholds of the enemy. Upon their approach to Ningpo, a conference was held by the representatives of Great Britain, France, and the United States. The official report of this meeting states:—

"It has been decided that the undersigned[49] shall proceed this day (28th Nov.), on board Her Majesty's gun-boat Kestrel, to the rebel head-quarters ... and having obtained an interview with the insurgent leaders, shall convey to them verbally, as well as in writing, the following message:—

"'1. That the undersigned take no part in this civil contest, but that they claim exemption from injury and annoyance at the hands of both parties." ...


This fresh pledge of neutrality, together with three other clauses respecting the forthcoming occupation of Ningpo, the foreign settlement, and the lives and property of the European residents, was given to the Ti-ping generals at Yü-yaou and Fung-wha. Nothing could have been more satisfactory than the result of this communication. The following are extracts from the account given by Mr. Hewlett (Consular Interpreter) of the interview with the Ti-ping chiefs:—

"We at once informed Hwang (Commanding-General at Yü-yaou) of the object of our visit," to which "he gave his unqualified assent, 'although,' he added, 'in the event of the Mandarins resisting, and of my having to attack Ningpo, I cannot be responsible for the lives of any of your countrymen who may remain inside the city. Otherwise, I will do all I can to prevent their being molested, and will at once behead any of my followers who dare to offer them any annoyance.'

"He assured us that his desire was to keep well with foreigners, with whom he was anxious to open trade; spoke of us as worshippers of the same God and the same Jesus as themselves, and denominated us—'Wai-hsiung-te'—their foreign brothers.

"He seemed to entertain no doubt whatever of being successful in his attack on Ningpo.

"Eager inquiries were made on all sides for foreign firearms, of which they seem to have but few—a want that would be sufficiently felt were they ever to come in contact with troops courageous enough to stand against them."

This paragraph may fairly account for the successes afterwards gained over the ill-armed Ti-pings by Major Gordon's and other troops, well provided with British artillery, shell, rifles, &c., &c.

"As far as human life is concerned, the rebels, at the capture of Yü-yaou, appear to have used their opportunity with forbearance; we saw [409]but few dead bodies, and of those some, as we were informed, were their own men who had been caught plundering and burning.

"Hwang having informed us that another body of troops, also under the She-wang's orders, and commanded by one Fang, a general of equal rank with himself, was advancing on Ningpo from the Fung-wha, or south-west side, we proceeded up that branch of the river early on Monday morning, the 2nd instant, and found the said insurgents encamped at a place called Pih-too, but ten miles from Ningpo."

The following account of Mr. Hewlett's interview with Fang is worthy of the best attention, proving, as it does, the earnest desire of the poor Ti-pings to be on terms of friendship, even brotherhood, with all the nations of their "foreign brethren;" and that any reasonable wish of the British authorities would have been complied with.

"We at once went ashore, and put ourselves in communication with the leader, Fang, a man of only 25 years of age, and a native of Kwang-se. We hastened to represent to him the serious injury to trade that must ensue on the capture of Ningpo by his forces, and the consequent loss that would accrue to foreign interests, besides the danger, in reality no slight one, to foreign life and property, to be apprehended both from the lawless characters in his own ranks, and equally so from the bands of unruly Cantonese and Chin-chew men at Ningpo, ever on the look-out for an opportunity of indiscriminate plunder. We ended by eagerly dissuading him from advancing on Ningpo.

"To our two objections Fang replied by assuring us that his party were most anxious to keep well with foreigners, who, indeed, were no other than their brothers, inasmuch as both worshipped one God and one Jesus; and that as for trade, that would be allowed to go on as formerly, while he begged us to feel quite at ease as to the persons and property of our countrymen, any molestation shown to whom would be followed by instant decapitation. Their object being the overthrow of the present dynasty, they could not allow Ningpo to remain in the hands of the Imperialists.

"It was with difficulty that we succeeded in persuading Fang to delay his attack on Ningpo for one week; another day, he said, was to have seen him there, had we not interposed.

"One could not help feeling struck with the earnestness and apparent sincerity of this young leader. Whilst alive to the dangers attending the cause in which he was engaged, he seemed to be confident that the support of Heaven would carry them through all their difficulties, and that, so aided, they must prevail. He told us that nearly the whole province was in their [410]hands, or would be before long, and that Hang-chow, the provincial capital, would fall, 'as soon as Heaven should see fit to give it into their hands.'"

The General Hwang gave the following reply to the communication of the foreign representatives, which, together with Fang's, fairly expresses the aim and feeling of the Ti-ping Government:—


"Hwang, a noble of the rank of E,[50] with the prænomen 'Paon teen' ('Precious Heavenly'), and Commander-in-Chief of the chief army of his Highness Prince[51] Tsung, who is of the Royal body-guard in the capital of the Heavenly Dynasty, which is the dynasty patented under the true Divine Commission as the Heavenly Kingdom of Universal Peace, addresses an official communication to F. Harvey, Esq., Her Majesty's Consul; W. Breck, Esq., United States Consul; Lieutenant H. Huxham, Royal Navy; Captain L. Obry, His Imperial Majesty's Navy, in reference to the interview held (this day) for the purpose of deliberating on the maintenance of friendly relations between the respective countries.

"From the foundations of the heavens and the earth, the world has been divided into the central kingdom, China, and the external kingdoms, foreign countries. Each kingdom, whether China or those of foreign countries, has been ruled over by men of its own nation. (This has been the universal practice.)

"But in the time of the Ming dynasty the Tartar imps, originally serfs from beyond the northern frontier, stole into China, and usurped the emblems of royalty [lit., seized upon the divine materials], making unclean and polluting the land to a degree that no tongue can tell of [lit., to a degree difficult for the fingers to reckon].

"Even till now, and during a period of more than 200 years, have they been going on in their wickedness, until at last their cup of iniquity is filled to the overflowing.

"At these their sins the Heavenly Father being exceeding wroth [lit., his anger was as an earthquake], would have destroyed the world; then Jesus, the Heavenly Elder Brother, out of his mercy and lovingkindness towards mankind, sent down the true and holy Lord, the Heavenly King, to wash out the stains of the northern serfs, and to set up anew the house of Han [i.e., to re-establish a purely native dynasty].


"These, then, are the times of changing the dynasty, and of reforming the kingdom prescribed by Heaven and submitted to by man.

"The command of the valiant troops of this great army has been conferred upon me by royal commission, with the allotted task of rooting out of the earth all that is unholy [lit., of destroying in the east and exterminating in the west, part of a complete sentence, signifying a thorough eradication of evil from all the four quarters of the globe], and of visiting on the heads of their rulers the afflictions of the people.

"The highest object of my mission is none other than the foundation and establishment of the dynasty; subordinate to that, my aim is the welfare of the people [lit., the black-haired multitudes], that I may weed out from among them those that oppress, and give peace to such as are true of heart.

"Hence it is that throughout the whole of my onward course 'there were none' (as it is written) 'that came not forth with meat and drink to welcome the soldiers of the King.'[52]

"Our great army having at this time invaded the province of Che-kiang, and the representatives of your several countries, stationed at Ningpo, having come this day to my head-quarters at Yü-yaou, to deliberate about maintaining amicable relations with us, on the understanding of mutual non-interference, and having requested me to order my troops to abstain, on their arrival at Ningpo, from injuring the persons or property of your respective countrymen at that place, I hereby promise to issue the above orders to my troops, and to command them to respect the terms of the agreement.

"In case any of my troops should dare, contrary to my orders, to molest any of your countrymen or to injure their property, I will, on your arresting and handing over to me the offender, at once behead him.

"In the same way, if any of the subjects of your respective countries should, contrary to your orders, take upon themselves to assist the imps in repelling our advance, you will in your turn direct them to refrain from so doing.


"From and after this date the friendly arrangement now agreed upon is to be binding on both parties.

"Sincerely trusting that you will not allow yourselves to feel anxious about this matter, and with wishes for your good health, I beg to forward this special communication.

"19th day of the 10th month of the 11th ('Sin-yew') year of the Heavenly Kingdom of Universal Peace" [November 29, 1861].

The General Fang gave the following answer:—


"Fang, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, charged with the reduction of the disobedient, and a member of the Royal body-guard in the capital of the Heavenly Dynasty, &c., in official reply to F. Harvey, Esq., Her Majesty's Consul; W. Breck, Esq., United States Consul; Lieutenant H. Huxham, R.N.; Captain L. Obry, His Imperial Majesty's Navy, requesting them to set their minds at rest.

"The Almighty God, the Supreme Lord, the Heavenly Father, and Jesus the Heavenly Elder Brother, sent our true and holy Lord, the Heavenly King, down into the world, and ordained him to be Ruler over the Central Kingdom. To destroy the imps, to deliver the people, and to rescue the Central Empire; these are the chief objects of his desires.

"The special task of chastising the nation[53] [lit., those without the palace doors], with a view to the establishment of the Dynasty, has now been conferred upon me by royal commission. My mission is simply to show compassion to the people, and to punish the crimes of their rulers.

"The troops of my great army have now entered the department of Ningpo, and I fully purpose capturing the departmental city, and making it revert to the King to serve as a basis from which we may give peace to and console the four estates of the nation [scholars, husbandmen, mechanics, and traders].

"I have this day received your letter, and informed myself completely of its contents; all the requisitions therein contained I promise to comply with. I will, therefore, order my troops to frame their conduct after the Divine pattern, and to abstain from tumult and acts of aggression.

"Wherefore I beg of you to set your minds at rest.

"Good faith, as a principle of action, being a most important desideratum, no retractation must be made in respect of the number of days conceded prior to our advance on the city.

"With reference to the persons and property of your respective countrymen, I will issue the strictest orders, forbidding either the one or the other to be injured in the very least degree. Trade shall be allowed to continue as usual, with the additional advantage of being conducted on a fairer footing. On no account will acts of violence or robbery be permitted.

"One word from the superior man is sufficient to settle any affair; he is true, he is sincere, and hence no mistake or misunderstanding can arise.

"Whilst forwarding this in reply, I beg to express my wishes for your happiness.

(Enclosed, twenty-one Proclamations.)

"22nd day of the 10th month of the 11th ('Sin-yew') year of the Heavenly Kingdom of Universal Peace" [2nd December, 1861].


Faithfully fulfilling that extraordinary example of their willingness to preserve friendship with foreigners—the promise to delay their occupation of Ningpo one week—the Ti-pings, immediately upon the expiration of the seven days, on the morning of December 9, moved up to the city walls, and within an hour Ningpo was completely in their possession; the Manchoos, Mandarins, regular troops, braves, pirates, and all, having fled from the city, scarcely striking a blow in its defence.

Although the British authorities contented themselves upon this occasion with underhanded hostility against the Ti-pings, the same unworthy procedure was equally as much a violation of the principle of their pledged neutrality as the open warfare they shortly commenced in the neighbourhood of Shanghae. As all assertions of this description require proof, it is necessary to encumber this narrative with extracts from the official documents that, for the honour of England, should remain in oblivion for ever, were they not necessary to prove the disreputable transactions of various officials, and my reasons for advocating the Ti-ping cause.

I have already noticed the singular sort of interpretation put upon the "no wish to quarrel," "the wish to maintain amicable relations," and the orders to "abstain from all interference in the civil war," "maintain an attitude of strict neutrality," &c., by Admiral Hope and Captain R. Dew. We will therefore conclude the review[414] of "fitting twelve heavy guns," &c. at Ningpo, by one other example of breach of faith and neutrality.

The instructions to the Ningpo Consul by Mr. Bruce were to "take no part" in defending the city. The written guarantee forwarded to the leaders of the powerful advancing army were precisely similar. "The undersigned take no part in this civil contest." Now, in spite of these pledges, we have seen Admiral Hope order "every obstruction" to be placed before the Ti-pings. In his account of the capture of Ningpo he fairly admits his own faithlessness thus:—

"2. Everything had been done to assist the Imperialists in the defence of the town, except the use of force, in their favour, and their Lordships will not fail to observe how utterly useless such measures proved, in consequence of the cowardice and imbecility of the Mandarins."

This taking "no part" and at the same time doing "everything to assist" one belligerent requires no comment.

When the Ti-ping forces assaulted Ningpo, the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperialists ran away, and being lowered over the city wall with a number of retainers, received protection from the British Consul, who facilitated their escape. This same Consul, in his report of the city's capture to Lord Russell, states:—

"Ningpo is now in the full and unquestionable possession of the Taeping forces. I am glad to state that, up to the present time, there has been no slaughter, or massacre, or fires, within the walls; and that, with the exception of a few men killed, and a certain amount of destruction of property, the rebels have, so far, conducted themselves with wonderful moderation."

Admiral Hope, in his report to the Admiralty of the same event, states:—

"The behaviour of the rebels has been good hitherto, and they profess a strong desire to remain on good terms with foreigners."


Here we find the most positive proof that the principal alleged reason for the defence of Shanghae against the insurgents, namely, because their "success in any locality is attended with its total destruction," is utterly false. While "the ruthless nature of the war they wage" is thus urged (as though even it could justify the dishonouring of British pledges) against the Ti-pings, we find that upon the only occasion this theory was subjected to proof, by the reports of their most bitter opposers, they behaved "with wonderful moderation."

Mr. Parkes (late Secretary to Lord Elgin's Embassy), in a memorandum upon the capture of Ningpo, still further proves the great friendliness of the insurgents. He says:—

"The Ningpo rebels have shown the utmost desire to be on friendly terms with foreigners. Outside the south gate, which formed the point of attack, stands the establishment of the Sisters of Charity, which, if occupied, would form excellent cover for an assaulting force, as its upper windows command the city walls; yet, although they crouched underneath its enclosures, as they collected for their rush on the gate, they did not trespass for a moment within the premises. Another large Roman Catholic establishment was one of the first buildings they had to pass, as they poured into the city, flushed and excited with their success; but they only stopped to welcome a small knot of foreigners who were standing underneath the porch, and to charge their people to offer them no harm. Roman Catholics and Protestants they hailed indiscriminately as being of the same religion and fraternity as themselves....

"The house of one of the principal Chinese of Ningpo, who is well known at Shanghae, from his wealth and the prominent support he has always given to the Government, remain untouched, simply because he has hired a Frenchman to live in it, and give his name temporarily to the premises."

Now the ignorant and designing have delighted themselves by exhausting the most damnifying epithets upon the so-called "bloodthirsty marauders," "ruthless brigands," &c.; yet the following extract from the same memorandum (of an enemy, be it remembered) seems to[416] indicate those persons as being either remarkably imaginative or mendacious:—

"It must be stated, however, to their credit, that as yet the capture of Ningpo, and it is believed also of the other cities of this province, has not been marked with those atrocities which the rebels are known to have committed elsewhere."

The "atrocities" committed elsewhere were those occasioned by the hard necessity of the war, and when the Ti-pings had no choice but to kill or be killed. But the question of Ti-ping atrocities could not possibly be construed into any fair cause of hostilities against them, it being a well-known fact that of the two belligerents they were by far the most humane.

The occupation of Ningpo by the Ti-ping forces may be justly considered the culminating point of their successes, and the termination of a period of British policy towards them, that period being the deceitful one. Almost immediately after that important event, the hitherto covert hostility of the British Government became exchanged for a more decided action, and the epoch of open hostility was established by the commencement of direct military operations against the Ti-pings from Shanghae, shortly followed by the same policy at Ningpo.

Some few days after the fall of Ningpo, Admiral Hope proceeded to Nankin for the purpose of obtaining a renewal of the promise by the Ti-ping authorities not to attack Shanghae for one year, as the former agreement expired at the end of 1861. The arrangement, however, was not again approved by the Ti-pings, not only because the British contracting officials had broken faith with regard to their pledge of preventing the Imperialists from using Shanghae for purposes of aggression against them, but from the fact that Shanghae had become the very arsenal and rallying-place of their enemy. To these principal and all-sufficient causes, others might be added,[417] such as the undeniable belligerent right of the Ti-pings to capture any city just as they captured Ningpo.

The Ti-ping authorities having very properly refused to become a party to prejudice their own interest, Admiral Hope conducted the following communication with them, as if to find some pretext for making the approach of the Ti-pings upon Shanghae a casus belli. The correspondence is well worthy of the closest attention. The open arrogance and unsound reasoning of the British portion being no less conspicuous than the righteous tenor and sound argument of the Ti-pings.


"I am directed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Naval Forces of Her Majesty the Queen of England in the Chinese Seas, to acquaint you—

"1. That during the last year certain British subjects have sustained losses by robberies committed in the territories which are held by your armies, and that it is therefore necessary that you make immediate and satisfactory arrangements for their receiving compensation. These losses amount to 7,563 taels 1 mace 7 candarenes, 4,800 dollars, 20 bales of silk, and 2 muskets, as shown by the accompanying list.

"2. That junks which carry British colours are no less British vessels than those which are foreign-built, and that they must be allowed to pass up and down the river free from examination or any other molestation, in conformity with the agreement made with you in the early part of this year. That in order to insure that no junk hoists a British flag which is not entitled to do so, their papers will be examined by the senior officer here, who will take the British flag away from any vessel not entitled to wear it, and will give notice of having done so to the Chief Officer of the Customs.

"3. That the promise made by you that your troops should not approach within 100 li of Shanghae and Woo-sung has not been faithfully observed. The Commander-in-Chief now requires that, in proof of your good faith you select an officer of high rank who shall accompany him to Shanghae and who shall from thence proceed in company with one of his officers to the ports in its vicinity, which are held by your forces, so that the order on the subject may be shown to the officers commanding them, with the view of preventing further mistakes.

"4. That a large and valuable British trade having sprung up at Kiu-kiang and Hankow, the Commander-in-Chief is under the necessity of [418]requiring a promise from you that your forces will not approach these places within 100 li; also that you are distinctly to understand that Silver Island, the residence of the British Consul at Chin-kiang-foo, is not to be molested.

(Signed)      "Henry M. Bingham.

"Renard, Nanking, December 27, 1861."


"Mung, the young Prince of Tsan, Jin, Prince of Chang, and Se, Prince of Shun, Defenders of the Court, Pillars of Heaven, in the Divine Kingdom of Universal Peace, being the Kingdom of the Heavenly Father, the Heavenly Elder Brother, and the Heavenly King, make this joint reply to Captain Bingham, British Senior Naval Officer at Nanking.

"On the 18th day (December 28) of the 11th month of the 11th or Sin-yew year of the Divine Kingdom of the Heavenly Father, Heavenly Elder Brother, and Heavenly King, we received your letter setting forth four points, which you state you had been directed to communicate to us by the Naval Commander-in-Chief of your country.

"We have acquainted ourselves with the contents of your communication, which has occasioned us the greatest surprise; we bear in mind that while your country pays adoration to Jesus, our Divine Kingdom respectfully worships Shang-te.

"The worship of Jesus is the fount and origin of our religions, and thus from age to age we have been as one family; therefore when your country came to discuss matters with us in the spring, our Lord the Heavenly King issued to us his sacred commands ordering us to receive you with courtesy, and to deal with you in perfect sincerity, in order to mark our high regard for those who are allied with and are of the same origin as ourselves. Being thus united by our religion, which is the worship of Heaven, and also by our friendly (political) relations, it is above all things necessary that we should respectively adhere to our Heavenly principles both in mind and action, and that we should compare our wants with those of others, instead of seeking only our own profit at the expense of the interests of our fellow-men. It is thus that you prove your friendship to be indeed sincere.

"On considering the four proposals set forth in your communication, we find that our Divine Kingdom cannot assent to them, and we shall proceed to state in detail the grounds of our refusal.

"The first point is a demand for compensation for 7,360 taels and odd silver, 200 taels' worth of copper cash, 4,800 dollars, 20 bales of raw silk, and 2 muskets, all said to have been taken by people of our Divine Kingdom in the 5th, 6th, and 7th months of the present year at Soo-heu, Suh-kea-kiang, Lew-hoo, Kaou-ching (Laou-ching), and other places.

"There is an absence of right in this demand. Everything deserving [419]of credit admits of proof. Although the places named are not 1,000 li distant from our capital, they are situated several hundreds of li from it, and nearly half a year has elapsed since the alleged occurrences took place.

"It is unreasonable to demand compensation for claims, when no proofs can be produced, and the assertion of such claims is in itself a very unfriendly act. Were we, of the Divine Kingdom, to put forward such unfounded claims, what course, may we ask, would your country pursue? If our nation have indeed established a custom-house at San-le-keaou, and exacted a double levy of duty in the manner stated, how is it, as your merchant-boats are constantly passing that spot, that a single instance only of such conduct should have occurred? We will not, however, take upon ourselves to deny that your boat had to submit to the exaction; but, granting that it occurred, it should be remembered that at this juncture, when a movement is going on throughout the Empire, local marauders and wandering people naturally take advantage of the opportunity afforded them to commit depredations. How, therefore, do you know that these robberies were not the work of parties of these vagabonds, simulating the appearance and profiting by the fear inspired by the troops of the Divine dynasty? Or how do you know that some of the Tartar imps have not personated the officers and troops of the Divine Kingdom, and in that feigned character plundered your merchant-boats, with a view, by these nefarious means, of causing ill-will between our two families? Moreover, if the places named have indeed been brought under the rule of our Celestial dynasty, our lieutenants must be there in garrison; and if these irregularities were committed by their troops, how is it that your country did not immediately bring them to the notice of those officers, in order that they may at once take steps for the punishment of the offenders? Instead of doing this, however, you allow a long time to elapse, and then you suddenly come to our capital to raise discussions with us on the subject at this distance!

"In the second point of your communication you claim, 'that junks which carry British colours are no less British vessels than those which are foreign-built, and must therefore be allowed to pass up and down the river free from examination or any other molestation, in conformity with the agreement made in the early part of this year.'

"On this we have to observe, that an agreement once entered into should be most faithfully and strictly adhered to, and cannot be departed from. Now in the agreement concluded with you in the spring, it is not stated that junks carrying British colours are no less British vessels than those which are foreign-built, and are therefore entitled to pass free from examination or molestation.

"The idea is now suddenly started by your country for the first time. But in the transaction of business, an open and straightforward course of action must be pursued, if distrust and suspicion are to be avoided. Suppose [420]that a Chinese merchant has goods, the duties on which amount to a considerable sum, and that your country would not ask him to pay more than half that sum in return for a flag and papers which should free him from all charge on passing our custom-houses, is it not evident that the dishonest trader would gladly turn such an opportunity to account, and that in that case we should soon find that our custom-houses had been established to no purpose?

"Moreover, the rules of the custom-houses of our Divine Kingdom permit the merchants and people of all places, and those who still shave their heads, to pass to and fro, and trade in salt and other goods on payment of the duties that are defined by regulation. This institution has been too long in existence to make it reasonable that it now should be set aside.

"Again, in the former agreement, no arrangement whatever was made respecting the employment of Chinese junks by your country, the stipulation as to the free passage to the river being confined to vessels of your own country. We agreed to this arrangement as a friendly act to those who are of the same family as ourselves. But if native junks should be largely employed by your nation, we have good cause to fear the treachery of the Imperial imps, who will employ these junks in the furtherance of their own dark and evil designs by falsely passing them off as your trading-craft. If this were the case, how greatly would our difficulties of defence be increased!

"Furthermore, the customs form the most important source of revenue on which we depend for the support of the soldiers of our Divine dynasty; and if, by undue protection granted to native junks, the payment of duties is avoided, general indignation would be felt among all our princes, high functionaries, officers, and soldiers; and they would never allow such an arrangement to continue in force. In putting forward this proposal, your country shows that you seek only your own profit, regardless of the welfare of others; and you are acting in a manner that is calculated neither to promote friendly relations, nor to induce reliance on your own promises.[54]


"The third point states that the promise made in the second month of the present year, that the Taeping troops should not approach within 100 li of Shanghae and Woo-sung has not been faithfully observed, &c.

"It is true that in the spring of this year we did make an agreement of this nature, but if we discuss it by strict principles it will be seen that there is no spot under the wide canopy of heaven that was not created by Shangte, that upon us rests the obligation of recovering by our arms the whole of China for Shangte, and that it is difficult for us to make any exception in the matter of territory, even to the extent of a foot of soil. It was only in consideration of your nation being of the same origin as ourselves that we acted as we did.

"Though commerce may be to you the means of livelihood, to us the possession of territory is all-important. It was only as a mark of our benevolent and just regard for our fellow-men that we consented for the space of the present year to avoid making any attack on Shanghae and Woo-sung, and when we entered into that agreement we issued our commands requiring it to be observed at all places in our possession, and have received reports from our various commanders, assuring us that our orders have been most scrupulously observed. But as it is obligatory on our Divine armies to kill the imps wherever they are to be found, how can our heavenly troops be forbidden to fulfil this duty? If there were no impish forces at Shanghae and Woo-sung, the Chung-wang and She-wang would certainly not think of sending their troops to take those places; and should you be willing to undertake the expulsion of the impish soldiers, then our Divine dynasty will send officers to tranquillize those places, and to protect not only the people but your trade also.

"Why, then, should the advance of our Divine soldiers within 100 li occasion you any apprehension? The present year is now drawing to a close, and with it the time named in our agreement, and we can never consent that our Divine troops shall not prepare to attack those places, simply out of consideration for your trade. It occasions us, therefore, great surprise to suddenly receive from you such a proposal, at the very time when the Chung-wang and She-wang, at the head of several millions of the Divine soldiers, are engaged in recovering from the enemy Soo-chow, Hang-chow, and the whole province.

"Your fourth point is to the effect that, as a large and valuable British trade has sprung up at Kiu-kiang and Hankow, you wish us to promise not to approach these places within 100 li, and also not to molest Silver Island, the residence of the British Consul at Chin-kiang.


"We have well considered this proposal, and consider that in putting it forward your country has committed a grave error. The case stands thus:—It is now long since our vast and illustrious Empire of China became the prey of these Tartars, who know no respect for Shangte, nor any other worship than that of devils. All sons and daughters of Heaven should be moved with the deepest enmity against them, with a hatred too deep to allow of their living together with them in the same world, and, therefore, wherever they are to be found, death should await them at our hands. Strange that just at the very time when we are about to despatch troops to take Hankow, Kiu-kiang, Chin-kiang, and Silver Island, your country should seek, under the guise of maintaining friendly relations with ourselves, to render secret assistance to the Tartar imps, by occupying several of their most important positions, and thus completely fettering our movements.

"How can we possibly consent to such a proposal?

"When we have taken Hankow, Kiu-kiang, Chin-kiang, and Silver Island, and tranquillized those places, if your country should then wish to conduct trade there as before, what is there to prevent your entering into further negotiations with our nation on these points? That being the case, what object can you have in requiring us not to take those places? If you entertain fears as to the conduct of our soldiers, and think that they may commit wanton slaughter or destruction, you should know that Heaven guides all our actions, and that while we kill all those who pay Heaven no respect, we save, on the other hand, all those who prove themselves, by worshipping Heaven, to be Heaven's children.

"All our power is derived from Shangte, and from Christ comes our support; all our acts are done in their sight and receive their entire approval.

"If you make the anticipated dispersion of the merchants and people of those ports an argument in favour of your proposal, we meet it by observing that when your officers conferred with us in the spring, this very point came under discussion. At first it was proposed on your side that we should not attack Kiu-kiang and Hankow, but afterwards, when we made it clear (to your officers) in the orders we gave them that it was necessary that we should attack and take the whole of China, as being the territory of Shangte, they replied, If your troops do not kill or injure British subjects, or do not burn or plunder British houses or property, then we shall remain neutral and assist neither party. To which we replied that you should not only remain neutral, but should also take no offence at our troops, if the people in their alarm were to disperse, and thus cause your trade to be interfered with. Your officers replied, We shall take no offence, but we shall require you to give us notice of your intention to attack these places. To this we answered, We will not refuse to give you notice before we make our attack, but we are afraid that our communications with you [423]may be obstructed by the impish camps, and that when we shall have succeeded in sweeping these away, the time then left will not be sufficient for the purpose, and the omission may prove a cause of trouble. We added, however, that your country must not again act as you did at Shanghae, where you received the letters of our nation, and yet assisted the Tartar forces to defend that city. Thus it will be seen that the point has been already fully considered, and that it is useless to enter into any further discussion.

"To resume. As friendly relations exist between us, let us regard each other as people of the same family. Those whom we are thus hotly engaged in slaughtering are no other than the Tartar imps and robbers, and the whole empire of China is the conquest we intend to effect. As the Tartar imps have not yet been exterminated, and the great work of conquest is still incomplete, we cannot give our consent to such proposals as those which your country now makes to us.

"Your only course, therefore, is to wait until the Tartar imps shall have been annihilated, when we shall be ready to give our attention to any advantageous measures that your country may have to propose.

"We trust you will listen to this advice and raise no further questions; also that you will firmly maintain the present peaceful relations, and give no occasion for distrust or ill-will. These are the hopes that should be earnestly entertained on both sides.

"P. S. We observe that the translation of the letter before us, and the paper communicating the points under discussion (the English original?) are written on white paper and bear no seal. It is very difficult for us to know whether documents thus prepared are spurious or authentic, and we fear that they could easily be imitated by the Tartar imps, and that the fraud might be attended with serious consequences.

"We trust, therefore, that in order to establish the authenticity of your documents your country will in future observe the practice of affixing your seal to them.

"Dated the 22nd day of the 11th month of the 11th or Sin-yew year of the Divine Kingdom of Universal Peace, being the Kingdom of the Heavenly Father, Heavenly Elder Brother, and Heavenly King (January 1, 1862)."

"Reward, Nanking, January 1, 1862.

"I am directed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Naval Forces of the Queen of England in the Chinese Seas to acknowledge the receipt of your reply to the communication made by me four days ago, and to acquaint you—

"1. That in bringing the demands for compensation for the robberies committed on British subjects to the notice of the authorities at Nanking, [424]instead of exacting redress for them on the spot where they were committed, he has given you the strongest proof of his desire to treat you in a friendly manner.

"Your refusal to do justice gives him the right to take his own measures for procuring adequate redress for these injuries.

"2. That he will take effectual measures to prevent any vessel carrying the English flag which has not the right to do so, but that he will not permit vessels, whether of European or Chinese construction, which are owned by British subjects, to be interfered with in any way or under any pretext, in their undoubted right of navigating the Yang-tze-kiang River free from all molestation, and you will do so at your peril.

"3. The towns of Shanghae and Woo-sung, as you well know, are occupied by the military forces of England and France, and if you repeat the absurdity of attacking them, you will incur, not merely a repulse as on a former occasion, but such further consequences as your folly will deserve.

"4. Your refusal to enter into an engagement to leave Silver Island, Kiu-kiang, and Hankow free from molestation, all places which you have not the slightest chance of attacking with success, proves to the Commander-in-Chief that your expressions of friendly feeling are mere words, and the necessity of dealing with you accordingly.

(Signed)      "Henry M. Bingham."


[43] See page 46, Blue Book.

[44] See page 50, Blue Book.

[45] See page 64, Blue Book.

[46] See page 50, Blue Book.

[47] See page 51, Blue Book.

[48] See Appendix B.


William Breck, Esq., United States Consul.
M. Leon Obry, His Imperial Majesty's Navy, commanding steamer Confucius.
Lieutenant Henry Huxham, R.N., commanding H.M.'s gunboat Kestrel.
Frederick Harvey, Esq., Her Majesty's Consul.

[50] "E" corresponds to the Chinese title "Kung," or Duke.

[51] i.e., She-wang (the Assistant Prince).

[52] A quotation from the "Sze Shoo Mencius," tom. i. chap. 2. The King of Tse is inquiring of Mencius whether he ought to take possession of the kingdom of Yeu, lately conquered by him. Mencius, instancing the practice of the ancient kings Wan and Woo under similar circumstances, replies that, unless the voice of the people invites the invader to take possession, he is not justified in so doing. Hence the rebels would have it believed that they have enlisted in their cause the sympathies of the nation, without which, according to received notions, it will be impossible for them to obtain the "Teen-ming" (the Divine Commission), and, by consequence, the Empire.

[53] i.e., those of the nation who do not submit.

[54] "On the occasion when they recently stopped some British junks at Woo-hoo, eventually retaining two (subsequently released by the Bouncer), in pledge for payment of duty, on the whole their demand amounted to 2,000 taels. Their right to levy moderate duties on all vessels trading in the territories they hold was allowed in the original arrangement entered into with them, but they were, at the same time, distinctly acquainted that I had stationed a vessel of war at Nanking for the express purpose of securing to British vessels entire freedom in the exercise of their right of navigating the Yang-tze. The necessity of preventing any interference whatever with the passing trade by the rebels, arises from the impracticability of recovering any duties they might extort without a serious collision. In the case of Imperialists, redress could always ultimately be obtained by reference through the Minister to the Government at Peking.—J. Hope."

This is the excuse given for depriving the Ti-pings of their revenue.

Transcriber's Notes

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

The embedded color images are low-resolution; click on an image to load a high-resolution version.

The frontpiece and title page contain Chinese characters which may not be rendered correctly unless the correct fonts are installed.

Hyphen added: co[-]adjutors (p. 342), E[-]CHING (caption of image facing p. 304), E-ching (p. 379), Kwang[-]si (p. 144), Pei[-]ho (pp. 229, 230), sand[-]bank(s) (pp. 107, 202), semi[-]civilized (p. 228), Shang[-]te (p. 418), Soo[-]chow (pp. 272, 273), Tai[-]ping (p. 306), Tien[-]Kwoh (caption of map facing p. 359), Ti[-]mung (twice on p. 132), water[-]fowl (p. 20), Woo[-]sung (p. 199).

Hyphen removed: banner-men (p. 322), blood[-]thirsty (p. 415), fire[-]arms (pp. 79, 408), good[-]will (pp. 88, 102), main[-]land (p. 21), Ning[-]po (p. 356), Po[-]yang (p. 88), Shen[-]si (p. 157), under[-]mentioned (p. 342), Vice[-]roy (p. 71), Wu[-]hu (p. 267), Ye[-]su (p. 175).

The following words appear in multiple forms and have not been changed: "benefited" / "benefitted", "Budhist" / "Buddhist", "gunboat" / "gun-boat", "Han-kow" / "Hankow", "Honan" / "Hoonan" / "Hoo-nan", "Hoopeh" / "Hoo-peh", "Nan-kin" / "Nan-king" / "Nankin" / "Nanking", "Shang-te" / "Shangte", "Tae-ping" / "Taiping" / "Tai-ping" / "Ti-ping", "Woo-san-kwei" / "Wu-san-kwei".

p. 61: "jingall" changed to "gingall" (a gingall battery).

p. 70: "Atalanta" changed to "Atlanta" (the occupation of Atlanta).

p. 86: "sovereignity" changed to "sovereignty" (his divine commission to earthly sovereignty).

p. 86: "sufficent" changed to "sufficient" (with guns or sufficient powder).

p. 88: "Imperalist" changed to "Imperialist" (Imperialist troops in Hoo-nan).

p. 111: "1838" changed to "1858" (Elgin treaty (June 1858)).

p. 125: duplicate "that" removed (that something was most likely dangerous).

p. 197: "exclaming" changed to "exclaiming" (exclaiming, "hish.").

p. 212: "inconoclasts" changed to "iconoclasts" (iconoclasts of the strictest order).

p. 237: "skook" changed to "shook" (shook hands).

p. 241: "acomplished" changed to "accomplised" (accomplished prince).

Caption of image facing p. 261: "HU-KAN" changed to "HU-KAU".

p. 271: "superintendant" changed to "superintendent" (in his capacity as superintendent).

p. 295: "dissertion" changed to "dissertation" (a lengthy dissertation by one Rev. J. L. Holmes).

p. 329: "ursurpation" changed to "usurpation" (without aggression or usurpation).

p. 331: "gave" changed to "give" (to give his favourable opinion).

p. 331: "bravos" changed to "braves" (becoming the mercenary braves).

p. 342: "Imperialst" changed to "Imperialist" (the Imperialist braves).

p. 344: "forgottten" changed to "forgotten" (has evidently forgotten himself).

p. 348: "Impearialist" changed to "Imperialist" (all the Imperialist posts).

p. 349: "prejudical" changed to "prejudicial" (prejudicial presence).

p. 350: "chieftian" changed to "chieftain" (gallant chieftain).

p. 354: "politicans" changed to "politicians" (politicians of the Yang-tze).

p. 356: "compartively" changed to "comparatively" (were comparatively useless).

p. 368: "parient" changed to "parent" (the injured "parent,").

p. 371: "Sze-wang" changed to "Sz-wang" (to call in the Sz-wang).

p. 388: "detoriated" changed to "deteriorated" (has seriously deteriorated).

End of Project Gutenberg's Ti-Ping Tien-Kwoh, by Augustus F. Lindley


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