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Victor Hugo, Expédition de Chine: Au Capitaine Butler, 1861

Hauteville House, 25 novembre 1861.

Vous me demandez mon avis, monsieur, sur l’expédition de Chine. Vous trouvez cette expédition honorable et belle, et vous êtes assez bon pour attacher quelque prix à mon sentiment; selon vous, l’expédition de Chine, faite sous le double pavillon de la reine Victoria et de l’empereur Napoléon, est une gloire à partager entre la France et l’Angleterre, et vous désirez savoir quelle est la quantité d’approbation que je crois pouvoir donner à cette victoire anglaise et française.

Puisque vous voulez connaître mon avis, le voici:

ll y avait, dans un coin du monde, une merveille du monde; cette merveille s’appelait le Palais d’été. L’art a deux principes, l’Idée qui produit l’art européen, et la Chimère qui produit l’art oriental. Le Palais d’été était à l’art chimérique ce que le Parthénon [267] est à l’art idéal. Tout ce que peut enfanter l’imagination d’un peuple presque extra-humain était là. Ce n’était pas, comme le Parthénon, une œuvre rare et unique; c’était une sorte d’énorme modèle de la chimère, si la chimère peut avoir un modèle.

Imaginez on ne sait quelle construction inexprimable, quelque chose comme un édifice lunaire, et vous aurez le Palais d’été. Bâtissez un songe avec du marbre, du jade, du bronze, de la porcelaine, charpentez-le en bois de cèdre, couvrez-le de pierreries, drapez-le de soie, faites-le ici sanctuaire, là harem, là citadelle, mettez-y des dieux, mettez-y des monstres, vernissez-le, émaillez-le, dorez-le, fardez-le, faites construire par des architectes qui soient des poètes les mille et un rêves des mille et une nuits, ajoutez des jardins, des bassins, des jaillissements d’eau et d’écume, des cygnes, des ibis, des paons, supposez en un mot une sorte d’éblouissante caverne de la fantaisie humaine ayant une figure de temple et de palais, c’était là ce monument. Il avait fallu, pour le créer, le lent travail de deux générations. Cet édifice, qui avait l’énormité d’une ville, avait été bâti par les siècles, pour qui? pour les peuples. Car ce que fait le temps appartient à l’homme. Les artistes, les poètes, les philosophes, connaissaient le Palais d’été; Voltaire en parle. On disait: le Parthénon en Grèce, les Pyramides en Égypte, le Colisée à Rome, Notre-Dame à Paris, le Palais d’été en Orient. Si on ne le voyait pas, on le rêvait. C’était une sorte d’effrayant chef-d’œuvre inconnu entrevu au loin dans on ne sait quel crépuscule, comme une silhouette de la [268] civilisation d’Asie sur l’horizon de la civilisation d’Europe.

Cette merveille a disparu.

Un jour, deux bandits sont entrés dans le Palais d’été. L’un a pillé, l’autre a incendié. La victoire peut être une voleuse, à ce qu’il paraît. Une dévastation en grand du Palais d’été s’est faite de compte à demi entre les deux vainqueurs. On voit mêlé à tout cela le nom d’Elgin, qui a la propriété fatale de rappeler le Parthénon. Ce qu’on avait fait au Parthénon, on l’a fait au Palais d’été, plus complètement et mieux, de manière à ne rien laisser. Tous les trésors de toutes nos cathédrales réunies n’égaleraient pas ce splendide et formidable musée de l’orient. Il n’y avait pas seulement là des chefs-d’œuvre d’art, il y avait un entassement d’orfèvreries. Grand exploit, bonne aubaine. L’un des deux vainqueurs a empli ses poches, ce que voyant, l’autre a empli ses coffres; et l’on est revenu en Europe, bras dessus, bras dessous, en riant. Telle est l’histoire des deux bandits.

Nous, Européens, nous sommes les civilisés, et pour nous, les Chinois sont les barbares. Voila ce que la civilisation a fait à la barbarie. Devant l’histoire, l’un des deux bandits s’appellera la France, l’autre s’appellera l’Angleterre. Mais je proteste, et je vous remercie de m’en donner l’occasion; les crimes de ceux qui mènent ne sont pas la faute de ceux qui sont menés; les gouvernements sont quelquefois des bandits, les peuples jamais. L’empire français a empoché la moitié de cette  [269] victoire et il étale aujourd’hui avec une sorte de naïveté de propriétaire, le splendide bric-à-brac du Palais d’été. J’espère qu’un jour viendra où la France, délivrée et nettoyée, renverra ce butin à la Chine spoliée. En attendant, il y a un vol et deux voleurs, je le constate.

Telle est, monsieur, la quantité d’approbation que je donne à l’expédition de Chine.  [270]

Victor Hugo, “L’Expédition de Chine: Au Capitaine Butler,” in Œuvres complètes de Victor Hugo: Actes et paroles pendant l’exile, 1852-70 (Paris: J. Hetzel, 1880), 267-70.

Victor Hugo, The Expedition in China, 1861.

Hauteville House, 25 novembre 1861.

“You ask my opinion, Sir, about the China expedition. You consider this expedition to be honourable and glorious, and you have the kindness to attach some consideration to my feelings; according to you, the China expedition, carried out jointly under the flags of Queen Victoria and the Emperor Napoleon, is a glory to be shared between France and England, and you wish to know how much approval I feel I can give to this English and French victory.

Since you wish to know my opinion, here it is:

There was, in a corner of the world, a wonder of the world; this wonder was called the Summer Palace. Art has two principles, the Idea, which produces European art, and the Chimera, which produces oriental art. The Summer Palace was to chimerical art what the Parthenon is to ideal art. All that can be begotten of the imagination of an almost extra-human people was there. It was not a single, unique work like the Parthenon. It was a kind of enormous model of the chimera, if the chimera can have a model. Imagine some inexpressible construction, something like a lunar building, and you will have the Summer Palace. Build a dream with marble, jade, bronze and porcelain, frame it with cedar wood, cover it with precious stones, drape it with silk, make it here a sanctuary, there a harem, elsewhere a citadel, put gods there, and monsters, varnish it, enamel it, gild it, paint it, have architects who are poets build the thousand and one dreams of the thousand and one nights, add gardens, basins, gushing water and foam, swans, ibis, peacocks, suppose in a word a sort of dazzling cavern of human fantasy with the face of a temple and palace, such was this building. The slow work of generations had been necessary to create it. This edifice, as enormous as a city, had been built by the centuries, for whom? For the peoples. For the work of time belongs to man. Artists, poets and philosophers knew the Summer Palace; Voltaire talks of it. People spoke of the Parthenon in Greece, the pyramids in Egypt, the Coliseum in Rome, Notre-Dame in Paris, the Summer Palace in the Orient. If people did not see it they imagined it. It was a kind of tremendous unknown masterpiece, glimpsed from the distance in a kind of twilight, like a silhouette of the civilization of Asia on the horizon of the civilization of Europe.

This wonder has disappeared.

One day two bandits entered the Summer Palace. One plundered, the other burned. Victory can be a thieving woman, or so it seems. The devastation of the Summer Palace was accomplished by the two victors acting jointly. Mixed up in all this is the name of Elgin, which inevitably calls to mind the Parthenon. What was done to the Parthenon was done to the Summer Palace, more thoroughly and better, so that nothing of it should be left. All the treasures of all our cathedrals put together could not equal this formidable and splendid museum of the Orient. It contained not only masterpieces of art, but masses of jewelry. What a great exploit, what a windfall! One of the two victors filled his pockets; when the other saw this he filled his coffers. And back they came to Europe, arm in arm, laughing away. Such is the story of the two bandits.

We Europeans are the civilized ones, and for us the Chinese are the barbarians. This is what civilization has done to barbarism.

Before history, one of the two bandits will be called France; the other will be called England. But I protest, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity! the crimes of those who lead are not the fault of those who are led; Governments are sometimes bandits, peoples never.

The French empire has pocketed half of this victory, and today with a kind of proprietorial naivety it displays the splendid bric-a-brac of the Summer Palace. I hope that a day will come when France, delivered and cleansed, will return this booty to despoiled China.

Meanwhile, there is a theft and two thieves.

I take note.

This, Sir, is how much approval I give to the China expedition.

Riazanov, “Karl Marx on China,” Labor Monthly, 1926

Published in Labour Monthly, February 1926
Translated from Under the Banner of Marxism.
Transcribed by Adam Buick.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.


Already in the Communist Manifesto the significance of the East Indian and Chinese market is pointed out as a factor in the development of European capitalism. It was, indeed, from East India that British capitalism began its offensive against China. The East India Company used its trade monopoly with China to make the latter a market for the sale of Indian opium. Since, however, all English traders were equally interested in the intoxication of the Chinese people, the monopoly was removed in 1833. The attempt of the Chinese Government in 1839 to forbid the import of opium produced the so-called opium war against China, which Marx characterises in Capital as one of the chief links in the long chain of trade wars in which since the sixteenth century, even in the East, the European nations were engaged. After the English had cruelly destroyed a whole series of Chinese towns and had slaughtered thousands of Chinese for the honour of Christianity and European civilisation, they forced on China in 1842 the treaty of Nanking, which provided for the opening of the five Treaty Ports – Kanton, Amoy, Ningpo, Shanghai and Foochow, the payment of what was at that time an enormous indemnity, and the surrender of the island of Hong Kong, which forms the chief base for British Imperialism in the Far East. Following the treaty of Nanking came treaties with the United States and with France.

The defeat in battle with the Europeans was a hard blow for the prestige of the Manchu dynasty which had been supreme in China since the seventeenth century. Among the peasant masses, groaning under the burden of taxation and the pressure of the bureaucracy, and who reacted at times to their subjection by sporadic revolts, there now began to ripen a ferment of dissatisfaction which was especially strong in the South East where the destructive influence of foreign capital most made itself felt. To this was added the fermentation among the Chinese “intelligentsia” of that time, the teachers and the lower officials, as well as among the craftsmen ruined by foreign competition.

Just at the time when in West Europe the waves of the 1848 revolution reached their height, the activity of the secret societies in China also became stronger and propaganda for new religious sects developed among the peasants. The European missionaries against their will played the part of hens with a brood of ducklings. They remarked with terror that the drawing-room Christianity preached by them had taken root among the rebellious peasantry in the only militant form of Christianity, which demands equality in this world. Europe learnt of this for the first time through the well-known German missionary and sinologist, Gutzlaff, who also was the first to make a Chinese translation of the Bible.

In the same international review (January, 1850) in which Marx investigated the influence of the discovery of the Californian gold mines on the development of the world market, and in which he prophesied for the Pacific Ocean the same rôle that the Mediterranean had once played in the ancient world, and which had then passed to the Atlantic Ocean, Marx also refers to the interesting communications of Gutzlaff. He wrote:–

“The slow but regularly increasing over-population of the country long ago made the social relations there very oppressive for the great majority of the nation. Then came the English and enforced free trade for themselves in the five ports. Thousands of British and American vessels sailed towards China, and in a short time the country was filled to excess with cheap British and American factory wares. The Chinese industry based on hand labour was subjected to the competition of the machines. The hitherto unshakeable Central Empire experienced a social crisis. Taxes ceased to come in, the State fell to the edge of bankruptcy, the population sank in masses into pauperism, broke out in revolts, maltreated and killed the Emperor’s mandarins and the priests of the Fohis. The country came to the verge of ruin, and is already threatened with a mighty revolution. And there is even worse. Among the masses and in the insurrection there appeared people who pointed to the poverty on the one side and the riches on the other, and who demanded, and are still demanding, a different division of property and even the entire abolition of private property. When Mr. Gutzlaff, after twenty years’ absence, returned once more to civilised people and Europeans, he heard talk of Socialism, and asked what that was. When it was explained to him he exclaimed in consternation, ‘Shall I then never escape this pernicious doctrine? The very same thing has been preached for some time by many people among the mobs in China’.”

“Chinese Socialism,” continues Marx, “bears much the same relation to European Socialism as Chinese philosophy does to Hegelian philosophy. It is, in any case, an intriguing fact that the oldest and the most unshakable empire in the world has in eight years by the cannon-balls of the English bourgeoisie been brought to the eve of a social revolution which will certainly have the most important .results for civilisation. When our European reactionaries in their immediately coming flight across Asia finally come up against the Great Wall of China, who knows whether they will not find on the gates which lead to the home of ancient reaction and ancient conservatism the inscription, ‘Chinese Republic – liberty, equality, fraternity’.” (Literary Remains, vol.3, pages 444-5.)

The movement on which the good missionary Gutzlaff, the apostle of China, as the Germans called him, gave information to the Europeans was the forerunner of the great Taiping rebellion. The leader of this movement, Hung, had become acquainted with Christianity through the Gutzlaff translations of the old and new Testaments. As early as 1851 he became the leader of the revolting peasants. The Taipings took one town after another. Finally, in March, 1853, even Nanking was taken, which for a long time remained the capital of the celestial empire founded by Hung. At that time it appeared as if the Taipings within a few months would also take possession of Peking. The entry into Nanking, however, remained the highest point in the rebellion.

It was at this period that there was written the article of Marx which appeared in the New York Tribune on June 14, 1853. At that time reaction was triumphant in Europe. The Communist League was in dissolution, the Mailand [Milan] revolt (February 1853) which was organised by Mazzini and his followers ended in defeat. Marx had greeted it as the symptom of an approaching revolutionary crisis. With even greater fervour, therefore, he greeted the beginning of the revolutionary movement in the Far East. The contrast between petrified Europe and the movement in China, where movement had so long been absent, forcibly impressed itself. Civilised Europe, where thrones and altars had been stormed, was now diligently occupied with table turning, a fashion of American origin. “One is reminded of the fact,” wrote Marx later in Capital, referring to these events, “that China and the tables began to dance when all the remaining world appeared to be standing still – pour encourager les autres.”

The State founded by Hung or Tjan-Wang was of a purely theocratic character. After the Taipings and their leaders had renounced all hope of the conquest of Northern China, they sought to assure themselves of the South-East, utilising for this purpose the antagonism between the Manchus and the English. When in 1856 a new Chinese war broke out with England, and later also with France, the Taipings allowed themselves to be taken in tow by the British Imperialists. While they owed their first victories precisely to the circumstance that they had risen against the yoke of the strangers, against the Manchus, they now – in order to save their theocratic state – made common cause with the much more revengeful and treacherous foreigners. Thus the Taiping movement which in the beginning had borne a revolutionary character, became a reactionary movement which lost the sympathy of the peasant masses. After the English, in union with the Taipings, had subdued Northern China, they helped Pekin to drown in blood the Taiping insurrection.

Marx followed attentively the further development of these events in China and not only stigmatised, in a series of articles in the New York Tribune during 1857-1859, all the crimes of the “civilised seafarers,” but also subjected to a new analysis the statistics of Anglo-Chinese trade.

Although Marx in the article mentioned begins with the fact of the rapid destruction of the “Asiatic mode of production” under the influence of the penetration of English capitalism, and although he still hoped that the imminent European revolution would find the requisite support in the awakened East, nevertheless he comes to the conclusion that he had at first over-estimated the extent and tempo of the destructive influences of English capitalism.

“The real task of bourgeois society,” wrote Marx in 1858 in a letter to Engels, “is the creation, at least in outline, of a world market, and of a type of production resting on this basis. Since the world is round, this task seems to have been brought to a conclusion with the colonisation of California and Australia and the inclusion of China and Japan. The difficult question for us is as follows. Revolution is imminent on the Continent and will at once assume a Socialist character. But will it not necessarily be crushed in this little corner, since over a much greater territory the movement of bourgeois society is still in the ascendant? As far as China is especially concerned, I have assured myself by a close analysis of the movement of trade since 1836, firstly that the soaring of English and American exports in 1844-1846 revealed itself in 1847 as a sheer delusion, and that also in the ten years following the average has remained practically stationary while Chinese exports to England and America increased enormously, and secondly that the opening of the five ports and the occupation of Hongkong only resulted in the trade of Canton passing to Shanghai. The other ‘emporiums’ do not count. The chief cause of the failure of this market seems to be the opium trade, to which in fact all increase in the export trade to China is continually limited; and, after that, the internal organisation of the country, its minute agriculture, &c., which will cost an enormous time to break down.” (Correspondence of Marx and Engels, vol.2, pages 292-3.)

When Marx in 1862 renewed his writing on the Taiping movement (Press, July 7, 1862) he was already much more condemnatory. As already mentioned, this movement was in a stage of complete dissolution. Marx says:–

“A little while before the tables began to turn, China, this living fossil, began to become revolutionary. In itself there was nothing extraordinary in this phenomenon, for Oriental empires continually exhibit an immutability in social sub-structure with restless permutations of the persons and races who have possessed themselves of the political super-structure. China is ruled by a foreign dynasty. After three hundred years why should not a movement develop for the overthrow of this dynasty? The movement had from the beginning a religious complexion, but that was a feature it had in common with all Oriental movements. The immediate motives for the appearance of the movement were obvious – European interference, opium wars, and consequent disruption of the existing Government, the flow of silver out of the country, disturbance of the economic equilibrium through the introduction of foreign manufactures, &c. What seemed to me a paradox was that the opium animated instead of stupefying. As a matter of fact the only original part of this revolution was its leaders. They are conscious of their task, quite apart from the change of dynasty. They have no slogans. They represent a still greater torment for the masses of the people than for the old rulers. Their motive seems to be nothing else than to bring into play against the conservative marasmus grotesquely repulsive forms of destruction, destruction without any germ of regeneration.”

In many respects, indeed, the Taiping insurrection was reminiscent of the European peasant wars, if only in as much as the participation in it of the town proletariat was equally non-existent.

In regard to India, also, as in regard to China, Marx was compelled to come to the conclusion that the tempo of development, measured in terms of world history, took place at a much slower rate from the point of view of the individual than might have been anticipated. In the third volume of Capital he wrote:–

“The obstacle presented by the internal solidity and articulation of pre-capitalistic national modes of production to the corrosive influence of commerce is strikingly shown in the intercourse of the English with India and China. The broad basis of the mode of production is here formed by the unity of small agriculture and domestic industry, to which is added in India the form of communes resting upon common ownerships of the land, which, by the way, was likewise the original form in China. In India, the English created simultaneously their direct political and economic power as rulers and landlords, for the purpose of disrupting these small economic organisations. The English commerce exerts a revolutionary influence on these organisations and tears them apart only to the extent that it destroys by the low prices of its goods the spinning and weaving industries, which are an archaic and integral part of this unity. And even so this work of dissolution is proceeding very slowly. It proceeds still more slowly in China where it is not backed up by any direct political power on the part of the English.” (Capital, vol.iii, English translation, C.H. Kerr & Co., pages 392-3.)

The power of resistance of the “Asiatic mode of production” proved itself so great that several decades passed before European capitalism succeeded in shattering this “Great Wall of China.” To the assistance of the economic factor, the low prices of industrial goods, came the political factor, a new series of wars, in which the youthful Japanese imperialism played no small part. The indivisible union of agriculture and industry, the main secret of the immobility of the “Asiatic mode of production,” was burst asunder. The Chinese peasantry separated from itself great masses of “coolies,” and fell ever deeper into dissolution. Emigration, which for a period had acted as a safety valve, soon proved itself powerless in the struggle with the “plague spot of the proletariat.”

Attracted by cheap labour power in China, Japanese and British capitalists began to bring into existence a “national” big industry. In effect they produced an organised and disciplined industrial proletariat, which is now preparing to assume the leadership of all the exploited poor, rural as well as urban.

The question which Marx formulated sixty years ago has been given a positive answer by history. No danger threatens the European revolution from the East. There, also, capitalism is finding its grave-diggers. And even if ancient Europe still has the appearance of stability, “immobile” China on the other hand, following the example of Soviet Russia, is already dancing the revolutionary Carmagnole – Ca ira, Ca ira!

Raphael Pumpelly, “Our Impending Chinese Problem,” The Galaxy, July 1869.

IF we turn from the splendid sunrise of our national morning to the misty veil that enshrouds the future, we shall see a giant spectre slowly defining its shadowy form against the Western heavens. Let us look and reflect; for it is the mirage of a distant empire, a looming of one-third of the human race. It is the foreshadowing of a problem which only time can solve; but which is none the less one of the most important in the worlds history. Let us examine the elements of this problem: On the Western shore of the Pacific there is a country, not much larger than the United States east of the Mississippi, in which a population of more than four hundred millions treads closely upon the capacity of the soil for supporting existence. So true is this, that those years in which the productiveness of the earth falls below the average, witness widespread famine and all the horrors that follow in its train. By untiring patience and industry, by intelligence and the skill attained through ages of experience, by uniting all these qualities in wrestling from Nature the last atom she can yield, and, finally, by returning to Mother Earth, with scrupulous care, all that has been taken from her, with interest drawn from sea and river, this race maintains its vitality unimpaired. But it is a struggle for life. So long as the throes of this tremendous struggle were confined to China by strong natural and political barriers, they found a remedy in decimation by famine and pestilence. But the past twenty years have effected as great breaches in the political barrier ~which the Chinese had raised about them, as twenty centuries have made in their ancient wall of brick and stone. The social and political restraints which have opposed emigration are disappearing, and the first consciousness of an expansive power is beginning to show itself in the maritime provinces of the empire. A few years since, the confines of Asia and its archipelagos were the horizon of the world to every Chinaman. The small fields therein opened to a peaceful race attracted many enterprising emioTants but neither were the openings large enough, nor the facilities for reaching them great enough to initiate any very important movement. The discovery of gold in California and Australia and the demand for labor on the distant shores of the Pacific Ocean, gave the needed impulse. Timidly, at first, small numbers xvent abroad; then tens of thousands, until now there must be nearly two hundred thousand Chinamen on the American continents alone. During these years there has been, also, a continuous stream returning to Asia, and carrying home, in the aggregate, a large amount of money and information. Thus, the number of Chinamen who have seen the outside world cannot be far from one per cent. of the whole male population of the empire. These act as a leaven on ever-growing circles at home, spreading among hundreds of millions those stories of adventure in distant lands, of wonders, of boundless demand for labor and of high wages, which make individuals think and become restless. Thoughts arise which, when they become common to large numbers, are intensified to a degree proportionate to the size of the masses swayed by them, until the sympathetic attraction of remote countries produces the tidal wave and currents of emigration. The measure of this movement is the exact resultant of all the social and physical forces which operate in its action. These are, of course, intricate and obscure beyond computation;
View page 23
1369.1 OUR IMPENDING CHINESE PROBLEM.
but they are resolvable, in general terms, into one set of favorable and opposing forces in China, and other sets, with different resultants, for each country outside of China. In China we have one-third of the human race, suffering from an excessive death-rate and all the misery of an incessant struggle for life, with no remedy but the ability to overflow into other lands, until the population at home shall stand in a proper ratio to the means of support. Leaving out all other questions, the capacity of America for receiving emigrat ion is at present boundless, as compared with the capacity of all the world to supply it. An eminent English geographer has carefully calculated that the two Americas are capable of supporting thirty-six hundred millions of inhabitants. Room and subsistence are not wanting. The capacity for absorption of labor is scarcely more limited. The end of the long-continued exodus from Europe cannot be far off; to think otherwise is to believe unjustiflably in a rapidly-approaching decay of the nations beyond the Atlantic. Social and political reforms raising the condition of the people, especially that of the women of the lowest classes, the increase in industrial prosperity, and the continued drain of skilled labor to foreign countries, seem to be silently working throughout Europe toward the establishment of a proper balance between population and means of support. The Chinaman in this country was for years excluded from all participation in the development of the national prosperity, and was grudgingly allowed to work only in those gold diggings which were considered worthless by the American. But when a pressing necessity arose for labor on the public works of California and Nevada, the Chinaman was found to answer every need; and now, having become identified with our internal improvements, he has obtained recognition as a necessary element of populationthe execution of great enterprises is b2sed on his co-operation. For ~veal or woe, the Pacific Railroad is uniting more distant extremes than the two shores of our continent. The facilities for crossing the Pacific are yearly increasing; and so is also the knowledge of America in China. Unless obstacles be placed in the way, immigration will increase rapidly; with additional encouragement it will soon become enormous. Having no rights, exposed to continued extortion, treated with contempt and indignity, branded as an idolator, and charged with every vice by his scrupulously just, religious, and virtuous neighbors, the Chinaman, feeling that he has no position here, seeks California, as the pearl diver does the bottom of the sea, and returns as soon as possible to the free air of his native soil. Place these Chinamen on the same footing with other immigrants, and the result will be that, while many will return to the home of their forefathers, a large portion will make this the home of their descendants. This was and is the case in the Dutch East Indies, where they were less oppressed than in California. Under these circumstances, if this immigration should be proportionate to the necessity for relief that exists in China, or to the capacity for receiving it here ; or, again, if it should bear the same relation to the parent population that the emigration from Ireland and Germany bears to the home population of those countries, the male adults of Mongolian origin on this continent would soon outnumber those of the European race. \Vhen we consider that the I)rejudice of race is, with us, a part of the foundation of politics ; that the moral characteristics of various nationalities become important parts of the framework on which parties are constructed; that the View page 24
24 THE GALAXY. LJULY, opposing armies which fight with the ballot, and at times threaten the s~vord, are, to a large extent, massed by races ; when we consider this, and then turn to the prospect of a homogeneous mass of people among us, their male adults outnumbering largely those of all other component parts of the population, and having no sympathetic bond with us in their language, traditions, or, so far as it goes for anything, their religion; then the social and political importance of this great problem dawns on the mind. To the thinker who has come to look upon the Americas as the birthright of the European under the tutelage of the Anglo-Saxon; as presenting the prospect of a hemisphere peopled with a new race built up from the best elements of the European, numbering more than twice the present population of the globe; a race ~vhich will be homogeneous, enjoying the most complete means of intercommunication by steam and electricity, having one language, one form of government and one idea of God; to him the startling possibilities involved in the problem before us come as the discovery of neglected data, which may invalidate the results of years of calculation. If the probabilities of the case bear any proximate relation to the possibilities, the teeming population of our hemisphere two or three centuries hence may have more Chings and Changs in their geneological trees than Smiths and Browns; for, other things being equal, the predominant blood will be that of the race best able to maintain an undiminished rate of increase; and the vitality of the Chinese nation during a constant struggle for life seems to bespeak for it at least equally favorable prospects in less crowded homes. With an emigration from China standing in the same ratio to the home population that the drain from Germany holds to the population of that country, we should have an influx of more than one million Chinese yearly. Ten years of this rate would place upon our soil a preponderance of male adults of Mongolian blood over those of all the other families of man among us. The perception of this possibility cannot but awaken in the mind of the true American the gravest thoughts. The social, political, and ethnological questions involved are of transcendent importance. The question of the prohibition or the heavy taxation of Chinese immigration is almost sure to be one of the earliest and most bitterly fought political issues of the Far West. The hostility to the Chinese of the white laborers, especially of the Irish, is already beginning to show itself openly in the most violent acts of intimidation. But it is not difficult to foresee that any legislation, which has for its object the suppression of any social element or force that has once shown itself to be a necessity in rapidly carrying forward the system of internal improvements on which a large part of our material industry rests, must ultimately fail. We may therefore assume that the recognition of the necessity of Chinese labor in the Far West insures an influx of Chinese proportionate at least to the extent of the great system of public works, which will be needful for the growth of the Western States and Territories. We shall see, further on, that these Asiatics are obtaining strong foothold in almost all other branches of labor, because they answer the requirements better than any other class of people. It is therefore not improbable that they will find their way, in large numbers, to this side of the Rocky Mountains. Is it probable that the party warfare of the country will leave this enormous quantity of possible political force in the latent condition appertaining to aliens? View page 25
1869.] OUR IMPENDING CHINESE PROBLEM. 25
Gaining the right to vote means gaining citizenship, the removal of disqualifications, and the protection of their distinctive interests and customs to a degree proportionate to the number of their votes. Having obtained these, the Chinese emigrant will become, beyond a doubt, a permanent citizen. With this prospect before us it may not be uninteresting to glance at the characteristics of this race, both in countries to which they have emigrated, and in their own home. Twenty years of contact between the two races in California have done little toward removing the prejudice against the Chinese. They have poured steadily into and out of the country; but, surrounded by barriers, they have been forced to form a world of their own. XVithin this some fifty thousand men have been thriving, while n~any of them have amassed large fortunes. Many an enterprise, too, has swamped in failure, which would have given brilliant returns but for the tyranny of white workmen who prevented the employment of cheap Chinese labor. This tyranny is met with at every step: from the court-room, where the Chinaman is denied the right of giving evidence in mixed cases, to the gold diggings, where white rowdies, acting as self-appointed collectors, levy the mining tax which is never assessed upon Americans. Recently, however, various manufacturers, farmers, and others, braving that wild beast, the Irish mob, have begun to employ Chinese labor, and with such success that capitalists see in it the sine~v and muscle of the Far West. A writer in the Overland Monthly, March, 1869, says of the Chinamen: What they want is employment snd such pay as ~vill support them and leave something over to send hack to the father and mother, or to the wife and the children, left at home. So accustomed have they always been to give a full and honest days labor to tlsose who have hired them, that they expect to give their employer the service of their muscle and their skill during all the hours of the day, only asking a reasonable time for meals, together ~vith tlse stipulated wages when their work is done.
The owners of woollen factories praise them as the best of workmen. The officers and foremen of the Central Pacific railroadon which some ten thousand Chinamen are said to be at workspeak no less highly of them. Their work is full and honest, no lagging and story-telling, no whiskey drinking, and few fights. Overseers declare that they can drill more rock and move more dirt with Chinamen than with an equal number of men who claim this kind of occupation as their specialty. What they lack in bodily vigor is made up in persistency and steadiness. Indeed, California is just beginning to feel how suicidal her course toward Asiatic labor has been, and she is finding that her material prosperity is increasing apace with the innovation upon that policy. The Chinese are found now in woollen, paper and powder mills; in th. borax works; in the hop plantations, fruit orchards and vineyards; following the reaping machines on farms, and working the salt-pits on the coast; doing almost universally the cooking, and engaged in hundreds of branches of industry that would be impossible without their cheap labor. The sure result of this will be that, in a few years, the small savings of these workmen will, by accumulation, transform the coolie of to-day into the capitalist, contracting to build railroads, owning large farms or factories and lines of ships, and making great commercial combinations. This is certain, for no people on the face of the earth advance so unswervingly in the accumulation of capital; and in its investment from childhood upward they combine the shrewdness of the Jews with the many-sidedness of the Yankee. What the Jews have been in banking, the Chinese may easily become in general commerce and industry on the Pacific coast. View page 26
THE GALAXY. [JULY,
On the island of Java, where they have long been tolerated, the Chinese number not far from 150,000, the greater part having more or less Javan blood. The oppression of the Dutch is the cause of the population not being larger. They are obliged to pay a mulct for leave to enter, and a larger one for permission to quit, besides a poll-tax; none of which imposts are levied on other foreigners. During the last century they were so badly treated that they revolted, and in i~~o were attacked in their quarter in Batavia, when ten thousand of them are said to have been slaughtered. Sir Stamford Raffles, writing in i8 17, says: The most numerous and important class of foreigners in Java are the Chinese, who do not fall short of soo,ooo, and who, with a system of free trade and free cultivation, would soon accumulate tenfold, by natural increase within the island and gradual accessions of new settlers from house. They arrive at Batavia to the amount of a thousand or more in junks, without money or resources; but by dint of industry soon acquire comparative opulence. There are no women in Java who caine directly from China; but as the Chinese often marry the daugbters of their countrymen by Javan women, there results a nunserous mixed race which is often scarcely distinguishable from the native Chinese. Many return to China annually in the junks, but by BO means in the same numbers as they arrive. They are governed in matters of inheritance and minor affairs by their own laws, administered by their own officials appointed by~tbe Dutch governor. They are distinct from the natives and are in a high degree more intelligent, niore laborious, and more luxssrious. They are the life and soul of the commerce of the country. In the native provinces they are still the farmers of the revenue, having formerly been so thoughout the island.
Beginning on their arrival as coolies and laborers, they soon accummulate enough to work independently, and many of them amass large fortunes. They have obtained nearly the monopoly of the native produce and an uncontrolled command of their market for foreign commodities. Their industry embraces the whole system of commerce, from the greatest wholesale speculations to the most minute branches of the retail trade. In their hands are all the manufactories, distilleries, potteries, etc., and they have large coffee and sugar plantations. Their means are increased by their knowledge of business? their spirit of enterprise, and their mutual confidence. They are equally well adapted for trade or agriculture. In the English colony of Singapore 50,000, out of a population of 8o,ooo, are Chinamen, chiefly from the island of Hainan. Here the Chinese have obtained a strong foothold, and, under the full protection of English law, are accumulating great fortunes. Nearly all the trade is under their control, and this represented, in 1867, $35,000,000 imports and $a8,700,000 exports. Carrying with them and retaining their innate energy in a country where both the natives and Europeans succumb, morally if not physically, to the enervating climate, they are absorbing every department of labor. The writer was told some years since that the English owners of a large machine shop at Singapore ~vere gradually removing their English workmen and replacing them with Chinamen, having found the latter more docile, sober and enduring, and, with the same amount of instruction, equafly skilful. So successful is their competition that Parsees, Jews and Europeans can retain no foothold in face of it. The growth of Chinese population and industry in the East Indian Archipelago is already a matter of great significance. In it we may see the coming solution of an important problem. The vast areas of tropical lands, insular and continental, have hitherto been, comparatively speaking, a closed world. And yet the warm regions yield larger returns of those plants they have in common with the temperate zones, and have peculiar plants which yield more nourishment from the same area. Thus maize, which yields fortyfold or fiftyfold in France, gives one hundred and fiftyfold, on an average, in Mexico. Humboldt estimates that an aey5ent (five-sixths of an acre) which will barely support two men, when sown in ~vheat, will feed fifty with bananas. View page 27
OUR IMPENDING CHINESE PROBLEM. 27
A good authority has given the following tabular statement of the relation between latitude and productiveness. Lditude 0 deg. 15 deg. 30 deg. 45 deg. 6o deg. Productiveness xoo 90 65 35 12 1-2
It is this excessive bounty of tropical nature that feeds the Southern races without labor. And the absence, during ages, of the necessity for labor in these regions, has unfitted the natives for active participation in making their countries contribute their full share to the needs of mankind. But the time must come, sooner or later, when these vast forests and jungles will be the granaries from which the deficiencies in the production of other lands will be made good; when they will stand in the same relation to other countries that our prairies and the wheat-fields of Russia hold to manufacturing England, or that Siam is just beginning to hold to China; and when the great wealth of raw materialgreater by far than ~ve as yet appreciatewhich is contained in the vegetable world of the trol)ics, will be a necessity to countless manufactories, supplying comforts and luxuries to largely increased populations over the whole world. The Chinese alone, of all races, have shown themselves able to maintain vigorous moral and physical vitality in the unwholesome and enervating climates of the South. Wherever they go and are allowed a fair field, they turn their attention to the discovery and development of the resources of the land in every direction known to their experience, and with fully as much good judgment, energy, and success as are shown by the European. Indeed, they possess, in an eminent degree, the qualities that are essential in colonizers, especially that strongly-marked national individuality which enables them to retain the best characteristics of their race in the midst of the effeminate customs of the inferior natives. The ability to thrive in the most extreme climates is a remarkable characteristic of this people. We have just seen how well they resist the enervatincr and unwholesome climate of the tropics. The writer has also seen them collected together from different parts of the Chinese Empirepursuing, in considerable numbers, the different branches of their industry, on the confines of Tartary and Siberia, where the mean annual temperature is thirty-two degrees (Fahrenheit) and where the mercury sinks, every winter, to sixty degrees below zero. Whate\-er may be the future of China Proper, it is perhaps not too much to foresee in the mutual adaptation which exists between tropical regions and Chinese colonization, the germ oj a growth in which the best elements of their own and the Western civilizations will blend to raise the offshoots of China to the rank of great Powers in the councils of the world. But it is in their own home and in the record of their national growth that we must seek the most important data for estimating the Chinese character. The necessary brevity of a magazine article admits of only a superficial glance at the outlines of this record, and the principles on which the social and political organization rests. For the practical worth and working of these principles, we have a measure in the present social and political condition of the Empire. The most striking features in the history of China, are the persistency of its civilization, and its national vitality which seems still undiminished, notwithstanding the great age of the Empire. This civilization is native to the soil. At every step we find unmistakable proofs that in remote times the ancestors of the race lived under a patriarchal government. The earliest records describe them as entering China from the north-west, and we know that in that direction, upon the high table lands of Central Asia, between Thibet and the Tienslian, there View page 28
28 THE GALAXY. [JULY,
existed a civilization which was partly pastoral, but acquainted also with many arts, and in which the use of iron was known at the remote period preceding the separation of the earlier branches of the Arian race. Our own ancestors, and those of the Chinese, were perhaps near neighbors, at that epoch. In entering China, the latter found it occupied by an aboriginal race, of which remnants live to this day unconquered, in the southern and western mountains. The earliest records and traditions carrying us back far into the uncertain period of history, show us the founders of the empire gradually forming colonies through the land, and carrying on defensive wars against the northern hordes, at the same time that they conquered both the natives of the soil and the natural obstacles in the way of their expansion. Already in the dawn of their written history, we find them carrying out a great enterprise, building works to control the waters of the Yellow Riverone of the most ungovernable streams of the earthby confining it between dykes several hundred miles in length, to prevent its destructive inundations; at undertaking, the maintenance of which even at the present day, forms a heavy tax on the whole Empire. Thus, in the infancy of the nation, there existed the germs that were necessary to its wonderful growth., Every essential feature of their civilization, moral, social, political, industrial, is the offspring of their own minds. More than this, from China there have radiated many of the fundamental features of Asiatic and even of European civilization. The mariners compass, printing, and gunpowder, were early inventions of that country, and there is little doubt that they were directly or indirectly introduced into the West during the reign of the Mongol dynasty, when so many Europeans wandered freely through all Asia. It has been claimed that the first printed copy of the Bible was made in China. The observing traveller in that country will see at every step the prototypes of familiar objects in common use with us and in Europe. It has often been made a reproach to the Chinese, that their inventions have remained unperfected. This is certainly a remarkable fact, when we consider the fertility of mind necessary to have originated, throughout, such a civilization; but it would seem that the perfecting of the results of thought and labor is, to a certain extent, dependent on their transplantation into other countries, and on the reaction upon each other of different kinds of civilizations. China has ever been too isolated to enjoy the benefits of this interchange, although there is. reason to hope that such an era is now dawning. It must also be remembered that China has ever been a world within itself; sufficient to itself. Having no competitors, their inventions stopped at the point where the desired end was attained; they were intended to be labor-aiding rather than labor-saving. It would seem that with this isolation, the very fact that the Chinese civilization is indigenous would go far toward explaining the persistency of its type. The principles upon which the whole social and political fabric of the Empire is based had already been established, and had taken a firm root in the national mind in early historical times; and so firmly were they fixed that every attempt to overthrow them has ended in the extinction of the aggressive dynasties. These principles are, paternal and filial duty, and individual resj5onsibillty for the public welfare. As the Emperor is the son of Heaven and the father of the people, he is responsible to heaven for the ~vell-being of the nation; a portion only of his power is delegated to the officers of the government. So also, in the family, the parent is supreme, but also responsible for the conduct of the children. The entire population of a city is responsible for the View page 29
1869.] OUR IMPENDING CHINESE PROBLEM. 29
citizens; each ward, for its families; each family, for its members. No crime is greater than the violation of filial duty in the family relation, and all crimes acting against the public good, are brought to the doors of the public sponsors. But the Chinese, always too material and practical a people to vest the control of the imperial will in heaven alone, established, so far as we know, first among mankind, the principle that the will of the people and the will of heaven are synonymous. In the Shu-King, compiled by Confucius, 500 B. C., from authorities much more ancient, we find the following axiom: That which heaven sees and hears, manifests itself in that which the people see and hear. That which the people judge worthy of reward and of punishment indicates what heaven desires to reward and to punish. Again it is said in the Chung-King, The wise Emperors of ancient times used the eyes and ears of the Empire to see and hear, for the wishes of the people were their wishes, since it is in the wishes of the people that the intentions of heaven are manifested. Believing thus firmly that ~ the voice of the people is the voice of God, a council of the wisest men of the Empire, themselves raised from the people, has ever surrounded the throne, holding the position of censors, memorializing the Emperor on the state of the country, and generally not hesitating to risk their lives in criticising a wrong policy. As the people are the children of the Emperor, they are all equal, as members of one family. There is no distinction of class. The descendants ofCon~ fucius have indeed by that title certain privileges of nobility, and the members of the Imperial family form, during the existence of a dynasty, a class of nobles but they enjoy only a few slight prerogatives, which end with the ninth remove. Whenever a citizen has rendered some signal service to the State, advancing the public good, he is ennobled, receiving certain titles and privileges, but these cease at his death, his descendants having no further share in them, than the honor of being his offspring. As no man can be greater than his father, the whole line of ancestors is ennobled. Thus, an aristocracy is formed, indeed, but it is wisely perpetuated backward into the other world. All being equal, competition for office is open for all. Education is universal, and proficiency in scholarship forms the basis of this competition. The government, it is true, appoints most of the officials, but they are chosen from those who, in the successive competitive examinations, take the highest honors. That these principles have not merely been acknowledged, but that they have been the true mainspring, acting weakly at times it is true, the Chinese nation at this day is a standing proof. Among them alone, of all peoples, has the principle that forms the basis of our own government, the equality of man, existed through all history. The early philosophers of China taught these doctrines, as a moral and political code, and as the only just basis of government. At that time, the country was split up into numerous feudal kingdoms, but when, some time after the death of Confucius, the Empire was consolidated, the doctrines of the great teacher became gradually the rule of action, and until the present time, they have never lost ground in their hold upon the national mind. As a code of morals, it is not venturing too far to say, that the writings of Confucius have been and still are as much respected, as is the creed of any other people. The universal esteem in which scholarship has ever been held, has made education one of the chief aims of life, to a greater degree in China than in most other nations. An aristocracy of intellect assumes here the position which in other countries is assigned to birth or wealth; schools are universal, View page 30
30 THE GALAXY. and the proportion of the inhabitants who are unable to read and write is very small. The classics and history of their own country are very generally studied. That their ability to learn is not confined to the groove of their own system of study is shown by the instances of Chinese educated in the West. About twenty years ago, two b oxs, children of very poor families, were sent to America to be instructed. After leaving the school at Munson, one xvent through Yale, and in graduating took the highest place in English composition ; the other carried off the highest honors in Surgery and Botany in the University of Edinburgh. Since that time the first has carried the experience gained in the West into the conduct of his business in China, and the other is esteemed by the European residents of the English Colony of Hong-Kong, as one of the best surgeons in the East. The science of war is considered inferior to scholarship, and the Chinese are essentially a peaceable people, although they have carried on great wars during different periods of their history. The power of the central government is felt but lightly throughout the Empire. There is a practical decentralization which leaves a wide scope for free action to the provinces and their subdivisions ; this is exemplified in the application of the revenues, excepting maritime customs, to the use of the districts in which they are raised. The government of China is really one type of democracy, as that of Japan is of despotism. In China the people are represented in the government, in that, though all the principal offices are filled by the Emperor, they are filled from the people by competitive examination. This is the theory; practically many offices are sold to raise money, as during the wars with England, and the rebellion. The Central government is felt chiefly when its appointees are corrupt; but the power of the people is generally great enough to cause removals in such cases. Their faculty of organization and self-government showed itself repeAtedly during the late rebellion. The British Consul at Ning-Po paid them a high tribute in this respect, in praising the perfect order and self-government which was shown for a long time at that place, when its ~population, greatly increased by the crowds fleeing from the rebels, was abandoned by its officials and left to take care of itself. Having no fear of the future world, they meet death with great courage, dreading it less than continued pain. The family ties are very close, and family honor is the strongest check on their actions. Their sense of commercial honor is deep, and my own experience, in Central and Northern China, leads me to think that honesty is quite as general there as in other countries. The existence of hospitals, founded by private charity for the sick and for foundlings, and for other purposes, proves that the Chinese are not negligent of social responsibilities. Theyare proverbially industrious, and could we measure the amount of productive manual labor performed throughout the world, without the aid of modern labor-saving machinery, we should l)robably find that this third of the human race accomplishes not less than from six-tenths to seven-tenths of the whole. It is no slight tribute to say that during nearly 5,000 miles of travel in this closely peopled land, the writer never saw a drunken Chinaman. The Chinese have been charged with being, as a people, corrupt beyond measure, given over to every abomination, and practisin~ infanticide to the extent of destroying one quarter of the female children. But it is the opinion of Dr. Lockhart, an eminent medical missionary who has studied the question many years in different parts of the Empire, that the latter crime is (in proportion to the population) no more frequent, or perhaps less common, than it is in its View page 31
1869.] OUR IMPENDING CHINESE PROBLEM. 3
various forms, in England and America. And it should seem that the healthy and moral condition of society is proved by the vitality of the nation, the overflowing population, and the rapidity with which gigantic wounds in the national body are healed. Of course the aggregate of crime must be very large, especially in the great cities ; but it is doubtful whether it is greater, in proportion to the population, than among the nations of the West. \Vith all the admiration a careful observer must have for China, it is certainly not a pleasant country for a foreigner to live in, unless he recognize and keep always before him the fact that organic matter in decaying and giving nutriment to plants loses every vestige of its former character. There is too much of the human element; go where you will, look where you will, it is there. In the more closely peopled parts the traveller is surrounded by a turbid stream of life, while he treads a soil, almost human, the ashes of the unnumbered millions of the past; the very dust which he breathes and swallows is that of a charnel house. The water of wells is everywhere impregnated with the products of organic decay, and the rivers are the sewers of countless cities. On the densely-peopled plain all the organic and much of the mineral ingredients of the soil must have made many times the circuit of plant and animal life: in other words, every thing that goes to make and maintain the human body has formed part of human bodies which have passed away. Few foreigners have the courage to enter the larger southern towns in summer, so horrible is the air. In the neighborhood of great cities on the delta plain, where water is found just below the surface, one may ride for miles, always in sight of coffins bursting in the scorching heat of the sun, and breeding the pestilence that yearly sweeps off the surplus population. What I have attempted to make conspicuous is the fact that the spirit of the Chinese, as shown in their enterprise and energy as colonizers, in their commercial character and faculty of organization, in the democratic idea of the political equality of man, in the practical decentralization of their government, and in the universality of education and the making of education a necessary qualification for office, is in harmony with the spirit of the present age. This is the strong armor of the race, its safeguard in the future struggle for existence, by which it is clearly distinguished from those inferior races whose social and political systems belong to periods long past, and differ so much from our own that they fall at the first contact with us.
We have seen that there exists in China a boundless source of emigration, and the necessity for emigration; that the capacity of America for receiving this emigration is comparatively unlimited ; that the emigration will be at least proportionate to the encouragement offered; that the encouragement is springing into existence through the recognition of the Chinese as a necessary element for the development of the resources of the Far West; that the immense influx of these people will constitute a possible political power which cannot remain latent and that the attainment of the privileges of citizenship will make of them a fixed instead of a floating population, which, so far as anything we know to the contrary, may at no distant date largely outnumber the European element. The first question which naturally rises, is, in what can this people contribute to our material prosperity? It is not difficult to answer to this that by reason of their many sidedness, their adaptability to all branches of industry, they can contribute more than other foreign element in the first generation. They can supply labor for the house and field, for building railroads, for working in mines and factories, for every need on sea and land. Within the really impassable limits set View page 32
32 THE GALAXY. [JULY,
by nature, they alone can render productive vast tracts of land, the cultivation of which is essential to the prosperity of our mountain territories. They can contribute largely to our wealth and that of the world by their saving of material and by forcing us, through competition, to become more economical in this respect. They can advance greatly our material prosperity, not only by the product of their labor in working for Americans, but by their independent enterprise as capitalists. Indeed, the lowering of the price of labor in America, through Chinese immigration, taken in connection with the ahnost certain rise in price in Europe, appears to offer the best solution of the vexed question of free trade, by placing us on an equal or superior footing with Europe, in the manufacture of those things ~vhich now require protection. It should seem that Chinese mmigration, organized on the most liberal plan, in conformity with the emigration laws of China and under the responsible guidance of Chinese contractors, would rapidly raise our Southern States to a height of prosperity never yet reached by them, and render possible the completion and maintenance of great works, necessary to control the overflow of the Mississippi, and to drain unproductive and malarious regions. Will the price, at which these benefits shall be gained, be too high ? Every one will answer this according to his ow n ~vay of measuring the future by the past. But he who sees in events the resultants of social and physical forces, the operation of great laws, progressive in their action and tending toward that millennium when every part of the earth, according to its natural endowment, shall justify its existence, by contributing its full share, as a part, to the welfare of the whole; toward the unification of mankind by the assimilation of the best parts of its different races into a new typewho believes that Through the ages one increasing purpose runs,
will feel the least anxiety in contemplating the future. To the charge that they will largely outnumber the Americans, absorbing many branches of industry and competing in all, he will answer that they can do so only by being able to compete with the European element; in other words, by being really equally efficient and thus justifying their right to citizenship. To the assertion that their use of opium threatens the addition of another national vice to those we have already, he will reply that the rapid spread of the use of this drug, a use of only some sixty years standing in China, was induced by natural causes, acting in a country which had reached an abnormal condition, and that it can exist as a national habit only where it is a natural necessity. The long-continued generations of temperance of this people show their normal condition, and we have little reason to fear that half a century of opium smoking can destroy the deepseated, inherited vitality of the race, or have fixed it as a constitutional vice upon those who will emigrate hither. The political aspect of the question is that of the most immediate importance, for many obvious reasons. Nothing is more certain than the impossibility of a foreign race continuing to live and increase, in America, in other than two conditions, viz., either under the animal-breeding system of slavery, or (and probably only) by being equally strong with the European element, in the average of all things ~vhich constitute strength in this age. The ability of any people to prosper, multiply and co-exist among us, proves them to possess an average equality with us when measured by our standard, deficiencies in some points being compensated in othersthese differences being desirable in the same degree that individuality is desirable. If an inferior race, or large bodies of vicious and criminal people, prosper and multiply, it does not invalidate this rule, but rather View page 33
1869.] OUR IMPENDING CHINESE PROBLEM. 33 shows that our actual measure, on certain points, is far below our theoretical standard. If the Chinese, having the exercise of equal rights in a fair field, should prove themselves undesirable citizens, it would be proof of inferiority, of inability to contribute their full share to the general good, and the inability to compete with their neighbors would inevitably result in their disappearance from the arena as important rivals. In view of all the possibilities of the case before us, it becomes evident no~v, more than ever before, how important it is that we should turn our energies toward Americanizing the foreign elements of our population. A large Chinese emigration is the strongest argument against immediate and unqualified suffrage. With the prospect of an unparalleled influx of Chinese, it is of immediate importance that ~ve insist upon their understanding our social and political organization before giving them a voice, and this can be done only by insisting upon a residence of several years in the country, and by an educational test, which should not be less than the ability to read and speak the English language. Indeed, this is only an additional illustration of the necessity for an educational qualification, in the matter of citizenship in general, and it should seem sufficiently clear to convince even the most confirmed advocates of universal suffrage. The danger most to be guarded against, is the enactment or continuance of special legislation with regard to Mong~lian& Everything which tends to exclude them from the rest of the community, and, in a greater degree, everything which denies to themas do practically the laws of Californiathe common rights of humanity, not only affects seriously the character of the aliens and retards the growth of the region in question, but reacts most injuriously on the European element, producing those moral evils which were the worst results of slavery with usa reaction which is Ihe curse following everywhere intercourse between the European and non-European races. To suppose that a whole state or nation is able to rise above all prejudice of race, to look upon such a question from a cosmopolitan standpoint, is almost the same as supposing the average intellectual level of the people to be on an equality with that of its most liberal minds; but it should not be demanding too much to expect to find this quality in the lawgivers of a land which claims that all men are created equal; especially should we look for it in the consderation of a question which presupposes an influx of Chinese by millions.
RAPHAEL PUMPELLY

13. EMBARKATION OF THE ARMY AT TIEN-TSIN

EMBARKATION OF THE ARMY AT TIEN-TSIN. REMARKS UPON THE EFFICIENCY OF OUR GUNBOATS. REVIEW OF THE OBJECTS OBTAINED BY THE WAR.

The army commenced embarking at Tien-tsin about the middle of November, and by the exertions of our staff, and the able co-operation of the naval authorities, all were on board ship by the end of the month. The gunboats had hard v^ork, both night and day : and as the weather was very severe, their endless joumeyings from Tien-tsin to the fleet and back again were no pleasing duties. Our cavalry marched to Takoo, and embarked there; no accident occurring to any one. Upon the 19th November there was a heavy fall of snow, and the frosts at night were most trying. By the 25th of the month the Peiho was frozen over completely near the city, upon which day several of us walked across the river upon the ice. PoUtical considerations had detained us at Pekin almost to the very last day that it would have been possible to remain there without compromising our subsequent embarkation. As it was, much difficulty was experienced in getting the native followers away. Upon such occasions it is quite wonderful how people hitherto unheard of spring up; amateurs, private servants, apothecaries, &c. &c., of whose presence [p. 319] none had previously known anything, come forward at the last moment requesting passages, so much so, that in calculating for all such operations, it is invariably necessary to leave a margin for the accommodation of the tag-rag and bob-tail always certain to be there. Towards the end of the month many portions of the river were so blocked up with ice that the gunboats were sometimes three and four days in getting over the distance between Takoo and Tien-tsin. The Hindostanees, whom no amount of teaching or past experience will make provident as regards their own health, suffered considerably from the cold and exposure incident upon these unavoidable delays on the river. They were all liberally supplied with warm clothing, yet so incomprehensible are those people in* their proceedings, that it required much care to see that they used the various articles given to them. In one instance, when a vessel carrying out a number of syces (grooms) from Takoo to the fleet stuck upon the bar at the mouth of the river and wa^ detained there for about forty-eight hours before it got off, some few of the natives died from the exposure. Inquiries were instituted into the circumstance, when it was found that the warm clothing which had been served out to these people was tied up in their bundles, which all had with them, instead of being worn upon their persons. Their apathy and indifference as to future consequences had thus really occasioned their deaths; for there is every just reason for supposing that had they put on the clothing provided for their use their Uves would have been spared. At Tien-tsin, on the very coldest mornings, when snow was on the [p. 320] ground, I have seen numbers of these Hindostanee followers going about the streets with bare legs, as their custom is in India, while at that very time they had warm drawers and trousers in their possession. Officers commanding native troops there were obliged to make a pimishable offence of their omitting to clothe themselves properly. The garrison left at Tien-tsin consisted of the 2nd battaUon, 60th Eifles, 67th Eegiment, and half of the 31st Eegiment, the other half being quartered in the Takoo forts. A battery of Eoyal Artillery, one company of Eoyal Engineers, Fane’s Horse, and a battalion of Mihtary Train, with a due proportion of medical and commissariat staff, — Brigadier Staveley, C.B., being in command. This force was complete in every equipment, and provided with every comfort which it was possible to supply them with. The finest building in the place was converted into a hospital, no pains or expense being spared in fitting it up with every convenience. Indeed, if the garrison of Tien-tsin has not been comfortable during the past year, it is fi^om no want of care on the part of the Commander-in-Chief or of the staff officers who acted under his orders. The city and its suburbs are badly drained, the ground upon which they stand being so Uttle above the level of the river. After heavy rain the streets become seas of mire. Before we left all the shops were open as usual, and driving a lively trade. The pastrycook’s establishment quickly earned a well-deserved celebrity for its sponge cakes and biscuits, which were quite as good as any in Gunter’s shop. The poUteness of the shopmen soon [p. 321] made the place one of general resort. Of curiosities there were not many worth purchasiog, except what the French soldiers had still amongst them for sale. The Chinese dealers in such articles bought up eagerly all silks, jade-stone ornaments, &c. &c., which our aUies wished to dispose of, giving large prices for the latter-named article. In one instance that I knew of, an officer had purchased a jade-stone necklace, at the Pekin prize sale, for 50 dollars (about 11/.), for which he was subsequently offered 1500 taels, or 500Z. sterling. Sir Hope Grant, having remained at Tien-tsin whilst the army was embarking, left that place himself at the end of November, and proceeded to Shanghai. Up to the last moment that navigation along the Peiho was possible, our gimboats were employed in bringing up suppUes of stores from the fleet. The officers commanding those httle vessels deserve every praise for the manner in which they did their work, being always ready to oblige every one to their utmost, and making hght of all those httle difficulties and annoyances which always attend such arduous duties. The gunboat service holds a position in the navy very similar to what our Irregular Service does in the Indian army, giving young officers opportimities of commanding and acting upon their own responsibility, inculcating self-reUance, which, to both soldiers and sailors, is of such importance. This has been the means of bringiag forward some of the best officers now in her Majesty’s service, who must have been, otherwise, still holding subordinate positions. There is, however, even yet, in some quarters, a strong feeling against the employment of young men in im- [p. 322] portant posts. Considerable power is still in the hands of very old men, who frequently pooh-pooh youth, and stand up for their own ” order,” that of antiquity. Youth is frequently as much a disqualification for employment as old age ought always to be. All our transports, when leaving the Gulf of Pechili, were ordered to stop at Hong-kong, for the purpose of refitting, &c. &c., before proceeding to their final destinations. Thus ended the China War of 1860, the shortest, most brilliant, and most successful of all that we have waged with that country. Let us hope that it may be the last, by procuring for our merchants a perpetual immunity from those acts of violence and oppression, which have led to all our disputes with the Pekin Government. May its prophylactical effects enable us to trade on freely at every port along the great seaboard of the empire, and so open out new channels for our conamercial enterprise. It has cost us a large sums of money, but unlike many of our expensive European wars, we may with justice look forward to a liberal return for what we have expended. To have refrained from a war with China in 1860, and at the same time have maintained our position at the several ports where we traded, would have been impossible. If we had pocketed our defeat of 1859, and contented ourselves with written demands for apology or reparation, we might, perhaps, have struggled on for some Uttle time without any very violent rupture with the Chinese authorities; but the day must soon [p. 323] have arrived when we should have been forced to decide whether we should fight or withdraw finally from the country. The one great object which we have ever had in view there has been fi-eedom of action for our merchants, and imrestricted permission to trade with all parts of the empire. To prevent this last mentioned object has ever been the aim of all Chinese politicians. They sought to confine foreign trade to a few ports, where they wished our mercantile community to exist merely upon sufferance, and exposed to insult and exactions, in order to demonstrate pubKcly its dependent position. By Sir Henry Pottinger’s treaty, access for British subjects at all times into Canton was stipulated for, but, most improperly, never enforced By the Tien-tsin treaty of 1858, it was agreed that we should have Uberty to travel through all parts of the country, and that the treaty itself should be ratified in presence of our Minister at Pekin. When endeavouring to push his way there for that purpose, Mr. Bruce was opposed by force of arms, and prevented from accomplishing his object. Not only was the clause in the treaty which declared the unrestricted Uberty of travelling through China thus proved to be null, but even our Minister’s right of way to the capital was at once denied. That right of visiting Pekin at pleasure, and carrying on direct and personal communications with the Government there, was the principal advantage which Lord Elgin’s mission in 1858 had obtained for us; but upon our first attempt to avail ourselves of the engagement it was forcibly denied. To have quietly allowed them to recede from their contracts, [p. 324] would have been indeed a bad precedent to have established. The best guarantee we have for the fulfillment of the treaty now ratified, is the very act of ratification itself, which was a public recognition of our equality with China as a nation, and a renunciation, on their part, of those conceited notions regarding universal superiority, which has ever been one of the great difficulties in all our dealings with them. Surely no one can accuse our Government of having unnecessarily plunged into this war, although many may with justice find fault with its having been postponed so long. The British nation is always slow to enffao^e in war. John Bull has certain received notions as to right and wrong, justice and injustice, &c. &c., which, although essentially applicable in all his relations with the civilised nations of the West, are as unsuited for Eastern poUtics as red brick would be for ancient Grecian architecture. His repugnance to spUl blood has sometimes the very opposite effect of causing it to flow in quantities, which a sUght effusion earUer in the affair would have prevented. He prefers, in all matters Ukely to entail war, to concede to the utmost Umits of concession. In disputes with Asiatics such is not the line of action to pursue. To renounce any demand previously made, or to fail in enforcing any stipulated agreement, is simply to incur a reputation of weakness or cowardice with them. Notwithstanding our century’s experience in India, the EngUsh people really know Kttle of the Asiatic mind. The advice and instruction frequently put forward in print upon the subject by our Indian administrators, is rejected by the people at home. They insist upon [p. 325] considering that all our public servants in India are imbued with bigoted notions from long residence in the East, and that what is applicable to England and its people must be equally so to the enslaved negroes of America and the ancient governments of Asia. But to these, on the contrary, new ideas regarding international pohcy never penetrate, and the same motives influence the ruler and the subject now which actuated those classes when our ancestors went naked and painted their bodies sky blue. If any European monarch of the twelfth century had pursued the system of international pohcy at present general in the Western world, he must have entailed upon himself the hatred of his own people and the scorn of aU others. Such a revolution in the minds of men cannot be effected in a day. We might as well expect to christianise the Eastern nations at once, by giving them the Bible, as expect to overthrow their secular faith in pohtical economy by simply enunciating that system which our superior wisdom teaches us. To engraft the enhghtened institutions of the nineteenth, upon the ignorance of the twelth century, and expect the tree to bear fruit immediately, is folly. Before the Asiatic world can be led to beUeve in the justice of our polity, or before it will be apphcable to Eastern nations, it wiU be necessary first to raise them up to our standard of knowledge, and enable them to reason in the same logical manner with ourselves. Time, bringing with it increased learning, alone can eradicate traditional errors. If it took many centuries to overcome in us the fear of witchcraft, and to enable us to discover how wrong it was to bum our fellow-creatures for differing with [p. 326] US upon religious matters, surely many generations must pass away before our essentially British mode of proceeding in the East is appreciated there in its true hght. Year after year the local authorities of Canton oppressed our merchants, and offered insults to our officials, but rather than plunge into hostilities we left those injuries vmredressed. Every individual slight that we submitted to was the sure precursor of another, until at last an impression was established that we would sooner bear with any indignity than draw the sword. If we had insisted from the first upon the right of entry within Canton, and had been sharp in avenging at once all serious attempts at violence upon the part of the local authorities there, we should have saved the milUons which we have since had to expend in war. Nothing, however, but the presence of an armed force effecting a chronic intimidation could have enabled us to accomphsh that end; and the British nation, taking but little interest in the matter, as long as trade somehow or other went on, preferred ignoring the difficulties encountered by our officials to incurring the yearly expense which the maintenance of such a force would have entailed. So strong was our disinclination to embroil ourselves, that Sir John Davis was disgraced for having insisted upon the right of entry into Canton, and severe strictures were made by many upon those who were responsible for the active measures taken in the Arrow affair. Before entering upon the war of 1860, an ultimatum was despatched to Pekin by orders of the Home Government, offering, the most liberal terms for reconciliation. These terms were so favourable to the Imperial Government, that [p. 327] all who were ignorant of the train of reasoning common to Asiatic minds were certain of their acxieptance, and believed om* warKke preparations imcalled for in consequence. The UberaUty of the proffered terms, however, only made war the more inevitable after all. They were supposed to be dictated by fear arising from our recent defeat. By placing ourselves gratuitously in the position of suppliants we gave his Celestial Majesty cause for imagining that he was really our superior in strength, and consequently entitled to dictate terms to us. His impertinently evasive answer was the result. By the residence of our Minister at Pekin, we can now apply directly to the authorities there for redress in all matters of local grievance, and the authorities at the various ports will henceforth hesitate before they embroil themselves witlj foreigners who have a minister at the Chinese seat of government, in direct personal conmnmication with their immediate superiors there. By this war we have practically opened out the trade of the Yang-tse-kiang, whence a vastly increased commerce is to be expected. We have inflicted such a severe blow upon the inflated pride of Hien-fung, that the whole face of Chinese politics, and our relations with that country, must change, before he will again dare to insult our flag or obstruct our commerce. It is to be hoped, also, that intercourse with such men as Mr. Bruce, and those now acting under him, may serve in a measure to open the eyes of Chinese politicians to a just appreciation of their own shortcomings and real interests. [p. 328] The commercial advantages which we have obtained are great, but we have gained others also. We have carried on a most successful war at a distance of seventeen thousand miles from England. Fighting side by side with the soi-disant most military nation in Europe, our organisation, staff, commissariat, &c. &c., has, at the very humblest estimation of our merits, proved at least equal to that of France. We have had a fine opportunity of testing the powers, and adaptibihty to service in the field, of our new Armstrong guns, proving them side by side with the artillery which gained SoHerino for Louis Napoleon. Their efficiency having thus received the only corroboration wanting, warrants confidence in their future manufacture. In the general administration of both army and navy, and their relative bearings one towards the other in such a species of warfare, we have gained much useful experience, which might now be of great practical benefit, whilst the formation of a regular transport service is under consideration. It is to be hoped that those upon whom such a duty devolves will avail themselves of the information which the military officers who had charge of the transport arrangements in China can afford. We have received a lesson against overestimating the effect which the substitution of rifles for the smooth-bored musket produces in action, proving that to close with an enemy is still as essential for victory as it was in the days of spears and crossbows. No amount of skirmishing at a distance will inflict any very decisive loss upon an enemy; and it is much to be feared that the possession of rifled weapons may tend towards inculcating the principle of engaging [p. 329] at long bowls and avoiding close combat, from which alone decisive events are to be obtained. As a nation we are prone to run away with such questions, and a few enthusiasts in shooting — not riflemen in the military acceptation of the term — have propounded the theory of utterly destroying an army by sharpshooters. They demonstrate by calculations upon paper and experiments upon the Hythe sands the certainty of doing so. Such gentlemen are mostly those who have never seen a shot fired in earnest, and the incorrectness of their views is vouched for by almost every oflicer of long-tried experience in the field. The smallness of the loss incurred the other day by the Federal army, which was engaged for hours at long ranges with their victorious opponents, proves still more of how httle damage is inflicted in action by infantry fire delivered at great distances. In the execution or results of the war there is nothing left to be wished for. [p. 330]

 

12. DESCRIPTION OF PEKIN

The word Pekin, or Pehchin, as the inhabitants pronounce it, carries with it so much that we in Europe have always been in the habit of associating with the wonderful, that it deserves a separate chapter to itself. Unfortunately our explorations about its neighbourhood were necessarily Umited, as it was not considered safe to wander alone very far from our outposts, and when our cavalry patrols went out, it was not deemed advisable to proceed far down along the west of the city, there being a number of Chinese camps there, all entrenched. As collision with their soldiers was to be avoided if possible, visits to their locahty were very few. It was always difficult to calculate upon the line of conduct which such semi-barbarous troops, ignorant of the usages of war, would adopt. Frequent reconnaissances were made, however, in all other directions by the officers of our Quartermaster-General’s department. During our halt at Pekin the country in the neighbourhood of Hai-teen was much disturbed by banditti, who had no doubt assembled there in hopes of sharing in the plunder of the Eoyal residences. Frequent encounters took place between them and the native mihtary authorities, who injflicted most summary [302] punishment upon those taken flagrante delicto. As many of the villagers near the summer palaces had carried off quantities of silks, &c., whilst they were being destroyed, the Mandarins were anxious to apprehend all such persons, their offence being unpardonable according to Chinese law. As I had frequent occasion to visit the neighbourhood of the summer palaces, after the departure of our allies from thence, I had fair opportunities of witnessing the disorder into which their neighbourhood had fallen. The large village known as Hai-teen, through which the road to Yuen-ming-yuen passes, was infested with robbers, who were apparently helping themselves to the property of those who had fled from their homes upon our approach. A few of the more stout-hearted proprietors had remained to guard their chattels, between whom and the plundering rabble there seemed to be a never-ending stand-up fight. Lynch law was the order of the day. I saw the remains of several murdered men in the streets; and upon one occasion, when turning round the angle of a house, having been attracted there by the noise, I found two or three men standing over one upon the ground, whom they were in the act of killing, by beating in his head with a hammer, from wliich fate my party had some difficulty in saving him. Every night the report of musketry and field guns was heard by our guards in camp, and upon the night of the 31st October to such an extent that our allies turned out tliinking that we had been attacked. I beheve that most of such firing was occasioned by the Chinese watchmen and police, who make a practice of firing at night, so as to show aU thieves that they are [p. 303] not only awake, but well armed and ready for them. To the south of the city none of our patrols had ever penetrated, as the distance was so great from our camp that it would have been impossible to reconnoitre there with a suitable force and return in the same day. Of the country in that direction we learnt from native sources that a very large inland lake lay due south of the city, in the numerous islands of which leopards, wild cats, and deer, are said to be very numerous. Operations had been prolonged to such a late period of the year, that when peace was at last signed there was no time for organising expeditions to explore that part of the country. In all other directions, however, the localities were closely examined, and maps made of them imder the superintendence of Colonel Mackenzie. All the information which could be obtained was collected, so that in the event of any fixture operations being required in those regions our work will be much simphfied. The land is everywhere most carefully cultivated, and yields two abundant crops yearly, millet, Indian com, beans, sweet potatoes, and a sort of cabbage being the principal produce. The total absence of pasture land strikes the eye of all who are accustomed to Enghsh farming as very pecuhar. In all parts of China Proper, milk, butter, or cheese, are unappreciated dainties; and the Tartar soldiers, when serving out of their own native provinces, feel the loss of such commodities greatly, as, in the wild plains of Thibet, milk, sour curds, and a sort of clotted cream constitute their principal diet. Between Pekin and the hills the country is thickly CHINESE VILLAGES. 305 dotted over with trees, which, with the numerous tombs and wide-spreading network of hollow roads, makes it difficult for the traveller to find his way about. There being few fences which a horse cannot get over, the best method to adopt in making a journey is to steer by a compass, straight over the fields, avoiding the hollow cart-tracks as much as possible, as fi^om them all view of the country is difficult. Although the ground over which we passed in our fight of the 21st September was, as I have described, closely intersected with banks and wide ditches, there are but very few north of the Yu-liang-ho. The small villages in the neighbourhood of Pekin are mostly surrounded by a wattle and daub fence. The numerous farmhouses were similarly enclosed, the straw-yards, corn-stacks, and threshingfloors being all ‘within the enclosures. Cattle-sheds, and good stabhng for mules or ponies, were invariably attached to even the most unpretending of cottages, in which the animals are housed during winter, and fed upon the millet straw, chopped small and steeped before use in warm water : upon this food they thrive well. As a rule, I think all in our army were disappointed with Pekin. For a considerable time previous to our arrival there every one had been drawing imaginary pictures in their minds as to what it was like. Those who had been for any number of years residing in ” the flowery land,” had been accustomed to hear Chinamen everlastingly referring to their capital in terms of the highest praise, describing it as little short of paradise, combining within its walls all that was lovely and magnificent. With the exception of some X 806 THE WAR WITH CHINA. Mandarins, few of those belonging to the southern provmces had ever visited the great northern capital; from earUest youth, however, every Chinaman is taught to beheve it the greatest of all cities. Its importance is as much a part of his faith, as the worship which all offer to their ancestors. The story told about the first appearance of one of our steamers at Canton gives a fair example of the extent to which this feehng is carried. An English merchant pointing out the steamer to a Chinaman, said, rather exultingly, ” Well, you have not got any vessels like that;” — to which answer was immediately made, “Ah, Canton no got, Pekin side plenty got, all same Kke.” I have no doubt he really believed such to be the case, considering Pekin to be so immeasurably superior to all other places, that it was impossible any nation could possess anything not known there. Before we had encamped close to the city our expectations were sustained by the reports brought in daily by our reconnoitring parties, who talked of having seen the roofs of lofty palaces and curiously-shaped pagodas rising high above the walls. When our army had taken up a position close to the place, the massiveness of its defences, well kept and regularly built, served to keep up the illusion regarding the wonders within. No vagary of fancy was ever more rudely dispelled than ours was when, upon the surrender of the An-ting gate, we gazed from thence over the streets and houses beneath. The dull monotony of colouring pervading all objects, and the sameness everywhere about, made all pronounce its appearance to be most unjustly praised. [p. 30] Leading from the gate in a due southerly direction, was the wide street along which our procession marched upon the 24th October. It was about a hundred feet in width, and was well paved for the first couple of hundred yards, after which it was simply earth. In this respect the streets of the capital differ from those of most other Chinese cities, where they are generally narrow, and paved over with granite blocks. In Pekin only the spaces near the gates were so paved. Coal cinders are used in quantities upon the streets, each householder emptying out the ashes of his stove upon the space immediately before his dwelling. Without some such arrangement the mud in wet weather would be ankle deep. As soon as our troops had taken up their position in the An-ting gate, the crowds of people that swarmed in from all quarters of the city to gaze at us exceeded anything that I had ever previously witnessed : a perfect sea of heads stretched away up the broad street as far as we could see. The moving to and fro of these people caused such clouds of dust to arise, that, in some directions, the city was so enveloped by it that nothing was to be seen. The Chinese guard, aided by a number of city pohce, had much difficulty in keeping back the dense masses which, swaying to and fro, kept pressing down towards the gate. Active httle French sentries kept jumping about, now here, now there, cursing, swearing, and laughing by tutns, in their endeavours to keep the space clear near their guard. A rope was stretched across the street beyond which none were allowed to pass. The whole of that day the street remained choked up by people eager to gaze upon their ” bar- [p. 307] barian ” conquerors. No ill-feeling was evinced by any, and all seemed to take the sharp blows from their own policemen’s whips, and the numerous pokes in the ribs from our sentries, in the very best humour. The streets are mostly laid out with mathematical exactness, all running due north and south, or east and west, as were also the city walls. Pekin is, in reality, two cities, only separated by the southern wall of the Tartar quarter. The southern one is the old Chinese town. It is four sided, the northern and southern faces being nearly five miles long, the eastern and western about two miles. The northern, or Tartar city, is nearly a square of four miles east and west, and three miles north and south. The north-western angle is, however, shghtly rounded off. The rampart walls average from thirty-five to forty feet high, above which the parapet wall rises seven feet everywhere around. Upon the inside they are mostly some five or six feet higher, owing, I imagine, to the ground excavated from the ditches having been thrown up, upon the outside, against the walls. Their average thickness, at top, is sixty feet, the masonry having a slope of about one in eight. The parapet walls (there being one upon both sides of the rampart) are three feet thick and castellated at top, the soles of the embrasures being four feet abovQ the terreplein of the rampart. In the centre of what would be with us the merlon, there is a small, square loophole, only about six inches above the foot of the parapet, from which the uncouth iron wall pieces, so common in all Chinese cities, are fired from carriages without any wheels, and unprovided with any means of depression or elevation. The terreplein of the ram- [p. 308] parts sloped gently inwards, so as to carry off the rain. It was neatly paved over its entire length with square tiles of considerable thickness; beneath them was a stratum of very hard concrete, three feet thick, — all below it, as far as we could ascertain, being wellrammed earth and rubble. With the very limited number of our guns and ammunition I do not believe we should have succeeded in making a practicable breach through the walls. No doubt we should have brought down a sufficient quantity of the outer revetment to have enabled oiumen to scramble up with ladders, but to have made a breach up which a body of men could march, with the hmited means at oiu* disposal, I think was very problematical. In the event of its being ever necessary hereafter to assault Pekin, I am sure that most of those who examined the walls will agree with me in thinking that mining is the best method of opening out a road through its ponderous defences. At each gateway and comer angle there is a high three-storeyed tower, thickly pierced with embrasures, but unprovided with guns. These towers are used as barracks, and, in order to keep out the cold air, the embrasures are closed up by wooden doors, upon the centre of each of which the representation of a cannon’s muzzle has been painted, giving the building an imposing aspect when seen at some little distance. These lofty towers, with their many embrasures, are well calculated to inspire all Chinamen with exaggerated ideas of their strength and importance. The reputation which Pekin had acquired throughout the empire for greatness and impregnability is, in a great [p. 309] measure, attributable to the imposing features of its fortifications. To a people ignorant of our modem appKances of war, such works would naturally appear capable of resisting for ever any efforts of a besieging force. They would have been similarly estimated by our ancestors of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. For hundreds of years the same weapons have been in use in China. Whilst western nations have been improving annually in all the appliances of offence and defence, the Chinese, carefully guarded in by an impenetrable barrier of self-conceit, have kept themselves aloof from all contact with other nations. To such a bigoted exclusiveness her downfal and humiliation is greatly attributable. In front of each gate there is a space of about a hundred yards square, enclosed by walls of similar dimensions to those of the enceinte. Through one of the side faces of it, the road is carried under a massive archway, so that every entrance to the city is protected by two lines of defence. Upon the inside a broad •road runs round the city at the foot of the rampart. The ditch has been a fine one in its day; but the arrangements for supplying it with water have been allowed to fall into decay, hke almost every other pubhc work in China, so that at present it is fordable at most points, and in some places is only a few inches deep. Within the Tartar city, and covering about a fourth of its entire space, is the ” Imperial ” or ” Inner City,” within which again is the palace, surrounded by a high and massive wall, with ditch, &c. &c. None of us were [p. 310] allowed to enter the innermost enclosure; but from all we could learn from the natives, I believe that his Majesty’s city residence is in a very faded condition, all the money available for such purposes having been for many years past expended upon the summer palace of Yuen-ming-yuen. The space between the palace walls and those around the ” Inner City,” is covered with the houses of those about the court, and with barracks. Scattered here and there were spots which had once been pleasure-grounds, or ponds of water, now completely neglected. An air of desolation was stamped upon everything, from the bell-shaped pagoda, which, standing upon a mound, marked the final resting-place of many sovereigns, to the smallest guard-room with its dilapidated chevaux-de-frise and arm-stands. There were numerous bridges, over what had once been wellkept canals, but which now were simply unsightly excavations, used as receptacles for filth and rubbish. In former times, when the pubhc works were well attended to, Pekin was plentifully supplied with water by means of these canals, which were fed from the lakes at Hai-teen. Numbers of temples, official residences belonging to the Princes, and pubhc buildings, are situated in difierent parts of the Tartar city. They are mostly upon a larger scale than those I have seen in the southern provinces, but possess no other local peculiarity. All have a faded, uncared-for appearance. The ordinary houses of the city are only one-storeyed, and built without any regard to uniformity. Those situated in the principal thoroughfares are of brick, with tiled roofs, whilst those in the remote quarters resemble the farmhouses of the surrounding country, [p. 311] having mud walk and thatched roofe, all well plastered over with a coating of mud and chopped straw. At some conspicuous places in the main streets, there were tumble-down looking archways, if such an Irishism is admissible in describing high-raised gateways, in whose design was no s^ment of a circle nor any curve, except what time had given to the widespanning beams wliich, in most instances, bend slightly downwards with their superincumbent weight of wood and stone. These had been originally constructed in memory of great men, or in commemoration of proud triumphs in days of Tartar renown. They seem to have changed with the times, serving now as emblems of national decay and public dishonour. One might almost fancy that they feel their altered destiny, and care no longer to rear erect the once straight and noble timbers of which they are constructed, but now lean in aU directions, scared and bent, as if in shame for the descendants of those who raised them. Barely two thirds of the space enclosed within the walls of the Chinese city is covered with houses, the remaining third being nearly all taken up by the gardens around the temples of ” Heaven,” and that in honour of the deities who preside over agriculture. The enclosed space around the former is a square mile in extent, which is tastefully laid out in gardens and shrubberies. Both of these buildings are situated close by the Yun-ting gate, which is the centre one of the three in the southern face. They stand upon either side of the wide roadway running north and south through the Chinese city, dividing it into two equal portions. [p. 312] Immediately within the southern face the ground has been but Kttle built upon, and there are several large pieces of water there. The victorious Tartars, in adding on their city to the old Chinese town, took care that theirs should domineer over the latter, as they built their walls some ten feet higher, thus giving it the character of a keep. The Yu-Kang-ho touches Pekin at the junction of the two cities, where it communicates with the ditch. From the point where it meets the city to the Che-ho gate, in the eastern face, a row of granaries extend underneath the walls between them and the ditch. In these the annual grain tribute was stored upon arrival by the canal. These buildings are now in a ruined state. A considerable exodus of the inhabitants had taken place diuing the first two or three days of our occupation of the An-ting gate, but almost aU had returned before our final departure, finding how strictly order was maintained amongst our troops. Before we retired from Pekin, all the shops which were at first closed, had reopened, and business was resumed in the usual manner. The numerous fiir and curio shops were daily crowded by our oflGicers, all anxious to obtain strange presents for their friends at home. The manner in which the Chinese tradesmen picked up words of ” pidgeon Enghsh” was quite astonishing. In a very few days, even the little boys in the street came up offering articles for sale, and asking ” how muchee.” The attempts to make ourselves understood by signs were most amusing. Those who could draw found their art most useful in illustrating upon paper what they required, as the shopmen were most apt at com [p. 313] prehending even the roughest dehneation of what was wanted. Upon entering a shop you had only to hold up your thumb with the other fingers closed, to indicate that you wished to see the first class things. All those with whom we had any dealings were civil and obhging, enjoying a joke, even when at their own expense, as well as any people I have ever met with. Of course, like all Easterns, they invariably asked for every article about twice as much as they were prepared to take for it. Of the female portion of the inhabitants we saw but few, none but the old and ugly showing themselves in the streets. Occasionally, however, during my rides through the city, I saw a woman’s head peering through a window, or over a wall, at the ” barbarian ” as he passed. In appearance they resembled those I had seen elsewhere in the northern districts of the empire. The Tartar women never cripple their feet like their Chinese sisters, and wear shoes like the men. They are very fond of painting their faces, and powdering their necks and foreheads over with some stufl* Uke flour. The people five almost exclusively upon vegetable diet, their usual food being flour ground firom millet or Indian com, sweet potatoes, and a coarse sort of cabbage. Tea is their ordinary beverage : but Chinamen very seldom drink water. There is also a large consumption of a fiery sort of spirit made fi^om millet; it is commonly known by the name of sam-shoo, and is sold for about threepence a pint. Pekin is much the cleanest Chinese city I have ever been in, and the air [p. 314] is not loaded with those sickening stenches so general in most other places. The streets being wide, there is ever a free circulation of air around the houses. The poUce seemed very numerous in the dty, but there were few of those street barriers which abound in Canton and most of the important towns. Of the military force within Pekin we saw but httle during our stay there, as all soldiers studiously avoided being seen in uniform. There were not many guns moimted upon the walls, and the few which were, were massed along the eastern face, upon which they had all along expected us to attack. Immediately opposite to where we had constructed our breaching batteries, they had lately mounted three very large guns. They were made of brass and were handsomely ornamented with carved mouldings. The fact of their having been placed in position opposite our point of attack, proves how very undecided the authorities must have been even up to the very day of their surrendering a gate to us. They had vacillated up to the last moment, between their dread of opposing us, and their fears of bringing down upon their heads the Imperial displeasure if they should surrender without making some show of resistance. These fine guns were mounted upon such rotten carriages, that a few rounds must have rendered them unserviceable, and one was so bad that the wheels had broken down in placing it in position upon the walls. From the walls of Pekin a good view is to be had over the surrounding countiy. It is a strange phenomenon that everywhere the people seem well to do and prosperous, the land [p. 315] being well tilled, and yet the ruling powers are always in financial difficulties. Camels are used in large numbers for the carriage of produce and merchandise. Most of the coal used in Pekin is brought there upon camels. All the coal I saw was of a hard, anthracite description, requiring a considerable draught to bum well. It is mostly brought from some mines at about thirty miles distance from the city. It is used in great quantities during the winter, and is sold at a cheap rate. When beaten into dust and mixed with clay, it is made up into small balls for use in the stoves, and gives out great heat. Charcoal is dear, and consequently only used by the richer classes. There are some very large bells in the city and temples near it, all well toned, and some beautifully ornamented. The largest is in a small joss-house, about half a mile from the north-west angle of the old ruined earthen entrenchment, lying to the north of the city, which I have already described. This beU is fifteen feet high, ten and a half feet in diameter, with a thickness of eight inches in the metal at its mouth. It is covered with inscriptions in the Chinese characters, and richly embossed at top, where it is fastened to the massive wooden stand made for it. Like all the very large bells elsewhere in China, it is sounded by means of a beam of wood, suspended horizontally by cords from the roof of the bidlding. This beam is swung against the beU after the manner of a battering ram, striking it upon the outside near its mouth. Its tone was excellent, making the buUding itself, and everything in it, tremble from the reverberation for several minutes after the bell had been struck. [p. 316] There is a striking contrast between the Chinese and Tartar portions of Pekin. The whole appearance of the latter indicates the presence of the dominant race, now devoid even of that courage and warlike prowess which characterised them in former times, whilst their lethargy, indolence, and dirty habits have increased, causing them to be still as distinct from the conquered Chinese as they were of yore. They still leave the commerce and trade of the country to the thrifty Chinamen, and have only just enough shops within their city as are sufficient for supplying their ordinary wants. The streets, although thronged with people, lacked the air of bustle and life for which Cliinese cities are famous. The very beggars and ragamuffins had a hstless appearance, and merely stood gaping at the passing foreigners. No dirty httle boys made rude and facetious remarks to us as we strolled through the streets. The manufacture of dirt pies seemed to be the summit of their genius. The nomadic disposition of the race was indicated by the nmnbers of tents pitched about in odd parts of the city; in some places along the wide streets, a space was left between them and the houses for foot passengers, and a roadway in the centre for carts and horses. Indeed, in all the principal thoroughfares there were rows of booths or tents along each side of the carriage-way, which was thus divided from the footpaths. But if such is the aspect of the city in which the rulers of the country dwell, far otherwise is the appearance presented on passing through any of the three gates which lead from the Tartar into the Chinese quarter. The principal streets through the latter are also wide, [p. 317] but leading off from them are narrow roadways, thickly lined with rich shops, and crowded with active, busy people, all intent upon business matters. The hum of voices bargaining and disputing about prices, the hissing, buzzing noise of lathes at work, and the din of liammers, indicate a Uvehness of trade and manufacture which at once stamps the place as essentially Chinese. [p. 318]

 

11. CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LORD ELGIN AND THE PRINCE OF KUNG

CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LORD ELGIN AND THE PRINCE OF KUNG — DESTRUCTION OF THE SUMMER PALACES BY THE BRITISH ARMY — DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY AROUND HAITEEN — INDEMNITY PAID BY THE CHINESE — RECONNAISSANCES IN THE VICINITY OF THE CITY — LORD ElGIN’S STATE ENTRY INTO PEKIN — HIS INTERVIEW WITH THE PRINCE OF KUNG — RATIFICATION OF THE TIEN-TSIN TREATY — PREPARATIONS FOR THE DEPARTURE OF THE ARMY FROM PEKIN — MARCH TO TIEN-TSIN

Upon the 17th October Lord Elgin wrote to the Prince of Kung, stating that when Sir Hope Grant had written to him upon the 10th of the month, demanding possession of the An-ting Gate, and naming the terms upon which he was willing to spare Pekin, he was then ignorant of the barbarous treatment which had been practised upon our countrymen, who had been treacherously taken prisoners by them; and that his letter had been written under a belief in their safety, to which his Highness had pledged himself in many of his despatches. Since the date of that letter we had ascertained that one half of the total number captured had been barbarously murdered under the most inhuman treatment.

This deceit, practised upon us by his Highness, amply justified us in setting aside the conditions named in the general’s letter, and under which the An-ting Gate had [p. 276] been surrendered; but from an anxiety for the safety of the people, and an unwillingness to visit their rulers’ offences upon them, Lord Elgin said that he was still ready to make peace, which, he begged to remind the Prince, had not been as yet concluded, and which he had in all communications with him, subsequent to the 18th September, declared to be impossible, until the British subjects, captured when under a flag of truce, had been sent back to us. The terms upon which his Lordship would make peace were, that the sum of 300,000 taels should be handed over to us by the 22nd October, to be distributed at her Majesty’s discretion amongst those who had suffered and the families of those who had been murdered. As a further expiation of the foul crime of which the Chinese Government had been guilty, it was intended, and at once, utterly to destroy all that remained of Yuen-ming-yuen, within the precincts of which several of the British captives had been “subjected to the grossest indignities.” This did not require his Highness’s assent, as those palaces were within our power. That before the 20th of that current month, the Prince should inform Lord Elgin, in writing, that he was willing to sign the convention, and exchange the ratification of the Tien-tsin treaty on the 23rd. As owing to the late date to which perations had been prolonged, it was necessary to provide for a portion of our army remaining at Tien-tsin, the Prince was informed that an addition was to be made to the convention, providing for such an arrangement, and entitling us to keep our army at that port, until the whole of the indemnity required by the convention should [p. 277] be paid to us. His Highness was reminded that all the customs’ revenue at Canton was collected by us, and paid over to the Imperial treasury; that Shanghai was alone prevented from falling into the possession of the rebels by the allied forces stationed there; and that the grain junks carrying rice to the north were allowed to pass through our fleets unmolested. This state of things would at once cease if his Highness should refuse the terms then finally offered for acceptance, and the allies would, in that case, indemnify themselves, through the above-mentioned sources, for the expenses they had been put to. Such were the terms upon which it was alone possible to avert the doom hanging over the reigning Mantchoo dynasty. This last allusion must have had powerful effect upon all who read it and were attached to the existing government of the empire; for, at that moment, the rebel forces were reported to be within a hundred miles of Pekin, for which place they were marching. Rumours of their progress and numerous victories were openly commented upon by the Pekin citizens, who naturally considered their approach, and our hostile presence, as parts of a preconcerted arrangement and plan of operations.

Upon the 18th October, the 1st division, under the command of Major-General Sir John Michel, marched from our camp near Pekin to Yuen-ming-yuen, and set fire to all the royal palaces which lay scattered about in that neighbourhood. Throughout the whole of that day and the day following a dense cloud of black and heavy smoke hung over those scenes of former magnificence. [p. 278]

A gentle wind, blowing from the north-west, carried the mass of smoke directly over our camp into the very capital itself, to which distance even large quantities of the burnt embers were wafted, falling about the streets in showers, as silent but unmistakeable evidences of the work of destruction and retribution going on in the palace of the Emperor. In passing between our camp and Yuen-ming-yuen, upon both of those days, the light was so subdued by the overhanging clouds of smoke, that it seemed as if the sun was undergoing a lengthened eclipse. The world around looked dark with shadow.

The destruction of the palaces appears to have struck the Pekin authorities with awe. It was the stamp which gave an unmistakeable reality to our work of vengeance, proving that Lord Elgin’s last letter was no idle threat, and warning them of what they might expect in the capital itself, unless they accepted our proffered terms. The Imperial palace within the city still remained untouched, and if they wished to save that last remaining palace for their master, it behoved them to lose no time I feel convinced that the burning of Yuen-ming-yuen considerably hastened the final settlement of affairs, and strengthened our ambassador’s position. Our allies, who had looted all and destroyed some of the buildings of that place, objected to our putting the coup de grace to their work. It was averred that the complete destruction of the palaces would be a Gothlike act of barbarism. It seems strange that this idea did not occur to the generally quick perceptions of our Gallic allies before they had shorn the place of all its beauty and ornament, [p. 279] by the removal or reckless destruction of everything that was valuable within its precincts, leaving us, indeed, little more than the bare shell of the buildings on which to wreak our vengeance for the cruelties practised therein upon our ill-fated countrymen.

By the evening of the 19th October, the summer palaces had ceased to exist, and in their immediate vicinity, the very face of nature seemed changed: some blackened gables and piles of burnt timbers alone indicating where the royal palaces had stood. In many places the inflammable pine trees near the buildings had been consumed with them, leaving nothing but their charred trunks to mark the site. When we first entered the gardens they reminded one of those magic grounds described in fairy tales; we marched from them upon the 19th October, leaving them a dreary waste of ruined nothings. The burning of the palaces was an act of vengeance pre-eminently calculated to fulfil all the purposes which circumstances required. The people themselves were at all times most friendly towards us, and have but little affection for the ruling dynasty. Their rulers alone were answerable for the murder of the prisoners which they had taken. To have required a very large sum of money as a reparation for that crime, would have been a punishment which must eventually have fallen principally upon the people, and their ability to pay any such largely increased demand was highly problematical. To have demanded that those who had actually caused the death of our murdered comrades should be delivered over to us for punishment, would have led only to some few petty and perhaps innocent officials being sent to us, whom [p. 280] it would have been as difficult to convict as it would have been unjust to punish.

Sang-ko-lin-sin was really of all others most responsible for the crime for which we sought reparation, but to have demanded his surrender to us for trial would have been asking for what every one knew the Chinese Government would not, and perhaps could not, grant. Lord Elgin’s knowledge of human nature, and of Chinese dispositions in particular, pointed out to him the only really substantial method then within his power of taking vengeance for the crime in question. The great vulnerable point in a Mandarin’s character lies in his pride, and the destruction of Yuen-ming-yuen was the most crushing of all blows which could be levelled at his Majesty’s inflated notions of universal supremacy. His property was deemed as sacred as his person, so much so, that when the French first approached the palace gates upon the 6th October, the few eunuchs who remained there as the sole guard of the place rushed out to meet our allies, calling out to them, “Don’t commit sacrilege, don’t come within the sacred precincts of his Majesty’s palace.” As such was the commonly received notion regarding everything belonging to the Emperor, the destruction of his favourite residence was the strongest proof of our superior strength; it served to undeceive all Chinamen in their absurd conviction of their monarch’s universal sovereignty.

In order that the greatest possible publicity might be given to our reasons for destroying Yuen-ming-yuen, proclamations in Chinese were prepared by our interpreters, and posted up in all public places to which we [p. 281] had access. This prevented the authorities from giving a false colouring to our actions, as they would no doubt have otherwise endeavoured to spread abroad the impression of our having destroyed that place simply for the sake of plunder.

Whilst the work of demolition was going on, we had ample opportunity of inspecting the country around the palaces and that lying between them and the hills, which, as offshoots from the high range of Tibet, abut upon the plains near Yuen-ming-yuen. A well-kept paved road extends from the principal palace to that known as the Golden Palace, a distance of about three miles. It passes for some distance along the bank of a dried-up canal, the sides of which were tastefully adorned with ornamental rockery, which forms such an essential feature in all Chinese landscape gardening. Upon each side of the canal there were high embankments of earth covered with cedar and pine trees, and here and there some little grotto of stonework. After leaving Yuen-ming-yuen, and when proceeding to the Golden Palace, our road at first wound through a series of small official residences standing within walled enclosures and small parks; and then, passing over several grotesquely-built stone bridges, it crossed a number of little canals, some completely dry, others filled only with stagnant water, and almost covered up with water lilies and rushes. The remains of what were once, no doubt, very pretty little cascades testify to the care taken in the embellishment of the place and to the poverty of the present government, which has allowed them to become what they are. Some fine joss-houses or temples lay scattered about, the rich colour- [p. 282] ing of which contrasted well with the dark green foliage of the cedars. At the distance of about a mile along this paved road stood one of the entrances to the Wanshow-yuen, a palace situated upon a hog’s-back-like hill overlooking a fine lake. This hill was enclosed by a high park wall, the space within being tastefully laid out with gardens, shrubberies and plantations, having tea-houses scattered about — some perched upon rocky knolls commanding good views of the surrounding country, others almost hidden by the dense foliage of the trees, with terraces and flights of steps leading down to the water’s edge. Crowning the highest point of the hill was the only building, of all the palaces, constructed exclusively of stone, and consequently the only one upon which the general conflagration took but little effect.

The view from this building was charming. Stretching away from it in the direction of Pekin there was a most substantial and well-finished embankment faced all over with slabs of cut granite. It was built for the purpose of damming up the waters of the streams which poured down from the hills, so as to form the various lakes and artificial ponds, constituting such an important feature in the landscape there. By this means the water was always at a much higher level than the ground upon which Pekin stood, so that a good water supply was at all seasons thus provided for the citizens of that city. Jutting out from this dam into the lake, at about half a mile’s distance from the Wan-show gardens, was a long bridge with seventeen arches of beautiful proportions, richly decorated with stone carvings and balustradings, and leading to a small island upon which [p. 283] stood a water-palace closely surrounded with trees, the picturesque gables and upturned roofs of which were faithfully reflected in the calm water beneath. Standing upon the dam at the end of the bridge was a wooden building supported upon pillars, with all the sides open and seemingly intended merely as a resting-place in which the wearied wanderer might find shelter from the sun during a temporary halt. Close by there was the representation, in bronze, of a cow in a recumbent position, so truly lifelike, that all who saw it mistook it for a veritable animal until they had actually approached it.

The edge of the lake beneath the Wan-show palaces was laid out in terraces, one rising above the other, the lowest one washed by the water, and having a balustrading of small stone pillars extending along its entire length. Handsome flights of stairs led down from it to the lake, at some of which were boat-houses for the protection of the imperial barges.

Upon leaving the Wan-show-yuen the road passes under a low stone archway, beyond which for about the next half mile it is lined on both sides with shops. They end upon the bank of an insignificant little river, over which the road crosses by an old masonry bridge, the parapet walls of which were sadly ruinous, but exhibited traces of considerable beauty and elaborate carving. This stream is one of the many feeders of the lakes, into the largest of which it discharges itself close by the bridge. Upon its opposite bank is the village of Tsung-lung-cheaou, called after the bridge itself, through which the paved road passes, and debouching from which it winds round between some undulating ground upon [p. 284] the right, and the low inundated fields upon the left, which extend to the margin of a series of small lakes in that direction. For the distance of a mile beyond the bridge the road is closely lined upon the right hand with farmhouses and enclosures, the country further back still in that direction being thickly studded with small villages and groups of Tartar barracks, which are very numerous. The paved road ends at the gates of the Golden Palace, which lies at the foot of a small hill, detached from all the others, and which is included within the park walls surrounding the palace itself. Standing upon the highest point of this hill is a tall white pagoda, which forms the great landmark of the locality, and from whence the finest view is to be had of the many palaces and gardens of Hai-teen, by which name the entire place is generally known. The pagoda resembles most others met with everywhere in the empire. It is ascended by a winding staircase, but has none of those projecting balconies common in such buildings generally. Looking out from it, the eye wanders over as fair and lovely a scene as can well be imagined. The thickly-wooded parks of the palaces are shown off to the best advantage by the intervening lakes and numerous ponds within them. The little islands, wooded to the water’s edge, send out their tremulous, wavy reflections along the glass-like lakes; here and there the oddly shaped spires and minarets of a summer-house peer above the variegated foliage, whilst the neglected temples from their half-ruinous condition add much to the scenic effect; and, lastly, may be seen buildings of all sizes, from joss-houses of the most stately proportions with their many courtyards and richly ornamented roofs, down to [p. 285] the tiniest of roadside sanctuaries, nestling here and there amidst clumps of trees, and resembling more closely a child’s baby-house than an edifice intended for the worship of some idol.

Beyond the precincts of the royal grounds the country looked richly cultivated, dotted over with farmhouses and Tartar villages, the homes of the several banners by whom the military duties of the place were performed, and the guards furnished for his Majesty’s protection during his residence at the Summer Palace. These villages were mostly built with all the regularity of barracks. To the north was a range of hills, bold in outline, upon which plantations and patches of cultivation seemed to contest possession with stony slopes and rugged cliffs. The commanding points of these hills were crowned with imposing looking buildings of castellated style and essentially un-Chinese in appearance. Far off to the north-east was a conically shaped hill, with a fortified military post upon it. To the west were the palaces of Tsain-tai extending up the sides of the Sian mountains, which stretch away south from the principal range. Between those palaces and the Yuen-ming-yuen a well-built aqueduct extended, by means of which the gardens of the Golden Palace were supplied with water. The massive gate towers of Pekin, and its several pagodas and cupolas, with (in some places) a small extent of the walls themselves, bounded the view to the south-east, completing the panorama. Taken as a whole, that is, including all the palaces and adjoining gardens, Hai-teen was certainly well suited for the residence of a monarch ruling over such a great nation. Chinamen may well have [p. 286] reckoned it the alpha and omega of all that was lovely on earth, leaving nothing to be wished for according to their notions of what is beautiful and magnificent.

Generation after generation of emperors had added to its works of art and artificial beauty. From thence mighty kings have issued their commands to the widest empire ever yet ruled by any one man; but the very gorgeousness of the scene has been one great promoting cause of the luxury and effeminacy which have served to debase the late rulers of China, causing the descendants of fierce warriors to degenerate into mere enervated debauchees, alike incapable of wielding the sword themselves or commanding in the field those who could. After a childhood passed in the seclusion of such palaces, the greatest exercise allowed being a daily stroll amidst the luxurious gardens around, it is scarcely to be wondered at that the royal heir should grow up into an indolent, dreamy, and unpractical manhood. After being assured from earliest childhood that he was immeasurably superior to all other human beings, and but little removed from Deity itself, it is no strange matter that such a monarch should believe his absolute power to be as much a part of himself as his hands or feet, or, in fact, as indisputable as his very existence. Sir Henry Pottinger’s treaty was the first historical fact which must have caused some suspicion to cross the Imperial mind as to the reality of his imiversal sovereignty, by proving that there was a Western nation able to dictate terms to the Chinese Government. Such knowledge, however, came too late. It fell upon insensible ears, which knew not how to profit by the [p. 287] lesson we had taught them. They persisted in resting upon the history of their former greatness, refusing to believe that they were far behind us in the art or appliances of war, and attributing their defeat to any but the true causes. Possessing within the confines of their vast empire every requisite essential for the formation of powerful armies, with great internal wealth and an overteeming population of brave, active, and intelligent people, they, par excellence the greatest of all copyists under heaven, were too obstinate or too stupid to adopt our arms or military organisation; and, indeed, as far as we know, even to appreciate the advantages of muskets over cross-bows, or of discipline over disorder.

Upon the evening of the 19th October the Prince of Kung’s answer to Lord Elgin’s ultimatum of the 17th of that month reached our camp. In it his Highness humbly declared himself willing to perform all we had demanded. In answer to a letter from Sir Hope Grant, requesting that Captain Brabazon might be accounted for, the Prince stated that he could not give any information about him or the Abbe de Luc, as he knew nothing whatever of them.

Between the 19th and 23rd October frequent meetings took place between the officers of our embassy and the Chinese authorities, during which all the points regarding the etiquette to be observed at the grand conference of the plenipotentiaries was agreed upon. The 300,000 taels of indemnity money was paid into our commissariat treasure chest upon the evening of the 22nd. It had been at first arranged that the convention, &c. &c., was to be signed the following [p. 288] day, but as there was a considerable amount of writing to be got through in preparing the treaties, both in Chinese and English, the meeting was postponed until the 24th October.

Rumours were afloat that a large army was assembling to the west of Pekin, and treacherous intentions were attributed to the Prince of Kung by general consent, the reports coming from Chinese sources. It was said that our ambassador was to be inveigled into the city, and then murdered, &c. &c. Every Chinaman is a newsmonger by nature; and, if we may judge from the number of stories current daily in Pekin during our stay in its vicinity, they prefer false intelligence to none at all. Eeconnoitring parties of our cavalry made daily explorations into the country around our camp, so that no large army could well be assembled near us without the circumstance coming to our knowledge. Owing to the rumour of a large camp being established to the west of Pekin, our cavalry patrolled in that direction upon the 22nd October, and during their march came suddenly upon an entrenched position, close to the city walls, near the point where the Tartar and Chinese cities unite. There was apparently a considerable force within the works, which turned out as our cavalry approached, not knowing what was our intention. A Mandarin came up to ask us what we wanted. Major Probyn, who commanded the party, brought him to our camp, for the purpose of gaining some information from him, as he appeared a sharp fellow. He stated that Mr. Parkes’s capture was an act of premeditated revenge for the seizure of the prefect at Tien-tsin by Sir Kobert Napier. The cir- [p. 289] cumstances under which that seizure was made are as follows : — Shortly after the main part of our force had left Tien-tsin, Sir Robert Napier foimd the Chinese authorities far from civil, and very averse to afford us any assistance in collecting carriage or supplies for our troops. The prefect of the city was the chief person there. He was ordered to present himself at the English general’s tent; but he failed to do so. He had, however, most thoroughly mistaken the man he had to deal with. Sir Robert Napier’s long experience in India, had taught him the only true method by which Asiatics can be managed; which is determination, backed by sufficient force to carry out all declared intentions. Acting upon this principle, a party was sent into Tien-tsin, with orders to bring out the refractory mandarin, who protested loudly against the proceeding, but was obhged to yield. He was treated with all possible courtesy, and lodged in a tent next the general’s; and our ability to enforce compliance with all demands which we might make upon him, and our evident determination to use force, if necessary, having been thus clearly impressed upon him and the other civic authorities of the place, he was released.

The Prince of Kung, who had been residing at some distance from Pekin, happened to be on his way into the city, when our cavalry made their appearance at the entrenched camp. Weak nerves and a guilty conscience caused him to couple their presence, between him and the capital, with some treacherous design upon his person. No doubt he thought that we were desirous of avenging our murdered countrymen, by punishing liim. He at once, therefore, took fright, and [p. 290] bolted back in the direction from which he had started, not deeming himself safe until he had placed about twenty miles between himself and us. He wrote to General Ignatieff that evening, asking what we were aiming at, and seemed evidently nervous about his personal safety.

At one o’clock, p.m., upon the 24th October, Lord Elgin started from our camp for Pekin, where it had been arranged that the meeting between him and the Prince of Kung was to take place. Every possible military precaution had been previously taken to guard against any treachery upon the part of the Chinese. An officer of the Quartermaster-General’s department had been sent into the city the preceding evening, for the purpose of examining the building in which the conference was to be held. It was very improbable that any treachery would be attempted; but as rumours were afloat that infernal machines had been prepared to blow up our ambassador and his party, it would have been highly culpable, after so many recent instances of Chinese ill-faith, to disregard any attainable precaution, or to fail in providing for all possible contingencies. Had any misfortune occurred to Lord Elgin, the blame of such would have fallen upon the Commander-in-Chief. It seemed to be a general impression amongst all who were acquainted with China but upon whom no responsibility would have rested in the event of any treachery being practised, that the display of a large force within Pekin might so frighten the timid Prince of Kung and his advisers, that they would all suspect us of similar motives, and fly from the place, or in other words, that our military precau- [p. 291] tions against treachery would be construed into intended treachery on our part by the suspicious Chinese.

The 2nd division was skillfully disposed by Sir R. Napier along the line of march to be taken by the procession through the city, so that all avenues of approach leading to it were commanded by our troops. An escort of 100 cavalry and 400 infantry, together with a numerous retinue of officers from all corps, accompanied Lord Elgin for his immediate protection. It was a fine day, bright and warm, there being no wind to drive the dust about, and the sun shining pleasantly, showing off the soldiers’ uniforms and appointments to the best advantage. His Lordship travelled in a sedan chair of large proportions, painted red, and hung about with long streaming tassels of many colours, after the most approved Chinese fashion. Eight Chinese coolies, decked out in gorgeous scarlet clothing, carried the chair.

A military procession is at all times an imposing sight; but it is seldom that so many circumstances combine to give it effect and importance, as upon that occasion. The representative of our sovereign, surrounded by a crowd of soldiers, so lately victorious in the field, marching into a great city which had just capitulated to us, for the purpose of obtaining a public admission of our national superiority and a concession of all those demands which we had made before the war commenced — was a circumstance truly gratifying to all who took part in it, and a very just source of pride to every British subject. The inhabitants of the place thronged in upon all sides to see the “barbarians” in their triumphal march; all were civil and respectful. [p. 292]

The presence of a large body of troops marching with confidence through the capital, with colours flying, bands playing, and every outward sign of victory, must have, indeed, impressed all with the reality of their own defeat. I believe that the military display then made will have far more important and beneficial influence in our future dealings with China than all the treaties now ratified or that may be hereafter concluded. The fame of it will be the best relative security, which our merchants residing at the ungarrisoned ports could have. It was an undeniable assertion of our victory, and will be a warning to Imperial officials in their intercourse with our authorities, causing them to hesitate before they again subject their far-famed seat of government to the presence of an armed force within its walls. Our ability to take vengeance for all breaches of faith, thus convincingly established, will, I have every reason to hope, be the means of stopping for ever those acts of arrogance, insolence and oppression to which our mercantile communities at Canton and elsewhere have been subjected, in the absence of any force to prevent them, and which have been the immediate cause of all the warlike operations carried on by foreigners in China since 1838.

The procession entered the city by the An-ting gate, where a strong reserve of troops was posted. In case of any treachery being attempted, three guns were to have been fired from thence as a signal for the 1st division to leave camp and march into the city. As the Hall of Audience, in which the Prince of Kung was to meet Lord Elgin, lay in the southern quarter of the Tartar city, our procession had to pass directly through [p. 293] its entire length, a distance of about three miles and a half. A straight street led direct from the An-ting gate south towards the Chinese city, along which our column proceeded, turning sharp towards the west as Ave approached the wall dividing the Chinese from the Tartar city. Following that direction for about half a mile, we entered the narrow street in which most of the public offices stood. They were all prettily built, very much alike, and with but little to distinguish them from any of the many temples or official buildings met with elsewhere. They were in a most dilapidated condition, some looking as if they might tumble down at any moment, and one had already done so — it was the Board of Finance; and the unsightly heap of ruins, into which it had sunk, might be taken as a fair indication of national financial prospects. As we entered the high wooden portals of the Hall of Audience, it was most amusing to watch the vigorous efforts made by the city police to keep back the inquisitive crowd that pressed in, with all the eagerness of London cockneys upon Lord Mayor’s day, to catch even a passing glimpse of the show. The Chinese police are certainly A1 at such work, and use their heavy thong-whips unmercifully upon the shoulders and backs of all who do not obey them quickly. Having passed through two courtyards, we found ourselves opposite a spacious hall, of which the side nearest to us as we approached was completely open. Lord Elgin’s guard of honour drew up on one side of the court, presenting arms as his Lordship passed on.

His sedan chair was put down at the edge of the carpet spread upon the hall, and, as he entered, the [p. 294] Prince advanced to meet him, making a stiff bow and shaking his own hands vigorously, after the ordinary manner of Chinese etiquette. Both of the national representatives then moved slowly towards the chairs which had been prepared for them, each seeming to eye the other narrowly, lest by some sudden movement he might get the least in advance. They appeared willing to treat each other as equals, but not as superiors.

Upon reaching their respective chairs, it was of great importance that both should sit down exactly at the same moment: a feat which was most satisfactorily accomplished.

The room in which the conference took place resembled exactly the principal apartment of a temple from which the hideous idols had been removed. A sort of thick red felting had been laid down instead of carpets. Lamps of all sizes and shapes were hung up around, with, in some places, insignificant attempts at decorations in the shape of drapery and long scrolls of ornamented paper.

The English officers were provided with seats upon the right of the hall as we entered; the Chinese officials upon the side opposite. In front of Lord Elgin, Sir Hope Grant, and a few others, there were small tables; the Prince of Kung and his principal officers being similarly accommodated.

The Prince was of middle stature, his face cleanly shaven, with a naturally high forehead, which looked still loftier from the manner in which he wore his tumed-up mandarin hat, far back upon his shaven crown. His features were good, being far more regular [p. 295] than is usual with Chinamen, but his eyes were small and on a level with his forehead, which is the great peculiarity of the race, who may almost be said to have no eyelids and very small apertures for their eyeballs to appear through. He looked round upon the assembled “barbarians” almost with a scowl; but this supercilious sneering expression may have partly resulted from his most strangely set eyes. He was dressed in mandarin robes, the only peculiarity in his clothes being that there were figures of the Imperial dragon embroidered upon his sleeves and shoulders, and that instead of a coral or other button upon the top of his hat, he wore only a small twisted knot, made of scarlet silk, very much like that upon the Emperor’s cap, found on his bed in the Summer Palace. It is most difficult to give an accurate estimate of his age from his face, as the absence of all hair upon it gave him a youthful ak, which, however, was contradicted, upon examining him more closely, by a worn-out expression indicative of debauchery, so very common with Asiatic potentates. He might have been, in fact, any age from twenty up to five and thirty, and I believe that his exact number of years was a mean between those two figures. He looked a boy, as well as a gentleman, amongst the crowd of bihous, bloated, small-pock-marked, and hideous-looking faces of the mandarins who surrounded him, and with whom he frequently took counsel during the course of the proceedings. A very young man, unless of royal buth, seldom holds any great office of importance in China; and as rank is to be had citlier by purchase or competitive examination, it is frequently enjoyed by the very com- [p. 296] monest of the people. On this account many of the mandarins are ill-bred in manners, and have none of that easy air or those fine features, the birthright of gentle blood, which in most countries generally characterise the governing classes. I do not remember having ever seen a less pleasing-looking collection of mortals assembled in one place than was grouped around the Prince of Kung upon that occasion.

At all such ceremonies of state, a banquet, after business is concluded, forms a part of the programme; but as the inspection of the Prince of Kung’s “power to treat,” and the signing of the convention and ratification of the old treaty had occupied a considerable time, Lord Elgin declined partaking of it. Tea of the usual hot-water-tasting properties was, however, handed round during the ceremony.

Everything being satisfactorily concluded, the meeting was broken up, the same formalities being gone through at leave-taking as had been observed at the opening of the conference, the Prince accompanying Lord Elgin from his seat to the edge of the carpet, where his Lordship’s chair stood ready for his reception.

It was late in the evening before we got back to camp, and although the “Board of Works” had taken some trouble in watering the streets, yet the dust was so deep upon them that the upper surface only was affected by it; consequently, the number of men and horses passing over it soon caused the dust to rise in dense masses, covering every one of our party.

Orders had been previously despatched to Shanghai for Mr. Bruce, the English minister there, who was to remain in China as our representative after Lord [p. 297] Elgin’s departure. He was directed to proceed to Pekin with all speed, so that, if possible, he might be introduced to the Prince of Kung before Lord Elgin left. By Article IX. of the Pekin Convention, it was agreed that the convention should receive the Imperial sanction by the publication of a decree, for which it was necessary to send to Jeho, where his Majesty had taken up his residence* As nine or ten days must have elapsed before an answer could be returned from that place, it was determined to keep the army at Pekin imtil the 8 th November, which was considered by the Commander-in-Chief as the latest date to which we could with safety remain there. The cold winter was setting in rapidly, and the roads in rear being unmetalled, no reliance could be placed upon them in bad weather. About the 10th October, the weather changed perceptibly, the nights being intensely cold, and biting winds rendering even the days far from pleasant for those under canvas. All native reports led us to beheve that the ice set in upon the river towards the beginning of November; and as we had to depend greatly upon it for transport purposes, to have remained beyond the 8th of that month at Pekin would have been a highly dangerous experiment. Upon the 22nd October our siege train was sent off to Tien-tsin, for which place Colonel Mackenzie, our Quartermaster General, started to get everything ready there for the reception of the garrison which it was intended to leave there for the winter, and for the embarkation of the remaining part of our army for home and India. All our sick and heavy stores were sent by carts to Tung-chow, where they were placed in boats and sent [p. 298] down the river to Tien-tsin, making the journey in three days.

Baron Gros having signed the French treaty upon the 25th October, General Montauban left Pekin upon the 1st November with his army, leaving one battalion behind for Baron Gros’s protection.

Upon the 27th October Lord Elgin moved from camp into the city, where the Prince of Y’s residence had been fitted up for his reception. Visits of ceremony were exchanged between him and the Prince of Kung, who improved upon acquaintance. He talked hopefully of the future, and seemed to consider that the direct communication henceforward to be maintained by our minister in China with the Pekin Government would conduce to a friendliness of intercourse, and prevent those bickerings and misunderstandings which had formerly taken place so frequently between the servants of the two nations. He even discussed the advisability of a Chinese ambassador being sent to England. The notification of the convention having received the Imperial sanction was made to Lord Elgin upon the 2nd November, and the treaty and it were immediately published in the Pekin Gazette.

Mr. Bruce reached Pekin upon the 7th November, and was introduced to the Prince of Kung.

It was arranged that, until a suitable residence could be prepared for the British embassy, Mr. Bruce should reside at Tien-tsin, where Baron Gros had directed M. de Bourboulon, the French minister, to reside for the winter. In order, however, to accustom the Chinese authorities to the presence of our officials within the capital, and to prevent them from imagining that we [p. 299] intended to concede the long disputed question of residence there, Mr. Adkins of the Consular Service was left in Pekin to superintend tlie arrangements necessary for the establishment of our diplomatic mission there in the spring following.

Before the departure of our army from Pekin, the winter had set in very severely. There were several days of heavy rain, with hard frost every night. Cold northerly winds rendered out-of-door lie very disagreeable, and our native Indian followers were suffering severely in consequence. A considerable supply of blankets and warm clothing had arrived in camp upon the 21st October, which was immediately distributed amongst the troops. No army in the field has ever been healthier or better cared for in every respect than our troops before Pekin; the men looked well and happy. The commissariat, under the superintendence of Mr. Turner, deserves every credit for the manner in which we were supplied with all that we could expect. French bread of the best quality was served out to us daily, and of beef and mutton there was abundance. Good markets had been established within the An-ting gate, where fruit and vegetables were procurable every day at a cheap rate. The most sickly regiment of our force was the 60th Rifles, which was composed chiefly of young soldiers. Its sick-hst, however, never exceeded five per cent. The medical arrangements had been aU through the campaign ably attended to by Dr. Muir, C.B., who, whilst most careful at all times for the comfort of those in his charge, was never carried away by unpractical ideas, which have become so [300] fashionable of late years with many of our medical officers.

Upon the 7th November the 2nd division under Sir Robert Napier left Pekin, the 1st division under Sir John Michel following the day after. The Commander-in-Chief accompanied the latter. A flotilla of boats kept pace upon the river with the army during its march, for the conveyance of any men falling sick, or in the event of any other casualties. [301]

10. NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE SURRENDER OF PEKIN

NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE SURRENDER OF PEKIN — RELEASE OF MESSRS. LOCH, PARKES, AND OTHER PRISONERS HADE BT THE CHINESE. NARRATIVE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED WITH THEIR CAPTURE. ARRIVAL OF THE FRENCH ARMY IN FRONT OF PEKIN. PREPARATIONS FOR ASSAULTING THE FORTIFICATIONS OF THAT CITY. SURRENDER OF THE AN-TING GATE AND ITS OCCUPATION BY THE ALLIED TROOPS. MILITARY FUNERAL OF THE BRITISH SUBJECTS WHO HAD BEEN MURDERED BY THE CHINESE.

Upon the 7th October a letter was received from the Prince of Kung, signed by Mr. Parkes. It was dated the day before, and should have reached us that same afternoon, but the bearer, whilst on the road to our camp, had met with our army when on the march, and taking fright, had turned back. The letter promised the return of all prisoners by the 8th October. There was a tone of nervous anxiety in it, which had not characterised any of his former communications. A verbal answer was sent back, intimating that Mr. Wade would meet a deputy without the city walls, at four o’clock in the afternoon.

The appointed interview took place, Hang-ki having been, according to his own statement, lowered from the top of the city walls in a basket, as all the gates were blockaded up. He informed Mr. Wade that the Prince of Kung had accompanied the army in its [p. 258] retreat the day before, taking most of the prisoners with him, but that most positively those still remaining in Pekin should be sent to our camp upon the following day.

Mr. Wade had previously drawn up a paper stating the conditions upon which we would spare Pekin. The immediate surrender of a gate was declared indispensable for the security of our ambassador, when he entered the capital; the treacherous capture of our people upon the 18th of September having rendered some such guarantee necessary as a precautionary measure. This request was most unpalatable, and for some time resisted by Hang-ki; but as Mr. Wade was unbending, Hang-ki at last acceded to it.

Upon the 8th October, Messrs. Loch, Parkes, a sowar of Probyn’s Horse, M. l’Escayrac de Lauture, and four French soldiers, were sent into our headquarters; upon the 12th October, one French soldier and eight sowars; and upon the 14th October two more sowars. Those were the only survivors of the twenty-six English and thirteen French subjects treacherously captured under the most flagrant disregard to all international law. There is truly no term in our language which so essentially describes the Chinese rulers as the word barbarian, which they use so universally as an opprobrious epithet when alluding to any people so happily fortunate as to be of any other nation than China. The gloomiest page of history does not disclose any more melancholy tale than that told by one and all of those who returned. The refinement of torture and unmeaning cruelty to which they had been subject, and the wanton disregard [p. 259] for all feelings of humanity evinced towards them, would almost cause one to doubt the humanism of their jailors, and to class them amongst some fearful species of ogre, which not only fed upon man, but loved to destroy him for mere destruction’s sake. The substance of their sad story is as follows:

Upon Captain Brabazon and Mr. Loch’s arrival at Tung-chow (for which place I have previously mentioned their having started from our army, some little time before the action of the 18th September commenced), they found that Mr. Parkes was engaged in a conference with the Prince of I, and that Messrs. Bowlby and De Norman were in the city searching for some building which would serve as a suitable residence for Lord Elgin during his stay in that place. The escort was at the Yamun, in which all had passed the previous night, and it was immediately ordered to saddle and prepare for leaving. Messengers were despatched into the city for those who were sight-seeing there; and when all were collected, they started at a brisk pace in the direction of our army. During the interview with the Prince of I, Mr. Parkes was struck with the altered demeanour of his Highness towards him, which was also evinced by the loud talking and unceremonious conduct of those about him. Mr. Parkes had entered his presence intending to carry everything, as usual, with a high hand; but upon demanding, “why, in direct violation of their previous agreement, a large army was in the field, almost surrounding our forces, and in possession of an entrenched position, where a number of guns had been lately mounted,” the Prince showed none of that eagerness to allay [p. 260] suspicions or remove unfavourable impressions which, upon all former occasions, had characterised his manner of speaking or writing.

The party reached Chang-kia-wan without any molestation, although there were large bodies of troops about. A party of Tartar horsemen were soon, however, discovered to be following them; and, as it was not thought advisable to appear running away from them, the pace of going was changed from a canter to a fast walk. The Tartars immediately assimilated their pace to theirs, and some of them were perceived blowing the matches of their matchlocks. Proceeding along the regular roadway, until they had reached an old watchtower which stood about half way between our army and Chang-kia-wan, they found their further progress arrested by a body of infantry, drawn up upon the road. The Chinese officer in charge was not particularly uncivil, but distinctly informed Mr. Parkes that he could not be allowed to pass until he had obtained the general’s permission. Upon learning that the general was close at hand, Mr. Parkes, accompanied by Mr. Loch and a sowar carrying a flag of truce, proceeded in the direction where the Chinese general was said to be. All this occurred just as the firing commenced upon Colonel Walker and his party.

The general, into whose presence they were conducted, proved to be Sang-ko-lin-sin, the well-known Commander-in-Chief of his Majesty’s forces. The white banner was no protection for them against that barbarian’s temper. They were dragged from their horses and forced by those who held them to kow-tow humbly before him, having their faces rubbed in the [p. 261] dust at his feet. Their names were demanded, and questions regarding our military force in the field put to Mr. Parkes, whom Sang-ko-lin-sin heartily abused as the cause of all the war. He said that he had been looking for him a long time, and now, at last, he was in his power. He requested Mr. Parkes to write to our general and stop the action; but Mr. Parkes told him such would be useless, as he had no military authority. ‘

His conduct was most praiseworthy, both then and upon all the many occasions during his subsequent imprisonment, when endeavours were made, by means of cruel treatment and threats of condign punishment, to work upon his fears, and so, from a regard for his own personal safety, to persuade him to intercede with our ambassador for them. Under the most trying circumstances his courage does not seem ever to have deserted him, and no amount of indignity or punishment induced him to seek for his own personal security by any efforts to obtain the smallest remission of our original demands.

Being unable to obtain any satisfaction from Mr. Parkes, Sang-ko-lin-sin or Sang-wan, by which name he is only known to the Chinese people generally, ordered Messrs. Parkes and Loch, together with the sowar who accompanied them, to be sent to the Prince of I, and the escort to be conducted back to Changkia-wan. The poor sowar who was with Mr. Parkes, was most unwillingly made prisoner, having, upon the first sign of violence by the Chinese soldiers, brought his lance down to the charge, and being only with difficulty restrained from showing fight. “Oh, Sahib,” as he afterwards told us when released, “if we had [p. 262] only charged, it would have been all right, and we should have escaped.” His devotion, evinced by his desire to defend the officers with him when surrounded by enemies, was only equalled by his unrepining courage during his subsequent cruel imprisonment. Major Probyn promoted him on the evening of his return to camp. When I last saw him, his hands were still crippled, from the effects of the tight manner in which his wrists had been bound; and the sores caused by the cords used for that purpose were still unhealed.

Whilst Mr. Parkes was thus engaged with Sangwan, who can describe what must have been the feelings of the officers remaining with the escort upon the road? As their position did not enable them to see what was going on between Mr. Parkes and the Tartar general, they waited on in ignorance of what was passing, whilst every moment added to their difficulties by increasing the number of enemies around them. Having no orders, and ignorant of what had become of Mr. Parkes, they feared to act lest by so doing they might compromise his safety. Indeed, if at any moment before they were led off towards Pekin, they had assumed the offensive, and cut their way through into our camp, numbers, who now bemoan their fate, would have seriously blamed them, had Messrs. Parkes and Loch been murdered. In that case we should never have had a correct account of what befell them, and many would have attributed their deaths to the fact of the escort having commenced an attack. Of all the horrible positions in which I can fancy an officer being placed, I think that of Messrs. Brabazon and Anderson must have been the [p. 263] worst. All their subsequent ill-treatment must have been insignificant, when compared with the moments of uncertainty which they passed whilst awaiting in vain for the return of Mr. Parkes. There cannot be much doubt that, if the escort had charged, most of them would have reached our army safely. The sowars were all picked men and well mounted, and none, who knew either of the two officers with the party, imagine, I am sure, that they were men who would have preferred taking the chances of imprisonment to that of a hand-to-hand encounter.

It is very easy now to say, “Oh, why did they not charge”; but I feel certain, that but few brave men would have done so under their peculiar circumstances; and their having refrained from fighting was a noble example of men refusing to seek personal safety at the risk of compromising others. It evinced a disregard of self and a solicitude for the lives of others, which are amongst the rarest and most admirable of the heroic virtues.

The accounts of what happened to the party, are far from lucid or satisfactory. One feels a sort of unquenchable thirst, an earnest longing, which nothing can satisfy, to learn all the details of their sad fate. It is not then to be wondered at that the narratives related by the illiterate sowars who survived to return, should fail to be as ample as all would desire. Messrs. Brabazon, De Norman and Bowlby could not speak Hindostani, and as none of the sowars understood English our information regarding those gentlemen is meagre. Private Phipps, of the King’s Dragoon Guards, had a partial knowledge of Hindostani; so of him we [p. 264] know somewhat more. Up to the day of his death he never lost heart, and, as we were told by one who had been confined with him, always endeavoured to cheer up those about him when any complained or bemoaned their cruel fate. Even to his last moment of consciousness he tried to encourage them with words of hope and comfort.

All honour be to his memory: he was brave, when hundreds of brave men would have lost heart. The glorious excitement of action will inspire the most cold-blooded man with daring, and sometimes enable even a physically timid man to act with bravery; but nothing except the very highest order of courage, both mental and bodily, will sustain a man through the miseries of such a barbarous imprisonment and cruel torture as that which Private Phipps underwent patiently, his resolute spirit having within him up to the very last moment of his existence.

The particulars of the story, as collated from the accounts of those who lived to return, are as follows:

When Messrs. Parkes and Loch left them upon the road for the purpose of having an interview with the Chinese general, lieutenant Anderson, commanding the escort, told the men, that, as the aforesaid gentlemen were acting under a flag of truce, there was not to be any fighting. Almost immediately after they had halted, crowds of Chinese soldiers gathered round them, until they became hemmed in upon all sides closely. They were then really prisoners and had to give up their arms, after which they were ordered to dismount, but had their horses subsequently given back to them. They were conducted to the rear, and lodged for the night in a [p. 265] joss-house near the paved road from Tung-chow to Pekin. The next morning they were ordered to mount again, and were taken to the capital. Whilst on the road Captain Brabazon and the Abbe de Luc left them, saying, they were going back to our camp to make arrangements for the release of all the party. That was the last ever seen of them by any of our people. All the information subsequently gleaned from Chinese sources tends to prove that both were beheaded the 21st September during the action fought upon that day.

A Chinese general had been badly wounded at the stone bridge during the attack upon it, and, in revenge, ordered Captain Brabazon and the Abbe, who were in his power, to be put to death. A Chinese Christian related this story to the French shortly before the allied armies retired from Pekin, averring that he had been present then, and bringing in some portion of the Abbe’s gown in support of his statement. To those who judge of these facts by the commonly accepted laws of evidence, they must be conclusive, although there will be always some few who will refuse to believe, and will hope on against all rational hope. When the others of the party were taken to Pekin, they were paraded in triumph through the streets, and then taken to the summer palace, where they were lodged in tents pitched in an enclosed courtyard, the Europeans and natives separately, six men in each tent.

About two hours after their arrival they were all taken out one by one under the pretence of letting them wash, when each was thrown upon his face, his hands being then tied behind his back, and his feet bound together. The Chinese appeared to have a fair [p. 266] appreciation of the relative strength of their prisoners, as they took out the English first, then the French, and lastly the sowars. They were placed in a kneeling position, their hands and feet fastened together, and then thrown upon their backs. If they attempted to roll over on their side, they were kicked, beaten, and forced back into their former position, which caused all the weight of their bodies to rest upon their hands, which, being tightly fastened together, had no circulation through them, and consequently became rapidly black and swollen. A Chinese sentry watched over each prisoner. They were kept thus in an open yard, exposed to the sun during the day and the bitter cold at night, without any covering. Their guardians frequently threw water on the cords with which they were bound, so as to tighten them, and when any asked for food or water, dirt was thrust into their mouths. They were kept thus for three days, with scarcely any food; and but little water even was given to them. Some were, however, handcuffed and chained, their cord fastenings being taken off. The only one of the party knowing anything of Chinese was Mr. de Norman, who had learned a little during his residence at Shanghai, where he had been attached to the British Consulate. He was examined several times by ofiicials, and once was able to induce his jailor to give them some food. On the second day of their incarceration at the summer palace, Lieutenant Anderson became delirious from want of food and exposure. Up to that time he had always encouraged the sowars when they called out for water or repined in any way at their condition. His hands were swollen to about twice their natural size, and were [p. 267] as black as ink from the effects of the cords tied round his wrists. Poor fellow! It was merciful that delirium prevented him from feeling his subsequent miseries, as mortification setting in most rapidly, his fingers and nails actually burst, and worms, the usual consequence of undressed wounds, were generated about his hands and wrists in myriads. Crowds of people went to look at them daily, feasting their eyes upon the miseries of the few prisoners in their power. On the afternoon of the fourth day they were all placed in carts, and divided into four parties, one consisting of Lieutenant Anderson, Mr. de Norman, one duffedar and four sowars; the second of three Frenchmen and five Sikhs; the third party of four Sikhs, Private Phipps, King’s Dragoon Guards, a French officer, and Mr. Bowlby; the fourth of three Frenchmen and four Sikhs. The first party travelled all night, the mules trotting most of the time. In the morning they reached a fort, where they were loaded with chains and confined in cages. There Lieutenant Anderson died on the ninth day of his imprisonment. Before death, the bones of his wrists were actually exposed, the fleshy parts being in a mortified state. Upon the evening of his death they took the cords off the other prisoners. Lieutenant Anderson’s body was left lying amongst them for three days, when it was at last removed. Five days after that a sowar died, and three days subsequently Mr. de Norman died. The remainder of the party survived and returned to our camp, a melancholy evidence of the inhuman treatment which they had experienced. Their wrists and ankles were one mass of sores, horrible to look at; their fingers were contracted and almost useless. The second [p. 268] party was taken away towards the hills, halting for the first night on the way. Travelling the two following days they reached a walled town, outside of which was a white fort, about two miles from it. The place was surrounded on three sides by hills; they were placed in a jail within the town. One Frenchman died on the road, and another the day after they were placed in jail, and a sowar a few days after that. They died from the effects of the tight bindings round their wrists, which caused mortification. During the latter ten days of their imprisonment, the others of their party who survived were treated better, the mandarin, in charge of the jail, having removed their irons, and having had their wounds washed. The third party travelled all the night of their removal. They received nothing to eat, and were beaten when they asked for food. On the following morning, at about ten a.m., they reached a fort, within which they were kept in the open air for three days, after which they were dragged into an old kitchen, where they were kept eight days, and for the first three or four of which they were not on any account permitted to stir. Mr. Bowlby died on the second day after their arrival at the fort. His body remained where he had died for three days, when it was fastened to a kind of cross-beam and thrown over the wall. The day after his death the French officer died; two days after that, a Sikh died; and four days afterwards Private Phipps, and another Sikh sometime subsequently. Of the fourth party we know nothing, as none of them survived to tell the tale of woe and cruelty to which they had been, no doubt, like the others, subjected. Messrs. Loch and Parkes were taken into Pekin upon [p. 269] the night of their capture, their hands tied behind their backs. Together with the Frenchmen who were taken in Tung-chow, they were lodged in the common malefactors’ prison of Pekin, heavily chained, and with scarcely food enough to support life. The cells in which they were kept were so crowded that they had barely sufficient space to be down upon. From their jailors they met with only cruelty and insult, whilst from all their fellow-prisoners they received every little attention which the poor fellows were able to bestow upon them. They were frequently examined by officials and the Board of Punishments, when invariably their inquisitors ordered Mr. Parkes to be cuffed about the head and have his ears pulled for speaking what they said was false. Similar punishments were inflicted upon Mr. Loch because he did not answer their questions, he being totally ignorant of the language. At such times they were always obliged to remain in a kneeling position, and made to kow-tow to every official. Upon the 29th September they were removed from the jail and lodged in the Kaomio temple, where they were well fed, and treated more as guests than prisoners. Hang-ki endeavoured to obliterate from their memory all recollection of the cruel treatment to which they had been subjected, by subsequently overwhelming them with attentions. From the first, endeavours were made to work upon Mr. Parkes’s fears, so as to induce him to mediate for the Chinese Government with our ambassador. Mr. Parkes upon all occasions upheld the dignity of the nation to which he belonged, never allowing himself to be intimidated or cajoled into promising anything for which he might subsequently be [p. 270] sorry. When Hang-ki informed him on the 28th September that he should be released upon the day following, Mr. Parkes declined to accept the favour unless it was also extended to Mr. Loch: this disinterested conduct was rewarded by the discharge of both from prison upon the 29th. They were liberally treated from that time up to the date of their return to our camp upon the 8th October.

Upon the 9th October the French marched from Yuen-ming-yuen, and encamped to our left facing Pekin. The An-ting Gate was opposite the centre of the allied forces. The day following a summons was forwarded to the Prince of Kung, signed by the allied Commanders-in-Chief, naming noon of the 13th October as the latest time up to which he might save his city from bombardment by the surrender of one of its gates, and adding that in case the An-ting gate was not handed over to our possession by that time our batteries would open fire upon the walls.

A reconnaissance was made by Sir Hope Grant and General Montauban of the northern face of the city defences, during which our officers rode up to the edge of the ditch without being fired upon, although the walls were manned by the enemy, who held up white flags. A position was then selected for our breaching batteries, at about six hundred yards to the east of the An-ting gate. The guns were to be placed within the high wall which surrounded the “Te-tsu” or “Temple of the Earth,” and to be disposed as follows. The four 8-inch guns to make a breach between the second and third square flanking towers east of the gate; two Armstrong guns (12-pounders) to play also upon the breach, [p. 271] whilst two others fired down the road leading to the gate; two more to be in reserve. A battery of 9-pounders to counter-batter. Our mortars to play upon the breach. Our guns were simply placed upon wooden platforms laid down behind the massive brick walls of the temple; small magazines were constructed with lean-to’s against the wall. The French had no regular breaching guns, but they hoped to make their heaviest field battery serve instead. They constructed their batteries to our left, and at about sixty yards’ distance from the walls; our guns being larger were to be 198 yards from them. Small trenches were dug in advance for infantry, from which a rifle fire was to be maintained upon the Chinese gunners and the breach. The small suburb in front of the gate, and only about a hundred yards distant from it, was loopholed for musketry, and all necessary arrangements were made for reassuming the offensive in the event of our proffered terms being refused. Our interpreters had several interviews with Hang-ki, upon the 10th, 11th, and 12th October, when he spoke confidently of everything being arranged amicably.

Upon the 12th October Lord Elgin received a letter from the Prince of Kung, in answer to the summons sent him in the names of the allied Commanders-in-Chief, with whom he said that he did not wish to commence a correspondence, having hitherto been in the habit of writing to the ambassador direct. He signified his willingness to accede to all that we had demanded, but shilly-shallied about giving up a gate, saying that as such was always in charge of high officers, their withdrawal from the post might lead to the [p. 272] introduction of ill-disposed and disorderly people within the city: he was consequently desirous of ascertaining the measures which Lord Elgin proposed as a precaution against such an occurrence. This was simply an effort to throw difficulties in the way of our taking a gate of the city. He wrote as if peace had been already concluded: an old trick in Chinese diplomacy. By Sir Hope Grant’s order, proclamations were posted tip in the suburbs and other places which we could reach with safety, warning the inhabitants of Pekin, that, unless their rulers made peace by noon upon the 13th October and the An-ting gate were handed over into our possession, we should open fire upon the walls, in the event of which the people were advised to clear out of the city. Upon the night of the 12th all our arrangements for opening fire upon the following day were completed, and our embrasures unmasked. Mr. Parkes with a suitable escort met Hang-ki at ten a.m. upon the following day. He tried hard to get off giving up the gate, or even to postpone doing so; but Mr. Parkes was inexorable. Noon drew near, and the gate was still held by the Chinese. The artillery officers in charge of our batteries commenced getting everything ready for opening fire; the guns were sponged out and run back for loading, with the gunners standing to their guns waiting for the orders to commence. A few minutes before twelve o’clock the An-ting-mun was thrown open, and its defences surrendered to Major-General Sir Robert Napier, whose division was on duty close by. Our troops took immediate possession, the French marching in after us. In a few minutes afterwards the Union Jack was floating from the walls of [p. 273] Pekin, the far-famed celestial capital, the pride of China, and hitherto esteemed impregnable by every soul in that empire. We took possession of the walls extending from the An-ting gate to the Tih-shing-mun, the French holding the space to the left from the An-ting-mun to the south-east comer of the city. Our engineers at once placed the post in a defensible state, to resist any attack from within the city, and field guns were mounted upon the walls so as to command the interior approaches to the gate.

By the evening of the 16th October the remains of all our ill-fated countrymen and comrades had been sent in to our camp, with the exception of Captain Brabazon’s, of whom, as of the Abbe de Luc, the Chinese authorities said they knew nothing. Sir Hope Grant determined upon giving them a military funeral, and lending to the ceremony every possible importance, so as to impress upon the inhabitants of the place, not only our sorrow for their loss, but the great estimation we put upon the lives of our compatriots. General Ignatieff, the Russian ambassador in China, called upon the Commander-in-Chief and most civilly offered us permission to bury our dead in the Russian cemetery, near the An-ting gate of the city, which was gladly accepted. The bodies reached our camp in rough coffins, upon which attempts had been made to render the name of each in Chinese characters. English names, however, for the most part defy any such Chinese translation; so that it was only with great difficulty that we could recognise them individually, as all were in a state of decomposition and their mouldering clothes were the only real clues we had to go by. Upon the [p. 274] morning of the 17th October the funeral took place. The procession consisted of a troop of the King’s Dragoon Guards, a troop of Fane’s Horse, an officer and twenty men of each infantry regiment, and the band of the 60th Rifles. All the officers of our army and a large proportion of French officers attended in full uniform. The attaches of the Russian embassy also joined the procession. The Commander-in-Chief and Lord Elgin were the chief mourners. The service was performed by the Eev. E. J. M’Ghee.

The funeral of the murdered Frenchmen took place some few days subsequently, in the Jesuit burial-ground, which is to the west of the city, Sir Hope Grant and a large number of our staff and other officers attending it. [p. 275]

 

9. PRECIS OF THE CHINESE OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS FOUND IN YUEN-MING-YUEN

Some of the documents collected by Mr. Morrison, of the Consular Service, were most interesting, and gave a fair insight into the secret purposes of Chinese poUcy, and the method in which their official business is carried on. From some of these it appeared, that Kweihang’s negotiations with us in September were only intended for gaining time, and never meant to arrange matters finally. In case we proved obstinate in our intentions of advancing beyond Tien-tsin, it had been all along arranged to try the chances of war again. In order to do so to the best advantage, negotiations were to be spun out, so that military operations might be, if possible, prolonged into the cold weather, upon the inclemency of which they placed as much reUance for their protection as the Czar Nicholas was reported to have done for the defence of Sebastopol. Some of the captured papers were very clever, and showed an extraordinary amount of diplomatic abihty. Having no regard whatever for truth, bound by no fine feeUngs of himianity, but ready at any moment to sacrifice their innocent agents to the expediency of the moment, their poUtical system is eminently calculated s 2 244 THE WAR WITH CHINA. for all the complex situations of diplomacy. The coldblooded rules for government enunciated in ” The Prince,” appear to be well understood in China. TTia Celestial Majesty can never do wrong; not because his actions are always guided by a council responsible to the people, but that in the event of any failure on the part of a pubhc servant deputed for any special duty, even though such may have arisen from a strict adherence to his orders, aU responsibiUty is cast upon the unsuccessful agent, who is pubhcly degraded, to impress the people with an idea that the whole conduct of the affair had been initiated by him. Gratitude for faithful services is never permitted to interfere with the exigencies of the moment. Expediency to its most extended hmit is the one great law regulating the official dealings of his Majesty, both with his own people and foreigners. So in one of these papers we find the draft of an Imperial decree directing Kweiliang to be degraded as soon as the mock negotiations, in which he was engaged at Tien-tsin, came to an end. It was no doubt expected that the pubhcation of that order would lead us to beheve that he alone was to blame for the non-arrangement of affairs, and incHne us to lend a more wiUing ear — as we subsequently did — to the proposals made by his successor. Success covers all errors in most governments; but in China we find one of the highest and most faithful pubhc servants deprived of rank and station for carrying out accurately the instructions he had received, in order to give to mock negotiations the semblance of reahty. A long paper, written with the vermihon pencil of royalty, upon the subject of our demands, gives a fair outline CHINESE MDaSTERIAL PAPEES. 245 of the various degrees of importance attached by Chinese poUticians to each of the specific concessions we had asked for. Of all others, they considered the march of troops into Pekin as the most highly objectionable, and the residence of an ambassador there as next in importance, both equally to be avoided. The paper went on to say, — “If conciliation is once negotiated, why do they want to bring soldiers to Pekin with their ambassadors? Their doing so would seem that they had some hidden purpose, which, when their troops were within Pekin, it would be as impossible to concede as it would then be to fight.” — ” Were we to assent, would there be any more word of that most important of aU places, the capital?” On the subject of war expenses, his Majesty said, ” Setting aside the impossibility of paying the two miUions of taels by the time named, it is utterly out of the question to pay at all.” — ” From of old, it has been held a disgrace to make treaties under your city waUs, and if one is again to tender gifts, whilst one’s face is ashamed, will Cluna be thought still to have a man ? ” This head was to be disposed of by applying to us for monied indemnification for the expenses which the war had entailed upon the Imperial Government. As to the admission of Mr. Parkes within Pekin, his Majesty considered that if once conceded, that gentleman, ” idly yelping and frantically barking, is certain to bring forward other conditions,” and might not be subsequently got rid of easily. The memorial of Sang-ko-Un-sin, dated the 26th August, two days after the fall of the Takoo forts, addressed to the Emperor, was one, which, from many S3 246 THE WAE WITH CHINA. Other papers found and translated by Mr. Wade, seems to have created great sensation amongst all the Imperial ministers, and to have been condemned most strongly by every official whom we know to have written to his Majesty regarding it. The subject of the memorial was advising Hien-fimg to start on a hunting tour; the reasons he urges for the necessity of such a move seem so inconclusive and so thoroughly untenable before the great weight of argument brought to bear against them, that the advice appears interested, and carries with it a certain amount of what might be intended treachery. So unanimous are all the civil ministers in their condemnation of such a proceeding, that it would almost seem that they suspected some ulterior motives on Sang-ko-lin-sin’s part. From all previously found documents emanating from his pen, and from his general reputation, there cannot be any doubt regarding h^p mental abihty and ordinarily sound views upon mihtary matters and pubUc business in general He made a great mistake certainly in not fortifying Pehtang as strongly as he had fortified Takoo, but this to a certain extent may have arisen from want of men and means; but in the paper which he drew up regarding the general defences of the coast-Une, and the chances of their being successfully attacked by the barbarians — to which I have previously referred — his views were most able, and the opinions therein set forth of the certainty of our complete overthrow and failure, were based most fairly upon mihtary grounds, and would have been given under similar circumstances by any man who was ignorant of our superiority in guns and discipline. SANG-KO-WN-Sm’S MIUTABT OPINIONS. 247 Kiiowing the great strength of his position, he was naturally confident of victory. He had a very large force of cavahy — an arm which he fancied it to be impossible we should be furnished with; he had numbers of guns in position, to which, in the general Chinese ignorance regarding field artillery, he thought we should be able to reply only with small arms. With such data before him, surely it is not surprising that he should be confident of success I Indeed, so powerful and ample must his resources have appeared to him, that it was no wonder he i^egarded our being able to effect a landing at Peh-tang as rather a matter of indifference, so sure and certain must our final annihilation have seemed to be. The man who could argue as clearly and with such soundness of logic, was not Hkely to be blind to the insurmountable objections to the proposal which, upon the fall of the forts, he urged so presaingly upon his Imperial master : for the Emperor to leave his capital at such a critical monient, and fly away across the frontier of China Proper, was as objectionable and faulty in a poHtical point of view, as, regarded in a military hght, it was untenable. It afforded the Chinese Commander-in-Chief no advantage whatever as to position, whilst, morally, it must have had a most prejudicial effect upon the minds of his Tartar soldiers. The arguments which he urges in favour of such a step were, that its adoption would facihtate measures being taken for attacking and destroying the barbarians; that it would place him at Hberty to choose his own time and place of attack, to advance or retire as events occurred; that, should any s 4 248 THE WAR WITH CHINA. fighting take place near Tung-chow, the minds of the people in Pekin would be greatly agitated, and that, in the event of a reverse, the numerous merchants there would take to flight. Amidst such a commotion, should the courage of the soldiers fail, the Emperor’s person would not be safe; and his Majesty’s presence in the capital at such a moment might not only impede the execution of the necessary defensive arrangements, but even fill with alarm the Celestial mind itself. Of his ultimate success he was still confident; he had made all the necessary dispositions of his troops along the road from Tien-tsin to Tung-chow; and he hoped, by sweeping from off the earth the vile brood, to redeem his previous shortcomings. The forts, he said, he had lost fi’om the imforeseen explosion of the powder magazines in them, not fi:dm any want of energy in their defence. In conclusion, he prays that his Majesty may order the princes of the Six Leagues to repair with their most efficient troops at once to Pekin. So peculiar did he evidently consider the advice he was tendering, that hg said ” he did not venture to forward his memorial by the regular express,” but sent it sealed by the hands of a special messenger, to be dehvered in person to his Majesty. Surely there is much in this letter which will strike even the most superficial reader as suspicious. The lameness of the arguments urged in favour of the hunting tour being only equalled by the cleverness with which he avails himself of the known weakness and cowardice of his master, to hint in such a marked manner at the personal danger to which his Majesty i SANG-KO-LTN-Sm’S ADVICE. 249 will be exposed, should he turn a deaf ear to the advice of ” his slave.” Unless such was the case, why not send it through the usual channel of communication? Why the secresy of sending it sealed by a confidential messenger, to be deUvered into the Emperor’s own hands ? No man appreciated more the importance attached by every one in China to the possession of Pekin, than Sang-ko-lin-sin himself He must have been aware that, if once we took it, all China would consider the war over, and hail us as victors; that, even at the last moment of our assaulting the place (so vast was its circumference, and so numerically weak were we), we could never block up all the exits from it, and thus prevent the Emperor’s escape; that nothing would serve to estabUsh pubhc confidence, or to strengthen the hearts of its defenders, more than the presence of the father of his people on the spot. His wished-for freedom of action was all a myth, as was proved by his subsequent conduct, when twice he gave us battle upon the road to Pekin. He was too able a general not to be aware that if he had fought us twenty times, instead of twice, it must each time have been on that line, or else at the capital itself Even granting that his knowledge of war pointed out to him the advantages which, in a military point of view, he might gain by forsaking the city and taking up a menacing position upon our line of communications, as Koutousof did at Moscow, still he must have felt that, poUtically, such a poUcy would be fatal to the cause. China and Eussia are totally difierent countries; nor was the ancient capital of the latter country, Uke 250 THE WAE WITH CHINA. Pekin, the seat of general government. The loss of Madrid or Paris has never been considered to involve the conquest of the country. The possession of European capitals by invaders has never been looked upon by the population of those countries as the outward emblem and unanswerable proof of complete conquest, whilst to every Chinaman the capture of Pekin by any foreigner would be the most convincing of aU other proofs that the Mantchoo dynasty had ceased to reign. Under such circumstances the grand struggle must always have taken place in or about Pekin; his wishedfor ” freedom of action ” was simply a military phrase meaning nothing. His insight into human nature was great, and he seemed to possess a clear idea of the working of Hien-fimg’s dastardly mind, when he appealed to his sense of personal risk. This latter consideration seems to have had far greater weight with him than aU the serious objections to his departure which were raised by every minister to whom at this distressing juncture he appealed for advice. Every argument which would have had weight with any ruler but the basest of cowards, was brought forward by the various ministers of state, who, also appreciating the power which fear had upon their sovereign’s mind, followed in the summing up of their memorials Sangko-lin-sin’s example, and urged in their turn the dangers to which his Majesty would be exposed personally by flying from his capital and seeking refuge in Jeho. No doubt they exaggerated those dangers in order to strike the greater terror into their pusillanimous ruler. They dilated upon the vast numbers of robbers, infesting not only the neighbourhood of Jeho but the PROPOSED FLIGHT TO JBHO. 251 road to it, where the police could not be expected to be perfect, when such turmoil was rife everywhere else. They urged that, owing to the faUing off in the yielding of the mines, the people had become so impoverished about Jeho, that they frequently banded together in very large numbers, and not only robbed traders and officials, but created great disturbances in the neighbouring districts; that beyond the Hoope-kow pass in the Great Wall, there were ” numbers of Eussian barbarians, some of whom have been for a long time pretending fo dehver communications at Pekin for the furtherance of some treacherous designs; ” that if the strong fortifications of Pekin were not considered sufficient security, surely much less could any be found in the open and unprotected hunting-grounds beyond the wall; if the barbarians have been able to reach Tien-tsin, what is to prevent them from penetrating to the Loan river at Jeho ? Having thus tried to impress upon the mind of ” the sacred Son of Heaven ” the dangers to be encountered at Jeho, they go on to point out the great inconvenience and discomfort to which the ” Governor and Tranquilliser of the Universe ” would be subject during his journey in the ” still hot weather of autumn.” As no such journey had been undertaken for forty years, all the Imperial palaces along the hne of route, having been so long unused, had fallen into disrepair, and were consequently uninhabitable. An escort of at least 10,000 persons would be required for the journey, for whom it would be impossible to provide supphes on the road, and consequently numbers of them would desert, and, falling in with the 252 THE WAE WITH CHINA. numerous banditti who prowl about those regions wherever they please, would lead to serious disturbances. Jeho was the constant resort “of the Mongol tribes, to whom it had always been customary upon the visit of former Emperors to bestow presents, amounting to tens of millions of taels, which the present financial difficulties would not admit of, and without doing which it might be difficult to soothe the discontent of those tributaries. In this manner they appealed to his Majesty’s sense of personal risk and inconvenience, whilst they put forward, in a startlingly straightforward manner, the pohtical objections to his journey, urging their arguments upon him with a force and plainness of speech which few European ministers could presume to use with their sovereigns, and in a manner the very opposite to all our preconceived notions of Chinese court etiquette or the style of address usual from the Mandarins to their despotic Emperor. The papers whicli fell into our hands were memorials from various ministers of state, all signed by several others who agreed in the substance of them. One was countersigned by as many as seventy-six ministers; that of the earUest date was from Kia-ching, and signed by twenty-five others, dated the 9th September. It was evidently written in answer to a communication from the Emperor, in which he had demanded an opinion upon Sang-ko-lin-sin’s advice, enclosing a copy at the same time of the memorial from that general. Eumours of the intended flight of his Majesty had been in circulation for some time previous at Pekin; and so when his Majesty declared that he intended TSUIEN-KING’S MEMOEIAL. 253 proceeding to Tung-chow and taking command of the army in person, the ministers appear to have seen through the artifice, and perceived that such was only an excuse for his departure, and that once on the move he would follow his general’s advice and make quickly for Jeho. In another paper from the minister Tsuien-king, dated four days later, the most sarcastic censure is poured forth upon a proposed plan which had emanated from the Celestial mind, which was that, assembling a large force, he should take up a position to the north of Pekin. ” They admired the awe-inspiring demeanour and the well-devised strategy thus displayed. But the common people are extremely slow of comprehension; they easily suspect and with difficulty are led to appreciate; they will say that as the barbarians are to the southeastward of the capital, Timg-chow should be the position from which to support Sang-ko-lin-sin; that a position to the north of Pekin would be without the general line of operations; that what was undertaken under the semblance of strategy would in reality be flight. If his Majesty was in such a critical time careless of the preservation of his empire and only regardful of his personal safety, where could such be more securely assured to him than within the tliick and lofty walls of Pekin ? ” One and all of these memorials denote with startKng plainness what shoiild be the Emperor’s line of conduct at such a critical conjuncture, and urge that at such times of pubhc danger, ” the man of heroic conduct is prepared to die at his post.” — “Your Majesty is well aware of the maxini, that the prince is bound to sacrifice him 254 THE WAK WITH CHmA. self for his country; but far be it from your ministers at such a time as this to desire to wound your Majesty’s feehngs by adverting to such thoughts.” — “In what hght does your Majesty regard your people, and the altars of your Gods ? WUl you cast away the ioheritance of your ancestors Hke a damaged shoe ? What would history say of your Majesty for a thousand future generations.” No sovereign hitherto has ever gone on a hunting tour in times of danger. Such a journey would then greatly endanger the whole state, and compromise the reigning dynasty; his departure would occasion the most serious disorders within the capital and lead to a revolution. All people, they said, throughout the empire then looked to the throne, as to the centre from which aU plans for safety must emanate; the minds of people, they added, will become disturbed, shaking the courage of the troops and inspiring the rebels with renewed energy; the capital ” is the honourable seat of majesty, and at such a moment especially the sovereign ought to remain within it; ” to l<3ave it would embolden the barbarians to make fresh enterprises, and should peace be negotiated, the great distance of Jeho from Pekin would cause considerable delay in communicating with his Majesty there. Although the barbarians’ vessels had reached Tien-tsin, yet that was a long distance from Pekin; their force was only 10,000, whilst the army under Sang-ko-lin-sin numbered 30,000, and men, women, and children were ready to fight for their tutelary gods. ” The danger was most threatening,” and ” a puff of breath is now sufficient to decide the balance in which hangs the loss or preservation of the succession of your ances ABGUMBNTS AGAINST THE TOUR TO JEHO. 255 tors and the repose of the deities,^’ The advice which they with one accord gi^e is that an Imperial decree should at once announce his Majesty’s determination of awaiting events at his capital, which it was requested might at once be placed in the highest state of defence. ” When Te-tsung of the Tang dynasty (a.d. 790) made a pubHc confession of error ” the mutineers returned at once to obedience, and if his present Majesty would but follow a similar plan, and publicly acknowledge his mistake in having intended to leave the capital, it would reassure the troubled minds of his subjects. As it had been talked of paying the barbarians 20,000,000 of taels, how much better it would be to devote the portion which had been demanded down in ready money to gaining over those treacherous Chinese mercenaries who constituted such a considerable portion of the barbarians’ army. To purchase peace by paying the invaders for retiring, would only occasion fresh demands for more money; no peace should under any circumstances be granted until the ” vile horde ” had been defeated in battle. His late Imperial Majesty, in his last will, spoke with shame of having concluded a peace with the English barbarians. For the better fulfilment of these plans his Majesty is over and over again besought to return to Pekin, and thus appease the popular anxiety, “maintain the dignity of the throne and pacify the spirits of your ancestors.” Since the establishment of the present dynasty, 200 years ago, providence had guarded the humane government. Should his Majesty now disregard the council of his ministers, it must surely hereafter produce in him ” bitter but unavailing regret.” [p. 255] All these memorials and the advice which they endeavom^ed to inculcate are closely interlarded with historical allusions to past times, some to events of many centmies back It will be seen from these papers, the pith of which I have dotted down above, that one and aU of the ministers viewed Sang-ko-lin-sin’s recommendation as the most pernicious step which could be taken, and express their opinions thereon so strongly as actually to border upon impertinence. Surely, when such was apparently the universal Ught in which all Chinese poUticians regarded the Jeho tour, Sang-ko hn-sin must have had some underhand and hidden object before him in recommending it. For a long time he had been steadily rising in power and influence, and his position was so influential after his grand defeat of the rebels, when they advanced upon Tien-tsin, that it aroused the jealousy of all the court, and caused his offer of leading down an army to Nankin, and retaking that important city, to be rejected, not from any doubts as to his ability to fulfil what he planned, but simply from a dread that such a victory would place the entire power of the empire in his hands and consequently open to him a rapid path to the throne. Usurpations of such a nature are not unfamihar to the Chinese people, and so great have been the reverses experienced since 1840 by the present dynasty, that it has long since ceased to carry with it any great respect, and consequently any strong attachment on the part of the Chinese people. Sang-ko-lin-sin’s name has been, since his victory over us in 1859, a proverb for might in war throughout the length and breadth of the country, and upon him all eyes were turned for salvation [p. 256] when the barbarians, having forced their way up to Tien-tsin, threatened the capital, and as was universally beUeved, the very Uberties of the empire. For him the throne was an easy goal. If once he could succeed in inducing the reigning king to forfeit for ever any little remaining respect which the people still entertained for the crown by being the first to fly before the invaders of his country, and if he could also defeat in open field the small body of barbarians, then, upon their march northward, the assumption of Imperial robes would be but the easiest part of his plan to accomplish. This to me is certainly the best solution of what otherwise appears the most incomprehensible advice which a sincere and loyal subject could under the circumstances have given to his sovereign. [p. 257]