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- China - 60/83 -

that, in the dramatic elements of courage and suffering, presents such a complete and consistent record of human gallantry and devotion as the capture and subsequent captivity of these English gentlemen and their Sikh companion.

The further conditions as preliminary to the ratification of the Treaty of Tientsin were gradually, if reluctantly, complied with. On October 13 the northeast gate was handed over to the allied troops, but not before Sir Hope Grant had threatened to open fire on the walls. At the same time Prince Kung returned eight sowars of Fane's Horse and one Frenchman, all the survivors, besides those already surrendered, of the small band which had ridden from Tungchow nearly a month before. The Chinese prince stated in explanation that "a certain number were missing after the fight, or have died of their wounds or of sickness." But the narrative of the Sikhs was decisive as to the fate of the five Englishmen and their own comrades. They had been brutally bound with ropes which, although drawn as tight as human force could draw them, were tightened still more by cold water being poured upon the bands, and they had been maltreated in every form by a cruel enemy, and provided only with food of the most loathsome kind. Some of the prisoners were placed in cages. Lieutenant Anderson, a gallant young officer for whom future renown had been predicted, became delirious and died on the ninth day of his confinement. Mr. De Normann died a week later. What fate befell Captain Barbazon and his French companion, the Abbe de Luc, is uncertain, but the evidence on the subject inclines us to accept as accurate the statement that the Chinese commander in the fight at Palikao, enraged at his defeat, caused them to be executed on the bridge. The soldier Phipps endured for a longer time than Mr. Bowlby the taunts and ill-usage of their jailers, but they at last shared the same fate, dying from the effects of their ill-treatment. The bodies of all the Englishmen, with the exception of Captain Barbazon, were restored, and of most of the Sikhs also. The Chinese officials were more barbarous in their cruelty than even the worst scum among their malefactors; for the prisoners in the jails, far from adding to the tortures of the unfortunate Europeans, did everything in their power to mitigate their sufferings, alleviate their pains, and supply their wants.

The details of these cruel deeds raised a feeling of great horror in men's minds, and, although the desire to arrange the question of peace without delay was uppermost with Lord Elgin, still it was felt that some grave step was necessary to express the abhorrence with which England regarded this cruel and senseless outrage, and to bring home to the Chinese people and government the fact that Englishmen could not be murdered with impunity. Lord Elgin refused to hold any further intercourse with the Chinese government until this great crime had been purged by some signal punishment. Sir Hope Grant and he had little difficulty in arriving at the decision that the best mode of expiation was to destroy the Summer Palace. The French commander refused to participate in the act which carried a permanent lesson of political necessity to the heart of the Pekin government, and which did more than any other incident of the campaign to show Hienfung that the hour had gone by for trifling. On October 18 the threat was carried into execution. The Summer Palace was destroyed by fire, and the sum of $500,000 was demanded and obtained from the Chinese as some compensation for the families of the murdered men. The palace of Yuen Min Yuen had been the scene of some of the worst sufferings of the English prisoners. From its apartments the high mandarins and the immediate courtiers of the emperor had gloated over and enjoyed the spectacle of their foreign prisoners' agony. The whole of Pekin witnessed in return the destruction wrought to the sovereign's abode by the indignant English, and the clouds of smoke hung for days like a vast black pall over the city.

That act of severe but just vengeance consummated, the negotiations for the ratification of the treaty were resumed. The Hall of Ceremonies was selected as the place in which the ratifying act should be performed, while, as some punishment for the hostile part he had played, the palace of Prince Tsai was appropriated as the temporary official residence of Lord Elgin and Baron Gros. The formal act of ratification was performed in this building on October 24. Lord Elgin proceeded in a chair of state, accompanied by his suite, and also by Sir Hope Grant with an escort of 100 officers and 500 troops, through the streets from the Anting Gate to the Hall of Ceremonies. Prince Kung, attended by a large body of civil and military mandarins, was there in readiness to produce the imperial edict authorizing him to attach the emperor's seal to the treaty, and to accept the responsibility for his country of conforming with its terms and carrying out its stipulations. Some further delay was caused by the necessity of waiting until the edict should be received from the emperor at Jehol authorizing the publication of the treaty, not the least important point in connection with its conclusion if the millions of China were to understand and perform what their rulers had promised for them. That closing act was successfully achieved, and more rapidly than had been expected. The Pekinese beheld English troops and officers in residence in their midst for the first time, and when the army was withdrawn and the plenipotentiary, Lord Elgin, transferred to his brother, Mr. Frederick Bruce, the charge of affairs in China as Resident Minister, the ice had been broken in the relations between the officials of the two countries, and the greatest, if not the last, barrier of Chinese exclusiveness had been removed. The last of the allied troops turned their backs upon Pekin on November 9, and the greater portion of the expedition departed for India and Europe just before the cold weather set in. A few days later the rivers were frozen and navigation had become impossible, which showed how narrow was the margin left for the completion of the operations of war.

The object which the more far-seeing of the English residents had from the first hour of difficulty stated to be necessary for satisfactory relations--direct intercourse with the Pekin government--was thus obtained after a keen and bitter struggle of thirty years. Although vanquished, the Chinese may be said to have come out of this war with an increased military reputation. The war closed with a treaty enforcing all the concessions made by its predecessor. The right to station an embassador in Pekin signified that the greatest barrier of all had been broken down; the old school of politicians were put completely out of court, and a young and intelligent prince, closely connected with the emperor, assumed the personal charge of the foreign relations of the country. As one who had seen with his own eyes the misfortunes of his countrymen, Prince Kung was the more disposed to adhere to what he had promised to perform. Under his direction the ratified Treaty of Tientsin became a bond of union instead of an element of discord between the cabinets of London and Pekin; and a termination was put, by an arrangement carried at the point of the sword, to the constant friction and recrimination which had been the prevailing characteristics of the intercourse for a whole generation. The Chinese had been subjected to a long and bitter lesson. They had at last learned the virtue of submitting to necessity; but although they have profited to some extent both in peace and war by their experience, it requires some assurance to declare that they have even now accepted the inevitable. That remains the problem of the future; but in 1860 Prince Kung came to the sensible conclusion that for that period, and until China had recovered from her internal confusion, there was nothing to be gained and much to be lost by protracted resistance to the peoples of the West. Whatever could be retained by tact and finesse were to form part of the natural rights of China; but the privileges only to be asserted in face of Armstrong guns and rifles were to be abandoned with as good a grace as the injured feeling of a nation can ever display.



We left the Taepings supreme at Nankin, but maintaining themselves there with some difficulty against two imperial armies raised by the loyal efforts of the inhabitants of the central provinces. This was at the beginning of 1857; and there is no doubt that if the government had avoided a conflict with the Europeans, and concentrated its efforts and power on the contest with the Taeping rebels, they would have speedily annihilated the tottering fabric of Tien Wang's authority. But the respite of four years secured by the attention of the central government being monopolized by the foreign question enabled the Taepings to consolidate their position, augment their fighting forces, and present a more formidable front to the imperial authorities. When Prince Kung learned from Lord Elgin the full extent of the success of the Taepings on the Yangtse, of which the officials at Pekin seemed to possess a very imperfect and inaccurate knowledge, the Manchu authorities realized that it was a vital question for them to reassert their authority without further delay, but on beginning to put their new resolve into practice they soon experienced that the position of the Taepings in 1861 differed materially from what it was in 1857.

The course of events during that period must be briefly summarized. In 1858 the imperialists under Tseng Kwofan and Chang Kwoliang renewed the siege of Nankin, but as the city was well supplied with provisions, and as the imperialists were well known to have no intention of delivering an assault, the Taepings did not feel any apprehension. After the investment had continued for nearly a year, Chung Wang, who had now risen to the supreme place among the rebels, insisted on quitting the city before it was completely surrounded, with the object of beating up levies and generally relieving the pressure caused by the besiegers. In this endeavor he more than once experienced the unkindness of fortune, for when he had collected 5,000 good troops he was defeated in a vigorous attempt to cut his way through a far larger imperial force. Such, however, was his reputation that the imperial commanders before Nankin sent many of their men to assist the officers operating against him, and Chung Wang, seizing the opportunity, made his way by forced marches back to Nankin, overcoming such resistance as the enfeebled besiegers were able to offer. The whole of the year 1859 was passed in practical inaction, but at its close the Taepings only retained possession of four towns, besides Nankin, on the Yangtse. It again became necessary for Chung Wang to sally forth and assume the offensive in the rear and on the line of supplies of the beleaguering imperialists. His main difficulty was in obtaining the consent of Tien Wang, who was at this time given over to religious pursuits or private excesses, and Chung Wang states that he only consented when he found that he could not stop him. In January, 1860, Chung Wang began what proved to be a very remarkable campaign. He put his men in good humor by distributing a large sum of money among them, and he succeeded in eluding the imperial commanders and in misleading them as to his intentions. While they thought he had gone off to relieve Ganking, he had really hastened to attack the important city of Hangchow, where much spoil and material for carrying on the war might be secured by the victor. He captured the city with little or no loss, on March 19, 1860, but the Tartar city held out until relieved by Chang Kwoliang, who hastened from Nankin for the purpose. Once again the imperial commanders in their anxiety to crush Chung Wang had reduced their force in front of Nankin to an excessively low condition, and the Taeping leader, placed in a desperate position, seized the only chance of safety by hastening from Hangchow to Nankin at full speed, and attacking the imperial lines. This battle was fought early in the morning of a cold snowy day--May 3, 1860-- and resulted in the loss of 5,000 imperialists, and the compulsory raising of the siege. The Taeping cause might have been resuscitated by this signal victory if Tien Wang had only shown himself able to act up to the great part he assumed, but not merely was he incapable of playing the part of either a warrior or a statesman, but his petty jealousy prevented his making use of the undoubted ability of his lieutenant Chung Wang, who after the greatest of his successes was forbidden to re-enter Nankin.

The energy and spirit of Chung Wang impelled him to fresh enterprises, and seeing the hopelessness of Tien Wang, he determined to secure a base of operations for himself, which should enable him to hold his own in the warring strife of the realm, and perhaps to achieve the triumph of the

China - 60/83

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