Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

counts of its rise and progress, all confirming the above fact of the rebellion having been the consequence of the disorganization produced by our war. I stated this distinctly five years ago in my two volumes, •China during the War and since the Peace.

A Chinese Christian, who had received his lessons in the rudiments of our religion from a missionary named Roberts at Canton, being a man of some education, and of a most daring, enterprising, and enthusiastic temperament, took advantage of this very evident state of things to put himself at the head of an insurrection, of which the avowed object was the destruction of idolatry, as well as the expulsion of the Tartars. But with that characteristic Chinese conceit and presumption which cannot adopt even a religion without modification and change, he called himself the brother of Jesus Christ, while a fellow chieftain subsequently assumed the title of the third person in the Trinity. In short, as I have observed in another place, they were no more like Christians than Mahomet was like a Jew; and the hopes, which were at first raised of their success as Christians, were very soon succeeded by dismay and disgust at their blasphemy as impostors.

It is possible, at the same time, that they have been impelled by fanaticism, and began by deceiving themselves. When informed by our plenipotentiary at Nanking that we must remain neutral, and could not assist them, they told Mr. Meadows that they were under the special protection of Heaven, and needed no assistance whatever.

“'Tis true they build their faith upon

The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks."

At the commencement of the insurrection it was naturally supposed that the Triad Society, whose professed object is the expulsion of the Tartar dynasty, and the restoration of the Ming or native Chinese line, must be principally concerned in its origin. Communications of course took place as to a coalition, but the Tae-pings said, “Exterminate the Tartars by all means—that is our common object—but as to the restoration of the Ming, we have our own particular views on that point; we have a word to say on that subject ourselves.” The Tae-pings received none of the Triads among their number, but such as were willing to abandon their peculiar practices and accept instruction in the new doctrine. They plainly declared that their“ Heavenly Prince had received the divine commission to exterminate the Manchows, man, woman, and child, and to possess the empire as its true sovereign.”

It is remarkable that the person first despatched by the emperor to subdue the rebellion in the south was Commissioner Lin, of opium celebrity. He quitted Foo-chowfoo, his native city, in 1850, on this unpromising errand, to himself doubly melancholy and unpropitious, as he must have keenly felt that his own rash and overbearing conduct at Canton, only a few years before, had been the cause of that fatal collision with the British in which all the embarrassments and miseries of his country had originated. He, in fact, died on his journey, worn out and probably brokenhearted.

The Tae-pings commenced their movements in the southern parts of the Canton and Kuâng-se provinces, being largely reinforced by the hardy seafaring and piratical population of the coast, whose occupations had been partly suspended or disturbed by our cruisers, and whose energies were thus turned inwards on the country. During the course of two years they gradually, but steadily, worked their way by Kwei-lin, the capital of the western province, until they arrived, in June, 1852, at the ridge of mountains known as the abodes of the Meaou-tse, or independent hill-men, who have never been quite subdued by the Tartars. Here they seem to have obtained a reinforcement of some 3000 to their army. They proceeded still northward, but much more rapidly, by Chang-sha, the capital of Hoo-nan province (but without taking it), until they approached the eastern shore of the vast lake called Tung-ting Hoo, about December, 1852. They passed the lake and reached the great river Yangtse-keang towards the end of that month. Like the fabled giant whose strength was renewed on contact with his mother earth, these seafaring people of the coast acquired fresh force when they found themselves embarked on their native element—the water. I remember often remarking, during our progress up the same mighty river with Lord Amherst's embassy in 1816, the great difference between the creeping, timid navigation of the inland sailors in that part of the centre of China and the bold and skilful seamanship of the Cantonese on the coast, who would, in the most boisterous weather and at the distance of leagues from shore, board another vessel either as pilots or pirates. They were so sensible of the advantages which accrued to them from their possession of the river, that they never again quitted its course. They proceeded down the stream until they vastly added to their resources by the capture of Han-kow, the greatest internal trading mart of the empire. Here it is probable they were encouraged to form the bold project of taking Nanking, the ancient capital of the Chinese dynasty, and they went on, unarrested and almost unopposed, along the Great River, passing the Poyang lake, and taking Ganking-foo, the capital of

the southern division of Keang-nân, in February, 1853. This city I visited with our embassy, and have given an account of it in the ‘Sketches of China.' * From the country about this and other captured towns they collected large amounts of supplies and provisions; and with fresh accessions of strength, as they moved onward, they appeared before Nanking at the commencement of March, 1853, and took it with very slight resistance on the 19th of that month, putting all the Tartars to death. This, with the passage of the canal at Chin-keang-foo, has for four years been the term of their real progress; for though two successive armies have been despatched to the neighbourhood of Peking, they have both returned without success, but still unbroken and in good order. The Tae-pings, however, have commanded the valley of the Yang-tse-keang from Nanking as far as Eechang west of the Tungting lake, a distance of several hundred miles, and comprising some of the richest portion of China.

[ocr errors]

· INDE X.

ABACUS.

BELLS. ABACUS, or suân-pân, used in arith | Arms of military, i. 275 metic, ii. 244

Arrow lorcha, outrage on flag, i. 178 Actors, stage directions to, ii. 150

Art of printing, early in China, i. 229; Affrays, law concerning, i. 290

ii. 174; process of, 176 Agriculture, discouragements to, ii. 324;

to, ii. 324; | Arts and inventions, ii. 173 nbjects of cultivation, 326; no arti

Artemisia, species of, the moxa, ii, 227 ficial pastures, 329; allotment of wastes to the poor, 331; manures,

Assumption, i. 354 332; irrigation, 334; rice cultiva

Astrology combined with medicine, ii. tion, 335.

223; identical with its former state Alceste, H. M. ship, silences Chinese

in Europe, ibid. forts, i. 87

Astronomy, knowledge of, ii. 247; of

Hindoos compared, 250 Almanac, contents of, ii, 254

Astronomical instruments constructed American flag hoisted at Canton, i. 65; sailor delivered up to Chinese, 90.

by Arabians, ii. 251 Amherst, Lord, embassy of, i. 80

Averages of the climate at Canton, ii, 321 Amherst vessel sent on trading experi

| Aviary at Macao, ii. 275 ment, i. 107; failure of the same, 108

| Ayew, a Chinese linguist, banished to Amoy captured, i. 152; a new con

Tartary, i. 77
sulate, 159
Amusements, i. 378
Anarchy, hateful to Chinese, i. 259
Anatomy, ignorance of, ii, 228

Ball on cap denoting rank, i. 270 Annals, barren and uninteresting to Bamboo, numerous uses of the, ii. 299 Europe, ii. 128

Banks of rivers planted with fruit-trees, Anson, Commodore, at Canton, i. 44 ii. 334 Apartments described, i. 403

Barbers, numbers of, i. 395 A phorisms, collection of, ii. 120

Barometer, monthly averages, ii. 321; Arabians, early visits of, i. 4; super extreme depression during typhoons,

seded at Peking by Jesuits, ii. 247 323 Arch, ancient knowledge of the, ii. 267 | Basaltic rocks, ii. 315 Architecture, ii. 263

Bats ominous of good, ii. 98 Argo, H. M. ship, measured by Chinese Batuta, Ibn, his account of China, i. 6 for port-charges, i. 51

Belles-lettres, consisting of drama, poeAristocracy of China, official, i. 202 try, and romance, ii. 138 Arithmetic, ii. 243

Bells, ii. 196

« ZurückWeiter »