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REVIVAL OF THE REBELLION, AND ITS CONFLICT
ATE OF THE REBELLION IN 1859-DESPAIR OF THE TAI-PINGS
CHANGE IN THEIR PROSPECTS CAUSED BY THE NEW DIFFICULTY BETWEEN CHINA AND GREAT BRITAIN-SANKOLINSIN-THE TAKU DISASTER OF 1859-RELIEF OF NANKING-THE TAI-PING OUTBREAK INTO KIANGSOO THE TAKING OF SOOCHOW THE ADVANCE ON SHANGHAI BRITISH NEUTRALITY THE PEKING EXPEDITION-IMPERIAL APPLICATION FOR BRITISH ASSISTANCETHE ALLIES DETERMINE TO DEFEND SHANGHAI-“GENERAL" FREDERICK WARD —THE CAPTURE OF SUNGKIANG SAVAGE REPULSE BY FOREIGNERS OF THE TAI-PING ATTACK ON SHANGHAI.
In order to understand how much and how little British interference had to do with the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion, it is necessary to notice exactly how matters stood in the year 1859, which promised at one moment to see China restored to a state of order and peace. Foreign affairs had been settled apparently to the satisfaction of all parties ; and, except at Canton, where the people had got to like them and rely upon them, the Foreign forces had been withdrawn from every foot of Celestial soil. Even the Great Rebellion, now in the ninth year of its reckoning, was in a fair way of being crushed. The Faithful King says truly, in his autobiography, that at this time “Nanking was now
closer besieged than ever. The place was as secure as if an iron band had encircled it
The siege of Nanking was now progressing, and events assumed a more threatening aspect daily.” The Tai-pings lost place after place; their troops had neither rations nor gunpowder, and were defeated at every point; while the close investment of the Sacred Capital by the Imperialist generals, Chang Kwo-liang and Ho Ch’un, threatened the very heart of the Rebellion. It is curious to notice that in these circumstances the Heavenly Prince seems to have remained entirely unmoved. According to the Chung Wang, “he contented himself with merely instructing his ministers to adhere to the precepts of Heaven, and telling them that the surrounding aspect indicated signs of great peace.” The Faithful King himself seems to have been perfectly astounded and mystified by the inexplicable way in which he and the other Tai-pings got out of the difficulty. “Then,” is all he can say, “in those days the Heavenly Dynasty was not doomed to be destroyed.”
But instead of being content to accept the new relationship with Foreigners, and to employ all its military power in extinguishing the still warm embers of the Rebellion, the Imperial Government, then practically in the hands of Su-shun, of the Prince of I, and of other reactionists, determined not so much to violate or discard the Treaty of Tientsin, as by an exercise of Celestial ingenuity to make it void without departing from the letter. The ratifications of the Treaty were to be exchanged at Peking, but there was no special provision as to the way in which that capital was to be reached by the British Minister; and the Chinese calculated that by refusing permission to the Hon. Mr Bruce and to the vessels accompanying him to enter the Peiho, they would bring