Page images



king, and just at the moment they were about to start, first the Tautai of Shanghai, and then Ho Kwei-tsin, the Governor-General of Kiangsoo, who had come from Chanchu fu to the consular port, applied to the British and French authorities for assistance against the Taipings. As the lives of a number of Catholic priests were endangered, the French General offered to send 1500 men if the English would send 500 ; but Mr Bruce considered the matter too hazardous, as, should the 2000 troops be obliged to retire, a bad effect would be produced, and if they were reinforced the expedition to the north would be crippled; and in this view the French Minister coincided. Still, a step was taken pregnant of future disastrous consequences to the Tai-pings. “I decided,” says Mr Bruce, in his despatch to Lord J. Russell of the 30th May 1860,—“ I decided, in concert with M. Bourboulon, that it was expedient, both on grounds of policy and humanity, to prevent, if possible, the scenes of bloodshed and pillage being enacted here which took place at Hangchow fu, when that city was lately assaulted by the insurgents; and it appeared to me that, without taking any part in this civil contest, or expressing any opinion on the rights of the parties, we might protect Shanghai from attack, and assist the authorities in preserving tranquillity within its walls, on the ground of its being a port open to trade, and of the intimate connection existing between the interests of the town and of the Foreign settlement, the former of which caunot be attacked without great danger to the latter. We accordingly issued separate proclamations to that effect in identical terms." * This was the little cloud, no big

* The British proclamation was as follows :—"The undersigned issues this special proclamation to tranquillise the minds of the people.

'Shanghai is a port open to foreign trade, and the native dealers residing


than a man's hand, which was destined to obscure the sun of Tai-ping success.

In a memorial sent at this time to the Throne by Ho, that unfortunate GovernorGeneral, who was soon after recalled to Peking and executed for his non-success, speaks of his army as having been annihilated in consequence of the état de délabrement into which it was thrown by the successes of the Faithful King, and especially by the taking of Soochow.

Never," he wrote, “in all antiquity has there been a state of confusion so remarkable,” and, “trembling beyond measure,” he begs the Emperor to make peace

with the Allies and employ all his troops against the Rebels. When, at the risk of his head, and, as it proved, at the cost of his bead, one of the highest of Chinese officials could write in this way, the circumstances of the Imperialist cause in Kiangnan must have been apparently desperate indeed.

Besides the proclamation of the Allies in regard to Shanghai, another very important, but, at the time, apparently insignificant, event was the appearance on the stage of “General” Frederick Ward. Before the former had agreed to defend Shanghai, Ta Kee, and several other wealthy merchants of that place, not relishing the idea of its falling into the hands of the Tai-pings, bad arranged with Woo, the Tautai, to afford funds for the

therein have large transactions with the foreigners who went to their place to carry on their business. Were it to become the scene of an attack and of civil war, commerce would receive a severe blow, and the interests of those, whether foreign or native, who wish to pursue their peaceful avocations in quiet would suffer great loss.

“The undersigned will therefore call upon the Commanders of Her Majesty's naval and military authorities (sicto take proper measures to prevent the inhabitants of Shanghai from being exposed to massacre and pillage, and to lend their assistance to put down any insurrectionary move ments among the ill-disposed, and to protect the city against any attack,

"Shanghai, May 26, 1860."



enlistment of Foreigners to fight against the Rebels. He had, therefore, engaged two Americans called Ward and Burgevine to enlist a number of Europeans and Manilamen, and had promised these leaders a large sum if they would retake Sungkiang, a city eighteen miles distant from Shanghai on the river Whampoa.

Of Burgevine I shall speak afterwards. Ward was born about 1828, at Salem in Massachusetts, and was a man of courage and ability. Probably from poverty he was unable, when a youth, to gratify his desire of studying at West Point; but his mind seems always to have been occupied with military matters as affording his proper and destined sphere in life. Like not a few of his countrymen, he combined the life of an adventurer with that of a sailor, and had seen a good deal of the world before he came to China. In Central America he had been engaged in filibustering under that celebrated chief of filibusters, General William Walker ; at Tuhuantepic he had been unsuccessfully engaged in trying to found a colony from the United States ; and at one time in Mexico he had been on the point of taking military service under President Alvarez. Ward seems to have turned up in Shanghai some time in 1859; and his first operation, the attack upon Sungkiang, with about 100 Foreigners, mostly seafaring men, under bis command, took place in July 1860, and resulted in a repulse with some loss. He persevered, however, in his design; and, having augmented bis force by a company of Manilamen, lay concealed during the day, and contrived to seize a gate of the city just at sunset, repulsing all the Rebel attacks till next morning, when the native Imperialist troops coming up, were enabled to drive out the Taipings. Ward then received the ransom of the city, and Ta Kee and the other patriotic merchants were promoted

[ocr errors]

in rank. The success of this affair, together with the high pay of 100 dollars per mensem, attracted more men to the banner of the Salem adventurer, who, being offered a further reward if he would take Singpoo, attempted to do so with 280 followers of his own, and two six-pounder guns; but in conjunction with 10,000 Chinese troops under General Lí Adong, and about 200 small Chinese gunboats. The Tai-pings, however, by this time had begun to see the benefit of employing Europeans, and at Singpoo, among others, they had an Englishman of the name of Savage who had formerly been a pilot. The consequence was that when Ward attacked the city on the night of the 2d August and succeeded in getting on the wall, his force was driven back with very great loss, and he himself was severely wounded in the jaw. Being an irrepressible sort of element, however, he went to Shanghai, and, despite his wound, immediately returned to Singpoo with two eighteen-pounder guns, and 100 fresh men, mostly Greeks and Italians. But this did not avail much; for the Faithful King came down to the rescue of the city, surprised and outflanked Ward, took his guns, boats, and a good many muskets, and drove him back to Sungkiang. This latter place the Tai-ping chief soon attempted to take by storm, but there he was repulsed, and in the attempt Savage received a wound, from the effects of which he soon after died at Nanking.

On the 16th of August the Faithful King advanced upon Shanghai, leaving Sungkiang invested in his rear, and accompanied by the Shield King, whose knowledge of Foreigners was expected to be useful. Chung Wang immediately sent in a proclamation to the consuls, explaining the accidental slaughter of a French priest on the previous day, and telling them that he was about to



attack Shanghai, but that Foreigners would not be molested if they remained in their houses. No answer was sent to this communication; but the Tai-pings must have been aware of the proclamations which had been issued by the French and English authorities, and they had been warned shortly before by the Rev. Mr Edkins, and other missionaries, that the Allies would defend the city against them.

On the 18th August the Faithful advanced, burning everything before him, on a very wide front. He passed through the Jesuit establishment at Sikawai, where several Roman Catholic converts and another French priest were killed ; then he attacked the Imperialists, who were intrenched about a mile from the west gate of Shanghai, occupied their camps, and drove them into the city. The Tai-pings then made an attempt to enter the gates along with these fugitives ; but the walls were manned by French and British troops, who drove them back with great loss. A skirmishing fire was kept up on the walls; and the Rebels, along zith whom were several Europeans, one of whom was Lilled, also tried to advance under cover of the Imperial f'ags which they had captured in the stockades. Next day the Faithful King resumed his attack, in expectation cf a rising among the Cantonese and Chinchew men, who were very numerous in Shanghai, and who were only de{ rred from revolt by the force of the Allies. In one of the suburbs they did indeed break out, and commenced plundering and massacring the more respectable Chinese; and before that could be put a stop to, the greater part of this wealthy 'suburb was destroyed by fire, causing C'eat distress among the people. On the next day, t:3 Chung Wang again renewed his attack, and directed 1's efforts specially against the British settlement; but

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »