« PreviousContinue »
PRINCE KUNG'S COUP D'ETAT.
ing the bands of that Government; and it gave security for a healthier and more reasonable central power in China than had existed for a long period. Many things, as we see, were thus working together for the destruction of Tai-pingdom, and for the restoration of the Celestial Empire to a state of comparative order and peace.
ALLIED OPERATIONS ROUND SHANGHAI IN 1862.
THE TAI-PINGS WORSTED WITHOUT OUR AID THEIR SECOND AD
VANCE ON SHANGHAI_THE COUNTRY PEOPLE APPLY FOR PROTECTION AGAINST THEM THE ALLIES RESOLVE TO CLEAR A THIRTY-MILE RADIUS--THE TAKING OF KADING, ETC. —DEATH OF ADMIRAL PROTET—THE FAITHFUL KING RETRIEVES THE REBEL CAUSE--FORRESTER'S CAPTIVITY-THE END OF THE HEROIC KING
THE FAITHFUL KING RECALLED TO NANKING THE ALLIES CONFINE THEMSELVES TO SHANGHAI AND SUNGKIANG - RECEPTION OF THE NEWS OF WARD'S DEATH-HIS BURIAL- BURGEVINE APPOINTED IN HIS PLACE-LI MADE FUTAI OF KIANGSOOTHEIR QUARREL-GENERAL STAVELEY ASKED TO APPOINT A BRITISH OFFICER-BURGEVINE ASSAULTS TA KEE—HIS DISMISSALCAPTAIN HOLLAND APPOINTED TO COMMAND THE EVER-VICTORIOUS ARMY BY GENERAL SIR CHARLES STAVELEY.
As I have mentioned, it had been arranged between the Tien Wang and the British authorities at Shanghai, that in the year 1861 they were to observe strict peace towards each other; and this arrangement was kept on both sides. It is of great importance to bear this fact in mind, because that year was a most critical one with the Rebels. In it they put forth all their power in order to take Hankow and re-establish themselves in the Yangtsze valley. When people say that the Tai-pings were overthrown by British arms, they leave this fact out of view. In the very turning-point of their later
SECOND ADVANCE ON SHANGHAI.
history, the Rebels were allowed to fight the Imperialists without any interference on the part of Foreigners, and got by far the worst of it, though at that time the Imperial Government underwent an internal revolution, and had just had its prestige seriously injured by the advance of the Allies to Peking. The fighting which afterwards took place between Colonel Gordon and the Tai-pings in the neighbourhood of Shanghai, was not rendered necessary by any success of their cause so much as by the fact that the complete manner in which Tseng Kwo-fan had defeated the Rebels in the Yangtsze valley, forced them down again into the neighbourhood of the Consular ports of Shanghai and Ningpo.
Our interference with the Tai-pings at these ports was at first entirely in defence of our own settlements. In the end of 1861, when Sir James Hope, the Admiral commanding her Majesty's naval forces in China, went up to Nanking, in consequence of rumours that the Faithful King was about to attack Shanghai, and warned the Tien Wang against such a proceeding, he was answered impertinently, and was told whenever the year of truce had drawn to a close the Divine troops would certainly make such an attack. Accordingly, on the 11th January 1862, the Faithful King went down to Soochow, and after reducing the taxes there and alleviating the distress of the people, who had suffered much from the cruel misrule of the Hu Wang, or Protecting King, he put his forces in motion against Shanghai, capturing various towns on the way, and ravaging the country. In the proclamations which he issued be said that ‘Shanghai was a little place,” and added, “We have nothing to fear from it; we must take it to complete our dominions." As he advanced, the horizon round the
Consular city was obscured for days by the smoke of burning villages, and thousands on thousands of fugitives poured into the Foreign settlements, many of them having been plunged from a prosperous condition into utter want and misery in the depth of a severe winter. This caused the Foreign community to enrol themselves into a volunteer force for the purpose of defending the city, and they and the Chinese merchants emulated with each other in relieving the distress of the fugitives. The Rebels having got down into the Pootung peninsula to the south of Shanghai, the people there petitioned the Consuls for protection in a most imploring manner, and this Admiral Hope and the French Admiral Protet were the more ready to grant because the Tai-pings had fired upon some boats under the protection of their men-ofwar anchored at Woosung.
At this time General Ward had a drilled force of nearly 1000 Chinese at Sungkiang, with which the Admirals determined to act in concert; and by their combined forces, Kajow, the Rebel headquarters in the south of the peninsula, was taken on the 21st February. Several other places were also released; and both Sir John Michel, commanding her Majesty's troops in China, and Admiral Hope, having reported favourably on Ward's force, the merits of the “Ever-Victorious Army," as this infant force was now called, were very handsomely acknowledged in an Imperial decree of the 16th March 1862, and 9000 Imperial troops were ordered down to its assistance from Nganking. At this time, Sir John Michel having returned home, BrigadierGeneral C. W. Staveley, C.B., assumed command of her Majesty's forces in China, and determined to continue the operations against the Rebels, having just had an opportunity at Peking of consulting with the British
THE THIRTY-MILE RADIUS.
Minister and with Prince Kung upon the subject. Both he and Admiral Hope, who first made the suggestion, judged that the safety of Shanghai could only be secured by clearing the country round from Rebels within a radius of thirty miles ; and this conclusion received the warm support of the mercantile community, with the insignificant exception of some small traders who were making a large profit by illegally selling arms to the Rebels. Had the Tai-pings been allowed to enter the native city, the inbabitants would have crowded into the Foreign settlement, which would thus bave been rendered powerless to protect itself from rapine and murder. When it was once resolved to defend the place both native and foreign, it was only reasonable that care should be taken to provide it with the means of subsistence, by keeping a portion of the surrounding country free from the devastating hordes of the Rebellion. Moreover, the military authorities were of opinion that it was necessary to clear the radius in order to efficiently protect the city. This arrangement soon afterwards received the approval of Sir Frederick Bruce, on condition that the Imperial authorities should hold the places taken by the Allies.
On the 4th April the two Admirals and General Staveley, with their forces, took Wongkadza, which was strongly intrenched, the Rebels falling back on another series of stockades five miles further inland. Ward, with 500 of his disciplined Chinese, and accompanied by Admiral Hope, attempted to take this second position, but was repulsed, seven of his officers being wounded, and the Admiral receiving a ball in the leg. Next day, however, the place was attacked by a combined French and English force of about 700 seamen and marines, under Protet and Captain Borlase, R.N.;