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LIST OF MAPS.
1. Map of China, to face title-page. (2 2. Sketch-Map of the Routes taken by the Rebel Forces
during the years 1851-65, 13. Map illustrating the Operations of the Chung and Ying
Wangs, 1855-64 1 4 Sketch - Map of the Operations against the Rebels,
1862-64, ✓ 5. Sketch of Taitsan and Quinsan, V 6. Sketch of Country ravaged by Rebels, March 1864,
The Chinese people and Government have had to struggle during the last ten years with difficulties of no ordinary kind. In that period they have carried on a prolonged war with two of the most powerful nations of the earth, whose demands upon them, however warrantable, necessarily weakened the power of the Chinese State by lowering it from an authoritative position ; they have had to adapt their long-isolated civilisation to the disintegrating influence of close contact with Foreigners*—a difficult and hazardous task, only accomplished by a ministerial coup d'état almost tantamount to an internal revolution; and they have suppressed a great internal movement, which had become a most formidable rebellion chiefly because a long period of isolation and of peaceful prosperity had led the authorities of the country to neglect the arts of war.
The latter feat forms the topic of this book ; but it has been found impossible to treat of it in anything like a
* The words “Foreigner” and “Foreign," when commenced with a capital letter, refer to the Europeans and Americans in China as opposed to the people of the country. Hence "Foreign" is a proper name nearly equivalent to the term “ Occidental,” which some writers use in its place
satisfactory manner without many references to the other two difficulties just mentioned; for they not only all existed contemporaneously, but were also closely connected, and aggravated each other in a high degree. It was not merely that the war with Foreigners gave opportunity to the Tai-ping Rebels, and the Rebellion diminished the means of external defence: the Rebellion had its origin in the contact of China with Foreign nations ; it was almost suppressed in 1859, when a new difficulty between Foreigners and the Imperial Government came to its aid; the loss of power consequent on the Rebellion made it difficult for the Emperor to grant Foreign demands, and the loss of prestige caused him by Foreigners decreased his power of dealing with the Rebellion.
Several interesting and instructive works—such as those of Mr Meadows, Mr Oliphant, Commander Brine, and Dr Rennie—have been published, relating to the first half of the transition period through which China has recently passed, and which closes with the Peking coup d'état of 1861; but the important events which followed, which have resulted in the complete suppression of the Tai-ping Rebellion, and the restoration of China to a state of comparative order and peace, are known to the British public only through an indistinct recollection of telegrams and newspaper reports, or through the frantic complaints of ignorant or unscrupulous Tai-ping sympathisers. In these events Foreigners in China took an important part. Some Englishmen and Americans fought on the side of the Rebels ; while on the other hand it will not be forgotten that almost every mail from the Far East, during great parts of