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This was very amusing, but it made rebels filled the adjacent country, and the prospect of entering the city on the people of the city, convinced that the following day more dangerous the party were on the side of the than ever. In the inorning the Gover- Taepings, absolutely refused to allow nor sent to say that they could not them to reside within their walls. come to see him as there was a plot The junk-men were proof against all to murder them when they landed or entreaties to push on. One night, in their junk, and the Roman Catholic while they lay in the river, a deafenmissionary sent them similar intelli- ing, clamour arose about the town, gence. But Captain Blakiston and which was quickly taken up by the his comrades do not seem to have boatmen, who bustled about for their been easily intimidated. They at lives, letting go ropes, and getting out once fortified the junks, and sent a oars, and making off down the river fresh demand for the sedan chairs as fast as possible. The town had and escort. At length the chairs and been attacked by the rebels. Its fate is warriors came, and stronglyarmed, the not known, as the determination of the captain and two comrades, with one junk-men to make away down the Seikh, proceeded to pay their visits. river could not be resisted. The The town was densely crowded with return, in the circumstances, cannot people as the publicexaminations were be called a retreat. The party had being held at the time, and the chairs explored the Yang-Tsze for 1800 were borne through an immense sea miles, had left an impress of the of heads, Captain Blakiston rumina- British character along their course, ting all the while on the probability and had pioneered up a great highof his being stabbed in the back be- way, which we may be sure the fore he got home again. Strangely civilized world will not let lie useless enough, he and his friends reached the much longer. A better representaGovernor's with whole bodies, saw tive of the finest qualities, mental his Excellency, who was delighted at and moral, of the Englishman, than the interview, concluded that his Ex- Captain Blakiston, could hardly have cellency was a determined ruffian, been selected for such a purpose. passed on to dinner at the Mission- It he and his little party did not ary's, and dined off fish, ducks, pork, attempt, after the virtual desertion of frogs, slugs, birds' nests, and samshoo, their crew to penetrate through bloodor Chinese brandy.
thirsty marauders into India, it was As they passed on up the river, only because they distinguished bethey daily met fresh evidence of the tween genuine courage and the most dangerous state of things above, in infatuated bravado. They have paved the number of headless corpses which the way for others to follow into the floated past. The more the bodies very centre of that peculiar empire wanting heads swept by, the less the which has for ages contained and alChinese boatmen liked going on. most secreted within itself a civilizIndeed their inference was an alarming ation far from perfect, yet not contempone, and not at all unnatural. At tible, and which was splendidamid the last, at Süchow, they witnessed a barbarism of past ages, if it be effete pitched battle, though one certainly in this era of progress. Great changes of a very mild description. It seems now impend over it, doubtless for the to have resembled an election row in better, after the convulsions of revothis country. The different bands of lution are over ; and one of the most gaudily-dressed combatants assailed marked signs of the new time coming each other with vollies of stones and is, that a party of Englishmen have abuse, stopping every now and then passed right through the empire unand daring the other, in school-boy challenged, and leaving behind them fashion," to come on. At different the lesson of the bravery and resolutimes a rusty old tube was filled with tion of the men of the West. powder and let off, amidst loud cheers But we find ourselves drawn on to from the cannonading party. The speculate on the future which awaits result of the battle was, that one or that fertile kingdom in which Captain two combatants were killed. When Blakiston has so much interested us. the expedition reached Pingshan, To look forward with advantage, we their difficulties culminated. The must glance at the past; and to Commander Brine* we are obliged for the were poor-so poor, indeed, that they only clear and ample account we were not able to educate him sufhave yet received of the remarkable ficiently to enable him to compete Taeping rebellion. Availing ourselves successfully at the state examinations. of his aid, we present to our readers At these there are often to be seen a summary of that movement, which, men who have grown old in repeated for the past twelve years, has divided efforts and failures ; and among these China, and the future of which who was Hung-Sien-Tsuen. Commander can tell ?
Brine considers that his want of The immobility of China was its success proves him to be a person proverbial characteristic. For thou- of but moderate abilities. In this sands of years the empire has present- opinion we cannot concur. Not only ed, so far as the existing generation have the brightest geniuses often been could learn, the same unchanging failures as mere scholars, but it would front to observers from without. Its be impossible to point out any great customs, its laws, its obscure religion, mover or ruler of mankind whom we mixed with a strangely wild philoso- could reasonably expect to have passphy, its worship of sages, its civiliza- ed the severe and crabbed ordeal of tion in some respects admirable, yet the Chinese examination hall. The with no germ of progression, all these gifts of the mere scholar are distinct are undoubtedly things of ages in from those of the man of talent or China. Yet not less than other the statesman. Cromwell was a poor countries has it been the theatre of hand at books, Clive was an incorrigimany revolutions. The Tartars who ble dunce, Napoleon studied nothing first invaded China Proper, A.D. 1127, but military mathematics, Wellington by either their Eastern or Western was very idle, and Hung-Sien-Tsuen branches - Manchus or Mongolians- was plucked at the Canton examinakept the government of the country tions. And how strange are the turns for many years between them. But of what we call chance ! Had he the two divisions fought fiercely at taken a high place and got some good different times for the ascendant; and post, he would never have founded in 1368, a Chinese native, named the great “Taeping dynasty, to endure Chû, raised the standard of rebellion, for a myriad myriad ages. In 1833, drove out the Tartars, and became while at Canton, he met a Protestant first Emperor of the Ming line. After missionary who gave him a bundle of the lapse of about two centuries religious tracts. These he philosothe Eastern Tarters again prevailed, phically accepted, put in his pocket, and established the dynasty which and thought no more about them. the Taepings are now in arms against. Four years afterwards he again Nearly all the early proclamations of attempted to pass the examinations the Taeping Chief refer to himself as and failed. He returned to his native the champion of a conquered people village broken-hearted and shattered fighting against a foreign domination. in health. A violent sickness attackIt is nothing strange then in China ed him. He raved, and saw visions, to see a popular uprising against the and spoke inflated rhapsodies about ruling power; but the religious aspect himself. His aged father, greatly of the Taeping movement distin- distracted about his son, sent for the guishes it from all others.
magicians to cure him, but he There is a poor squalid little village, threatened to slay them all. After about thirty miles from Canton. his recovery he engaged in various Three rows of huts, a manure pond, menial occupations in order to get a and the village school are all that this living; and having failed once more at miserable hamlet can boast of. It the examinations, his attention being was here that, in the year 1813, was once casually drawn to the religious born Hung-Sien-Tsuen, the extraordi- papers he had got in Canton, he nary man whose armies have shaken eagerly read them, declared that they an ancient dynasty. His parents, gave him the key to all his sick vithough the head people of the village, sions, renounced the worship of Con
* “The Taeping Rebellion in China." By Commander Lindesay Brine, R.N., F.R.G.S., lately employed in Chinese Waters, with map and plans. London: Murray. 1862.
fucius, left his native place, and went Two of the leaders, but not Siuaway with two friends to the moun- tsuen, were put in prison, and one of tains, leaving behind him the reputa- them died in confinement. After this tion of his being distracted. With Sin-tsuen for some time continued to the assistance of a certain Fung- quietly discharge the duties of a catyun-san, he set about making con- tle herd, and showed no sign of preverts to his own peculiar and very paration for the part he soon afterconfused view of Christianity. We wards acted. should remark that he adopted the In 1850 many districts of the name of Siu-tsuen, or "elegant and empire particularly Kwangri and perfect.”
Kwang-rung were much disturbed. A “At the commencement Sin-tsuen had fearful famine which, with its usual only vague notions concerning the true attendant the plague, had swept over manner of religious service. When he had a large part of the country, bringing taken away his own idols he placed the misery to every village which lay written name of God in their stead, and within its influence, had reduced the even used incense sticks and gold paper as people to that extremity of despair part of the service. But in a few months and exasperation which prepares the finding that this was wrong he abolished it.
way for rebellion. Accordingly the In the congregation male and female worshippers had their seats separated from each district in which the “God Worshipother. It was customary to praise God pers” were situate was in a very restby singing a hymn, an address was deliver- less state. It was particularly infested on either the mercy of God or the meritsed by tribes of robbers who only of Christ, and the people were exhorted to associated together for the purpose of repent of their sins, to abstain from idolatry plunder. These, finding themselves and to serve God with sincerity of heart. pressed by the imperial soldiers, joinBaptism was performed thus :-Two burn- ed Sin-tsuen for the sake of the proing lamps and three cups of tea were placed tection which the “God Worshippers” on a table, probably to suit the sensual afforded to one another. The authoapprehension of the Chinese. A written rities proceeded to arrest the chief, confession of sins, containing the names of and he calling all his followers tothe different candidates for baptism was repeated by them, and afterwards burnt, by gether took possession of a market which procedure the presenting of the confess town, fortified it, and thus, in Desion to God was symbolized. The candidates cember, 1850, commenced the Taethen knelt down, and from a large basin ping rebellion which once bid fair of clear water, a cupful was poured over to make the family of the visionary the head of every one, with the words pu- cattle herd the reigning dynasty of rification from all former sins, putting off China. His principle, as he expressthe old and regeneration. Upon rising ed it at least, was so noble that the they used to drink of the tea, and, gene- best of Christians could not improve rally, each convert used to wash his chest and the region of his heart with water, to
on it. “If,” said he, “we preach the signify the inner cleansing of the heart."
true doctrine, and rely upon the power
ful help of God, a few of us will equal Siu-tsuen (we may as well take the a multitude.” Nor did he misdirect shorter name that our hero had as- the mighty power he had invoked. sumed) was successful in propagat- In four months after he fortified ing the new faith. The Chinese au- the village, he had around him a thorities and upper classes look with powerful, and, according to Chinese stolid contempt on all the many popu- ideas, a well-disciplined army, every lar religions, and so it was with that man of which was filled with an unof Sin-tsuen and his followers. They quenchable enthusiasm, and devoted despised him, and he throve. In implicitly to his Chief. Fung-yun-san, the district of Kwei alone there were Yang-sen-tsing, Hoo-yih-seen, and 2,000 converts. Not content with Tsung-sau-sen, were the other leaders. having their baptisms and assemblies “ Hung-siu-tsuen," writes the Chinese unmolested, the “God Worshippers” Governor to head quarters, “is a went forth filled with righteous wrath man of dangerous character, who against the temples of their neigh- practises the ancient military art. bours, to destroy them, as the ancient He has constantly two victories for Israelites did the idolaters of Canaan. one defeat, for he practises the tactics This was rather more than the im- of Sun-pin" the Napoleon Bonamovable mandarins could suffer. parte of China.
Siu-tsuen now commenced publish- vants and women (for he has an abuning proclamations, some of which were dant allowance of wives) he passed very inflated, and all of which were his time in intense study, and in the so arrogant in style that they showed composition of prayers. Few of his a change for the worse was working in own officers got admittance to his his mind. There is none of the sim- presence, and strangers never. For plicity, lofty tone, and abnegation of some time it was doubted whether self which we expect from our great he was living. His arrogance conmen. . Yet it must be said that it is tinued unbounded. Her Majesty's pot fair to accuse him of blasphemy ship the Hermes proceeded up the because he uses the name of the river to Nankin, in order to make inDeity and the Saviour in an irreverent vestigations, and before she had manner. Commander Brine shows, been a day before the city, a paper we think, satisfactorily, that he only was sent off to Sir G. Bonham, the means to assert, in the strange paz- British representative, declaring that sages which have been commented his effulgent highess, the late cattle on, that he speaks in the name of the herd, approved of the conduct of the Deity and Saviour. His mode of ex- English in coming thus early, and repression is certainly not happy, but gardless of distance, to offer their alit is untrue to represent his thoughts legiance to him. as those of a maniac or blasphemer. During this time of inaction King
But whether he wrote well or not, Yang, the chief's right-hand man, he certainly fought well. After gain- professed to have a number of suring several minor successes he assault- prising revelations, which chiefly ed the important city of Nankin ; tended to degrade Siu-tsuen. In one and by springing a mine under an of them he was directed not to kick angle of the walls, made a breach, any of his wives with his boot on, but through which his troops poured in. to adopt a different mode of chastiseA very feeble resistance was made by ment. Siu-tsuen bore all this very the garrison, and soon the town was quietly, apparently, believing that at the mercy of Siu-tsuen. He they were real revelations. At length showed it none. Only one hundred he found out that Yang was plotting out of the whole city escaped. That against him. Without a moment's night the broad Yang. Isze-Kiang hesitation, or giving his brother any rolled down to sea with reddened notice, he cut off his head, and quietly waves; and in the twilight of mor- returned to his course of study, which ning the boatmen on the lower river he pursued so diligently that when were horrified to see nearly twenty Lord Elgin, in the Retribution, came thousand corpses hurrying along with up the river, he was enabled to send its current.
to him an enormously long paper The only palliation that can be containing his religious views, and urged for this enormity is that divided into 172 propositions. It Sin-tsuen is little better than a half commenced—“We proclaim, for the savage, and that possibly he may have information of our foreign younger misunderstood certain chapters in the brethren of the western ocean, that Old Testament as justifying the the things of heaven differ extremely slaughter of enemies. We all know from the things of the world,” &c. how ready better and wiser men than &c. Sin-tsuen are to extract from Holy For some time the only military Writ a meaning that meets their operations of the Taepings were special purpose. Strange as has been marauding excursions. The chief the life of the Taeping chief thus far, was too busy with his studies to think the strangest part is still to come. of general war. It may turn out that After the capture of Nankin it might his leisure has cost him an empire. have been expected that he would The imperialists had been besieging have pushed on to the capital at once. Nankin ever since it was taken ; but That he would have taken it with as they only closed up the three land little trouble cannot be doubted. But sides and left the river communicaonce in Nankin he seemed to consider tion open, the Taepings inside were that he had done enough for one life. not at all distressed. But now after He retired into complete seclusion, nine years of this considerate warfare and shutting himself up with his ser- a fleet of junks came up the river and
cut off the supplies. The people in- The question remains then- What side began to starve; and at last Sin- are the prospects of the Taeping tsuen woke up from his long re- rising ! In this question we are inpose. He plauned a general sortie, terested no less in a general than a which resulted in the total defeat of selfish point of view. Commander the Imperialists. The army, thus re- Brine thinks that the ultimate result lieved, at once assumed the aggressive, will be the division of China into two and with fatal indiscretion attacked empires, over one of which the TaeShanhae, though they were informed pings will rule. He reminds us that that the English would defend the the popular notion of the Chinese town. The wretched rabble who were empire having always remained unled to the assault were mowed down changeable under one emperor is a by the skilfully directed fire of the mistake. Centuries ago it had two Europeans, aná had to draw off emperors whose dominions without getting near the walls. divided by the broad-spreading Yang
The Taepings have done little since ; Tsze. Now all things point to some but it is no trifling results that they change in the ruling dynasty. The have achieved. Over 30,000 square great famines, the desolating pestimiles of territory the people obey and lence, which have filled to overflowpay taxes to Sin-tsuen; and he com- ing the cup of the people's misery, premands an army of more than 400,000 dispose them to change. They long men. His inaction ever since he got to rest from their sufferings; and possession of Nankin appears to Euro- they scarcely hope to find safety from pean observers inexplicable. It is not, the ruling house under which so much however, to be attributed to inere has been suffered. But Sin-tsuen sloth. Ruling in the city which was does not trust alone to human feelonce the seat of royalty, inflated by ings. Wildly, foolishly, savagely, adulation and enthusiasm, and sur- perhaps, he has touched the deep rounded by vast armies, he insists emotions of religion in the hearts of that he is the chief potentate not only his followers. It is of no avail to of China but the world, and dreams sneer at his misconceptions and the away his time in studies and in dis- inflation of his style. He is but a charging the imaginary duties of Em- poor uncivilized man. It is not many peror of China. Instead of headling years since he tendeıl his parent's his forces in a march against Pekin, cattle, and spent his days in menial he concentrates his energies on his drudgery, pressed by penury, unown peculiar system of theology, and known or despised as a semi-maniac. prepares long papers, explanatory of In those days of adversity his heart Christianity, which he obligingly for- bent high with lofty resolve, and his wards to the first English adiniral spirit swelled proudly and tumulwho comes within reach. In the tuously with a religious enthusiasm spring of this year the English and which was noble though irregular. French authorities in China executed A few years have passed, and a movement which, for the time, he has risen to be the rival of :1. awoke Sin-tsuen from his lethargy. dynasty which has lasted for cenThey sent a small allied force to turies. If his career of conquest has Ningpo, drove out the Taepings, and been stayed, it is only because he has delivered over that important city to done so much that Hatterers can tell the Imperialists. Thus we have been him he need do no more. His future pledged to discountenance the Tae- no man can prophesy. What he has pings and assist the Tartars.
done entitles him to rank among the We hesitate dogmatically to con- heroes of mankind. demn this momentous step; but we We must not close without again feel uncomfortable about it, par- commending to our readers the two ticularly now that we have read Com- volumes which we have taken as our mander Brine’s impartial and thought- text-books. They should he read ful account of the relative position of together ; and in them, and nothe two parties. The Taepinys have where else, can be got all the really the control of the tea and silk dis- reliable information at present protricts, and may at any time inflict an curable respecting the revolution appalling blow on interests which are which impends over China. the most momentous to us. VOL. LXI.-NO, CCCLXI.