Imatges de pàgina

was almost unintelligible. With much of the temper and energy of Cromwell, Gordon has given the brightest example, in the annals of either his own country or of China, of what, to use the words of one of his lieutenants, the Christian soldier ought to be.*

* The following is the Imperial decree issued on his receiving the Yellow Jacket-an order, said Li Hung Chang, instituted by Kanghi for victorious generals on the occasion of the suppression of Wou Sankwei's revolt :—“On the representation of the assistance rendered by Gordon, Temporary Tsungping of Kiangsu, in the recapture of Changchow, we decreed him the rank of Titu (Field Marshal), Standards of Honour, and a Decoration as especial marks of distinction, and directed that Li should memorialize again when he had arranged the affairs of the Force. We have now received a memorial from Li that he has done this in a most admirable manner and requesting some further mark of our favour. It appears that last spring Gordon, conjointly with Imperial Forces, recaptured Fushan and relieved Chanzu, that he subsequently recaptured the Chow city of Taitsung, the district cities of Quinsan and Wukiang, and the provincial city of Soochow; that this year he has recaptured Thsing and Piaoyang, driven back the rebels who had broken out from Yanchow, and recaptured the Fu city of Changchow, for which services we have at various times decreed him honours. He has now arranged the affairs of the Ever-Victorious Force in an admirable manner. His services are of long standing, and the benefits arising from them are abiding ; he has throughout behaved as a gallant soldier, and shown himself to have duly appreciated the importance of friendly relations between Chinese and foreigners, and we therefore decree that in addition to his present honours he be honoured with the Yellow Jacket and peacock's feathers, and that four Titu's full-dress uniforms be presented him as a mark of the affection and honour with which he is regarded. Respect this.” In a letter written home at the time the recipent of these honours said characteristically : “Some of the buttons on the mandarin hats are very valuable. I am sorry for it, as they cannot afford it over well. It is, at any rate, very civil of them.” During the campaign Gordon carried only a cane, called by the Chinese his “wand of victory."

( 415 )




THE Emperor Hienfung did not long survive the establishment of formal intercourse with the foreign Governments. While his brother, Prince Kung, was engaged in the delicate task of arranging the affairs of the Tsungli Yamen, and the still more difficult operation of showing that China had abandoned all intention of lagging behind the rest of the world, the Emperor himself continued to remain at Jehol, whither he had fled in the first moment of alarm on the approach of the foreign armies to Yuen Min Yuen. He refused to so much as return to Pekin, and to witness the presence of those Europeans who detracted, as he considered, from his dignity. Had it been possible, there is no question that he would have sought a remedy for the evil by commanding the removal of the capital; but the transfer of the Imperial residence to any city in the south was not only at that particular moment impossible on account of the rebellion, but always to be deprecated on dynastic grounds as tending to destroy the individual character of the Tartar regime. For a moment there seemed an inclination to entertain the idea that Jehol itself might be transformed into a capital, but this hope, if it was ever seriously cherished, had to be abandoned as chimerical. Hienfung's absence affected the prosperity of the Pekinese ; it could not deprive their city of its natural position as the northern metropolis.

The following facts should be recollected in connection with the first diplomatic relations of China with foreign

Powers. The Tsungli Yamen, or board of foreign affairs, was formed in January, 1861. On the 22nd of March in the same year Mr. Bruce left Tientsin to take up his residence at Pekin with Mr. Thomas Wade as Secretary of Legation. The quarters of the English ministry had been fixed at the palace of the Duke of Leang, a scion of the Imperial family (Leang. kung-foo). This building is let “in perpetuity” to the English authorities for 1500 taels a year. Soon after their instalment a staff of six student interpreters was brought out from England.

Hienfung showed his personal dislike to the new arrangement in more ways than by absenting himself from the

apital. He collected round his person the most bigoted men of his court and family. He preferred those who had learnt nothing from recent events, and who, without even the courage of resistance, wished to claim undiminished privilege and superiority. Prominent among his closest friends was Tsai, Prince of I, who had taken so discreditable a part in the incidents that had culminated at Tungchow and Chanchiawan. With him were associated several members of the Imperial family, men of passion and prejudice. They undoubtedly meditated the recovery, at the earliest possible moment, of what they considered to be their right. No respect of treaties would restrain them from reasserting, as soon as they believed they had the power, claims which the Emperor had by treaty surrendered. The hopeful anticipation of the arrival of that time formed the one source of solace at Jehol, and the still youthful ruler easily allowed himself to forget, in the midst of his sycophants, the brother who was making such laudable efforts to maintain the dignity of the Empire in the eyes of the foreigners, and at the same time to restore domestic peace to his distracted country. The protracted residence of the Emperor at Jehol was a circumstance that could not have been permanently tolerated. It was deprecated as much by the numerous members of the Imperial family as by the citizens of Pekin. These enjoyed a regular allowance from the Palace. The continued absence of the Emperor interfered with its receipt, and reduced them to great want. It meant practically an abnegation of authority.

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The conduct of official intercourse went on in the most amicable manner between Mr. Bruce and the other foreign representatives on the one hand, and Prince Kung, assisted by his able coadjutor the Manchu Wansiang, on the other. The utmost that Hienfung himself would do was to listen to all the information he could procure about the English and their country, but the study was so far calculated to increase his fear and distrust, for he rose from it with the one conviction impressed on his mind that "the English were always at war, or preparing to go to war with some one." While the relations at the capital were becoming more and more cordial, -the Chinese ruler himself was disposed to brood over his injuries and to allow his suspicions to become intensified. In this he was encouraged by men like Prince Tsai, who could only hope for prominence by alienating the Emperor from the cause of progress as represented by Prince Kung. Their success was by no means inconsiderable, but the ill-health of Hienfung interfered with and ultimately thwarted their plans.

The English Minister had not been installed in his residence more than a fortnight when there came rumours of the serious illness of the Emperor. It was given out in a curious document that his doctors had declared his case to be hopeless, and that, even if he promptly abandoned some pernicious habits which he had contracted, he could not hope to live beyond a period of six months. All the available evidence went to show that, having moreover such little inducement to do so, he did not change his mode of life, but the greatest reticence was observed with regard to all his movements and his state of health. The summer months passed away without any decisive intelligence as to what was happening at Jehol, although rumours as to the gravity of Hienfung's complaint became so plentiful that a statement was even circulated and believed that his death had actually taken place. A comet appeared in the sky and was visible for several weeks, strengthening the belief of the superstitious in a coming change, and inclining men to believe more readily the statement that the great Emperor was about to go the long journey.

“When beggars die there are no comets seen,

The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.” VOL. II.

2 E

In August Prince Kung hastened to Jehol, the object of his journey, and indeed the journey itself, being kept the closest secret. The members of the Tsungli Yamen were observed to be preoccupied, and even the genial Wansiang could not conceal that they were passing through a crisis. Not merely was Hienfung dying, but it had become known that he had left the governing authority during the minority of his son, a child of less than six years of age, to a Board of Regency composed of eight of the least intelligent and most arrogant and self-seeking members of the Imperial family, with Prince Tsai at their head. The Emperor died on the 22nd of August. A few hours later the Imperial Decree notifying the last wishes of the ruler as to the mode of government was promulgated. The Board of Regency assumed the nominal control of affairs, and Hienfung's son was proclaimed Emperor under the style of Chiseang ("the auspicious omen"). In all of these arrangements neither Prince Kung nor his brothers, nor the responsible ministers at the capital, had had the smallest part. It was an intrigue among certain members of the Imperial clan to possess themselves of the ruling power, and for a time it seemed as if their intrigue would be only too successful.

Nothing happened during the months of September and October to disturb their confidence, and at Pekin the routine of government continued to be performed by Prince Kung. That statesman and his colleagues employed the interval in arranging their own plan of action, and in making sure of the fidelity of a certain number of troops. Throughout these preparations Prince Kung was ably and energetically supported by his brother, Prince Chun, by his colleague, Wansiang, and by his aged father-in-law, the minister Kweiliang. When at the end of October it became known that the young Emperor was on the point of returning to Pekin, it was clear that the hour of conflict had arrived. At Jehol the Board of Regency could do little harm; but once its pretensions and legality were admitted at the capital, all the ministers would have to take their orders from it, and to resign the functions which they had retained. The issue clearly put was whether Prince Kung or Prince Tsai was to be supreme.

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