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ties. The scenery and climate of the Chusan Archipelago reminded Mr. Oliphant of a former yachting experience among the sunny Grecian isles.
Although the treaty of Nankin secured the right to her Majesty's representative in China to correspond direct with the highest imperial authority in the empire, the prime minister Yu, to whom the communications conveyed to Soo-chow had been addressed, did not condescend to reply to them, but he instructed the authorities of the Two Kiangs to enjoin the mission to return to Canton, where barbarian affairs would be duly arranged! Whereupon Lord Elgin returned the letter, appealed to the treaty, and announced his intention of proceeding forthwith to the Peiho, in order to place himself in more direct communication with the high officers of the imperial government at the capital. The mission having strengthened itself, with the aid of the French, as much as possible, started on the 10th of April. It was favoured with lovely weather up
the Yellow Sea, met with some difficulties in rounding the mountainous cape of Shantung, and on the 14th was ploughing the muddy waters of the Gulf of Pecheli.
Operations were commenced on arriving off the Peiho, by sending the Slaney across the bar to capture a few empty junks, into which the Cor. morant could discharge her coal and other dead weight, previous to trying the experiment of crossing. Three forts were made
out on the south, and two on the north bank of the river. Innumerable banners fluttered from the parapets and embrasures, waving defiance. The spring tides, however, went by, and Lord Elgin was obliged to await the arrival of the admirals with a larger force of light-draught gun-boats, a delay which, according to Mr. Oliphant, prevented an immediate and direct intercourse with the emperor, and brought about all subsequent inconveniences. But this does not appear to be a logical deduction, for the same opposition would have been, in all probability, offered to the approach to Pekin in April as occurred in May. There is no doubt, however, that this delay, and the subsequent vacillation in regard to hostile movements, enabled the Chinese to strengthen their position materially.
At length, on the 19th of May, six gun-boats went dancing merrily over the bar, and as steadily approached the descendants of the soldiers of Genghis Khan. That day, however, they came to anchor out of range, and the next there was a parley and an ultimatum. No answer being vouchsafed, however, at ten A.M. the ships began to take up their respective positions. The signal was made, and the Cormorant dashed off at the bamboo barrier, her men lying flat on the deck. Nor was it long before the fire of three forts opened upon her. Regardless of this proceeding, she burst the barrier, and then concentrating her fire on the northern forts, silenced them completely in about eighteen minutes. The Fusée and Mitraille came up too late to participate in the bombardment. The Nimrod also for some time engaged the southern forts single handed, till the Avalanche and Dragonne came up to her support. The admirals, followed by their fleet of gun-boats, then passed up, the storming parties were landed, and, as there were but a few yards of mud to be crossed, the men were in the embrasures at once. The Chinese were totally unprepared for such a proceeding, whereas, in the late unfortunate attack, not only was the distance in mud to be crossed much greater, but the garrison
were, doubtless, fully prepared for a landing. "We saw,” says Mr. Oliphant, who was on the maintop of the Nimrod, “ the leading bluejacket jump into the battery; an instantaneous panic spread itself like lightning along the line of batteries at our feet, and in the sauve qui peut' which followed, some amusing scenes occurred, as Jack, at the top of his speed, dodged and chased the terrified soldiers, who, with outstretched arms and nimble legs, scattered in every direction.” We wonder if this blue-jacket was rewarded, as the French marine was who first pulled the tricolor flag from his breeches-pocket at the assault of Lin's Fort? A sad gloom was cast over the triumph by the explosion of a powder magazine, which killed or injured upwards of forty French sailors and marines. The forts were found to be well and solidly constructed of stone masonry, covered with earth; the guns were of great calibre and exquisite finish, many of them English; there were whole batteries of gingalls, carrying pound balls, and numbers of beautifully made rockets. It is evident that all that was wanting were men, and these were provided for in the last untoward affair.
There were still two entrenched camps on the plains to be taken, in which were not only the defeated garrison, but also a body of cavalry, and this having been gallantly accomplished by the men of the Pique, Furious, and Surprise, the first division proceeded up to Taku, which Mr. Oliphant describes as in every respect similar to a fellah village on the banks of the Nile. The body of Tehkwei, the acting commandant at the defence of the forts, was found in the " Temple of the Sea God,” close by. He had anticipated his imperial master's wrath by suicide. Most of the scenes, the heads of which are here given, are as graphically illustrated by the pencil of Mr. Bedwell as by the pen of Mr. Oliphant in the entertaining work before us.
On the 22nd the admirals proceeded up the river, Mr. Oliphant being permitted to accompany them in the Opossum. They went at first quietly along, feeling their way with no little interest and curiosity up a river not wider than the Thames at Richmond, and for the first time ploughed by a foreign keel. The poor peasants saluted them as they passed with profound and reverential obeisances. “The villagers," says Mr. Oliphant, were clearly under the impression that we were on our way to upset the dynasty. I accompanied Captain Hall and Mr. Lay to the shore, when the latter gentleman had some communication with the people. It invariably commenced, however, with a request that we should come and reign over them. • Hail, O king!' they shouted, as we approached ; 'welcome, great king! be thou our emperor ; come thou and reign over us !! "
As the gun-boats advanced they cleared out the junks, sometimes cutting their cables and sending whole fleets of them pell-mell down the river, and huge stacks of millet-straw were fired, till at times the gunboats seemed anchored in a sheet of flame. On the 26th they reached Tientsin, and as the Opossum was sent back with the news, Mr. Oliphant had the satisfaction of reporting to Lord Elgin by midnight of the same day the gratifying intelligence of the fortunate issue of the expedition. It is to be observed, that upon this, as upon other occasions, the French gun-boats were found utterly useless for performing sundry functions for which our smaller class of gun-boats are alone adapted.
Hence, during the subsequent stay at Tientsin, our gun-boats were constantly employed on the French account, bringing up supplies and provisions, and performing the entire river service of both squadrons.
The plenipotentiaries proceeded at once to Tientsin, where they were accommodated in the “ Temple of Supreme Felicity," and their slumbers were presided over by grim deities with enormous stomachs, or manyarmed goddesses with heads encircled in a blaze of golden, or rather brass, flame. After the usual delays and tergiversations, certain acts of insurrection on the part of the mob, and the suicide of Commissioner Keying, the treaty was at length signed, the breaking of which, combined with the abominable outrage on the Peiho, are the grounds of the hostile attitude assumed at the present moment by England and France towards the “ Flowery Empire."
This accomplished, Lord Elgin proceeded on his eventful expedition to Japan, upon which occasion the wondrous city of Yedo may be said to have been first laid open to an admiring public.
On Lord Elgin's return from Japan to Shanghai, an expedition of as high importance to the future trade openings in the far East as that made to Yedo, was effected up the Yang-tse-Kiang. Unfortunately, the progress of the expedition up the river having been opposed by the rebels in occupation of Nankin, this led to hostilities, by which, at all events, however much as it was to be deplored, the one party will have received as useful a lesson as the imperialists did at Ngan-king, where the progress of the expedition was once more opposed. The splendid scenery, the vast population, the boundless resources, the commercial movement upon this great river, have been before the object of our descriptions, but they were never placed in a more favourable and picturesque, as well as satisfactory light, than they are by Mr. Oliphant, and that although the expedition laboured under all the disadvantages of visiting the country when the imperialists and the rebels were alike hostile to their proceed ing, and when the disturbed state of the country affected all things in the most unfavourable manner possible.
Mr. Oliphant, remarking upon the return voyage down the Yang-tseKiang, and the opening to British enterprise and commerce presented by that river, says:
We performed the voyage from Kew-kiang to the mouth of the Shanghai river in a week. When we remember that this was at the driest season of the year, and our gun-boat drew eight feet of water, we are forced to admit the capabilities of the great river of China for purposes of navigation. When, however, steamers built expressly for the purpose begin to ply on this great channel of internal communication, they will find that their success depends not upon the depth of water but upon the nature of the competition with which they will have to contend. If river-tugs can tow flats at a cheaper rate than the Chinese can work barges upon the canals and inner waters of the country, then the Yang-tse-Kiang will become the highway for British commerce. In any other country in the world, machinery, whether applied to steam-ships or cottonmills, will beat manual labour. In China, where a man's work is not worth a farthing a day, his labour takes a higher place in competition with steam power. We have failed to substitute, to any extent in China, cotton manufactured by the hand; let us hope that, at all events, we may succeed in replacing junks by steamers. Where valuable cargocs, such as opium, are concerned, there is no doubt that steamers will be preferred to the water-conveyances of the country; but in teas and heavier cargoes the question is more problematical.
Increase of speed and the removal of monopolies are left out of sight in this quotation. Such a state of things cannot be expected to last. Manufacture by steam must ultimately beat out hand-looms wherever its products can find an easy and cheap access
, and the people would be glad to turn their industry to those more profitable openings which would be presented by the cultivation of tea, the rearing of silkworms, and other native products, and for which a readier market for disposal would be made available by the very steps that would bring them cheap manufactured goods.
The real difficulty that presents itself—for, without entering into all the details of the question, we entertain no doubts as to the expansive character of the Chinese commercial mart—is how to open that mart to its most remote ramifications. Treaties, it is manifest, are not worth the paper or parchment upon which they are written. To subjugate so vast and populous a country is utterly out of the question, besides that it would be killing the goose to obtain the golden eggs. The question, then, is, how to make a presumptuous, arrogant, exclusive, faithless, and treacherous government abide by its treaties. The tactics of shelving off responsibility and sacrificing mandarins ought not to be tolerated. Sir John Bowring has justly pointed out that even the capture of Pekin by the allies may prove rather an embarrassment than a final and satisfactory solution to the difficulty. “Winter will come-the cruel, bitter winter of northern China ; the rivers will be frozen, communications cut off; and with no war-ship in the Gulf of Pecheli, supplies must be inaccessible. Pekin may even prove another Moscow to its conquerors."
The same authority suggests the administration of the custom-house revenues in Shanghai and Canton as a means to an end; but Captain Sherard Osborn—who attributes the failure of the competition of steam manufactures against hand-looms, and the long upholding of a wavering and incompetent policy, to the extortions of mandarins and the egotism of the British mercantile community—justly remarks that, after teaching the Chinese that perfidy cannot go unpunished, that treaties must be respected, and compelling every part of China to look to its own defence, we should not only insist upon every part of the Elgin treaty being carried out in its integrity, but we should obtain indemnity for the expenses incurred by the sequestration of all imperial property. “Pitch Hong merchants and mandarins overboard,” says the gallant tar, and remove monopolies, and millions would buy and sell, and the power-loom could then enter into competition with the hand-loom. Breaking down the unrighteous walls of commercial monopoly and official jealousy; opening trade to English bottoms ; sequestrating the grain supplies to the north and other imperial property; administering for a time the customs at all open ports; seizing upon a few commanding positions, notoriously the entrance and exit of the imperial canal on the Yang-tseKiang and Chusan, at the mouth of the same river, and something may be done without much bloodshed to ensure a permanent opening and a respect for engagements. But, before all things, except to punish perfidy and treachery, it ought not to be lost sight of that all active operations north of the Yang-tse-Kiang can be of no use to the future prospects of commercial intercourse or the progress of civilisation.
THE RUSSIANS AS THEY ARE.
DRAWN BY ONE OF THEMSELVES.
It is a curious fact, that while the Russians are so touchy if any outer barbarian dare to express his doubts as to the correct working of their governmental system, whenever a Russian takes the pen in hand himself he
proves the severest critic his country can have. Gogol's satires went home, and were bitterly felt; Alexandre Herzen has also inflicted terrible wounds on the pride of the Russ; while last, but not least, Saltikow, in his descriptions of provincial life in Russia, has laid bare the ulcers which prey on the vitals of the nation. It is to the last-named work that we shall confine our attention on the present occasion, as we think that it contains much matter which must prove novel to the English reader at a period when Russian social progress is so loudly vaunted.*
The plot on which these sketches are based is simple enough: the author is supposed to be a government official in the small provincial town of Krutogorsk, where he has opportunity to survey every class of society from the highest to the lowest." Undoubtedly, however, the most interesting portion of his volumes is that devoted to the police, and we will, therefore, direct our attention more particularly to this, as Mr. Sala, in his “ Journey due North,” analysed every class of society with which he came in contact, but was fortunate enough to keep out of the clutches of the police.
At the outset, the author allows that he took money; and why should he not? Surely it is better to have an encouragement which greases the wheels of justice. Now-a-days all this has been altered: the police are bountiful in promises, but, somehow or another, business does not progress so satisfactorily. In those times, if you had lost all your money at cards you went to the captain of the district to help you, and, after scolding you, he would order you to go into some county and collect the taxes. Perhaps the czar came off rather short, but, at any rate, your children did not starve. The way in which it was arranged would be this: the peasants, after scratching their heads for a while, would depute one to ask the government official whether he could not make it convenient to wait till harvest time-of course they made it worth his whileand he would go home, say, with four hundred roubles, a very agreeable morning's work, and much more humane than locking the poor
fellows up as defaulters.
Another excellent source of revenue was to institute an inquiry, suppose about a horse theft: the rascal was plucked, and then allowed to go. In a month or two he was sure to be back ; then he was plucked again, and, at last, when he had not a feather left, why, he was sent to prison, Some moralists might consider this tampering with justice, but the real fact is, that it is the purest humanity, for as the policemen are sure to nail their man when they want him, it would be hard to deny him a little
* Skizzen ans dem Russischen Provincialleben von Saltikow. Deutsch ron A. Mecklenburg, Kaiser : Russ: Oberlehrer. Berlin: Springer. ;