Chapter XXI - The Regency
While the suppression of the Taeping Rebellion was in progress, events of great interest and importance happened at Pekin. It will be recollected that when the allied forces approached that city in 1860, the Emperor Hienfung fled to Jehol, and kept himself aloof from all the peace negotiations which were conducted to a successful conclusion by his brother, Prince Kung. After the signature of the convention in Pekin, ratifying the Treaty of Tientsin, he refused to return to his capital; and he even seems to have hoped that he might, by asserting his imperial prerogative, transfer the capital from Pekin to Jehol, and thus evade one of the principal concessions to the foreigners. But if this was impossible, he was quite determined, for himself, to have nothing to do with them, and during the short remainder of his life he kept his court at Jehol. While his brother was engaged in meeting the difficulties of diplomacy, and in arranging the conditions of a novel situation, Hienfung, by collecting round his person the most bigoted men of his family, showed that he preferred those counselors who had learned nothing from recent events, and who would support him in his claims to undiminished superiority and inaccessibility. Prominent among the men in his confidence was Prince Tsai, who had taken so discreditable a part in the arrest of Parkes and his companions at Tungchow, and among his other advisers were several inexperienced and impetuous members of the Manchu family. They were all agreed in the policy of recovering, at the earliest possible moment, what they considered to be the natural and prescriptive right of the occupant of the Dragon Throne to treat all other potentates as in no degree equal to himself. No respect for treaties would have deterred them from reasserting what had solemnly been signed away, and the permanent success of the faction at Jehol would have entailed, within a comparatively short period, the outbreak of another foreign war. But the continued residence of the emperor at Jehol was not popular, with either his own family or the inhabitants of Pekin. The members of the Manchu clan, who received a regular allowance during the emperor's residence at Pekin, were reduced to the greatest straits, and even to the verge of starvation, while the Chinese naturally resented the attempt to remove the capital to any other place. This abnegation of authority by Hienfung, for his absence meant nothing short of that, could not have been prolonged indefinitely, for a Chinese emperor has many religious and secular duties to perform which no one else can discharge, and which, if not discharged, would reduce the office of emperor to a nonentity. Prince Tsai and his associates had no difficulty in working upon the fears of this prince, who held the most exalted idea of his own majesty, at the same time that he had not the power or knowledge to vindicate it.
While such were the views prevailing in the imperial circle at Jehol, arrangements were in progress for the taking up of his residence at Pekin of the British minister. After Lord Elgin's departure, his brother, Sir Frederick Bruce, who was knighted for his share in the negotiations, was appointed first occupant of the post of minister in the Chinese capital, and on March 22, 1861, he left Tientsin for Pekin. Mr. Wade accompanied Sir Frederick as principal secretary, and the staff included six student interpreters, whose ranks, constantly recruited, have given many able men to the public service. Before Sir Frederick reached the capital, the Chinese minister had taken a step to facilitate the transaction of business with the foreign representatives. Prince Kung--and the credit of the measure belongs exclusively to him--will always be gratefully remembered by any foreign writer on modern China as the founder of the department known as the Tsungli Yamen, which he instituted in January, 1861. This department, since its institution, has very fully answered all the expectations formed of it; and, although it is erroneous to represent it as in any sense identical with the Chinese government, or as the originating source of Chinese policy, it has proved a convenient and well- managed vehicle for the dispatch of international business. Prince Kung became its first president, and acted in that capacity until his fall from power in 1884.
Before long, reports began to be spread of the serious illness of the emperor. In August Prince Kung hastened to Jehol, the object of his journey being kept secret. The members of the Tsungli Yamen were observed by the foreign officials to be pre-occupied, 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 to Prince Kung and his friends 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 August 22. 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. 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, for they remained at Jehol, 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. But the conspirators could not keep the young emperor at Jehol indefinitely, and when, at the end of October, it became known that he 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 main issue was whether Prince Kung or Prince Tsai was to be supreme. On November 1 the young emperor entered his capital in state. A large number of soldiers, still dressed in their white mourning, accompanied their sovereign from Jehol; but Shengpao's garrison was infinitely more numerous, and thoroughly loyal to the cause of Prince Kung. The majority of the regents had arrived with the reigning prince; those who had not yet come were on the road, escorting the dead body of Hienfung toward its resting-place. If a blow was to be struck at all now was the time to strike it. The regents had not merely placed themselves in the power of their opponent, but they had actually brought with them the young emperor, without whose person Prince Kung could have accomplished little. Prince Kung had spared no effort to secure, and had fortunately succeeded in obtaining, the assistance and co-operation of the Empress Dowager, Hienfung's principal widow, named Tsi An. Her assent had been obtained to the proposed plot before the arrival in Pekin, and it now only remained to carry it out. On the day following the entry into the capital, Prince Kung hastened to the palace, and, producing before the astonished regents an Imperial Edict ordering their dismissal, he asked them whether they obeyed the decree of their sovereign, or whether he must call in his soldiers to compel them. Prince Tsai and his companions had no choice save to signify their acquiescence in what they could not prevent; but, on leaving the chamber in which this scene took place, they hastened toward the emperor's apartment in order to remonstrate against their dismissal, or to obtain from him some counter-edict reinstating them in their positions. They were prevented from carrying out their purpose, but this proof of contumacy sealed their fate. They were promptly arrested, and a second decree was issued ordering their degradation from their official and hereditary rank. To Prince Kung and his allies was intrusted the charge of trying and punishing the offenders.
The next step was the proclamation of a new regency, composed of the two empresses, Tsi An, principal widow of Hienfung, and Tsi Thsi, mother of the young emperor. Two precedents for the administration being intrusted to an empress were easily found by the Hanlin doctors during the Ming dynasty, when the Emperors Chitsong and Wanleh were minors. Special edicts were issued and arrangements made for the transaction of business during the continuance of the regency, and as neither of the empresses knew Manchu, it was specially provided that papers and documents, which were always presented in that language, should be translated into Chinese. Concurrently with these measures for the settlement of the regency happened the closing scenes in the drama of conspiracy which began so successfully at Jehol and ended so dramatically at Pekin. For complete success and security it was necessary that all the ringleaders should be captured, and some of them were still free. The bravest, if not the ablest, of the late Board of Regency, Sushuen, remained at large. He had been charged with the high and honorable duty of escorting the remains of Hienfung to the capital. It was most important that he should be seized before he became aware of the fate that had befallen his colleagues. Prince Chun volunteered to capture the last, and in a sense the most formidable, of the intriguers himself, and on the very day that the events described happened at Pekin he rode out of the capital at the head of a body of Tartar cavalry. On the following night Prince Chun reached the spot where he was encamped, and, breaking into the house, arrested him while in bed. Sushuen did not restrain his indignation, and betrayed the ulterior plans entertained by himself and his associates by declaring that Prince Chun had been only just in time to prevent a similar fate befalling himself. He was at once placed on his trial with the other prisoners, and on November 10 the order was given in the emperor's name for their execution. Sushuen was executed on the public ground set apart for that purpose; but to the others, as a special favor from their connection with the imperial family, was sent the silken cord, with which they were permitted to put an end to their existence. In the fate of Prince Tsai may be seen a well merited retribution for his treachery and cruelty to Sir Harry Parkes and his companions.
Another important step which had to be taken was the alteration of the style given to the young emperor's reign. It was felt to be impolitic that the deposed ministers should retain any connection whatever in history with the young ruler. Were Hienfung's son to be handed down to posterity as Chiseang there would be no possibility of excluding their names and their brief and feverish ambition from the national annals. After due deliberation, therefore, the name of Tungche was substituted for that of Chiseang, and meaning, as it does, "the union of law and order," it will be allowed that the name was selected with some proper regard for the circumstances of the occasion. Prince Kung was rewarded with many high offices and sounding titles in addition to the post of chief minister under the two empresses. He was made president of the Imperial Clan Court in the room of Prince Tsai, and the title of Iching Wang, or Prince Minister, was conferred upon him. His stanch friends and supporters, Wansiang, Paukwen, and Kweiliang, were appointed to the Supreme Council. Prince Chun, to whose skill and bravery in arresting Sushuen Prince Kung felt very much indebted, was also rewarded. With these incidents closed what might have proved a grave and perilous complication for the Chinese government. Had Prince Kung prematurely revealed his plans there is every reason to suppose that he would have alarmed and forewarned his rivals, and that they, with the person of the emperor in their possession, would have obtained the advantage. His patience during the two months of doubt and anxiety while the emperor remained at Jehol was matched by the vigor and promptitude that he displayed on the eventful 2d of November. That his success was beneficial to his country will not be disputed by any one, and Prince Kung's name must be permanently remembered both for having commenced, and for having insured the continuance of, diplomatic relations with England and the other foreign powers.
The increased intercourse with Europeans not merely led to greater diplomatic confidence and to the extension of trade, but it also induced many foreigners to offer their services and assistance to the Pekin government, during the embarrassment arising from internal dissension. At first these persons were, as has been seen, encouraged and employed more in consequence of local opinion in the treaty-ports than as a matter of State policy. But already the suggestion had been brought forward in more than one form for the employment of foreigners, with the view of increasing the resources of the government by calling in the assistance of the very agency which had reduced them. A precedent had been established for this at an earlier period--before, in fact, the commencement of hostilities--by the appointment of Mr. Horatio N. Lay to direct and assist the local authorities in the collection of customs in the Shanghai district. Mr. Lay's experience had proved most useful in drawing up the tariff of the Treaty of Tientsin, and his assistance had been suitably acknowledged. In 1862, when the advantages to be derived from the military experience of foreigners had been practically recognized by the appointment of Europeans to command a portion of the army of China, and in pursuance of a suggestion made by the present Sir Robert Hart in the previous year, it was thought desirable for many reasons that something should also be done to increase the naval resources of the empire, and Mr. Lay was intrusted with a commission for purchasing and collecting in Europe a fleet of gunboats of small draught, which could be usefully employed for all the purposes of the Pekin government on the rivers and shallow estuaries of the country. Mr. Lay, who undertook the commission, said, "This force was intended for the protection of the treaty-ports, for the suppression of piracy then rife, and for the relief of this country from the burden of 'policing' the Chinese waters"; but its first use in the eyes of Prince Kung was to be employed against the rebels and their European supporters of whom Burgevine was the most prominent. Captain Sherard Osborn, a distinguished English naval officer, was associated with Mr. Lay in the undertaking. An Order of Council was issued on August 30, 1862, empowering both of these officers to act in the matter as delegates of the Chinese. Captain Osborn and Mr. Lay came to England to collect the vessels of this fleet, and the former afterward returned with them to China in the capacity of their commodore. The transaction was not well managed from the very commencement. Mr. Lay wrote in August, 1862, to say that he had chosen as the national ensign of the Chinese navy "a green flag, bearing a yellow diagonal cross," and he wrote again to request that an official notification should appear in the "Gazette." Had his request been complied with, there would have been very strong reason for assuming that the English government was prepared to support and facilitate every scheme for forcing the Chinese to accept and submit to the exact method of progress approved of and desired by the European servants of their government, without their taking any part in the transaction save to ratify terms that might be harsh and exorbitant. Fortunately, the instinctive caution of our Foreign Office was not laid aside on this occasion. Mr. Lay was informed that no notice could appear in the "London Gazette" except after the approval of the Pekin authorities had been expressed; and Prince Kung wrote, on October 22, to say that the Chinese ensign would be of "yellow ground, and on it will be designed a dragon with his head toward the upper part of the flag." Mr. Lay preceded the vessels--seven gunboats and one store-ship--and arrived at Pekin in May, 1863.
Prince Kung had been most anxious for the speedy arrival of the flotilla; and the doubtful fortune of the campaign in Kiangsu, where the gunboats would have been invaluable, rendered him extremely desirous that they should commence active operations immediately on arrival. But he found, in the first place, that Mr. Lay was not prepared to accept the appointment of a Chinese official as joint-commander, and in the second place, that he would not receive orders from any of the provincial authorities. Such a decision was manifestly attended with the greatest inconvenience to China; for only the provincial authorities knew what the interests of the State demanded, and where the fleet might co-operate with advantage in the attacks on the Taepings. Unless Captain Osborn were to act on the orders of Tsen Kwofan, and particularly of Li Hung Chang, it was difficult to see of what possible use he or his flotilla could be to China. The founders of the new Chinese navy claimed practically all the privileges of an ally, and declined the duties devolving on them as directing a department of the Chinese administration. Of course, it was more convenient and more dignified for the foreign officers to draw their instructions and their salaries direct from the fountain-head; but if the flotilla was not to be of any practical use to China it might just as well never have been created. The fleet arrived in safety, but remained inactive. The whole summer and autumn of 1863, with its critical state of affairs round Soochow, passed away without anything being done to show what a powerful auxiliary Mr. Lay's ships might be. The ultimate success of those operations without the smallest co-operation on the part of Captain Osborn or his flotilla virtually sealed its fate. In October, Wansiang, in the name of the Foreign Office, declared that the Chinese could not recognize or ratify the private arrangement between Mr. Lay and his naval officer, and that it was essential for Captain Osborn to submit to receive his instructions from the provincial authorities. In the following month Mr. Lay was summarily dismissed from the Chinese service, and it was determined, after some delay and various counter suggestions, to send back the ships to Europe, there to be disposed of. The radical fault in the whole arrangement had been Mr. Lay's wanting to take upon himself the responsibility not merely of Inspector-General of Customs, but also of supreme adviser on all matters connected with foreign questions. The Chinese themselves were to take quite a subordinate part in their realization, and were to be treated, in short, as if they did not know how to manage their own affairs. Mr. Lay's dreams were suddenly dispelled, and his philanthropic schemes fell to the ground. Neither Prince Kung nor his colleagues had any intention to pave the way for their own effacement.
After Mr. Lay's departure the Maritime Customs were placed under the control of Mr. Robert Hart, who had acted during Mr. Lay's absence in Europe. This appointment was accompanied by the transfer of the official residence from Pekin to Shanghai, which was attended with much practical advantage. Already the customs revenue had risen to three millions, and trade was steadily expanding as the rebels were gradually driven back, and as the Yangtsekiang and the coasts became safer for navigation. Numerous schemes were suggested for the opening up of China by railways and the telegraph; but they all very soon ended in nothing, for the simple reason that the Chinese did not want them. They were more sincere and energetic in their adoption of military improvements.
The anxieties of Prince Kung on the subject of the dynasty, and with regard to the undue pretensions and expectations of the foreign officials who looked on the Chinese merely as the instruments of their self- aggrandizement, were further increased during this period by the depredations of the Nienfei rebels in the province of Shantung. During these operations Sankolinsin died, leaving Tseng Kwofan in undisputed possession of the first place among Chinese officials. Sankolinsin, when retreating after a reverse, was treacherously murdered by some villagers whose hospitality he had claimed.
The events of this introductory period may be appropriately concluded with the strange stroke of misfortune that befell Prince Kung in the spring of 1865, and which seemed to show that he had indulged some views of personal ambition. The affair had probably a secret history, but if so the truth is hardly likely to be ever known. The known facts were as follows: On April 2, 1865, there appeared an edict degrading the prince in the name of the two regent-empresses. The charge made against him was of having grown arrogant and assumed privileges to which he had no right. He was at first "diligent and circumspect," but he has now become disposed "to overrate his own importance." In consequence, he was deprived of all his appointments and dismissed from the scene of public affairs. Five weeks after his fall, however, Prince Kung was reinstated, on May 8, in all his offices, with the exception of that of President of the Council. This episode, which might have produced grave complications, closed with a return to almost the precise state of things previously existing. There was one important difference. The two empresses had asserted their predominance. Prince Kung had hoped to be supreme, and to rule uncontrolled. From this time forth he was content to be their minister and adviser, on terms similar to those that would have applied to any other official.
The year 1865, which witnessed this very interesting event in the history of the Chinese government, beheld before its close the departure of Sir Frederick Bruce from Pekin, and the appointment of Sir Rutherford Alcock, who had been the first British minister to Japan during the critical period of the introduction of foreign intercourse with that country, to fill the post of Resident Minister at Pekin. Sir Rutherford Alcock then found the opportunity to put in practice some of the honorable sentiments to which he had given expression twenty years before at Shanghai. When Sir Rutherford left Yeddo for Pekin, the post of Minister in Japan was conferred on Sir Harry Parkes, who had been acting as consul at Shanghai since the conclusion of the war. The relations between the countries were gradually settling down on a satisfactory basis, and the appointment of a Supreme Court for China and Japan at Shanghai, with Sir Edmund Hornby as Chief Judge, promised to enforce obedience to the law among even the unsettled adventurers of different, nationalities left by the conclusion of the Taeping Rebellion and the cessation of piracy without a profitable pursuit.
While the events which have been set forth were happening in the heart of China, other misfortunes had befallen the executive in the more remote quarters of the realm, but resulting none the less in the loss and ruin of provinces, and in the subversion of the emperor's authority. Two great uprisings of the people occurred in opposite directions, both commencing while the Taeping Rebellion was in full force, and continuing to disturb the country for many years after its suppression. The one had for its scene the great southwestern province of Yunnan; the other the two provinces of the northwest, Shensi and Kansuh, and extending thence westward to the Pamir. They resembled each other in one point, and that was that they were instigated and sustained by the Mohammedan population alone. The Panthays and the Tungani were either indigenous tribes or foreign immigrants who had adopted or imported the tenets of Islam. Their sympathies with the Pekin government were probably never very great, but they were impelled in both cases to revolt more by local tyranny than by any distinct desire to cast off the authority of the Chinese; but, of course, the obvious embarrassment of the central executive encouraged by simplifying the task of rebellion. The Panthay rising calls for description in the first place, because it began at an earlier period than the other, and also because the details have been preserved with greater fidelity. Mohammedanism is believed to have been introduced into Yunnan in or about the year 1275, and it made most progress among the so-called aboriginal tribes, the Lolos and the Mantzu. The officials were mostly Chinese or Tartars, and, left practically free from control, they more often abused their power than sought to employ it for the benefit of the people they governed. In the very first year of Hienfung's reign (1851) a petition reached the capital from a Mohammedan land proprietor in Yunnan named Ma Wenchu, accusing the emperor's officials of the gravest crimes, and praying that "a just and honest man" might be sent to redress the wrongs of an injured and long-suffering people. The petition was carefully read and favorably considered at the capital; but beyond a gracious answer the emperor was at the time powerless to apply a remedy to the evil. Four years passed away without any open manifestation of the deep discontent smoldering below the surface. But in 1855 the Chinese and the Mohammedan laborers quarreled in one of the principal mines of the province, which is covered with mines of gold, iron, and copper. It seems that the greater success of the Mohammedans in the uncertain pursuit of mining had roused the displeasure of the Chinese. Disputes ensued, in which the Mussulmans added success in combat to success in mineing; and the official appointed to superintend the mines, instead of remaining with a view to the restoration of order, sought his personal safety by precipitate flight to the town of Yunnan. During his absence the Chinese population raised a levy en masse, attacked the Mohammedans who had gained a momentary triumph, and compelled them by sheer weight of numbers to beat a hasty retreat to their own homes in a different part of the province. This success was the signal for a general outcry against the Mohammedans, who had long been the object of the secret ill-will of the other inhabitants. Massacres took place in several parts of Yunnan, and the followers of the Prophet had to flee for their lives.
Among those who were slain during these popular disorders was a young chief named Ma Sucheng; and when the news of his murder reached his native village, his younger brother, Ma Sien, who had just received a small military command, declared his intention to avenge him, and fled to join the Mohammedan fugitives in the mountains. In this secure retreat they rallied their forces, and, driven to desperation by the promptings of want, they left their fastnesses with the view of regaining what they had lost. In this they succeeded better than they could have hoped for. The Chinese population experienced in their turn the bitterness of defeat; and the mandarins had the less difficulty in concluding a temporary understanding between the exhausted combatants. Tranquillity was restored, and the miners resumed their occupations. But the peace was deceptive, and in a little time the struggle was renewed with increased fury. In this emergency the idea occurred to some of the officials that an easy and efficacious remedy of the difficulty in which they found themselves would be provided by the massacre of the whole Mussulman population. In this plot the foremost part was taken by Hwang Chung, an official who bitterly hated the Mohammedans. He succeeded in obtaining the acquiescence of all his colleagues with the exception of the viceroy of the province, who exposed the iniquity of the design, but who, destitute of all support, was powerless to prevent its execution. At the least he resolved to save his honor and reputation by committing suicide, and he and his wife were found one morning hanging up in the hall of the yamen. His death simplified the execution of the project which his refusal might possibly have prevented. May 19, 1856, was the date fixed for the celebration of this Chinese St. Bartholomew. But the secret had not been well kept. The Mohammedans, whether warned or suspicious, distrusted the authorities and their neighbors, and stood vigilantly on their guard. At this time they looked chiefly to a high priest named Ma Tesing for guidance and instruction. But although on the alert, they were after all, taken to some extent by surprise, and many of them were massacred after a more or less unavailing resistance. But if many of the Mussulmans were slain, the survivors were inspired with a desperation which the mandarins had never contemplated. From one end of Yunnan to the other the Mohammedans, in face of great personal peril, rose by a common and spontaneous impulse, and the Chinese population was compelled to take a hasty refuge in the towns. At Talifoo, where the Mohammedans formed a considerable portion of the population, the most desperate fighting occurred, and after three days' carnage the Mussulmans, under Tu Wensiu, were left in possession of the city. The rebels did not remain without leaders, whom they willingly recognized and obeyed; for the kwanshihs, or chiefs, who had accepted titles of authority from the Chinese, cast off their allegiance and placed themselves at the head of the popular movement. The priest Ma Tesing was raised to the highest post of all as Dictator, but Tu Wensiu admitted no higher authority than his own within the walls of Talifoo. Ma Tesing had performed the pilgrimage to Mecca, he had resided at Constantinople for two years, and his reputation for knowledge and saintliness stood highest among his co-religionists.
While Ma Tesing exercised the supremacy due to his age and attainments, the young chief Ma Sien led the rebels in the field. His energy was most conspicuous, and in the year 1858 he thought he was sufficiently strong to make an attack upon the city of Yunnan itself. His attack was baffled by the resolute defense of an officer named Lin Tzuchin, who had shown great courage as a partisan leader against the insurgents before he was intrusted with the defense of the provincial capital. Ma Sien was compelled to beat a retreat, and to devote himself to the organization of the many thousand Ijen or Lolos recruits who signified their attachment to his cause. For the successful defense of Yunnan Lin was made a Titu, and gradually collected into his own hands such authority as still remained to the emperor's lieutenants. On both sides preparations were made for the renewal of the struggle, but before the year 1858 ended Ma Sien met with a second repulse at the town of Linan. The year 1859 was not marked by any event of signal importance, although the balance of success inclined on the whole to the Mussulmans. But in the following year the Mohammedans drew up a large force, computed to exceed 50,000 men, round Yunnanfoo, to which they laid vigorous siege. The imperialists were taken at a disadvantage, and the large number of people who had fled for shelter into the town rendered the small store of provisions less sufficient for a protracted defense. Yunnanfoo was on the point of surrender when an event occurred which not merely relieved it from its predicament, but altered the whole complexion of the struggle. The garrison had made up its mind to yield. Even the brave Lin had accepted the inevitable, and begun to negotiate with the two rebel leaders, Ma Sien and the priest Ma Tesing. Those chiefs, with victory in their grasp, manifested an unexpected and surprising moderation. Instead of demanding from Lin a complete and unconditional surrender, they began to discuss with him what terms could be agreed upon for the cessation of the war and the restoration of tranquillity to the province. At first it was thought that these propositions concealed some intended treachery, but their sincerity was placed beyond dispute by the suicide of the mandarin Hwang Chung, who had first instigated the people to massacre their Mohammedan brethren. The terms of peace were promptly arranged, and a request was forwarded to Pekin for the ratification of a convention concluded under the pressure of necessity with some of the rebel leaders. The better to conceal the fact that this arrangement had been made with the principal leader of the disaffected, Ma Sien changed his name to Ma Julung, and received the rank of general in the Chinese service; while the high priest accepted as his share the not inconsiderable pension of two hundred taels a month. It is impossible to divine the true reasons which actuated these instigators of rebellion in their decision to go over to the side of the government. They probably thought that they had done sufficient to secure all practical advantages, and that any persistence in hostilities would only result in the increased misery and impoverishment of the province. Powerful as they were, there were other Mohammedan leaders seeking to acquire the supreme position among their co-religionists; and foremost among these was Tu Wensiu, who had reduced the whole of Western Yunnan to his sway, and reigned at Talifoo. The Mohammedan cause, important as it was, did not afford scope for the ambitions of two such men as Ma Julung and Tu Wensiu. The former availed himself of the favorable opportunity to settle this difficulty in a practical and, as he shrewdly anticipated, the most profitable manner for himself personally, by giving in his adhesion to the government.
This important defection did not bring in its train any certainty of tranquillity. Incited by the example of their leaders, every petty officer and chief thought himself deserving of the highest honors, and resolved to fight for his own hand. Ma Julung left Yunnanfoo for the purpose of seizing a neighboring town which had revolted, and during his absence one of his lieutenants seized the capital, murdered the viceroy, and threatened to plunder the inhabitants. Ma Julung was summoned to return in hot haste, and as a temporary expedient the priest Ma Tesing was elected viceroy. When Ma Julung returned with his army he had to lay siege to Yunnanfoo, and although he promptly effected an entrance into the city, it took five days' hard fighting in the streets before the force in occupation was expelled. The insurgent officer was captured, exposed to the public gaze for one month in an iron cage, and then executed in a cruel manner. Ma Tesing was deposed from the elevated position which he had held for so short a time, and a new Chinese viceroy arrived from Kweichow. The year 1863 opened with the first active operations against Tu Wensiu, who, during these years of disorder in Central Yunnan, had been governing the western districts with some prudence. It would have been better if they had not been undertaken, for they only resulted in the defeat of the detachments sent by Ma Julung to engage the despot of Talifoo. Force having failed, they had recourse to diplomacy, and Ma Tesing was sent to sound Tu Wensiu as to whether he would not imitate their example and make his peace with the authorities. These overtures were rejected with disdain, and Tu Wensiu proclaimed his intention of holding out to the last, and refused to recognize the wisdom or the necessity of coming to terms with the government. The embarrassment of Ma Julung and the Yunnan officials, already sufficiently acute, was at this conjuncture further aggravated by an outbreak in their rear among the Miaotze and some other mountain tribes in the province of Kweichow. To the difficulty of coping with a strongly placed enemy in front was thus added that of maintaining communications through a hostile and difficult region. A third independent party had also come into existence in Yunnan, where an ex-Chinese official named Liang Shihmei had set up his own authority at Linan, mainly, it was said, through jealousy of the Mohammedans taken into the service of the government. The greatest difficulty of all was to reconcile the pretensions of the different commanders, for the Chinese officials, and the Futai Tsen Yuying in particular, regarded Ma Julung with no friendly eye. With the year 1867, both sides having collected their strength, more active operations were commenced, and Ma Julung proceeded in person, at the head of the best troops he could collect, to engage Tu Wensiu. It was at this time that the imperialists adopted the red flag as their standard in contradistinction to the white flag of the insurgents. A desultory campaign ensued, but although Ma Julung evinced both courage and capacity, the result was on the whole unfavorable to him; and he had to retreat to the capital, where events of some importance had occurred during his absence in the field. The viceroy, who had been stanchly attached to Ma Julung, died suddenly and under such circumstances as to suggest a suspicion of foul play; and Tsen Yuying had by virtue of his rank of Futai assumed the temporary discharge of his duties. The retreat of Ma Julung left the insurgents free to follow up their successes; and, in the course of 1868, the authority of the emperor had disappeared from every part of the province except the prefectural city of Yunnanfoo. This bad fortune led the Mussulmans who had followed the advice and fortunes of Ma Julung to consider whether it would not be wise to rejoin their co-religionists, and to at once finish the contest by the destruction of the government. Had Ma Julung wavered in his fidelity for a moment they would have all joined the standard of Tu Wensiu, and the rule of the Sultan of Talifoo would have been established from one end of Yunnan to the other; but he stood firm and arrested the movement in a summary manner.
Tu Wensiu, having established the security of his communications with Burmah, whence he obtained supplies of arms and munitions of war, devoted his efforts to the capture of Yunnanfoo, which he completely invested. The garrison was reduced to the lowest straits before Tsen Yuying resolved to come to the aid of his distressed colleague. The loss of the prefectural town would not merely entail serious consequences to the imperialist cause, but he felt it would personally compromise him as the Futai at Pekin. In the early part of 1869, therefore, he threw himself into the town with three thousand men, and the forces of Tu Wensiu found themselves obliged to withdraw from the eastern side of the city. A long period of inaction followed, but during this time the most important events happened with regard to the ultimate result. Ma Julung employed all his artifice and arguments to show the rebel chiefs the utter hopelessness of their succeeding against the whole power of the Chinese empire, which, from the suppression of the Taeping Rebellion, would soon be able to be employed against them. They felt the force of his representations, and they were also oppressed by a sense of the slow progress they had made toward the capture of Yunnanfoo. Some months after Tsen Yuying's arrival, those of the rebels who were encamped to the north of the city hoisted the red flag and gave in their adhesion to the government. Then Ma Julung resumed active operations against the other rebels, and obtained several small successes. A wound received during one of the skirmishes put an end to his activity, and the campaign resumed its desultory character. But Ma Julung's illness had other unfortunate consequences; for during it Tsen Yuying broke faith with those of the rebel leaders who had come over, and put them all to a cruel death. The natural consequence of this foolish and ferocious act was that the Mohammedans again reverted to their desperate resolve to stand firmly by the side of Tu Wensiu. The war again passed into a more active phase. Ma Julung had recovered from his wounds. A new viceroy, and a man of some energy, was sent from Pekin. Lin Yuchow had attracted the notice of Tseng Kwofan among those of his native province who had responded to his appeal to defend Hoonan against the Taepings sixteen years before; and shortly before the death of the last viceroy of Yunnan, he had been made Governor of Kweichow. To the same patron at Pekin he now owed his elevation to the viceroyalty. It is said that he had lost the energy which once characterized him; but he brought with him several thousand Hoonan braves, whose courage and military experience made them invaluable auxiliaries to the embarrassed authorities in Yunnan. In the course of the year 1870 most of the towns in the south and the north of Yunnan were recovered, and communications were reopened with Szchuen. As soon as the inhabitants perceived that the government had recovered its strength, they hastened to express their joy at the change by repudiating the white flag which Tu Wensiu had compelled them to adopt. The imperialists even to the last increased the difficulty of their work of pacification by exhibiting a relentless cruelty; and while the inhabitants thought to secure their safety by a speedy surrender, the Mussulmans were rendered more desperate in their resolve to resist. The chances of a Mohammedan success were steadily diminishing when Yang Yuko, a mandarin of some military capacity, who had begun his career in the most approved manner as a rebel, succeeded in capturing the whole of the salt-producing district which had been the main source of their strength. In the year 1872 all the preliminary arrangements were made for attacking Talifoo itself. A supply of rifles had been received from Canton or Shanghai, and a few pieces of artillery had also arrived. With these improved weapons the troops of Ma Julung and Tsen Yuying enjoyed a distinct advantage over the rebels of Talifoo. The horrors of war were at this point increased by those of pestilence, for the plague broke out at Puerh on the southern frontier, and, before it disappeared, devastated the whole of the province, completing the effect of the civil war, and ruining the few districts which had escaped from its ravages. The direct command of the siege operations at Talifoo was intrusted to Yang Yuko, a hunchback general, who had obtained a reputation for invincibility; and when Tsen Yuying had completed his own operations he also proceeded to the camp before the Mohammedan capital for the purpose of taking part in the crowning operation of the war.
Tu Wensiu and the garrison of Talifoo, although driven to desperation, could not discover any issue from their difficulties. They were reduced to the last stage of destitution, and starvation stared them in the face. In this extremity Tu Wensiu, although there was every reason to believe that the imperialists would not fulfill their pledges, and that surrender simply meant yielding to a cruel death, resolved to open negotiations with Yang Yuko for giving up the town. The emperor's generals signified their desire for the speedy termination of the siege, at the same time expressing acquiescence in the general proposition of the garrison being admitted to terms. Although the Futai and Yang Yuko had promptly come to the mutual understanding to celebrate the fall of Talifoo by a wholesale massacre, they expressed their intention to spare the other rebels on the surrender of Tu Wensiu for execution and on the payment of an indemnity. The terms were accepted, although the more experienced of the rebels warned their comrades that they would not be complied with. On January 15, 1873, Tu Wensiu, the original of the mythical Sultan Suliman, the fame of whose power reached England, and who had been an object of the solicitude of the Indian government, accepted the decision of his craven followers as expressing the will of Heaven, and gave himself up for execution. He attired himself in his best and choicest garments, and seated himself in the yellow palanquin which he had adopted as one of the few marks of royal state that his opportunities allowed him to secure. Accompanied by the men who had negotiated the surrender, he drove through the streets, receiving for the last time the homage of his people, and out beyond the gates to Yang Yuko's camp. Those who saw the cortege marveled at the calm indifference of the fallen despot. He seemed to have as little fear of his fate as consciousness of his surroundings. The truth soon became evident. He had baffled his enemies by taking slow poison. Before he reached the presence of the Futai, who had wished to gloat over the possession of his prisoner, the opium had done its work, and Tu Wensiu was no more. It seemed but an inadequate triumph to sever the head from the dead body, and to send it preserved in honey as the proof of victory to Pekin. Four days after Tu Wensiu's death, the imperialists were in complete possession of the town, and a week later they had taken all their measures for the execution of the fell plan upon which they had decided. A great feast was given for the celebration of the convention, and the most important of the Mohammedan commanders, including those who had negotiated the truce, were present. At a given signal they were attacked and murdered by soldiers concealed in the gallery for the purpose, while six cannon shots announced to the soldiery that the hour had arrived for them to break loose on the defenseless townspeople. The scenes that followed are stated to have surpassed description. It was computed that 30,000 men alone perished after the fall of the old Panthay capital, and the Futai sent to Yunnanfoo twenty-four large baskets full of human ears, as well as the heads of the seventeen chiefs.
With the capture of Talifoo the great Mohammedan rebellion in the southwest, to which the Burmese gave the name of Panthay, closed, after a desultory struggle of nearly eighteen years. The war was conducted with exceptional ferocity on both sides, and witnessed more than the usual amount of falseness and breach of faith common to Oriental struggles. Nobody benefited by the contest, and the prosperity of Yunnan, which at one time had been far from inconsiderable, sank to the lowest possible point. A new class of officials came to the front during this period of disorder, and fidelity was a sufficient passport to a certain rank. Ma Julung, the Marshal Ma of European travelers, gained a still higher station; and notwithstanding the jealousy of his colleagues, acquired practical supremacy in the province. The high priest, Ma Tesing, who may be considered as the prime instigator of the movement, was executed or poisoned in 1874 at the instigation of some of the Chinese officials. Yang Yuko, the most successful of all the generals, only enjoyed a brief tenure of power. It was said that he was dissatisfied with his position as commander-in-chief, and aspired to a higher rank. He also was summoned to Pekin, but never got further than Shanghai, where he died, or was removed. But although quiet gradually descended upon this part of China, it was long before prosperity followed in its train.
About six years after the first mutterings of discontent among the Mohammedans in the southwest, disturbances occurred in the northwest provinces of Shensi and Kansuh, where there had been many thousand followers of Islam since an early period of Chinese history. They were generally obedient subjects and sedulous cultivators of the soil; but they were always liable to sudden ebullitions of fanaticism or of turbulence, and it was said that during the later years of his reign Keen Lung had meditated a wholesale execution of the male population above the age of fifteen. The threat, if ever made, was never carried out, but the report suffices to show the extent to which danger was apprehended from the Tungan population. The true origin of the great outbreak in 1862 in Shensi seems to have been a quarrel between the Chinese and the Mohammedan militia as to their share of the spoil derived from the defeat and overthrow of a brigand leader. After some bloodshed, two imperial commissioners were sent from Pekin to restore order. The principal Mohammedan leader formed a plot to murder the commissioners, and on their arrival he rushed into their presence and slew one of them with his own hand. His co-religionists deplored the rash act, and voluntarily seized and surrendered him for the purpose of undergoing a cruel death. But although he was torn to pieces, that fact did not satisfy the outraged dignity of the emperor. A command was issued in Tungche's name to the effect that all those who persisted in following the creed of Islam should perish by the sword. From Shensi the outbreak spread into the adjoining province of Kansuh; and the local garrisons were vanquished in a pitched battle at Tara Ussu, beyond the regular frontier. The insurgents did not succeed, however, in taking any of the larger towns of Shensi, and after threatening with capture the once famous city of Singan, they were gradually expelled from that province. The Mohammedan rebellion within the limits of China proper would not, therefore, have possessed more than local importance but for the fact that it encouraged a similar outbreak in the country further west, and that it resulted in the severance of the Central Asian provinces from China for a period of many years.
The uprising of the Mohammedans in the frontier provinces appealed to the secret fears as well as to the longings of the Tungan settlers and soldiers in all the towns and military stations between Souchow and Kashgar. The sense of a common peril, more perhaps than the desire to attain the same object, led to revolts at Hami, Barkul, Urumtsi, and Turfan, towns which formed a group of industrious communities half-way between the prosperous districts of Kansuh on the one side and Kashgar on the other. The Tungani at these towns revolted under the leading of their priests, and imitated the example of their co-religionists within the settled borders of China by murdering all who did not accept their creed. After a brief interval, which we may attribute to the greatness of the distance, to the vigilance of the Chinese garrison, or to the apathy of the population, the movement spread to the three towns immediately west of Turfan, Karashar, Kucha, and Aksu, where it came into contact with, and was stopped by, another insurrectionary movement under Mohammedan, but totally distinct, auspices. West of Aksu the Tungan rebellion never extended south of the Tian Shan range. The defection of the Tungani, who had formed a large proportion, if not the majority, of the Chinese garrisons, paralyzed the strength of the Celestials in Central Asia. Both in the districts dependent on Ili, and in those ruled from Kashgar and Yarkand, the Chinese were beset by many great and permanent difficulties. They were with united strength a minority, and now that they were divided among themselves almost a hopeless minority. The peoples they governed were fanatical, false, and fickle. The ruler of Khokand and the refugees living on his bounty were always on the alert to take the most advantage of the least slip or act of weakness on the part of the governing classes. Their machinations had been hitherto baffled, but never before had so favorable an opportunity presented itself for attaining their wishes as when it became known that the whole Mohammedan population was up in arms against the emperor, and that communications were severed between Kashgar and Pekin. The attempts made at earlier periods on the part of the members of the old ruling family in Kashgar to regain their own by expelling the Chinese have been described. In 1857 Wali Khan, one of the sons of Jehangir, had succeeded in gaining temporary possession of the city of Kashgar, and seemed for a moment to be likely to capture Yarkand also. He fell by his vices. The people soon detested the presence of the man to whom they had accorded a too hasty welcome. After a rule of four months he fled the country, vanquished in the field by the Chinese garrison, and followed by the execrations of the population he had come to deliver. The invasion of Wali Khan further imbittered the relations between the Chinese and their subjects; and a succession of governors bore heavily on the Mohammedans. Popular dissatisfaction and the apprehension in the minds of the governing officials that their lives might be forfeited at any moment to a popular outbreak added to the dangers of the situation in Kashgar itself, when the news arrived of the Tungan revolt, and of the many other complications which hampered the action of the Pekin ruler. We cannot narrate here the details of the rebellion in Kashgar. Its influence on the history of China would not sanction such close exactitude. But in the year 1863 the Chinese officials had become so alarmed at their isolated position that they resolved to adopt the desperate expedient of massacring all the Mohammedans or Tungani in their own garrisons. The amban and his officers were divided in council and dilatory in execution. The Tungani heard of the plot while the governor was summoning the nerve to carry it out. They resolved to anticipate him. The Mohammedans at Yarkand, the largest and most important garrison in the country, rose in August, 1863, and massacred all the Buddhist Chinese. Seven thousand men are computed to have fallen. A small band fled to the citadel, which they held for a short time; but at length, overwhelmed by numbers, they preferred death to dishonor, and destroyed themselves by exploding the fort with the magazine. The defection of the Tungani thus lost Kashgaria for the Chinese, as the other garrisons and towns promptly followed the example of Yarkand; but they could not keep it for themselves. The spectacle of this internal dissension proved irresistible for the adventurers of Khokand, and Buzurg, the last surviving son of Jehangir, resolved to make another bid for power and for the recovery of the position for which his father and kinsmen had striven in vain. The wish might possibly have been no more attained than theirs, had he not secured the support of the most capable soldier in Khokand, Mahomed Yakoob, the defender of Ak Musjid against the Russians. It was not until the early part of the year 1865 that this Khoja pretender, with his small body of Khokandian officers and a considerable number of Kirghiz allies, appeared upon the scene. Then, however, their success was rapid. The Tungan revolt in Altyshahr resolved itself into a movement for the restoration of the Khoja dynasty. In a short time Buzurg was established as ruler, while his energetic lieutenant was employed in the task of crushing the few remaining Chinese garrisons, and also in cowing his Tungan allies, who already regarded their new ruler with a doubtful eye. By the month of September in the same year that witnessed the passage of the invading force through the Terek defile, the triumph of the Khoja's arms was assured. A few weeks later Mahomed Yakoob deposed his master, and caused himself to be proclaimed ruler in his stead. The voice of the people ratified the success of the man; and in 1866 Mahomed Yakoob, or Yakoob Beg, received at the hands of the Ameer of Bokhara the proud title of Athalik Ghazi, by which he was long known. The Mohammedan rising spread still further within the limits of Chinese authority in Central Asia.
While the events which have been briefly sketched were happening in the region south of the great Tian Shan range, others of not less importance had taken place in Ili or Kuldja, which, under Chinese rule, had enjoyed uninterrupted peace for a century. It was this fact which marked the essential difference between the Tungan rebellion and all the disturbances that had preceded it. The revolution in the metropolitan province was complicated by the presence of different races, just as it had been in Kashgaria by the pretensions of the Khoja family. A large portion of the population consisted of those Tarantchis who were the descendants of the Kashgarians deported on more than one occasion by the Chinese from their own homes to the banks of the Ili; and they had inherited a legacy of ill- will against their rulers which only required the opportunity to display itself. The Tungan--or Dungan, as the Russians spell it--element was also very strong, and colonies of the Sobo and Solon tribes, who had been emancipated from their subjection to the Mongols by the Emperor Kanghi for their bravery, further added to the variety of the nationalities dwelling in this province. It had been said with some truth that the Chinese ruled in this quarter of their dominions on the old principle of commanding by the division of the subjected; and it had been predicted that they would fall whenever any two of the dependent populations combined against them. There is little difficulty in showing that the misfortunes of the Chinese were due to their own faults. They neglected the plainest military precautions, and the mandarins thought only of enriching themselves. But the principal cause of the destruction of their power was the cessation of the supplies which they used to receive from Pekin. The government of these dependencies was only possible by an annual gift from the imperial treasury. When the funds placed at the disposal of the Ili authorities were diverted to other uses, it was no longer possible to maintain the old efficiency of the service. Discontent was provided with a stronger argument at the same time that the executive found itself embarrassed in grappling with it.
The news of the Mohammedan outbreak in China warned the Tungani in Ili that their opportunity had come. But although there were disturbances as early as January, 1863, these were suppressed, and the vigilance of the authorities sufficed to keep things quiet for another year. Their subsequent incapacity, or hesitation to strike a prompt blow, enabled the Mohammedans to husband their resources and to complete their plans. A temporary alliance was concluded between the Tungani and the Tarantchis, and they hastened to attack the Chinese troops and officials. The year 1865 was marked by the progress of a sanguinary struggle, during which the Chinese lost their principal towns, and some of their garrisons were ruthlessly slaughtered after surrender. The usual scenes of civil war followed. When the Chinese were completely vanquished and their garrisons exterminated, the victors quarreled among themselves. The Tungani and the Tarantchis met in mortal encounter, and the former were vanquished and their chief slain. When they renewed the contest, some months later, they were, after another sanguinary struggle, again overthrown. The Tarantchis then ruled the state by themselves, but the example they set of native rule was, to say the least, not encouraging. One chief after another was deposed and murdered. The same year witnessed no fewer than five leaders in the supreme place of power; and when Abul Oghlan assumed the title of Sultan the cup of their iniquities was already full. In the year 1871 an end was at last put to these enormities by the occupation of the province by a Russian force, and the installation of a Russian governor. Although it is probable that they were only induced to take this step by the fear that if they did not do so Yakoob Beg would, the fact remains that the Russian government did a good thing in the cause of order by interfering for the restoration of tranquillity in the valley of the Ili.
The Mohammedan outbreaks in southwestern and northwestern China resulted, therefore, in the gradual suppression of the Panthay rebellion, which was completed in the twelfth year of Tungche's reign, while the Tungan rising, so far as the Central Asian territories were concerned, remained unquelled for a longer period. The latter led to the establishment of an independent Tungan confederacy beyond Kansuh, and also of the kingdom of Kashgaria ruled by Yakoob Beg. The revolt in Ili, after several alternations of fortune, resulted in the brief independence of the Tarantchis, who were in turn displaced by the Russians under a pledge of restoring the province to the Chinese whenever they should return. Judged by the extent of territory involved, the Mohammedan rebellion might be said to be not less important than the Taeping; but the comparison on that ground alone would be really delusive, as the numerical inferiority of the Mohammedans rendered it always a question only of time for the central power to be restored.
The young Emperor Tungche, therefore, grew up amid continual difficulties, although the successes of his principal lieutenants afforded good reason to believe that, so far as they arose from rebels, it was only a question of time before they would be finally removed. The foreign intercourse still gave cause for much anxiety, although there was no apprehension of war. It would have been unreasonable to suppose that the relations between the foreign merchants and residents and the Chinese could become, after the suspicion and dangers of generations, absolutely cordial. The commercial and missionary bodies, into which the foreign community was naturally divided, had objects of trade or religion to advance, which rendered them apt to take an unfavorable view of the progress made by the Chinese government in the paths of civilization, and to be ever skeptical even of its good faith. The main object with the foreign diplomatic representatives became not more to obtain justice for their countrymen than to restrain their eagerness, and to confine their pretensions to the rights conceded by the treaties. A clear distinction had to be drawn between undue coercion of the Chinese government on the one hand, and the effectual compulsion of the people to evince respect toward foreigners and to comply with the obligations of the treaty on the other. Instances repeatedly occurred in reference to the latter matter, when it would have been foolish to have shown weakness, especially as there was not the least room to suppose that the government possessed at that time the power and the capacity to secure reparation for, or to prevent the repetition of, attacks on foreigners. Under this category came the riot at Yangchow in the year 1868, when some missionaries had their houses burned down, and were otherwise maltreated. A similar outrage was perpetrated in Formosa; but the fullest redress was always tendered as soon as the executive realized that the European representatives attached importance to the occurrence. The recurrence of these local dangers and disputes served to bring more clearly than ever before the minds of the Chinese ministers the advisability of taking some step on their own part toward an understanding with European governments and peoples. The proposal to depute a Chinese embassador to the West could hardly be said to be new, seeing that it had been projected after the Treaty of Nankin, and that the minister Keying had manifested some desire to be the first mandarin to serve in that novel capacity. But when the Tsungli Yamen took up the question it was decided that in this as in other matters it would be expedient to avail themselves in the first place of foreign mediation. The favorable opportunity of doing so presented itself when Mr. Burlinghame retired from his post as minister of the United States at Pekin. In the winter of 1867-68 Mr. Burlinghame accepted an appointment as accredited representative of the Chinese government to eleven of the principal countries of the world, and two Chinese mandarins and a certain number of Chinese students were appointed to accompany him on his tour. The Chinese themselves did not attach as much importance as they might have done to his efforts, and Mr. Burlinghame's mission will be remembered more as an educational process for foreigners than as signifying any decided change in Chinese policy. His death at St. Petersburg, in March, 1870, put a sudden and unexpected close to his tour, but it cannot be said that he could have done more toward the elucidation of Chinese questions than he had already accomplished, while his bold and optimistic statements, after awakening public attention, had already begun to produce the inevitable reaction.
In 1869 Sir Rutherford Alcock retired, and was succeeded in the difficult post of English representative in China by Mr. Thomas Wade, whose services have been more than once referred to. In the very first year of his holding the post an event occurred which cast all the minor aggressive acts that had preceded it into the shade. It may perhaps be surmised that this was the Tientsin massacre--an event which threatened to re-open the whole of the China question, and which brought France and China to the verge of war. It was in June, 1870, on the eve of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, that the foreign settlements were startled by the report of a great popular outbreak against foreigners in the important town of Tientsin. At that city there was a large and energetic colony of Roman Catholic priests, and their success in the task of conversion, small as it might be held, was still sufficient to excite the ire and fears of the literary and official classes. The origin of mob violence is ever difficult to discover, for a trifle suffices to set it in motion. But at Tientsin specific charges of the most horrible and, it need not be said, the most baseless character were spread about as to the cruelties and evil practices of those devoted to the service of religion. These rumors were diligently circulated, and it need not cause wonder if, when the mere cry of "Fanquai"--Foreign Devil--sufficed to raise a disturbance, these allegations resulted in a vigorous agitation against the missionaries, who were already the mark of popular execration. It was well known beforehand that an attack on the missionaries would take place unless the authorities adopted very efficient measures of protection. The foreign residents and the consulates were warned of the coming outburst, and a very heavy responsibility will always rest on those who might, by the display of greater vigor, have prevented the unfortunate occurrences that ensued. At the same time, allowing for the prejudices of the Chinese, it must be allowed that not only must the efforts of all foreign missionaries be attended with the gravest peril, but that the acts of the French priests and nuns at Tientsin were, if not indiscreet, at least peculiarly calculated to arouse the anger and offend the superstitious predilections of the Chinese. That the wrong was not altogether on the side of the Chinese may be gathered from an official dispatch of the United States Minister, describing the originating causes of the outrage: "At many of the principal places in China open to foreign residence, the Sisters of Charity have established institutions, each of which appears to combine in itself a foundling hospital and orphan asylum. Finding that the Chinese were averse to placing children in their charge, the managers of these institutions offered a certain sum per head for all the children placed under their control, to be given to them; it being understood that a child once in their asylum no parent, relative, or guardian could claim or exercise any control over it. It has for some time been asserted by the Chinese, and believed by most of the non-Catholic foreigners residing here, that the system of paying bounties induced the kidnaping of children for these institutions for the sake of the reward. It is also asserted that the priests or sisters, or both, have been in the habit of holding out inducements to have children brought to them in the last stages of illness for the purpose of being baptized in articulo mortis. In this way many children have been taken to these establishments in the last stages of disease, baptized there, and soon after taken away dead. All these acts, together with the secrecy and seclusion which appear to be a part and parcel of the regulations which govern institutions of this character everywhere, have created suspicions in the minds of the Chinese, and these suspicions have engendered an intense hatred against the sisters."
At that time Chung How, the superintendent of trade for the three northern ports, was the principal official in Tientsin; but although some representations, not as forcible however as the occasion demanded, were made to him by M. Fontanier, the French Consul, on June 18, three days before the massacre, no reply was given and no precautions were taken. On the 21st a large crowd assembled outside the mission house. They very soon assumed an attitude of hostility, and it was clear that at any moment the attack might begin. M. Fontanier hastened off in person to Chung How, but his threats seem to have been as unavailing as his arguments. On his return he found the attack on the point of commencing. He made use of menaces, and he fired a shot from his revolver, whether in self-defense or in the heat of indignation at some official treachery will never be known. The mob turned upon him, and he was murdered. The Chinese then hastened to complete the work they had begun. Chung How, like Surajah Dowlah, was not to be disturbed, and the attack on the mission house and consulate proceeded, while the officials responsible for order remained inactive. Twenty-one foreigners in all were brutally murdered under circumstances of the greatest barbarity, while the number of native converts who fell at the same time can never be ascertained.
The Tientsin massacre was followed by a wave of anti-foreign feeling over the whole country; but although an official brought out a work--entitled "Death-blow to Corrupt Doctrine"--which obtained more than a passing notoriety, and notwithstanding that some members of the imperial family, and notably, as it was stated, Prince Chun, regarded the movement with favor, the arguments of Prince Kung and the more moderate ministers carried the day, and it was resolved to make every concession in the power of the government for the pacific settlement of the dispute that had arisen with France. The outbreak of the war between France and Germany, while it contributed to a peaceful settlement of the question, rendered the process of diplomacy slow and dubious. The Tsungli Yamen, as soon as it realized that nothing short of the dispatch of a mission of apology to Europe would salve the injured honor of France, determined that none other than Chung How himself should go to Paris to assure the French that the government deplored the popular ebullition and had taken no part in it. The untoward result of the great war for France embarrassed her action in China. Chung How's assurances were accepted, the proffered compensation was received; but the Chinese were informed that in recognition of France's moderation, and in return for the reception of their envoy by M. Thiers, the right of audience should be conceded to the French minister resident at Pekin. The Audience Question naturally aroused the greatest interest at Pekin, where it agitated the official mind not merely because it signified another concession to force, but also because it promised to produce a disturbing effect on the mind of the people. The young emperor was growing up, and might be expected to take a direct share in the administration at an early date. It was not an idle apprehension that filled the minds of his ministers lest he might lay the blame on them for having cast upon him the obligation of receiving ministers of foreign States in a manner such as they had never before been allowed to appear in the presence of the occupant of the Dragon Throne. The youth of the sovereign served to postpone the question for a short space of time, but it was no longer doubtful that the assumption of personal authority by the young Emperor Tungche would be accompanied by the reintroduction, and probably by the settlement, of the Audience Question. It was typical of the progress Chinese statesmen were making that none of them seemed to consider the possibility of distinctly refusing this privilege. Its concession was only postponed until after the celebration of the young emperor's marriage.
It had been known for some time that the young ruler had fixed his affections on Ahluta, a Manchu lady of good family, daughter of Duke Chung, and that the empresses had decided that she was worthy of the high rank to which she was to be raised. The marriage ceremony was deferred on more than one plea until after the emperor had reached his sixteenth birthday, but in October, 1872, there was thought to be no longer any excuse for postponement, and it was celebrated with great splendor on the 16th of that month. The arrangements were made in strict accordance with the precedent of the Emperor Kanghi's marriage in 1674, that ruler having also married when in occupation of the throne, and before he had attained his majority. It was stated that the ceremonial was imposing, that the incidental expenses were enormous, and that the people were very favorably impressed by the demeanor of their young sovereign. Four months after the celebration of his marriage the formal act of conferring upon Tungche the personal control of his dominions was performed. In a special decree issued from the Board of Rites the emperor said that he had received "the commands of their majesties the two empresses to assume the superintendence of business." This edict was directed to the Foreign Ministers, who in return presented a collective request to be received in audience. Prince Kung was requested "to take his Imperial Majesty's orders with reference to their reception." The question being thus brought to a crucial point, it was not unnatural that the Chinese ministers should make the most vigorous resistance they could to those details which seemed to and did encroach upon the prerogative of the emperor as he had been accustomed to exercise it. For, in the first place, they were no longer free agents, and Tungche had himself to be considered in any arrangement for the reception of foreign envoys. The discussion of the question assumed a controversial character, in which stress was laid on the one side upon the necessity of the kotow even in a modified form, while on the other it was pointed out that the least concession was as objectionable as the greatest, and that China would benefit by the complete settlement of the question. It says a great deal for the fairness and moderation of Prince Kung and the ministers with him that, although they knew that the foreign governments were not prepared to make the Audience Question one of war, or even of the suspension of diplomatic relations, they determined to settle the matter in the way most distasteful to themselves and most agreeable to foreigners. On June 29, 1873, Tungche received in audience the ministers of the principal powers at Pekin, and thus gave completeness to the many rights and concessions obtained from his father and grandfather by the treaties of Tientsin and Nankin. The privilege thus secured caused lively gratification in the minds of all foreign residents, to whom it signified the great surrender of the inherent right to superiority claimed by the Chinese emperors, and we have recently seen that it has been accepted as a precedent.
The sudden death of Tseng Kwofan in the summer of 1873 removed unquestionably the foremost public man in China. After the fall of Nankin he had occupied the highest posts in the empire, both at that city and in the metropolis. He was not merely powerful from his own position, but from his having placed his friends and dependents in many of the principal offices throughout the empire. At first prejudiced against foreigners, he had gradually brought himself to recognize that some advantage might be derived from their knowledge. But the change came at too late a period to admit of his conferring any distinct benefit on his country from the more liberal policy he felt disposed to pursue with regard to the training of Chinese youths in the science and learning of the West. It was said that had he been personally ambitious he might have succeeded in displacing the Tartar regime. But such a thought never assumed any practical shape in his mind, and to the end of his days Tseng Kwofan was satisfied to remain the steadfast supporter and adherent of the Manchus. In this respect ho has been closely imitated by his most distinguished lieutenant, Li Hung Chang, who succeeded to some of his dignities and much of his power.
Another of Tseng's proteges, Tso Tsung Tang, had been raised from the viceroyalty of Chekiang and Fuhkien to that of Shensi and Kansuh. The promotion was of the more doubtful value, seeing that both those provinces were in the actual possession of the rebels; but Tso threw himself into the task of reconquering them with remarkable energy, and within two years of his arrival he was able to report that he had cleared the province of Shensi of all insurgents. He then devoted his attention to the pacification of Kansuh; and after many desultory engagements proceeded to lay siege to the town of Souchow, where the Mohammedans had massed their strength. At the end of the year 1872 the imperial army was drawn up in front of this place, but Tso does not seem to have considered himself strong enough to deliver an attack, and confined his operations to preventing the introduction of supplies and fresh troops into the town. Even in this he was only partially successful, as a considerable body of men made their way in, in January, 1873. In the following month he succeeded in capturing, by a night attack, a temple outside the walls, upon which the Mohammedans placed considerable value. The siege continued during the whole of the summer, and it was not until the month of October that the garrison was reduced to such extremities as to surrender. The chiefs were hacked to pieces, and about four thousand men perished by the sword. The women, children, and old men were spared, and the spoil of the place was handed over to the soldiery. It was Tso's distinctive merit that, far from being carried away by these successes, he neglected no military precaution, and devoted his main efforts to the reorganization of the province. In that operation he may be left employed for the brief remainder of Tungche's reign; but it may be said that in 1874 the campaign against Kashgaria had been fully decided upon. A thousand Manchu cavalry were sent to Souchow. Sheepskins, horses, and ammunition in large quantities were also dispatched to the far west, and General Kinshun, the Manchu general, was intrusted with the command of the army in the field.
The year 1874 witnessed an event that claims notice. There never has been much good will between China and her neighbors in Japan. The latter are too independent in their bearing to please the advocates of Chinese predominance, at the same time that their insular position has left them safe from the attack of the Pekin government. The attempt made by the Mongol, Kublai Khan, to subdue these islanders had been too disastrous to invite repetition. In Corea the pretensions of the ruler of Yeddo had been repelled, if not crushed; but wherever the sea intervened the advantage rested more or less decisively with him. The island of Formosa is dependent upon China, and the western districts are governed by officials duly appointed by the Viceroy of Fuhkien. But the eastern half of the island, separated from the cultivated districts by a range of mountains covered with dense if not impenetrable forests, is held by tribes who own no one's authority, and who act as they deem fit. In the year 1868 or 1869 a junk from Loochoo was wrecked on this coast, and the crew were murdered by the islanders. The civil war in Japan prevented any prompt claim for reparation, but in 1873 the affair was revived, and a demand made at Pekin for compensation. The demand was refused, whereupon the Japanese, taking the law into their own hands, sent an expedition to Formosa. China replied with a counter-demonstration, and war seemed inevitable. In this crisis Mr. Wade offered his good services in the interests of peace, and after considerable controversy he succeeded in bringing the two governments to reason. The Chinese paid an indemnity of half a million taels, and the Japanese evacuated the island.
In all countries governed by an absolute sovereign it is as interesting as it is difficult to obtain some accurate knowledge of the character of the autocrat. A most important change had been effected in the government of China, yet it is impossible to discover what its precise significance was, or to say how far it influenced the fortunes of the country. The empresses had retired into private life, and for a time their regency came to an end. Prince Kung was only the minister of a young prince who had it in his power to guide affairs exactly as he might feel personally disposed. Prince Kung might be either the real governor of the state or only the courtier of his nephew. It depended solely on that prince's character. There were not wanting signs that Tungche had the consciousness, if not the capacity, of supreme power, and that he wished his will to be paramount. Such evidence as was obtainable agreed in stating that he was impatient of restraint, and that the prudent reflections of his uncle were not overmuch to his fancy. On September 10 the young ruler took the world into his confidence by announcing in a Vermilion Edict that he had degraded Prince Kung and his son in their hereditary rank as princes of the empire, for using "language in very many respects unbecoming." Whether Tungche took this very decided step in a moment of pique or because he perceived that there was a plan among his chief relatives to keep him in leading-strings, must remain a matter of opinion. At the least he must have refused to personally retract what he had done, for on the very following day (September 11) a decree appeared from the two empresses reinstating Prince Kung and his son in their hereditary rank and dignity, and thus reasserting the power of the ex-regents.
Not long after this disturbance in the interior of the palace, of which only the ripple reached the surface of publicity, there were rumors that the emperor's health was in a precarious state, and in the month of December it became known that Tungche was seriously ill with an attack of smallpox. The disease seemed to be making satisfactory progress, for the doctors were rewarded; but on December 18 an edict appeared ordering or requesting the empresses dowager to assume the personal charge of the administration. Six days later another edict appeared which strengthened the impression that the emperor was making good progress toward recovery. But appearances were deceptive, for, after several weeks' uncertainty, it became known that the emperor's death was inevitable. On January 12, 1875, Tungche "ascended upon the Dragon, to be a guest on high," without leaving any offspring to succeed him. There were rumors that his illness was only a plausible excuse, and that he was really the victim of foul play; but it is not likely that the truth on that point will ever be revealed. Whether he was the victim of an intrigue similar to that which had marked his accession to power, or whether he only died from the neglect or incompetence of his medical attendants, the consequences were equally favorable to the personal views of the two empresses and Prince Kung. They resumed the exercise of that supreme authority which they had resigned little more than twelve months. The most suspicious circumstance in connection with this event was the treatment of the young Empress Ahluta, who, it was well known, was pregnant at the time of her husband's death. Instead of waiting to decide as to the succession until it was known whether Tungche's posthumous child would prove to be a son or a daughter, the empresses dowager hastened to make another selection and to place the young widow of the deceased sovereign in a state of honorable confinement. Their motive was plain. Had Ahluta's child happened to be a son, he would have been the legal emperor, as well as the heir by direct descent, and she herself could not have been excluded from a prominent share in the government. To the empresses dowager one child on the throne mattered no more than another; but it was a question of the first importance that Ahluta should be set on one side. In such an atmosphere there is often grievous peril to the lives of inconvenient personages. Ahluta sickened and died. Her child was never born. The charitable gave her credit for having refused food through grief for her husband, Tungche. The skeptical listened to the details of her illness with scorn for the vain efforts to obscure the dark deeds of ambition. In their extreme anxiety to realize their own designs, and at the same time not to injure the constitution, the two empresses had been obliged to resort to a plan that could only have been suggested by desperation. For the first time since the Manchu dynasty occupied the throne it was necessary to depart from the due line of succession, and to make the election of the sovereign a matter of individual fancy or favor instead of one of inheritance. The range of choice was limited; for the son of Prince Kung himself, who seemed to enjoy the prior right to the throne, was a young man of sufficient age to govern for himself; and moreover his promotion would mean the compulsory retirement from public life of Prince Kung, for it was not possible in China for a father to serve under his son, until Prince Chun, the father of the present reigning emperor, established quite recently a precedent to the contrary. The name of Prince Kung's son, if mentioned at all, was only mentioned to be dismissed. The choice of the empresses fell upon Tsai Tien, the son of Prince Chun or the Seventh Prince, who on January 13 was proclaimed emperor. As he was of too tender an age to rule for himself, his nomination served the purposes of the two empresses and their ally, Prince Kung, who thus entered upon a second lease of undisputed power.