The events which caused the second foreign war began to come into evidence immediately after the close of the first; and for the sake of clearness and brevity they have been left for consideration to the same chapter, although they happened while Taoukwang was emperor. After the departure of Sir Henry Pottinger, who was succeeded by Sir John Davis, and the arrival of the representatives of the other European powers, who hastened to claim the same rights and privileges as had been accorded to England, the main task to be accomplished was to practically assert the rights that had been theoretically secured, and to place the relations of the two nations on what may be called a working basis. The consulates were duly appointed, the necessary land for the foreign settlements was acquired, and the war indemnity being honorably discharged, Chusan was restored to the Chinese. With regard to the last matter there was some maneuvering of a not altogether creditable nature, and although the Chinese paid the last installment punctually to date, Chusan and Kulangsu were not evacuated for some months after the stipulated time. It was said that our hesitation in the former case was largely due to the fear that France would seize it; but this has been permanently removed by the expressed assertion of our prior right to occupy it. A far more gratifying subject is suggested by the harmony of the relations which were established in Chusan between the garrison under Sir Colin Campbell and the islanders, who expressed deep regret at the departure of the English troops. The first members of the consular staff in China were as follows: Mr. G. T. Lay was consul at Canton, Captain George Balfour at Shanghai (where, however, he was soon succeeded by Sir Rutherford Alcock), Mr. Henry Gribble at Ainoy, and Mr. Robert Thorn at Ningpo. Among the interpreters were the future Sir Thomas Wade and Sir Harry Parkes. Various difficulties presented themselves with regard to the foreign settlements, and the island of Kulangsu at Amoy had to be evacuated because its name was not mentioned in the treaty. At Canton also an attempt was made to extend the boundaries of the foreign settlement by taking advantage of a great conflagration, but in this attempt the Europeans were baffled by the superior quickness of the Chinese, who constructed their new houses in a single night. These incidents showed that the sharpness was not all on one side, and that if the Chinese were backward in conceding what might be legitimately demanded, the Europeans were not averse to snatching an advantage if they saw the chance.
The turbulence of the Canton populace, over whom the officials possessed but a nominal control, was a constant cause of disagreement and trouble. In the spring of 1846 a riot was got up by the mob on the excuse that a vane erected on the top of the flagstaff over the American Consulate interfered with the Fung Shui, or spirits of earth and air; and although it was removed to allay the excitement of the superstitious, the disturbance continued, and several personal encounters took place, in one of which a Chinese was killed. The Chinese mandarins, incited by the mob, demanded the surrender of the man who fired the shot; and that they should have made such a demand, after they had formally accepted and recognized the jurisdiction of consular courts, furnished strong evidence that they had not mastered the lessons of the late war or reconciled themselves to the provisions of the Treaty of Nankin. The fortunate arrival of Keying to "amicably regulate the commerce with foreign countries" smoothed over this difficulty, and the excitement of the Canton mob was allayed without any surrender. It was almost at this precise moment, too, that Taoukwang made the memorable admission that the Christian religion might be tolerated as one inculcating the principles of virtue. But the two pressing and practical difficulties in the foreign question were the opening of the gates of Canton and the right of foreigners to proceed beyond the limits of their factories and compounds. The Chinese wished for many reasons, perhaps even for the safety of the foreigners, to confine them to their settlements, and it might be plausibly argued that the treaty supported this construction. Of course such confinement was intolerable, and English merchants and others would not be prevented from making boating or shooting excursions in the neighborhood of the settlements. The Chinese authorities opposed these excursions, and before long a collision occurred with serious consequences. In March, 1847, a small party of Englishmen proceeded in a boat to Fatshan, a manufacturing town near Canton which has been called the Chinese Birmingham. On reaching the place symptoms of hostility were at once manifested, and the Europeans withdrew for safety to the yamen of the chief magistrate, who happened unfortunately to be away. By this time the populace had got very excited, and the Englishmen were with difficulty escorted in safety to their boat. The Chinese, however, pelted them with stones, notwithstanding the efforts of the chief officer, who had by this time returned and taken the foreigners under his protection. It was due to his great heroism that they escaped with their lives and without any serious injury.
The incident, unpleasant in itself, might have been explained away and closed without untoward consequences if Sir John Davis had not seized, as he thought, a good opportunity of procuring greater liberty and security for Englishmen at Canton. He refused to see in this affair an accident, but denounced it as an outrage, and proclaimed "that he would exact and require from the Chinese government that British subjects should be as free from molestation and insult in China as they would be in England." This demand was both unreasonable and unjust. It was impossible that the hated foreigner, or "foreign devil," as he was called, could wander about the country in absolute security when the treaty wrung from the emperor as the result of an arduous war confined him to five ports, and limited the emperor's capacity to extend protection to those places. But Sir John Davis determined to take this occasion of forcing events, so that he might compel the Chinese to afford greater liberty to his countrymen, and thus hasten the arrival of the day for the opening of the gates of Canton. On the 1st of April all the available troops at Hongkong were warned for immediate service, and on the following day the two regiments in garrison left in three steamers and escorted by one man-of-war to attack Canton. They landed at the Bogue forts, seized the batteries without opposition and spiked the guns. The Chinese troops, whether surprised or acting under orders from Keying, made no attempt at resistance. Not a shot was fired, not a man was injured among the assailants. The forts near Canton, the very batteries on the island opposite the city, were captured without a blow, and on the 3d of April, 1847, Canton again lay at the mercy of an English force. Sir John Davis then published another notice, stating that "he felt that the moderation and justice of all his former dealings with the government of China lend a perfect sanction to measures which he has been reluctantly compelled to adopt after a long course of misinterpreted forbearance," and made certain demands of the Chinese authorities which may be epitomized as follows: The City of Canton to be opened at two years' date from April 6, 1847; Englishman to be at liberty to roam for exercise or amusement in the neighborhood of the city on the one condition that they returned the same day; and some minor conditions, to which no exception could be taken. After brief consideration, and notwithstanding the clamor of the Cantonese to be led against the foreigners, Keying agreed to the English demands, although he delivered a side-thrust at the high-handed proceedings of the English officer when he said, "If a mutual tranquillity is to subsist between the Chinese and foreigners, the common feelings of mankind, as well as the just principles of Heaven, must be considered and conformed with."
Keying, by the terms of his convention with Sir John Davis, had agreed that the gates of Canton were to be opened on April 6, 1849, but the nearer that day approached the more doubtful did it appear whether the promise would be complied with, and whether, in the event of refusal, it would be wise to have recourse to compulsion. The officials on both sides were unfeignedly anxious for a pacific solution, but trade was greatly depressed in consequence of the threatening demeanor of the Canton populace. There was scarcely any doubt that the Chinese authorities did not possess the power to compel obedience on the part of the Cantonese to an order to admit Europeans into their city, and on the question being referred to Taoukwang he made an oracular reply which was interpreted as favoring the popular will. "That," he said, "to which the hearts of the people incline is that on which the decree of Heaven rests. Now the people of Kwantung are unanimous and determined that they will not have foreigners enter the city; and how can I post up everywhere my imperial order and force an opposite course on the people?" The English government was disposed to show great forbearance and refrained from opposing Taoukwang's views. But although the matter was allowed to drop, the right acquired by the convention with Keying was not surrendered; and, as Taoukwang had never formally ratified the promise of that minister, it was considered that there had been no distinct breach of faith on the part of the Chinese government. The Chinese continued to cling tenaciously to their rights, and to contest inch by inch every concession demanded by the Europeans, and sometimes they were within their written warrant in doing so. Such a case happened at Foochow shortly after the accession of Hienfung, when an attempt was made to prevent foreigners residing in that town, and after a long correspondence it was discovered that the Chinese were so far right, as the treaty specified as the place of foreign residence the _kiangkan_ or mart at the mouth of the river, and not the _ching_ or town itself. It was at this critical moment that the Chinese were attracted in large numbers by the discovery of gold in California and Australia to emigrate from China, and they showed themselves well capable by their trade organization and close union of obtaining full justice for themselves and an ample recognition of all their rights in foreign countries. The effect of this emigration on Chinese public opinion was much less than might have been expected, and the settlement of the foreign question was in no way simplified or expedited by their influence.
The position of affairs at Canton could not, by the greatest stretch of language, be pronounced satisfactory. The populace was unequivocally hostile; the officials had the greatest difficulty in making their authority respected, and the English government was divided between the desire to enforce the stipulation as to the opening of the Canton gates, and the fear lest insistence might result in a fresh and serious rupture. Sir George Bonham, who succeeded Sir John Davis, gave counsels of moderation, and when he found that some practical propositions which he made for improved intercourse were rejected he became more convinced that the question must wait for solution for a more convenient and promising occasion.
In 1852 Sir George Bonham returned to England on leave, and his place was taken by Dr. John Bowring, who had officiated for a short period as consul at Canton. His instructions were of a simple and positive character. They were "to avoid all irritating discussions with the authorities of China." He was also directed to avoid pushing arguments on doubtful points in a manner that would fetter the free action of the government; but he was, at the same time, to recollect that it was his duty to carefully watch over and insist upon the performance by the Chinese authorities of their engagements. The proper fulfillment of the latter duty necessarily involved some infringement of the former recommendation; and while the paramount consideration with the Foreign Office was to keep things quiet, it was natural that the official on the spot should think a great deal, if not altogether, of how best to obtain compliance to the fullest extent with the pledges given in the treaty and the subsequent conventions. Dr. Bowring was not an official to be deterred from expressing his opinions by fear of headquarters. He sent home his view of the situation, expressed in very clear and intelligible language. "The Pottinger treaties," he said, "inflicted a deep wound upon the pride, but by no means altered the policy, of the Chinese government.... Their purpose is now, as it ever was, not to invite, not to facilitate, but to impede and resist the access of foreigners. It must, then, ever be borne in mind, in considering the state of our relations with these regions, that the two governments have objects at heart which are diametrically opposed, except in so far that both earnestly desire to avoid all hostile action, and to make its own policy, as far as possible, subordinate to that desire." At this point a Liberal administration gave place to a Conservative; but Lord Malmesbury reiterated in stronger language the instructions of Lord Granville. "All irritating discussions with the Chinese should be avoided, and the existing good understanding must in no way be imperiled." One of Dr. Bowring's first acts was to write a letter to the viceroy expressing a desire for an interview, with the object of suggesting a settlement of pending difficulties; but the viceroy made his excuses. The meeting did not take place, and the whole question remained dormant for two years, by which time not only had Sir John Bowring been knighted and confirmed in the post of governor, but the viceroy had been superseded by the subsequently notorious Commissioner Yeh. Up to this point all Sir John Bowring's suggestions with regard to the settlement of the questions pending with the Chinese had been received with the official reply that he was to abstain from all action, and that he was not to press himself on the Canton authorities. But, in the beginning of 1854, his instructions were so far modified that Lord Clarendon wrote admitting the desirability of "free and unrestricted intercourse with the Chinese officials," and of "admission into some of the cities of China, especially Canton."
Encouraged by these admissions in favor of the views he had been advancing for some time, Sir John Bowring wrote an official letter to Commissioner Yeh inviting him to an early interview, but stating that the interview must be held within the city of Canton at the viceroy's yamen. It will be noted that what Sir John asked fell short of what Keying had promised. The opening of the gates of Canton was to have been to all Englishmen, but the English government would at this point have been satisfied if its representative had been granted admission for the purpose of direct negotiation with the Chinese authorities. To the plain question put to him Yeh returned an evasive answer. All his time was taken up with the military affairs of the province, and he absolutely ignored the proposal for holding an interview within the city. The matter had gone too far to be put on one side in this manner, and Sir John Bowring sent his secretary to overcome, if possible, the repugnance of Commissioner Yeh to the interview, and in any case to gain some information as to his objections. As the secretary could only see mandarins of very inferior rank he returned to Hongkong without acquiring any very definite information, but he learned enough to say that Yeh denied that Keying's arrangement possessed any validity. The Chinese case was that it had been allowed to drop on both sides, and the utmost concession Yeh would make was to agree to an interview at the Jinsin Packhouse outside the city walls. This proposition was declared to be inadmissible, when Yeh ironically remarked that he must consequently assume that "Sir John Bowring did not wish for an interview." It was hoped to overcome Chinese finesse with counter finesse, and Sir John Bowring hastened to Shanghai with the object of establishing direct relations with the viceroy of the Two Kiang. After complaining of the want of courtesy evinced by Yeh throughout his correspondence, he expressed the wish to negotiate with any of the other high officials of the empire. The reply of Eleang, who held this post, and who was believed to be well disposed to Europeans, did not advance matters. He had no authority, he said, in the matter, and could not interfere in what was not his concern. Commissioner Yeh was the official appointed by the emperor to conduct relations with the foreigners, and no other official could assume his functions. Sir John Bowring therefore returned to Hongkong without having effected anything by his visit to Shanghai, but at this moment the advance of the rebels to the neighborhood of Canton seemed likely to effect a diversion that might have important consequences. In a state of apprehension as to the safety of the town, Yeh applied to Sir John Bowring for assistance against the rebels, but this could not be granted, and Sir John Bowring only proceeded to Canton to superintend the preparations made for the defense of the English settlement at that place. All the consuls issued a joint proclamation declaring their intention to remain neutral. The prompt suppression of the rebellion, so far as any danger to Canton went, restored the confidence of the Chinese authorities, and they reverted to their old position on the question of the opening of the gates of Canton.
In June, 1855, Sir John Bowring returned to the subject of official interviews, and made an explicit demand for the reception if not of himself, then at least of the consul at Canton. Yeh took his time before he made any reply, and when he did send one it was to the effect that there was no precedent for an interview with a consul, and that as Sir John had refused to meet him outside the city there was an end of the matter. Mr. Harry Parkes succeeded Mr. Alcock as consul at Canton, and no inconsiderable amount of tact was required to carry on relations with officials who refused to show themselves. But the evil day of open collision could not be averted, and the antagonism caused by clashing views and interests at last broke forth on a point which would have been promptly settled, had there been direct intercourse between the English and Chinese officials.
On October 8, 1856, Mr. Parkes reported to Sir John Bowring at Hongkong the particulars of an affair which had occurred on a British-owned lorcha at Canton. The lorcha "Arrow," employed in the iron trade between Canton and the mouth of the river, commanded by an English captain, and flying the English flag, had been boarded by a party of mandarins and their followers while at anchor near the Dutch Folly. The lorcha--a Portuguese name for a fast sailing boat--had been duly registered in the office at Hongkong, and although not entitled at that precise moment to British protection, through the careless neglect to renew the license, this fact was only discovered subsequently, and was not put forward by the Chinese in justification of their action. The gravity of the affair was increased by the fact that the English flag was conspicuously displayed, and that, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the master, it was ostentatiously hauled down. The crew were carried off prisoners with the exception of two men, left at their own request to take charge of the vessel. Mr. Parkes at once sent a letter to Yeh on the subject of this "very grave insult," requesting that the captured crew of the "Arrow" should be returned to that vessel without delay, and that any charges made against them should be then examined into at the English consulate. In his reply Commissioner Yeh justified and upheld the act of his subordinates. Of the twelve men seized, he returned nine, but with regard to the three whom he detained, he declared one to be a criminal, and the others important witnesses. Not merely would he not release them, but he proceeded to justify their apprehension, while he did not condescend to so much as notice the points of the insult to the English flag, and of his having violated treaty obligations. Yeh did not attempt to offer any excuse for the proceedings taken in his name. He asserted certain things as facts which, in his opinion, it was sufficient for him to accept that they should pass current. But the evidence on which they were based was not sufficient to obtain credence in the laxest court of justice; but even if it had been conclusive it would not have justified the removal of the crew from the "Arrow" when the British flag was flying conspicuously at her mast. What, in brief, was the Chinese case? It was that one of the crew had been recognized by a man passing in a boat as one of a band of pirates who had attacked, ill-used, and plundered him several weeks before. He had forthwith gone to the Taotai of Canton, presented a demand for redress, and that officer had at once given the order for the arrest of the offender, with the result described. There is no necessity to impugn the veracity of the Chinaman's story, but it did not justify the breach of "the ex-territorial rights of preliminary consular investigation before trial" granted to all under the protection of the English flag. The plea of delay did not possess any force either, for the man could have been arrested just as well by the English consul as by the mandarins, but it would have involved a damaging admission of European authority in the matter of a Chinese subject, and the mandarins thought there was no necessity to curtail their claim to jurisdiction. Commissioner Yeh did not attempt any excuses, and he even declared that "the 'Arrow' is not a foreign lorcha, and, therefore," he said, "there is no use to enter into any discussion about her."
The question of the nationality of the "Arrow" was complicated by the fact that its registry had expired ten days before its seizure. The master explained that this omission was due to the vessel having been at sea, and that it was to have been rectified as soon as he returned to Hongkong. As Lord Clarendon pointed out, this fact was not merely unknown to the Chinese, but it was also "a matter of British regulation which would not justify seizure by the Chinese. No British lorcha would be safe if her crew were liable to seizure on these grounds." The history of the lorcha "Arrow" was officially proved to be as follows: "The 'Arrow' was heretofore employed in trading on the coast, and while so employed was taken by pirates. By them she was fitted out and employed on the Canton River during the disturbances between the imperialists and the insurgents. While on this service she was captured by the braves of one of the loyalist associations organized by the mandarins for the support of the government. By this association she was publicly sold, and was purchased by a Chin-chew Hong, a respectable firm at Canton, which also laid out a considerable sum in repairing her and otherwise fitting her out. She arrived at Hongkong about the month of June, 1855, at which time a treaty was on foot (which ended in a bargain) between Fong Aming, Messrs. T. Burd & Co.'s comprador, and Lei-yeong-heen, one of the partners in the Chin- chew Hong, for the purchase of the lorcha by the former. Shortly after the arrival of the vessel at Hongkong she was claimed by one Quantai, of Macao, who asserted that she had been his property before she was seized by the pirates. Of course, the then owner disputed his claim; upon which he commenced a suit in the Vice-Admiralty Court. After a short time, by consent of the parties, the question was referred to arbitration, but the arbitrators could not agree and an umpire was appointed, who awarded that the ownership of the lorcha should continue undisturbed. The ownership of the vessel was then transferred to Fong Aming, and in his name she is registered. These are the simple facts connected with the purchase of the lorcha by a resident of the colony at Hongkong and her registry as a British vessel, and it is from these facts that the Imperial Commissioner Yeh has arrived at an erroneous conclusion as to the ownership of the boat." As the first step toward obtaining the necessary reparation, a junk, which was supposed to be an imperial war vessel, was seized as a hostage, and Mr. Parkes addressed another letter to Yeh reminding him that "the matter which has compelled this menace still remains unsettled."
Had there been that convenient mode of communication between the governor of Hongkong and the Chinese officials at Canton which was provided for by the Nankin Treaty and the Keying Convention, the "Arrow" complication would, in all probability, never have arisen, and it is also scarcely less certain that it would not have produced such serious consequences as it did but for the arrogance of Yeh. He even attempted to deny that the "Arrow" carried the English flag, but this was so clearly proved to be a fact by both English and Chinese witnesses that it ceased to hold a place in the Chinese case. As it was clear that Commissioner Yeh would not give way, and as delay would only encourage him, the admiral on the station, Sir Michael Seymour, received instructions to attack the four forts of the Barrier, and he captured them without loss. Thus, after an interval of fourteen years, was the first blow struck in what may be called the third act of Anglo-Chinese relations, but it would be a mistake to suppose that the "Arrow" case was the sole cause of this appeal to arms. A blue book, bearing the significant title of "Insults to Foreigners," gives a list and narrative of the many outrages and indignities inflicted on Europeans between 1842 and 1856. The evidence contained therein justifies the statement that the position of Europeans in China had again become most unsafe and intolerable. Those who persist in regarding the "Arrow" affair as the only cause of the war may delude themselves into believing that the Chinese were not the most blameworthy parties in the quarrel; but no one who seeks the truth and reads all the evidence will doubt that if there had been no "Arrow" case there would still have been a rupture between the two countries. The Chinese officials, headed by Yeh, had fully persuaded themselves that, as the English had put up with so much, and had acquiesced in the continued closing of the gates of Canton, they were not likely to make the "Arrow" affair a casus belli. Even the capture of the Barrier forts did not bring home to their minds the gravity of the situation.
After dismantling these forts, Sir Michael Seymour proceeded up the river, capturing the fort in Macao Passage, and arriving before Canton on the same day. An ultimatum was at once addressed to Yeh, stating that unless he at once complied with all the English demands the admiral would "proceed with the destruction of all the defenses and public buildings of this city and of the government vessels in the river." This threat brought no satisfactory answer, and the Canton forts were seized, their guns spiked and the men-of-war placed with their broadsides opposite the city. Then Yeh, far from being cowed, uttered louder defiance than ever. He incited the population to make a stubborn resistance; he placed a reward of thirty dollars on the head of every Englishman slain or captured, and he publicly proclaimed that there was no alternative but war. He seems to have been driven to these extremities by a fear for his own personal safety and official position. He had no warrant from his imperial master to commit China to such a dangerous course as another war with the English, and he knew that the only way to vindicate his proceedings was to obtain some success gratifying to national vanity. While Yeh was counting on the support of the people, the English admiral began the bombardment of the city, directing his fire principally against Yeh's yamen and a part of the wall, which was breached in two days. After some resistance the breach was carried; a gate was occupied, and Sir Michael Seymour and Mr. Parkes proceeded to the yamen of the viceroy, but as it was thought dangerous to occupy so large a city with so small a force the positions seized were abandoned, although still commanded by the fire of the fleet. After a few days' rest active operations were resumed against the French Folly fort and a large fleet of war junks which had collected up the river. After a warm engagement the vessels were destroyed and the fort captured. Undaunted by these successive reverses, Yeh still breathed nothing but defiance, and refused to make the least concession. There remained no alternative but to prosecute hostilities with renewed vigor. On the 12th and 13th of November, Sir Michael attacked the Bogue forts on both sides of the river and captured them with little loss. These forts mounted 400 guns, but only contained 1,000 men.
Notwithstanding these continuous reverses, the Chinese remained defiant and energetic. As soon as the English admiral left Canton to attack the Bogue forts the Chinese hastened to re-occupy all their positions and to repair the breaches. They succeeded in setting fire to and thus destroying the whole foreign settlement, and they carried off several Europeans, all of whom were put to death and some of them tortured. The heads of these Europeans treacherously seized and barbarously murdered were paraded throughout the villages of Kwangtung, in order to stimulate recruiting and to raise national enthusiasm to a high pitch. Notwithstanding their reverses whenever it became a question of open fighting, the Chinese, by their obstinacy and numbers, at last succeeded in convincing Sir Michael Seymour that his force was too small to achieve any decisive result, and he accordingly withdrew from his positions in front of the city, and sent home a request for a force of 5,000 troops. Meantime the Chinese were much encouraged by the lull in hostilities, and for the time being Yeh himself was not dissatisfied with the result. The Cantonese saw in the destruction of the foreign settlement and the withdrawal of the English fleet some promise of future victory, and at all events sufficient reason for the continued confidence of the patriot Yeh. Curiously enough, there was peace and ostensible goodwill along the coast and at the other treaty ports, while war and national animosity were in the ascendant at Canton. The governor-generals of the Two Kiang and Fuhkien declared over and over again that they wished to abide by the Treaty of Nankin, and they threw upon Yeh the responsibility of his acts. Even Hienfung refrained from showing any unequivocal support of his truculent lieutenant, although there is no doubt that he was impressed by the reports of many victories over the English barbarians with which Yeh supplied him. As long as Yeh was able to keep the quarrel a local one, and to thus shield the central government from any sense of personal danger, he enjoyed the good wishes, if not the active support, of his sovereign. But, unfortunately for the success of his schemes, only the most energetic support of the Pekin government in money and men could have enabled him to hold his own; and as he did nothing but report victories in order to gain a hearing for his policy, he could not grumble when he was not sent the material aid of which he stood most in need. His unreasonable action had done much to unite all foreign nations against China. French, American and Spanish subjects had been the victims of Chinese ignorance and cruelty, as well as English, and they all saw that the success of Yeh's policy would render their position untenable.
On the receipt of Sir Michael Seymour's request for a force of 5,000 men, it was at once perceived in London that the question of our relations with China had again entered a most important and critical phase. It was at once decided to send the force for which the admiral asked; and, while 1,500 men were sent from England and a regiment from the Mauritius, the remainder was to be drawn from the Madras army. At the same time it was considered necessary to send an embassador of high rank to acquaint the Pekin authorities that, while such acts as those of Yeh would not be tolerated, there was no desire to press too harshly on a country which was only gradually shaking off its exclusive prejudices. Lord Elgin was selected for the difficult mission, and his instructions contained the following five categorical demands, the fourth of which was the most important in its consequences:
Those instructions were conveyed in two dispatches of the same date, April 20, 1857. We quote the following as the more important passages: "The demands which you are instructed to make will be (1), for reparation of injuries to British subjects, and, if the French officers should co- operate with you, for those to French subjects also; (2) for the complete execution at Canton, as well as at the other ports, of the stipulations of the several treaties; (3) compensation to British subjects and persons entitled to British protection for losses incurred in consequence of the late disturbances; (4) the assent of the Chinese government to the residence at Pekin, or to the occasional visit to that capital, at the option of the British government, of a minister duly accredited by the queen to the emperor of China, and the recognition of the right of the British plenipotentiary and chief superintendent of trade to communicate directly in writing with the high officers at the Chinese capital, and to send his communications by messengers of his own selection, such arrangements affording the best means of insuring the due execution of the existing treaties, and of preventing future misunderstandings; (5) a revision of the treaties with China with a view to obtaining increased facilities for commerce, such as access to cities on the great rivers as well as to Chapoo and to other ports on the coast, and also permission for Chinese vessels to resort to Hongkong for purposes of trade from all ports of the Chinese empire without distinction." These were the demands formulated by the English government for the consent of China, and seven proposals were made as to how they were to be obtained should coercion become necessary. It was also stated that "it is not the intention of her Majesty's government to undertake any land operations in the interior of the country."
An event of superior, and, indeed, supreme importance occurred to arrest the movement of the expedition to Canton. When Lord Elgin reached Singapore, on June 3, 1857, he found a letter waiting for him from Lord Canning, then Governor-general of India, informing him of the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny, and imploring him to send all his troops to Calcutta in order to avert the overthrow of our authority in the valley of the Ganges, where, "for a length of 750 miles, there were barely 1,000 European soldiers." To such an urgent appeal there could only be one answer, and the men who were to have chastised Commissioner Yeh followed Havelock to Cawnpore and Lucknow. But while Lord Elgin sent his main force to Calcutta, he himself proceeded to Hongkong, where he arrived in the first week of July, and found that hostilities had proceeded to a still more advanced stage than when Sir Michael Seymour wrote for re-enforcements. The Chinese had become so confident during the winter that that officer felt bound to resume offensive measures against them, and having been joined by a few more men-of-war, and having also armed some merchant ships of light draught, he attacked a main portion of the Chinese fleet occupying a very strong position in Escape Creek. The attack was intrusted to Commodore Elliott, who, with five gunboats and the galleys of the larger men-of-war, carried out with complete success and little loss the orders of his superior officer. Twenty-seven armed junks were destroyed, and the thirteen that escaped were burned the next day. It was then determined to follow up this success by attacking the headquarters of Yeh's army at Fatshan, the place already referred to as being some distance from Canton. By road it is six and by water twelve miles from that city. The remainder of the Chinese fleet was drawn up in Fatshan Channel, and the Chinese had made such extensive preparations for its defense, both on land and on the river, that they were convinced of the impregnability of its position.
The Chinese position was unusually strong, and had been selected with considerable judgment. An island named after the hyacinth lies in midstream two miles from the entrance to the Fatshan Channel, which joins the main course of the Sikiang a few miles above the town of that name. The island is flat and presents no special advantages for defense, but it enabled the Chinese to draw up a line of junks across the two channels of the river, and to place on it a battery of six guns, thus connecting their two squadrons. The seventy-two junks were drawn up with their sterns facing down stream, and their largest gun bearing on any assailant proceeding up it. On the left bank of the river an elevated and precipitous hill had been occupied in force and crowned with a battery of nineteen guns, and other batteries had been erected at different points along the river. There seems no reason to question the accuracy of the estimate that more than 300 pieces of artillery and 10,000 men were holding this position, which had been admirably chosen and carefully strengthened. The force which Sir Michael Seymour had available to attack this formidable position slightly exceeded 2,000 men, conveyed to the attack in six gunboats and a large flotilla of boats. The English advance was soon known to the Chinese, who began firing from their junks and batteries as soon as they came within range. Three hundred marines were landed to attack the battery on the hill, which was found not to be so strong as it appeared; for on the most precipitous side the Chinese, believing it to be unscalable, had placed no guns, and those in position could not be moved to bear on the assailants in that quarter. The marines gained the top with scarcely any loss, and as they charged over the side the Chinese retired with little loss, owing to the ill-directed fire of the marines.
Meantime the sailors had attacked the Chinese position on the river. The tide was at low water, and the Chinese had barred the channel with a row of sunken junks, leaving a narrow passage known only to themselves. The leading English boat struck on the hidden barrier, but the passage being discovered the other vessels got through. Those boats which ran aground were gradually floated, one after the other, by the rising tide, and at last the flotilla, with little damage, reached the line of stakes which the Chinese had placed to mark the range of the guns in their junks. At once the fire from the seventy-two junks and the battery on Hyacinth Island became so furious and well-directed that it was a matter of astonishment how the English boats passed through it. They reached and pierced the line of junks, of which one after another was given to the flames. Much of the success of the attack was due to the heroic example of Commodore Harry Keppel, who led the advance party of 500 cutlasses, and who gave the Chinese no time to rest or rally. Having broken the line of junks, he took up the pursuit in his seven boats, having determined that the only proof of success could be the capture of Fatshan, and after four miles' hard rowing he came in sight of the elaborate defenses drawn up by the Chinese for the security of that place. At the short range of a quarter of a mile the fire of the Chinese guns was tremendous and destructive. Keppel's own boat was reduced to a sinking state, and had to be abandoned. Some of his principal officers were killed, three of his boats ran aground, and things looked black for the small English force. At this critical moment, the Chinese, thinking that they had checked the English attack, and hearing of the magnitude of their reverse down stream, thought their best course would be to retire. Then the few English boats resumed the attack, and hung on to the retreating junks like bull-dogs. Many junks were given to the flames, and five were carried off under the teeth of the Fatshan populace; but Keppel's force was too small to hold that town and put it to the ransom, so the worn-out, but still enthusiastic force, retired to join the main body under Sir Michael Seymour, who was satisfied that he had achieved all that was necessary or prudent with his squadron. In these encounters thirteen men were killed and forty wounded, of whom several succumbed to their wounds, for it was noticed that the Chinese shot inflicted cruel injuries. The destruction of the Chinese fleet on the Canton River could not be considered heavily purchased at the cost, and the extent of the trepidation caused by Commodore Keppel's intrepidity could not be accurately measured.
Lord Elgin reached Hongkong very soon after this event, and, although he brought no soldiers with him, he found English opinion at Hongkong very pronounced in favor of an attack on Canton with a view of re-opening that city to trade. But the necessary force was not available, and Lord Elgin refused to commit himself to this risky course. Sir Michael Seymour said the attack would require 5,000 troops, and General Ashburnham thought it could be done with 4,000 men if all were effective, while the whole Hongkong garrison numbered only 1,500, and of these one-sixth were invalided. Lord Elgin decided to go to Calcutta, and ascertain when Lord Canning would be able to spare him the troops necessary to bring China to reason. He returned to Hongkong on September 20, and he found matters very much as he had left them, and all the English force was capable of was to blockade the river. To supplement the weakness of the garrison a coolie corps of 750 Chinese was organized, and proved very efficient, and toward the end of November troops, chiefly marines, began at last to arrive from England. A fleet of useful gunboats of small draught, under Captain Sherard Osborn, arrived for the purpose of operating against the junks in shallow creeks and rivers. At the same time, too, came the French embassador, Baron Gros, charged with a similar mission to Lord Elgin, and bent on proving once for all that the pretensions of China to superiority over other nations were absurd and untenable.
On December 12 Lord Elgin sent Yeh a note apprising him of his arrival as plenipotentiary from Queen Victoria, and pointing out the repeated insults and injuries inflicted on Englishmen, culminating in the outrage to their flag and the repeated refusal to grant any reparation for their wrongs. But Lord Elgin went on to say that even at this eleventh hour there was time to stay the progress of hostilities by making prompt redress. The terms were plain and simple, and the English demands were confined to two points--the complete execution at Canton of all treaty engagements, including the free admission of British subjects to the city, and compensation to British subjects and persons entitled to British protection for losses incurred in consequence of the late disturbances. To this categorical demand Yeh made a long reply, going over the ground of controversy, reasserting what he wished to believe were the facts, and curtly concluding that the trade might continue on the old conditions, and that each side should pay its own losses. Mr. Wade said that his language might bear the construction that the English consul, Mr. Harry Parkes, should pay all the cost himself. If Commissioner Yeh was a humorist he chose a bad time for indulging his proclivities, and, a sufficient force being available, orders were at once given to attack Canton. On December 15 Honan was occupied, and ten days were passed in bringing up the troops and the necessary stores, when, all being in readiness, an ultimatum was sent to Yeh that if he would not give way within forty-eight hours the attack would commence. At the same time every effort was made to warn the unoffending townspeople, so that they might remove to a place of safety. The attacking force numbered about 5,000 English, 1,000 French, and 750 of the Chinese coolie corps, and it was agreed that the most vulnerable point in the Chinese position was Lin's fort, on the eastern side of the city. When the attack began, on December 28, this fort was captured in half an hour, and the Chinese retired to the northern hills, which they had made their chief position in 1842. The destruction of Lin's fort by the accidental explosion of the magazine somewhat neutralized the advantage of its capture. On the following day the order was given to assault the city by escalade, and three separate parties advanced on the eastern wall. The Chinese kept up a good fire until the troops were within a short distance, but before the ladders were placed against the wall they abandoned their defenses and fled. The English troops reformed on the wide rampart of the wall and pursued the Chinese to the north gate, where, being joined by some Manchu troops, the latter turned and charged up to the bayonets of an English regiment. But they were repulsed and driven out of the city, and simultaneously with this success the fort on Magazine Hill, commanding both the city and the Chinese position on the northern hills, was captured without loss. In less than two hours the great city of Canton was in the possession of the allies, and the Chinese resistance was far less vigorous and worse directed than on any occasion of equal importance. Still, the English loss was fourteen killed and eighty-three wounded, while the French casualties numbered thirty-four. The Chinese had, however, to abandon their positions north of the city, and their elaborate fortifications were blown up.
Although all regular resistance had been overcome, the greater part of the city remained in possession of the Chinese and of Yeh in person. That official, although in the lowest straits, had lost neither his fortitude nor his ferocity. He made not the least sign of surrender, and his last act of authority was to order the execution of 400 citizens, whom he denounced as traitors to their country. From his yamen in the interior of the city, when he found that the English hesitated to advance beyond the walls, he incited the populace to fresh efforts of hostility, and, in order to check their increasing audacity, it was resolved to send a force into the city to effect the capture of Yeh. On January 5, 1858, three detachments were sent into the native city, and they advanced at once upon the official residences of Yeh and Pihkwei, the governor. The Chinese were quite unprepared for this move, and being taken unawares they offered scarcely any resistance. The yamen was occupied and the treasury captured, while Pihkwei was made prisoner in his own house. The French at the same time attacked and occupied the Tartar city--a vast stone-built suburb which had been long allowed to fall into decay, and which, instead of being occupied, as was believed, by 7,000 Manchu warriors, was the residence of bats and nauseous creatures. But the great object of the attack was unattained, for Yeh still remained at large, and no one seemed to know where he ought to be sought, for all the official buildings had been searched in vain. But Mr. Parkes, by indefatigable inquiry, at last gained a clew from a poor scholar whom he found poring over an ancient classic at the library, undisturbed in the midst of the turmoil. From him he learned that Yeh would probably be found in a yamen situated in the southwest quarter of the city. Mr. Parkes hastened thither with Captain (afterward Admiral) Cooper Key and a party of sailors. They arrived just in time, for all the preparations for flight had been made, and Captain Key caught Yeh with his own hand as he was escaping over the wall. One of his assistants came forward with praiseworthy devotion and declared himself to be Yeh, in the hope of saving his superior; but the deception was at once detected by Mr. Parkes, who assured Yeh that no harm would be done him. The capture of Yeh completed the effect of the occupation of Canton, and the disappearance of the most fanatical opponent of the foreigners insured the tranquillity of the Canton region, which had been the main seat of disorder, during the remainder of the war. The government of Canton was then intrusted to Pihkwei and a commission of one Frenchman and two Englishmen, and the Chinese admitted it had never been better governed. Yeh himself was sent to Calcutta, where he died two years later, and, considering the abundant evidence of his cruel treatment of defenseless prisoners, he had every reason to consider his punishment lenient.
Having thus settled the difficulty at Canton, it remained for Lord Elgin to carry out the other part of his task, and place diplomatic relations between England and China on a satisfactory basis by obtaining the right of direct communication with Pekin. A letter dated February 11, 1858, was sent to the senior Secretary of State at Pekin describing what had occurred in the south, and summarizing what would be required from the Chinese government. The English and French plenipotentiaries also notified that they would proceed to Shanghai for the purpose of conducting further negotiations. This letter was duly forwarded to Pekin by the Governor of Kiangsu, and when Lord Elgin reached Shanghai on March 30 he found the reply of Yu-ching, the chief adviser of Hienfung, waiting for him. Yuching's letter was extremely unsatisfactory. It was arrogant in its terms and impracticable as to its proposals. Lord Elgin was told that "no imperial commissioner ever conducts business at Shanghai," and that it behooved the English minister to wait at Canton until the arrival of a new imperial commissioner from Pekin. The only concession the Chinese made was to dismiss Yeh from his posts, and as he was a prisoner in the hands of the English this did not mean much. Lord Elgin's reply to this communication was to announce his intention of proceeding to the Peiho, and there negotiating direct with the imperial government. Lord Elgin reached the Gulf of Pechihli about the middle of April, and he again addressed Yuching in the hope of an amicable settlement, and requested that the emperor would appoint some official to act as his plenipotentiary. Three minor officials were appointed, more out of curiosity than from a desire to promote business, but on Lord Elgin discovering that they were of inferior rank and that their powers were inadequate, he declined to see them. But Yuching refused to appoint any others; stating curtly that their powers were ample for the adjustment of affairs, and then Lord Elgin announced that he would proceed up the Peiho to Tientsin. Some delay was caused by the non-arrival of the fleet, which was not assembled in the Gulf of Pechihli, through different causes of delay, until the end of May, or about three weeks after Lord Elgin announced his intention of forcing his way up to Tientsin. There is no doubt that Sir Michael Seymour was in no sense to blame for this delay, but unfortunately it aroused considerable irritation in the mind of Lord Elgin, who sent home a dispatch, without informing his colleague, stating that the delay was "a most grievous disappointment," and attributing it to the supineness of the admiral.
On May 19 the allied fleet proceeded to the mouth of the river, and summoned the commandant to surrender the Taku forts on the following morning. No reply being received, the attack commenced, and after the bombardment had gone on at short range for an hour and a quarter the Chinese gunners were driven from their batteries, and the troops landed, occupying the whole line of forts and intrenched camps. An attempt to injure our fleet by fire-ships miscarried, and considering that the Chinese had some of their best troops present, including a portion of the Imperial Guard, their resistance was not as great as might have been expected. Their general committed suicide, and the Chinese lost the best part of their artillery, which had been removed from Pekin and Tientsin for the defense of the entrance to the Peiho. The fleet proceeded up the river to Tientsin, and Lord Elgin took up his quarters in that city. The Chinese government was brought to reason by this striking success, and, with his capital menaced, the emperor hastened to delegate full powers to two high commissioners, Kweiliang and Hwashana, both Manchus and dignitaries of the highest birth and rank. Their powers were superior to those granted to Keying at the time of the old war, and they were commanded with affectionate earnestness to show the foreigners that they were competent and willing to grant anything not injurious to China. Nothing could be more satisfactory than the proposals of the new Chinese representatives, and they were anxious to settle everything with the least possible delay. At this point there reappeared upon the scene a man whose previous experience and high position entitled him to some consideration. Less than a week after his first interview with the imperial representatives, Lord Elgin received a letter from Keying, who, it was soon found, had come on a self-appointed mission to induce the English by artifice and plausible representation to withdraw their fleet from the river. His zeal was increased by the knowledge that the penalty of failure would be death, and as his reputation had been very great among Europeans there is no saying but that he might have succeeded had there not been discovered in Yeh's yamen at Canton some of his papers, which showed that he had played a double part throughout, and that at heart he was bitterly anti-foreign. When he found that the English possessed this information he hastened back to Pekin, where he was at once summoned before the Board of Punishment for immediate judgment, and, being found guilty, it was ordered that as he had acted "with stupidity and precipitancy" he should be strangled forthwith. As an act of extreme grace the emperor allowed him to put an end to his existence in consideration of his being a member of the imperial family.
After the departure of Keying, negotiations proceeded very satisfactorily with Kweiliang and Hwashana, and all the points were practically agreed upon, excepting the right to have a resident minister at Pekin. This claim was opposed on several grounds. It was not merely something that had never been heard of, but it would probably be attended with peril to the envoy as well as to the Chinese government. Then the commissioners wanted to know if he would wear the Chinese dress, if all the powers would have only one minister, and if he would make the kotow? Finding such arguments fail they asked that the visit of an English embassador to Pekin should be postponed till a more favorable occasion. They made the admission that "there is properly no objection to the permanent residence at Pekin of a plenipotentiary minister of her Britannic Majesty," and they even spoke of sending a return mission to London; but they deprecated the proposal as novel and as specially risky at this moment in consequence of the formidable Taeping Rebellion. These representations did not fail to produce their effect, for it was not to the interest of Europeans generally that the emperor's authority should be subverted on the morrow of his signing a treaty with us. In consequence of these feelings, and with a wish to reciprocate the generally conciliatory attitude of the Chinese officials, Kweiliang and Hwashana were informed that the right would be waived for the present, except that it would be necessary for the English minister to visit Pekin twelve months later, on the occasion of exchanging the ratifications of the treaty; and so the matter was left pending the arrival of that occasion. While the Treaty of Tientsin provided for the conclusion of a peace that promised to be enduring, and arranged for the future diplomatic relations of the two countries, commissioners were duly appointed to meet at Shanghai and draw up a tariff. But at Tientsin the great crux in the commercial relations between us and the Chinese had been settled by the legalization of opium. It was agreed that opium might be imported into China on payment of thirty taels, or about fifty dollars, per chest. Experience had shown that leaving the most largely imported article into China contraband had been both futile and inconvenient, while the Chinese government was a direct loser by not enjoying a legitimate source of revenue. How general the view had become that the evils of the use of opium were exaggerated, and, even admitting them, that there was no better way of diminishing their effect than by legalizing the import of opium, can be judged by the ready acquiescence of the Chinese commissioners; and here, from many other matured opinions, we may quote the final and deliberate conviction of Sir Henry Pottinger:
"I take this opportunity to advert to one important topic on which I have hitherto considered it right to preserve a rigid silence--I allude to the trade in opium; and I now unhesitatingly declare in this public manner that after the most unbiased and careful observations I have become convinced during my stay in China that the alleged demoralizing and debasing evils of opium have been and are vastly exaggerated. Like all other indulgences, excesses in its use are bad and reprehensible; but I have neither myself seen such vicious consequences as are frequently ascribed to it, nor have I been able to obtain authentic proofs or information of their existence. The great, and perhaps I might say sole, objection to the trade, looking at it morally and abstractedly, that I have discovered, is that it is at present contraband and prohibited by the laws of China, and therefore to be regretted and disavowed; but I have striven--and I hope with some prospect of eventual success--to bring about its legalization; and were that point once effected, I am of opinion that its most objectionable feature would be altogether removed. Even as it now exists it appears to me to be unattended with a hundredth part of the debasement and misery which may be seen in our native country from the lamentable abuse of ardent spirits, and those who so sweepingly condemn the opium trade on that principle need not, I think, leave the shores of England to find a far greater and more besetting evil."
The ink on the Tientsin treaty was scarcely dry before reasons began to be furnished against the sincerity of the emperor and his desire for peace. Before the fleet left the Peiho workmen were already engaged repairing and re-arming the Taku forts, and the morrow of Lord Elgin's departure from Hongkong witnessed the revival of disturbances round Canton, where the new imperial commissioner Hwang, instead of seeking to restore harmony, had devoted himself to inciting the population to patriotic deeds in emulation of Commissioner Yeh. It was found necessary to take strenuous measures against the turbulent patriots of Kwantung, and to break up their main force in their strong and well-chosen position at Shektsin, which was accomplished by a vigorous attack both on land and water. The suspicion that the Chinese were not absolutely straightforward in their latest dealings with us was confirmed by the discovery at Shektsin of secret imperial edicts, breathing defiance to the foreigners and inciting the people to resistance. These and other facts warned the European authorities on the spot that there was no certainty that the Treaty of Tientsin would be ratified, or that a British envoy would be admitted into the capital for even the temporary business of a diplomatic ceremony. While people in Europe were assuming that the Chinese question might be dismissed for twenty years, the English consuls and commanders in the treaty ports were preparing themselves for a fresh and more vigorous demonstration of Chinese hostility and animosity. The matter that was to prove the sincerity and good faith of the Chinese government was the reception at Pekin of the English officer intrusted with the duty of exchanging the ratified copies of the treaty. If he were allowed to proceed to Pekin there would be reason for accepting the assurances of the emperor that a permanent arrangement should be effected later on, when it would not injure his dignity or authority.
Mr. Frederick Bruce, who had been secretary to his brother, Lord Elgin, and who had previously served at Hongkong, was appointed her Majesty's representative for the purpose of exchanging the ratifications of the treaty. He was instructed to inform the Chinese officials that, while the British government would not renounce the right of having a permanent resident minister at Pekin, they were prepared to waive it for a time by allowing diplomatic intercourse to be carried on at Shanghai. But no deviation was to be permitted from the arrangement that the ratifications were to be exchanged at Pekin, and Lord Malmesbury warned the new envoy that "all the arts at which the Chinese are such adepts will be put in practice to dissuade you from repairing to the capital." Mr. Bruce received his instructions on March 1, 1859, and the exchange of ratifications had to be effected before June 26. Mr. Bruce reached Hongkong in April, and he found the air full of unsatisfactory rumors; and when he reached Shanghai the uncertainty was intensified by the presence of Kweiliang and Hwashana, who seemed to think that everything might be settled without a journey to Pekin. They endeavored to get up a discussion on some unsettled details of minor importance, in the hope that the period for the ratification of the treaty might be allowed to expire. Mr. Bruce announced his imminent departure for the Peiho to Kweiliang, and expressed the hope that arrangements would be made for his safe conveyance to and appropriate accommodation at Pekin. Neither Mr. Bruce's instructions nor his own opinion justified any delay in proceeding to the north, and the fleet sent on in advance under the command of Admiral Hope reached the mouth of the Peiho on June 17, three days before Mr. Bruce. The admiral on arrival sent a notification to the Chinese officers in command of the forts that the English envoy was coming. But the reception given to the officers who conveyed this intimation was distinctly unfavorable and even hostile. The two boats sent ashore found that the entrance to the river was effectually barred by a row of iron stakes and by an inner boom, and that a large and excited crowd forbade them to land. A vague promise was given that an opening would be made in the obstructions to admit the passage of the English ships; but on the boats repeating their visit on the succeeding day they found that the small passages had been more effectually secured, and that there could no longer be any doubt that the Chinese did not intend to admit the English envoy. It was therefore determined to make a demonstration with the fleet, and if necessary to resort to force, which it was never doubted would be attended with little risk and crowned With complete success.
On June 25 the attack on the Taku forts began with the removal of the iron stakes forming the outer barrier by the steamer "Opossum," and this part of the operations was performed without a shot being fired. When, however, the eleven ships forming the English fleet reached the inner boom all the Chinese forts and batteries began to fire with an accuracy which showed that the guns had been trained to bear on this precise spot. The result of this unexpectedly vigorous bombardment was soon shown in the damaged condition of our ships. Two gunboats were sunk, all the vessels were more or less damaged, and when, after three hours' cannonade, it was sought to retrieve the doubtful fortune of the day by a land attack, the result only went to accentuate the ill results of the naval engagement. In this disastrous affair more than 300 men were killed and wounded, which, added to the loss of three gunboats, represented a very serious disaster. But the worst of it was that it convinced the emperor and his advisers that they could hold their own against Europeans, and that it placed the extreme party once more in the ascendant at Pekin. Sankolinsin, the Mongol prince who had checked the advance of the Taepings, became master of the situation, and declared that there was nothing to fear from an enemy who had been repulsed by the raw levies of the province while he held the flat country between the Peiho and Pekin with the flower of the Banner army. Mr. Bruce returned to Shanghai, the fleet to Hongkong, and the matter remained suspended until fresh instructions and troops could be received from Europe.
After some hesitation and delay, a plan of joint action was agreed upon in November, 1859, between France and England, and it was hoped that the whole expeditionary force would have reached its destination by April, 1860. Pending its arrival Mr. Bruce was instructed to present an ultimatum with thirty days' grace demanding an immediate apology, the payment of a large indemnity amounting to $12,000,000 to both England and France, and the ratification of the Treaty of Tientsin. The minister, Pang Wanching, replied, categorically refusing all these requests; and, as neither indemnity nor apology was offered, there remained no alternative but the inevitable and supreme appeal to arms.
The troops which were to form the expedition were mainly drawn from India, and Sir Hope Grant, who had not merely distinguished himself during the Mutiny, but who had served in the first English war with China during the operations round Canton, was appointed to the command of the army; while Admiral Hope, strongly re-enforced in ships, retained the command of the naval forces. A force of five batteries of artillery, six regiments of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, together with a body of horse and foot from the native army of India, amounting in all to about 10,000 men, was placed at the general's disposal in addition to the troops already in China. The French government agreed to send another army of about two- thirds this strength to co-operate on the Peiho, and General Montauban was named for the command. The collection of this large expedition brought into prominence the necessity of employing as embassador a diplomatist of higher rank than Mr. Bruce; and accordingly, in February Lord Elgin and Baron Gros were commissioned to again proceed to China for the purpose of securing the ratification of their own treaty. Sir Hope Grant reached Hongkong in March, 1860, and by his recommendation a stronger native contingent (one Sikh regiment, four Punjab regiments, two Bombay regiments, one Madras regiment of foot, and two irregular regiments of Sikh cavalry, known as Fane's and Probyn's Horse; Sir John Michel and Sir Robert Napier commanding divisions under Sir Hope Grant) was added, raising the English force in the field to more than 13,000 men. A lease was obtained in perpetuity, through the skillful negotiation of Mr. Parkes, of Kowlun and Stonecutter Island, where, from their salubrious position, it was proposed to place the troops on their arrival from India or England. Chusan was occupied the following month without opposition by an English brigade of 2,000 men.
The summer had commenced before the whole of the expedition assembled at Hongkong, whence it was moved northward to Shanghai about a year after the failure of the attack on the forts on the Peiho. A further delay was caused by the tardiness of the French, and July had begun before the expedition reached the Gulf of Pechihli. Then opposite opinions led to different suggestions, and while the English advocated proceeding to attack Pehtang, General Montauban drew up another plan of action. But the exigencies of the alliance compelled the English, who were ready, to wait for the French, who were not, in order that the assault might be made simultaneously. Before that time arrived the French commander had been brought round to the view that the proper plan of campaign was that suggested by the English commander; viz., to attack and capture Pehtang, whence the Taku forts might be taken in the rear. It is somewhat remarkable to observe that no one suggested a second time endeavoring to carry by a front attack these forts, which had in the interval since Admiral Hope's failure been rendered more formidable.
At Pehtang the Chinese had made few preparations for defense, and nothing of the same formidable character as at Taku. The forts on both sides of the river were neither extensive nor well-armed. The garrison consisted largely of Tartar cavalry, more useful for watching the movements of the foreigners than for working artillery when exposed to the fire of the new Armstrong guns of the English. The attacking force landed in boats and by wading, Sir Hope Grant setting his men the example. No engagement took place on the night of disembarkation. When morning broke, a suspicious silence in the enemy's quarters strengthened the belief that Pehtang would not be defended. While the garrison had resolved not to resist an attack, they had contemplated causing their enemy as much loss as if he had been obliged to carry the place by storm by placing shells in the magazine which would be exploded by the moving of some gunlocks put in a spot where they could not fail to be trodden upon. This plot, which was thoroughly in accordance with the practices of Chinese warfare, was fortunately divulged by a native more humane than patriotic, and Pehtang was captured and occupied without the loss of a single man. This success at the commencement enabled the whole of the expedition to land without further delay or difficulty. Three days after the capture of Pehtang, reconnoitering parties were sent out to ascertain what the Chinese were doing, and whether they had made any preparations to oppose an advance toward Taku or Tientsin. Four miles from Pehtang they came in sight of a strongly intrenched camp, where several thousand men opened fire upon the reconnoitering parties with their gingalls, and several men were wounded. The object being only to find out what the Celestial army was doing, and where it was, the Europeans withdrew on discovering the proximity of so strong a force. The great difficulty was to discover a way of getting from Pehtang on to some of the main roads leading to the Peiho; for the whole of the surrounding country had been under water, and was more or less impassable. In fact, the region round Pehtang consisted of nothing but mud, while the one road, an elevated causeway, was blocked by the fortified camp just mentioned as having been discovered by the reconnoitering party. A subsequent reconnaissance, conducted by Colonel (now Lord) Wolseley, revealed the presence of a cart-track which might prove available for the march of troops. This track was turned to advantage for the purpose of taking the Chinese position in flank, and to Sir Robert Napier's division was assigned this, as it proved, difficult operation. When the maneuver of out-flanking had been satisfactorily accomplished, the attack was commenced in front. Here the Chinese stood to their position, but only for a brief time, as the fire from eighteen guns, including some forty-pounders, soon silenced their gingalls, and they precipitately abandoned their intrenchments. While the engagement in front had reached this favorable termination Sir Robert Napier had been engaged on the right hand with a strong body of Tartar cavalry, which attacked with considerable valor, and with what seemed a possibility of success, until the guns opening upon them and the Sikh cavalry charging them dispelled their momentary dream of victory. The prize of this battle was the village of Sinho with its line of earthworks, one mile north of the Peiho, and about seven miles in the rear of the Taku forts.
The next day was occupied in examining the Chinese position and in discovering, what was more difficult than its capture, how it might be approached. It was found that the village, which formed a fortified square protected by batteries, could be best approached by the river bank, and the only obstacle in this quarter was that represented by the fire of the guns of two junks, supported by a battery on the opposite side of the river. These, however, were soon silenced by the superior fire directed upon them, and the guns were spiked by Captain Willis and a few sailors, who crossed the river for the purpose. The flank of the advance being thus protected, the attack on Tangku itself began with a cannonade from thirty- six pieces of the best artillery of that age. The Chinese fire was soon rendered innocuous, and their walls and forts were battered down. Even then, however, the garrison gave no signs of retreat, and it was not until the Armstrongs had been dragged within a very short distance of the walls, and the foot-soldiers had absolutely effected an entrance, that the garrison thought of their personal safety and turned in flight.
Some days before the battle and capture of Tangku, Lord Elgin received several communications from Hang, the Governor-general of Pechihli, requesting a cessation of hostilities, and announcing the approach of two imperial commissioners appointed for the express purpose of ratifying the Treaty of Tientsin. But Lord Elgin very wisely perceived that it would be impossible to negotiate on fair terms unless the Taku forts were in his possession. The capture of Tangku placed the allied forces in the rear of the northern forts on the Peiho; and those forts once occupied, the others on the southern side would be practically untenable and obliged to surrender at discretion. Several days were passed in preliminary observations and skirmishing. On the one side, the whole of the Tartar cavalry was removed to the southern bank; on the other, a bridge of boats was thrown across the Peiho, and the approach to the northern fort carefully examined up to 600 yards from the wall. At this point the views of the allied generals again clashed. General Montauban wished to attack the southern forts. Sir Hope Grant was determined to begin by carrying the northern. The attack on the chief northern fort commenced on the morning of August 21 with a heavy cannonade; the Chinese, anticipating the plans of the English, were the first to fire. The Chinese fought their guns with extraordinary courage. A shell exploded their principal magazine, which blew up with a terrible report; but as soon as the smoke cleared off they recommenced their fire with fresh ardor. Although even this fort had not been constructed with the same strength in the rear as they all presented in the front, the resistance was most vigorous. A premature attempt to throw a pontoon across the ditch was defeated with the loss of sixteen men. The coolie corps here came to the front, and, rushing into the water, held up the pontoons while the French and some English troops dashed across. But all their efforts to scale the wall were baffled, and it seemed as if they had only gone to self-destruction. While the battle was thus doubtfully contested, Major Anson, who had shown the greatest intrepidity on several occasions, succeeded in cutting the ropes that held up a drawbridge, and an entrance was soon effected within the body of the works. The Chinese still resisted nobly, and it was computed that out of a garrison of 500 men but 100 escaped. The English loss was 22 killed, and 179, including 21 officers, were wounded. To these figures must be added the French loss.
There still remained four more forts on the northern side of the river, and it seemed as if these would offer further resistance, as the garrisons uttered threats of defiance to a summons to surrender. But appearances were deceptive, and for the good reason that all of these forts were only protected in the rear by a slight wall. The French rushed impetuously to the attack, only to find that the garrison had given up the defense, while a large number had actually retired. Two thousand prisoners were made, and the fall of the forts on the northern bank was followed by an immediate summons to those on the southern to surrender; and as they were commanded by the guns in the former they yielded with as good a grace as they could muster. The following day formal occupation was made, and the spoil included more than 600 cannon of various sizes and degrees of efficiency. On that day also the fleet, which had during these operations been riding at anchor off the mouth of the river, proceeded across the bar, removed the different obstacles that had been intended to hinder its approach, and Admiral Hope anchored in security off those very forts which had repulsed him in the previous year, and which would in all probability have continued to defy any direct attack from the sea. Let it not be said, therefore, that Sir Hope Grant's capture of the Taku forts reflected in any way on the courage or capacity of Admiral Hope for the failure in 1859.
By this decisive success the road to Tientsin was opened both by land and by the river. The fleet of gunboats, which had participated as far as they could without incurring any undue danger in the attack on the forts, were ordered up the Peiho; and the English embassador, escorted by a strong naval and military force, proceeded to Tientsin, where it would be possible, without any loss of dignity, to resume negotiations with the Pekin government. The advanced gunboats arrived at Tientsin on August 23, and three days later the greater portion of the expedition had entered that city. No resistance was attempted, although several batteries and intrenched camps were passed on the way. Precautions were at once taken to make the position of the troops as secure as possible in the midst of a very large and presumably hostile population. The people showed, according to the ideas of Europe, an extraordinary want of patriotic fervor, and were soon engaged, on the most amicable terms, in conducting a brisk trade with the invaders of their country; but there was never any doubt that on the first sign of a reverse they would have turned upon the foreign troops, and completed by all the means in their power their discomfiture. Several communications passed between the opposite camps during these days; and when Hang announced the withdrawal of all Chinese troops from Tientsin he expressed a wish that the English embassador would not bring many vessels of war with him. But such requests were made more with the desire to save appearances than from any hope that they would be granted. The reality of their fears, and of their consequent desire to negotiate, was shown by the appointment of Kweiliang, who had arranged the Treaty of Tientsin, as high commissioner to provide for the necessary ceremonies in connection with its ratification. Kweiliang apparently possessed powers of the most extensive character; and he hastened to inform Lord Elgin, who had taken up his residence in a beautiful yamen in Tientsin, that he had received the emperor's authority to discuss and decide everything. In response to this notification the reply was sent that the three conditions of peace were an apology for the attack on the English flag at Peiho, the payment of an indemnity, including the costs of the war, and, thirdly, the ratification and execution of the Treaty of Tientsin, including, of course, the reception at Pekin of the representative of the Queen of England on honorable terms adequate to the dignity of that great sovereign. To none of these was Kweiliang himself disposed to raise any objection. Only in connection with the details of the last named point was there likely that any difference of opinion would arise; and that difference of opinion speedily revealed itself when it became known that the English insisted on the advance of their army to the town of Tungchow, only twelve miles distant from the walls of Pekin. To the Chinese ministers this simple precaution seemed like exacting the extreme rights of the conqueror, before, too, the act of conquest had been consummated; for already fresh troops were arriving from Mongolia and Manchuria, and the valor of Sankolinsin was beginning to revive. That the Chinese government had under the hard taskmaster, necessity, made great progress in its views on foreign matters was not to be denied, but somehow or other its movements always lagged behind the requirements of the hour, and the demands of the English were again ahead of what it was disposed to yield.
If the Chinese government had promptly accepted the inevitable, and if Kweiliang had negotiated with as much celerity as he pretended to be his desire, peace might have been concluded and the Chinese saved some further ignominy. But it soon became clear that all the Chinese were thinking about was to gain time, and as the months available for active campaigning were rapidly disappearing, it was imperative that not the least delay should be sanctioned. On September 8, Lord Elgin and Sir Hope Grant left Tientsin with an advance force of about 1,500 men; and, marching by the highroad, reached the pretty village of Hosiwu, half-way between that town and the capital. A few days later this force was increased by the remainder of one division, while to Sir Robert Napier was left the task of guarding with the other Tientsin and the communications with the sea. At Hosiwu negotiations were resumed by Tsai, Prince of I, a nephew of the emperor, who declared that he had received authority to conclude all arrangements; but he was curtly informed that no treaty could be concluded save at Tung-chow, and the army resumed its advance beyond Hosiwu. The march was continued without molestation to a point beyond the village of Matow, but when Sir Hope Grant approached a place called Chan-chia-wan he found himself in presence of a large army. This was the first sign of any resolve to offer military opposition to the invaders since the capture of the Taku forts, and it came to a great extent in the manner of a surprise, for by a special agreement with Mr. Parkes the settlement of the difficulty was to be concluded at Chan-chia-wan in an amicable manner. Instead, however, of the emperor's delegates, the English commander found Sankolinsin and the latest troops drawn from Pekin and beyond the wall in battle array, and occupying the very ground which had been assigned for the English encampment.
The day before the English commander perceived that he was in face of a strong force Mr. Parkes and some other officers and civilians had been sent ahead with an escort of Sikh cavalry to arrange the final preliminaries with the imperial commissioners at Tungchow, both as to where the camp was to be pitched and also as to the interview between the respective plenipotentiaries of the opposing powers. This party proceeded to Tungchow without encountering any opposition or perceiving any exceptional military precautions. Troops were indeed observed at several points, and officers in command of pickets demanded the nature of their business and where they were going, but the reply "To the Commissioners" at once satisfied all inquiries and opened every barrier. The one incident that happened was of happy augury for a satisfactory issue if the result went to prove the fallaciousness of human expectations. A change had in the meanwhile come over the minds of the imperial commissioners, whether in accordance with the working of a deep and long-arranged policy, or from the confidence created by the sight of the numerous warriors drawn from the cradle of the Manchu race for the defense of the capital and dynasty, can never be ascertained with any degree of certainty, Their tone suddenly assumed greater boldness and arrogance. To some of the Englishmen it appeared "almost offensive," and it was only after five hours' discussion between Mr. Parkes and the commissioners at Tungchow that some sign was given of a more yielding disposition. The final arrangements were hastily concluded in the evening of September 17 for the arrival of the troops at the proposed camping ground on the morrow, and for the interview that was to follow as soon after as possible. While Mr. Parkes and some of his companions were to ride forward in the morning to apprise Sir Hope Grant of what had been agreed upon, and to point out the site for his camp, the others were to remain in Tungchow with the greater part of the Sikh escort.
On their return toward the advancing English army in the early morning of the following day, Mr. Parkes and his party met with frequent signs of military movement in the country between Tungchow and Chan-chia-wan. Large bodies of infantry and gingall-men were seen marching from all quarters to the town. At Chan-chia-wan itself still more emphatic tokens were visible of a coming battle. Cavalry were drawn up in dense bodies, but under shelter. In a nullah one regiment of a thousand sabers was stationed with the men standing at their horses' heads ready for instant action. At another point a number of men were busily engaged in constructing a battery and in placing twelve guns in position. When the Englishmen gained the plain they found the proposed site of the English camp in the actual possession of a Chinese army, and a strong force of Tartar cavalry, alone reckoned to number six or seven thousand men, scouring the plain. To all inquiries as to what these warlike arrangements betokened no reply was made by the soldiers, and when the whereabout of the responsible general was asked there came the stereotyped answer that "he was many li away." To the most obtuse mind these arrangements could convey but one meaning. They indicated that the Chinese government had resolved to make another endeavor to avert the concessions demanded from them by the English and their allies, and to appeal once more to the God of Battles ere they accepted the inevitable. When the whole truth flashed across the mind of Mr. Parkes, the army of Sir Hope Grant might be, and indeed was, marching into the trap prepared for it, with such military precautions perhaps as a wise general never neglected, but still wholly unprepared for the extensive and well-arranged opposition planned for its reception by a numerous army established in a strong position of its own choosing. It became, therefore, of the greatest importance to communicate the actual state of affairs to him, and to place at his disposal the invaluable information which the Englishmen returning from Tungchow had in their possession. But Mr. Parkes had still more to do. It was his duty to bring before the Chinese imperial commissioners at the earliest possible moment the knowledge of this flagrant breach of the convention he had concluded the day before, to demand its meaning, and to point out the grave consequences that must ensue from such treacherous hostility; and in that supreme moment, as he had done on the many other critical occasions of his career in China--at Canton and Taku in particular--the one thought in the mind of Mr. Parkes was how best to perform his duty. He did not forget also that, while he was almost in a place of safety near the limits of the Chinese pickets, and not far distant from the advancing columns of Sir Hope Grant, there were other Englishmen in his rear possibly in imminent peril of their lives amid the Celestials at Tungchow.
Mr. Parkes rode back, therefore, to that town, and with him went one English dragoon, named Phipps, and one Sikh sowar carrying a flag of truce on his spear-point. We must leave them for the moment to follow the movements of the others. To Mr. Loch was intrusted the task of communicating with Sir Hope Grant; while the remainder of the party were to remain stationary, in order to show the Chinese that they did not suspect anything, and that they were full of confidence. Mr. Loch, accompanied by two Sikhs, rode at a hard canter away from the Chinese lines. He passed through one body of Tartar cavalry without opposition, and reached the advanced guard of the English force in safety. To tell his news was but the work of a minute. It confirmed the suspicions which General Grant had begun to feel at the movements of some bodies of cavalry on the flank of his line of march. Mr. Loch had performed his share of the arrangement. He had warned Sir Hope Grant. But to the chivalrous mind duty is but half-performed if aid is withheld from those engaged in fulfilling theirs. What he had done had proved unexpectedly easy; it remained for him to assist those whose share was more arduous and perilous. So Mr. Loch rode back to the Chinese lines, Captain Brabazon insisting on following him, again accompanied by two Sikhs but not the same who had ridden with him before.
Sir Hope Grant had given him the assurance that unless absolutely forced to engage he would postpone the action for two hours. This small party of four men rode without hesitation, and at a rapid pace, through the skirmishers of the Chinese army. The rapidity of their movements disconcerted the Chinese, who allowed them to pass without opposition and almost without notice. They rode through the Streets of Chan-chia-wan without meeting with any molestation, although they were crowded with the mustering men of the imperial army. They gained Tungchow without let or hinderance, after having passed through probably not less than 30,000 men about to do battle with the long hated and now feared foreigners. It may have been, as suggested, that they owed their safety to a belief that they were the bearers of their army's surrender! Arrived at Tungchow, Mr. Loch found the Sikh escort at the temple outside the gates unaware of any danger--all the Englishmen being absent in the town, where they were shopping--and a letter left by Mr. Parkes warning them on return to prepare for instant flight, and saying that he was off in search of Prince Tsai. In that search he was at last successful. He found the high commissioner, he asked the meaning of the change that had taken place, and was told in curt and defiant tones that "there could be no peace, there must be war."
The last chance of averting hostilities was thus shown to be in vain. Prince Tsai indorsed the action of Sankolinsin. Mr. Parkes had only the personal satisfaction of knowing that he had done everything he could to prove that the English did not wish to press their military superiority over an antagonist whose knowledge of war was slight and out of date. He had done this at the greatest personal peril. It only remained to secure his own safety and that of his companions. By this time the whole party of Englishmen had re-assembled in the temple; and Mr. Loch, anxious for Mr. Parkes, had gone into the city and met him galloping away from the yamen of the commissioner. There was no longer reason for delay. Not an Englishman had yet been touched, but between this small band and safety lay the road back through the ranks of Sankolinsin's warriors. From Tungchow to the advanced post of Sir Hope Grant's army was a ten mile ride; and most of the two hours' grace had already expired. Could it be done? By this time most of the Chinese troops had reached Chan-chia-wan, where they had been drawn up in battle array among the maize-fields and in the nullahs as already described. From Tungchow to that place the country was almost deserted; and the fugitives proceeded unmolested along the road till they reached that town. The streets were crowded partly with armed citizens and peasants, but chiefly with panic-stricken householders; and by this time the horses were blown, and some of them almost exhausted. Through this crowd the seven Englishmen and twenty Sikhs walked their horses, and met not the least opposition. They reached the eastern side without insult or injury, passed through the gates, and descending the declivity found themselves in the rear of the whole Chinese army. The dangers through which they had passed were as nothing compared with those they had now to encounter. A shell burst in the air at this moment, followed by the discharge of the batteries on both sides. The battle had begun. The promised two hours had expired. The fugitives were some ten minutes too late.
The position of this small band in the midst of an Asiatic army actually engaged in mortal combat with their kinsmen may be better imagined than described. They were riding down the road which passed through the center of the Chinese position, and the banks on each side of them were lined with matchlock-men, among whom the shells of the English guns were already bursting. Parties of cavalry were not wanting here, but out in the plain where the Tartar horsemen swarmed in thousands the greatest danger of all awaited them. Their movements were slow, painfully slow, and the progress was delayed by the necessity of waiting for those who were the worst mounted; but they were "all in the same boat, and, like Englishmen, would sink or swim together." In the accumulation of difficulties that stared them in the face not the least seemed to be that they were advancing in the teeth of their own countrymen's fire, which was growing fiercer every minute. In this critical moment men turned to Mr. Parkes, and Captain Barbazon expressed the belief of those present in a cool brave man in arduous extremity when he cried out, "I vote Parkes decides what is to be done." To follow the main road seemed to be certain destruction and death without the power of resisting; for even assuming that some of them could have cut their way through the Tartar cavalry, and escaped from the English shell, they could hardly have avoided being shot down by the long lines of matchlock-men who were ready to fire on them the instant they saw their backs. There was only one possible avenue of escape, and that was to gain the right flank of the army, and endeavor to make their way by a detour round to the English lines. Assuredly this was not a very promising mode of escape, but it seemed to have the greatest chances of success. But when the Chinese, who had up to this regarded their movements without interfering, saw this change in their course, they at once took measures to stop it. A military mandarin said if they persisted in their attempt they would be treated as enemies and fired upon; but that he was willing to respect their flag of truce, and that if they would accompany him to the general's presence he would obtain a safe conduct for them. The offer was accepted, partly no doubt because it could not be refused, but still also on its own merits. Safe conducts during the heat of battle, even with civilized European peoples, are, however, not such easy things either to grant or to carry out. Mr. Parkes accepted his offer, therefore, and he, Mr. Loch, and the Sikh trooper Nalsing, bearing a flag of truce, rode off with the mandarin in search of the general, while the five other Europeans and the Sikh escort remained on the road awaiting their return. They proceeded to the left, where it was understood that Sankolinsin commanded in person. They met with some adventures even on this short journey. Coming suddenly upon a large body of infantry, they were almost pulled from their horses, and would have been killed but for the mandarin rushing between them and shouting to the men "not to fire." A short distance beyond this they halted, when the approach of Sankolinsin was announced by loud shouts of his name from the soldiery. Mr. Parkes at once addressed him, saying that they had come under a flag of truce, and that they wished to regain their army. The Chinese commander replied to his remarks on the usages of war in true Tartar fashion--with laughter and abuse. The soldiers pressed round the unfortunate Englishmen and placed their matchlocks against their bodies. Escape was hopeless, and death seemed inevitable. But insult was more the object of the Mongol general than their death. They were dragged before him and forced to press the ground with their heads at the feet of Sankolinsin. They were subjected to numerous other indignities, and at last, when it became evident that the battle was going against the Chinese, they were placed in one of the country carts and sent off to Pekin. While Mr. Parkes and Mr. Loch were thus ill-used, their comrades waiting on the road had fared no better. Shortly after their departure the Chinese soldiers began to hustle and jeer at the Englishmen and their native escort. As the firing increased and some of the Chinese were hit they grew more violent. When the news was received of what had happened to Mr. Parkes, and of how Sankolinsin had laughed to scorn their claim to protection, the soldiers could no longer be restrained. The Englishmen and the natives were dragged from their horses, cruelly bound, and hurried to the rear, whence they followed at no great distance their companions in misfortune. While the greater portion of these events had been in progress, Colonel Walker, Mr. Thompson, and the men of the King's Dragoon Guards, had been steadily pacing up and down on the embankment as arranged, in order to show the Chinese that they suspected no treachery and had no fears. They continued doing this until a French officer joined them; but on his getting into a dispute with some of the Chinese about his mule, he drew his pistol and fired at them. He was immediately killed. There was then no longer the least hope of restraining the Chinese, so the whole of the party spurred their horses and escaped to the English army under a heavy but ineffectual fire from matchlocks and gingalls. Their flight was the signal for the commencement of the battle, although at that very moment, had they only known it, the chief party of Englishmen had gained the road east of Chan-chia-wan, and, if the battle had only been delayed a quarter of an hour, they might all have escaped.
But the two hours of grace were up, and Sir Hope Grant saw no further use in delay. General Montauban was still more impatient, and the men were eager to engage. They had to win their camping-ground that night, and the day was already far advanced. The French occupied the right wing, that is the position opposite the spot where we have seen Sankolinsin commanding in person, and a squadron of Fane's Horse had been lent them to supply their want of cavalry. The battle began with the fire of their batteries, which galled the Chinese so much that the Tartar cavalry were ordered up to charge the guns, and right gallantly they did so. A battery was almost in their hands, its officers had to use their revolvers, when the Sikhs and a few French dragoons, led by Colonel Foley, the English commissioner with the French force, gallantly charged them in turn, and compelled them to withdraw. Neither side derived much advantage from this portion of the contest, but the repulse of the Tartar cavalry enabled the French guns to renew their fire with great effect on the line of Chinese infantry. While the French were thus engaged on the right, the English troops had begun a vigorous attack on both the center and their left. The Chinese appeared in such dense masses, and maintained so vigorous, but fortunately so ill- directed, a fire, that the English force made but little progress at either point. The action might have been indefinitely prolonged and left undecided, had not Sir Hope Grant suddenly resolved to re-enforce his left with a portion of his center, and to assail the enemy's right vigorously. This latter part of the battle began with a charge of some squadrons of Probyn's Horse against the bodies of mounted Tartars moving in the plain, whom they, with their gallant leader at their head, routed in the sight of the two armies. This overthrow of their chosen fighting-men greatly discouraged the rest of the Chinese soldiers, and when the infantry advanced with the Sikhs in front they slowly began to give ground. But even then there were none of the usual symptoms of a decisive victory. The French were so exhausted by their efforts that they had been compelled to halt, and General Montauban was obliged to curb his natural impetuosity, and to admit that he could take no part in the final attack on Chan-chia- wan. Sir Hope Grant, however, pressed on and occupied the town. He did not call in his men until they had seized without resistance a large camp about one mile west of the town, where they captured several guns. Thus ended the battle of Chan-chia-wan with the defeat and retreat of the strong army which Sankolinsin had raised in order to drive the barbarians into the sea.
Although the battle was won, Sir Hope Grant, measuring the resistance with the eye of an experienced soldier, came to the conclusion that his force was not sufficiently strong to overawe so obstinate a foe; and accordingly ordered Sir Robert Napier to join him with as many troops as he could spare from the Tientsin garrison. Having thus provided for the arrival of re-enforcements at an early date, he was willing to resume his onward march for Tungchow, where it was hoped some tidings would be obtained of the missing officers and men. Two days intervened before any decisive move was made, but Mr. Wade was sent under a flag of truce into Tungchow to collect information. But he failed to learn anything more about Mr. Parkes than that he had quitted the town in safety after his final interview with Prince Tsai. Lord Elgin now hastened up from Hosiwu to join the military headquarters, and on September 21, the French having been joined by another brigade, offensive operations were recommenced. The delay had encouraged the Chinese to make another stand, and they had collected in considerable force for the defense of the Palikao bridge, which affords the means of crossing the Peiho west of Tungchow. Here again the battle commenced with a cavalry charge which, despite an accident that might have had more serious results, was completely successful. This achievement was followed up by the attack on several fortified positions which were not defended with any great amount of resolution, and while these matters were in progress on the side where the English were engaged, the French had carried the bridge with its twenty-five guns in position in very gallant style. The capture of this bridge and the dispersion of the troops, including the Imperial Guard, which had been intrusted with its defense, completed the discomfiture of the Chinese. Pekin itself lay almost at the mercy of the invader, and, unless diplomacy could succeed better than arms, nothing would prevent the hated foreigners violating its privacy not merely with their presence, but in the most unpalatable guise of armed victors.
The day after the battle at the Palikao bridge came a letter from Prince Kung the emperor's next brother, stating that Prince Tsai and his colleagues had not managed matters satisfactorily, and that he had been appointed with plenipotentiary powers for the discussion and decision of the peace question. But the prince went on to request a temporary suspension of hostilities--a demand with which no general or embassador could have complied so long as officers were detained who had been seized in violation of the usages of war. Lord Elgin replied in the clearest terms that there could be no negotiations for peace until these prisoners were restored, and that if they were not sent back in safety the consequences would be most serious for the Chinese government. But even at this supreme moment of doubt and danger, the subtlety of Chinese diplomacy would have free play. Prince Kung was young in years and experience, but his finesse would have done credit to a gray-haired statesman. Unfortunately for him, the question had got beyond the stage for discussion: the English embassador had stated the one condition on which negotiations would be renewed, and until that had been complied with there was no need to give ear to the threats, promises and entreaties even of Prince Kung. As the prince gave no sign of yielding this point during the week's delay in bringing up the second division from Tientsin, Lord Elgin requested Sir Hope Grant to resume his march on Pekin, from which the advanced guard of the allied forces was distant little more than ten miles. The cavalry had reconnoitered almost up to the gates, and had returned with the report that the walls were strong and in good condition. The danger to a small army of attempting to occupy a great city of the size and population of Pekin is almost obvious; and, moreover, the consistent policy of the English authorities had been to cause the Chinese people as little injury and suffering as possible. Should an attack on the city become unavoidable, it was decided that the point attacked should be the Tartar quarter, including the palace, which occupied the northern half of the city. By this time it had become known that Parkes and Loch were living, that they were confined in the Kaou Meaou Temple, near the Tehshun Gate, and that latterly they had been fairly well treated.
In execution of the plan of attack that had been agreed upon, the allied forces marched round Pekin to the northwest corner of the walls, having as their object the Summer Palace of the emperor at Yuen Min Yuen, not quite four miles distant from the city.
On the approach of the foreign army, Hienfung fled in terror from his palace, and sought shelter at Jehol, the hunting residence of the emperors beyond the Wall. His flight was most precipitate; and the treasures of the Summer Palace were left at the mercy of the Western spoilers. The French soldiers had made the most of the start they had obtained, and left comparatively little for their English comrades, who, moreover, were restrained by the bonds of a stricter discipline. But the amount of prize property that remained was still considerable, and, by agreement between the two generals, it was divided in equal shares between the armies. The capture and occupation of the Summer Palace completed the European triumph, and obliged Prince Kung to promptly acquiesce in Lord Elgin's demand for the immediate surrender of the prisoners, if he wished to avoid the far greater calamity of a foreign occupation of the Tartar quarter of Pekin and the appropriation of its vaster collection of treasures.
On October 6 Mr. Parkes wrote from his place of confinement that the French and English detained were to be returned on the 8th of the month, and that the imperial commanders had been ordered at the same time to retire for a considerable distance from Pekin. These promises were carried out. Prince Kung was at last resolved to make all the concessions requisite to insure the speedy conclusion of peace. The restoration of these captives removed what was thought to be the one obstacle to Lord Elgin's discussing the terms on which the invading force would retire and to the respective governments resuming diplomatic relations. It was fortunate for China that the exact fate of the other prisoners was unknown, and that Lord Elgin felt able, in consequence of the more friendly proceedings of Prince Kung, to overlook the earlier treatment of those now returned to him, for the narrative of Mr. Parkes and his fellow prisoners was one that tended to heighten the feeling of indignation at the original breach of faith. To say that they were barbarously ill-used is to employ a phrase conveying a very inadequate idea of the numerous indignities and the cruel personal treatment to which they were subjected. Under these great trials neither of these intrepid Englishmen wavered in their refusal to furnish any information or to make any concession compromising their country. Mr. Loch's part was in one sense the more easy, as his ignorance of the language prevented his replying, but in bodily suffering he had to pay a proportionately greater penalty. The incidents of their imprisonment afford the most creditable testimony to the superiority which the pride of race as well as "the equal mind in arduous circumstance" gives weak humanity over physical suffering. They are never likely to pass out of the public memory; and those who remember the daring and the chivalry which had inspired Mr. Parkes and Mr. Loch on the day when Prince Tsai's treachery and Sankolinsin's mastery were revealed, will not be disposed to consider it exaggerated praise to say that, for an adventure so honorably conceived and so nobly carried out, where the risk was never reckoned and where the penalty was so patiently borne, the pages of history may be searched almost in vain for an event that, in the dramatic elements of courage and suffering, presents such a complete and consistent record of human gallantry and devotion as the capture and subsequent captivity of these English gentlemen and their Sikh companion.
The further conditions as preliminary to the ratification of the Treaty of Tientsin were gradually, if reluctantly, complied with. On October 13 the northeast gate was handed over to the allied troops, but not before Sir Hope Grant had threatened to open fire on the walls. At the same time Prince Kung returned eight sowars of Fane's Horse and one Frenchman, all the survivors, besides those already surrendered, of the small band which had ridden from Tungchow nearly a month before. The Chinese prince stated in explanation that "a certain number were missing after the fight, or have died of their wounds or of sickness." But the narrative of the Sikhs was decisive as to the fate of the five Englishmen and their own comrades. They had been brutally bound with ropes which, although drawn as tight as human force could draw them, were tightened still more by cold water being poured upon the bands, and they had been maltreated in every form by a cruel enemy, and provided only with food of the most loathsome kind. Some of the prisoners were placed in cages. Lieutenant Anderson, a gallant young officer for whom future renown had been predicted, became delirious and died on the ninth day of his confinement. Mr. De Normann died a week later. What fate befell Captain Barbazon and his French companion, the Abbe de Luc, is uncertain, but the evidence on the subject inclines us to accept as accurate the statement that the Chinese commander in the fight at Palikao, enraged at his defeat, caused them to be executed on the bridge. The soldier Phipps endured for a longer time than Mr. Bowlby the taunts and ill-usage of their jailers, but they at last shared the same fate, dying from the effects of their ill-treatment. The bodies of all the Englishmen, with the exception of Captain Barbazon, were restored, and of most of the Sikhs also. The Chinese officials were more barbarous in their cruelty than even the worst scum among their malefactors; for the prisoners in the jails, far from adding to the tortures of the unfortunate Europeans, did everything in their power to mitigate their sufferings, alleviate their pains, and supply their wants.
The details of these cruel deeds raised a feeling of great horror in men's minds, and, although the desire to arrange the question of peace without delay was uppermost with Lord Elgin, still it was felt that some grave step was necessary to express the abhorrence with which England regarded this cruel and senseless outrage, and to bring home to the Chinese people and government the fact that Englishmen could not be murdered with impunity. Lord Elgin refused to hold any further intercourse with the Chinese government until this great crime had been purged by some signal punishment. Sir Hope Grant and he had little difficulty in arriving at the decision that the best mode of expiation was to destroy the Summer Palace. The French commander refused to participate in the act which carried a permanent lesson of political necessity to the heart of the Pekin government, and which did more than any other incident of the campaign to show Hienfung that the hour had gone by for trifling. On October 18 the threat was carried into execution. The Summer Palace was destroyed by fire, and the sum of $500,000 was demanded and obtained from the Chinese as some compensation for the families of the murdered men. The palace of Yuen Min Yuen had been the scene of some of the worst sufferings of the English prisoners. From its apartments the high mandarins and the immediate courtiers of the emperor had gloated over and enjoyed the spectacle of their foreign prisoners' agony. The whole of Pekin witnessed in return the destruction wrought to the sovereign's abode by the indignant English, and the clouds of smoke hung for days like a vast black pall over the city.
That act of severe but just vengeance consummated, the negotiations for the ratification of the treaty were resumed. The Hall of Ceremonies was selected as the place in which the ratifying act should be performed, while, as some punishment for the hostile part he had played, the palace of Prince Tsai was appropriated as the temporary official residence of Lord Elgin and Baron Gros. The formal act of ratification was performed in this building on October 24. Lord Elgin proceeded in a chair of state, accompanied by his suite, and also by Sir Hope Grant with an escort of 100 officers and 500 troops, through the streets from the Anting Gate to the Hall of Ceremonies. Prince Kung, attended by a large body of civil and military mandarins, was there in readiness to produce the imperial edict authorizing him to attach the emperor's seal to the treaty, and to accept the responsibility for his country of conforming with its terms and carrying out its stipulations. Some further delay was caused by the necessity of waiting until the edict should be received from the emperor at Jehol authorizing the publication of the treaty, not the least important point in connection with its conclusion if the millions of China were to understand and perform what their rulers had promised for them. That closing act was successfully achieved, and more rapidly than had been expected. The Pekinese beheld English troops and officers in residence in their midst for the first time, and when the army was withdrawn and the plenipotentiary, Lord Elgin, transferred to his brother, Mr. Frederick Bruce, the charge of affairs in China as Resident Minister, the ice had been broken in the relations between the officials of the two countries, and the greatest, if not the last, barrier of Chinese exclusiveness had been removed. The last of the allied troops turned their backs upon Pekin on November 9, and the greater portion of the expedition departed for India and Europe just before the cold weather set in. A few days later the rivers were frozen and navigation had become impossible, which showed how narrow was the margin left for the completion of the operations of war.
The object which the more far-seeing of the English residents had from the first hour of difficulty stated to be necessary for satisfactory relations--direct intercourse with the Pekin government--was thus obtained after a keen and bitter struggle of thirty years. Although vanquished, the Chinese may be said to have come out of this war with an increased military reputation. The war closed with a treaty enforcing all the concessions made by its predecessor. The right to station an embassador in Pekin signified that the greatest barrier of all had been broken down; the old school of politicians were put completely out of court, and a young and intelligent prince, closely connected with the emperor, assumed the personal charge of the foreign relations of the country. As one who had seen with his own eyes the misfortunes of his countrymen, Prince Kung was the more disposed to adhere to what he had promised to perform. Under his direction the ratified Treaty of Tientsin became a bond of union instead of an element of discord between the cabinets of London and Pekin; and a termination was put, by an arrangement carried at the point of the sword, to the constant friction and recrimination which had been the prevailing characteristics of the intercourse for a whole generation. The Chinese had been subjected to a long and bitter lesson. They had at last learned the virtue of submitting to necessity; but although they have profited to some extent both in peace and war by their experience, it requires some assurance to declare that they have even now accepted the inevitable. That remains the problem of the future; but in 1860 Prince Kung came to the sensible conclusion that for that period, and until China had recovered from her internal confusion, there was nothing to be gained and much to be lost by protracted resistance to the peoples of the West. Whatever could be retained by tact and finesse were to form part of the natural rights of China; but the privileges only to be asserted in face of Armstrong guns and rifles were to be abandoned with as good a grace as the injured feeling of a nation can ever display.