TAI PINGS AND TRADE WAR
 IN 1834 the East India Company's charter expired. The British government, assuming control, sent out
Lord Napier as King George's representative, supposing that he would be welcomed, and that China
would feel it an honor. The Peking mandarins refused him audience, insisting that they would not
open diplomatic relations with any outside nation. Such a proceeding would also spoil the lucrative
trade of the Cohong, or company of native merchants and mandarins who had charge of the systematic
"squeezing," without which no business in China, from viceroy to laborer, is done. The Chinese,
conceited as they then were, could not conceive of treating with any other nation on equal terms, or
with their representative. At one time, the Japanese were as inhospitable. Lord Napier, after many
rebuffs, insulted, and kept a virtual prisoner in the factory at Canton, lost health, retired to
Macao, and died there in 1834.
It seemed necessary to force open the gates of the hermit nation with gunpowder. Matters having
become acute, two British frigates had anchored in the Canton River to protect the foreign
factories. In 1836 Captain Charles Elliot was
 sent out, and ordered to ignore the Cohong and deal directly with the authorities. He also was
unsuccessful, and retired to Macao. The Chinese now took high-handed measures against the import of
opium, which had proved itself to be a curse to their people and country. When the Peking government
demanded that the sale of the "filthy drug" should be restricted, smuggling became the order of the
day. The Chinese then determined to stop the importation of the stupefying juice of the poppy, even
at the cost of war, and the court appointed as imperial commissioner the stalwart Lin. This
conservative and determined man at once surrounded the foreign factory on the land side, and
prepared to blockade the island and thus shut off the aliens. He ordered all opium from the ships to
be put on shore, and Captain Elliot yielded.
When a Chinese was killed by some foreign sailors, the demand of Lin for the particular murderer was
for good reason refused. Lin gave ten days to have the culprit ferreted out and handed over to be
dealt with according to Chinese law. This, as to methods of trial, prisons, and punishment, was at
that time as barbarous as had been that of medieval Europe. War now broke out, and some Chinese
junks were sunk by British cannon. On one of them, then or later, a Chinese mandarin was found dead,
sitting in his bloodstained silk robes. He had been reading a Chinese version of
 the Four Gospels, to discover what there was in the teachings of Jesus that made Christians seem so
Although this is called the Opium War, it was really a collision between the ideas of hermits and
those of international law, between the standard of a local civilization and the growing conscience
of the world. To these, China and all nations must in time yield fully. The forcing of opium upon
China by the British cannot be justified, but the opium was the occasion and not the cause of the
hostilities, which lasted from 1840 to 1843.
BASKET-CHAIR AND MATTING SHOP
River battles were fought at Canton and Amoy, and some Chinese ports were blockaded. The British
ships appeared in the north at the mouth of the Pei-ho River, threatening Peking. The forts on the
Canton River were again attacked. Terms of peace were proposed and refused. The Bogue forts were
taken. There were intervals of peace and fighting, and an attack on the city of Canton. Again
negotiations were attempted, but after their failure, war was carried to the north. Ning-po,
Shanghai, and several forts were captured. The Chinese with obsolete weapons were beaten.
The lack of unity in the China of the Manchus and the low state of patriotism were shown at one
place when Chinese mandarins entertained the British soldiers while the Manchu garrisons were
fighting them. On August 9, 1842, the British army reached Nanking. Here the fleets carrying
 tribute rice to the capital could be intercepted. The imperial government therefore sent high
commissioners, Manchus, and the first treaty between China and Great Britain was concluded August
29, 1842, a pivotal date in the empire's history. Its chief points were the opening of five
ports—Canton, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai—to foreign trade, the payment of an
indemnity of twenty-one million dollars, and the cession of the Island of Hong Kong, now a part of
the British Empire and one of the greatest centres of commerce in the world. Other nations shared in
the triumph, the Americans among the first, President Polk having sent out the Hon. Caleb Cushing,
who made a treaty with China. At the treaty ports settlements were made and missionaries began their
Christian labors. Shanghai became one of the model cities of the Far East.
Imposed by force, these agreements were unpopular, and the first business of the Chinese mandarins
was to nullify them as far as possible. Riots broke out among the people and several Englishmen were
In every old country, the entrance of new ideas, whether commercial, religious, political, or
social, causes ferment. The first results are not encouraging, because these new ideas lead either
to unbalanced enthusiasm or to indignation and hatred. In a protectorate or on conquered territory,
they fill the native students with the notion of
immedi-  ate but impossible independence. In China, the Tai Ping rebellion broke out.
A disappointed scholar named Hung, who had failed in the examinations, came into contact with
Christian truths. Born near Canton in 1813, the son of an emigrant farmer who had come from the
north, he devoted himself to study. China is the land of the free, where there is no permanent
nobility except the descendants of Confucius, and where any boy in the land may become prime
minister, promotion being by merit and not by rank or birth. The boy Hung devoted himself to study,
and thrice attended the civil service examinations at Canton, to get the degree of Bachelor of Arts
and later government employment. His disappointment so preyed upon his mind that he became ill and
was apparently at the gates of death. He had a dream in which first a dragon, then a tiger, and
finally a cock entered his room. He saw also happy men and women in shining robes, who led him into
the palace of Heaven. Taken to a river, be was washed and made clean. His heart was taken out, and
he was given a new one of a red color, his wound closing without a scar. A venerable being put a
sword in his hand and commanded him to abolish the worship of evil spirits.
On recovering health Hung pondered the meaning of this dream, but could not at first interpret it.
He took out the Christian tracts which he had received, and studied them. They seemed to
fur-  nish a key to the meaning of his dream. He put himself under the instruction of a missionary, and
even asked for baptism, but it is not known that he was ever admitted into the church as a member.
In a word, he was never, in any real sense, a Christian.
Thoroughly convinced of his divine call, Hung converted first his own household and then his
neighbors, forming, in 1850, the Shang-ti Hwei, or Society [for the Worship of] Almighty God. Their
first acts were to smash idols and to level temples to the ground. Starting out as a purely
religious movement, this became, almost of necessity, political. When the Peking government, fearing
that the movement might become revolutionary, sent two mandarins to suppress it with force, the
followers of Hung declared open rebellion. Being southern Chinamen, they almost as a matter of
course raised the cry, "Exterminate the Manchus!" When the rebels seized town after town, tens of
thousands, incited by the hope of plunder, followed the banners inscribed with characters meaning
Heavenly Father, Heavenly Elder Brother, Heavenly King of the Great Peace (Tai Ping), Dynasty of the
Heavenly Kingdom (China), etc. When they gave up shaving the front part of their heads, cut off
their queues, and let their hair grow, they were called the "Long-Haired Rebels."
It being difficult to feed so large an army,
 Hung marched north, capturing cities as he went. At Chang-sha he received his first severe check and
lost eighty days in vainly trying to take this city. The rebels moved into the Yang-tse valley,
taking four large cities by storm. In March, 1853, they captured Nanking, which, after a horrible
massacre of its people, was made the capital of the new dynasty.
Hung, claiming to be the brother of Christ, having taken the personal title of Heavenly King and the
name of Heavenly Virtue for his reign, sent forth a Book of Celestial Decrees, which he declared
contained the revelations given to him by God the Heavenly Father and by Christ his Celestial
Brother. Proclaimed as emperor of China, and surrounded by his army of eighty thousand men, which
was ever increasing, he appointed four assistant "kings," of the North, South, East, and West, to
help in ruling the empire. He depended upon his brave and able general Chung for success in the
field of war.
Now came the reaction so often seen in the career of such men, who have risen high and fallen low.
Leaving the actual direction of affairs in the hands of his subordinates, Hung, who probably never
knew by any real experience of life what it is to be a Christian, gave himself up to unbridled
license and apparently lost all energy. Some foreigners, including missionaries (with whom the
writer has talked concerning their adventures),
 who cherished hopes that the movement promised a new and better life for China, visited Hung at his
court. Their eyes were opened when they saw the disorder and fanaticism of the rebels. All ideas of
the regeneration of China through the Tai Pings were dispelled.
In March, 1853, a rebel army tried to seize the city of Kai Feng and failed. Repulsed also from Tien
Tsin, they retreated to Nanking. Li Hung Chang, afterwards known to the world, now appeared on the
stage. Raising a regiment of militia, he harassed the rear-guard of the rebels, and for this success
was introduced to imperial favor. The government troops regained their courage, retook several
cities, and put a new face upon affairs. The Tai Pings were now confined to the Yang-tse valley.
Meanwhile the sixth Manchu Emperor, ruling from Peking, Tai Kwang, who had held the sceptre since
1821, died after a reign of thirty years and was succeeded by Hien Feng, who was to enjoy or suffer
during eleven troublous years the duties of his high station.