Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

and in a few weeks the empire was once more ablaze with insurrection, officials everywhere surrendering their cities and the people gladly removing their queues. Six provinces turned against their Manchu masters; a seventh, Kwangtung, remained neutral because its old Prince, Shang Ko-si was loyal, but his son Chu-sin, a drunkard, accepted the title of Great Commander from Wu, assumed the old Chinese headdress and made his aged father a prisoner. The latter died in 1676, and Chu-sin, rather alarmed at Wu's attitude toward him, made his peace with Kanghsi. The other rebel prince (of Fuhkien) after some serious fighting, was pardoned and re-employed by the Manchus in 1677, but was subsequently executed in Peking, a fitting end for his cruelty and crimes. The defection of these coast provinces, though badly led, was heartily endorsed by their inhabitants whose hatred of the Manchus has never much abated, and a considerable Manchu army had to be employed in bringing them to order. Wu San-kwei raged up and down the western provinces, where his armies at one time had possession of Shensi and even threatened Peking. So long as he lived there seemed to be a magic in the old warrior's name that paralyzed the troops brought against him. All his campaigning was carried on in the enemy's country, and though he was presently driven out of Shensi and the two Kwang, he died holding his own in Hunan, while none dared to attack his base in the southwest. During four years this indefatigable fighter had wrenched nearly half of China from Manchu control and maintained his upstart government upon the resources of the least productive portion of the empire. Kanghsi, who inherited the physical vigor of his great ancestors, was with difficulty dissuaded from taking charge of the campaign against this formidable rival in person. His counsellors were probably justified in their fears of losing Peking in an émeute if he left the capital, but his resolution in the crisis and the resources at his command-chiefly in the better fighting qualities of the Mongols and northern Chinese troops-eventually achieved a hard-earned victory over all his foes in 1681. Wu had succumbed to an illness in 1678; his grandson and successor, Shu-fan, was beheaded upon the fall of his capital Yunnan, and his head hung upon one of the city gates of Peking. The rebellion had failed, and the emperor could congratulate himself that he had accomplished what was necessary for establishing his autocracy, the disarming of the vassal princes. So long as they retained their hereditary powers the Manchu was little more than the feudal suzerain of China. Their revolt was a declaration of the right of the Chinese to rule themselves, and in this sense these eight years were the concluding act in the bloody drama begun in 1644. To insure the future Kanghsi abolished the title of Wang except as bestowed upon members of the imperial clan, nor was it made hereditary even amongst these.

In the settlement of the country Manchu troops were quartered in permanent garrisons in a score of the more important cities of the empire. These “bannermen” were forbidden to intermarry with the Chinese or to engage in any occupation except that of arms. So long as these warriors were regularly exercised in their profession under the great military emperors, chasing bandits or campaigning in Central Asia, they remained a valid defence to the throne. But they never constituted an important element in the forces of the empire. In later times, becoming utterly demoralized through inaction, compelled to remain aliens in spirit as well as in race to the industrious Chinese who surrounded them and to whom they represented the yoke of a foreign master, they sank into forlorn and useless drones whose descendants were the first victims of the Chinese revolution of 1911. This was Kanghsi's reply to the intransigeants of China. He was logical, perhaps, but time, a profounder logician, proved it to be fallacious. The conquest had not in reality been effected by Manchu braves or even by Manchu wisdom, nor could the Manchus ever retain their hold upon China merely by the valor of their men. Their attack was begun at an opportune moment, when a long period of Ming misrule and her reduced vitality had so distracted China as to admit of her capital being taken by a coup de main. The importance of Nurhachu's work of training and preparation was fully revealed in this initial success and in the admirable temper of his successors, as they employed all the factors in their favor while pushing the conquest through to an end. But these factors were

1 In Chienlung's reign there were 45,500 Manchu bannermen disposed in twenty towns of China Proper, 8,750 near Peking and 15,000 in eight garrisons in Turkestan, besides about 100,000 guarding the imperial palace. The total Chinese army was 662,000, besides 700,000 provincial troops.

. for the most part Chinese: the hopeless incapacity of the Ming pretenders, the willingness of the Chinese to fight for the foreigners, the schisms that separated north from south, faction from faction, province from province, the indomitable fortitude of a courageous people when once enlisted in their cause.

It was the Chinese themselves who completed the conquest of China for the Manchus; it was the Chinese who suffered them to rule because they adopted their culture and institutions and took the natives into partnership in the management of the empire. No disposition of Manchu garrisons at strategic centers could have long upheld that rule or prevented insurrections had the Tartars departed from their policy and managed their great estate selfishly. And who shall say that those who, for fear or favor, cast their lot with the Manchus decided unwisely for their country? The sovereigns of China never had a broader sense of empire or a clearer idea of the physical confines and defences of that empire than under Kanghsi, the greatest of her modern emperors, whose expansion of her boundaries and increase of her prestige made her a greater power than ever before and strong enough to save her from subjugation by the predatory states of a newly awakened Europe.

SOME EXPERIENCES AT THE SIEGE OF NANKING

DURING THE REVOLUTION

By C. Voonping Yui, M.D., of the Chinese Red Cross Society

In a

It affords me great pleasure to relate my experiences in Nanking last year while I was doing Red Cross work. The outbreak of the revolution started at Wuchang in the central part of China on the tenth of October, 1911. short period of time, Hankow, Hangyang and Wuchang came into the possession of the revolutionists. But when the attack was directed against Nanking, much resistance was encountered and the city was not captured until many lives had been sacrificed.

There are two reasons to account for the difficulty in subduing Nanking. First, Nanking is a strongly fortified city; it has the advantage of being protected by a deep and wide moat and by a number of high hills which encircle it. Unlike ordinary city-walls in China, this wall around Nanking follows the course of the surrounding hills and is built of stones as well as of bricks. Such a solid construction naturally hinders opponents from coming in or near the city. The top of this massive structure, where I walked, is wide enough to accommodate six horses trotting abreast. The city of Nanking (literally South Capital), had been twice the capital of the Empire. It was the headquarters for the Taiping rebellion, another anti-Manchu outbreak of the country in 1850. The imperial army then besieged the city for over a year without success. At last, a subterranean tunnel was dug under the center of the city and then exploded by the imperialists. By this means was the city subdued. This happened about sixty years ago, and the Manchu government did not forget the painstaking work of conquering Nanking rebels. Consequently, the Tartar regiment of that city had been especially well organized and fully equipped with modern instruments of war. This is one of the reasons why the revolutionists encountered hard bloody battles before success finally came. Second, the city has a Tartar general and a Chinese gen

a eral, namely Tieh Lian and Chang Shun. Both were as loyal and submissive to the Manchus as their slaves, and also as cruel and brutal as tyrants. It was reported that even the slightest suspicion of helping the revolutionists would result in decapitation through the order of these enthusiasts. During the revolution many helpless and innocent persons thus lost their lives in the city without specification of their crimes or discrimination of right from wrong according to law. When the country was everywhere teeming with revolutionary spirit, Chang Shun and his fellow officials still foolishly exerted their utmost energy to drill the army and the artillery and prepared to resist the invincible forces of the people. The imperial officers thus invited strong opposition.

For these two reasons, the people had to fight with all their might in order to bring back the laurels of triumph.

How did I happen to witness a part of the bloody scene? I was connected with Nanyang College, Shanghai, as a resident physician. I was then teaching a class in first aid. As soon as the revolution began in Shanghai, I organized a first aid corps, comprising twenty-four persons, some were my students, others my friends, and one was my brother. All aimed to carry on Red Cross work and all were volunteers supplying their own funds. Although my companions and I lacked experience in such work, we were enthusiastic. When the bad news of the recapture of Hankow by the imperialists reached Shanghai, we intended to start for that city. As many Red Cross members had done splendid work there, we found our services were more needed in Nanking where merciless fighting had already taken place. So we started for Nanking November 28, 1911, and met Bishop F. R. Graves, Dr. Geo. Deval, and Dr. Gaynor on our way. Besides the ordinary equipment such as dressings, blankets, stretchers, splints, hypodermics, etc., we brought along with us four big bales of clothing, consisting of underwear, coats and trousers which afterward proved

« ForrigeFortsæt »