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Tsêng Kuo-fan and the Taiping Rebellion

 

TSÊNG KUO-FAN AND THE TAIPING REBELLION

WITH A SHORT SKETCH OF HIS LATER CAREER

 

By

WILLIAM JAMES HAIL, Ph.D., D.D.

Dean and Professor of History,
College of Yali, Changsha

 
Yale University Press logo 1918.png
 

NEW HAVEN: YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONDON: HUMPHREY MILFORD
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

MDCCCCXXVII

 

 
 

TO
MY FATHER, MY MOTHER,
AND MY WIFE

 
 

 
 

FOREWORD

 

There is much to he done in bringing the history of China to the knowledge of the Western world which thus far has been content with information acquired mainly through imperfect summaries of her annals. As is the ease with Chinese painting, the beauty and importance of which have quite recently been disclosed to students of art, the material for a proper understanding of Chinese history is abundant and adequate for research by scholars equipped for the work. The importance of the task is a challenge to the scholarship of the coming generation. Dr. Hail's study of the Taiping Revolt only makes a beginning; it stands by itself thus far as an example of what may be accomplished by applying the science of historical method, developed wholly in the West, to a subject the material on which is entirely Chinese. No one without the advantage of his double equipment—in the handling of the matter and understanding of the language—could hope for the success he has achieved in this volume. Its importance to Chinese scholarship is as great as its contribution to Western comprehension, for in the examination of the evidence and its dispassionate presentation he reveals to the Chinese a chapter in their own history in a way emphatically unlike their accustomed records. Moreover, it must be added, twenty years' residence and study in China have endowed him with both sympathy and soundness of judgment. The criticism of Young China is disarmed here when it discovers an impartiality that discredits at once the existing prejudice against the Manchu Dynasty, which listens to no good about its servants, and the rather preposterous contention that foreigners in the end put down the Rebellion.

The significance of this Revolt in the middle of the nineteenth century is not fairly estimated either by its magnitude or suppression. Other uprisings in Asia have been as widespread and as wasteful; we have to go back to Darius or Harsha to discover one on a similar scale that was as completely crushed by one organizing genius. The discomfiture of the Taiping movement is a significant indication of race character that places the Chinese high in the ranks of civilized nations. After years of disastrous mismanagement by incompetent officials the people were prompted to support the wearisome process of raising a volunteer army and to endure punishment from desperate enemies until they could effect their extermination. Tsêng, the proponent of this, plan, hardly finds his prototype anywhere in modern history. Dr. Hail compares him with Washington, whom he resembled in character. The American hero, however, was rewarded for his great services by becoming head of the state he had led to independence. With Tsêng there was no question of a supreme position as recompense of his exertions. He remained faithful to the empire, and, though the dynasty he had saved proved undeserving in the end, he lives in the hearts of his people as the type of inviolate loyalty, sans peur et sans reproche. To reveal to the world abroad, which has never know him, one such instance of devotion and untarnished honour brings to us a new realization of the potential in Chinese culture.

Yale University.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

  1. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    xi
  2. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    xiii
  3. I.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    1
  4. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    1
  5. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    16
  6. II.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    28
  7. III.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    50
  8. IV.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    75
  9. V.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    90
  10. VI.
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    119
  11. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    119
  12. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    128
  13. VII.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    141
  14. VIII.
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    161
  15. IX.
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    186
  16. X.
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    205
  17. XI.
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    230
  18. XII.
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    245
  19. XIII.
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    271
  20. XIV.
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    296
  21. XV.
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    306
  22. XVI.
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    329
  23. XVII.
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    364
  24. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    372
  25. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    401

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