An imperial decree was issued in which the Empress-Dowager regretted the death of the German Minister and the Japanese Chancellor.
Continuing The Boxer Uprising,
with a selection from His Account included in George Lynch’s ‘The War of the Civilizations’ by Chuan-sen published in 1901. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. This selection is presented in three easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in The Boxer Uprising.
The Tsung-Li-Yamen was afraid that Boxers would destroy its buildings, and asked Prince Tuan to send some Boxers to guard it against the soldiers from plundering the treasury. The Boxers at once wanted to kill the head cook, who is, of course, a cunning man, for the food he prepared was very bad.
The Boxers, as they themselves said, but not all true, could distinguish the Christians from the Buddhists by a mark of a cross on the temple or forehead. During these days rumor said that at present there were some persons who could put a cross mark on one’s forehead simply by blowing with the mouth or with a fan.
On this account most of the people went to the Boxers’ altars to be examined. About nine- tenths of the people who did go to the altar had the cross mark on the head. Some people said that in the Chinese city a mark of a cross could not be cleared off without paying a tael of silver for each. People thought that this was the Christian’s magic power, but I believed it was the Boxers cheating them, for I had never heard the Christians possess magic power.
In the streets some yellow papers pasted on the wall said that on the seventh day of the seventh moon all the people should wrap their heads with red cloth, and on these four days — seventh and fifteenth days of the seventh moon, and first and ninth days of the ninth moon — they should not eat cooked food, otherwise Niu-Lang, a spirit, would not help the people to pass the calamity, and also foreigners could not be stopped from firing.
A proclamation was issued by the metropolitan commander-in-chief of infantry, in which rewards of fifty taels of silver for the capture of a living foreign man, forty for a woman, and thirty for a child were offered.
One day when I was in the Yamen a man ran in suddenly and said that there were Christians in Chao-Tang-Tsu-Hu-Tung, the lane just opposite the one in which the Tsung-Li- Yamen is situated. The Boxers in the Yamen immediately ran to the house showed to them by the messenger. When they arrived the house had already caught fire. Some yellow Boxers captured the holder of the house, and sent him to Prince Chuang’s house to be examined. Now, no persons could be put to death without being sent to Prince Chuang’s house to be examined.
One day a long succession of firing guns was heard. It was the bombardment of the British Legation.
In the morning of the twenty-first day, when I was walking in the main street at Tan-Pai-Lou, I saw one of the Jung-Lu’s soldiers talking with several passers-by, and I overheard that early that morning a few foreigners came out of a legation (which he could not recognize) and begged a commander of the troops to forgive them, and they would fight no more.
They promised to stop fighting in Tientsin too. In the afternoon a foreigner came out and was caught by a few soldiers, and he said he wanted to see General Ma. The reason was that their provisions, ammunitions were not sufficient.
An imperial decree was issued in which the Empress-Dowager regretted the death of the German Minister and the Japanese Chancellor, and ordered the Viceroy of Chih-Li and the metropolitan prefect to arrest banditti and protect the legations, and to send the missionaries and merchants home. On hearing this, the Boxers said the foreigners would soon be all killed, and she was silly.
The Empress-Dowager ordered the Tsung-Li-Yamen to present some watermelons to the foreign ministers. The Boxers seeing this became very angry, said that it was done by the Yamen privately, but that it was not ordered by her Majesty.
On the twenty-ninth day Chang-Lin, a former vice-president of a board, brought about two thousand Boxers to Chin-Chia-Tun to attack the Christians, who fortified their place with trenches and guns, so the Boxers were wounded before they could go near it, and therefore were defeated.
Two, or perhaps more, of the students of the Peking University were killed by the Boxers, for they had foreign books.
On the first day of the seventh moon a telegram came from the American Consul at Chefoo, in which it was stated that very large forces of all nations were at Taku, and that no American was wounded, except a little loss of property; and that he asked Mr. Conger to write with his own hand the true condition of the siege.
On the second day the Tsung-Li- Yamen sent a good deal of vegetables and about a thousand catties * of flour to the legations. The Boxers in the Yamen looked at this with an angry frown.
[* A Chinese weight equal to 1 ½ pound avoirdupois. — Ed.]
On the fourth day another telegram came from the American Consul at Chefoo, which said that the admirals of all nations were anxious to know the condition of the siege.
On the sixth day it was reported that the English had promised that the seven nations would inflict no trouble on China. Germany was very angry for the death of her Ambassador; Russia was eager for getting land from China; France allied with Russia; Japan was watching for Russia.
On the tenth day it was reported that a few thousand soldiers were defeated by the Tartar General Shou-Shan, but that the Russians occupied most of the Manchurian territories.
In the midnight of the eleventh the Tsung-Li-Yamen wanted me to go to Prince Chuang’s house, so I put on my official coats; I doubted very much, because I feared that he would kill me; I could but go.
On the twelfth day when I arrived there I found that several of my friends had already been there, and I knew that several letters were presented to Prince Chuang by a Chinese who was trusted by foreigners to deliver them in Tientsin.
Prince Chuang and Duke Lan treated us in a friendly way, for now they understood that people who knew foreign languages were also useful to them.
They asked us to translate these letters, which they would submit to the Empress-Dowager for her perusal. As these letters came from the legations, I think it is not necessary for me to repeat them.
A man told me that Li-Peng-Leng commanded one hundred thousand soldiers, who dispersed before they met foreign troops; he felt extremely shameful and committed suicide. Some people who escaped from Tung- Chow said that foreign soldiers were not many, but the Chinese did not fight at all.
On the twentieth day, hearing the sound of firing cannons and guns, which continued around the city, people knew that foreign troops had arrived, so they were in a state of great excitement. Now they hid themselves so as to avoid the flying bullets.
The Empress-Dowager escaped, and Prince Ching knew the city could not be defended, and distributed flags of truce to the soldiers, and ordered them to put them on the city wall.
This is all the news I heard during the siege. I think that all known to foreigners is unnecessary for me to write in details.
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