Page:Tseng Kuo Fan and the Taiping Rebellion.djvu/55

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37
ORGANISATION OF GOD-WORSHIPPERS

work, which led to a visit, in 1846 or 1847, and a period of instruction for Hung and his cousin, Hung Jin. Through some misunderstanding, however, they left without receiving baptism.

About the middle of 1847 Hung decided to make another trip to Kwangsi and visit the region where he had preached three years earlier. Here—apparently for the first time—he learned of the great work accomplished by Fêng Yun-shan, whom he now decided to visit at "Thistle Mount." But on arriving there he learned that Fêng was in prison. So he set out at once for Canton to intercede on his behalf with the viceroy there, basing his plea on the foreign treaties which granted religious liberty. Unsuccessful in this quest. Hung hastened back to Kwangsi, there to discover that Fêng had been liberated and had gone in search of Hung. Again Hung went to Hwahsien, and there he found that Fêng had been there, but had just returned to Kwangsi. Instead of continuing to pass and repass each other Hung remained at home, until in the tenth moon, 1849, Fêng came there once more and took him to Kwangsi to head the Taiping rebellion.

Following this account of Hung Jin alone, we are led to the view that Hung Siu-ch'üan was not an active factor in the organisation of the religion brotherhoods of God-worshippers, and the Chungwang in his autobiography tells us bluntly that Fêng Yun-shan "was the originator of the project for setting up a government, and was the prime mover in the affair."[1] He also states that the project was known but to six men besides the T'ienwang.[2] In the next chapter I shall consider this

  1. Chungwang, Autobiography, p. 2.
  2. The desire to establish a kingdom was a deeply conceived plan, known only to the Eastern king, Yang Siu-ch'ing, the Western king, Hsiao Chao-kwei, the Southern king, Fêng Yun-shan, the Northern king, Wei Ch'ang-hui, the Assistant king, Shi Ta-k'ai, the supreme minister of state,