Page:Tseng Kuo Fan and the Taiping Rebellion.djvu/60

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soldiers. Hence we may consider this event the real opening of the Taiping rebellion.

Hung Jin represents the movement as one thrust by a hostile government on the God-worshippers about the middle of 1850, though he does admit that as early as 1845 or 1846 Hung had expressed to a relative his secret purpose of overthrowing the Manchus.[1] Apparently forgetting that admission he later insisted that the genesis of the revolutionary movement was in 1850, after fighting had been going on for two years, and was due to the sudden adherence of a horde of defeated Hakkas who joined these congregations in order to secure refuge from their neighbors with whom they had been forced to quarrel.[2] But we have already examined several passages which prove that 1848 was the year when fighting began, and are prepared to understand that in 1850 these congregations, still separated among the different leaders, had much training in military tactics.

In the sixth month, 1850 (July 8-August 7), the detached companies first came together at Kint'ien, a small town in the district of Kweip'ing, having been aroused, apparently, by some quarrel between the Pênti and Hakka groups in which the officials gave aid to the former.[3] From the villages round about, the angry bands poured into Kint'ien, where Tang Siu-ch'ing was ready to receive them. Hung Siu-ch'üan and Fêng Yun-shan were at that time held as prisoners at Hwachow in P'ingnan-hsien, some forty miles away, and had to be rescued by the united band under Tang, in the eighth moon. Having rescued these leaders, they went on to the Wuhsuan district, where the most formidable of their followers joined the movement; among them Lin Hung-ch'iang, later placed at the head of the expeditionary force that

  1. Hamberg, pp. 29 f.
  2. Ibid., pp. 48 ff.
  3. Ibid., pp. 50-52.