Page:Tseng Kuo Fan and the Taiping Rebellion.djvu/61

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43
ORGANISATION OF GOD-WORSHIPPERS

marehed from Nanking to the north, the pirate, Lo Ta-kang, a member of the Triad Society, and Hung Ta-ch'üan, later the T'ienteh-wang, Hung's co-sovereign. Little by little, arms and various other warlike necessities were obtained and the government and army organisations began to take shape. With their numbers thus increased, they returned to Kint'ien.

While these serious steps were being taken by the rebels, the government awoke to the fact that something more serious than bandit raids was astir, and that extraordinary measures were necessary. As early as August General Hsiang Yung was ordered from Hunan to Kwangsi as t'ituh and reached there in October. Lin Tse-hsü, notorious among foreigners as having helped to bring about the Opium War, so-called, was brought from his retirement and dispatched as an imperial commissioner, but died on the way, and Li Sing-yuan was appointed to that post. Chow T'ien-chioh became acting governor of the province. A skirmish was fought on January 1, 1851, but the imperialists failed.[1] At the Chinese New Year, February 1, the insurgents inaugurated their new government, calling it T'aiping T'ienkuo, or the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace, with T'ienteh and Hung as co-sovereigns.[2]

In the next few months both sides gained strength. Taiping raids from Kint'ien and later from their bases at Tahwang Kiang and Siangchow brought in reinforcements and supplies and their numbers increased rapidly. The imperialists were reinforced by the mandate for Wxdant 'ai of the Banner forces to proceed to Kwangsi, and by the appointment in April of Saishanga as im-

  1. Tsêng, then at Peking, wrote home in May, 1851, saying that the leaders in Kwangsi were at daggers' points.
  2. On the authority of the Kanwang's confession, p. 5. The formal date we shall see is a year later while they were at Yungan.