The Chinese Repository/Volume 1/Number 6/Journal of Occurrences

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The Chinese Repository, Volume 1, Number 6 (1832)
Journal of Occurrences

October 1832

2448640The Chinese Repository, Volume 1, Number 6 — Journal of Occurrences1832


The Rebellion of the Yaou-jin and their Chinese associates is at an end. Two or three hundred boats, it is said, have gone to Leenchow to bring back the troops; and the Imperial commissioners, He-ngan and Hoo-sung-ih, have returned to Peking, with additional honors.

He-ngan, who is said to have more influence with "the one man who rules the world," than any other courtier, has reported to his majesty a long series of victories, in daily skirmishes with the rebels; stating, also, that more than one half of the mountain tribes have begged to be allowed to surrender, and to give up their leaders and their arms.

It is stated that He-ngan and his colleague ordered the judge Yangchinlin, to send forth among the mountaineers, a proclamation, that imperial legates had arrived; that troops were gathering like stormy clouds; and that, from all the provinces, large levies of veteran troops were pouring in, and would certainly, in the event of further resistance, wash like a deluge the whole population from the face of the earth;—or, to change the figure, would burn them up, indiscriminately—good and bad—whether precious gems or common stones, &c. &c.

The judge addressed the people like a friend, calling upon them to save themselves. The commissioners feigned perfect ignorance of the whole; and while the highlanders were treating, the imperialists were plotting and straining every nerve to effect their destruction.

The commissioners state, that their endeavour had been, in obedience to an imperial order, to scatter auxiliaries, and soothe principals,—to divide and conquer. The immense army of the manifesto, gathering like clouds from all the provinces, and covering the heavens with darkness, consisted of 3000 men ordered from Hookwang!

He-ngan says, many of the tribes submitted even on the terms he proposed, viz. the Mantchou tonsure, together with depriving the ears of the rings commonly worn by the mountaineers. At the date of the memorial, from which we have collected these statements, He-ngan supposed "ten days would be sufficient to shut up the affair, and close further proceedings." So it has proved.

On the 15th instant, the Imperial commissioners received a despatch from the Emperor, approving of their proceedings, but degrading Governor Le. Peacock's feathers, rings, &c., in profusion, have been sent down for the meritorious; among whom we observe the name of Ko-tse-tsin, who was lately at Macao, as the "Casa branca Mandarine,"—the Hae-fang Tung-che, or guardian of the coast. This little man, is by descent, one of the Yaou-jin, lately in rebellion; and Governor Le sent him up, expressly to do the needful. His death has been reported, but the report now appears to have been untrue.

Two legal judges, Yang and King, sent up to the highlands, have so acted that their merits and demerits balanced each other; therefore the commissioners requested that they might be passed over.

Thus the war has ended, as almost all wars do—in Europe, all parties (excepting a few slain, degraded, &c.,) returning to the state they were in before the war. The mountaineers have agreed to stay at home, and the imperialists have agreed not to go among the hills to extirpate them.

Governor Le, immediately after his disgrace, having delivered up to He-ngan the seals of office, set out on his journey to Peking; where, on his arrival, he is to be put on trial before the Hing-poo, or tribunal of punishments. His family left Canton for their home in Keang-se, on the 15th instant.

The Village Tyrant.—A case which has lately excited considerable attention, and been matter of much talk in Canton, is that of Ye-mung-che, a Peking officer; who, by his pride and profligacy, has brought himself to an untimely end. On the 27th of the 4th moon, the Fooyuen Choo sat in person on his trial, and sentence of death has been passed on him, but has not yet received the Imperial sanction.

Ye-mung-che (or, as the first syllable of his name signifies, Leaf,) is now in 44th year of his age. In his youth he was a good scholar, and rapidly rose to the highest degree of literary rank. The first and most honorable scene of literary combat, in China, takes place at Peking, in the presence of the Emperor, There Leaf succeeded, and was forthwith appointed to a respectable place in the Board of Revenue; in which situation he remained some years at the capital. Two or three years ago, his mother died; and he, being thereby incapacitated, by law, from holding office, for three years, returned to his native village in Tung-kwan district, accompanied by a Peking servant, whom he brought with him.

Leaf, a clever man, and a treasury secretary from Peking, was a person greatly esteemed and feared in his native village. But he carried his acts of injustice in raising money by intimidation, and his acts of profligacy, on the persons of wives, daughters, and nuns, to such an extreme degree, that scores of accusers have appeared, at Canton against him. His maltreatment of others to gratify his vicious propensities has caused upwards of ten suicides. We have the native details before us, but we decline entering into them minutely. The tyrant Leaf was a terror to all the neighbourhood. The police-men were afraid to attack him. But an old friend of his, the Pwan-yu magistrate, succeeded in betraying him. The magistrate and he were sworn brothers, that is, they had, in Chinese phrase, "exchanged cards." This magistrate went and paid his old friend a cordial visit, and said, "Brother Leaf, there are various charges against you at Canton; go with me, and let us set them to rights." Leaf immediately consented, but as soon as the worshipful magistrate had brought his friend to Canton, he sent a posse of special thief catchers from the Fooyuen's office, who speedily took him into safe custody.

The Kwang-chow-foo magistrate who sat on the trial, was also an old friend of Leaf's.—Leaf denied, positively, every charge, and the magistrate was unwilling to torture him. He therefore said, "Brother Leaf, I wish you would confess, for it will disgrace our whole caste to subject you to the torture." But the prisoner was obstinate. So the magistrate took his Peking servant, who, having been constantly attached to his person, knew all his wicked ways, and tortured him, till he made a most ample confession of the criminal acts of his beloved master.

Leaf was found guilty, and is now in common jail, awaiting the Imperial confirmation of the sentence passed upon him. It is said that the Fooyuen aud Judge of Canton have been intent on putting him to death; but the Board in Peking has written a letter to Choo, requesting him "to punish lightly." This has enraged the Fooyuen so much, that he has written to the Emperor, requesting leave to retire from his majesty's service, on the plea of old age and sickness. Whether his resignation ill be accepted or not remains to be seen.

The March of Enterprise.—The other day a local magistrate reported for the fire-men of Canton, that one house having taken fire, it was burnt, and four houses around it were pulled down, to prevent the flames spreading. The method was effectual, though the sacrifice was great. For this mode of operation, though in the present instance, judging after the fact, it seemed carried to an extreme, the Chinese are, we believe, wholly indebted to Europeans. Formerly, the Chinese would not pull down their houses to stop the progress of fire; but they readily do so now, old custom notwithstanding.

Death caused by Whipping.—In Szechuen an officer of government has been dismised the service and brought to trial for having caused the death of one of his attendants, by subjecting bim, on two successive occasions, to the infliction of one hundred blows on the back. The man was accused of appropriating part of the price of a coffin; and of speaking impertinently to the magistrate. There was an endeavour to shew that opium smoking caused his death, but the proof was deficient. No justice could be obtained in the province, till an appeal was made to Peking.

A thousand names of Budha.—Some persons at Peking, and among them a Tartar soldier, have been convicted of forming a sect, whose distinguishing feature was the reciting a thousand names of Budha, and collecting money. The proceedings are pronounced worthy of the most intense detestation, Some of the leaders have been capitally punished, and the general to whose division the soldier belonged, has requested a court martial on his conduct, for not discovering the affair sooner.

Pirates. An Yu-she, or Censor, has reported to the Emperor, respecting the lengths to which piracy is carried, all along the coast of Canton. "According to the Yu-she," says his Majesty, "the piratical banditti have the boldness and audacity to dig up graves, and plunder the clothes of the dead; yea, even to carry away the coffins and publicly in the face of day, to extort ransoms for them. This is the case throughout the province, but particularly near the provincial city, and in the districts subordinate to the capital;—What are the local officers attending to?—Why do they sit like wooden idols; and suffer such bold-faced unfearing wickedness? Let Le and Choo command severely all their subordinates, to exert themselves sincerely and bring to strict punishment every pirate that exists, till not one is left to slip out of the net. Thus shall cruelty be eradicated, and the spirit of perverseness be torn up."

Postscript.—It has just been officially announced, that his Excellency Loo, our new Governor, will set out from Leenchow on the 1st of November, on his way hither. The Anchasze or Judge Yang, and the Kwanghee, or commandant of the town militia, King, will precede him a few days.

Yesterday, October 30th, at about 2½ P. M., a fire broke out, and burned with great violence, in part of the western suburbs of the city, called Sha-meen. Being almost entirely confined to wooden houses and mat sheds (occupied by gamblers and public women), and to small boats closely crowded together, the fire spread rapidly, and in the course of two hours consumed several streets or lines of houses, besides a large number of boats. We are at present wholly unprovided with details, but cannot doubt that the extent of loss has been very great.