Rumours have been circulated in London and Paris of great
French successes in Tonquin, and other rumours of a final breach between China and France. None of these stories are true. According to all authentic reports, Dr. Harmand, the Civil Commissioner in Tonquin, has been recalled or sent to Hue ; and Admiral Courbet, thus left supreme in the field, does not intend to advance yet. His reinforcements are arriving, but the country is still flooded, and he will wait till December before he begins dragging forward the heavy artillery necessary to reduce Sontay and Bacninh. He will not even then have more than 3,000 soldiers available, and the delay enables the Chinese Government to forward regi- ments to the south. The French Government, meanwhile, though still convinced that the Chinese will not fight, have ordered their Admiral, in certain contingencies, to blockade Canton, and is preparing a second expedition, of 10,000 men. There is no sign, however, of any intention to strike at Pekin, where alone China is vulnerable ; and the Parisian papers repeat that the credit to be asked for will not exceed £400,000, a ridiculous sum, which will not defray the cost of the coal and transport it is indispensable to provide.