17 NOVEMBER 1860, Page 11


WE trust that the British Mandarins are satisfied with the con- duct of their friends and allies in Pekin and. Tien-tsin. If they are not, they cannot plead ignorance of the essential characteristic of the Mandarin element—bad faith. What those, who do not sympathize with the men of pearl buttons and peacock's feathers, have predicted from the beginning, has occurred at Tien-tsin. The long-tailed gentry have attempted to cheat the Plenipoten- tiaries, and they have thus justified the severe measures recom- mended by ourselves and by others.

A brief statement, derived from the official documents of the Allies and the Mantchous, will prove the correctness of our assertions. It was remarked during the whole course of the earlier operations of the Allies that the officers of the Pekin Government did their utmost to stop hostilities, not because they were prepared to give in to our demands, but because they hoped by delay to compel our evacuation of the country, and thus to frustrate the objects of the war. That device failed. We received their flags of truce as in duty bound, but we continued to fight until the Taku forts were in our hands, the Tartar army dispersed, and Tien-tsin in our possession. The Mandarins then tried a manceuvre on a grander scale. They gave out that Commissioners would meet the Pleni- potentiaries at Tien-tsin to treat and conclude a peace. Soon after Lord Elgin and Baron Gros arrived. Kweiliang came hot from Pekin, to join Hang-full, the Governor of Chi-li, and con- duct the negotiations. These persons induced the Plenipotentiaries to believe that they had full powers ; and Lord. Elgin and Baron Gros, thrown off their guard, and willing to give credit once more to the asseverations of a Mandarin, consented to negotiate. The substance of a convention, which was to come into operation at once, without the formality of a ratification, was communicated to the Commissioners. It provided, among other things, for the immediate payment of a sum of money, as a condition precedent to the evacuation of Tien-tsin, and it was arranged that, on the 7th of September, the Secretaries of the British Ambassador should meet the Commissioners, and that on the 8th, the docu- ment should be signed. What happened ? On the 6th, Mr. Wade and Mr. Parkes met the Assistant-Commissioner, Hang-ki. As he demurred to the article giving immediate effect to the con- vention, the secretaries _pointed out that the two Commissioners had assumed. titles warranting them to settle the dispute out of hand. It seems that these two worthies had actually done so ; but when Mr. Wade and Mr. Parkes came to look into the ipsis- sima verba of the powers of the Commissioners, it turned out that they had none of the authority which they had falsely repre- sented themselves to have. They were there toenter into negotia- tions on "false pretences," as Lord Elgin correctly states, and as soon as this was confirmed by the admissions extorted from Kwei- Hang himself, the secretaries broke off the negotiation, and re- ported their discovery to the Ambassadors. The object of the deceit is plain enough. The Mandarins hoped to protract the negotiations until the season for military movements was at an

Iend. When the winter weather set in, when the thermometer fell below freezing point, when the Tien-tsin-ho began to be covered with ice, of course the Allies would be obliged to with- Idraw. Thus the barbarians would have been outwitted.

But they did not accurately calculate the consequences of the discovery of their fraud. No sooner had Lord Elgin and Baron Gros learned the true state of the ease than they intimated the fact to the Commissioners, informed them that they would neither receive them nor renew negotiations in any shape until the allied armies were in possession of Tung-Chaw, a town within a few miles of Pekin, and gave instant orders for the march of the army upon that place. This message was communicated to the Commissioners on the 7th ; they vainly begged a delay of "three days or so ; " but the Plenipotentiaries, so nearly outwitted, would not be put off any longer ; the army marched on the 8th, and on the 10th it was at a place within forty. five miles of Pekin. Here our intelligence cornea to an end. Some rumours have hear in circulation respecting the conclusion of peace, but they are based upon a misreported telegram from Sir Hope Grant. But we need not fear the result of the march on Pekin. No Tartar forte will stand our guns, our horsemen; and infantry, after the actions on the Tien-tsin-ho. The doubtful report of peace is only "pre- mature." We shall receive the news by the next mail. It ought now to be abundantly evident to the most inveterate of our European Mandarins, that force is the only argument a Tartar understands. Treat him with any show of respect and consideration, and he begins to practice the little tricks of the wretched Court he serves. Our guess that Lord Elgin would be compelled to go to Pekin for what he wanted has proved to be cor- rect; for thither he has gone. We doubt whether the occupatioa of Tung-chow would convince the courtiers and eompel them to be straightforward. We, therefore, consider it most likely that the Allies were obliged to capture Pekin: At any rate, the lesson they got at Tien-tsin cannot have been lost upon the Pletipotentiaties, and we have a right to assume that they would be content with nothing but an immediate and absolute concession of their de- mands. In that case, they must have entered Pekin, and. entered it as conquerors. We have no need to be tender of this corrupt old dynasty which is hateful to the people. It has never respected anything but force, whether displayed by Chinese rebels or Eu- ropean armies, and we shall achieve a great thing if we can bind it down to terms, and force it to observe them.