EMPRESS DOWAGER CIXI - Page 10
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  1. #91
    Theyarranged that the sister and Yihuan would hold a banquet at theirresidence for the empress dowagers to come to watch some new operasand at the same time to meet the boy. On that day the meeting withthe courtiers ended early. The empress dowagers and the emperor wentto Yihuan's residence. Other princes and their families, royalcousins and their families and others belonging to the royalhousehold were invited, too. When the empress dowagers and theemperor arrived, everyone knelt in front of the gate of the residenceto welcome them. It was arranged that before the performance beganWest Empress Dowager would receive the boy privately in another room.The boy looked handsome. At the first sight West Empress Dowagerliked him, but when she asked what his name was, the boy stammered,unable to get the words out. It was not because he was nervous, butbecause he was born like that. West Empress Dowager couldn't ask himmore questions and dismissed him in disappointment. But the goodperformances cheered her up.
    LaterWest Empress Dowager married Bit Princess to the son of EmperorXianfeng's brother-in-law, the one who had been a counselor and hadbeen pardoned. The son liked to study, always sat there as quiet asa mouse, reading, but not so healthy. The son was sixteen years oldthen while Big Princess was only thirteen. A few years after theygot married, the son began to be seriously sick. It was alsotuberculosis.
    Oneday a celebration was going on for the birthday of West EmpressDowager. All the imperial household and royal relatives were presentfor the occasion. The husband of Princess RongAn, the daughter ofConcubine Dowager Li, was there, too. But the emperor didn't see thehusband of Princess Rongshou. (Princess Rongshou was the formal titleand Big Princess was like a nickname.) So he asked his head eunuchabout it. The head eunuch whispered to the emperor, “He's dying.”
    ButI see Big Princess is watching operas with Holy Mother EmpressDowager. In that case, why doesn't she stay at home, looking afterher husband?” The emperor asked.
    BecauseBig Princess doesn't want Holy Mother Empress Dowager to know it. Itis Holy Mother Empress Dowager who married her to that husband. Besides, today is the red-letter day, the birthday of Holy MotherEmpress Dowager. Big Princess doesn't want the sad information todampen the happy celebration. If Big Princess is absent, Holy MotherEmpress Dowager will surely ask, and the disturbing truth will comeout.”

  2. #92
    Soafter the performance, the emperor took Big Princess to another roomand inquired after her husband about his sickness. Her tearstrickled down her cheeks, but she could not cry out loudly, becauseit would offend West Empress Dowager. The emperor could only saysome empty comforting words to her. Before long, her husband diedand Big Princess became a widow, but she often went to the ForbiddenCity to see West Empress Dowager.
    Now,every order issued in the young emperor's name, every appointment ofofficials and officers or their removals from a post must be approvedby the two empress dowagers. They had the absolute power. Yixin wasonly an executive of their decisions. But West Empress Dowager wasnot fully satisfied. First, she had only half the power, as she wasone of the two empress dowagers. Second, Yixin was not such adesirable person as could be totally controlled. He often disagreedwith her. For they looked at things from different standpoint ofview. Part of her reason for detesting him was that Little An, asshe called her head eunuch, often spoke ill of Yixin since Yixindisliked him. Since Little An had delivered that important secretletter that had caused the downfall of Sushun, he had had full trustfrom West Empress Dowager. He had reminded West Empress Dowager ofSushun's spies among the eunuchs. These spies had been arrested andthrown into jail
    Nowas West Empress Dowager's head eunuch and her favorite one, Little Andid many things against law, such as accepting bribery andinterfering where he should not poke his nose. Even the youngemperor detested him because he had little esteem for the emperor,who often vowed secretly that he would kill Little An some day. Ofcourse, Little An could never guess it. He only knew how to gain thetrust of West Empress Dowager by doing everything she liked, but inthe process he had made a lot of enemies. He often went to thepalace supplies office, of which Yixin was also in charge, with along list to demand things like plates and bowls, etc., in the nameof West Empress Dowager. Actually, by demanding things not in urgentneed, he only wanted people there to acknowledge his authority as thefavorite head eunuch of West Empress Dowager. But one day when hewent there again, Yixin was there and challenged his authority byrefusing most of the things he demanded. So at dinner that evening,he ordered the cooks to put food in coarse china bowls like thoseused by ordinary people. When West Empress Dowager asked about itout of curiosity, he reported that Yixin had refused to give him finechina bowls. Therefore, West Empress Dowager thought that Yixindespised her and got furious.

  3. #93
    WestEmpress Dowager often sent Little An to see her mother, bringing hersome gifts like ginseng and some edibles. Little An liked the task,because he could get some tips. Her mother now lived with one of herbrothers, who were just ordinary in many ways and no talent at all. Therefore, West Empress Dowager just conferred on each of them anhonorary title, no official positions. The brother living with hermother wanted a good official position and often begged Little An toconvey his wish to his sister, but Little An didn't dare to mentionit to West Empress Dowager. Little An knew that West Empress Dowagerwould not do that, because her brother was so dumb and would surelymake mistakes, and then what could she do with him? If she wouldn'tpunish him, all the courtiers would complain or even criticize her. If she punished him, he was her brother. She would get into aplight.
    Butas the brother kept importuning him, he plucked up his courage oneday to tell West Empress Dowager that her brother desired to beappointed to a good official position. But West Empress Dowagerwarned him not to interfere with political affairs. The ancestors ofQing Dynasty had instructed that a eunuch who interfered withanything political should be put to death.
    LittleAn was frustrated and decided to teach the brother of West Empressdowager a lesson. Next time when he went there, the brotherimportuned him once more. He told him that he had mentioned it tohis sister and she promised to give him a very good official positionand that he should wait patiently for the appointment to beannounced. So the brother was very happy and excited. He thankedLittle An abundantly. But the appointment never came. He sent hismother to visit his sister in the Forbidden City. When the mothersaw West Empress Dowager, she mentioned it. Deliberately WestEmpress Dowager told her mother that her brother was not a talentedman and unsuitable to any of the official positions. She told hermother to advise her brother to just enjoy his life as it was.

  4. #94
    Chapter 20


    Thetwo important supplies for the army were provisions and arms. Sincemost weapons they were using then were swords and spears, there wasno constant need for supplement of arms. That left the provisions asthe first important thing for the army. So there was a provisionsgovernor for the rations supply to the army. Recently the presentprovisions governor died and the vacancy should be filled. WestEmpress Dowager thought of Wu Tang, who had given her family threehundred taels of silver in their time of need, albeit by mistake. She had promised her mother that if she could, she would repay himfor the favor. And now she could, but she was afraid of Yixin'sopposition. She worked out a strategy. Next day when the empressdowagers had a routine meeting with the secretaries, she suddenlyasked, “How is Wu Tang?” She meant if Wu was a capable, anupright, a good or a bad official. Wu's favor to her family had beenknown to almost all the courtiers in the central government. SoYixin knew what West Empress Dowager wanted. As Wu Tang was at thattime a good official of ability, Yixin replied, “He's good andcapable.”
    “So,”said West Empress Dowager, “Why not let him take over the post ofProvisions Governor?”
    “Good.”agreed East Empress Dowager who also knew the event. And all thesecretaries had no objection. So Wu was appointed ProvisionsGovernor. This job was really a challenge. West Empress Dowager onlywanted to return the favor and gave him a promotion.


    * * *

  5. #95
    AnqingCity was strategically like the gate to Nanking City. Anyone whocould control Anqing City area could control Nanking City area. Nowthe leaders of the Peaceful Army felt that their duties were todefend what had left, especially to defend Anqing City and NankingCity. This was really a wrong strategy, but it was the history.Since Anqing City was still occupied by the Peaceful Army, thegovernment army couldn't surround Nanking City, because the PeacefulArmy in Anqing City would come to rescue by assaulting the encirclinggovernment army from behind. So Elder Zeng laid out a strategy totake Anqing City first. He gave the difficult task to anotherbrother of his, the younger Zeng as mentioned before. So thePeaceful Army exercised a stubborn and brutal resistance against thefierce attack of Xiang Army headed by Younger Zeng. Shrewdness Kinghad sent a strong reinforcement to its rescue, but had been beaten. In September 5, 1861, Xiang Army occupied Anqing City and marchedalong the Yangtze River both on land and by water to assault NankingCity, the capital of the Peaceful Heavenly Kingdom. West EmpressDowager appointed Elder Zeng as the Two River General Governor (Ageneral governor governed more than one province while a governorruled only in one province.) in total charge of the warfare againstthe Peaceful Army. Younger Zeng launched waves after waves of assailon Nanking City, which was in a crucial situation. Since ShrewdnessKing had died, Heavenly King had called for Loyalty King back to thecapital to defend it. But Loyalty King had his tactics. He led hisarmy of some ten thousands strong to advance towards Shaoxing Cityand soon took it and then occupied another city, Ningbo. ThusHangzhou City, the capital of Zhejiang Province, was exposed beforethe Peaceful Army, which surrounded it accordingly and cut off thesupply of food to the city. As the rations were scarce, almostthirty thousand people died from starvation in the city. Agovernment reinforcement army came to the rescue from anotherprovince, but was blockaded somewhere between Jiangxi Province andZhejiang Province and was at last defeated by the Peaceful Army. Hangzhou City fell into the hands of Loyalty King. Many governmenthigh-rank officials and officers either fought to death or committedsuicide, because even if they managed to flee from the war zone, theywould be arrested as cowards and probably sentence to death. That'sthe martial law. That way, they would lose both the life and thegood reputation. When they fought to death or made suicide, they hadat least a good reputation to keep as a brave person and theirfamilies could get money from the government and live easily.

  6. #96
    Whenthe Peaceful Army had surrounded Hangzhou City, the governor ofZhejiang Province had asked Elder Zeng to send troops to his rescue,but Zeng hadn't complied, because the governor hadn? supplied hisXiang Army with rations according to the arrangement by theSecretarial Bureau. So when Hangzhou City had been taken by LoyaltyKing, the governor had made suicide.
    Thegoal of Loyalty King to attack these cities was to draw away thegovernment troops that were assailing Nanking City, thus to make thesituation there not so critical to the Peaceful Heavenly Kingdom. But in January, 1862, West Empress Dowager appointed Zuo Zongtang asthe governor of Zhejiang Province and in February Zuo led his troopsinto the province to fight the Peaceful Army. The strategy ofLoyalty King failed.
    WhileGovernor Zuo took over town by town, city by city, originallyoccupied by the Peaceful Army, Loyalty King led his army towardsShanghai. West Empress Dowager wanted Younger Zeng to go to defendShanghai, but Younger Zeng wished to take Nanking City. He thoughtthat it was more important to take the capital of the PeacefulHeavenly Kingdom than to defend Shanghai. So in February WestEmpress Dowager had to order Li Hongzhuang to reinforce Shanghai. Zuoand Li were both scholars and worked under Elder Zeng and Li wasZeng's pupil. But both Zuo and Li didn's completely obey Elder Zengafter they were respectively made the governors. In March, GovernorLi organized his own army under the aid of Elder Zeng, which wasequipped with new weapons and called Huai Army.

  7. #97
    Somewealthy people in Shanghai were afraid of the Peaceful Army andwanted Governor Li to come as soon as possible. They rented someforeign steam ships to fetch the Huai Army. Governor Li arrived inShanghai in April and vanquished the Peaceful Army. In June GovernorZuo wiped out more of the Peaceful Army in Zhejiang Province and wasappointed General Governor of Zhejiang Province and Fujian Province.
    HeavenlyKing ordered Loyalty King to come back to defend the capital. InSeptember, 1862, Loyalty King gathered all his troops of twentythousand strong and marched west to attack Younger Zeng, but couldn'tbeat him. He entered Nanking city with his troops. Meanwhile, theHuai Army continued to assault the Peaceful Army still fighting inthat area. When Loyalty King was back to the capital, he suggestedto Heavenly King that they should desert Nanking City and fight theirway out to somewhere else for further development, but Heavenly Kingrebuffed his proposal. Heavenly King didn't know anything aboutstrategies. If he was surrounded in the city, he would be like afish in a bowl waiting to be butchered. If he could fight his wayout of the encirclement, he would be like a fish in the ocean. Wrongstrategy always means failure.
    Whenthe Peaceful Army had attacked Shanghai, there lived many foreigners.After the treaty had been signed in Peking as the result of theSecond Opium War, some foreigners organized armies to fight againstthe Peaceful Heavenly Kingdom for the Qing government. They helpedthe Huai Army. In November,1862, Governor Li took Suzhou City. InDecember, West Empress Dowager appointed him as the governor ofJiangsu Province. But later Suzhou city was reoccupied by AdmirationKing of the Peaceful Army.

  8. #98
    In1863, Wing King moved into Sichuan Province, but was defeated andkilled there by the government army. In December, 1863, AdmirationKing of the Peaceful Army in Suzhou City was betrayed and killed. InMarch, 1864, Governor Zuo took Jiaxing City and Hangzhou City, thelast two cities under the control of the Peaceful Army in thatprovince. In June 1, 1864, Heavenly King died of some kind ofdisease. (Some history book says that he committed suicide byswallowing poison in despair.) In July 19, 1864, Xiang Army explodedopen a part of the city wall and rushed in. The Peaceful Armywouldn? surrender and defend alley by alley till most of them died inthe fight. That night, disguised as soldiers of the government army,Loyalty King took the son of Heavenly King and escaped from the citygate opposite to where the government army entered. But they wereseparated in the chaos. Loyalty King hid in a temple outside thecity, but the government troops was searching everywhere and foundhim in the temple. So he was escorted to where Elder Zeng camped andwas executed there on August 7, 1864. The son of Heavenly King fledwith some of his attendants to Fujian Province. There were twodifferent rumors about what became of him. One was that he wascaptured later and killed. This digressed into another rumor thatthe boy executed was not the real son. The real son was hiddensomewhere no one could find him. The other rumor was that someattendants took him on board a steam ship and went to live in SanFrancisco and later joined the revolutionary movement.

  9. #99
    ThePeaceful Army was annihilated during 1864, but the Nian Army keptfighting against the government. The difficulty with the Nian Armywas that they didn't have a settlement to be surrounded. So WestEmpress Dowager ordered Elder Zeng to take over the charge to battlethe Nian Army. Elder Zeng stationed all the troops under his commandin a huge loose circle around the area that the Nian Army moved andthen shrank the circle to press the Nian Army into the focus in hopesto wipe it out in the focus. The stratagem sounded good, but it tooktime to bring it into realization. When in a long time he didn'tsend in any report of success, some critique officials handed in somecritique reports saying that Elder Zeng was trifling with his dutiesand must be removed from this post. Their deduction was based onthat since the stronger Peaceful Army had been wiped out, why thecomparatively not so strong Nian Army was still there. They thoughtthat it should be conquered by then. They didn't know that the mobileNian Army was more difficult to deal with. However, West Empress
    Dowagerordered Governor Li, Elder Zeng's pupil, to take over the charge andElder Zeng to resume his former position as the Two River GeneralGovernor.
    Atthat time, the Nian Army had split into two parts. The part went westwas called West Nian Army and the part left where they had been wascalled East Nian Army. Governor Li was to fight the East Nian Armyand West Empress Dowager ordered Governor Zuo to move his troops westto combat the West Nian Army. Then she gave Zuo's post to ProvisionsGovernor Wu Tang, who had at last some province to govern.
    GovernorLi had to follow his tutor's tactics because the situation lookedthat way and any other strategy wouldn't work. Only now the NianArmy had split and their strength had lessened. That's an advantageto him. The East Nian Army was forced to retreat into a small areabetween two rivers, where the government army launched a suddenattack at night and annihilated the East Nian Army entirely. Now theWest Nian Army moved northbound towards the capital. Once when theygot very close to the capital, West Empress Dowager was in a panicand ordered Ronglu to bring his troops to block the advance of theWest Nian Army, which then made their way south. Part of the WestNian Army went further south and was subdued in Yangzhou City areaand its leader was executed on January 5, 1868. The other part wentto Shandong Province and was vanquished there in August of that year. The end of the Nian Army.

  10. #100
    Inthe north beyond the Great Wall, it was the original habitat of theMandarin Clan, where were all the tombs of the emperors of QingDynasty. There was a vast stretch of plain used as pasture forhorses. So all the horses for the government cavalry came from there. But robbers in that area also rode on horseback. They came and weregone very fast after the robbery. So they were called HorsebackRobbers. It turned out to be a real headache to the local government.When the local government got the message of their whereabouts andsent cavalry there, the horseback robbers already did their job anddisappeared. Now five hundreds of them were approached the imperialsepulchers. If any royal mausoleum was dug open and the treasureburied inside was robbed, the local government chief officials wouldall be put to death. So an urgent report came to the notice of theempress dowagers. West Empress Dowager had serious discussion withthe secretaries. As no army could be spared from the south wherebattles were still being waged against the rebellions at that time,they had to dispatch a newly trained division, which was equippedwith rifles. Prince Yihuan was in charge of this special division. Ronglu was his aide with the title of Wing General. SecretaryWenqiang proposed that he himself would head a detachment selectedfrom that division. The empress dowagers consented to his proposal. Secretary Wenqiang told Ronglu to choose the soldiers from thedivision to form a detachment.

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