The War Tiger Or, Adventures and Wonderful Fortunes of the Young Sea Chief and His Lad Chow: A Tale of the Conquest of Chinaby Wiliam Dalton
Twenty-two dynasties have given some two hundred and forty Emperors to the Celestial Kingdom; of these, two were Tartars, who obtained the throne by conquest and bloodshed. In the course of time, however, the first
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and during the last Tartar Conquest of China, the believes that a slight sketch of that turbulent epoch may not be uninteresting to his readers.
Twenty-two dynasties have given some two hundred and forty Emperors to the Celestial Kingdom; of these, two were Tartars, who obtained the throne by conquest and bloodshed. In the course of time, however, the first Tartar family, with the whole of their race, were either massacred or driven from the land by a Chinese leader, who, by mounting the throne, founded the celebrated family of the Mings.
The last of the Ming Emperors, Wey-t-song, had not been many years upon the throne, when, from a wise and energetic man, he became so indolent, and regardless of all but his pleasures, that the people became oppressed by the magistrates; indeed, to use a Chinese phrase, to such an extent did the "big fish eat all the little ones," that a famine grew in the land, which caused the starving people to arise in rebellion throughout the empire.
Taking advantage of this disorder, several ambitious lords collected together bands of vagabonds, set themselves up as petty kings, and plundered and oppressed the innocent people, till the land grew damp with their tears.
At the same time, the chief, or king, of the Mantchou Tartars, learning that China was like a house divided against itself, rode with a large army upon the frontier of Pe-tche-Lee, the capital province.
The appearance, however, of this great enemy aroused what little nationality remained, and three great lords came to the Emperor's assistance. The first was Woo-san-Kwei, who, at the head of an army, kept the Tartars at bay; the other two, Li-Kong and Chang, were sent into different provinces, where, although bad men, being good generals, they succeeded in crushing all other rogues but themselves. The last-named generals, however, on their return, becoming enraged at the Emperor's ingratitude, took up arms against him, and, finding no great difficulty in subduing a people who preferred any other Chinese to their Emperor, seized upon two of the richest provinces, and established themselves as independent royalets, or petty kings.
Now, as in the great revolutions of England, America, and France, so in China, anarchy brought forth its great men; but foremost among them all stood Chin-Chi-Loong--a kind of Paul Jones, a pirate in the eyes of his enemies, a patriot in those of his friends.
Found starving when a boy, by the Portuguese priests at Macao, they took him under their care, taught him Christianity, and baptized him by the name of Nicholas Gaspard. While quite a youth, he took service on board a trading ship, in which humble position, the strength of his intellect and will so soon exhibited itself, that at an early age he became second in command, and his captain dying soon after, left him sole owner and commander of the vessel and its rich cargo.
Then it was that his true character began to develop itself; he sought to accumulate great wealth; for this purpose he traded with Japan, Siam, and the Europeans, so assiduously, that at the outbreak of the rebellion, he had become the richest merchant in an empire of rich merchants; but what to him was of far greater importance, a powerful sea-chief--for he then commanded and owned the greatest fleet that ever sailed in the Chinese seas, and as he had taken care to arm every ship, he became the terror of the three great contending parties; namely, the Emperor, the rebels, and the Tartars, who, all in turn, at times, offered great rewards for his head, and at others, for his services.
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