China By Demetrius Charles Boulger































































 -  Contrary winds delayed the progress of the English fleet, and it
was not until the fifth of August, more than - Page 390
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Contrary Winds Delayed The Progress Of The English Fleet, And It Was Not Until The Fifth Of August, More Than

A fortnight after the battle at Chinkiangfoo, that it appeared off Nankin, the second city in reputation and historical importance

Of the empire, with one million inhabitants and a garrison of 15,000 men, of whom two-thirds were Manchus. The walls were twenty miles in length, and hindered, more than they promoted, an efficient defense; and the difficulties of the surrounding country, covered with the debris of the buildings which constituted the larger cities of Nankin at an earlier period of history, helped the assailing party more than they did the defenders. Sir Hugh Gough drew up an admirable plan for capturing this vast and not defenseless city with his force of 5,000 men, and there is no reason to doubt that he would have been completely successful; but by this the backbone of the Chinese government had been broken, and even the proud and obstinate Taoukwang was compelled to admit that it was imperative to come to terms with the English, and to make some concessions in order to get rid of them.

The minister Elepoo, who once enjoyed the closest intimacy with Taoukwang, and who was the leader of the Peace party, which desired the cessation of an unequal struggle, had begun informal negotiations several months before they proved successful at Nankin. He omitted no opportunity of learning the views of the English officers, and what was the minimum of concession on which a stable peace could be based.

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