The Officials Waxed Rich On Ill-
Gotten Wealth, And A Few Individuals Accumulated Enormous Fortunes, While
The Government Sank Lower And Lower In The Estimation Of The People.
lost also in efficiency and striking power.
A corrupt and effeminate body
of officers and administrators can serve but as poor defenders for an
embarrassed prince and an assailed government against even enemies who are
in themselves insignificant and not free from the vices of a corrupt
society and a decaying age, and it was only on such that Hienfung had in
the first place to lean against his opponents. Even his own Manchus, the
warlike Tartars, who, despite the smallness of their numbers, had
conquered the whole of China, had lost their primitive virtue and warlike
efficiency in the southern climes which they had made their home. To them
the opulent cities of the Chinese had proved as fatal as Capua to the army
of the Carthaginian, and, as the self-immolations of Chapoo and
Chinkiangfoo proved to have no successors, they showed themselves unworthy
of the empire won by their ancestors. For the first time since the revolt
of Wou Sankwei, the Manchus were brought face to face with a danger
threatening their right of conquest; yet on the eve of the Taeping
Rebellion all Hienfung could think of to oppose his foes with was fine
words as to his shortcomings and lavish promises of amendment.
Among the secret societies the Triads were the first to give a political
and dynastic significance to their propaganda.
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