The Re-Shaping of the Far East - Vol. 1

By B. L. Putnam Weale | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X

THE FOREIGN SERVICE OF CHINA AND THEIR FUTURE

IF the Taipings did no other service for the cause of progress and advancement in China, they may be congratulated on one thing--they led directly to the establishment of the Foreign Customs and the Subsidiary Services, which have already played a not inconsiderable part in the recent history of China, and which may play a still greater one in the near future.

It was as early as 1853, or more than half a century ago, that the Taiping rebels captured the native city of Shanghai and held it for many months against the repeated efforts of the Imperialists, as yet unstrengthened by European-led ever victorious armies. The Imperialists, incensed at their constant failures, began to adopt a threatening attitude towards the foreign settlements at Shanghai, then but very small communities, alleging that these European cantonments acted as buffers between the Rebels and the Imperialists, and that the Rebels were even being secretly encouraged. In 1854, the outlook being threatening, a volunteer force was

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