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A SCENE OF HORRORS.
Recapture of the City-Horrible Scenes-Missionaries' houses riddled-Churches unharmed-Difficulties of the languageHeathenism-A new home.
THE recapture of the city of Shanghai by the Imperialists, after it had been eighteen months in the hands of the rebels, occurred on the 17th of February, 1855; that being the first day of the Chinese year. On the Monday following, (19th) Mr. Aitchison entered the gate to view the desolation. "Such a scene of horrors," he said, in a letter to the Board, "I never before witnessed. One half of the city was in ruins, including all the finest business streets. Here and there the corpse of an insurgent was lying disembowelled in the street, or charred amid the smoking ruins. The city wall in the neighborhood of the six gates was grim with blood-besmeared heads elevated on bamboo poles. Troops were dispersed in all directions, searching every nook and corner for
fresh victims, and taking possession of everything that pleased their fancy.
"Some poor wretches were discovered hiding in coffins and in the bottom of wells. Happy was he who perished in the conflict on the first night, for he escaped the ingenious torture to which others were exposed. At the lowest estimate six hundred persons have been beheaded here in the past week. Many of them doubtless pay the just forfeit of their crimes, whilst some, it is to be presumed, are wholly innocent.
"The fall of the city is the result, not of Chinese bravery, but of French interference. The Triads would have laughed at their imperial opponents, had the latter been unsupported by foreign allies. Two or three months since some difficulty arose between a few French marines and a detachment of rebels. The latter fired on the former, wounding one man. After some unsuccessful attempts at negotiations, the French Admiral brought his war steamer and frigate into position and bombarded the city three separate times. Once he breached the wall and attempted to enter, but was repulsed with the loss. of about twelve men, including the first officer of
MISSIONARIES' HOUSES RIDDLED.
the frigate. He next took efficient measures to cut off all supplies, and the result has been narrated above. Such interference on his part is generally and loudly condemned. It is hinted. that the Romish Missionaries are at the bottom of it, but of this no one can be certain.
"It is remarkable that the missionaries have suffered so little amid all these troubles. Though frequently exposed to danger, no one of them has been injured. Some of their houses are, indeed, so riddled with shot, that they are not worth repairing, and many are forced to leave their dwellings; but the governor of the province gave them eighteen thousand dollars, the estimated value of their property, and now several think of returning at once to their places, either within or near the city wall. The churches and chapels also, in the city, belonging to the various missions, have all been preserved, and preaching will be resumed in most of them immediately.
"Oh, that this may be the beginning of a new order of things, spiritual as well as political, in Shanghai! There are about seventy missionaries assembled at this point. Surely we may hope for good things in the time to come."
The following extracts from free and friendly letters contain touching allusions to scenes of the past, with some passages of rare interest in respect to the work then in hand:
[To L. R. A.]
"SHANGHAI, Feb. 1, 1855.
"MY DEAR L:-It is nearly half past nine o'clock. Bro. B. and myself have just united in our customary evening worship; but before retiring I am disposed to have a little chat with you. Your letter I found waiting my return from a short excursion into, or rather towards, the interior of China. * * * * You wrote in the early autumn; I reply amid the snows of February; and you will read this with the birds and flowers of summer around you. What a commentary on the flight of time!
"The weather has been quite New Englandlike, except that very little snow falls. These north-westers are fresh from the icy plains of Tartary, and have a habit of searching one's house and person that is by no means agreeable. It is a matter of rejoicing to us that we have this cold bracing winter to prepare us for the oppress
STUDYING THE LANGUAGE.
ive summer. We have hardly had five rainy days during these last five months, and yet the natural dampness of the soil is such that the ground is still quite moist.
“We hold on the even tenor of our way, giving all our strength to the work of acquiring the language. Study is in general pleasant, though I occasionally get discouraged in view of my slow progress. After mastering the colloquial, we have still the Mandarin and the book language, with which to recreate ourselves. The time from nine to twelve, and from three to five, each day, is spent with my teacher.
"I have not yet attempted much in the way of direct effort for the spiritual welfare of the people, on account of my inability to speak fluently. But I am at times conscience-smitten at the thought of my neglect; for with such motives to labor, it seems as though we should be willing to stammer out the message.
China is no small island in mid-ocean whose few inhabitants are destined to vanish before the face of an advancing civilization. Here are congregated under one government a third of the human race, with laws and institutions, arts and