No. 43.
Mr. Young to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 427]

Sir: As a further reference to my dispatch No. 407, of March. 31, I have the honor to transmit herewith, for the information of the Department, a copy of a dispatch from Mr. Consul Seymour, at Canton, showing [Page 95] the temper of the people and the condition of affairs in Southern China.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 427.]

Mr. Seymour to Mr. Young .

No. 66.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the condition of affairs in Southern China is not altogether indicative of tranquillity, although in the immediate vicinity of Canton everything seems to be quiet. The two events which are of sufficient importance to mention at the present time are the effects of the military operations resulting in the capture of Bachninh by the French forces, and the progress of the Chinese rebellion near Hwai Chow, in the eastern portion of the province of Kwangtung, from both of which points full and reliable information was this day received in Canton, although rumors had reached here early in the week.

Bachninh was captured and occupied by the French forces on the evening of Wednesday, 12th instant, without much of a conflict, the total losses of both sides having been less than one hundred men, and about equally divided.

From all accounts of a reliable nature it seems to have been an empty and unexpectedly unimportant victory for the French, as the total population at and about Bachninh, a week before its evacuation by the natives, numbered over 25,000, all of whom have retired or retreated further into the interior, the first stand being located at Thainquyen, with a more remote and formidable point called Langson, toward which places the French forces are understood to be slowly advancing.

The French flotilla, consisting of the Pluvier, Lynx, Léopard, Aspic, Trombe, and and Caroline, and several launches and junks laden with supplies, &c., found the river barricaded at Langson by stone and sunken junks.

As a distance of 80 miles has to be traversed between Bachninh and the nearest of the two places to which the hostile forces are moving, it is obvious that the French incur the danger and inconvenience of operating very far from their base of operations; but as the natives have not yet manifested any ability to offer any resistance to the French forces, except to impede navigation, possibly the progress of the latter will be undisputed.

In the mean time there is every reasonable prospect that the Chinese frontier may be the scene of occurrences which will ultimately bring the French and Chinese armies into conflict, which must result disastrously to the Chinese, whose regiments, encumbered with banners, pikes, poles, and spears, and with inferior arms, and destitute of discipline, so far as I could discern during their passage through Canton, are impotent against well-disciplined soldiers of Europe or America.

When Sentai was captured by the French, the natives of Canton were made to believe that the French had been mercilessly slaughtered immediately after occupying that place; and last week Canton was assured and happy over the prevalent rumor that the French had been enticed and entrapped into Bachninh, and soon after the natives completely slaughtered their invaders. * * * *

When it was reported that Bachninh had teen captured there was no great excitement in Canton, and the general remark was, “We do not care, if the French keep away from Canton.”

The rebels at and about Hwai Chow, in the eastern part of the province of Kwangtung, are being re-enforced, the number of active rebels now numbering about 10,000 men.

As yet the Government troops have not attacked the chief position of the rebels.

On Sunday, 16th instant, at Pak Mong Fu there was a conflict, resulting in the loss of 200 men and wounding Tang On Pang, the mandarin in command of the Government forces.

The Hakka portion of the soldiers brought from Canton dispersed. The attack on the rebels was made by soldiers from Funam.

The Triad Society, which is supposed to be helping the rebels, is rapidly increasing in numbers, as the people of Southern China are convinced there will be serious trouble.

The information regarding the troubles in the region of Hwai Chow is derived from a very trustworthy German missionary. Rev. E. R. Eichler, of the London mission, who has passed the last month in the vicinity of the disturbances, and who returned to Canton this afternoon, via Hong-Kong.

I am, &c.,