The Miao in Bentley's miscellany


Bentley's misscellany was a 19th century literary magazine

247 - He undertook (Yongzheng) to reduce the rebellious mountaineers, called the Miao-tse, who have raised and carried to success the present insurrection. Yongzheng boasted to have conquered them, but the extent of his conquest is to be doubted, from the admitted fact of his never having been able to make them consent to adopt the Tartar tail.

249 - In the same spirit of resistance to the Mantchoos were the mountain tribes of the Miao-tse, a tribe inhabiting the province of Koang-si. This province is the Switzerland of China, consisting of a mass of mountains of great height, including valleys, which grow cinnamon and rice. These mountaineers defied all the attempts of the Tartar princes to reduce them, and they have equally repelled every attempt of the bonze or Buddhist priest to introduce the idol worship. In the same spirit they refused to shave their hair, leaving the one lock or queue, which is the Tartar fashion, and which their conquerors imposed upon the rest of the Chinese.

250 - The distinguishing mark of these societies (the Canton secret societies) being attachment to old and Chinese habits and interests, there was necessarily a communication established between them and the mountaineers of the Miao-tse, who derived education and instruction from their emissaries. The province of Canton, though frequently taxed to furnish funds and soldiers for an attack on the Miao-tse, refused to furnish either with alacrity, and their ill-will was alone sufficient to neutralize all such attempts, when made by the governor of the southern provinces.

In 1832 there were simultaneous insurrections in Formosa and in the Koang-si. The cap, the distinguishing feature of the Chinese costume, was scrupulously the same in Formosa and in the Koang-si, being a kind of red turban fastened by metal pins. The government of Pekin acknowledged the identity of the two insurrections; even in one of his proclamations it stigmatizes the rebels of the Koang-s as asset of pirates from Fokien, who had taken refuge in those mountains.
It was not, however, until the year 1850 that the insurrection of the Miao-tse assumed a formidable aspect. It was not till then that its commander entertained the bold thought of pushing the conquest over the whole empire; nor were they till then fully assured how largely they might count on the support of the population and of the secret societies in the accomplishment of that bold attempt.

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