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BsnBBHane EFFECTS OF REBELLION ON BEAUTIFUL CITIES! In the news from China the lynwe correspondent gives the following interesting account of the effects of rebellion on two of the most splendid cities of that so-called Celestial Empirei Soochowïtself is in a very fair state of preservation; here and there are piles of ruins, including several palaces of the rebel chiefs which have been destroyed by the Imperialists, but such oases are the exception rather than the rule. Many of the houses now stand- ing are, however, of a very inferior description, erected by the rebels on the site of far handsomer buildings which were destroyed during the sack of the city subsequent to its capture by Chung-wang in 1858. The yamuns of the principal rebel leaders are the only buildings which can now boast of the splendour that distinguished Soochow in the days of its glory. The cost of the decorations of the palace of Chung-wang alone must have been enormous. Every particle of woodwork is elaborately carved and gilded, and the grottoes and sttmmerhouses in which the Chinese excel are brought to perfection in the grounds which are attached. The ^Jonwa^g's palace was also exceedingly hand- some, but now it is aheap of ruins. Some Imperialist soldiers carelessly ignited a heap of shell lying in the hall a few days after the city was taken the whole ex- ploded, and the building was burnt to the ground. The western suburbs are still in a fair state of preserva- tion, but those on the other three sides of the city are oompletely in ruins. Outside the east gate especially, which faces Quinsan, literally not two stones standing on another. The whole has been levelled as though bv a spade, and for five miles, as far as the little town of Wai-qnai-dong, the country is covered bv a succession of earthworks. Within a wide radius from the city no cultivation is discernible, but inside the walls a few vegetable gar. dens are scattered here and there am086 the houses, and are quite a relief to the eve. In his book, entitled The Middle Kingdom," Williams assigns ten miles as the circumference ol Soochow; but am inclined to think this is an under- estimate, and that from 12 to 14 would be more nearly correct. His description of the city itself, however, w-« r>ot exaggerated. It Vfrire capture by th« "» high r«ptti»uon for the splendour of ife buildings, the elegance of its tombs, the picturesque Scenery of its waters and its gardens, the politeness and intelligence of its inhabitants, and the beauty of ita women." Those beauties are now sadly faded, and it will take years to restore the*. Theworke in ivory, iron, horn, wood, glass, Ac., for which it was one# famous, are now a reminiscence of the past. For five years it has been a mere garrison town, and has had few inhabitants save those required te supply the requirements of the soldiery in food and clothes. 1 f success continue to favour the Imperialist arms, the former prosperity of Soochowwill no doubt return, as its situation in the centre of the flilk districts must always render it the emporium of the richest trade in China but years must elapse before the people regain suffi- cient confidence to bring the land to its former high pitch of cultivation, much less attempt to restore the citv to its former magnificence. In the province of Che-keang the rebels are also being hardly pressed. Hangchow is now besieged by a large body of Mandarin troops, who are useful coadjutors in matter of outpost and garrison duty to the French and English corps of disciplined Chinese. Hanchow rivalled Soochow for its riches before both fell into the hands of the Taepings. Marco Polo declared it to be "pre-eminent above all other cities in the world in point of grandeur and beauty, as well as from its abundant delights, which might l»ad an inhabitant to imagine himself in paradise." Thus it will be seen that, in selecting the two provinces of Che-keang and Keang-su as their head-quarters, the followers of the Teen-wang showed a fair appreciation of beauty, luxury, and wealth. They have done their best to deprive the districts they have visited of these attributes; but it is to be hoped their career is now draw in e to a close, and that these two richest provinces in China will soon resume their prosperity under the beneficent influence of a settled Government.




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