Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Soyen Shaku
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/28/19



Soyen Shaku
Title: Zen Master
Born: January 10, 1860, Fukui, Japan
Died: October 29, 1919 (aged 59), Kamakura, Japan
Religion: Buddhism
Nationality: Japan
School: Rinzai
Senior posting
Predecessor: Imakita Kōsen
Successor: Tetsuo Sōkatsu

Soyen Shaku (釈 宗演, January 10, 1860 – October 29, 1919; written in modern Japanese Shaku Sōen or Kōgaku Shaku Sōen) was the first Zen Buddhist master to teach in the United States. He was a Rōshi of the Rinzai school and was abbot of both Kenchō-ji and Engaku-ji temples in Kamakura, Japan. Soyen was a disciple of Imakita Kosen.


Soyen Shaku was an exceptional Zen monk. He studied for three years at Keio University.[1] In his youth, his master, Kosen, and others had recognized him to be naturally advantaged. He received dharma transmission from Kosen at age 25, and subsequently became the superior overseer of religious teaching at the Educational Bureau, and patriarch of Engaku temple at Kamakura.[2] In 1887, Soyen traveled to Ceylon to study Pali and Theravada Buddhism and lived the wandering life of the bhikkhu for three years.[2] Upon his return to Japan in 1890, he taught at the Nagata Zendo. In 1892, upon Kosen's death, Soyen became Zen master of Engaku-ji.[3]

In 1893 Shaku was one of four priests and two laymen, representing Rinzai Zen, Jōdo Shinshū, Nichiren, Tendai, and Esoteric schools,[4] composing the Japanese delegation that participated in the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago organized by John Henry Barrows and Paul Carus. He had prepared a speech in Japan, and had it translated into English by his (then young and unknown) student D. T. Suzuki. It was read to the conference by Barrows. The subject was "The Law of Cause and Effect, as Taught by Buddha". Subsequently, Shaku delivered "Arbitration Instead of War".[5]

At this conference he met Dr. Paul Carus, a publisher from Open Court Publishing Company in La Salle, Illinois. Before Shaku returned to Japan, Carus asked him to send an English-speaker knowledgeable about Zen Buddhism to the United States. Shaku, upon returning to Japan asked his student and Tokyo University scholar D. T. Suzuki to go to the United States, where he would eventually become the leading academic on Zen Buddhism in the West, and translator for Carus's publishing company.[6]

Soyen served as a chaplain to the Japanese army during the Russo-Japanese War. In 1904, the Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote Shaku to join him in denouncing the war. Shaku refused, concluding that "...sometimes killing and war becomes necessary to defend the values and harmony of any innocent country, race or individual."
(quoted in Victoria, 1997) After the war, Shaku attributed Japan's victory to its samurai culture.

In 1905, Soyen Shaku returned to America as a guest of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Russell. He spent nine months at their house outside San Francisco, teaching the entire household Zen. Mrs. Russell was the first American to study koans. Shortly after arriving, he was joined by his student Nyogen Senzaki.[7] During this time he also gave lectures, some to Japanese immigrants and some translated by D. T. Suzuki for English speaking audiences, around California.[8] Following a March 1906 train trip across the United States, giving talks on Mahayana translated by Suzuki, Soyen returned to Japan via Europe, India and Ceylon.[9]

Soyen Shaku died peacefully on 29 October 1919 in Kamakura.

Dharma heirs

• Tetsuo Sōkatsu (Ryobo-an Sokatsu)[10]

Selected works (in English)

• Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot: A Classic of American Buddhism. Three Leaves. 2004. ISBN 0-385-51048-9
• Zen for Americans. Open Court. 1989. ISBN 0-87548-273-2

See also

• Buddhism in the United States
• Buddhism in Japan
• List of Rinzai Buddhists
• Timeline of Zen Buddhism in the United States


1. Ford, James Ishmael (2006). Zen Master Who?. Wisdom Publications. p. 62. ISBN 0-86171-509-8.
2. Fields 1992, pg. 110
3. Fields 1992, pg. 111
4. Fields 1992, pg. 124
5. Fields 1992, pp. 126-7
6. Fields 1992, pg. 128
7. Fields 1992, pp. 168-170
8. Fields 1992, pg. 172
9. Fields 1992, pp. 172-4
10. Ningen Zen Home Archived 2013-03-16 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

• Fields, Rick. How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America (1992) Shambhala Publications. ISBN 0-87773-631-6
• Mohr, Michel. The Use of Traps and Snares: Shaku Sōen Revisited (2010). In Zen Masters, eds. Steven Heine, and Dale Stuart Wright, 183–216. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195367645
• Victoria, Brian (1997). Zen at War. Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0405-0.

External links

• Shaku Soyen: Arbitration Instead of War Comments from the World Parliament of Religion, September 1893
• Thompson, John M. (2005), Particular and universal: the problems posed by Shaku Soen's "Zen" (PDF)
• Works by or about Soyen Shaku at Internet Archive
• Works by Soyen Shaku at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Dec 28, 2019 7:50 am

Carl Reichenbach
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/28/19



Carl Reichenbach
Carl Ludwig von Reichenbach
Born: Karl Ludwig Freiherr von Reichenbach, February 12, 1788, Stuttgart, Germany
Died: January 19, 1869 (aged 80), Leipzig, Germany
Nationality: German
Alma mater: University of Tübingen
Occupation: Chemist, Geologist, Metallurgist, Naturalist, Industrialist and Philosopher
Known for Odic force

Baron Dr. Carl (Karl) Ludwig von Reichenbach (full name: Karl Ludwig Freiherr von Reichenbach) (February 12, 1788 – January 1869) was a notable chemist, geologist, metallurgist, naturalist, industrialist and philosopher, and a member of the prestigious Prussian Academy of Sciences. He is best known for his discoveries of several chemical products of economic importance, extracted from tar, such as eupione, waxy paraffin, pittacal (the first synthetic dye) and phenol (an antiseptic). He also dedicated himself in his last years to research an unproved field of energy combining electricity, magnetism and heat, emanating from all living things, which he called the Odic force.[1]


Reichenbach was educated at the University of Tübingen, where he obtained the degree of doctor of philosophy. At the age of 16 he conceived the idea of establishing a new German state in one of the South Sea Islands, and for five years he devoted himself to this project.

Afterwards, directing his attention to the application of science to the industrial arts, he visited manufacturing and metallurgical works in France and Germany, and established the first modern metallurgical company, with forges of his own in Villingen and Hausach in the Black Forest region of Southern Germany and later in Baden.

Scientific contributions

Reichenbach conducted original scientific investigations in many areas. The first geological monograph which appeared in Austria was his Geologische Mitteilungen aus Mähren (Vienna, 1834).[1]

His position as the head of the large chemical works, iron furnaces and machine shops upon the great estate of Count Hugo secured to him excellent opportunities for conducting large-scale experimental research. From 1830 to 1834 he investigated complex products of the distillation of organic substances such as coal and wood tar, discovering a number of valuable hydrocarbon compounds including creosote, paraffin, eupione and phenol (antiseptics), pittacal and cidreret (synthetic dyestuffs), picamar (a perfume base), assamar, capnomor, and others. Under the name of eupione, Reichenbach included the mixture of hydrocarbon oils now known as waxy paraffin or coal oils. In his paper describing the substance, first published in the Neues Jahrbuch der Chemie und Physik, B, ii, he dwelt upon the economical importance of this and of its associate paraffins, whenever the methods of separating them cheaply from natural bituminous compounds would be established.[1]

Earth's magnetism

Reichenbach expanded on the work of previous scientists, such as Galileo Galilei, who believed the Earth's axis was magnetically connected to a universal central force in space, in concluding that Earth's magnetism comes from magnetic iron, which can be found in meteorites. His reasoning was that meteorites and planets are the same, and no matter the size of the meteorite, polar existence can be found in the object. This was deemed conclusive by the scientific community in the 19th century.[2]

The Odic force

Main article: Odic force

In 1839 Von Reichenbach retired from industry and entered upon an investigation of the pathology of the human nervous system. He studied neurasthenia, somnambulism, hysteria and phobia, crediting reports that these conditions were affected by the moon. After interviewing many patients he ruled out many causes and cures, but concluded that such maladies tended to affect people whose sensory faculties were unusually vivid. These he termed "sensitives".[3]

Influenced by the works of Franz Anton Mesmer he hypothesised that the condition could be affected by environmental electromagnetism, but finally his investigations led him to propose a new imponderable force allied to magnetism, which he thought was an emanation from most substances, a kind of "life principle" which permeates and connects all living things. To this vitalist manifestation he gave the name Odic force.[4]


• Das Kreosot: ein neuentdeckter Bestandtheil des gemeinen Rauches, des Holzessigs und aller Arten von Theer 1833
• Geologische Mitteilungen aus Mähren (Geological news from Moravia) Wien, 1834
• Physikalisch-physiologische Untersuchungen über die Dynamide des Magnetismus, der Elektrizität, der Wärme, des Lichtes, der Krystallisation, des Chemismus in ihren Beziehungen zur Lebenskraft (Band 1 + Band 2) Braunschweig, 1850
• Odisch-magnetische Briefe Stuttgart 1852, 1856; Ulm 1955
• Der sensitive Mensch und sein Verhalten zum Ode (The sensitive human and his behaviour towards Od) Stuttgart und Tübingen (Band 1 1854 + Band 2 1855)
• Köhlerglaube und Afterweisheit: Dem Herrn C. Vogt in Genf zur Antwort Wien, 1855
• Wer ist sensitiv, wer nicht (Who is sensitive, who is not?) Wien, 1856
• Odische Erwiederungen an die Herren Professoren Fortlage, Schleiden, Fechner und Hofrath Carus Wien, 1856
• Die Pflanzenwelt in ihren Beziehungen zur Sensitivität und zum Ode Wien, 1858
• Odische Begebenheiten zu Berlin in den Jahren 1861 und 1862 Berlin, 1862
• Aphorismen über Sensitivität und Od (Aphorisms on Sensitivity and Od) Wien, 1866
• Die odische Lohe und einige Bewegungserscheinungen als neuentdeckte Formen des odischen Princips in der Natur Wien, 1867

English translations:

• Physico-physiological researches on the dynamics of magnetism, electricity, heat, light, crystallization, and chemism, in their relation to Vital Force New York, 1851
• Somnambulism and cramp New York, 1860 (excerpt translated chapter out of Der sensitive Mensch und sein Verhalten zum Ode)
• Letters on Od and Magnetism 1926

The standard author abbreviation C.Rchb. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[5]

Reichenbach's ideas in popular culture

Characters in the fantasy novel, The Hollow People by Brian Keaney (Orchard Books 2006) manipulate Odyllic force, an energy which is accessed through waking dreams.

Reichenbach and his Odic force are referred to in the game "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs".

See also

• Reichenbach’s Otaheiti Society


1. Reichenbach, Karl. The New American Cyclopedia, 1863 (in the public domain). Facsimile copy available on the Internet at Google Books.
2. "Scientific materialism and ultimate conceptions", Sidney Billing. Bickers and Son, 1879. p. 355.
3. Odic-Magnetic Letters -1859. New York : C. Blanchard. 1860.
4. Gerry Vassilatos, Lost Science, Adventures Unlimited Press (2000)ISBN 0932813755 ISBN 978-0-932813-75-6
5. IPNI. C.Rchb.


Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.

External links

• Karl von Reichenbach und Od. Paranormal Site (In German)
• Karl Ludwig von Reichenbach. Stadt Stuttgart (in German)
• Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, Heat and Light in their relations to Vital Forces. Cornell University. or here
• Luminous World. Article by Gerry Vassilatos
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:53 am

Part 1 of 3

Boxer Rebellion
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/20/19



On the 7th of April I went to see a great service of prayer for the Chinese Emperor in connexion with the “Boxer” war. It was held not only at Sera, but at every temple in Tibet. At the monastery where I lived they held a secret meeting for seven days, during which time special priests offered secret prayers. They were then to perform something secret for the victory of China. On enquiry I was told that Peking was invaded by the troops of several foreign countries, and that the Chinese seemed to have been beaten. They might be too late, they said, but they prayed for the safety of the Emperor of China. I was quite anxious to know more particulars, but they were all kept secret, and no one would tell me any more.

The prayer service was held in the Tsochen Hall at Sera, and commenced with a long warlike procession. First came the players on lyres, flageolets, drums, and large flutes, followed by men carrying incense-burners. Then came ten nice looking Tibetan boys, still in their teens, all dressed in fine Buḍḍhist robes ornamented with colored Chinese crape, and each burning incense. Next followed fifty spear-like objects on each side of the road, each surmounted with a movable blade like that of a Chinese spear. These blades had hilt guards, under which hung gold brocade or fine colored Chinese crape, sixteen feet long, thus making the spear twenty-five feet long altogether. The spear, the handle of which was either of gold or gilt, seemed rather heavy, for two strong warrior-priests carried each of them. Then came a triangular board about six feet high, with various figures made of butter on it, and after it another triangular board, four feet high,[298] with some red figure made of a mixture of baked flour, butter and honey. These boards were borne by seven or eight men. After them came some two hundred priests, dressed in handsome robes and scarfs quite dazzling to the eye. Half of these beat drums, while the other half carried cymbals. After these priests came the chief Lama, who was to offer the secret prayer. He had dressed himself in the splendid robes of his high rank. Last of all his disciples followed.

Thus the procession presented a grand sight, and the people of Lhasa came out in great crowds to see it. It marched out about two hundred yards from the great hall to an open yard outside the stone fence, where the view opened as far as Lhasa. Another two hundred yards further, the procession came before a grass-roofed shed, built of bamboo, wood and straw. There the chief Lama recited something in front of the triangular figures of butter and of baked wheat, and of the spear-shaped objects, while the two hundred priests around him chanted verses from the Buḍḍhist Scriptures, and beat drums and cymbals. A priest with a pair of cymbals walked through the lines of the priests; he seemed to be a sort of band-master, for he marched through their ranks beating time. His steps and gait were very odd and different from any dancings that I had ever seen. Soon the chief Lama was seen pretending to throw away his rosary, at which signal the spear-bearers threw their spears at the shed and then the triangular board of baked flour was thrown at it also. They then set fire to the shed, at the burning of which the priests as well as the spectators clapped their hands, crying out “Lha-kyallo! Lha-kyallo!” This is a Tibetan word, meaning “surely the Gods will triumph.” Thus was the ceremony over, one of the most splendid I had ever seen in Buḍḍhism.
On the following day all the priests of the monastery were invited[299] to Lhasa to attend the Cho-en Joe service, which lasted a month, to pray that the Dalai Lama of Tibet might be kept from all evil during the year. This was a celebration said to be only second in importance to the other. I also went to Lhasa, and took lodging in the house of a Palpo merchant.

In the capital I got more definite information about the Boxer trouble. Perhaps some merchants who had returned from China, or some who had came from Nepāl or some who had been to India, might have brought the news; but it was all very laughable and unreliable. Some would say the Emperor of China had bequeathed his throne to the Crown Prince and absconded, while others told me that the Emperor was defeated and was then in Sin-an. The trouble was brought about, some said, by a wicked minister, who married an English lady to the Emperor, while others asserted that there was a country called Japan, which was so strong that her troops took possession of Peking. Another said that a famine prevailed in China and people were all famished; indeed, every sort of rumor was abroad in the Tibetan capital.

I was especially pleased to hear something about Japan, even the very name of which had not yet been heard in Tibet, and some merchants told me that Japan was so powerful and so chivalrous that even when her army had taken possession of Peking, she had sent shiploads of rice, wheat and clothing to the Chinese capital to relieve tens of thousands of natives who were suffering from famine. But others would say against Japan that she could not be such a friendly country, but must have done what she had done merely out of her crafty “land-grabbing diplomacy,” as the British nation did. Rumor after rumor was making its way through Tibet, and I did not know what to believe. Only I was pretty sure that a war had broken out between China and[300] other Powers. In the meantime the Palpo merchant with whom I was staying was going to Nepāl. I utilised the occasion and through his kindness sent two letters, one to Rai Saraṭ Chanḍra Ḍās in India, and the other to Mr. I. Hige of my native province. I was glad to find afterwards that they reached their destination, but it was very difficult to send a letter in that way; one must first see that the man by whom it is to be sent is honest and not likely to betray one’s secret, and one cannot easily trust a Tibetan. But my Tibetan had more than once been shown to be true to his trust.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

American troops scale the walls of Beijing

Japanese soldiers in the Battle of Tientsin

British and Japanese soldiers in the Battle of Beijing

Boxer Rebellion
Beijing Castle Boxer Rebellion 1900
Date 2 November 1899 – 7 September 1901
(1 year, 10 months, 5 days)
North China
Result Allied victory
Boxer Protocol signed

The Boxer Rebellion (拳亂), Boxer Uprising, or Yihetuan Movement (義和團運動) was an anti-imperialist, anti-foreign, and anti-Christian uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901, toward the end of the Qing dynasty.

It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yìhéquán), known in English as the Boxers because many of their members had been practitioners of Chinese martial arts, also referred to in the west as Chinese Boxing. Villagers in North China had been building resentment against Christian missionaries who ignored tax obligations and abused their extraterritorial rights to protect their congregants against lawsuits. The immediate background of the uprising included severe drought and disruption caused by the growth of foreign spheres of influence following the Sino-Japanese War of 1895. After several months of growing violence and murder in Shandong and the North China Plain against the foreign and Christian presence in June 1900, Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Beijing with the slogan Support the Qing government and exterminate the foreigners. Foreigners and Chinese Christians sought refuge in the Legation Quarter.

In response to reports of an invasion by Eight Nation Alliance of American, Austro-Hungarian, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian troops to lift the siege, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi supported the Boxers and on June 21 issued an Imperial Decree declaring war on the foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians, and soldiers as well as Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were besieged for 55 days by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers. Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favoring conciliation, led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu (Junglu), later claimed he acted to protect the foreigners. Officials in the Mutual Protection of Southeast China ignored the imperial order to fight against foreigners.

The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back, brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and arrived at Peking on August 14, relieving the siege of the Legations. Uncontrolled plunder of the capital and the surrounding countryside ensued, along with the summary execution of those suspected of being Boxers. The Boxer Protocol of 7 September 1901 provided for the execution of government officials who had supported the Boxers, provisions for foreign troops to be stationed in Beijing, and 450 million taels of silver—approximately $10 billion at 2018 silver prices and more than the government's annual tax revenue—to be paid as indemnity over the course of the next thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved.

Historical background

Origins of the Boxers

Wax model of a Boxer, armed with a spear and sword. Model by George S. Stuart.

Boxer Rebellion and Eight-Nation Alliance, China 1900-1901

The Righteous and Harmonious Fists (Yihequan) arose in the inland sections of the northern coastal province of Shandong, long known for social unrest, religious sects, and martial societies. American Christian missionaries were probably the first to refer to the well-trained, athletic young men as "Boxers", because of the martial arts and weapons training they practiced. Their primary practice was a type of spiritual possession which involved the whirling of swords, violent prostrations, and chanting incantations to deities.[11]

The opportunities to fight back Western encroachment and colonization were especially attractive to unemployed village men, many of whom were teenagers.[12] The tradition of possession and invulnerability went back several hundred years but took on special meaning against the powerful new weapons of the West.[13] The Boxers, armed with rifles and swords, claimed supernatural invulnerability towards blows of cannon, rifle shots, and knife attacks. Furthermore, the Boxer groups popularly claimed that millions of soldiers of Heaven would descend to assist them in purifying China of foreign oppression.[14]

In 1895, in spite of ambivalence toward their heterodox practices, Yuxian, a Manchu who was then prefect of Caozhou and would later become provincial governor, used the Big Swords Society in fighting bandits. The Big Swords, emboldened by this official support, also attacked their local Catholic village rivals, who turned to the Church for protection. The Big Swords responded by attacking Catholic churches and burning them. "The line between Christians and bandits", remarks one recent historian, "became increasingly indistinct." As a result of diplomatic pressure in the capital, Yuxian executed several Big Sword leaders, but did not punish anyone else. More martial secret societies started emerging after this.[15]

The early years saw a variety of village activities, not a broad movement with a united purpose. Martial folk religious societies such as the Baguadao (Eight Trigrams) prepared the way for the Boxers. Like the Red Boxing school or the Plum Flower Boxers, the Boxers of Shandong were more concerned with traditional social and moral values, such as filial piety, than with foreign influences. One leader, Zhu Hongdeng (Red Lantern Zhu), started as a wandering healer, specializing in skin ulcers, and gained wide respect by refusing payment for his treatments.[16] Zhu claimed descent from Ming dynasty emperors, since his surname was the surname of the Ming imperial family. He announced that his goal was to "Revive the Qing and destroy the foreigners" ("扶清滅洋 fu Qing mie yang").[17]

The enemy was foreign influence. They decided the "primary devils" were the Christian missionaries, and the "secondary devils" were the Chinese converts to Christianity. Both had to recant or be driven out or killed.[18][19]

Causes of conflict and unrest

Major powers plan to cut up China for themselves; America, Germany, Italy, UK, France, Russia, Austria are represented by Wilhelm II, Umberto I, John Bull, Franz Joseph I (in rear), Uncle Sam, Nicholas II, and Emile Loubet. Punch Aug 23, 1899, by J. S. Pughe

The combination of extreme weather conditions, Western attempts at colonizing China and growing anti-imperialist sentiment fueled the movement. First, a drought followed by floods in Shandong province in 1897–1898 forced farmers to flee to cities and seek food. As one observer said, "I am convinced that a few days' heavy rainfall to terminate the long-continued drought ... would do more to restore tranquility than any measures which either the Chinese government or foreign governments can take."[20]

A major cause of discontent in north China was missionary activity. The Treaty of Tientsin (or Tianjin) and the Convention of Peking, signed in 1860 after the Second Opium War, had granted foreign missionaries the freedom to preach anywhere in China and to buy land on which to build churches.[21] On 1 November 1897, a band of armed men who were perhaps members of the Big Swords Society stormed the residence of a German missionary from the Society of the Divine Word and killed two priests. This attack is known as the Juye Incident.

When Kaiser Wilhelm II received news of these murders, he dispatched the German East Asia Squadron to occupy Jiaozhou Bay on the southern coast of the Shandong peninsula. [22] Germany's action triggered a "scramble for concessions" by which Britain, France, Russia and Japan also secured their own sphere of influence in China.[23]

In December 1897 German Kaiser Wilhelm II declared his intent to seize territory in China, precipitating the scramble to demarcate zones of influence in China. The German government acquired, in Shandong province, exclusive control over developmental loans, mining, and railway ownership,[24] while Russia gained a sphere over all territory north of the Great Wall,[25] in addition to the previous tax exemption for trade in Mongolia and Xinjiang,[26] economic powers similar to Germany's over Fengtian, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. France gained a sphere over Yunnan, most of Guangxi and Guangdong provinces,[27] Japan over Fujian province,[27] and the British Empire over the whole Yangtze River Valley[27] (defined as all provinces adjoining the Yangtze river as well as Henan and Zhejiang provinces[25]), parts of[28] Guangdong and Guangxi provinces and part of Tibet.[29] Only Italy's request for Zhejiang province was declined by the Chinese government.[27] These do not include the lease and concession territories where the foreign powers had full authority. The Russian government militarily occupied their zone, imposed their law and schools, seized mining and logging privileges, settled their citizens, and even established their municipal administration on several cities,[30] the latter without Chinese consent.[31]

A French political cartoon depicting China as a pie about to be carved up by Queen Victoria (Britain), Kaiser Wilhelm II (Germany), Tsar Nicholas II (Russia), Marianne (France) and a samurai (Japan), while a Chinese mandarin helplessly looks on.

In October 1898, a group of Boxers attacked the Christian community of Liyuantun village where a temple to the Jade Emperor had been converted into a Catholic church. Disputes had surrounded the church since 1869, when the temple had been granted to the Christian residents of the village. This incident marked the first time the Boxers used the slogan "Support the Qing, destroy the foreigners" ("扶清滅洋 fu Qing mie yang") that would later characterise them.[32] The "Boxers" called themselves the "Militia United in Righteousness" for the first time one year later, at the Battle of Senluo Temple (October 1899), a clash between Boxers and Qing government troops.[33] By using the word "Militia" rather than "Boxers", they distanced themselves from forbidden martial arts sects, and tried to give their movement the legitimacy of a group that defended orthodoxy.[34]

Aggression toward missionaries and Christians drew the ire of foreign (mainly European) governments.[35] In 1899, the French minister in Beijing helped the missionaries to obtain an edict granting official status to every order in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, enabling local priests to support their people in legal or family disputes and bypass the local officials. After the German government took over Shandong many Chinese feared that the foreign missionaries and quite possibly all Christian activities were imperialist attempts at "carving the melon", i.e., to divide and colonize China piece by piece.[36] A Chinese official expressed the animosity towards foreigners succinctly, "Take away your missionaries and your opium and you will be welcome."[37]

The early growth of the Boxer movement coincided with the Hundred Days' Reform (11 June – 21 September 1898). Progressive Chinese officials, with support from Protestant missionaries, persuaded the Guangxu Emperor to institute reforms which alienated many conservative officials by their sweeping nature. Such opposition from conservative officials led Empress Dowager Cixi to intervene and reverse the reforms. The failure of the reform movement disillusioned many educated Chinese and thus further weakened the Qing government. After the reforms ended, the conservative Empress Dowager Cixi seized power and placed the reformist Guangxu Emperor under house arrest.

The national crisis was widely seen as being caused by foreign aggression.[38] Foreign powers had defeated China in several wars, forced a right to promote Christianity and imposed unequal treaties under which foreigners and foreign companies in China were accorded special privileges, extraterritorial rights and immunities from Chinese law, causing resentment among the Chinese. France, Japan, Russia and Germany carved out spheres of influence, so that by 1900 it appeared that China would likely be dismembered, with foreign powers each ruling a part of the country. Thus, by 1900, the Qing dynasty, which had ruled China for more than two centuries, was crumbling and Chinese culture was under assault by powerful and unfamiliar religions and secular cultures.[39]

Boxer War

Intensifying crisis

Chinese Muslim troops from Gansu, also known as the Gansu Braves, killed a Japanese diplomat on 11 June 1900. Foreigners called them the "10,000 Islamic rabble."[40]

Baron von Ketteler

In January 1900, with a majority of conservatives in the imperial court, Empress Dowager Cixi changed her position on the Boxers, and issued edicts in their defence, causing protests from foreign powers. In spring 1900, the Boxer movement spread rapidly north from Shandong into the countryside near Beijing. Boxers burned Christian churches, killed Chinese Christians and intimidated Chinese officials who stood in their way. American Minister Edwin H. Conger cabled Washington, "the whole country is swarming with hungry, discontented, hopeless idlers." On 30 May the diplomats, led by British Minister Claude Maxwell MacDonald, requested that foreign soldiers come to Beijing to defend the legations. The Chinese government reluctantly acquiesced, and the next day a multinational force of 435 navy troops from eight countries disembarked from warships and travelled by train from Dagu (Taku) to Beijing. They set up defensive perimeters around their respective missions.[41]

On 5 June 1900, the railway line to Tianjin was cut by Boxers in the countryside and Beijing was isolated. On 11 June, at Yongding gate, the secretary of the Japanese legation, Sugiyama Akira, was attacked and killed by the soldiers of general Dong Fuxiang, who were guarding the southern part of the Beijing walled city.[42] Armed with Mauser rifles but wearing traditional uniforms,[43] Dong's troops had threatened the foreign Legations in the fall of 1898 soon after arriving in Beijing,[44] so much that troops from the United States Marine Corps had been called to Beijing to guard the legations.[45] The German Kaiser Wilhelm II was so alarmed by the Chinese Muslim troops that he requested the Caliph Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire to find a way to stop the Muslim troops from fighting.

The Caliph agreed to the Kaiser's request and sent Enver Pasha (not the future Young Turk leader) to China in 1901, but the rebellion was over by that time.[46]

Also on 11 June, the first Boxer, dressed in his finery, was seen in the Legation Quarter. The German Minister, Clemens von Ketteler, and German soldiers captured a Boxer boy and inexplicably executed him.[47] In response, thousands of Boxers burst into the walled city of Beijing that afternoon and burned many of the Christian churches and cathedrals in the city, burning some victims alive.[48] American and British missionaries had taken refuge in the Methodist Mission and an attack there was repulsed by American Marines. The soldiers at the British Embassy and German Legations shot and killed several Boxers,[49] alienating the Chinese population of the city and nudging the Qing government toward support of the Boxers.

The Muslim Gansu braves and Boxers, along with other Chinese then attacked and killed Chinese Christians around the legations in revenge for foreign attacks on Chinese.[50]

Seymour Expedition

Main article: Seymour Expedition

Japanese marines who served in the Seymour Expedition

As the situation grew more violent, a second multinational force of 2,000 sailors and marines under the command of the British Vice-Admiral Edward Seymour, the largest contingent being British, was dispatched from Dagu to Beijing on 10 June 1900. The troops were transported by train from Dagu to Tianjin with the agreement of the Chinese government, but the railway between Tianjin and Beijing had been severed. Seymour resolved to move forward and repair the railway, or progress on foot if necessary, keeping in mind that the distance between Tianjin and Beijing was only 120 km. When Seymour left Tianjin and started toward Beijing, it angered the imperial court.

As a result, the pro-Boxer Manchu Prince Duan became leader of the Zongli Yamen (foreign office), replacing Prince Qing. Prince Duan was a member of the imperial Aisin Gioro clan (foreigners called him a "Blood Royal"), and Empress Dowager Cixi had named her son as next in line for the imperial throne. He became the effective leader of the Boxers, and was extremely anti-foreigner. He soon ordered the Qing imperial army to attack the foreign forces. Confused by conflicting orders from Beijing, General Nie Shicheng let Seymour's army pass by in their trains.[51]

Admiral Seymour returning to Tianjin with his wounded men on 26 June

After leaving Tianjin, the convoy quickly reached Langfang, but found the railway there to be destroyed. Seymour's engineers tried to repair the line, but the allied army found itself surrounded, as the railway both behind and in front of them had been destroyed. They were attacked from all parts by Chinese irregulars and Chinese governmental troops. Five thousand of Dong Fuxiang's "Gansu Braves" and an unknown number of "Boxers" won a costly but major victory over Seymour's troops at the Battle of Langfang on 18 June.[52][53] As the allied European army retreated from Langfang, they were constantly fired upon by cavalry, and artillery bombarded their positions. It was reported that the Chinese artillery was superior to the European artillery, since the Europeans did not bother to bring along much for the campaign, thinking they could easily sweep through Chinese resistance.

The Europeans could not locate the Chinese artillery, which was raining shells upon their positions.[54] Mining, engineering, flooding and simultaneous attacks were employed by Chinese troops. The Chinese also employed pincer movements, ambushes and sniper tactics with some success against the foreigners.[55]

Italian mounted infantry near Tientsin in 1900

News arrived on 18 June regarding attacks on foreign legations. Seymour decided to continue advancing, this time along the Beihe river, toward Tongzhou, 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Beijing. By the 19th, they had to abandon their efforts due to progressively stiffening resistance and started to retreat southward along the river with over 200 wounded. Commandeering four civilian Chinese junks along the river, they loaded all their wounded and remaining supplies onto them and pulled them along with ropes from the riverbanks. By this point they were very low on food, ammunition and medical supplies. Unexpectedly they then happened upon the Great Xigu Arsenal, a hidden Qing munitions cache of which the Allied Powers had had no knowledge until then. They immediately captured and occupied it, discovering not only Krupp field guns, but rifles with millions of rounds of ammunition, along with millions of pounds of rice and ample medical supplies.

There they dug in and awaited rescue. A Chinese servant was able to infiltrate through the Boxer and Qing lines, informing the Eight Powers of the Seymour troops' predicament. Surrounded and attacked nearly around the clock by Qing troops and Boxers, they were at the point of being overrun. On 25 June, a regiment composed of 1,800 men (900 Russian troops from Port Arthur, 500 British seamen, with an ad hoc mix of other assorted Alliance troops) finally arrived on foot from Tientsin to rescue Seymour. Spiking the mounted field guns and setting fire to any munitions that they could not take (an estimated £3 million worth), Seymour, his force, and the rescue mission marched back to Tientsin, unopposed, on 26 June. Seymour's casualties during the expedition were 62 killed and 228 wounded.[56]

Conflicting attitudes within the Qing imperial court

Qing imperial soldiers during the Boxer Rebellion

Meanwhile, in Beijing, on 16 June, Empress Dowager Cixi summoned the imperial court for a mass audience and addressed the choices between using the Boxers to evict the foreigners from the city or seeking a diplomatic solution. In response to a high official who doubted the efficacy of the Boxers' magic, Cixi replied: Both sides of the debate at the imperial court realised that popular support for the Boxers in the countryside was almost universal and that suppression would be both difficult and unpopular, especially when foreign troops were on the march.[57][58]

Two factions were active during this debate. On one side were anti-foreigners who viewed foreigners as invasive and imperialistic and evoked a nativist populism. They advocated taking advantage of the Boxers to achieve the expulsion of foreign troops and foreign influences. The pro-foreigners on the other hand advanced rapprochement with foreign governments, seeing the Boxers as superstitious and ignorant.

The event that tilted the Qing imperial government irrevocably toward support of the Boxers and war with the foreign powers was the attack of foreign navies on the Dagu Forts near Tianjin, on 17 June 1900.

Siege of the Beijing legations

Locations of foreign diplomatic legations and front lines in Beijing during the siege

Main article: Siege of the International Legations

On 15 June, Qing imperial forces deployed electric mines in the River Beihe (Peiho) to prevent the Eight-Nation Alliance from sending ships to attack.[59] With a difficult military situation in Tianjin and a total breakdown of communications between Tianjin and Beijing, the allied nations took steps to reinforce their military presence significantly. On 17 June they took the Dagu Forts commanding the approaches to Tianjin, and from there brought increasing numbers of troops on shore. When Cixi received an ultimatum demanding that China surrender total control over all its military and financial affairs to foreigners,[60] she defiantly stated before the entire Grand Council, "Now they [the Powers] have started the aggression, and the extinction of our nation is imminent. If we just fold our arms and yield to them, I would have no face to see our ancestors after death. If we must perish, why don't we fight to the death?"[61] It was at this point that Cixi began to blockade the legations with the armies of the Peking Field Force, which began the siege. Cixi stated that "I have always been of the opinion, that the allied armies had been permitted to escape too easily in 1860. Only a united effort was then necessary to have given China the victory. Today, at last, the opportunity for revenge has come", and said that millions of Chinese would join the cause of fighting the foreigners since the Manchus had provided "great benefits" on China.[62] On receipt of the news of the attack on the Dagu Forts on the 19th of June, Empress Dowager Cixi immediately sent an order to the legations that the diplomats and other foreigners depart Beijing under escort of the Chinese army within 24 hours.[63]

The next morning, diplomats from the besieged legations met to discuss the Empress's offer. The majority quickly agreed that they could not trust the Chinese army. Fearing that they would be killed, they agreed to refuse the Empress's demand. The German Imperial Envoy, Baron Klemens Freiherr von Ketteler, was infuriated with the actions of the Chinese army troops and determined to take his complaints to the royal court. Against the advice of the fellow foreigners, the baron left the legations with a single aide and a team of porters to carry his sedan chair. On his way to the palace, von Ketteler was killed on the streets of Beijing by a Manchu captain.[64] His aide managed to escape the attack and carried word of the baron's death back to the diplomatic compound. At this news, the other diplomats feared they also would be murdered if they left the legation quarter and they chose to continue to defy the Chinese order to depart Beijing. The legations were hurriedly fortified. Most of the foreign civilians, which included a large number of missionaries and businessmen, took refuge in the British legation, the largest of the diplomatic compounds.[65] Chinese Christians were primarily housed in the adjacent palace (Fu) of Prince Su who was forced to abandon his property by the foreign soldiers.[66]

Representative U.S., Indian, French, Italian, British, German, Austro-Hungarian and Japanese military and naval personnel forming part of the Allied forces

On the 21st of June, Empress Dowager Cixi declared war against all foreign powers. Regional governors who commanded substantial modernised armies, such as Li Hongzhang at Canton, Yuan Shikai in Shandong, Zhang Zhidong[67] at Wuhan and Liu Kunyi at Nanjing, refused to join in the imperial court's declaration of war and withheld knowledge of it from the public in the south. Yuan Shikai used his own forces to suppress Boxers in Shandong, and Zhang entered into negotiations with the foreigners in Shanghai to keep his army out of the conflict. The neutrality of these provincial and regional governors left the majority of Chinese out of the conflict.[68] They were called The Mutual Protection of Southeast China.[69]

The legations of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United States, Russia and Japan were located in the Beijing Legation Quarter south of the Forbidden City. The Chinese army and Boxer irregulars besieged the Legation Quarter from 20 June to 14 August 1900. A total of 473 foreign civilians, 409 soldiers, marines and sailors from eight countries, and about 3,000 Chinese Christians took refuge there.[70] Under the command of the British minister to China, Claude Maxwell MacDonald, the legation staff and military guards defended the compound with small arms, three machine guns, and one old muzzle-loaded cannon, which was nicknamed the International Gun because the barrel was British, the carriage Italian, the shells Russian and the crew American. Chinese Christians in the legations led the foreigners to the cannon and it proved important in the defence. Also under siege in Beijing was the Northern Cathedral (Beitang) of the Catholic Church. The Beitang was defended by 43 French and Italian soldiers, 33 Catholic foreign priests and nuns, and about 3,200 Chinese Catholics. The defenders suffered heavy casualties especially from lack of food and mines which the Chinese exploded in tunnels dug beneath the compound.[71] The number of Chinese soldiers and Boxers besieging the Legation Quarter and the Beitang is unknown.

1900, soldiers burned down the Temple, Shanhaiguan. The destruction of a Chinese temple on the bank of the Pei-Ho, by Amédée Forestier

On the 22nd and 23 June, Chinese soldiers and Boxers set fire to areas north and west of the British Legation, using it as a "frightening tactic" to attack the defenders. The nearby Hanlin Academy, a complex of courtyards and buildings that housed "the quintessence of Chinese scholarship ... the oldest and richest library in the world", caught fire. Each side blamed the other for the destruction of the invaluable books it contained.[72]

After the failure to burn out the foreigners, the Chinese army adopted an anaconda-like strategy. The Chinese built barricades surrounding the Legation Quarter and advanced, brick by brick, on the foreign lines, forcing the foreign legation guards to retreat a few feet at a time. This tactic was especially used in the Fu, defended by Japanese and Italian sailors and soldiers, and inhabited by most of the Chinese Christians. Fusillades of bullets, artillery and firecrackers were directed against the Legations almost every night—but did little damage. Sniper fire took its toll among the foreign defenders. Despite their numerical advantage, the Chinese did not attempt a direct assault on the Legation Quarter although in the words of one of the besieged, "it would have been easy by a strong, swift movement on the part of the numerous Chinese troops to have annihilated the whole body of foreigners ... in an hour."[73] American missionary Frank Gamewell and his crew of "fighting parsons" fortified the Legation Quarter,[74] but impressed Chinese Christians to do most of the physical labour of building defences.[75]

The Germans and the Americans occupied perhaps the most crucial of all defensive positions: the Tartar Wall. Holding the top of the 45 ft (14 m) tall and 40 ft (12 m) wide wall was vital. The German barricades faced east on top of the wall and 400 yd (370 m) west were the west-facing American positions. The Chinese advanced toward both positions by building barricades even closer. "The men all feel they are in a trap", said the American commander, Capt. John T. Myers, "and simply await the hour of execution."[76] On 30 June, the Chinese forced the Germans off the Wall, leaving the American Marines alone in its defence. At the same time, a Chinese barricade was advanced to within a few feet of the American positions and it became clear that the Americans had to abandon the wall or force the Chinese to retreat. At 2 am on 3 July, 56 British, Russian and American marines and sailors, under the command of Myers, launched an assault against the Chinese barricade on the wall. The attack caught the Chinese sleeping, killed about 20 of them, and expelled the rest of them from the barricades.[77] The Chinese did not attempt to advance their positions on the Tartar Wall for the remainder of the siege.[78]

Sir Claude MacDonald said 13 July was the "most harassing day" of the siege.[79] The Japanese and Italians in the Fu were driven back to their last defence line. The Chinese detonated a mine beneath the French Legation pushing the French and Austrians out of most of the French Legation.[79] On 16 July, the most capable British officer was killed and the journalist George Ernest Morrison was wounded.[80] But American Minister Edwin Hurd Conger established contact with the Chinese government and on 17 July, an armistice was declared by the Chinese.[81] More than 40% of the legation guards were dead or wounded. The motivation of the Chinese was probably the realization that an allied force of 20,000 men had landed in China and retribution for the siege was at hand.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 2 of 3

Officials and commanders at cross purposes

Han Chinese General Nie Shicheng, who fought both the Boxers and the Allies[82]

The Manchu General Ronglu concluded that it was futile to fight all of the powers simultaneously, and declined to press home the siege.[83] The Manchu Zaiyi (Prince Duan), an anti-foreign friend of Dong Fuxiang, wanted artillery for Dong's troops to destroy the legations. Ronglu blocked the transfer of artillery to Zaiyi and Dong, preventing them from attacking.[84] Ronglu forced Dong Fuxiang and his troops to pull back from completing the siege and destroying the legations, thereby saving the foreigners and making diplomatic concessions.[85] Ronglu and Prince Qing sent food to the legations, and used their Manchu Bannermen to attack the Muslim Gansu Braves ("Kansu Braves" in the spelling of the time) of Dong Fuxiang and the Boxers who were besieging the foreigners. They issued edicts ordering the foreigners to be protected, but the Gansu warriors ignored it, and fought against Bannermen who tried to force them away from the legations. The Boxers also took commands from Dong Fuxiang.[86] Ronglu also deliberately hid an Imperial Decree from General Nie Shicheng. The Decree ordered him to stop fighting the Boxers because of the foreign invasion, and also because the population was suffering. Due to Ronglu's actions, General Nie continued to fight the Boxers and killed many of them even as the foreign troops were making their way into China. Ronglu also ordered Nie to protect foreigners and save the railway from the Boxers.[87] Because parts of the Railway were saved under Ronglu's orders, the foreign invasion army was able to transport itself into China quickly. General Nie committed thousands of troops against the Boxers instead of against the foreigners. Nie was already outnumbered by the Allies by 4,000 men. General Nie was blamed for attacking the Boxers, as Ronglu let Nie take all the blame. At the Battle of Tianjin (Tientsin), General Nie decided to sacrifice his life by walking into the range of Allied guns.[88]

Boxer rebels

Xu Jingcheng, who had served as the Qing Envoy to many of the same states under siege in the Legation Quarter, argued that "the evasion of extraterritorial rights and the killing of foreign diplomats are unprecedented in China and abroad."[89] Xu and five other officials urged Empress Dowager Cixi to order the repression of Boxers, the execution of their leaders, and a diplomatic settlement with foreign armies. The Empress Dowager, outraged, sentenced Xu and the five others to death for "willfully and absurdly petitioning the Imperial Court" and "building subversive thought." They were executed on July 28, 1900 and their severed heads placed on display at Caishikou Execution Grounds in Beijing.[90]

Han Chinese General Dong Fuxiang was overtly hostile to foreigners and his "Gansu Braves" relentlessly attacked the besieged legations.

Reflecting this vacillation, some Chinese soldiers were quite liberally firing at foreigners under siege from its very onset. Cixi did not personally order imperial troops to conduct a siege, and on the contrary had ordered them to protect the foreigners in the legations. Prince Duan led the Boxers to loot his enemies within the imperial court and the foreigners, although imperial authorities expelled Boxers after they were let into the city and went on a looting rampage against both the foreign and the Qing imperial forces. Older Boxers were sent outside Beijing to halt the approaching foreign armies, while younger men were absorbed into the Muslim Gansu army.[91]

With conflicting allegiances and priorities motivating the various forces inside Beijing, the situation in the city became increasingly confused. The foreign legations continued to be surrounded by both Qing imperial and Gansu forces. While Dong Fuxiang's Gansu army, now swollen by the addition of the Boxers, wished to press the siege, Ronglu's imperial forces seem to have largely attempted to follow Empress Dowager Cixi's decree and protect the legations. However, to satisfy the conservatives in the imperial court, Ronglu's men also fired on the legations and let off firecrackers to give the impression that they, too, were attacking the foreigners. Inside the legations and out of communication with the outside world, the foreigners simply fired on any targets that presented themselves, including messengers from the imperial court, civilians and besiegers of all persuasions.[92] Dong Fuxiang was denied artillery held by Ronglu which stopped him from leveling the legations, and when he complained to Empress Dowager Cixi on June 23, she dismissively said that "Your tail, is becoming too heavy to wag." The Alliance discovered large amounts of unused Chinese Krupp artillery and shells after the siege was lifted.[93]

The armistice, although occasionally broken, endured until 13 August when, with an allied army led by the British Alfred Gaselee approaching Beijing to relieve the siege, the Chinese launched their heaviest fusillade on the Legation Quarter. As the foreign army approached, Chinese forces melted away.

Gaselee Expedition

Forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance
Relief of the Legations

Troops of the Eight-Nation Alliance in 1900 (Russia excepted). Left to right: Britain, United States, Australia, India, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Japan

Countries / Warships (units) / Marines (men) / Army (men)

Empire of Japan / 18 / 540 / 20,300
Russian Empire / 10 / 750 / 12,400
United Kingdom / 8 /2,020 / 10,000
French Republic / 5 / 390 / 3,130
United States / 2 / 295 / 3,125
German Empire / 5 / 600 / 300
Kingdom of Italy / 2 / 80 / 2,500
Austria-Hungary / 4 / 296 / unknown
Total / 54 / 4,971 / 51,755

Main articles: Eight-Nation Alliance and Gaselee Expedition

Foreign navies started building up their presence along the northern China coast from the end of April 1900. Several international forces were sent to the capital, with varying success, and the Chinese forces were ultimately defeated by the Eight-Nation Alliance of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Independent of the alliance, the Netherlands dispatched three cruisers in July to protect its citizens in Shanghai.[94]

British Lieutenant-General Alfred Gaselee acted as the commanding officer of the Eight-Nation Alliance, which eventually numbered 55,000. The main contingent was composed of Japanese (20,840), Russian (13,150), British (12,020), French (3,520), U.S. (3,420), German (900), Italian (80), Austro-Hungarian (75) and anti-Boxer Chinese troops.[95] The "First Chinese Regiment" (Weihaiwei Regiment) which was praised for its performance, consisted of Chinese collaborators serving in the British military.[96] Notable events included the seizure of the Dagu Forts commanding the approaches to Tianjin and the boarding and capture of four Chinese destroyers by British Commander Roger Keyes. Among the foreigners besieged in Tianjin was a young American mining engineer named Herbert Hoover, who would go on to become the 31st President of the United States.[97][98]

The Boxers bombarded Tianjin in June 1900, and Dong Fuxiang's Muslim troops attacked the British Admiral Seymour and his expeditionary force.

The capture of the southern gate of Tianjin. British troops were positioned on the left, Japanese troops at the centre, French troops on the right.

The international force finally captured Tianjin on 14 July. The international force suffered its heaviest casualties of the Boxer Rebellion in the Battle of Tianjin.[99] With Tianjin as a base, the international force marched from Tianjin to Beijing, about 120 km, with 20,000 allied troops. On 4 August, there were approximately 70,000 Qing imperial troops and anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 Boxers along the way. The allies only encountered minor resistance, fighting battles at Beicang and Yangcun. At Yangcun, the 14th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. and British troops led the assault. The weather was a major obstacle. Conditions were extremely humid with temperatures sometimes reaching 42 °C (108 °F). These high temperatures and insects plagued the Allies. Soldiers became dehydrated and horses died. Chinese villagers killed Allied troops who searched for wells.[100]

The heat killed Allied soldiers, who foamed at the mouth. The tactics along the way were gruesome on either side. Allied soldiers beheaded already dead Chinese corpses, bayoneted or beheaded live Chinese civilians, and raped Chinese girls and women.[101] Cossacks were reported to have killed Chinese civilians almost automatically and Japanese kicked a Chinese soldier to death.[102] The Chinese responded to the Alliance's atrocities with similar acts of violence and cruelty, especially towards captured Russians.[101] Lieutenant Smedley Butler saw the remains of two Japanese soldiers nailed to a wall, who had their tongues cut off and their eyes gouged.[103] Lieutenant Butler was wounded during the expedition in the leg and chest, later receiving the Brevet Medal in recognition for his actions.

Chinese troops wearing modern uniforms in 1900

The international force reached Beijing on 14 August. Following the defeat of Beiyang army in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese government had invested heavily in modernizing the imperial army, which was equipped with modern Mauser repeater rifles and Krupp artillery. Three modernized divisions consisting of Manchu Bannermen protected the Beijing Metropolitan region. Two of them were under the command of the anti-Boxer Prince Qing and Ronglu, while the anti-foreign Prince Duan commanded the ten-thousand-strong Hushenying, or "Tiger Spirit Division", which had joined the Gansu Braves and Boxers in attacking the foreigners. It was a Hushenying captain who had assassinated the German diplomat Ketteler. The Tenacious Army under Nie Shicheng received western style training under German and Russian officers in addition to their modernised weapons and uniforms. They effectively resisted the Alliance at the Battle of Tientsin before retreating and astounded the Alliance forces with the accuracy of their artillery during the siege of the Tianjin concessions (the artillery shells failed to explode upon impact due to corrupt manufacturing). The Gansu Braves under Dong Fuxiang, which some sources described as "ill disciplined", were armed with modern weapons but were not trained according to western drill and wore traditional Chinese uniforms. They led the defeat of the Alliance at Langfang in the Seymour Expedition and were the most ferocious in besieging the Legations in Beijing. Some Banner forces were given modernised weapons and western training, becoming the Metropolitan Banner forces, which were decimated in the fighting. Among the Manchu dead was the father of the writer Lao She.

The British won the race among the international forces to be the first to reach the besieged Legation Quarter. The U.S. was able to play a role due to the presence of U.S. ships and troops stationed in Manila since the U.S. conquest of the Philippines during the Spanish–American War and the subsequent Philippine–American War. In the U.S. military, the action in the Boxer Rebellion was known as the China Relief Expedition. United States Marines scaling the walls of Beijing is an iconic image of the Boxer Rebellion.[104]

The British Army reached the legation quarter on the afternoon of 14 August and relieved the Legation Quarter. The Beitang was relieved on 16 August, first by Japanese soldiers and then, officially, by the French.[105]

Evacuation of the Qing imperial court from Beijing to Xi'an

Painting of Western and Japanese troops

In the early hours of 15 August, just as the Foreign Legations were being relieved, Empress Dowager Cixi, dressed in the padded blue cotton of a farm woman, the Guangxu Emperor, and a small retinue climbed into three wooden ox carts and escaped from the city covered with rough blankets. Legend has it that the Empress Dowager then either ordered that the Guangxu Emperor's favourite concubine, Consort Zhen, be thrown down a well in the Forbidden City or tricked her into drowning herself. The journey was made all the more arduous by the lack of preparation, but the Empress Dowager insisted this was not a retreat, rather a "tour of inspection." After weeks of travel, the party arrived in Xi'an in Shaanxi province, beyond protective mountain passes where the foreigners could not reach, deep in Chinese Muslim territory and protected by the Gansu Braves. The foreigners had no orders to pursue the Empress Dowager, so they decided to stay put.[106]

Russian invasion of Manchuria

Russian officers in Manchuria during the Boxer Rebellion

The Russian Empire and the Qing Empire had maintained a long peace, starting with the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689, but Tsarist forces took advantage of Chinese defeats to impose the Aigun Treaty of 1858 and the Treaty of Peking of 1860 which ceded formerly Chinese territory in Manchuria to Russia, much of which is held by Russia to the present day (Primorye). The Russians aimed for control over the Amur River for navigation, and the all-weather ports of Dairen and Port Arthur in the Liaodong peninsula. The rise of Japan as an Asian power provoked Russia's anxiety, especially in light of expanding Japanese influence in Korea. Following Japan's victory in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1895, the Triple Intervention of Russia, Germany and France forced Japan to return the territory won in Liaodong, leading to a de facto Sino-Russian alliance.

Local Chinese in Manchuria were incensed at these Russian advances and began to harass Russians and Russian institutions, such as the Chinese Eastern Railway. In June 1900, the Chinese bombarded the town of Blagoveshchensk on the Russian side of the Amur. The Czar's government used the pretext of Boxer activity to move some 200,000 troops into the area to crush the Boxers. The Chinese used arson to destroy a bridge carrying a railway and a barracks on 27 July. The Boxers destroyed railways and cut lines for telegraphs and burned the Yantai mines.[107]

By 21 September, Russian troops took Jilin and Liaodong, and by the end of the month completely occupied Manchuria, where their presence was a major factor leading to the Russo-Japanese War.

The Chinese Honghuzi bandits of Manchuria, who had fought alongside the Boxers in the war, did not stop when the Boxer rebellion was over, and continued guerilla warfare against the Russian occupation up to the Russo-Japanese war when the Russians were defeated by Japan.

Massacre of missionaries and Chinese Christians

The Holy Chinese Martyrs of the Orthodox Church as depicted in an icon commissioned in 1990

Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic missionaries and their Chinese parishioners were massacred throughout northern China, some by Boxers and others by government troops and authorities. After the declaration of war on Western powers in June 1900, Yuxian, who had been named governor of Shanxi in March of that year, implemented a brutal anti-foreign and anti-Christian policy. On 9 July, reports circulated that he had executed forty-four foreigners (including women and children) from missionary families whom he had invited to the provincial capital Taiyuan under the promise to protect them.[108][109] Although the purported eyewitness accounts have recently been questioned as improbable, this event became a notorious symbol of Chinese anger, known as the Taiyuan Massacre.[110] By the summer's end, more foreigners and as many as 2,000 Chinese Christians had been put to death in the province. Journalist and historical writer Nat Brandt has called the massacre of Christians in Shanxi "the greatest single tragedy in the history of Christian evangelicalism."[111]

During the Boxer Rebellion as a whole, a total of 136 Protestant missionaries and 53 children were killed, and 47 Catholic priests and nuns, 30,000 Chinese Catholics, 2,000 Chinese Protestants, and 200 to 400 of the 700 Russian Orthodox Christians in Beijing were estimated to have been killed. Collectively, the Protestant dead were called the China Martyrs of 1900.[112] 222 of Russian Christian Chinese Martyrs including St. Metrophanes were locally canonised as New Martyrs on 22 April 1902, after archimandrite Innocent (Fugurovsky), head of the Russian Orthodox Mission in China, solicited the Most Holy Synod to perpetuate their memory. This was the first local canonisation for more than two centuries.[113] The Boxers went on to murder Christians across 26 prefectures.[114]


Occupation, looting, and atrocities

"The Fall of the Peking Castle" from September 1900. British and Japanese soldiers assaulting Chinese troops.

The occupation of Beijing. British sector in yellow, French in blue, US in green and ivory, German in red and Japanese in light green.

A Boxer is publicly executed.

Execution of a Boxer by the French, Tientsin

Boxers beheaded in front of a group of Chinese and Japanese officials

Execution of Boxers after the rebellion

Japanese troops during the Boxer Rebellion

Beijing, Tianjin, and other cities in northern China were occupied for more than one year by the international expeditionary force under the command of German General Alfred Graf von Waldersee. Atrocities by foreign troops were common. French troops ravaged the countryside around Beijing on behalf of Chinese Catholics. The Americans and British paid General Yuan Shikai and his army (the Right Division) to help the Eight Nation Alliance suppress the Boxers. Yuan Shikai's forces killed tens of thousands of people in their anti Boxer campaign in Zhili Province and Shandong after the Alliance captured Beijing.[115] Yuan operated out of Baoding during the campaign, which ended in 1902.[116] Li Hongzhang commanded Chinese soldiers to kill "Boxers" to assist the Alliance.[117]

From contemporary Western observers, German, Russian, and Japanese troops received the greatest criticism for their ruthlessness and willingness to wantonly execute Chinese of all ages and backgrounds, sometimes burning and killing entire village populations.[118] The German force arrived too late to take part in the fighting, but undertook punitive expeditions to villages in the countryside. Kaiser Wilhelm II on July 27 during departure ceremonies for the German relief force included an impromptu, but intemperate reference to the Hun invaders of continental Europe which would later be resurrected by British propaganda to mock Germany during the First World War and Second World War:

“Should you encounter the enemy, he will be defeated! No quarter will be given! Prisoners will not be taken! Whoever falls into your hands is forfeited. Just as a thousand years ago the Huns under their King Attila made a name for themselves, one that even today makes them seem mighty in history and legend, may the name German be affirmed by you in such a way in China that no Chinese will ever again dare to look cross-eyed at a German.”[119]

The current Dalai Lama has made himself an internationally famous spokesman for nonviolence. But the example of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama shows that nonviolence was not always the policy of his predecessors, After a dozen years as ruler of Central Tibet, in 1660 the Dalai Lama was faced with a rebellion in Tsang province, not yet pacified and still the stronghold of the Karma Kagyu. The Gelugpa leader again called on his Mongol patron Gushri Khan, this time to put down the insurgency in Tsang. In a passage that may sound to modern ears more like that other Mongol Khan, Genghis, than an emanation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, the Dalai Lama called for harsh retribution towards the rebels against his rule:

[Of those in] the band of enemies who have despoiled the duties entrusted to them;
Make the male lines like trees that have had their roots cut;
Make the female lines like brooks that have dried up in winter;
Make the children and grandchildren like eggs smashed against rocks;
Make the servants and followers like heaps of grass consumed by fire;
Make their dominion like a lamp whose oil has been exhausted;
In short, annihilate any traces of them, even their names.

-- Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today, by Erik D. Curren

One newspaper called the aftermath of the siege a "carnival of ancient loot", and others called it "an orgy of looting" by soldiers, civilians and missionaries. These characterisations called to mind the sacking of the Summer Palace in 1860.[120] Each nationality accused the others of being the worst looters. An American diplomat, Herbert G. Squiers, filled several railroad cars with loot and artifacts. The British Legation held loot auctions every afternoon and proclaimed, "Looting on the part of British troops was carried out in the most orderly manner." However, one British officer noted, "It is one of the unwritten laws of war that a city which does not surrender at the last and is taken by storm is looted." For the rest of 1900–1901, the British held loot auctions everyday except Sunday in front of the main-gate to the British Legation. Many foreigners, including Sir Claude Maxwell MacDonald and Lady Ethel MacDonald and George Ernest Morrison of The Times, were active bidders among the crowd. Many of these looted items ended up in Europe.[121] The Catholic Beitang or North Cathedral was a "salesroom for stolen property."[122] The American commander General Adna Chaffee banned looting by American soldiers, but the ban was ineffectual.[123]

Some but by no means all Western missionaries took an active part in calling for retribution. To provide restitution to missionaries and Chinese Christian families whose property had been destroyed, William Ament, a missionary of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, guided American troops through villages to punish those he suspected of being Boxers and confiscate their property. When Mark Twain read of this expedition, he wrote a scathing essay, "To the Person Sitting in Darkness", that attacked the "Reverend bandits of the American Board," especially targeting Ament, one of the most respected missionaries in China.[124] The controversy was front-page news during much of 1901. Ament's counterpart on the distaff side was doughty British missionary Georgina Smith who presided over a neighborhood in Beijing as judge and jury.[125]

While one historical account reported that Japanese troops were astonished by other Alliance troops raping civilians,[126] others noted that Japanese troops were 'looting and burning without mercy', and that Chinese 'women and girls by hundreds have committed suicide to escape a worse fate at the hands of Russian and Japanese brutes.'[127] Roger Keyes, who commanded the British destroyer Fame and accompanied the Gaselee Expedition, noted that the Japanese had brought their own "regimental wives" (prostitutes) to the front to keep their soldiers from raping Chinese civilians.[128]

The Daily Telegraph journalist E. J. Dillon stated that he witnessed the mutilated corpses of Chinese women who were raped and killed by the Alliance troops. The French commander dismissed the rapes, attributing them to "gallantry of the French soldier." A foreign journalist, George Lynch, said "there are things that I must not write, and that may not be printed in England, which would seem to show that this Western civilization of ours is merely a veneer over savagery."[121]

Many Bannermen supported the Boxers and shared their anti-foreign sentiment.[129] The German Minister Clemens von Ketteler was assassinated by a Manchu.[130] Bannermen had been devastated in the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and Banner armies were destroyed while resisting the invasion. In the words of historian Pamela Crossley, their living conditions went "from desperate poverty to true misery."[131] When thousands of Manchus fled south from Aigun during the fighting in 1900, their cattle and horses were stolen by Russian Cossacks who then burned their villages and homes to ashes.[132] The clan system of the Manchus in Aigun was obliterated by the despoliation of the area at the hands of the Russians.[133]

Under the lead of some highly ranked officials including Li Hongzhang, Yuan Shikai and Zhang Zhidong, several provinces in the southeast formed the Southeastern Mutual Protection during this period to avoid the further expansion of the chaos. These provinces claimed to be neutral and refused to fight either the Boxers or the Eight Nation Alliance.


After the capture of Peking by the foreign armies, some of Empress Dowager Cixi's advisers advocated that the war be carried on, arguing that China could have defeated the foreigners as it was disloyal and traitorous people within China who allowed Beijing and Tianjin to be captured by the Allies, and that the interior of China was impenetrable. They also recommended that Dong Fuxiang continue fighting. The Empress Dowager Cixi was practical, however, and decided that the terms were generous enough for her to acquiesce when she was assured of her continued reign after the war and that China would not be forced to cede any territory.[134]

Mutual Protection of Southeast China in 1900

On 7 September 1901, the Qing imperial court agreed to sign the "Boxer Protocol" also known as Peace Agreement between the Eight-Nation Alliance and China. The protocol ordered the execution of 10 high-ranking officials linked to the outbreak and other officials who were found guilty for the slaughter of foreigners in China. Alfons Mumm (Freiherr von Schwarzenstein), Ernest Satow and Komura Jutaro signed on behalf of Germany, Britain and Japan, respectively.

China was fined war reparations of 450,000,000 taels of fine silver (≈540,000,000 troy ounces (17,000 t) @ 1.2 ozt/tael) for the loss that it caused. The reparation was to be paid by 1940, within 39 years, and would be 982,238,150 taels with interest (4 percent per year) included. To help meet the payment it was agreed to increase the existing tariff from an actual 3.18 percent to 5 percent, and to tax hitherto duty-free merchandise. The sum of reparation was estimated by the Chinese population (roughly 450 million in 1900), to let each Chinese pay one tael. Chinese custom income and salt tax were enlisted as guarantee of the reparation. China paid 668,661,220 taels of silver from 1901 to 1939, equivalent in 2010 to ≈US$61 billion on a purchasing power parity basis.[135][136]

A large portion of the reparations paid to the United States was diverted to pay for the education of Chinese students in U.S. universities under the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program. To prepare the students chosen for this program an institute was established to teach the English language and to serve as a preparatory school. When the first of these students returned to China they undertook the teaching of subsequent students; from this institute was born Tsinghua University. Some of the reparation due to Britain was later earmarked for a similar program.

American troops during the Boxer Rebellion

The China Inland Mission lost more members than any other missionary agency:[137] 58 adults and 21 children were killed. However, in 1901, when the allied nations were demanding compensation from the Chinese government, Hudson Taylor refused to accept payment for loss of property or life in order to demonstrate the meekness and gentleness of Christ to the Chinese.[138]

The Belgian Catholic vicar apostolic of Ordos, Msgr. Alfons Bermyn wanted foreign troops garrisoned in Inner Mongolia, but the Governor refused. Bermyn petitioned the Manchu Enming to send troops to Hetao where Prince Duan's Mongol troops and General Dong Fuxiang's Muslim troops allegedly threatened Catholics. It turned out that Bermyn had created the incident as a hoax.[139][140]

The Qing government did not capitulate to all the foreign demands. The Manchu governor Yuxian, was executed, but the imperial court refused to execute the Han Chinese General Dong Fuxiang, although he had also encouraged the killing of foreigners during the rebellion.[141] Empress Dowager Cixi intervened when the Alliance demanded him executed and Dong was only cashiered and sent back home.[142] Instead, Dong lived a life of luxury and power in "exile" in his home province of Gansu.[143] Upon Dong's death in 1908, all honors which had been stripped from him were restored and he was given a full military burial.[143]

Long-term consequences

The European great powers finally ceased their ambitions of colonizing China having learned from the Boxer rebellions that the best way to deal with China was through the ruling dynasty, rather than directly with the Chinese people (a sentiment embodied in the adage: "The people are afraid of officials, the officials are afraid of foreigners, and the foreigners are afraid of the people" (老百姓怕官,官怕洋鬼子,洋鬼子怕老百姓), and even briefly assisted the Qing in their war against the Japanese to prevent a Japanese domination in the region.

French 1901 China expedition commemorative medal. Musée de la Légion d'Honneur.

Concurrently, this period marks the ceding of European great power interference in Chinese affairs, with the Japanese replacing the Europeans as the dominant power for their lopsided involvement in the war against the Boxers as well as their victory in the First Sino-Japanese War. With the toppling of the Qing that followed and the rise of the Nationalist Kuomintang, European sway within China was reduced to symbolic status. After taking Manchuria in 1905, Japan came to dominate Asian affairs both militarily and culturally with many of the Chinese scholars also educated in Japan with the most prominent example being Sun Yat-Sen who would later found the Nationalist movement of the Kuomintang in China.

In October 1900, Russia occupied the provinces of Manchuria,[144] a move which threatened Anglo-American hopes of maintaining the country's openness to commerce under the Open Door Policy.

Japan's clash with Russia over Liaodong and other provinces in eastern Manchuria, due to the Russian refusal to honour the terms of the Boxer protocol which called for their withdrawal, led to the Russo-Japanese War when two years of negotiations broke down in February 1904. The Russian Lease of the Liaodong (1898) was confirmed. Russia was ultimately defeated by an increasingly confident Japan.

Foreign armies assemble inside the Forbidden City after capturing Beijing, 28 November 1900

Besides the compensation, Empress Dowager Cixi reluctantly started some reforms despite her previous views. Under her reforms known as the New Policies started in 1901, the imperial examination system for government service was eliminated and as a result the system of education through Chinese classics was replaced with a European liberal system that led to a university degree. Along with the formation of new military and police organisations, the reforms also simplified central bureaucracy and made a start on revamping taxation policies.[145] After the deaths of Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor in 1908, the prince regent Zaifeng (Prince Chun), the Guangxu Emperor's brother, launched further reforms.

The effect on China was a weakening of the dynasty and its national defense capabilities. The government structure was temporarily sustained by the Europeans. Behind the international conflict, it further deepened internal ideological differences between northern-Chinese anti-foreign royalists and southern-Chinese anti-Qing revolutionists. This scenario in the last years of the Qing dynasty gradually escalated into a chaotic warlord era in which the most powerful northern warlords were hostile towards the revolutionaries in the south who overthrew the Qing monarchy in 1911. The rivalry was not fully resolved until the northern warlords were defeated by the Kuomintang's 1926–28 Northern Expedition. Prior to the final defeat of the Boxer Rebellion, all anti-Qing movements in the previous century, such as the Taiping Rebellion, had been successfully suppressed by the Qing.

Historian Walter LaFeber has argued that President William McKinley's decision to send 5,000 American troops to quell the rebellion marks "the origins of modern presidential war powers":[146]

“ McKinley took a historic step in creating a new, 20th century presidential power. He dispatched the five thousand troops without consulting Congress, let alone obtaining a declaration of war, to fight the Boxers who were supported by the Chinese government ... Presidents had previously used such force against non-governmental groups that threatened U.S. interests and citizens. It was now used, however, against recognised governments, and without obeying the Constitution's provisions about who was to declare war. ”

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., concurred, writing that:[147]

“ The intervention in China marked the start of a crucial shift in the presidential employment of armed force overseas. In the 19th century, military force committed without congressional authorization had been typically used against nongovernmental organizations. Now it was beginning to be used against sovereign states, and, in the case of Theodore Roosevelt, with less consultation than ever. ”

In the Second Sino-Japanese War, when the Japanese asked the Muslim general Ma Hongkui to defect and become head of a Muslim puppet state, he responded that his relatives had been killed during the Battle of Peking, including his uncle Ma Fulu. Since Japanese troops made up the majority of the Alliance forces there would be no cooperation with the Japanese.[148]

Controversies and changing views of the Boxers

Boxers captured by the U.S. Army near Tianjin in 1901

From the beginning, views differed as to whether the Boxers were better seen as anti-imperialist, patriotic, and proto-nationalist or as "uncivilized", irrational, and futile opponents of inevitable change. The historian Joseph Esherick comments that "confusion about the Boxer Uprising is not simply a matter of popular misconceptions", for "there is no major incident in China's modern history on which the range of professional interpretation is as great".[149]

Chinese liberals such as Hu Shih often condemned the Boxers for their irrationality and barbarity.[150] Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China and of the Nationalist Party at first believed that the Boxer Movement was stirred up by the Qing government's rumors, which "caused confusion among the populace", and delivered "scathing criticism" of the Boxers' "anti-foreignism and obscurantism". Sun praised the Boxers for their "spirit of resistance" but called them "bandits". Students shared an ambivalent attitude to the Boxers, stating that while the uprising originated from the "ignorant and stubborn people of the interior areas", their beliefs were "brave and righteous", and could "be transformed into a moving force for independence".[151] After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911, nationalist Chinese became more sympathetic to the Boxers. In 1918 Sun praised their fighting spirit and said the Boxers were courageous and fearless, fighting to the death against the Alliance armies, specifically the Battle of Yangcun.[152] The leader of the New Culture Movement, Chen Duxiu, forgave the "barbarism of the Boxer... given the crime foreigners committed in China", and contended that it was those "subservient to the foreigners" that truly "deserved our resentment".[153]

Qing forces of Chinese soldiers in 1899–1901. Left: two infantrymen of the New Imperial Army. Front: drum major of the regular army. Seated on the trunk: field artilleryman. Right: Boxers.

In other countries, views of the Boxers were complex and contentious. Mark Twain said that "the Boxer is a patriot. He loves his country better than he does the countries of other people. I wish him success".[154] The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy also praised the Boxers. He accused Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany of being chiefly responsible for the lootings, rapes, murders and the "Christian brutality" of the Russians and other western troops.[155] The Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin mocked the Russian government's claim that it was protecting Christian civilization: "Poor Imperial Government! So Christianly unselfish, and yet so unjustly maligned! Several years ago it unselfishly seized Port Arthur, and now it is unselfishly seizing Manchuria; it has unselfishly flooded the frontier provinces of China with hordes of contractors, engineers, and officers, who, by their conduct, have roused to indignation even the Chinese, known for their docility."[156] The Indian Bengali Rabindranath Tagore attacked the European colonialists.[157] A number of Indian soldiers in the British Indian Army agreed that the Boxers were right and the British stole from the Temple of Heaven a bell, which was given back to China by the Indian military in 1994.[158]

Even some American churchmen spoke out in support of the Boxers. The evangelist Rev. Dr. George F. Pentecost said that the Boxer uprising was a

“ patriotic movement to expel the 'foreign devils' — just that — the foreign devils". Suppose, he said, the great nations of Europe were to “put their fleets together, came over here, seize Portland, move on down to Boston, then New York, then Philadelphia, and so on down the Atlantic Coast and around the Gulf of Galveston? Suppose they took possession of these port cities, drove our people into the hinterland, built great warehouses and factories, brought in a body of dissolute agents, and calmly notified our people that henceforward they would manage the commerce of the country? Would we not have a Boxer movement to drive those foreign European Christian devils out of our country?[159] ”

A Boxer during the revolt

The Russian newspaper Amurskii Krai criticized the killing of innocent civilians, charging that "restraint" "civilization" and "culture" instead of "racial hatred" and "destruction" would have been more becoming of a "civilized Christian nation". The paper asked "What shall we tell civilized people? We shall have to say to them: 'Do not consider us as brothers anymore. We are mean and terrible people; we have killed those who hid at our place, who sought our protection'".[160]

The events also left a longer impact. The historian Robert Bickers found that for the British in China the Boxer rising served as the "equivalent of the Indian 'mutiny'" and came to represent the Yellow Peril. Later events, he adds, such as the Chinese Nationalist Revolution of the 1920s and even the activities of the Red Guards of the 1960s, were perceived as being in the shadow of the Boxers.[161]

In Taiwan and Hong Kong, history textbooks often present the Boxer as irrational. But in the People's Republic of China, government textbooks described the Boxer movement as an anti-imperialist, patriotic peasant movement whose failure was due to the lack of leadership from the modern working class, and described the international army as an invading force. In recent decades, however, large-scale projects of village interviews and explorations of archival sources have led historians in China to take a more nuanced view. Some non-Chinese scholars, such as Joseph Esherick, have seen the movement as anti-imperialist; while others hold that the concept "nationalistic" is anachronistic because the Chinese nation had not been formed and the Boxers were more concerned with regional issues. Paul Cohen's recent study includes a survey of "the Boxers as myth", showing how their memory was used in changing ways in 20th-century China from the New Culture Movement to the Cultural Revolution.[162]

In recent years the Boxer question has been debated in the People's Republic of China. In 1998, the critical scholar Wang Yi argued that the Boxers had features in common with the extremism of the Cultural Revolution. Both events had the external goal of "liquidating all harmful pests" and the domestic goal of "eliminating bad elements of all descriptions" and this relation was rooted in "cultural obscurantism". Wang explained to his readers the changes in attitudes towards the Boxers from the condemnation of the May Fourth Movement to the approval expressed by Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution.[163] In 2006 Yuan Weishi, a professor of philosophy at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, wrote that the Boxers by their "criminal actions brought unspeakable suffering to the nation and its people! These are all facts that everybody knows, and it is a national shame that the Chinese people cannot forget".[164] Yuan charged that history text books had been lacking in neutrality in presenting the Boxer Uprising as a "magnificent feat of patriotism", and not presenting the view that the majority of the Boxer rebels were violent.[165] In response, some labeled Yuan Weishi a "traitor" (Hanjian).[166]
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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The first reports coming from China in 1898 referred to the village activists as "Yihequan", (Wade–Giles: I Ho Ch'uan). The first known use of the term "Boxer" was September 1899 in a letter from missionary Grace Newton in Shandong. It appears from context that "Boxer" was a known term by that time, possibly coined by the Shandong missionaries Arthur H. Smith and Henry Porter.[167] Smith says in his book of 1902 that the name

“ I Ho Ch'uan... literally denotes the 'Fists' (Ch'uan) of Righteousness (or Public) (I) Harmony (Ho), in apparent allusion to the strength of united force which was to be put forth. As the Chinese phrase 'fists and feet' signifies boxing and wrestling, there appeared to be no more suitable term for the adherents of the sect than 'Boxers,' a designation first used by one or two missionary correspondents of foreign journals in China, and later universally accepted on account of the difficulty of coining a better one.[168] ”

On 6 June 1900 the Times of London used the term "rebellion" in quotation marks, presumably to indicate their view that the rising was in fact instigated by Empress Dowager Cixi.[169] The historian Lanxin Xiang refers to the "so called 'Boxer Rebellion,'" and explains that "while peasant rebellion was nothing new in Chinese history, a war against the world's most powerful states was."[170] The name "Boxer Rebellion", concludes Joseph Esherick, another recent historian, is truly a "misnomer", for the Boxers "never rebelled against the Manchu rulers of China and their Qing dynasty" and the "most common Boxer slogan, throughout the history of the movement, was "support the Qing, destroy the Foreign." He adds that only after the movement was suppressed by the Allied Intervention did both the foreign powers and influential Chinese officials realize that the Qing would have to remain as government of China in order to maintain order and collect taxes to pay the indemnity. Therefore, in order to save face for the Empress Dowager and the imperial court, the argument was made that the Boxers were rebels and that support from the imperial court came only from a few Manchu princes. Esherick concludes that the origin of the term "rebellion" was "purely political and opportunistic", but it has shown a remarkable staying power, particularly in popular accounts.[171]

Other recent Western works refer to the "Boxer Movement", "Boxer War" or Yihetuan Movement, while Chinese studies use 义和团运动 (Yihetuan yundong), that is, "Yihetuan Movement." In his discussion of the general and legal implications of the terminology involved, the German scholar Thoralf Klein notes that all of the terms, including the Chinese ones, are "posthumous interpretations of the conflict." He argues that each term, whether it be "uprising", "rebellion" or "movement" implies a different definition of the conflict. Even the term "Boxer War", which has become widely used by recent scholars in the West, raises questions, as war was never declared, and Allied troops behaved as a punitive expedition in colonial style, not in a declared war with legal constraints. The Allies took advantage of the fact that China had not signed "The Laws and Customs of War on Land", a key document at the 1899 Hague Peace Conference. They argued that China had violated its provisions but themselves ignored them. [172]

Later representations

U.S. Marines fight rebellious Boxers outside Beijing Legation Quarter, 1900. Copy of painting by Sergeant John Clymer.

British and Japanese forces engage Boxers in battle.

By 1900, many new forms of media had matured, including illustrated newspapers and magazines, postcards, broadsides and advertisements, all of which presented images of the Boxers and of the invading armies.[173] The rebellion was covered in the foreign illustrated press by artists and photographers. Paintings and prints were also published including Japanese wood-blocks.[174] In the following decades, the Boxers were a constant subject for comment. A sampling includes:

• In the Polish play The Wedding by Stanisław Wyspiański, first published on 16 March 1901, even before the rebellion was finally crushed, the character of Czepiec asks the Journalist (Dziennikarz) one of the best-known questions in the history of Polish literature: "Cóż tam, panie, w polityce? Chińczyki trzymają się mocno!? ("How are things in politics, Mister? Are the Chinese holding out firmly!?").[175]
• Liu E, The Travels of Lao Can[176] sympathetically shows an honest official trying to carry out reforms and depicts the Boxers as sectarian rebels.
• G. A. Henty, With the Allies to Pekin, a Tale of the Relief of the Legations (New York: Scribners, 1903; London: Blackie, 1904). Juvenile fiction by a widely read author, depicts the Boxers as "a mob of ruffians."
• A false or forged diary, Diary of his Excellency Ching-Shan: Being a Chinese Account of the Boxer Troubles, including text written by Edmund Backhouse, who claimed he recovered the document from a burnt building. It is suspected that Backhouse falsified the document, as well as other stories, because he was prone to tell tales dubious in nature, including claims of nightly visits to the Empress Dowager Cixi.[177]
• In Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin comic The Blue Lotus, Tintin's Chinese friend Chang Chong-Chen when they first meet, after Tintin saves the boy from drowning, the boy asks Tintin why he saved him from drowning as, according to Chang's uncle who fought in the Rebellion, all white people were wicked.
• The novel Moment in Peking (1939), by Lin Yutang, opens during the Boxer Rebellion, and provides a child's-eye view of the turmoil through the eyes of the protagonist.
• Tulku, a 1979 children's novel by Peter Dickinson, includes the effects of the Boxer Rebellion on a remote part of China.
• The Diamond Age or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (New York, 1996), by Neal Stephenson, includes a quasi-historical re-telling of the Boxer Rebellion as an integral component of the novel
• The novel The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure (2003), by Adam Williams, describes the experiences of a small group of foreign missionaries, traders and railway engineers in a fictional town in northern China shortly before and during the Boxer Rebellion.
• Illusionist William Ellsworth Robinson (a.k.a. Chung Ling Soo) had a bullet-catch trick entitled "Condemned to Death by the Boxers", which famously resulted in his onstage death.
• The 1963 film 55 Days at Peking directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and David Niven.[178]
• In 1975 Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers studio produced the film Boxer Rebellion (Chinese: 八國聯軍; pinyin: bāguó liánjūn; Wade–Giles: Pa kuo lien chun; literally: 'Eight-Nation Allied Army') under director Chang Cheh with one of the highest budgets to tell a sweeping story of disillusionment and revenge.[179]
• Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers Legendary Weapons of China (1981), director Lau Kar Leung. A comedy starring Hsiao Ho (Hsiao Hou) as a disillusioned boxer of the Magic Clan who is sent to assassinate the former leader of a powerful boxer clan who refuses to dupe his students into believing they are impervious to firearms.
• There are several flashbacks to the Boxer Rebellion in the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. During the conflict, Spike kills his first slayer to impress Drusilla, and Angel decisively splits from Darla.
• The film Shanghai Knights (2003), starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson, takes place in 1887 and features Boxers as the henchmen of the film's lead antagonist, English Lord Rathbone (Aiden Gillen), either working as mercenaries for Rathbone, or helping him as part of their support for the anti-imperialist leader Wu Chow (Donnie Yen), Rathbone's ally.
• The Last Empress (Boston, 2007), by Anchee Min, describes the long reign of the Empress Dowager Cixi in which the siege of the legations is one of the climactic events in the novel.
• Mo, Yan. Sandalwood Death. Viewpoint of villagers during Boxer Uprising.[180]
• The pair of graphic novels by Gene Luen Yang, with colour by Lark Pien, Boxers and Saints, describes the "bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers" who "roam the countryside bullying and robbing Chinese peasants." Little Bao, "harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods", recruits an army of Boxers, "commoners trained in kung fu who fight to free China from 'foreign devils.'"[181]
• The 2013 video game BioShock Infinite featured the Boxer Rebellion as a major historical moment for the floating city of Columbia. Columbia, in an effort to rescue American hostages during the rebellion, opened fire upon the city of Peking and burned it to the ground. These actions resulted in the United States recalling Columbia, which led to its secession from the Union.
• The Boxer Rebellion is the historical backdrop for the episode titled "Kung Fu Crabtree" (Season 7, Episode 16, aired 24 March 2014) of the television series Murdoch Mysteries, in which Chinese officials visit Toronto in 1900 in search of Boxers who have fled from China.

See also

• Alfons Mumm von Schwarzenstein
• Battle of Peking (1900)
• Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program
• Century of humiliation
• China Relief Expedition
• Donghak Rebellion, an anti-foreign, proto-nationalist uprising in pre-Japanese Korea
• Eight-Nation Alliance
• Ernest Mason Satow
• First Opium War
• Gengzi Guobian Tanci
• History of Beijing
• Imperial Decree on events leading to the signing of Boxer Protocol
• Komura Jutarō
• List of 1900–30 publications on the Boxer Rebellion
• Maurice Joostens
• Stephen Pichon
• The Mutual Protection of Southeast China
• Xishiku Cathedral (西什庫天主堂)



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2. "China Relief Expedition (Boxer Rebellion), 1900 – 1901". Veterans Museum and Memorial Center. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
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5. Xiang 2003, p. 248.
6. Singer, Joel David, The Wages of War, 1816–1965 (1972)
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11. Esherick (1987), pp. xii, 54- 59, 96, etc..
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13. Cohen (1997), p. 19.
14. Cohen (1997), p. 27–30.
15. Lanxin Xiang (2003). The origins of the Boxer War: a multinational study. Psychology Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-7007-1563-0.
16. Victor Purcell (2010). The Boxer Uprising: A Background Study. Cambridge UP. p. 125.
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31. Esherick (1987), p. 253.
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33. Spence (1999) pp. 231–232.
34. Esherick (1987), Ch 3 "Imperialism for Christ's Sake", pp. 68–95.
35. Thompson (2009), p. 12.
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39. Thompson (2009), p. 42.
40. Preston (2000), p. 70.
41. Elliott (2002), p. 126.
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61. Tan, p. 75
62. Robert B. Edgerton (1997). Warriors of the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Military. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 82. ISBN 0-393-04085-2.
63. Diana Preston, page 87, "A Brief History of the Boxer Rebellion", ISBN 1-84119-490-5
64. Diana Preston, page 79, "A Brief History of the Boxer Rebellion", ISBN 1-84119-490-5
65. Edward J. M. Rhoads (1 December 2011). Manchus and Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861–1928. University of Washington Press. pp. 74–75. ISBN 978-0-295-80412-5.
66. Hsu, The Rise of Modern China pp. 393–398.
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80. Elliott (2002), p. 402.
81. Cohen (1997), p. 54.
82. X. L. Woo (2002). Empress dowager Cixi: China's last dynasty and the long reign of a formidable concubine: legends and lives during the declining days of the Qing dynasty. Algora Publishing. p. 216. ISBN 1-892941-88-0.
83. Cohen (1997), p. 54.
84. Bruce A. Elleman (2001). Modern Chinese warfare, 1795–1989. Psychology Press. p. 124. ISBN 0-415-21474-2.
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86. Elliott (2002), p. 499.
87. 趙爾巽等撰; 趙爾巽; Zhao, Erxun (1976), Qing shi gao, 新華書店北京發行所發行, Beijing, OCLC 17045858
88. "資料連結". Archived from the original on 22 December 2012.
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91. Fleming (1959), p. 226.
92. Nordholt, J. W. Schulte; van Arkel, D., eds. (1970). Acta Historiae Neerlandica: Historical Studies in the Netherlands. IV. Brill Publishers. pp. 160–161, 163–164.
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96. Hoover, Herbert C. (1952). The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover Years of Adventure 1874–1920. London: Hollis & Carter. p. 47-54
97. Thompson, pp 130, 138
98. Edgerton (1997), p. 88.
99. Thompson 2009, p. 168.
100. Edgerton 1997, pp. 87, 89.
101. Edgerton 1997, p. 88.
102. Thompson (2009), p. 177.
103. Fleming (1959), p. 220–221.
104. Preston (2000), pp. 253–261.
105. George Alexander Lensen (1967). The Russo-Chinese War. Diplomatic Press. p. 14.
106. Cohen (1997), p. 51.
107. Esherick (1987), pp. 190–191.
108. Roger R. Thompson, "Reporting the Taiyuan Massacre: Culture and Politics in the China War of 1900", in Robert A. Bickers and R. G. Tiedemann, ed., The Boxers, China, and the World (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007): 65–92. Thompson points out that the widely circulated accounts were by people who could not have seen the events and that these accounts closely followed (often word for word) well known earlier martyr literature.
109. Nat Brandt, Massacre in Shansi, Syracuse University Press, p. xiii.
110. Thompson (2009), p. 184.
111. Andronik (Trubachov). Канонизация святых в Русской Православной Церкви – 5. Канонизация святых в 1894–1917 гг. [Canonization of Saints by the Russian Orthodox Church – 5. Canonization of Saints from 1894 – 1917] (in Russian). Азбука веры (The Faith Alphabet).
112. Ying Bai & Kung, James Kai-sing. Diffusing Knowledge While Spreading God's Message: Protestantism and Economic Prosperity in China, 1940–1920. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. September 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. p.3
113. Edgerton, R.B. (1997). Warriors of the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Military. Norton. p. 94. ISBN 9780393040852. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
114. Ch?ên, J. (1972). Yuan Shih-kʻai. Stanford University Press. p. 76. ISBN 9780804707893. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
115. Jan Kocvarp., Germany and the Boxer Uprising in China Archived 11 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine West Bohemian Historical Review Vol. 5.2 2015, p. 159
116. Cohen, Paul A. History In Three Keys: The Boxers As Event, Experience, and Myth, Columbia University Press, ISBN 0231106505 (1997), pp. 185-185
117. "Wilhelm II: "Hun Speech" (1900) German History in Documents and Images (GHDI)".
118. James L. Hevia, "Looting and Its Discontents: Moral Discourse and the Plunder of Beijing, 1900–1901", in Bickers and Tiedemann, ed., The Boxers, China, and the World (2007): 94.
119. Preston (2000), p. 284-285.
120. Chamberlin, Wilbur J. letter to his wife (11 December 1900), in Ordered to China: Letters of Wilbur J. Chamberlin: Written from China While Under Commission from the New York Sun During the Boxer Uprising of 1900 and the International Complications Which Followed, (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1903), p. 191
121. Thompson (2009), p. 194-197.
122. Thompson (2009), p. 207-208.
123. Thompson (2009), p. 204-214.
124. Patricia Ebrey; Anne Walthall; James Palais (2008). East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History. Cengage Learning. p. 301. ISBN 0-547-00534-2.
125. Cohen, Paul A., History In Three Keys: The Boxers As Event, Experience, and Myth, Columbia University Press (1997), ISBN 0231106505, pp. 184
126. Preston (2000), p. 90, 284–285.
127. Crossley 1990, p. 174.
128. Rhoads 2000, p. 72.
129. Hansen, M.H. (2011). Lessons in Being Chinese: Minority Education and Ethnic Identity in Southwest China. University of Washington Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780295804125. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
130. Shirokogorov 1924, p. 4.
131. Chang 1956, p. 110.
132. Diana Preston (2000). The Boxer Rebellion: The Dramatic Story of China's War on Foreigners that Shook the World in the Summer of 1900. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 312. ISBN 0-8027-1361-0.
133. Hsu, 481
134. Ji Zhaojin (2016). A History of Modern Shanghai Banking: The Rise and Decline of China's Financial Capitalism. Routledge. p. 75.
135. "". 10 March 2001. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
136. Broomhall (1901), several pages
137. Ann Heylen (2004). Chronique du Toumet-Ortos: Looking through the Lens of Joseph Van Oost, Missionary in Inner Mongolia (1915–1921). Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press. p. 203. ISBN 90-5867-418-5.
138. Patrick Taveirne (2004). Han-Mongol Encounters and Missionary Endeavors: A History of Scheut in Ordos (Hetao) 1874–1911. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press. p. 539. ISBN 90-5867-365-0.
139. Jonathan Neaman Lipman (2004). Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 181. ISBN 0-295-97644-6.
140. "董福祥与西北马家军阀的的故事". Archived from the original on 14 December 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
141. James Hastings; John Alexander Selbie; Louis Herbert Gray (1916). Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics. 8. T. & T. Clark. p. 894.
142. Paine, S. C. M. (1996). Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier. M.E. Sharpe. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-56324-724-8.
143. Benedict, Carol Ann (1996). Bubonic Plague in Nineteenth-Century China. Stanford University Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-8047-2661-0.
144. Woods, Thomas (7 July 2005) Presidential War Powers,
145. Schlesinger, Arthur. The Imperial Presidency (Popular Library 1974), pg. 96.
146. LEI, Wan (February 2010). "The Chinese Islamic "Goodwill Mission to the Middle East" During the Anti-Japanese War". DÎvÂn Disiplinlerarasi Çalismalar Dergisi. cilt 15 (sayı 29): 133–170.
147. Esherick (1987), p. xiv.
148. 顾则徐:清末民初思想领袖评价义和团总览
149. Han, Xiaorong (February 2005). Chinese discourses on the peasant, 1900–1949. State University of New York Press. pp. 20, 21. ISBN 0791463192.
150. Sun Yat-sen, A Letter to the Governor of Hong Kong", quoted in Li Weichao, "Modern Chinese Nationalism and the Boxer Movement", Douglas Kerr (2009). Critical Zone 3: A Forum of Chinese and Western Knowledge. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 149, 151. ISBN 962-209-857-6.
151. Han, Xiaorong (February 2005). Chinese discourses on the peasant, 1900–1949. State University of New York Press. p. 59. ISBN 0791463192.
152. Twain, Mark (7 November 2007). Mark Twain Speeches. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-4346-7879-9.
153. William Henry Chamberlin (1960). The Russian review, Volume 19. Blackwell. p. 115.
154. V. I. Lenin, "The War in China", Iskra, No. 1 (December 1900), in Lenin Collected Works (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1964), Volume 4, pages 372–377, online Marxists Internet Archive.
155. Robert A. Bickers (2007). The Boxers, China, and the World. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 149–. ISBN 978-0-7425-5395-8.
156. Krishnan, Ananth (7 July 2011). "The forgotten history of Indian troops in China". The Hindu. BEIJING.
157. "America Not A Christian Nation, Says Dr. Pentecost" (PDF). The New York Times. 11 February 1912. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014.
158. George Alexander Lensen; Fang-chih Chʻen (1982). The Russo-Chinese War:. p. 103.
159. Robert Bickers, Britain in China: Community, Culture, and Colonialism, 1900–1949 (Manchester; New York: Manchester University Press, distributed in the US by St. Martin's Press, 1999 ISBN 0719046971), p. 34
160. Pt Three, "The Boxers As Myth", Cohen, History in Three Keys, pp. 211–288.
161. Wang Yi, "The Cultural Origins of the Boxer Movement's Obscurantism and Its Influence on the Cultural Revolution", in Douglas Kerr, ed., Critical Zone Three. (Hong Kong University Press), 155.
162. "History Textbooks in China". Eastsouthwestnorth. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
163. Pan, Philip P. (25 January 2006). "Leading Publication Shut Down In China". Washington Post Foreign Service. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
164. 网友评论:评中山大学袁时伟的汉奸言论和混蛋逻辑
165. Thompson (2009), p. 223.
166. China in Convulsion Vol I, pp. 154–55.
167. Jane Elliot, Some Did It for Civilisation", p. 9, 1.
168. Xiang, The Origins of the Boxer War p. vii–viii.
169. Esherick p. xiv. Esherick notes that many textbooks and secondary accounts followed Victor Purcell, The Boxer Uprising: A Background Study (1963) in seeing a shift from an early anti-dynastic movement to pro-dynastic, but that the "flood of publications" from Taiwan and the People's Republic (including both documents from the time and oral histories conducted in the 1950s) has shown this not to be the case. xv–xvi.
170. Klein (2008).
171. Peter Perdue, "Visualizing the Boxer Uprising" MIT Visualizing Cultures Illustrated Slide Lecture
172. Frederic A. Sharf and Peter Harrington. China 1900: The Artists' Perspective. London: Greenhill, 2000. ISBN 1-85367-409-5.
173. met [2007-08-26] (26 August 2007). "Chińcyki trzymają się mocno!?". Retrieved 6 September 2012.
174. translated by Harold Shaddick as The Travels of Lao Ts'an (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952), also available in an abridged version which omits some scenes of the Boxers: The travels of Lao Can, translated by Yang Xianyi, Gladys Yang (Beijing: Panda Books, 1983; 176p.),
175. Hugh Trevor-Roper: A Hidden Life – The Enigma of Sir Edmund Backhouse (Published in the USA as Hermit of Peking, The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse) (1976)
176. 55 Days at Peking on IMDb
177. "HKflix". HKflix. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
178. Sandalwood Death (Translated by Howard Goldblatt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013. ISBN 9780806143392).
179. Boxers and Saints (First Second Books, 2013 ISBN 1596439246)WorldCat


• Cohen, Paul A. (1997). History in three keys: the boxers as event, experience, and myth. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10651-3.
• Elliott, Jane E. (2002). Some Did It for Civilisation, Some Did It for Their Country : A Revised View of the Boxer War. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press. ISBN 9622019730. David D. Buck, "Review", The China Quarterly 173 (2003): 234–237. calls this a strong "revisionist" account.
• Edgerton, Robert B. (1997). Warriors of the rising sun: a history of the Japanese military (illustrated ed.). W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393040852.
• Esherick, Joseph W. (1987). The Origins of the Boxer Uprising. U of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06459-3. Excerpt
• Harrington, Peter (2001). Peking 1900: The Boxer Rebellion. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-181-8.
• Klein, Thoralf (2008). "The Boxer War-the Boxer Uprising". Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence.
• Leonhard, Robert R. "The China Relief Expedition Joint Coalition Warfare in China Summer 1900" (PDF). The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 December 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
• Preston, Diana (2000). The Boxer Rebellion : The Dramatic Story of China's War on Foreigners That Shook the World in the Summer of 1900. New York: Walker. ISBN 0802713610.. Questia edition; British title: Besieged in Peking: The Story of the 1900 Boxer Rising (London: Constable, 1999); popular history.
• Thompson, Larry Clinton (2009). William Scott Ament and the Boxer Rebellion: Heroism, Hubris, and the "Ideal Missionary". Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 0-78645-338-9.
• Xiang, Lanxin (2003). The Origins of the Boxer War: A Multinational Study. Psychology Press. ISBN 0-7007-1563-0.

Further reading

General accounts and analysis

In addition to those used in the notes and listed under References, general accounts can be found in such textbooks as Jonathan Spence, In Search of Modern China, pp. 230–235; Keith Schoppa, Revolution and Its Past, pp. 118–123; and Immanuel Hsu, Ch 16, "The Boxer Uprising", in The Rise of Modern China (1990).

• Bickers, Robert A., and R. G. Tiedemann, eds., The Boxers, China, and the World. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7425-5394-1.
• Bickers, Robert A. The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1800–1914 (London: Allen Lane, 2011).
• Buck, David D. "Recent Studies of the Boxer Movement", Chinese Studies in History 20 (1987). Introduction to a special issue of the journal devoted to translations of recent research on the Boxers in the People's Republic.
• Shan, Patrick Fuliang (2018). Yuan Shikai: A Reappraisal, The University of British Columbia Press. ISBN 9780774837781.
• Purcell, Victor (1963). The Boxer Uprising: A background study. online edition
• Silbey, David. The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China. New York: Hill and Wang, 2012. 273p. ISBN 9780809094776.
• "In Our Time – discussion show on The Boxer Rebellion". BBC Radio4.

Missionary experience and personal accounts

• Bell, P, and Clements, R, (2014). Lives from a Black Tin Box ISBN 978-1-86024-931-0 The story of the Xinzhou martyrs, Shanxi Province.
• Brandt, Nat (1994). Massacre in Shansi. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-0282-0. The story of the Oberlin missionaries at Taigu, Shanxi.
• Clark, Anthony E. (2015). Heaven in Conflict: Franciscans and the Boxer Uprising in Shanxi. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-99400-0
• Price, Eva Jane. China Journal, 1889–1900: An American Missionary Family During the Boxer Rebellion, (1989). ISBN 0-684-18951-8. Review: Susanna Ashton, "Compound Walls: Eva Jane Price's Letters from a Chinese Mission, 1890–1900." Frontiers 1996 17(3): 80–94. ISSN 0160-9009. The journal of the events leading up to the deaths of the Price family.
• Sharf, Frederic A., and Peter Harrington (2000). China 1900: The Eyewitnesses Speak. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-410-9. Excerpts from German, British, Japanese, and American soldiers, diplomats and journalists.
• Sharf, Frederic A., and Peter Harrington (2000). China 1900: The Artists' Perspective. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-409-5
• Tiedemann, R.G. "Boxers, Christians and the culture of violence in north China" Journal of Peasant Studies (1998) 25:4 pp 150-160, DOI: 10.1080/03066159808438688

Allied intervention, the Boxer War, and the aftermath

• Bodin, Lynn E. and Christopher Warner. The Boxer Rebellion. London: Osprey, Men-at-Arms Series 95, 1979. ISBN 0-85045-335-6 (pbk.) Illustrated history of the military campaign.
• Fleming, Peter (1959). The Siege at Peking. New York: Harper. ISBN 0-88029-462-0.
• Hevia, James L. "Leaving a Brand on China: Missionary Discourse in the Wake of the Boxer Movement", Modern China 18.3 (1992): 304–332.
• Hevia, James L. "A Reign of Terror: Punishment and Retribution in Beijing and its Environs", Chapter 6, in English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth Century China (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), pp. 195–240. ISBN 0-8223-3151-9
• Hunt, Michael H. "The American Remission of the Boxer Indemnity: A Reappraisal", Journal of Asian Studies 31 (Spring 1972): 539–559.
• Hunt, Michael H. "The Forgotten Occupation: Peking, 1900–1901", Pacific Historical Review 48.4 (November 1979): 501–529.
• Langer, William. The Diplomacy of Imperialism 1890–1902 (2nd ed. 1950), pp. 677–709.

Contemporary accounts and sources

• Broomhall, Marshall (1901). Martyred Missionaries of The China Inland Mission; With a Record of The Perils and Sufferings of Some Who Escaped. London: Morgan and Scott.. A contemporary account.
• Conger, Sarah Pike (1909), Letters from China with Particular Reference to the Empress Dowager and the Women of China (2nd ed.), Chicago: A.C. McClurg
• E. H. Edwards, Fire and Sword in Shansi: The Story of the Martyrdom of Foreigners and Chinese Christians (New York: Revell, 1903)
• Isaac Taylor Headland, Chinese Heroes; Being a Record of Persecutions Endured by Native Christians in the Boxer Uprising (New York, Cincinnati: Eaton & Mains; Jennings & Pye, 1902).
• Arnold Henry Savage Landor, China and the Allies (New York: Scribner's, 1901). 01008198 Google Books: China and the Allies
• Pierre Loti, The Last Days of Pekin (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1902): tr. of Les Derniers Jours De Pékin (Paris: Lévy, 1900).
• W. A. P. Martin, The Siege in Peking, China against the World (New York: F. H. Revell company, 1900).
• Putnam Weale, Bertram Lenox, (1907). Indiscreet Letters from Peking: Being the Notes of an Eyewitness, Which Set Forth in Some Detail, From Day to Day, The Real Story of the Siege and Sack of a Distressed Capital in 1900– The Year of Great Tribulation. Dodd, Mead. Free ebook. Project Gutenberg.
• Arthur H.Smith, China in Convulsion (New York: F. H. Revell Co., 1901). Vol. I An account of the Boxers and the siege by a missionary who had lived in a North China village.

External links

• Lost in the Gobi Desert: Hart retraces great-grandfather's footsteps, William & Mary News Story, 3 January 2005.
• September 1900 San Francisco Newspaper
• 200 Photographs in Library of Congress online Collection
• 55 Days at Peking on IMDb
• Pa kuo lien chun on IMDb
• University of Washington Library's Digital Collections – Robert Henry Chandless Photographs
• Proceedings of the Tenth Universal Peace Congress, 1901
• Pictures from the Siege of Peking, from the Caldwell Kvaran archives
• Eyewitness account: When the Allies Entered Peking, 1900, an excerpt of Pierre Loti's Les Derniers Jours de Pékin (1902).
• Documents of the Boxer Rebellion (China Relief Expedition), 1900–1901 National Museum of the U.S. Navy (Selected Naval Documents).
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:56 am

Brian Houghton Hodgson
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/30/19



An enormous mass of Lamaist literature is now available in Europe in the collections at St. Petersburg, mainly obtained from Pekin, Siberia, and Mongolia; at Paris, and at the India Office, and Royal Asiatic Society55 in London, and at Oxford, mostly gifted by Mr. Hodgson.56 [The India Office copy of the canon was presented to Mr. Hodgson by the Dalai Lama.]

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Luarence Austine Waddell, M.B., F.L.S., F.R.G.S.

Brian Houghton Hodgson

Brian Houghton Hodgson (1 February 1800 or more likely 1801[1] – 23 May 1894[2]) was a pioneer naturalist and ethnologist working in India and Nepal where he was a British Resident. He described numerous species of birds and mammals from the Himalayas, and several birds were named after him by others such as Edward Blyth. He was a scholar of Newar Buddhism and wrote extensively on a range of topics relating to linguistics and religion. He was an opponent of the British proposal to introduce English as the official medium of instruction in Indian schools.

Early life

Aged 17

Hodgson was the second of seven children of Brian Hodgson (1766–1858) and his wife Catherine (1776–1851), and was born at Lower Beech, Prestbury, Cheshire.[3] His father lost money in a bad bank investment and had to sell their home at Lower Beech. A great-aunt married to Beilby Porteus, the Bishop of London, helped them but the financial difficulties were great. Hodgson's father worked as a warden of the Martello towers and in 1820 was barrack-master at Canterbury. Brian (the son) studied at Macclesfield Grammar School until 1814 and the next two years at Richmond, Surrey under the tutelage of Daniel Delafosse. He was nominated for the Bengal civil service by the East India Company director James Pattison.[1][2] He went to study at East India Company College and showed an aptitude for languages. An early influence was Thomas Malthus who was a family friend and a staff member at Hailebury. At the end of his first term in May 1816, he obtained a prize for Bengali. He graduated at Haileybury and Imperial Service College with a gold medal.[4]


At the age of seventeen (1818) he travelled to India as a writer in the British East India Company. His talent for languages such as Sanskrit and especially Persian was to prove useful for his career. He was posted as Assistant Commissioner in the Kumaon region during 1819–20 reporting to George William Traill. The Kumaon region had been annexed from Nepal and in 1820 he was made assistant to the resident in Nepal, but he took up a position of acting deputy secretary in the Persian department of the Foreign office in Calcutta. Ill health made him prefer to go back into the hills of Nepal. He took up position in 1824 as postmaster and later assistant resident in 1825. In January 1833 he became the British Resident at Kathmandu. He continued to suffer from ill health and gave up meat and alcohol in 1837. He studied the Nepalese people, producing a number of papers on their languages, literature and religion. In 1853 he made a brief visit to England and the Netherlands. He married Anne Scott in the British Embassy at the Hague. She died in 1868.[5] In 1870 he married Susan Townshend of Derry.[6]

In 1838 he was made Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur by the French government.[7]

Nepal politics

Drawing of Hodgson by William Tayler c. 1849

Hodgson sensed the resentment of Nepal following annexation and believed that the situation could be improved by encouraging commerce with Tibet and by making use of the local manpower in the British military. He initially followed his predecessor in co-operating with Bhimsen Thapa, a minister, but later shifted allegiance to the young King Rajendra and sought to interact directly with the King. Hodgson later supported Bhimsen's opponents Rana Jang Pande and Krishna Ram Mishra. In July 1837 King Rajendra's infant son was found dead. Bhimsen was suspected and Hodgson recommended that he be held in custody and this led to widespread anti-British sentiment which was used by the King as well as Rana Jang Pande. Hodgson then became sympathetic to the Brahmin family of the Poudyals who were rivals of the Mishras. In 1839, Bhimsen Thapa committed suicide while still in custody. The nobility felt threatened by Rana Jang Pande and there was considerable instability with an army mutiny that threatened even the British Residency. Lord Auckland wanted to settle the issue but troops had already been mobilised to Afghanistan and Hodgson had to negotiate through diplomacy. Hodgson was then able to set up Krishna Ram and Ranga Nath Poudyal as ministers to the Nepal king. In 1842, Hodgson provided refuge to an Indian merchant Kashinath from Benares who was sought by King Rajendra for recovery of some dues. When the King went to seize Kashinath, Hodgson put a hand around him and declared that the King would have to take both of them prisoner and this led to a clash. Hodgson chose not to inform the governor-general, Lord Ellenborough, about the incident. Ellenborough's letter to Hodgson declared that no Resident would act contrary to the views of Government or extend privileges of British subjects beyond limits assigned to them.[8] Ellenborough sought his removal from Kathmandu.[2]

Brief return in England

At 91

Hodgson resigned in 1844 when Lord Ellenborough posted Henry Montgomery Lawrence as Resident to Nepal and transferred Hodgson as Assistant Sub-commissioner to Simla. He then returned to England for a short period. During this time, Lord Ellenborough was himself dismissed. He visited his sister Fanny who had become Baroness Nahuys.[9]

Huibert Gerard Baron Nahuys Van Burgst, 1782-1858Huibert Gerard Baron Nahuys van Burgst, 1782-1858, Member of the Board of the Dutch East Indies, in the uniform of Major General titular, Bastiaan de Poorter, 1852

In 1845 he settled in Darjeeling and continued his studies of the peoples of northern India for thirteen years. Joseph Dalton Hooker visited him during this period. Hodgson's son Henry was sent to tutor the son-in-law of Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal. In 1857 he influenced Lord Canning to accept Jung Bahadur Rana's help in 'suppressing' the Indian Rebellion of 1857. In 1858, he again returned to England and settled in the Cotswolds.

Ethnology and anthropology

During his posting in Nepal, Hodgson became proficient in Nepali and Newari. Hodgson was financially pressed until 1837, but he maintained a group of research assistants at his expense. He collected Buddhist texts in Sanskrit and Pali and studied them with his friend Pandit Amritananda. He believed that there were four schools of Buddhism and wrongly assumed that the Sanskrit texts were older than those in Pali. He however became an expert on Hinayana philosophy.[2] Hodgson had a keen interest in the culture of the people of the Himalayan regions. He believed that racial affinities could be identified on the basis of linguistics and he was influenced by the works of Sir William Jones, Friedrich Schlegel, Blumenbach and J. C. Prichard. From his studies he believed that the 'Aboriginal' populations of the Himalayas were not 'Aryans' or 'Caucasians', but the 'Tamulian',[10] who he claimed were unique to India.[11] Hodgson obtained copies of ancient Buddhist texts, the Kahgyur and the Stangyur. One copy was gifted to him by the Grand Lama. These were rare Tibetan works based on old Sanskrit writings (brought originally from the area of the Buddha's personal teachings in Magadha or Bihar in India) and he was able to offer them to the Asiatic Society and the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in 1838. The Russian government purchased part of the same book for £2000 around the same time.[12][13]

In 1837 Hodgson collected the first Sanskrit text of the Lotus Sutra and sent it to translator Eugène Burnouf of the Collége de France, Paris.[14]

Educational reform

During his service in India, he was a strong opponent of Macaulay and a proponent of education in the local languages and was opposed to the use of English as a medium of instruction as well as the orientalist view that supported Arabic, Persian or Sanskrit. From 1855 to 1859 William Adam, Brian Houghton Hodgson, Frederick Shore and William Campbell wrote against Lord Macaulay's idea of education in the English medium. Hodgson wrote an essay published in the Serampore mission journal The Friend of India titled "Pre-eminence of the Vernaculars; Or, the Anglicists Answered".[15]

No one has more earnestly urged the duty of communicating European knowledge to the natives than Mr. Hodgson; no one has more powerfully shown the importance of employing the vernacular languages for accomplishing that object; no one has more eloquently illustrated the necessity of conciliating the learned and of making them our coadjutors in the great work of a nation's regeneration.

— William Adam, 1838[16]

Ornithology and natural history

The Residency, Hodgson's home in Nepal

Hodgson studied all aspects of natural history around him including material from Nepal, Sikkim and Bengal. He amassed a large collection of birds and mammal skins which he later donated to the British Museum. He described a species of antelope which was named after him, the Tibetan Antelope Pantholops hodgsonii. He also described the pygmy hog which he gave the scientific name of Porcula salvania, the species name derived from the Sal forest ("van" in Sanskrit) habitat where it was found.[17] He also discovered 39 species of mammals and 124 species of birds which had not been described previously, 79 of the bird species were described himself. The zoological collections presented to the British Museum by Hodgson in 1843 and 1858 contained 10,499 specimens. In addition to these, the collection also included an enormous number of drawings and coloured sketches of Indian animals by three native artists under his supervision. These sketches include anatomical details and Hodgson may have learned dissection and anatomy from Archibald Campbell.[18] One of them was Raj Man Singh, but many of the paintings are unsigned. Most of them were subsequently transferred to the Zoological Society of London and the Natural History Museum.[19]

His studies were recognised and the Royal Asiatic Society and the Linnean Society in England elected him. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1877.[20] The Zoological Society of London sent him their diploma as a corresponding member. The Société Asiatique de Paris and the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle also honoured him. Around 1837 he planned an illustrated work on the birds and mammals of Nepal. The Museum d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris and other learned bodies came forward as supporters, three hundred and thirty subscribers registered in India, and in July 1837 he was able to write to his father that the means of publication were secured: "I make sure of three hundred and fifty to four hundred subscribers, and if we say 10 per copy of the work, this list should cover all expenses. Granted my first drawings were stiff and bad, but the new series may challenge comparison with any in existence." He hoped to finish the work in 1840.[21]

In 1845, he presented 259 bird skins to the Natural History Society of Northumberland, Durham, and Newcastle upon Tyne.[22]

After retiring to Darjeeling he took a renewed interest in natural history. During the spring of 1848 he was visited by Sir Joseph Hooker. He wrote to his sister Fanny:[23]

I have still my accomplished and amiable guest, Dr. Hooker, with me, and am even thinking of accompanying him on an excursion to the foot of the snows. Our glorious peak Kinchinjinga proves to be the loftiest in the range and consequently in the world, being 28,178 feet above the sea. Dr. Hooker and I wish to make the nearer acquaintance of this king of mountains, and we propose, if we can, to slip over one of the passes into Tibet in order to measure the height of that no less unique plateau, and also to examine the distribution of plants and animals in these remarkable mountains which ascend from nearly the sea-level, by still increasing heights and corresponding changes of climate, to the unparalleled elevation above spoken of. Dr. Hooker is young in years but old in knowledge, has been at the Antarctic Pole with Ross, and is the friend and correspondent of the veteran Humboldt. He says our Darjiling botany is a wondrous mixture of tropical and northern forms, even more so than in Nepal and the western parts of the Himalayan ranges; for we have several palms and tree-ferns and Cycases and Musas (wild plantain), whereas to the westward there are few or none of these. Cryptogamous plants abound yet more here than there, especially fungi. Every old tree is loaded with them and with masses of lichens, and is twined round by climbing plants as big as itself, whilst Orchideae or air plants put forth their luscious blossoms from every part of it. Dr. Hooker has procured ten new species of rhododendrons, one of which is an epiphyte, and five palms and three Musas and three tree-ferns and two Cycases. These are closely juxtaposed to oaks, chestnuts, birches, alders, magnolias, Michelias, Oleas, all of enormous size. To them I must add rhododendrons, including the glorious epidendric species above spoken of, and whose large white blossoms depend from the highest branches of the highest oaks and chestnuts. Laurels too abound with me as forest trees, and a little to the north are the whole coniferous family, Pinus, Picea, Abies, with larch and cedar and cypress and juniper, all represented by several species and nearly all first-rate for size and beauty. Then my shrubs are Camelias and Daphnes and Polygonums and dwarf bamboos ; and my herbaceous things, or flowers and grasses, bluebells, geraniums, Cynoglossum, Myriactis, Gnaphalium, with nettles, docks, chickweeds, and such household weeds. I wish, Fan, you were here to botanise with Dr. Hooker; for I am unworthy, having never heeded this branch of science, and he is such a cheerful, well-bred youthful philosopher that you would derive as much pleasure as profit from intercourse with him. Go and see his father Sir William Hooker at the Royal Gardens at Kew.

He wrote in 1849 on the physical geography of the Himalayan region, looking at the patterns of river-flows, the distributions and affinities of various species of mammals, birds and plants while also looking at the origins of the people inhabiting different regions.[24]

Bust of Hodgson at the Asiatic Society Museum in Calcutta by Thomas Thornycroft[25][26]

Allan Octavian Hume said of him:[27]

Mr. Hodgson's mind was many-sided, and his work extended into many fields of which I have little knowledge. Indeed of all the many subjects which, at various times, engaged his attention, there is only one with which I am well acquainted and in regard to his researches in which I am at all competent to speak. I refer of course to Indian Ornithology, and extensive as were his labours in this field, they absorbed, I believe, only a minor portion of his intellectual activities. Moreover his opportunities in this direction were somewhat circumscribed, for Nepal and Sikkim were the only provinces in our vast empire whose birds he was able to study in life for any considerable period. Yet from these two comparatively small provinces he added fully a hundred and fifty good new species to the Avifauna of the British Asian Empire, and few and far between have been the new species subsequently discovered within the limits he explored. But this detection and description of previously unknown species was only the smaller portion of his contributions to Indian Ornithology. He trained Indian artists to paint birds with extreme accuracy from a scientific point of view, and under his careful supervision admirable large-scale pictures were produced, not only of all the new species above referred to, but also of several hundred other already recorded ones, and in many cases of their nests and eggs also. These were continually accompanied by exact, life-size, pencil drawings of the bills, nasal orifices, legs, feet, and claws (the scutellation of the tarsi and toes being reproduced with photographic accuracy and minuteness), and of the arrangement of the feathers in crests, wings, and tails. Then on the backs of the plates was preserved an elaborate record of the colours of the irides, bare facial skin, wattles, legs, and feet, as well as detailed measurements, all taken from fresh and numerous specimens, of males, females, and young of each species, and over and above all this, invaluable notes as to food (ascertained by dissection), nidification and eggs, station, habits, constituting as a whole materials for a life-history of many hundred species such as I believe no one ornithologist had ever previously garnered. ...

Hodgson combined much of Blyth's talent for classification with much of Jerdon's habit of persevering personal observation, and excelled the latter in literary gifts and minute and exact research. But with Hodgson ornithology was only a pastime or at best a parergon, and humble a branch of science as is ornithology, it is yet like all other branches a jealous mistress demanding an undivided allegiance; and hence with, I think, on the whole, higher qualifications, he exercised practically somewhat less influence on ornithological evolution than either of his great contemporaries. ...

Charles Darwin in his Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, when discussing the origin of the domestic dog, mentions that Hodgson succeeded in taming the young of the race primaevus of the dhole or Indian wild dog (Cuon alpinus), and in making them as fond of him and as intelligent as ordinary dogs. Darwin also corresponded with Hodgson on the occurrence of dew-claws in the Tibetan mastiff, and obtained details of variations in the cattle, sheep, and goats of India.

He was awarded the DCL, honoris causa by Oxford University in 1889.[28] His friend Sir Joseph Hooker named the genus Hodgsonia (Cucurbitaceae), Magnolia hodgsonii, and a species of rhododendron, Rhododendron hodgsoni, after Hodgson. Several species of bird including Hodgson's hawk-eagle, Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo, Hodgson's bushchat, Hodgson's redstart, Hodgson's frogmouth and Hodgson's treecreeper are named after him. Other animals named after him include the Hodgson's bat, Hodgson's giant flying squirrel, Hodgson's brown-toothed shrew and Hodgson's rat snake.

Personal life and death

View from Hodgson's home in Darjeeling as seen by J.D. Hooker in 1854

In 1839 he wrote to his sister Fanny that he did not eat meat or drink wine and preferred Indian food habits after his ill health in 1837.[29] During his life in India, Hodgson fathered two children (Henry, who died in Darjeeling in 1856, and Sarah, who died in Holland in 1851; a third child possibly died young) through a Kashmiri (possibly, although recorded as a "Newari") Muslim, Mehrunnisha, who lived with him from 1830 until her death around 1843. Worried about the abuse and discrimination in India of 'mixed-race' children, he had his children sent to Holland to live with his sister Fanny, but both died young. He married Ann Scott in 1853 who lived in Darjeeling until her death in January 1868. In 1869 he married Susan Townshend who outlived him. He had no children from his marriages. He died at his home on Dover Street in London on 23 May 1894 and was buried at Alderley churchyard in Gloucestershire.[2][11][30]

Hodgson refers to the ornithologist Samuel Tickell as his brother-in-law.[31] Tickell's sister Mary Rosa was married to Brian's brother William Edward John Hodgson (1805 – 12 June 1838).[32] Mary returned to England after the death of William Hodgson and married Lumisden Strange in February 1840.[33]


Hodgson is commemorated in the scientific name of the snake species Gonyosoma hodgsoni (synonyms: Elaphe hodgsoni, Orthriophis hodgsoni).[34]

Selected publications

• Hodgson, B. H. (1836). "Synoptical description of sundry new animals, enumerated in the Catalogue of Nepalese Mammals". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 5: 231–238.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1838). "Classified Catalogue of Nepalese Mammalia". Annals of Natural History. 1 (2): 152−154.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1841). "Classified Catalogue of Mammals of Nepal". Calcutta Journal of Natural History and miscellany of the Arts and Sciences in India. IV: 284−294.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1841). Illustrations of the literature and religion of the Buddhists. Serampore.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1842). "Notice of the Mammals of Tibet, with Description and Plates of some new Species: Felis nigripectus Illustration". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 11: 276–277, Plate 333.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1846). Catalogue of the Specimens and Drawings of Mammalia and Birds of Nepal and Thibet. London: British Museum.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1847). "Description of the wild ass (Asinus polydon) and wolf of Tibet (Lupus laniger)". Calcutta Journal of Natural History. 7: 469–477.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1847). "Observations on the manners and structure of Prionodon pardicolor". Calcutta Journal of Natural History. 8: 40–45.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1847). Essay the first; On the Kocch, Bódo and Dhimál tribes. Calcutta: J. Thomas, Baptist Mission Press.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1853). "Felis macrosceloides". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. I. Mammalia: Plate XXXVIII.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1874). Essays on the Languages, Literature and Religion of Nepal and Tibet. London: Trübner & Company.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1880). Miscellaneous essays relating to Indian subjects. Volume 1. London: Trübner & Company.
• Hodgson, B. H. (1880). Miscellaneous essays relating to Indian subjects. Volume 2. London: Trübner & Company.


1. Waterhouse, D. M. (2004). The Origins of Himalayan Studies: Brian Houghton Hodgson in Nepal and Darjeeling, 1820–1858. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-31215-9.
2. Whelpton, J. (2004). "Hodgson, Brian Houghton (1801?–1894)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13433.
3. Hunter, W. W. (1896). Life of Brian Houghton Hodgson. London: John Murray. p. 4.
4. Hunter (1896), p. 17
5. Hunter (1896), pp. 255, 327
6. Hunter (1896), p. 328
7. Hunter (1896), p. 333
8. Hunter (1896), pp. 90, 92
9. Hunter (1896), p. 239
10. Hodgson, B.H. (1847). Essay the first on the Kocch, Bodo and Dhimal Tribes. Calcutta.
11. Arnold, David (2004). "Race, place and bodily difference in early nineteenth-century India". Historical Research. 77 (196): 254–273. doi:10.1111/j.0950-3471.2004.00209.x.
12. Saint-Hilaire, J. B. (1914). "Introduction. Authenticity of Buddhism". The Buddha and His Religion (2014 by Routledge Revivals ed.). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Ltd. pp. 11−30. ISBN 9781315816609.
13. Hunter (1896), p. 270
14. Lopez, Donald S (2016). The "Lotus Sūtra": A Biography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 127. ISBN 0691152209.
15. Windhausen, JD (1964). "The Vernaculars, 1835–1839: A Third Medium for Indian Education". Sociology of Education. 37 (3): 254–270. doi:10.2307/2111957.
16. Adam, William (1838). Third Report on Education in Bengal. Calcutta: Military Orphan Press. p. 200.
17. Hodgson, B.H. (1847). "On a new form of the Hog kind or Suidae". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 16 (1): 423–428.
18. Lowther, David A. (2019). "The art of classification: Brian Houghton Hodgson and the "Zoology of Nipal" (Patron's review)". Archives of Natural History. 46 (1): 1–23. doi:10.3366/anh.2019.0549. ISSN 0260-9541.
19. Low, G. C., Dewar, D., Newman, T. H., Levett-Yeats, G. A. (1930). "A Classification of the Original Watercolour Paintings of Birds of India By B. H. Hodgson, S. R. Tickell, And C. F. Sharpe in the Library of the Zoological Society of London". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 100 (3): 549–626. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.1930.tb00991.x.
20. "[Correspondence]". Freeman's Journal. 8 June 1877. p. 5.
21. Hunter (1896), p. 85
22. "Natural History Society". Newcastle Journal. 1 November 1845. p. 2.
23. Hunter (1896), pp. 245–247
24. Hodgson, B.H. (1849). "On the physical geography of the Himalaya". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 32: 761–788.
25. Hodgson, B. H. (1844). "[Letter to the Society]". Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal: xxi–xxii.
26. Torrens, H. T. (1844). "Read the following Letter from the Society's London Agents". Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal: cix.
27. Hunter (1896), pp. 304–305
28. "It was officially announced at Oxford". Western Daily Press. 14 June 1889. p. 7.
29. "Brian Hodgson of Nepal". London Daily News. 2 December 1896. p. 9.
30. Dhungel, R. K. (2004). "Opening the chest of Nepal's History: the survey of B.H. Hodgson's Manuscripts in the British Library and the Royal Asiatic Society, London" (PDF). SAALG Newsletter. 3: 65–73.
31. Hodgson, B.H. (1880). Miscellaneous essays relating to Indian subjects. Volume 2. London: Trübner & Co. p. 128.
32. Hunter (1896), p. 88
33. Urban, S. (1840). "The Gentleman's Magazine". New Series XIII: 202.
34. Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Hodgson", p. 124).

Further reading

• Mitra, R. (1882). The Sanskrit Buddhist Literature of Nepal. Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal.
• Cust, R. N. (1895). "Brian Houghton Hodgson, F.R.S". Linguistic and oriental essays: written from the year 1861 to 1895. London: Trübner & Co. pp. 75–80.
• Lydekker, R. (1902). "Some famous Anglo-Indian naturalists of the nineteenth century". Indian Review. 3: 221–226.
• Smith, M. A. (1935). The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma: 3. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol. 2. Sauria. London: Taylor & Francis.
• Cocker, M. & Inskipp, C. (1988). A Himalayan ornithologist: The life and work of Brian Houghton Hodgson. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Mearns, B., Mearns, R. (1988). Biographies for Birdwatchers: The Lives of Those Commemorated in West Palearctic Bird Names. London: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-487422-3.
• Dickinson, E. C. (2006). "Systematic notes on Asian birds. 52. An introduction to the bird collections of Brian Houghton Hodgson" (PDF). Zoologische Mededelingen Leiden. 80–5 (4): 125–136.

External links

• Works by or about Brian Houghton Hodgson at Internet Archive
• Natural History Museum, London
• Index to the Hodgson collection at the British Library
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Resident (title)
by Wikipedia
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A resident, or in full resident minister, is a government official required to take up permanent residence in another country. A representative of his government, he officially has diplomatic functions which are often seen as a form of indirect rule.

A resident usually heads an administrative area called a residency.

Resident ministers

This full style occurred commonly as a diplomatic rank for the head of a mission ranking just below envoy, usually reflecting the relatively low status of the states of origin and/or residency, or else difficult relations.

On occasion, the resident minister's role could become extremely important, as when in 1806 the Bourbon king Ferdinand IV fled his Kingdom of Naples, and Lord William Bentinck, the British Resident, authored (1812) a new and relatively liberal constitution.

Residents could also be posted with shadowy governments. For instance, the British sent residents to the Mameluk Beys who ruled Baghdad province as an autonomous state (1704–1831) in the north of present-day Iraq, until the Ottoman sultans regained control over it (1831) and its Wali (governor).

Even after the Congress of Vienna restored the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1815, the British posted a "mere" resident to Florence.

As international relations developed, it became customary to give the highest title of diplomatic rank – ambassador – to the head of all permanent missions in any country, except as a temporary expression of down-graded relations or where representation was merely an interim arrangement.

Pseudo-colonial residents

Some official representatives of European colonial powers, while in theory diplomats, in practice exercised a degree of indirect rule. Some such residents were former military officers, rather than career diplomats, who resided in smaller self-governing protectorates and tributary states and acted as political advisors to the rulers. A trusted resident could even become the de facto prime minister to a native ruler. In other respects they acted as an ambassador of their own government, but at a lower level, since even large and rich native states were usually seen as inferior to Western nations. Instead of being a representative to a single ruler, a resident could be posted to more than one native state, or to a grouping of states which the European power decided for its convenience. This could create an artificial geographical unit, as in Residency X in some parts of the British Indian Empire.

Similar positions could carry alternative titles, such as political agent and resident commissioner.

In some cases, the intertwining of the European power with the traditional native establishment went so far that members of the native princely houses became residents, either in other states or even within their own state, provided that they were unlikely ever to succeed as ruler of the state.

A resident's real role varied enormously, depending upon the underlying relationship between the two parties and even upon the personalities of the Resident and the ruler(s). Some residents were little more than observers and diplomats, others were seen as the "face of the oppressor" and were treated with hostility, while some won enough trust from the ruler that they were able to exercise great influence. In French protectorates, such as those of Morocco and Tunisia, the resident or resident general was the effective ruler of the territory.

In 1887, when both Boers and gold prospectors of all nationalities were overrunning his country, the Swazi paramount chief Umbandine asked for a British resident, seeing this as a desirable and effective form of protection. His request was refused.

British and dominion residents

The residents of the governments of the United Kingdom and the dominions to a variety of protectorates include:

British and dominion residents

The residents of the governments of the United Kingdom and the dominions to a variety of protectorates include:

Residents in Africa

• In the Sultanate of Zanzibar, the second 'homeland' of the Omani dynasty, since 1913. From 1913 to 1961 the Residents were also the Sultan's vizier. There were Consuls and Consuls-general until 1963.
• In present-day Kenya, in the Sultanate of Witu, after the British took over the protectorate from the German Empire, which had itself posted a Resident.
• In British Cameroon (part of the former German Kamerun), since 1916, in 1949 restyled Special Resident (superior to the new two provinces) for Edward John Gibbons (b. 1906 – d. 1990), who stayed on in October 1954 as first Commissioner when it became an autonomous part of Nigeria.
• in Southern Africa:
o when the military party sent from Cape Colony to occupy Port Natal on behalf of Great Britain was recalled in 1839, a British Resident was appointed among the Fingo and other tribes in Kaffraria until the definite establishment of British rule in Natal and its 1845 organization as an administrative entity, when the incumbent Shepstone was made Agent for the native tribes.
o In kwaZulu, which since 1843 was under a British protectorate, after it became the Zulu "Native" Reserve or Zululand Province on 1 September 1879: two British Residents (William Douglas Wheelwright, 8 September 1879 to January 1880, then Sir Melmoth Osborn until 22 December 1882). Thereafter there were Resident Commissioners until Zululand was incorporated into the crown colony of Natal as British Zululand on 1 December 1897.
o in 1845 the resident 'north of the Orange river' chose his residency at Bloemfontein, which became the capital of the Orange River Sovereignty in 1848. In 1854 the British abandoned the Sovereignty, and the independent Boer republic of the Orange Free State was established
o in the Boer republic of Transvaal at Pretoria
o with the Matabele chief at Bulawayo
• in Ghana, with the rulers of the Asanteman Confederation (established in 1701), since it became in 1896 a British protectorate; on 23 June 1900 the Confederation was dissolved by UK protectorate authority, on 26 September 1901 turned into Ashanti Colony, so since 1902 his place was taken by a Chief Commissioner at Kumasi
• in various parts of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate, Southern Nigeria Protectorate and after their joining Nigeria protectorate, notably in Edo state at Benin City (first to the British-installed ruling council of chiefs, later to the restored Oba), with the Emir of and in Bauchi, to the jointly ruling bale and balogun of Ibadan (a vassal state in Yorubaland), with the Emir of Illorin, with the Emir of and in Muri (Nigeria), with the Emir of Nupe

Residents in Asia

The British Residency at Hyderabad

British residents were posted in various princely states — in major states or groups of states—in the days of British India.[1] Often they were appointed to a single state, as with the Resident in Lucknow, the capital of Oudh; to the Maharaja Gaekwar of Baroda; to the Maharaja Sindhya of Gwalior; to the Nizam al-Mulk of Hyderabad; to the Maharaja Rana of Jhalawar; to the restored Maharaja of Mysore, after the fall of Tipu Sultan; to the Maharaja Sena Sahib Subah of the Mahratta state of Nagpur; to the (Maha)Raja of Manipur; to the (Maha)Raja of Travancore; to the Maharana of Mewar in Udaipur. Even when Lord Lake had broken the Mahratta power in 1803, and the Mughal emperor was taken under the protection of the East India Company, the districts of Delhi and Hissar were assigned for the maintenance of the royal family, and were administered by a British Resident, until in 1832 the whole area was annexed to British Residents were also posted in major states considered to be connected with India, neighbouring or on the sea route to it, notably:

• in Aden[1] (while subordinated to the Bombay Presidency), the only part of the present-day Yemen made a colony in full British possession. The last of three British Political Agents since 1939 stayed on as first Resident since 1859, the last again staying on in 1932 as first Chief Commissioner; he was the only diplomatic representative to the various Arabian rulers who over time accepted British protectorate, but since the 1935 legal separation from British India was followed in 1937 by a reorganisation into an Eastern and a Western Aden Protectorate (based at Mukallah and Lahej; together covering all Yemen), the British Representatives in each were styled British Political officers
• in Afghanistan, a kingdom entitled to a gun salute of 21 guns (the highest rank among princely states, not then among Sovereign monarchs): the first British Residents were Sir Alexander Burnes (1837 – 2 November 1841); William Hay McNaghten (7 August 1839 – 23 December 1841); Eldred Pottinger (December 1841 – 6 January 1842). After that, four native Vakils acted on behalf of the British government: Nawab Foujdar Khan (1856 – April 1859), Ghulam Husain Khan Allizai (April 1859 – 1865), Bukhiar Khan (February 1864 – January 1868, acting), Attah Muhammad Khan Khagwani (January 1868 – 1878); then there were two more British Residents Louis Napoleon Cavagnari (24 July 1879 – 3 September 1879), Henry Lepel-Griffin (1880); next came two Military Commanders (8 October 1879 – 11 August 1880) and until 1919 ten native British Agents, one of whom served two non-consecutive terms.
• Capt. Hiram Cox (died 1799)[2] was the first British Resident to the King of independent Burma (October 1796 – July 1797), and there were more discontinuous posting to that court, in the 19th century, never satisfactory to either party; after the British conquest of Burma there were two separate British Residents in a border zone of that country: in the Northern Shan States and in the Southern Shan States (each several tribal states, usually ruled by a Saopha=Sawbwa) in 1945–1948 (each group had been under a Superintendent from 1887/88 till 1922, then both jointly under a Resident Commissioner till the 1942 Japanese occupation)
• after five military governors since the East India Company started chasing the Dutch out of Ceylon in August 1795 and occupying the island (completed on 16 February 1796), their only Resident there was Robert Andrews, 12 February 1796 – 12 October 1798, who was subordinate to the presidency of Madras (see British India), afterwards the HEIC appointed Governors as it was made a separate colony
• to the Sultan of the Maldives archipelago since he formally accepted British protection on 16 December 1887 (informally since 1796, after the British took over Ceylon from the Dutch), but in fact this office was filled ex officio by the colonial Governors of until 4 February 1948, abolished on 26 July 1965
• in Nepal[1] since 1802, accredited to the Hindu Kings (title Maharajadhiraja), since 15 March 1816 exercising a de facto protectorate—the last staying on 1920 as Envoy till the 1923 emancipation
• with the Imam/Sultan of Oman, 1800–1804, 1805–1810 and 1840 (so twice interrupted by vacancy), then located with the African branch of the dynasty on the island of Unguja, since 1862 his role was handed over to a Political Agent

And elsewhere:

• in Transjordan (present Jordan) April 1921 – 17 June 1946 four incumbents accredited to the Hashemite Emir/King

Even in overseas territories occupied ('preventively' or conquered) to keep the French out of strategic trade and waters, residencies could be established, e.g. at Laye on Sumatra, an island returned to the Dutch East Indies

Residents in (British) European protectorates

Since on 5 November 1815 the United States of the Ionian Islands became a federal republic of seven islands (Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante, Santa Maura, Ithaca, Cerigo and Paxos), as a protectorate (nominally of the allied Powers; de facto UK protectorate; the highest office was the always-British Lord High Commissioner), until its 1 June 1864 incorporation into independent Greece, there were British residents, each posted with a local Prefect, on seven individual islands, notably: Cephalonia (Kephalonia), Cerigo (Kythira), Ithaca, Paxos, Santa Maura (Leucada/Lefkada) and Zante (Zakynthos)

Residents on (British and dominion) ocean island states

• in the early colonial settlement phase on New Zealand (where the Polynesian Māori declared independence on 28 October 1835 as the Confederation of the United Tribes, under a British protectorate), from 10 May 1833 James Busby (b. 1801 – d. 1871; from 1834–1836 jointly with Thomas McDonnell as co-resident) till 28 January 1840, then two lieutenant governors (as part of New South Wales, in Australia) and many governors since 3 January 1841
• at Rarotonga since the 1888 establishment of the British protectorate over the Cook Islands; the third and last incumbent stayed on as first Resident Commissioner since 1901, at the incorporation in the British Western Pacific Territories (under a single High Commissioner, till its 1976 dissolution, in Suva or Honoria), until the abolition of the post at the 1965 self-government grant as territory in free association with New Zealand, having its own cabinet (still under the British Crown, which after the 1976 appoints a special King's/Queen's Representative, as well as a High Commissioner).

Residents in protectorates of decolonised Commonwealth states

• Sikkim, where the Maharaja had been under a British protectorate (1861 – 15 August 1947; the crown representative was styled Political Agent), became immediately afterwards a protectorate of newly independent India (formally from 5 December 1950; in the meantime the Indian representative was again styled Political Agent, the first incumbent actually being the former British Political Agent—India was a dominion, still under the British crown, till 26 January 1950) until 16 May 1975, it was annexed as a constituent state of India.

Dutch colonial residents

In the Dutch East Indies, Dutch residents and lower ranks such as assistant residents were posted alongside a number of the many native princes in present Indonesia, compare Regentschap.

For example, on Sumatra, there were Dutch residents at Palembang, at Medan in Deli sultanate; another was posted with the Sultan of and on Ternate, and one in Bali.

French colonial residents

France also maintained residents, the French word being résident.

However the 'Jacobin' tradition of strict state authority didn't agree well with indirect rule, so often direct rule was preferred.

Many were part of a white colonial hierarchy, rather than truly posted with a native ruler or chieftain.

Style résident

• A single post of resident was also created in Côte d'Ivoire, i.e. Ivory Coast (from 1881 subordinated to the Superior Commandant of Gabon and the Gulf of Guinea Settlements; from 1886 subordinated to the Lieutenant Governors of Guinea), where in 1842 France had declared protectorates over the Kingdoms of Nzima and Sanwi (posts at Assinié 1843–1870, and Grand Bassam, Fort Dabou 1853–1872, part of the Colony of Gorée and Dependencies in Senegal]):
o 1871–1885 Arthur Verdier (to 1878 Warden of the French Flag) (b. 1835 – d. 1898)
o 1885–1886 Charles Bour -Commandant-particular
o 1886 – 9 March 1890 Marcel Treich Leplène (b. 1860 – d. 1890)
o 9 March 1890 – 14 June 1890 Jean Joseph Étienne Octave Péan (acting)
o 14 June 1890 – 1892 Jean Auguste Henri Desailles
o 1892 Éloi Bricard (acting)
o 1892 – 12 November 1892 Julien Voisin (acting)
o 12 November 1892 – 10 March 1893 Paul Alphonse Frédéric Heckman; thereafter it had its own Governors
• On the Comoros, in the Indian Ocean, several Residents were posted with the various native sultanates on major islands; they were all three subordinated to the French administrators of Mayotte island protectorate (itself constituting the native Maore or Mawuti sultanate):
o On Ngazidja (Grande Comore island, divided in eleven sultanates, some of which on occasion had the superior title of Sultani tibe): November 1886 – 1912
o On Ndzuwani (Anjouan island) with the Phany (sole Sultan): only two incumbents 188x–189x
o On Mwali (Mohéli island) from 1886; then 1889–1912 filled by the above résidents of Anjouan
• On Wallis and Futuna, after a single French Representative styled chargé de mission (7 April 1887 – 26 June 1888, Maurice Antoine Chauvot), there was a long list of Residents from 7 April 1887; since 3 October 1961, when both islands were joined as the Wallis & Futuna overseas territory, their successors were styled Administrateur supérieur 'Administrator-superior', but the native dynasties remain; they represented the French government by virtue of the protectorate treaties with the Tui (ruler) of `Uvea (Wallis island, 5 April 1887; 27 November 1887 administratively attached to New Caledonia) and on 16 February 1888 with the two kingdoms on Futuna—Tu`a (also called Alo) and Sigave

Résident supérieur

This French title, meaning "Superior" (i.e. Senior) Resident, indicates that he had junior Residents under him.
• In Upper Volta (present Burkina Faso), which has had its own Lieutenant governor (before) or Governor (after) and intermediately has been part of one or (carved up) more neighbouring French colonies, there has been one Résident-Superieur of "Upper Ivory Coast", 1 January 1938 - 29 July 1940, while it was part of the Ivory Coast colony: Edmond Louveau
• In Cambodia, where the local royal government was theoretically maintained, the resident at Phnom-Penh was the Resident-Superior, over the various Residents posted throughout Cambodia. The Resident-Superior of Cambodia answered to the Governor-General of Indochina, however.

German colonial residents

In the German colonies, the title was also Resident; the post was called Residentur.

• in Wituland: Ahmed ibn Fumo Bakari, the first mfalume (sultan) of Witu (on the Kenyan coast), ceded 25 square miles (65 km2) of territory on 8 April 1885 to the brothers Clemens and Gustav Denhardt's “Tana Company”, and the remainder of the Wituland became the German Schutzgebiet (Protectorate) of Wituland (Deutsch-Witu) on 27 May 1885. The Reich was represented there by the German Residents: Gustav Denhardt (b. 1856 – d. 1917; in office 8 April 1885 – 1 July 1890) and his deputy Clemens Andreas Denhardt (b. 1852 – d. 1928) until on 1 July 1890 imperial Germany renounces its protectorate, ceding the Wituland to Great Britain which had on 18 June 1890 declared it a British protectorate).
• in German East Africa
o Resident of Ruanda: 1906 – 15 November 1907 Werner von Grawert (d. 1918), formerly the last military district commander of Usumbura (the other district being Ujiji)
o Resident of Urundi (present Burundi): 15 November 1907 – June 1916, starting with the same as above; formally accredited to the native Mwami (King; on 8 October 1905 the Germans recognized the already ruling Mwezi IV Gisabo as "Sultan" of Burundi and its only supreme authority)
o Resident of Bukoba west of Lake Victoria overseeing an area of 32,200 km²;
• in German Kamerun
o Resident of Garua
o Resident of Mora
o Resident of Ngaundere
• in German South-West Africa (present Namibia)
o Resident of Schuckmannsburg for the Caprivi Strip.

Portuguese colonial residents

• In Cabinda (in present Angola), five incumbents from 1885 (18 July 1885 Portuguese Congo district created after 14 February 1885 confirmation by the Berlin Conference of the 1883 Portuguese protectorate over "Portuguese Congo") to 1899 (end of autonomy under the Governors of Congo district which had its seat in Cabinda since 1887)
• In the Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá (in present Benin), civil residents served from 1911 (withdrawal of the Portuguese military garrison) until 31 July 1961 (invasion of the fort by the Benin military forces)

Residents-general (and their subordinate residents)

British resident (-general)

British Malay states and possessions

At the "national" level of British Malaya, after the post of High Commissioner had been filled (1 July 1896 – 1 April 1946) by the governors of the Straits Settlements (see Singapore), Britain appointed the following residents-general:

• 1 July 1896 – 1901 Frank Athelstane Swettenham (b. 1850 – d. 1946; from 1897, Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham)
• 1901–1904 William Hood Treacher (b. 1849 – d. 1919)
• 1904–1910 Sir William Thomas Taylor (b. 1848 – d. 1931)
• 1910–1911 Arthur Henderson Young (b. 1854 – d. 1938)

Then there were various British chief secretaries 1911–1936 and two federal secretaries until 31 January 1942; after three Japanese military governors, the British Governor (1 April 1946 – 1 February 1948) stayed on as first of four High Commissioners as de facto governor-general of the Federation of Malaya until independence on 31 August 1957 saw the creation of an elective federal paramount ruler styled Yang Dipertuan Agong (since 16 September 1961 with the addition bagi Malaysia).

There were specific residents accredited in most constituent Malay states:

• 1885–1911 British Residents were appointed to the Sultans (until 1886 styled Maharaja) of Johore, an unfederated state until 1946; thereafter the British crown was represented by General Advisers until the Japanese occupation, finally by Commissioners 1945–1948
• 1888–1941 to the Yang Di Pertuan Besar (state's elective ruler) of the nine member-confederation Negeri Sembilan, which accepted a British protectorate in 1888 and acceded in 1896 to the Federation; again British Commissioners after the Japanese occupation
o 1883–1895 additional British Residents were appointed to the Yang Di-Pertuan Muda (ruler) of Jelebu, a major member principality
o 1875–1889 additional British Residents were also appointed to the Undang Luak Sungai Ujong (ruler) of Sungai Ujong, another major member principality
• 1888–1938 British Residents were appointed to the Sultans (until 1882 styled Bendahara Seri Maharaja) of Pahang from the start of the British protectorate; again British Commissioners after the Japanese occupation
• 1874–1941 British Residents to the Sultans of Perak as written in the Pangkor Treaty of 1874, since they exchanged Thai sovereignty for a British protectorate; since 1 July 1896 part of the Federated Malay States; after the Japanese occupation a single British Commissioner
• 1875–1941 British Residents to the Sultans of Selangor during the Klang War, a year after accepting British protectorate (never under Thailand), 1 July 1896 part of Federated Malay States; after the Japanese occupation British Commissioners

A similar position, under another title, was held in the other Malay states:

• 1909–41 British Advisers replaced the Thai king's Advisers in the sultanate of Kedah, an unfederated state; after Japanese and Thai occupation, British Commissioners were appointed
• 1903–41 British Advisers replaced Thai ones in the sultanate of Kelantan, an unfederated state; after Japanese and Thai occupation, British Commissioners were appointed
• 1909–1941 British Advisers replaced Thai ones with the Rajas of Perlis, since the acceptance of British protectorate as an unfederated state instead of the Thai sovereignty (since the secession from Kedah) and were appointed again after Japanese and Thai occupation, until 1 April 1946 it joins the Malay Union (from 16 September 1963, Malaysia)
• 1904–25 British Agents were appointed to the Sultans of Terengganu, i.e. even before the 9 July 1909 exchange of Thai sovereignty for a British protectorate as unfederated Malay state, then Advisers 1919–1941 (overlap merely both titles for the same incumbent); after Japanese and Thai occupation, British Commissioners were appointed.

In the Straits Settlements, under direct British rule:

• in Singapore, after two separate British Residents (7 February 1819 – December 1822 William Farquhar, then John Crawfurd), the Governors of the Straits Settlements filled the post 1826 – 15 February 1942; after four Japanese Military Administrators and two Japanese Mayors, a British Military Administrator 12 September 1945 – 1 April 1946, then four British Governors and the second incumbent stayed on as first of two gubernatorial 'Heads of state' styled yang di-pertuan negara, his Malay successor also becoming the first President after independence
• In Malacca (Melaka), a former Dutch colony, seven consecutive British Residents were in office 1795–1818, followed by three Dutch governors; after the final inclusion in the British Strait Settlements, 1826, most were titled Resident Councillor, except the period 1910–1920 reverting to the style Resident; after the Japanese occupation, Resident Commissioners took their place until the 1957 independence installed Malaysian Governors and Chief Ministers
• In Penang (Pinang), after three Superintendents for the British East India Company (1786–1799; only Prince of Wales Island had yet been ceded to the British by the Sultan of Kedah), then two Lieutenant-governors (in 1801 Province Wellesley on the mainland was added) and many Governors after 1805 (since 1826 as part of the Strait Settlements), only Resident Councillors were in office 1849–1941 (name Penang assumed in 1867); after four Japanese and since 1945 two British military governors, four Resident Commissioners 1946–1957, since then Malaysian-appointed "heads of state".

On Northern Borneo, contrary to the Malay peninsula, no such officials were appointed, in Sarawak and Sabah as there were white rulers or governors; but to the still sovereign Sultans of Brunei, lying between those larger states, British Residents were appointed 1906–1959 (interrupted by Japanese commander Masao Baba 6 January 1942 – 14 June 1945), afterwards only High Commissioners for the matters not transferred under autonomy (and 1971 self-government) until full independence went in force 1 January 1984. The administrative head of Sarawak's geographical Divisions was, however, titled as Resident.


The French word is Résident-général.


• In Morocco, accredited with the Sultan: Residents-general 28 April 1912 – 2 March 1956 (first incumbent previously military governor)
• In Tunisia, accredited with the Basha Bey Residents-general 23 June 1885 – 31 August 1955; first incumbent was the last of the two previous Resident ministers
• On Madagascar: 28 April 1886 – 31 July 1897
• In present Vietnam & Laos: Residents-general for Annam-Tonkin (at Hué) 11 June 1884 – 9 May 1889
o Residents-Superior for Annam (also at Hué) 1886–1950s (at least 1953)
o Residents-Superior for Tonkin (at Hanoi; subordinated to Annam until 1888) 1886–1950s (at least 1953)—but none in Cochinchina
o Residents-superior for Laos September 1895 – 5 April 1945
• In Cambodia Residents-general 12 August 1885 – 16 May 1889;
o later downgraded (under Hué) to Residents-superior 16 May 1889 – 15 October 1945
o several regional Résidents


(Belgium mainly used French in the colonies; the word in its other official language, Dutch, is Resident-generaal)

• Ruanda-Urundi (cfr. German above; there were Belgian Residents ): 1960 – 1 July 1962 Jean-Paul Harroy (b. 1909 – d. 1995), staying on after being its Belgian last Governor (and Deputy Governor-General of the Belgian Congo)

Japanese (original title)

In the protectorate Korea, accredited to the Choson Monarch (rendered as King or Emperor) 21 Dec 1905 – 1 Oct 1910 three incumbents (including Hirobumi Ito the former Prime Minister of Japan), all Japanese peers (new western-type styles, rendered as: Marquess/Duke or Viscount); the last stayed on as the first Governor-General after full annexation to Japan. See: List of Japanese Residents-General of Korea

Postcolonial residents

On occasion, residents were maintained, notably by former colonial powers, in territories in a transitional process to a new constitutional status, such as full independence. Such function could also be performed under another title, such as Commissioner or High Commissioner.

Thus after World War I, there were residents in some mandate territories:

• after the French and British occupation of the former German colony Kamerun (since 26 September 1914), Britain started appointing a long line of residents (some were district officer or senior district officer, others deputy resident or senior resident) in its zone from 1916, even before the 28 June 1919 formal division into French and British Cameroons and the 20 July 1920 British Cameroons, League of Nations mandate; they continued in the 13 December 1946 created British Cameroons United Nations trust territory, until 31 December 1949; next a single special resident was appointed (although in 1949 Southern Cameroons was divided into two provinces: Bamenda, capital Bamenda, and Southern, capital Buea) until 1 October 1954 when British Cameroons became an autonomous part of Nigeria; next two commissioners were appointed instead, until on 1 October 1961 Southern British Cameroons was incorporated into the Republic of Cameroon (the former French Cameroun), the northern part was already united with Nigeria on 1 June 1961.
• Present Jordan was part since 12 May 1920 of the British mandate of Palestine (under a British high commissioner), but in August 1920 the British create autonomous local administrations in Ajlun, Salt, and Karak—with limited success; 11 April 1921 the Emirate of Transjordan (under British mandate); 26 May 1923 Transjordan formally separated from Palestine; 28 Feb 1928 Britain recognizes Transjordan mandate as independent, but maintains military and some financial control; 25 May 1946 proclamation of the Hashemite Kingdom (style Malik) of Transjordan (present Jordan); the 17 June 1946 formal independence from Britain finally ends the term of the last of four British Residents:
o April 1921 – 21 November 1921 Albert Abramson (b. 1876 – d. 19..)
o 21 November 1921 – April 1924 Harry St. John Bridger Philby (b. 1885 – d. 1960)
o August 1924 – March 1939 Henry Cox (from 1937, Charles Henry Cox) (b. 1880 – d. 1953)
o March 1939 – 17 June 1946 Alec Seath Kirkbride (b. 1897 – d. 1978)

Also after World War II, and not only in former mandate territories; e.g. in parts of Libya, a former Italian colony, put under UN administration since 1946 prior to their unification as a Libyan kingdom, Britain maintained a Resident in Tripolitania April 1949 – 24 December 1951 and another in Cyrenaica 17 September 1949 – 24 December 1951, and France one in Fezzan 1950 – 24 December 1951.
In a later phase a former colony could itself appoint such Residents, as India did 5 December 1950 – 16 May 1975 in its Himalayan protectorate Sikkim, then still an independent monarchy (afterwards absorbed into India as an additional constitutive state) where Britain had obtained a protectorate over the Maharaja in 1861, see above.

Government residents in Australia

Western Australia

In the Colony of Western Australia, colonial administration and local government were sometimes controlled at the regional level, by government residents, under the direction of the Colonial Secretary (i.e. the "Governor in Council").

The main responsibility of a government resident was the role of Resident Magistrate, and the two titles were often used interchangeably. However, they also often directed the day-to-day activities of police, explorers, surveyors, customs officers and other public servants. Government residents were appointed (at various times), at Augusta, Busselton, Carnarvon (Gascoyne District), Champion Bay (Geraldton), Derby (Kimberley District, later West Kimberley), Fremantle, Guildford, King George's Sound (Albany), Newcastle (Toodyay), the North District (Camden Harbour/Roebourne), Port Leschenault (Bunbury), Wyndham (East Kimberley) and York.

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, government residents were appointed by the Government of South Australia from the establishment of the territory in 1864 until its transfer to the Australian Government on 1 January 1911.[3] The last incumbent stayed on as first of six administrators; then again 1 February 1927 Robert Hunter Weddell was Government Resident for North Australia, until from 12 June 1931. Administrators were (and still are) appointed, even after 1978 when self-government was granted.

Central Australia

1 March 1927 – 12 June 1931, while the Northern Territory was split, there were two consecutive incumbents for Central Australia.

Other uses

• In espionage, resident (or rezident) may be used to refer to the head or representative of a country's intelligence services in a foreign country, often within an Embassy.
• In the U.S. and Canada, the term "chief resident" applies to a physician who is appointed to act as head of the residents in his or her hospital, program or department.

See also

• Resident Commissioner
• Political Resident


1. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Resident" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 183.
2. Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh commemorates his name; Cox also figures among historians of chess: see the now-discredited Cox-Forbes theory.
3. "The Northern Territory Act 1863 No. 23" (PDF). Government of South Australia. 12 November 1863. pp. 275 and 278–279. Retrieved 18 May 2019.

Sources and references

• WorldStatesmen here India—see also its Princely States and other present countries mentioned or the pages for polities there
• RoyalArk various mentions, usually in the extensive genealogies, in various states
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:51 am

Three Years in Tibet [Excerpt]
by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi



CHAPTER LVI. Tibetan Punishments.

One day early in October I left my residence in Lhasa and strolled toward the Parkor. Parkor is the name of one of the principal streets in that city, as I have already mentioned, and is the place where criminals are exposed to public disgrace. Pillory in Tibet takes various forms, the criminal being exposed sometimes with only handcuffs, or fetters alone, and at others with both. On that particular occasion I saw as many as twenty criminals undergoing punishment, some of them tied to posts, while others were left fettered at one of the street crossings. They were all well-dressed, and had their necks fixed in a frame of thick wooden boards about 1⅕ inches thick, and three feet square. The frame had in the centre a hole just large enough for the neck and was composed of two wooden boards fastened together by means of ridges, and a lock. From this frame was suspended a piece of paper informing the public of the nature of the crime committed by the exposed person, and of the judgment passed upon him, sentencing him to the pillory for a certain number of days and to exile or flogging afterwards. The flogging generally ranges from three hundred to seven hundred lashes. As so many criminals were pilloried on that particular occasion, I could not read all the sentences, even though my curiosity was stronger than the sense of pity that naturally rose in my bosom when I beheld the miserable spectacle. I confess that I read one or two of them, and found that the criminals were men connected with the Tangye-ling monastery, the Lama superior of which is qualified to succeed to the supreme power of the pontificate in case, for one reason or[375] another, the post of the Dalai Lama should happen to fall vacant. The monastery is therefore one of the most influential institutions in the Tibetan Hierarchy and generally contains a large number of inmates, both priests and laymen.

Shortly before my arrival in Lhasa this high post was occupied by a distinguished priest named Temo Rinpoche. His steward went under the name of Norpu Che-ring, and this man was charged with the heinous crime of having secretly made an attempt on the life of the Dalai Lama by invoking the aid of evil deities. Norpu Che-ring’s conjuration was conducted not according to the Buddhist formula, but according to that of the Bon religion. A piece of paper containing the dangerous incantation was secreted in the soles of the beautiful foot-gear worn by the Dalai Lama, which was then presented to his Holiness. The incantation must have possessed an extraordinary potency, for it was said that the Grand Lama invariably fell ill one way or another whenever he put on these accursed objects. The cause of his illness was at last traced to the foot-gear with its invocation paper by the wise men in attendance on the Grand Lama.

This amazing revelation led to the wholesale arrest of all the persons suspected of being privy to the crime, the venerable Temo Rinpoche among the rest. Some people even regarded the latter as the ring-leader in this plot and denounced him as having conspired against the life of the Grand Lama in order to create for himself a chance of wielding the supreme authority. At any rate Temo Rinpoche occupied the pontifical seat as Regent before the present Grand Lama was installed on his throne. Norpu Che-ring was the Prime-Minister to the Regent, and conducted the affairs of state in a high-handed manner. Things were even worse than this, for it is a fact, admitting of no dispute, that Norpu was oppressive, and mer[376]cilessly put to death a large number of innocent persons. He was therefore a persona ingrata with at least a section of the public, and some of his enemies lost no time in giving a detailed denunciation of the despotic rule of the Regent and his Prime-Minister as soon as the present Grand Lama was safely enthroned. Naturally therefore the former Regent and his Lieutenant were not regarded with favor by the Grand Lama, and such being the case, the terrible revelation about the shoes was at once followed by their arrest, and they were thrown into prison.

All this had occurred before my arrival. When I came to Lhasa Temo Rinpoche had been dead for some time, but Norpu Che-ring was still lingering in a stone dungeon which was guarded with special severity, because of the grave nature of his crime. The dungeon had only one narrow hole in the top, through which food was doled out to the prisoner, or he himself was dragged out whenever he had to undergo his examinations, which were always accompanied with torture. Hope of escape was out of the question, and the only opportunity offered him of seeing the sunshine was by no means a source of relief, for it was invariably associated with the infliction of tortures of a terribly excruciating character. The mere description of it chilled my blood. The torture, as inflicted on Norpu Che-ring, was devised with diabolical ingenuity, for it consisted in driving a sharpened bamboo stick into the sensitive part of the finger directly underneath the nail. After the nail had been sufficiently abused as a means of torture, it was torn off, and the stick was next drilled in between the flesh and the skin. As even criminals possess no more than ten fingers on both hands the inquisitor had to make chary use of this stock of torture, and took only one finger at a time, till the whole number was disposed of. Such was the treatment the ex-Prime-Minister received at his hands.

Norpu Che-ring bore this torture with admirable fortitude; he persisted that the whole plot originated in him alone and was put in execution by his own hands only. His master had nothing to do with it. The inquisitors’ object in subjecting their former superior and colleague to this infernal torture was to extort from him a confession implicating Temo Rinpoche, but they were denied this satisfaction by the unflinching courage of their victim. It is said that this suffering of Norpu Che-ring had so far awakened the sympathy of Temo Rinpoche himself that the latter tried, like the priest of noble heart that he was, to take the whole responsibility of the plot upon his own shoulders, declaring that Norpu was merely a tool who carried out his orders, and that therefore the latter was entirely innocent of the crime. Temo even advised his steward, whenever the two happened to be together at the inquisition, to confess, as he, that is Temo, had done.

The steward, on his part, would reply that his master must have made that baseless confession from the benevolent motive of saving his, the steward’s life, but that he was not so mean and depraved as to seek an unmerited deliverance at the cost of his venerable master’s life. And so he preferred to suffer pain rather than to be released, and baffled all the attempts of the torturers. By the time I reached Lhasa Norpu had already endured this painful existence for two years, and during that long period not one word even in the faintest way implicating his master had passed his lips. From this it may be concluded that Temo had really no hand in the plot. At the same time it must be remembered that Temo was an elder brother of Norpu, and the fraternal affection which the latter entertained towards the other might therefore have been too strong to allow of his implicating Temo, even supposing that the late Regent was really privy to the plot. Be the real circumstances what they might, when[379] I heard all these painful particulars, my sympathy was powerfully aroused for Norpu, whatever hard words others might utter against him; for the mere fact that he submitted so long to such revolting punishments with such persevering fortitude and with such faithful constancy to his master and brother, appealed strongly to my heart.

The pilloried criminals whom I saw on that occasion were all subordinates of Norpu Che-ring. Besides these, sixteen Bon priests had been executed as accomplices, while the number of laymen and priests who had been exiled on the same charge must have been large, though the exact number was unknown to outsiders. The pilloried criminals were apparently minor offenders, for half of them were sentenced to exile and the remaining half to floggings of from three hundred to five hundred lashes. The pillory was to last in each case for three to seven days. Looking at these pitiable creatures I felt as if I were witnessing a sight such as might exist in the Nether World. My heart truly bled for the poor, helpless fellows.

Heavy with this sad reflexion I proceeded further on, and soon arrived at a place to the south of a Buddhist edifice; and there, near the western corner of the building, flooded by sunshine, I beheld another heart-rending sight. It was a beautiful lady in the pillory. Her neck was secured in the regulation frame, just as was that of a rougher criminal, and the ponderous piece of wood was weighing heavily upon her frail shoulders. A piece of red cloth made of Bhūtān silk was upon her head, which hung very low, for the frame around her neck did not allow her to move it freely. Her eyes were closed. Three men, apparently police constables, were near by as guards. A vessel containing baked flour was lying there, and also some small delicacies that must have been sent by relatives or friends. All this food she had to take from the hands of one or other of the three rough attendants, for her own hands were manacled. She was none other than the wife of Norpu Che-ring, whose miserable story I have already told, and was a daughter of the house of Do-ring, one of the oldest and most respected families in the whole of the Tibetan aristocracy.


When her husband was arrested, he was at first confined in a cell less terrible than the stone dungeon to which he was afterwards transferred. But this early and apparently more considerate treatment only plunged his family into greater misery. His wife was told that the jailer of the prison in which her husband was incarcerated was not overstrict and that he was open to corruption, and what faithful wife, even though Tibetan, would resist the temptation placed before her under such circumstances, of trying to seek some means of gaining admission to the lonely cell where her dear lord was confined? And so it came to pass that Madame Norpu bribed the jailer, and with his connivance was often at her husband’s side; but somehow her[381] transgression reached the ears of the government, and she also was thrown into prison.

On the very morning of the day on which I came upon this piteous sight of the pillory, she was led out of the prison, as I heard afterwards, not however for liberation, but first to suffer at the gate of the prison a flogging of three hundred lashes, and then to be conducted to a busy thoroughfare to be pilloried for public disgrace.

Poor woman! she seemed to be almost insensible when I saw her, and the mere sight of her emaciated form and death-pale face aroused my strongest sympathy. The sentiment of pity was intensified when I saw a group of idle spectators, among whom I even noticed some aristocratic-looking persons, gazing at the pillory with callous indifference. They were heartless enough to approach her place of torture and read the judgment paper. The sentence, as I heard it read aloud by these fellows, condemned her to so many whippings, then to seven days pillory, and lastly to exile at such-and-such a place, there to remain imprisoned, fettered and manacled. The spectators not only read out the sentence with an air of perfect indifference, but some of them even betrayed their depravity by reviling and jeering at the lady: “Serve her right,” I heard them say; “their hard treatment of others has brought them to this. Serve them right.” These aristocrats were giving sardonic smiles, as if gloating over the misery of the house of Norpu Che-ring.

Really the heartless depravity of these people was beyond description, and I could not help feeling angry with them. These same people, I thought, who seemed to take so much delight in the calamity of the family of Norpu Che-ring, must have vied with each other in courting his favor while he was in power and prosperity. Even if it were beyond the comprehension of these brutes to appreciate the meaning of that merciful principle which bids us “hate the offence[382] but pity the offender,” one would have expected them to be humane enough to show some sympathy towards this woman who was paying so dearly for her excusable indiscretion. But they seemed to be utterly impervious to such sentiments, and so behaved themselves in that shameful manner. I, who knew that political rivalry in Tibet was allowed to run to such an extreme as to involve even innocent women in painful punishment, felt sincerely sorry for the Lady Norpu, and returned to my residence with a heavy heart. My sentiment on that particular occasion is partially embodied in this uta that occurred to me as I retraced my heavy steps:

You, everchanging foolish herds of men,
As fickle as the dew upon the trees,
To blooming flowers your smiling welcome give;
Why should your tears of pity cease to flow
When blooms or withering flowers pass away?

On my return, when I saw my host, the former Minister of Finance, I related to him what I had seen in the street, and asked him to tell me all he knew about the affair. He fully shared my sympathy for the unfortunate woman.

While Norpu Che-ring was in power, my host told me, he was held in high respect. Nobody dared to whisper one word of blame about him and his wife. Now they were fallen, and he felt really sorry for them. It was true, he continued, that some people used to find fault with the private conduct of Norpu Che-ring, and the former Minister could not deny that there was some reason for that. But Temo Rinpoche was a venerable man, pure in life, pious and benevolent, and had met with such a sad end solely in consequence of the wicked intrigues of his followers. My host was perfectly certain that Temo Rinpoche had absolutely no hand in the plot. He said that he could not talk thus to others; he could be confidential to me alone.

Tortures are carried to the extreme of diabolical ingenuity. They are such as one might expect in hell. One[383] method consists in drilling a sharpened bamboo stick into the tender part of the tip of the fingers, as already described. Another consists in placing ‘stone-bonnets’ on the head of the victim. Each ‘bonnet’ weighs about eight pounds, and one after another is heaped on as the torture proceeds. The weight at first forces tears out of the eyes of the victim, but afterward, as the weight is increased, the very eye-balls are forced from their sockets. Then flogging, though far milder in itself, is a painful punishment, as it is done with a heavy rod, cut fresh from a willow tree, the criminal receiving it on the bared small of his back. The part is soon torn open by the lashing, and the blood that oozes out is scattered right and left as the beater continues his brutal task, until the prescribed number, three hundred or five hundred blows as the case may be, are given. Very often, and perhaps with the object of prolonging the torture, the flogging is suspended, and the poor victim receives a cup of water, after which the painful process is resumed. In nine cases out of ten the victims of this corporeal punishment fall ill, and while at Lhasa I more than once prescribed for persons who, as the result of flogging, were bleeding internally. The wounds caused by the flogging are shocking to see, as I know from my personal observations.

A prison-house is in any case an awful place, but more especially so in Tibet, for even the best of them has nothing but mud walls and a planked floor, and is very dark in the interior, even in broad day. This absence of sunlight is itself a serious punishment in such a cold country.

As for food, prisoners are fed only once a day with a couple of handfuls of baked flour. This is hardly sufficient to keep body and soul together, so that a prisoner is generally obliged to ask his friends to send him some food. Nothing, however, sent in from outside reaches the[384] prisoners entire, for the gaolers subtract for their own mouths more than half of it, and only a small portion of the whole quantity gets into the prisoners’ hands.

The most lenient form of punishment is a fine; then comes flogging, to be followed, at a great distance, by the extraction of the eye-balls; then the amputation of the hands. The amputation is not done all at once, but only after the hands have been firmly tied for about twelve hours, till they become completely paralysed. The criminals who are about to suffer amputation are generally suspended by the wrists from some elevated object with stout cord, and naughty street urchins are allowed to pull the cord up and down at their pleasure. After this treatment the hands are chopped off at the wrists in public. This punishment is generally inflicted on thieves and robbers after their fifth or sixth offence. Lhasa abounds in handless beggars and in beggars minus their eye-balls; and perhaps the proportion of eyeless beggars is larger than that of the handless ones.

Then there are other forms of mutilation also inflicted as punishment, and of these ear-cutting and nose-slitting are the most painful. Both parties in a case of adultery are visited with this physical deformation. These forms of punishment are inflicted by the authorities upon the accusation of the aggrieved party, the right of lodging the complaint being limited, however, to the husband; in fact he himself may with impunity cut off the ears or slit the noses of the criminal parties, when taken in flagrante delicto. He has simply to report the matter afterwards to the authorities.

With regard to exile there are two different kinds, one leaving a criminal to live at large in the exiled place, and the other, which is heavier, confining him in a local prison.

Capital punishment is carried out solely by immersion in water. There are two modes of this execution: one by[385] putting a criminal into a bag made of hides and throwing the bag with its live contents into the water; and the other by tying the criminal’s hands and feet and throwing him into a river with a heavy stone tied to his body. The executioners lift him out after about ten minutes, and if he is judged to be still alive, down they plunge him again, and this lifting up and down is repeated till the criminal expires. The lifeless body is then cut to pieces, the head alone being kept, and all the rest of the severed members are thrown into the river. The head is deposited in a head vase, either at once, or after it has been exposed in public for three or seven days, and the vase is carried to a building established for this sole purpose, which bears a horrible name signifying “Perpetual Damnation.” This practice comes from a superstition of the people that those whose heads are kept in that edifice will forever be precluded from being reborn in this world.

All these punishments struck me as entirely out of place for a country in which Buddhist doctrines are held in such high respect. Especially did I think the idea of eternal damnation irreconcilable with the principles of mercy and justice, for I should say that execution ought to absolve criminals of their offences. Several other barbarous forms of punishment are in vogue, but these I may omit here, for what I have stated in the preceding paragraphs is enough to convey some idea of criminal procedure as it exists in the Forbidden Land.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 1 of 3

From the Guimet Museum to De-Chen Ashram: Alexandra David-Neel, Buddhism and Fiction1
by Samuel Thévoz



(2016 Research Fellow, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies)
This is a pre-published draft of an article published by Transcultural Studies (Heidelberg), 2016/1, 149–186, under the title: On the Threshold of the "Land of Marvels:" Alexandra David-Neel in Sikkim and the Making of Global Buddhism available online: ... view/23541
This draft deals in more details with biographical and literary issues than the definitive published version.

I look around and I see these giant mountains and my hermit hut. All of this is too fantastic to be true. I look into the past and watch things that happened to me and to others ; […] I am giving lectures at the Sorbonne, I am an artist, a reporter, a writer; images of backstages, newsrooms, boats, railways unfold like in a movie. […] All of this is a show produced by shallow ghosts, all of this is brought into play by the imagination. There is no ‘self’ or ‘others,’ there is only an eternal dream that goes on, giving birth to transient characters, fictional adventures.2

An icon: Alexandra David-Néel in the global public sphere

Alexandra David-Néel (Paris, 1868–Digne-les-bains, 1969) certainly ranks among the most celebrated Western Buddhist pioneers who contributed to popularize the modern perception of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism at large. As is well known, it is her illegal trip from Eastern Tibet to Lhasa in 1924 that made her famous. Her global success as an intrepid explorer of Himalayan Buddhism started with her first published travel narrative: Voyage d’une Parisienne à Lhassa, that was published in 1927 in Paris, London and New York simultaneously.3 In this book, she explains how she overcame the difficulties of journeying to a forbidden country and entering its capital city right under the nose of Tibetan and British authorities. The publication of Voyage d’une Parisienne à Lhassa was widely acclaimed. From this point on, this French-Belgian traveler was to become a national hero in France4 and, on the larger international scale, stood out both as an iconic woman adventurer and as a popular authority on Tibet and Buddhism.5

As such, she was to be acknowledged by generations of readers interested in Asia as a key figure for spiritual seekers of Eastern religion and philosophy. Not least of them were Alan Watts (1915–1973), who wrote the prefaces of several English translations of her books, and representatives of the Beat Generation such as Jack Kerouac (1922–1969), Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) or Gary Snyder (1930–). For instance, Snyder prompted Ginsberg to read back and forth David-Néel’s The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects6 (1951, English transl. 1967) claiming that it was ‘a great book, with absolute answers on some questions.’7 Ginsberg admitted himself that ‘Blakean imagery in Alexandra David-Neel’s Magic and Mystery in Tibet [her second bestselling book] magnetized [him] toward Buddhist meditation.’8

Alexandra, the adventurer of the Tibetan highlands, eventually became famous as the explorer of the Tibetan spiritual world. Indeed, Alexandra David-Néel’s name has been associated to an image of Tibet as a ‘land of marvels’ and her books clearly participated in creating a global understanding of Buddhism as a path towards personal liberation consisting in a set of techniques of meditation that she herself learned from Tibetan ‘yoguis.’ Her life narrative thus established a scheme that many Westerners would later reproduce either by traveling eastward or by benefiting from Western or Eastern Buddhist teachers coming from Asia to the West. David-Néel was not the only Westerner at the time to head toward Asia on a spiritual quest. Since the 1890s, Buddhism had drawn the attention of Westerners as a serious alternative religion to Christianity, both as an arguably ‘modern’ and ‘rational’ religion9 and as a potentially ‘World religion,’ such as it was introduced to the first World Parliament of Religion (Chicago, 1893)10 by prominent Asian Buddhist monks such as Anagarika Dharmapala (1864–1963) from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Sôen Shaku (1859–1919) from Japan.11 As recent studies have showed, by the 1920s ‘Western Buddhist pioneers’ having taken Buddhist vows already were quite numerous such as famous British Ananda Metteyya (1872–1923) or German Nyanatiloka (1878–1959).12 In the process, there was a growing audience for international Buddhist networks such as the International Buddhist Society (Buddhasasana Samagama) Metteyya founded in 1903.13 Recent inquiries highlighting the role of Buddhism in the processes of globalization have identified both neglected Western and Eastern actors in the development of Buddhist networks and the rise of global Buddhism between 1860 and 1960.14

Surprisingly enough, a prominent — but controversial — Western Buddhist figure such as Alexandra David-Néel has been expelled from the scholarly narratives of modern Buddhism.15 Nevertheless, in the light of the recent interest in the globalization of Buddhism, David-Néel deserves to be reconsidered, insofar as the successive stages of her encounter with Asia contribute to understand the historical complexity of the rise of modern and global Buddhism.16 Prior to her incursions beyond the political border to Tibet in 1924, incursions that made her name famous worldwide, Alexandra David-Néel had already acquainted herself with the Himalayas for a long time. In fact, her encounter with Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism took place not in Tibet but in Sikkim.17 First visiting India in 1911, she then arrived to the edges of the Raj in Sikkim in 1912 on the border with Tibet. This invites us to reconsider the construction of Alexandra David-Néel’s own heroic image of an explorer of what she herself called the ‘land of marvels.’ The lofty images of a spiritual Tibet — a ‘mind’s Tibet’18— she has contributed to create in the West are rooted in time and space and need to be connected to concrete encounters with local Buddhist representatives in Sikkim.

In so doing, this inquiry highlights not only Alexandra David-Néel’s travels to Asia and spiritual evolution, but more importantly the place and the actors who literally gave birth to her widely acclaimed vision of Tibet. Sikkim and Buddhist lamas in Sikkim actually changed and nourished her view on Tibetan Buddhism and ultimately left a lasting imprint on her own authorial identity. Through her, they were to play a major role in the advent of modern Buddhism. The story told here extends far beyond the figure of Alexandra David-Néel: it shows a Western Buddhist woman convert going eastward; it symmetrically highlights Buddhist representatives from Sikkim going westward without even stepping into the Western world.

Sikkim beneath the heroic adventurer’s bestsellers: the traveler’s letters to her husband

Alexandra David-Néel sojourned in Sikkim twice, first from April to October 1912 and then again from December 1913 to June 1916. She gives some insights on these two stays very briefly in the opening pages of My Journey to Lhasa and offers more details in the two first chapters of With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet.19 But the circumstances and encounters that triggered her interest in Tibet in the first place are scarcely accounted for in these travel narratives. She reshaped the course of her travels from a retrospective point of view, adding some details, and leaving out others. It is precisely this prequel of the well-known story of her encounter with Tibet that I would like to explore in this paper.

For this purpose I rely on an alternative source: her letters to Philippe Néel (1861–1941), whom she had married in 1904. Mr. Néel resided in Tunis, where he worked as a railway engineer.20 It is through these letters that he followed his wife’s travels in Asia from 1911 onwards, travels, which he supported financially. These letters have first been published in 1975, after the death of David-Néel in 1969 under the title ‘journal de voyage’ (travelogue).21

This title is somewhat misleading, since it is not a log book per se. The information is primarily addressed to her husband who, one must note, was rather reluctant to her departure to Asia for what he called her ‘growing mysticism.’22 This may explain why she states that she ‘only focuses on what is likely to be of concern to [him], leaving aside the philosophical or mystical aspects which prevail here.’23 One can thus discern in these letters a strategy of persuasion at a time when she was still in need of her husband’s financial support and of social recognition. In this respect, it is striking for the modern reader accustomed to David-Néel’s style that the very topics which she became famous for are notably absent or given reduced importance in her letters. These documents, on the other hand, allow one to follow almost day after day David-Néel’s trips and encounters. In this way they give us an insight into the more concrete aspects of her travels and help us give flesh to the local agents she met in her travels, hear voices that would become muffled or anonymous in her print oeuvre and sense how they altogether modified her own agenda. Moreover, these letters contribute to shed light on the progressive evolution of her perception of the Tibetan world.24

Based on these letters, I will first analyze the different issues that presented themselves at this time in her sudden interest for Tibet. This interest was directly linked to the encounters both with British officials and Buddhist representatives that took place upon her arrival in Kalimpong in April 1912, following her trip through India. I will then show how these get into play in the way she pictures Tibet from the southeastern Himalayan slopes of Sikkim. Finally, looking for comparative purpose at her With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet, I will underline to what extent Alexandra David-Néel’s stay in Sikkim served as a decisive epiphany, gave birth to the traveler’s authorial voice, shifted the way the Tibetan world was depicted in the long run, and delineated specific features of modern Buddhism.25

From theatre to orientalism: finding a signature name

To fully understand what happened during David-Néel’s stay in Sikkim, one needs to keep in mind David-Néel’s distinctive ‘career-paths’ as an author and as a Buddhist convert. The former sheds light on what was at stake in the rising interest toward Buddhism at the time, while the latter more specifically defines her specific approach to it.

Regarding the first aspect, Alexandra endorsed many personae and elected several signatures by which she signed her works — the most commonly known being ‘Alexandra David-Néel.’ Born Louise Eugénie Alexandrine Marie David, it is only since 1919 that Alexandra — she would herself choose this first name as a stage and pen name much later26 — hyphenated her married name with her maiden name to sign articles and her first bestselling book My Journey to Lhasa. ‘Alexandra David-Néel’ was to become the definitive signature under which she would be acknowledged worldwide as an adventurer and a popular writer. The author’s name even took a transnational turn, since the hyphenated French names ‘David’ and ‘Néel’ (pronounced /dævıd/ and /nel/) were immediately spelt ‘David-Neel’ in the first edition of My Journey to Lhasa by Harper & Brothers. In the process, the compound lost its French spelling distinctive ‘touch’ and acquired an Anglo-Saxon flair in its newly standardized pronunciation /deıvıdni:l/.

Before 1924, she made herself known through a series of publications under various other signature names. From 1893 to 1899, she signed articles on social matters (as is well known, she made no secret of being a feminist and an anarchist).27 She used the pen name ‘Mitra,’ after the old Vedic god and guardian of cosmic order. After publishing a few articles in Le Lotus bleu, the French journal of the Theosophy Society, she had ‘Notes sur le Bouddhisme’ published in L’Étoile socialiste, revue populaire hebdomadaire du socialisme international in 1895 under the same name. From 1900 to 1908, she published several articles under the name ‘Alexandra Myrial,’ among which a contribution on the religious power in Tibet and its origins, that appeared in the Mercure de France in 1904. ‘Alexandra Myrial’ was not only a pen name but also a stage name: between 1893 and 1900, she toured outside of France as an opera singer, in Athens, Hanoi, Haiphong, Saigon, and Tunis, playing leading roles in Lakmé, Thaïs and other famous musical dramas of the time. She also wrote under this name a novel entitled Le Grand Art (unpublished), a satirical fiction, which transcribed her vision of fin de siècle artistic milieus.28 From 1909 onward, she devoted herself to Eastern studies more eagerly and tried to get recognition from scholarly circles. In this context, she signed several articles on Buddhism and her first book-length opus on Buddhism29 by her maiden name ‘Alexandra David.’ It is only a decade later that her success story — belonging to another literary genre — was to appear associated with the name ‘Alexandra David-Néel.’30

A Buddhist convert: from the cult of nothingness to Buddhist modernism

As far as David-Néel’s acquaintance with Buddhism is concerned, one needs now to sort out the successive steps that finally led her to Asia from 1911 to 1924, traveling through India, Japan, China and Tibet. The starting point can be identified as her stay in London in 1889, when she met members of the Theosophical Society who shared their ideas on Buddhism with her.31 It prompted her to attend Sylvain Lévi (1863–1969)’s32 and Philippe-Édouard Foucaux (1811–1894)’s teachings on Indian and Tibetan Buddhism at the Collège de France when she went back to Paris at the end of the same year. The library of the Guimet Museum, which had just opened, was the place where she claims to have had her ‘calling,’ following which she converted to Buddhism.33 In 1891, she left Europe for a first stay in India (she would return there in 1896 and 1901), where she met Theosophists, Buddhist reformists, and Vedāntins.34

Through her readings and her own commitment, David-Néel developed an understanding of Buddhism that tended to depart both from the spiritual syncreticism of her Theosophical fellows and from the philological rigor of the French scholars (although she expected to obtain a position in Eastern studies sooner or later).35 At first, she shared the conception of Buddhism as the ‘cult of nothingness’36 that was widespread in fin de siècle Europe. This pessimistic conception, popular in disenchanted philosophical and artistic milieus, was inspired both from Schopenhauer’s philosophy37 and from philological debates on the notion of nirvānaṇ rooted in Eugène Burnouf (1801–1852)’s pioneering Introduction au Buddhisme indien (1844). Indeed, in a note from 1889, David-Néel reflects on the notion of nirvānaṇ as follows: ‘Sleeping... dying... dreaming, maybe! [...] Do you understand, now that you know life, that the Buddhist asks Nirvana as the price of their virtue! The unconscious union to the universal mind, a kind of nothingness, rather than living again and again. […] Be ready to undergo anything with the same calmness.’38

However, two decades later, she came to defend as a ‘practicing and militant Buddhist’39 what she herself called ‘Buddhist modernism.’ While supporting the ‘revival of Buddhism around and inside India,’40 she intended to remove Western forms of ‘Buddhisms’ that in her opinion amounted to ‘esoteric, spiritualistic, theosophical or occultist nonsensical mixtures of ideas borrowed here and there.’41 Her project at the time when she decided to go back to India in 1911 is best described in her own words in Le Modernisme bouddhiste et le Bouddhisme du Bouddha:

One will find here not the Buddhism taught by this or that sect, but the Buddhism of the Buddha himself, as close as the scholars’ research works can bring us to it. It is the very Buddhism reformists or ‘modernists,’ if I may use a vivid word that has become common nowadays, are struggling to establish in the East and to spread in the West, which is quite an unprecedented phenomenon.42

She adds that the practice of Buddhism in most of Asia at the time amounted to degenerate forms of Buddhism. This idea was widely shared at the time; Tibetan Buddhism, for example, was labeled ‘Lamaism’ and was held to be a despicable collection of gross superstitions and barbaric practices maintained by despotic lamas exerting their power on ignorant people.43 What David-Néel claims to portray in her book instead, is the ‘living Buddhism true to the spirit of the primitive doctrine,’ which in no way resembles the ‘corpse dissected by Orientalist scholars.’ The book addresses the questions of the life of the (historical) Buddha, the Four Noble Truths, Meditation, Karma, Nirvana, Sangha (the community), and ends with considerations on the modernity of Buddhism as regards the role of women in society and, more generally, social inequality. Two years before the publication of Le Modernisme bouddhiste et le Bouddhisme du Bouddha, she had already introduced European and Asian ‘Buddhist modernists’ to the reader of the Mercure de France as vanguard thinkers who held Buddhism for a rational method of liberation and developed realistic plans of social reforms out of it.44

Multiple aspects of David-Néel’s biography thus delineate her approach to Buddhism at the time she entered Sikkim: not only was she a convert, but also an active promoter of Buddhist modernism, be it in the West or in the East. Her encounter with Buddhist practitioners in Sikkim will put to the test her conception of Buddhism. It will trigger a shift in her appreciation of Tibetan practices and beliefs, and will also nuance her perception of Tibet as a whole.

At the edge of the British Rāj: the two stays in Sikkim

When she arrives in Ceylon on 18 November 1911, David-Néel is no longer an opera singer touring French colonies in North Africa and South Asia. She is now an ‘Orientalist’ scholar traveling across territories of the British Empire. Her one-year travel from Southern to Northern India made her aware of the specific geopolitical issues linked with recent events in the British policy regarding Tibet, and David-Néel writes to her husband time and again that ‘here the events in Tibet are the main topic all the time.’45 Indeed, after Francis Younghusband (1863–1942) led the infamous Frontier Commission to Lhasa in 1904,46 regulations between the British Raj of India and Tibet generated what Charles Sherring called a ‘British borderland.’47 They gave rise to new central posts for the British officials — the so-called ‘Frontier cadre’ of recent historians48 — on the Eastern border between India and Tibet. Thus, Gangtok in Sikkim had been the administrative capital since 1894 and the residence of British Political Officers since 1868. Sikkim itself had become a British protectorate since 1890. Yatung on the Nathula Pass and Gyantse further on the trade route into Central Tibet became trade agencies in the wake of the Younghusband expedition. Tibet consequently became a strongly restricted area supervised both by Tibetan and British authorities. This geopolitical situation explains the turn David-Néel’s stay in Sikkim took since. In order to dwell in the borderland, she could but lean on the British colonial economic and administrative structure and local Western networks. However, the imperial framework that had enabled her to reach India and the remote slopes of Sikkim soon proved to her a coercive force which she would gradually try to loosen or escape — eventually at her own expense.

A brief analysis of the places where David-Néel’s traveled during her two successive sojourns in Sikkim shows how each of them responded to a very different dynamic in terms of interactions with the colonial power and with local representatives. David-Néel first stayed in Sikkim during five months (14 April–5 October 1912).49 After her arrival in Darjeeling from Calcutta by train, she reached Kalimpong and spent one week there before going to Gangtok. As the headings of her letters show, her entire stay was then based in Gangtok. From there, David-Néel made several trips up North, notably one important journey from 28 May to 11 June to Lachen and from there to Thangu on the border of Tibet, and another shorter excursion from 23 to 30 June on the way to the Jelepla pass (Eastern Sikkim), close to another border with Tibet (see Figure 1). In October, she left Sikkim for Nepal. As I shall explain later, the highlight of David-Néel’s first stay certainly was her trip to Lachen and Thangu. There she could both have her first glimpse of the Tibetan landscape and meet a Buddhist lama who would be of crucial importance to her.

Figure 1: Alexandra David-Néel’s first stay in Sikkim (April–October 1912). Map courtesy of Joëlle Désiré-Marchand, from her book Alexandra David-Néel. Vie et voyages, Paris: Arthaud, 2009, p. 161.

This trip to the border of Tibet deeply affected her second stay in Sikkim. David-Néel came back to Eastern Himalayas in December 1913 with the intention of going to Bhutan. The trip to Bhutan had to be canceled and David-Néel then decided to stay once again in Sikkim, a stay that ended up extending to almost three years.

Gangtok was again her ‘base-camp’ during the first nine months (7 December 1913–25 August 1914), limiting her explorations to Podang Monastery (a few kilometers North). Her letter dated 28 September 1914 signals that she was in Lonak Valley (‘High Himalayas’), a remote location that itself accounts for the two-month gap in her correspondence since her last letter in August (she just received her husband’s letters dated 3 and 22 August).50 After that, her stay was centered in the area of Lachen, where she spent the ‘winter months’ (November 1914–May 1915). She then spent a remarkably long time in high and remote places on the border of Tibet, notably so in Dewa Thang between Thangu and Gyaogang, at an altitude of over 13,000 feet (May 1915–August 1916). There she famously lived in a cave before having a cabin built (‘De-Chen Ashram,’ 1 June 1915–2 July 1916 and August 1916).51

As one can see from this sketch of David-Néel’s itineraries in Sikkim, her first stay relied strongly on the colonial structure, while her second stay was more erratic until its center of gravity was displaced to the farthest edge of the Raj. The logic of David-Néel’s itineraries clearly reflected her endeavor to distance herself from the Western world, embodied, as she often writes to Philippe, by British authority and colonial community, as well as by missionaries.52 In order to explain the shift revealed by this brief overview and to understand the growing and somehow surprising appeal Tibet and ‘Lamaism’ suddenly exerted on the ‘Buddhist modernist’ she claimed to be, one needs to go into more details about two aspects: firstly, her interactions with some specific figures she met in Sikkim, and secondly, her perception of landscape.

The ‘civilized yogui’ between British colonials and Asian Highnesses

The British community of officials and the missionaries of the Scandinavian Alliance Mission stand at the background of the significant daily events that David-Néel chooses to highlight in her letters.

The Scandinavian Alliance Mongolian Mission was a Scandinavian Protestant Christian missionary society that was involved in sending missionaries to Mongolia and China during the late Qing Dynasty (late 19th and early 20th century).

See also

• Swedish Mongolian Mission
• Protestant missionary societies in China (1807–1953)
• Timeline of Chinese history
• Protestant missions in China 1807–1953
• List of Protestant missionaries in China
• Christianity in China

-- Scandinavian Alliance Mongolian Mission, by Wikipedia

She first praises her European fellows’ kindness and generosity.53 However, after her first trip to Lachen, she confesses to her husband in a letter dated 27 July 1912 that they perceived her as a ‘civilized yogui’ violating colonial social codes due to her establishing personal ‘links with natives.’54 As a counterpart, she quickly makes overall fun of the English middle-class and of the tea-parties held in the bungalows on the Himalayan hills: ‘I did not come here to live among British bourgeois […] pledged to the missionaries. They are all servants of the politics of the White,’ she writes to Philippe.55 A fierce anticlerical, she shows no mercy either to Rev. E. H. Owen, whom she thinks is a poor interpreter of her Tibetan-speaking interlocutors. Owen is, she feels, too concerned with preaching the Gospel in Lachun and taking care of the Mission House community to understand anything about Buddhism.56

A special meeting of the Diocesan Synod of Moray, Ross, and Caithness [Scottish Episcopal Church], was held in the Cathedral of Inverness on Thursday the 18th inst. There were prsent -- the Most Rev. the Primus; the Very Rev. Dean Christie; the Very Rev. Provost Powell; the Rev. Canon Roughead; the Rev. George Boyes, Aberchirder; the Rev. J. Brodie Innes of Milton Brodie; the Rev. Farquhar Smith, Arpafeelie; the Rev. W.J. Bussell, Dingwall; the Rev. E.H. Owen, Forres; the Rev. Archibald MacGillivray, Strathnairn; the Rev. H.J. Allardice, Craigellachie.

Election of Synod Clerk.

The Primus intimated that he had received the resignation of the Rev. J.F. Macdonald, Huntley, Synod Clerk; and it would now be the duty of the Synod to elect another clerk in his room.

Dean Christie had much pleasure in proposing that the Synod should select the Rev. E.H. Owen, Forrest, as successor to the late Synod Clerk. Mr. Owen was well known for his administrative capacity and business habits. He had long been chosen to act on the Committee on Claims, and had there proved extremely attentive and useful.

Canon Roughead seconded the resolution, and it was unanimously agreed to.

The Primus expressed a hope that the office would by-and-bye be of greater importance and the value to its holder than it is at present.

The Rev. E.H. Owen begged to express his warm sense of this mark of confidence. He felt that he was not worthy of the terms in which the proposer of this resolution had alluded to him; but it would be his earnest endeavour so far to justify their choice, as to strive to fulfil the duties of the office to the very best of his ability.

-- Special Synod of Moray, Ross, and Caithness, From Our Own Reporter, The Scottish Guardian, May 1, 1872

Sir Charles Bell (1870–1945), the Political Officer for Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet and Official Resident at Gangtok, was a central figure involved in the political affairs of Tibet in particular.57 It is nonetheless surprising how little David-Néel mentions him, although his impact on her travel is significant. At first, she admits the Resident ‘Mr. Bel’ and his wife’s ‘cordiality’ and ‘kindness.’58 Charles Bell incites her to buy the Tibetan–English dictionary published by the government59 and plays the middleman between her and the Dalai Lama60 and later the Panchen Lama.61 But, when she comes back to Sikkim the second time, he is ‘too busy with the Sino-British-Tibetan conference’ held at Simla and ‘simply fails to write’ and recommend her to the Maharaja of Bhutan.62 But above all he is the one who forbids her to ‘go beyond the frontier that marks the limit of British domination’63 at a time when ‘England is slowly taking hold of Tibet.’64 In this respect, she mentions Bell’s name one last time when telling her husband about her return from her illegal excursion to Shigatse in June 1916. He severely penalized local people for helping the traveler and banished her from Sikkim. This prompted her to undertake a trip to Japan before coming back to Tibet through China in the 1920s. But at the time of her banishment, she confesses to her husband with melancholy that her ‘adventures’ are over and that her ‘dream’ has come to an end, giving a unique and matchless value to her stay in Sikkim.65

The British colonial world and some of its main representatives thus offer support to David-Néel’s stays in Sikkim, but also progressively come to represent the grim side in her encounter with Tibet. In contrast, the bright side is represented by encounters with various prestigious figures that embody the Tibetan world to her. In her first letter after leaving Tunis for Colombo, David-Néel proudly claims to her husband that she is ‘in friendly relationship with Asian highnesses and majesties.’66 Her encounters with Tibetan monks and dignitaries in Kalimpong, and then in Gangtok or Lachen Monastery, are to be related to her own spiritual quest and conception of Buddhism as well as to her scholarly ambitions. She had already made clear to her husband when writing to him from India that ‘there is a highly respectable position to take in French Orientalism.’67 As I will show below, much later, provided with the means to meet her ambitions, she will re-use the exact same phrase.68

One must remember that David-Néel had dwelt among the Parisian circles as well as the British and German circles of Buddhist studies. French scholars focused on the study of what was then called the school of Northern Buddhism, or Mahayana Buddhism.69 David-Néel often refers to her teacher Philippe-Édouard Foucaux and his famous translation of the Lalitavistara from Tibetan manuscripts, a Mahayana sutra devoted to the the life of the Buddha and filled with what was considered at the time legendary and superstitious elements.70 As for the British and the German scholars, they focused on the so called orthodox Southern Buddhism and tended to focus on the historicity of the Buddha’s life and teaching: David-Néel met Thomas W. Rhys Davids (1843–1922) and his wife Caroline Augusta Foley (1857–1942) in London in 1910,71 who considered Buddhism as a ‘science of mind,’72 and corresponded with Hermann Oldenberg (1854–1920).73 Although David-Néel expects to find a place in French Buddhist studies, she consistently challenges Western Orientalism (and overall philosophy) and its ‘dry and dead erudition,’74 taking the perspective of a Buddhist practitioner endowed with a unique experience from the inside. At the end of her first stay in Sikkim, she sums up her position to Philippe: ‘You know my projects: be active as an Orientalist in a more learned way than previously. Write, teach at the Sorbonne. These occupations are in perfect harmony with my position among promoters of the religious reform trend in Asia.’75 As a modern Buddhist reformer focusing mainly on Southern Buddhism as it was reconstructed, in the wake of Burnouf’s pioneering work, by British and German scholars, David-Néel definitely took an irregular stand in French intellectual field and tried to insert her public persona on a more transnational level.

In this respect, being allowed to meet Thubten Gyatso (1876–1933), the 13th Dalai Lama, is a happy coincidence David-Néel could not have dreamed of. Thanks to the support of Charles Bell, the Dalai Lama was offered to stay in Sikkim at the time of his three-year exile after Chinese warlord and former imperial resident (amban) in Lhasa Zhao Erfeng (1845–1911)’s troupes had attacked the Tibetan capital in 1909 and forced him to flee to India. After staying in Darjeeling, the Dalai Lama moved his court to Kalimpong — then a famous hill station and an important trading outpost — until his return to Tibet in June 1912, the Republican Revolutionaries having overthrown the Qing Dynasty. This situation immediately appears to David-Néel as an opportunity to build an exclusive network for the sake of her own scholarly ambitions. The French Buddhist Orientalist traveler is granted an extraordinary audience with ‘His yellow Highness.’ David-Néel gives a long account of the meeting to her husband and writes of the ‘Pope of Asia’76 that ‘his Tibetan brain hardly grasps that one can become a Buddhist by studying Oriental philosophy on the benches of a European university. That I have not had a guru, a mentor, escapes him. Moreover, I understand, from what he says, that he has a poor knowledge of Southern Buddhism.’77

By the time of the Parliament, the preceding decades of debate and scholarship had established and agreed upon certain facts: Buddhism was founded by a historical man, Sakyamuni, who had taught a system of ethical philosophy that had later (for variously contended reasons) developed features of a religion. This Buddhism was atheistic or at least agnostic, denied the existence of an immortal soul, and taught self-reliance rather than reliance on a savior. Both supporters and detractors also agreed that the teachings of the Buddha had much in common with contemporary Western philosophy. The division of Southern and Northern Buddhism was generally accepted. Southern Buddhism was the Buddhism of the Pali texts, associated with the Buddhist practices of Ceylon, Siam, and Burma. These preserved the "essence" of Buddhism, variously referred to as "Pure Buddhism," "Original Buddhism," or "Real Buddhism." Northern Buddhism was the Buddhism of Sanskrit texts and their derivatives in the languages of northern Asia. This was the Mahayana, considered to be a later corruption of the Founder's teachings. Southern Buddhism was "Protestant"; Northern Buddhism was "Romish."

So well established were these "truths" of Buddhism that Western scholars quite confidently corrected Asian Buddhist authorities who attempted to modify them. The Reverend Dr. F. F. Ellinwood, for example, wrote at length explaining the real meaning of nirvana to Japanese Buddhist abbot Shaku Soen.4 Eminent Pali scholar T. W. Rhys Davids also criticized Japanese delegate Ashitsu Jitsuzen's understanding of this key term. According to Rhys Davids, Ashitsu's paper at the World's Parliament of Religions demonstrated "how astounding is the gulf on all sides between popular beliefs and the conclusions of scholarship."5 Western scholars alone possessed the truth of Buddhism. Asian practitioners became "merely nominal Buddhists who know little if anything about genuine Buddhism as elucidated in the texts."6

-- Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Columbian Exposition, by Judith Snodgrass

She explains on this occasion to the Dalai Lama that ‘Northern Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism in particular were not well received in the West probably because they are misunderstood.’78 This is why she ‘had thought to speak directly to the head of Northern Buddhism in order to get some authoritative clarification on the theories of the Tibetan School.’79 The Dalai Lama will later send written answers to her inquiries through Charles Bell.

In her letters the episode of her encounter with the Dalai Lama is described over several pages and clearly appears as the highlight of her stay at Kalimpong as a prestigious gateway to the ‘threshold of Tibet.’80 She hardly mentions it on the other hand in her personal diary.81 She also writes of her encounter with the Dalai Lama in the famous literary periodical Mercure de France82 and gives further expositions to British Indian journals at the time.83 It is thus clear that she expects it to provide her with a new prestige not only in the eyes of her husband, but also in the French scholarly circles and the British official community.84 Although she still felt that her convictions were at odds with Lamaism, she confesses to Philippe that ‘coming back [to Europe] with a study on Lamaism completed by the side of the Dalai Lama would prove a fabulous Orientalist piece of work.’85 This underlines her ambition to provide the West with a personal experience and first-hand knowledge of Buddhism, but first and foremost to turn Tibetan Buddhism into her own ‘field of investigation.’86

However, her meeting with the Dalai Lama is only a first step into the Tibetan Buddhist world. A more lasting and close relationship soon develops with the Maharaja Thutob Namgyal (1860–1914)’s son, Maharajkumar Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal (1879–1914). Sidkeong Tulku was both the crown prince (Maharajkumar) of Sikkim and the reincarnated abbot (Tulku) of Podang Monastery. David-Néel has with him long discussions on primitive and ‘authentic’ Buddhism in his incongruous cottage-like and Chinese-looking bijou private house in Gangtok.87 Sidkeong Tulku ‘has been raised in Europe’88 and shares with her the pious modernist wish to spread the true Buddhist teaching in Sikkim and Tibet. This goes together with the ambition to eradicate the Lamaist superstitious and degenerate cult. With the support of Sidkeong Tulku, David-Néel is invited to preach at the monastery of Podang and across Sikkim. She explains to Philippe that she introduced the Western Buddhist scholarly studies and the spread of Buddhism in the West to the lamas. First and foremost, she urged them to ‘rise above the differences between schools and sects, so as to revive the primitive philosophical doctrine.’89

It is noteworthy that another Western Buddhist convert, J.F. McKechnie, aka Silacara Bhikku (1871–1952), the ‘Scottish Orientalist’ as David-Néel calls him,90 spent some time in Sikkim in Fall 1914. Silacara was the disciple of another famous Western Theravada monk, Anton Gueth, aka Nyanatiloka, who shortly joined Silacara and David-Néel in Sikkim.91 As followers of the doctrine of ‘Southern Buddhism,’ the two bhikkhus shared Sidkeong Tulku and David-Néel’s reformist views. Sidkeong’s sudden and precocious death in December 1914 just after he had succeeded his father as the Maharaja of Sikkim brings an end to their plans.92

David-Néel’s views on Tibetan Buddhism are further influenced by the encounter of Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868–1922), headmaster of the state Bhutia Boarding School at Gangtok and her personal interpreter.93 It is only later that Dawa Samdup’s name will become famous in the Western world through Dr. Walter Y. Evans-Wentz (1878–1965)’s publications a few years later, notably so with the bestseller The Tibetan Book of the Dead in 1927.94 David-Néel discovers through him many aspects of Tibetan literature such as the story of the Tibetan hermit and poet Milarepa. She plans to collaborate with him on a study on Padmasambhava, ‘Tibet’s great apostle,’ she says, and an ‘intriguing character.’95 But Dawa Samdup will follow Charles Bell to be his interpreter during the Simla Convention and will only reappear at the end of her stay in March 1916.96

In the first stage of Alexandra David-Néel’s stay, Sikkim strikingly appears as a significant cosmopolitan hub of Buddhist modernism, in which European and Asian Buddhists happened to meet, discuss their respective agendas and share their common views on the advent of a globalized form of Buddhism. David-Néel sums up in her own words and from her own standpoint the local and global issues of this unique situation, which took place in the framework of British colonial empire and testified to a certain extent to cultural imperialism: while reading the Dhammapada97 and discussing philosophical questions together with Sidkeong Tulku at Lachun, she writes that they ‘planned several useful reforms regarding the lamas, the religious education, etc.’ She then adds: ‘I think that my coming in this country will not be absolutely useless for the population’s progress and instruction.’98 Nevertheless, as I would like to show now, her acquaintance with Tantrist Kazi Dawa Samdup and Nyingma teachings of Tibetan Buddhism practiced in Sikkim certainly triggered an unexpected countercurrent to take effect in the process of modern Buddhism. This allows us to ascribe noteworthy forms of agency to local Buddhist representatives on this unforeseen ‘middle ground’99 where European and Asian political and religious players came to meet.
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Part 2 of 3

At the edge of the world: a Tantric yogi and a Huron hut

David-Néel’s encounters with the Dalai Lama, Sidkeong Tulku and Lama Dawa Samdup at her arrival in Sikkim are followed one month later (May 1912) at Lachen by that of Kunzang Ngawang Rinchen (1867–1947), best known as ‘the Third Gomchen of Lachen.’ The ‘Gomchen’ (‘Great Yogi’) was the abbot of Lachen Monastery, and was well-known for receiving teachings from a lama in Tibet and spending many years as a solitary hermit meditating in remote caves in the mountains. David-Néel grasps from her first encounters with the Gomchen the central point of his teachings, which she precociously and somewhat clumsily describes as ‘what Mahayana calls Sunyata: the Great Void, void from the illusion of divided [‘morcelée’] life, infinite, eternal Existence.’100 Whereas David-Néel translates the basic concept of sunyata in the terms of Western concepts and testifies to Western misconceptions of the time (here ‘void’ understood as ‘immortality’ strongly echoes Theosophists’ interpretations of Buddhist doctrines),101 she certainly steps away at this point from her former Buddhist conceptions based on Southern Buddhism as formatted by modern scholars and Buddhist reformers. Simultaneously, she goes on preaching to the local lamas. The unforeseen events of this period seem to take on an essential meaning, since she writes down for the first time her own future author name in a meaningful transpersonal perspective:

The words which I repeat, the ideas which I venture, the feelings which I express are those of the Buddhas. […] Their wisdom and compassion have come through the ages […] to be heard. […] Padmasambhava and so many others preached in this country. […] That which speaks, that which took their names, that is called today Alexandra David-Néel.102

The encounter with Ngawang Rinchen definitely opens up new insights for David-Néel and his determining role intertwines in a quite complex way with her own personal quest and persona. In her letters, Ngawang Rinchen paradoxically is as much a crucial character as an elusive figure. She plainly calls the Gomchen the ‘Yogui,’ alternatively the ‘Great Yogui’ or her ‘lama-yogui’103 but, conscious of Philippe’s suspicion regarding spiritual matters, she carefully avoids going into the details about their meetings and discussions. However, the lama-yogui’s presence lets itself be felt increasingly in her letters at the time of her second stay in Sikkim from October 1914 onward. It is at this time that, having left Gangtok for Lachen, she has a ‘Huron hut’104 built close to the yogui’s meditation cave at Dewa Thang, close to the border with Tibet. This move appears as a decisive step forward in her approach to the practice of Tibetan Buddhism.105

In November 1914, David-Néel asks the Gomchen to teach her Tibetan in exchange for English lessons, a deal that he ‘miraculously’ accepts.106 She herself declares that ‘it is a unique opportunity to learn Tibetan quickly and to assimilate doctrines no Orientalist scholar has ever understood.’107 The Gomchen approves of Sidkeong Tulku’s reformist plans, and David-Néel feels his teachings are consistent with her own beliefs: ‘The Buddhist renounce to what is no longer important to them because they have rationally measured its emptiness and nothingness.’108

However, the lama-yogui — whom she sometimes calls Mephisto109 — introduces her to a very different understanding of Buddhism than the supposedly ‘pure’ tradition of the South endorsed by the Buddhist modernists: ‘My lama-yogui, here, teaches terrifying doctrines and, compared to him, Max Stirner and Nietzsche look like mere babies coming out of the nursery school. […] I have learned more here in fifteen days than in one year in Gangtok.’110 She stops being a proselyte to become the lama’s novice and surrenders to him the ‘absolute obedience that he demands.’111 Although she remains suspicious of the Lamaist ritualism, she admires the meaning underlying the rituals and dances performed by the lama-yogui and his disciples: that ‘all is empty and vain, an illusion and a mirage, and that the ironic performer himself is only a shadow, a ghost devoid of reality.’112 Time and again she uses the metaphor of the movie screen113 to translate the profound teaching of the lama-yogui.114 She soon learns to use the ritual accessories such as the tambourine (damaru) used in meditation115 and gradually practices the yoguis’ methods of meditation and bodily techniques.116

Through the Gomchen of Lachen, it is the Tantric tradition of Tibetan Buddhism that David-Néel discovers. As she herself admits, this gives a new impulse to her formerly rather fundamentalist conception of Buddhism.117 As it turns out, she identifies in the esoteric practices of the Ngagpas (Tantric practitioners) and in the ritual of chod (gcod)118 a deep understanding of Buddhist philosophical inquiry. These practices appear to her as genuine ‘methods to reach tharpa [supreme liberation], to free oneself from illusion entirely, to erase the mirage of the world as the product of one’s imagination and to liberate one’s mind from fanciful beliefs,’ as she will write years later in With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet.119 So as to reconcile these practices with her own convictions, she opposes Tantric initiations to the exoteric ritualism of Tibetan Buddhism she calls the ‘Lamaist jumble.’120

Tantrism actually becomes the focus of David-Néel’s approach of Tibet. It is only decades later that Western readers will become familiar with this aspect of Tibetan Buddhism through her later books such as The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects or Initiations and Initiates in Tibet.121 In order to fully understand David-Néel’s statements about Tantric Buddhism, we need to take into account an external historical factor: the First World War, about which she has been kept informed by Philippe and Silacara. In the letters written during her second stay in Sikkim, David-Néel very often comments on the war and justifies herself for staying away from Europe in this critical time.122 In so doing, she suggests how her stay in Sikkim can benefit to the despairing situation. She thereby delineates her role as an author-to-be and anticipates the expectations of her potential readership:

Anticlericalism is out of fashion: it is one result of the war. When men are scared they turn to the gods, to the supernatural, like children that hang to their mother’s skirts. A breeze of spirituality blows over the world alongside with the blast of the cannonballs that rip through the air. Vulgar religiosity will turn into longing for philosophy in the larger-scale minds. I have some idea that my books on Vedanta and Tibetan mysticism are likely to meet the needs of many readers after the storm.123

The ‘cult of nothingness’ had first proved a solace for her fin de siècle anticlericalism, disillusion and neurasthenia. The rationalism of Buddhist modernism then gave an impulse to her conviction that the pristine teachings of the Buddha pertained globally to the modern world and had to be spread to East and West indistinctly. The Tantric vision of the Gomchen now consolidates her confidence that Buddhism still proves accurate for her in a new form. Moreover, it appears as the most relevant solution to the devastating side-effects of internationalization.124 In the eyes of Western Buddhist scholars and practitioners, Esoteric Tibetan Buddhism (sometimes called Tantrayana or Vajrayana) was so far overly discredited. This notwithstanding, Tibetan Buddhism now takes clear precedence over Theravada in David-Néel’s commitment to Buddhism. Furthermore, David-Néel’s meditation retreat to the edges of Tibet at De-Chen Ashram125 becomes paradigmatic for the message of peace and reenchantment she feels she has to deliver to the four corners of the earth: ‘Now I can only see things, even things as dreadful as this war, as dreams and nightmares. They are only shadows on a cinematographic screen.’126 ‘Hence, the one who knows the great secret can only smile at the phantasmagoria that the world is, and the great peace will surround them. […] Phantasmagoria too is this war.’127

The ‘Land of Marvels:’ the metamorphoses of Tibetan sacred landscape

David-Néel’s privileged access to the Tibetan esoteric tradition actually finds an echo in the way she starts to consider Tibet as a whole from the Sikkimese threshold. At the time, Tibetan geography and cultures had just started to be discovered in the wake of 1890s Western explorers. While British and French explorers alike described the country in terms of ‘sacred landscape,’128 their underlying motivation to do so was distinct. In the context of the Great Game, British travelers considered Tibet as a ‘buffer state’ beyond the British Rāj. The sacred character ascribed to Tibet amounted, in their view, to a protective power over the imperial territory. In contrast, the French travelers insisted either on the geographical129 or on the cultural130 dimension of Tibetan landscape. The Great Game, as is well known, led to a long period when Tibet was an officially forbidden country.131 Although explorers had considerably contributed to improve knowledge of the country in the last decade of nineteenth century, the perception of Tibet remained that of a terra incognita, an unknown territory, both geographically and culturally. As such, the ‘British image of Tibet’132 seems to globally outweigh the more variegated image other nations such as France gave of Tibet and Tibetans at the dawn of the twentieth century.133

At the first stage of her stay in Sikkim, David-Néel’s vision of Tibet stands out as a transnational representation based on both French and British standards. Like European travelers, she distinguishes the ‘imagined Tibet’ from the ‘real Tibet’ and ascribes a sacred dimension to Tibet. At odds with her French fellows, she reckons that she shares with the British their appeal for the ‘other side,’ the fantasized unknown territory beyond the border of the Rāj. After accompanying Sidkeong Tulku leaving for Gyantse up to Thangu in May 1912, she wishes she could go back to the border-pass with Tibet and walk beyond the frontier. She then admits that she is like all the other Europeans in this situation:

Here, all the Europeans are under this strange spell. They say ‘Tibet’ almost in a low voice, in a religious way, somewhat fearfully. I shall see it again at another border, but this will be the Tibet of Chumbi Valley. And the Resident [i.e. Charles Bell] warned me that it is a false Tibet as green as the Sikkimese valleys and without the roughness of the fearful and spellbinding true Tibet I have contemplated.134

While Tibet appears in British imperial fantasies as a harsh borderland and a blank ‘buffer state,’ the Tibet David-Néel dreams of takes on new connotations. By doing so, she not only borrows from previous representations given by travelers but also appropriates these representations. Her letters reveal the ambiguous and somewhat distant look she throws on the way her European fellows envision what used to be called the ‘land beyond.’ On a second journey through upper Sikkim in August 1912, she realizes that she is the ‘prisoner of a dream, attracted by who knows what...’ She adds: ‘I wish I could go to the end of my journey and write the books I have dreamed of.’135 Indeed, she later envisions to explore the ‘hazily beyond’136 in a way that peculiarly stands apart from her predecessors:

I have visions of Himalaya, of lakes mirroring snowy peaks, of cascades in the woods. […] Tibet! Tibet! A part of me remained up there in the high steppes, in the barren loneliness of Gyao-guwn where, perhaps recklessly, I have proffered the ‘vow that binds’ as do Tibetans think. Ten years too late! I confess that I was burned by desire in front of this closed door, opened for me. The desire to seize this unique occasion, to go and learn there what none of the few explorers had been able to get in touch with, to do what no European had ever done.137

Her dream of Tibet is one that gives a twist to the geographical category of ‘real Tibet:’ she gives a spiritual dimension to it, while at the same time the Tibet she is bound to is also the promise of self-realization. Here and there she insists on Himalayas and Tibet as a wilderness which ‘speaks the same language’ as the Sahara her husband lives close to.138 She gives it a spiritual meaning that links it to the medieval topos of the desert, but finds new religious models to express it: ‘It is one of the dreadful and spectacular aspects of what Indian philosophers call Mâya, an illusion, the mirage of the material world.’139

In this respect, she believes her link to Tibet to be of an ontological nature: ‘I have been a nomad of Central Asia in one of my previous lives, as my Oriental friends enjoy to say for fun.’140 This however is a serious matter to her: ‘indeed, I clearly get recollections of it, remote and deep inside myself, up there in the wide steppes.’ She adds that ‘in her veins’ she ‘for sure’ has the ‘atavism of an Asiatic nomad’ and may have been a ‘great Tibetan lama in the past.’141 This explains why ‘she has felt nostalgia for Asia before she ever went there’ and that although she was ‘born a Parisian’ she is ‘endowed with such a mentality so alien to the one of her native milieu.’142

David-Néel’s discourse in her letters testifies to a heterogeneous set of representations of Tibet in the first decades of the twentieth century. First and foremost, her commitment to Buddhism and scholarly ambitions give an unexpected twist to the categories of ‘real Tibet’ she inherited from her predecessors and fellows. In this respect, her vision of Tibet is not only the transnational product of two different traditions in the history of European representations, but is thoroughly transformed by her actual field experience and personal encounter with Sikkimese landscapes and people. In the process, her exploration clearly takes a metaphorical flair that turns the categories of ‘imagined Tibet’ and ‘real Tibet’ upside down and blurs their conceptual definitions. While the primary meaning of ‘real Tibet’ should refer to what one knows of the place once one has come into contact with it — at the time, what the explorers had seen and written about Tibet — ‘imagined Tibet’ refers to fantasies about it, like those about unknown or utopian lands. Through her insight into the Tantric tradition of Tibetan Buddhism David-Néel pictures ‘real Tibet’ as the ‘land of marvels.’143 In this respect, she suggests that Himalayan landscape is endowed with special qualities that resonate with her own vision of the world. Reflecting on her everyday life in the remote beside her lama-yogui she writes to Philippe:

Everything is but a dream! Is it not a dream for a Parisian woman to be here on this steep mountain slope, sleeping on a camp bed and living in the only company of a prodigious sorcerer who spent more than twenty years of his life isolated in the wilderness, who lived in cemeteries, who ate corpses, what do I know? Is it not unlikely? How would I not call it a dream?144

On the threshold of Tibet, Himalayan mountain landscape, as she describes it, encapsulates the Tantric visions that she has experienced with the Gomchen. ‘The Buddha saw something. [...] My lama-yogui “saw” too. [...] In study and meditation, I seek to see what the Buddhas have seen.’145 The vision develops throughout her perception of Tibetan landscape. After her first meeting with the Gomchen in May 1912, she already describes the ‘strange Himalayan light’ in a way that stands out of the explorers’ usual formulations:

Everything is hazy, dark, but, unlikely as it may sound, a white luminosity wraps everything and the shadow mysteriously glows with some kind of brightness that is neither sun or moon, that does not seem to come down from the sky but emanates from the things themselves, or rather from something that would be inside them, behind their material shape. What a country...146

Later, at De-Chen Ashram (Dewa Thang), she gets used to contemplate the Himalayan landscape as a means to unbind through meditation her attachment to ‘the world, the civilization and its conventions.’147 At the end of her stay, she watches the ‘Transhimalayan mountains and the Tibetan land turn blue’ and concludes: ‘things are like thin sand, […] like water [...]. Impermanence everywhere, the Buddha said. […] All of this is a dream.’148

At this key-point of Tibetan and European intercultural history, David-Néel remarkably reverses the so-far prevailing paradigm of geographical discovery into an exploration of a new kind, as she confesses to Philippe: ‘If I can transcribe this vision in a lived and lively way as the [Buddhas and the lama-yogui] have, then maybe is it worth for me to write and speak.’149 Before she actually entered Tibet ten years later and became famous as the first European woman to get to Lhasa, it is on the very Sikkimese threshold that she developed a set of images representative of the ‘magical Tibet’150 better known to us from her later travel narratives.

A symbolic birthplace: a retrospective mise-en-scène

Having succeeded in entering Lhasa in 1924, David-Néel returns gloriously to France. Right after the success of her travel narrative My Journey to Lhasa in 1927 (the English version was published prior to the French edition), she has a Tibetan-style house built at Dignes-les-bains, mirroring in some way Sidkeong Tulku’s partly Asian partly British house in Kalimpong. There she writes her well-known bestsellers that will reward her with financial incomes and a wide readership.151 Two years after publishing My Journey to Lhasa, she focuses on her encounter with esoteric Tibetan Buddhism in With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet. The English backcover claims that in this book Alexandra David-Néel ‘describes her experiences during a fourteen-year stay in Tibet, as she studied and participated in the occult philosophies of mystics and magicians.’

I have suggested so far that the remarkable success of her representations of Tibet is the result of her encounter with the Tibetan world at the margins of both British Empire and Tibet proper. The first lines of her book can be read as a retrospective tribute to Sikkim:

‘Well, then, it is understood. I leave Dawasandup with you as interpreter. He will accompany you to Gangtok.’

Is it a man who is speaking to me? This short yellow-skinned being clad in a robe of orange brocade, a diamond star sparkling on his hat, is he not, rather, a genie come down from the neighboring mountains?

They say he is an ‘incarnated Lama’ and heir prince of a Himalayan throne, but I doubt his reality. Probably he will vanish like a mirage, with his caparisoned little steed and his party of followers, dressed in all the colors of the rainbow. He is a part of the enchantment in which I have lived these last fifteen days. This new episode is of the stuff that dreams are made of. [...] I hear myself, as if I were listening to some other person, promising him that I will start the next day for his capital, and the little troop, headed by the musicians, disappears.

As the last murmurs of the plaintive melody die away in the distance, the enchantment that has held me spellbound dissipates.

I have not been dreaming, all this is real. I am at Kalimpong, in the Himalayas, and the interpreter given me when I arrived stands at my side.152

Kalimpong, the gateway to Sikkim on the border with British India, appears here at the very forefront of the narrative of David-Néel’s discovery of ‘real Tibet and its religious world.’153 From the start, she clearly rewrites her own story giving it a new birthplace. The readers familiar with My Journey to Lhasa now become acquainted with the dream-like tone she had given to her letters from Sikkim, which were inspired from the ‘psychic atmosphere’154 of the philosophical ‘fairy tale’155 she had steeped in. She thus retells her readers what she had already told her husband seventeen years earlier. But now the dream stands as the matrix point of the book: in her narrative, dream is now the beginning of all things concerning Asia. The narrative reconstructs the travel as an epiphany in which Kalimpong plays the function of the symbolic doorway giving access to the other side of reality — or, rather, to the ultimate truth. Whereas in this narrative Sidkeong Tulku becomes some Shakespearian airy spirit,156 the meeting with the Dalai Lama almost disappears into thin air. Kazi Dawa Samdup — although his name is mentioned from the start — shrinks away into a three-page colorful portrait as if he had escaped from his own stories fashioned ‘in the style of Boccaccio.’157 Her lama-yogui stands out as an awe-inspiring and ‘bizarre character.’158 Nevertheless, he is only mentioned here and there and David-Néel’s encounters with the ‘gomtchèn’ are described rather synthetically: ‘what I learned that way was Tibet itself, its inhabitants’ customs and thoughts.’159 In a few pages, these once essential figures fade out at full throttle160 and give way to the core matter of the book: a collection of picturesque and fairy stories on magicians, sorcerers, Tantric ascetics and their supernatural powers and esoteric practices. The accounts are scarcely (or not at all) related to their sources and the events are only loosely connected to the time and space of the travel experience. Her readers proved to be eagerly receptive to these modern fantasy tales on death and the beyond, gathered in a rhapsodic narrative and only held together by the authoritative ‘I’ of the narrator.161

Alexandra David-Neel's Adventures in Tibet Fact or Fiction?
by Braham Norwick
The Tibet Journal
Vol. 1, No. 3/4, Special Issue : “Tibet: A Living Tradition”: Proceedings of a Symposium held at The Newark Museum (Autumn 1976), pp. 70-74
Published by: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives

In the process, one can sense from the skillful mise-en-scène of her second book that Alexandra David-Néel’s authorial status has now been ascertained. Does she speak here as a scholar? After all, one major benefit of her travel to Sikkim was the surfacing of a number of Tantric Buddhist texts previously unknown to Western scholars.162 Or does she want, mainly, to publicly profess her Buddhist faith in picturing her encounters with distinguished lamas and Tibetan spiritual masters? One should remember that these issues actually belonged to her previous agenda that can be read in her letters. At the time, she had to find her way out of the ‘double bind’ that tied her to both the scholar communities she was critical of and to the oversyncretic spiritual atmosphere of Theosophy that had a grip on Buddhist reform movements.163 But now her voice sounds quite different. Indeed, at a time when Tibetan studies were still at their beginnings in the Western scholarly world, her books on the Tantric tradition of Tibetan Buddhism had a unique value for scholars. But at the same time they too obviously did not conform to scientific methods and targeted a wider audience.164 As I have pointed out in my introduction, it is rather as an adventure writer that she first will be recognized.165 But her popularizing work on Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism also contributed to the success of her adventure narratives and novels. She thus became a popular writer of a special kind, one who claimed to combine the authority of a Buddhist convert and of a scholar floating on the margins of French and British Orientalism: in the eye of the public this double aura gave its flair to her books that were for the most part rapidly translated into English. It certainly accounts for the international success of ‘visions of Himalaya’166 in which the distinction between ‘real Tibet’ and ‘imagined Tibet’ is blurred even after she actually entered its geographical perimeter. Although Tibet was by then no longer uncharted territory, this vision lingers in David-Néel’s writings on a metaphorical level. In post-First-World-War and Second-World-War eras, it is this vision, as David-Néel herself foresaw it in Sikkim, that strongly contributed to turn Tibet into one of the most obvious and essential repository of Buddhism. Tibet was no longer a repellent ‘Lamaist’ country. At a time when Tibet as a state remained an ‘unsolved question in the international arena’167 and was an indefinitely restricted area, it appeared to David-Néel’s readers — Allen Ginsberg reading With Mystics and Magicians to Tibet clearly testifies to it — to hide one of the most appealing spiritual wisdom available to the modern world.

Conclusion: broadcasting Tibet, or the Sikkimese ways of global Buddhism

In With Mystics and Magicians to Tibet, David-Néel not only credits Sikkim with her encounter with Tibet, but also uses her stay in Sikkim as an introduction to the literary tone and manner that she will become famous for. Through David-Néel’s letters from Sikkim, the Journal de voyage gives us access to the genetic processes of her vision of Tibet. In this vision, the beholder — the traveler’s and writer’s pervasive ‘I’ — and the show — the world, the others, the landscape, the beyond — alike are put into perspective, transcended and eventually deterritorialized. Such a vision was to become a standardized pattern of globalized Buddhism in the twentieth century. Its roots and emergence in David-Néel’s discourse should actually be given a broader perspective if we wish to consider more closely the global issues of her Sikkimese experience. An alternative angle to look at David-Néel’s modernist self-fashioning and worldwide success is found in The Way of the White Clouds, a famous travel narrative by another Western Buddhist modernist, Anagarika Govinda (born Ernst Lothar Hoffmann, 1898–1985). He was a Theravada bhikku who intended to purify Vajrayana practices, but then turned to Tibetan Buddhism. He became a disciple of the Gomchen of Lachen twenty years after David-Néel had stayed at the monastery of Lachen. In his book, Govinda recalls ‘the famous French Orientalist and explorer Alexandra David-Neel, whose books on Tibet were so outstanding that they were translated into all the major languages of the world’ and writes:

The profound knowledge that informed her books, which for the first time gave an objective account of hitherto unknown spiritual practices and psychic phenomena, were the direct outcome of these three years of study and meditation under the Great Hermit, who thus — with unfailing certainty — had chosen the right medium for broadcasting his message over the entire world, without himself ever leaving his far-off retreat among the snows of the Himalayas. With this ‘message’ I do not mean a message of any personal nature or the propagation of any particular doctrine, but a message which opened the eyes of the world to the hitherto hidden spiritual treasures of Tibetan religious culture.168

Govinda’s statement suggests judiciously that one might reevaluate the subjective feature of Alexandra David-Néel’s tone and the literary indeterminacy of her adventure narratives.169 In his perspective, her books are best considered as a collection of quotations of the Gomchen of Lachen, a crucial figure whom we have seen was so complexly bound up in Alexandra David- Néel’s spiritual quest and public persona.170 Moreover, David-Néel’s books obey a fundamentally global logic, since through them the lama-yogui’s ‘secret oral teachings’ found an accurate transcultural form to meet the modern world and circulated across the transnational networks of twentieth-century written literature.171 In this respect, it is significant that, almost a century after David-Néel had intended to preach Southern primitive Buddhism to Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama, in Kalimpong, Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, a major figure of Buddhism today in the global public sphere, wrote in a fitting reversal of roles the foreword to a recent edition of My Journey to Lhasa, paying homage to ‘the first to introduce the real Tibet to the West’ and ‘to convey the authentic flavor of Tibet as she found it.’172

When David-Néel came back to Europe, she did not adopt the scheme of transmission perpetuated by many of contemporary Buddhist modernists and leading intellectuals (Ananda Metteyya, T. W. Rhys Davids, Nyanatiloka, Anagarika Dharmapala, Walter Evans-Wentz, and later Taisen Deshimaru (1914–1982), D. T. Suzuki (1870–1966) and Chögyam Trungpa (1939–1987), to name but a few): she did not turn into a Buddhist lama (unlike Anagarika Govinda or more recently Matthieu Ricard), did not accept any disciple and did not preach Buddhism orally any more. She did not found communities or get involved in Buddhist institutional structures. She nonetheless went on writing about Buddhism throughout her life. As Govinda suggested, Sikkim, rather than France or Europe, gave birth to and literally produced Alexandra David-Néel’s authorial voice, offering her a new and lasting career-path.

An indicator of the successful cadre officers' deep involvement in their role was their inability to detach themselves from Tibetan affairs after their departure. Most of the Sikkim Political Officers either sought to return to the frontier in some capacity, or devoted a significant part of their retirement to the Tibetan cause.

Bell and MacDonald both remained closely involved in Tibetan affairs. MacDonald made several attempts in the 1930s and '40s to return to Tibet in an official capacity, and attempted to persuade Bell to return and lead another mission to Lhasa. MacDonald was involved in a number of business enterprises on the frontier, and his Kalimpong hotel was a centre of Tibetan affairs there.

O'Connor frequently gave advice on Tibetan matters to both the Tibetan and British Governments, and, after attempting a new career in business, worked as tour guide on the frontier. Bailey, posted to a Central Indian Princely State after leaving Sikkim, attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the Political Department to return him to the frontier. Gould extended his term of service on the frontier until he was forced to retire on medical grounds, and he and Richardson both supported the Tibetan cause in retirement. The lure of Tibet also affected a number of those who served there in lesser capacities, Escort Officers, Captain Perry and Captain Parker, and Telegraph Sergeants Lee and Martin were among those who applied to live in Tibet.

-- Tibet and the British Raj, 1904-47: The Influence of the Indian Political Department Officers, by Alexander McKay

But David-Néel implicitly rejected the idea of being a ‘vessel’ merely delivering a message; rather, she chose to be a cultural translator of Tantric Buddhism and strove to devise an appealing form for the requirements of the modern era through written literature.173

In the process, did not her own author name and public persona overshadow her guru on the stage of global Buddhism in the twentieth century? Her lama-yogui’s teachings on the threshold of the ‘land of marvels’ had already prompted her to write to Philippe, who had first got to know her as an actress and a novelist: ‘There is no ‘self’ or ‘others,’ there is only an eternal dream that goes on, giving birth to transient characters, fictional adventures.’174 In With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet, as we have seen, she still maintained that she ‘heard [her]self as if [she were] listening to some other person.’ Ultimately, this ‘sûnyavâdin’ (follower of the way of emptiness) understanding of reality and of the self175 fittingly defines the specific way Alexandra David-Néel’s encounter with Sikkimese remote highlands affected her Buddhist modernist views and contributed to the advent of global Buddhism.
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