THE PANTHAY REBELLION 113
parts of his journal; but no trace of them is to be seen in his actions at any time throughout the expedition. Above all, I have always admired the readiness of his resources in overcoming obstacles purposely placed in his way.
If Major Sladen erred in any way, it was in taking a too favourable view of the strength of the Panthay rebellion, and in intimating to the governor of Momein that the friendly state of our relations with the Court of Pekin might be utilized in bringing about a reconciliation of contending interests in Yunnan.* This, by the proverbial sanguine oriental temperament, may, possibly, have been interpreted to mean really more than was intended.
But in all this, as in everything else, Major Sladen acted in perfect good faith. He was urged on by a generous and chivalrous enthusiasm. He saw the Chinese Mahommedans engaged in a resolute and conscientious struggle against the oppressive government of the Mandarins. His sympathies were powerfully enlisted in the Panthay cause. He believed that the establishment of the independence of the Panthay Sultan, as a friendly power, would prove most advantageous to the British Government. It would solve the great problem of the time, namely, the re-opening of the old trade into Western China, under the most favourable auspices.
* See p. lxvii. of Appendix to Major Sladen's Official Report.
vol. 11. ivol. 11. i