Sailors and Marines from USS Newark and USS Oregon arrive at Peking (Beijing), China with other Sailors and Marines from Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Italy and Japan to protect U.S. and foreign diplomatic legations from the Boxers. The Boxers, or Righteous Harmony Society, was a proto-nationalist movement that rose up in China between 1898 and 1901, opposing Western imperialism and Christianity.
The following is an excerpt from the article Experiences during the Boxer Rebellion by Captain J.K. Taussig USN published in Proceedings April, 1927.
The Boxers, it should be understood, were a patriotic organization formed for the express purpose of driving all foreigners out of China. It was their superstitious belief that the presence of the foreigners was the casue of the long protracted drought. Throughout the native city of Tientsin(Tianjin), with it’s million of densely packed Chinese, flaring posters were pasted calling on the populace to arise. A translation of one of these typical maniacal effusions is here given as a fair sample of their general character:
Sacred Edict Issued by the Lord of Wealth and Happiness
The Catholic and Protestant religions being insolent to the gods and extinguishing sanctity, rendering no obedience to Buddhism and enraging both heaven and earth, the rain clouds now no longer visit us; but eight million spirit soldiers will descend from heaven and sweep the empire clear of all foreigners. Then will the gentle showers once more water our land; and when the tread of soldiers and the clash of steel are heard, heralding woes to all our people, then the Buddhist Patriotic League of Boxers will be able to protect the Empire and bring peace to all its people.
Hasten then to spread the doctrine far and wide; for if you gain one adherent to the faith, your own person will be absolved from all misfortunes; if you gain five adherents to the faith, your whole family will be absolved from all evils; and if you gain ten adherents to the faith, your whole village will be absolved from all calamities. Those who gain no adherents to the cause will be decapitated; for until all foreigners have been exterminated the rain can never visit us.
Those who have been so unfortunate as to have drunk water from the wells poisoned by foreigners should at once make use of the following divine prescription…