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The Vietnamese Response to French Intervention, 1862-1874

Mark W. McLeod

New York Westport Connecticut London

LibraIY of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

McLeod, Mark W

The Vietnamese response to French intervention, 1862-1874/ Mark

W McLeod

p, em,

Includes bibliographical references and index, ISBN 0·275-93562-0 (alk. paper)

1 Vietnam-History-1858-1945 1. Title.

DS556.8 M39 1991

959.7 '03-dc20 90-44389

British library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available Copyright © 1991 by Mark W McLeod

All rights reserved No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 90-44389 ISBN: 0-275-93562-0

First published in 1991

Praeger Publishers, One Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc

Printed in the United States of America

The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (239.48-1984)

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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6

Hue's Policy of Peace

and the "Francis Garnier Affair," 1873-1874

This chapter attempts a reinterpretation of the French invasion of Tonkin usually known as the "Francis Garnier Affair." The argument is that Admiral DUpI e and Captain Garnier planned to intimidate Hue into giving France commercial concessions in the N orth-." perhaps. even a protectorate" In pursuance of this scheme they contacted the Catholic missionaries of Tonkin who+with the exception of most of the Spanish Dominicans--responded with enthusiastic encouragement and promises OfSUPP01t. Contrary to the interpretations of many contemporary French authors, the Catholics brought substantial and significant support to the French forces in their short-lived occupation of Tonkin" In short, it is to be demonstrated that an incident that has long been interpreted as an example-ito employ the term of Chesneaux--of "Asiatic treachery" was in fact a case of premeditated aggression by France, an aggression facilitated by the local influence of the Catholic missionaries.

The analysis then turns to the question of Hue's response, It is to be argued that, these aggressions notwithstanding, the Hue court did not deviate from the policy of appeasement that it had followed since the signing of the Tr eaty of Sai-gon. French provocations were met by Hue's official representatives with verbal protest, passive resistance, or merely preparatory and defensive measures" The successful counterattack led by Luu Vinh Phuc (Liu Yung-fu) was probably arranged by local Vietnamese commanders acting contrary to the wishes of the Tu-duc Emperor. The emperor himself recoiled befor e the specter of tactical victory in the Tonkin Delta, disavowing luu Vinh Phuc's actions with as much insistence-and less hypocrisy-as Admiral Dupre in repudiating Gamier's coup de [orce. Hue granted France yet another concessive peace treaty, which the Tu-duc Emperor attempted to justify by purporting to accept Dupre's claim that Garnier had overstepped his authority .. Tu-duc used the

98 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

withdrawal of the French force as a demonstration that the "peace policy" was an effective means of dealing with the French. Through imperial edicts and civil service examinations, Tu-duc presented the Garnier affair as a diplomatic triumph for Vietnam. The episode Tu-duc argued, vindicated the peace policy since the "good will" of the French was presumably demonstrated by the return of the four northern provinces seized by Garnier. The return of these northern provinces, the emperor argued, augured well for the future return of the six southern ones. Far from provoking a reassessment of policy, the Gamier affair prompted the Tu-duc Emperor to launch' a "pr opaganda offensive" in order to indoctrinate the present as well as the rising generation of Vietnamese officials in the vir tues of pacific diplomacy with France,

The introduction of French military force in Tonkin in the mid-1870s developed from France's continuing quest for access to the markets of the China trade. The concept of a "quest for markets" as the basic motivation for European colonial aggression in Southeast Asia during the second half of the nineteenth century can not be expressed by deterministic formulas equating metropolitan economics and colonial acquisitions.. A more subtle explanation of the relationship can be found in D. R. SarDesai's British Trade and Expansion in Southeast Asia, 1830-1914., According to this thesis the economic drive for expansion is often manifested by local agents who exceed the letter of metropolitan authority.' Considered in this framework, Dupre and Garnier's attack on Tonkin was the logical development of a commercial impetus for access to the" China trade that had focused first on the Mekong River,

The French admirals at Saigon wer e tantalized by the prospect of attaining an exclusive riverine access to the hundreds of millions of producers and consumers who populated the remote southern provinces of China and Tibe t.' The admirals viewed southern Chinese markets as the prize in an imperialist competition waged with increasing energy by France's traditional rival, Great Britain. In 1862, Admiral Bonard's political advisor, Captain Aubaut, warned him of the "British peril" in the following terms:

England moves ever closer to China; the recent treaty with the King of Burma is considered at Calcutta as the first step toward Yunnan. It should be France that maintains influence over the Indochinese Peninsula" .' ,. washed by a river that originates in Tibet and whose mouth is in our possession?

The Fr ench explorers who finally dashed the traders' and admirals' hopes for the Mekong 'were sponsored by the privately-endowed Paris Geographical Society at the head of which was a vocal advocate of trading interests, Chasseloup-Laubat, concurrently Minister of the Navy and Colonies.' Led by Doudart de Lagree, the explorers traveled during 1866-1867 from the mouth of the Mekong (i.e. Sai-gon), into Yunnan, but they found the journey

To th~ Mi ha ob aU me so pn St2

For C policj pIOSPl

n in fif fa WI th in:

Garni deveh in Inc exact consi econr Chins atten the F mine]

Hue: Peace & the "Francis Gamier Affair" 99

~ "peace lhrough ited the episode,

will" of :he four iorthem eturn of f policy, LUnch a s well as f pacific

difficult, perilous, and expensive" Commercial navigation, the explorers concluded, would be impeded by the many gorges and cascades all along the upper Mekong" The Mekong River was thus demonstrated unsuitable as the intended economic artery.' But French interest in southern China's markets was not diminished by these findings; it was diverted from the Mekong and Sai-gon and focused intensely on the Red River and Ha-noi."

The young second-in-command, Francis Garnier, was an advocate of an aggressive French colonial policy calculated to enhance the economic interests and political influence of France in Asia" During the Mekong exploration he hatched a gr andiose scheme to limit British and Thai influence on the Indochinese Peninsula while developing and redirecting through Vietnamese ports the cornmer ce of Laos, Cambodia, and southern China" Garnier proposed the following measures for the realization of the Red River's economic potential:

To impose upon Hue commercial conditions that will permit the introduction of our merchandise through Hue itself into Middle Laos and through Tonkin into South China;", to have the COUIse of the Red River carefully explored; " " to obtain from the Chinese government all of the facilities and all of the protection desirable for the cornmer cial and metallurgical exploitation of Yunnan; to improve the roads of southern China; to remove the previously established prohibitions that have maintained the Celestial Empire in a state of absolute isolation and that today are outdated?

F 01 Gamier and others who propounded an aggressive colonial policy, political action was a sine qua non for the survival and prosperity of French trade in Asia:

These various measures can certainly obtain for our industry in a relatively short time markets equivalent to approximately fifty million consumers" This would be the point of departure for a fruitful competition in this immense Chinese market with merchandise coming from the English that presently threatens to invade and destroy rival industries in an

impossible battle." '

Garnier concluded that France's position in Cochin China if properly developed could be the base for a commercial and political influence in Indochina and southern China with the potential to become "the exact counterweight to that of England in India."? This was Gamier's consistent conception of the sufficient political pr ogram for the economic development of the Indochinese Peninsula and southern China for the benefit of French trade and commerce with particular attention to the opportunities that the Red River could provide to the French entrepreneur for access to southern Chinese markets and minerals.,

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100 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

.. ,;.

The French Governor at Sai-gon, Admiral Dupre, was a partisan of the aggressive colonial policy advocated by Garnier" Dupre had long sought to obtain from the Vietnamese government a treaty that would recognize French sovereignty in Vinh-long, An-giang, and Ha-tien provinces, occupied by France since 1867" '. Dupre was also concerned about the possibility that a rival European power would preempt Fr ance in northern and central Vietnam. He sought to foreclose this possibility by means of the desired treaty with Hue by including in it an engagement on the Hue court's part not to cede to any foreign power any part of Vietnam without the consent of France" But the Hue court, reluctant to formalize France's recent seizures of Vietnamese territory for fear that this recognition would become an impediment to an eventual retrocession of all six occupied provinces, had refused to negotiate such a treaty. Nor was Hue willing to negotiate away its sovereignty in the North and center." Dupre found Hue's refusal frustrating and yearned to launch direct military action against independent Vietnam in order to increase the pressure on Tu-duc fOI a settlement.. In seeking to persuade the French Minister of the Navy and Colonies that armed intervention was imperative, Dupre argued that the endemic rebellion in the French-held southern territories derived from the Vietnamese population's belief that the French presence was temporary, And he raised the specter of "foreign"--German-involvement in Tonkin" "Lower Cochinchina," he wrote on December 22, 1872,

is always agitated by surreptitious schemers who seek to excite troubles" The prolongation of this situation is due to the ambiguous state of our relations with Hue. Calm will only be reestablished after the conclusion of a definitive treaty before which the Hue government has recoiled for three years, The time for negotiations has passed, and firm pressure is indispensable" " , " The means of execution would be the occupation of Ha-noi, the capital of Tonkin, and the mouths of the Red River, the principal river of the region, Undoubtedly it would be desirable to postpone the occupation until the consolidation of om establishment in Cochinchina, but the occupation must occur because it is indispensable for the future tranquility of OUI colony that we have no immediate European neighbor" Siam, which separates us from the English of Burma, will develop and endure, in contrast to the Empire of Annam, which is in rapid decadence and will finish by falling either into OUI establishment or into that of a foreign power that will seize Tonkin, For the Germans have designs there.'!

But the Franco-Prussian War and the resulting domestic crisis and defeatist mood in France meant that Dupre could not obtain authorization from the metropole for armed intervention.P When

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Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 101

Jean Dupuis, a French arms merchant and adventurer-of-fortune, conclusively showed in 1871 the practicality of the Red River route by transporting minerals from South China to Ha-noi in nine days, the English papers gave the story even more attention than the French, It seemed to many French officers in Sai-gon that British commercial and colonial inter ests were less encumbered by official handicaps; the British, in fact, wet e actively seeking to secure the connection from their Indian Empire through Burma to China." Dupre resolved to take independent action, and he envisioned Jean Dupuis as the means for circumventing the Parisian proscription of direct intervention,

French governmental SUppOI t in general and Admiral Dupre's assistance in specific for Dupuis will probably never be precisely known, According to Milton Osborne, author of the most extensively documented recent work on the Mekong expedition, Dupuis first learned of the Red Rive! 's economic potential through a chance meeting in 1868 with members of the Mekong mission in Hangchow. When he subsequently proved the validity of the explorers' suppositions in 1871 by a successful navigation, Dupuis reported his findings to the Ministry of the Navy and Colonies, proposing to them his scheme to supply arms to the Chinese governor of Yunnan by traveling up the Red River into southern China" While film official backing for his plans was not forthcoming, he was given help in transportation and was authorized to purchase cannon for his Chinese client.l" Dupuis was also provided with a I econnaissance vessel, the Bourayne, under Captain Senez. Senez was to rendezvous with Dupuis at Cua Cam, introduce him to the appropriate Vietnamese authorities, and recommend that they look with favor upon his request to travel up the Red River into China." Osborne seems justified in assessing Dupuis' relationship with the Ministry as follows:

The arrangement fell into that shadowy world where officials give "semi-official" support to risky projects, With success there can be a ringing affirmation of association, while failure brings a bland denial of knowledge.P

Dupuis was even more successful with the naval officers he met in Sai-gon in May 1872. Many of them were chafing at the restraints imposed by Paris, and they were delighted to offer covert SUppOIt to a resourceful Frenchman about to launch himself on a potentially profitable and possibly explosive undertaking in Tonkin.'? Dupre an anged for Dupuis a loan of 30,000 piastres, Captain Senez provided the arms merchant with foodstuffs and wines when the Bourayne rendezvoused with Dupuis' ships in Tonkinese waters.P And he assigned to Dupuis his Vietnamese-language interpreter from Sai-gon, officially attached to the Bouraynel?

Most French authors who treated the matter of Dupuis' reception by Vietnamese authorities emphasized the reasonableness and

102 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

legality of Dupuis' venture and the obstinate and arbitrary handling of the matter by the indigenous officials." These author s base their arguments almost entirely on French sources" In contrast, most Vietnamese authors base their arguments on original Vietnamese documentation to supplement French sources, and they argue that Dupuis provoked Vietnamese local officials with his arrogant attitude and illegal activities."

The modem Vietnamese historians' perspectives are supported by the imperial records of the Nguyen dynasty. Although Dupuis' actions placed Hue's officials in an impossible position both in regard to their internal administrative procedures and in terms of their political relations with China, the Hue court was prepared to protect Dupuis from the wrath of its local officials, who were more willing than the central authority to respond to Dupuis' provocations, Unwilling to risk a conflict with the French, the Tu-duc Emperor ultimately chose to ask the French authorities at Sai-gon for assistance"

According to the Dai Nam thuc luc the initial instrument of dissuasion utilized by Vietnamese officials was verbal: "Dupuis' craft went from Hai-duong and arrived in Bac-ninh and then Ha-noi" The provincial civil and military officials argued with him several times, telling him that he might not proceed, but he would not listen.'?" When Dupuis penetrated deep into Vietnamese tenitory, the emperor ordered that he not be received or assisted in the hope that without indigenous aid the Frenchman would realize the impossibility of proceeding with his venture and would abandon it. Vietnamese officials were ordered not to provoke an incident:

The king ordered the provincial and military officials at Ha-noi and north of Ha-noi to reflect and to respond appropriately: they should neither receive nor ,guide Dupuis in the hope that wherever he goes he will himself realize the difficulty of proceeding and will withdr aw on his own account.", Officials must report immediately on his movements and activities so that an official response can be prepared; but do not act on your own initiative to provoke him first lest we lose the appropriate moment for action."

The Quae trieu ehanh bien's account of a "negotiation" between Dupuis and Vietnamese officials contrasts sharply with the views of Dupuis and his French apologists regarding the putative harassment and duplicity practiced by the Hue court.24 These documents reveal that Dupuis refused to meet in Ha-noi with imperial officials as they requested, instead sending subordinates, and he declined to declare the status of his crew. The primary concern of the Hue COUlt to avoid a conflict in dealing with the Fr enchman is revealed by the Tu-duc Emperor's criticism of Nguyen Tri Phuong for permitting Ha-noi officials to offend Dupuis, thereby increasing the risk of a conflict:

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between views of rassment its reveal Is as they o declare

court to ed by the ennitting risk of a

Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 103

Nguyen Tri Phuong delegated Va-Dang to invite Dupuis to come to the council at the officials' bureau .. Dupuis was absent and Ly Ngoc Tri was ill. Several members of the boat's crew replaced them in meeting with the council. Va-Dang told them: "Regulations requIre that all military material be left behind, and you gentlemen must declare the members of the expedition in older to facilitate inspection," Dupuis' group was displeased with this .. The matter came to the king's attention, and he criticized the envoJ' telling him that it was not permitted to provoke an incident,

Concerned that his officials might initiate a conflict, the Tu-duc Emperor ordered that officials who maneuvered troops in such a way that they might appear threatening to Dupuis would be punished; Nguyen Du Oat and Ton That Phien of Hung-yen province were 1 educed one grade of rank for transgressing these directives." Informed that Dupuis had seized pnvate and imperial vessels, pillaged the local population, and attacked and killed Vietnamese soldiers while passing through the subpr efecture of Ha-hoa in Son-tay province, the emperor continued to order that Vietnamese officials prepare to defend themselves without allowing Dupuis to observe them and thus to take umbrage.F

The Hue court and its local officials considered Dupuis' presence in Tonkin to be in violation of the 1862 treaty's commercial provisions, according to which only three Vietnamese ports were opened to French and Spanish commerce .. These were Da-nang, Ba-Lat, and Quang-yen, where French and Spanish merchants were to pay established duties in conformity with a most-favored-nation stipulation.f Furthermore, Vietnamese officials saw in Dupuis' acts of plunder, piracy, and murder violations of Vietnamese law, Nevertheless, the sources consulted above indicate that the Vietnamese government did its utmost to exercise restraint in order to avoid possible conflict with France. The documents suggest that local officials were prepared to take stronger action than was the court in dealing with Dupuis, but mandarins revealing this tendency were criticized and/or punished. True to the policy of appeasement that he had followed since the signing of the 1862 treaty, the Tu-due Emperor preferred to resolve the problem diplomatically by calling upon French authorities in Sai-gon." Explaining his decision at court, Tu-duc emphasized the legality of the Vietnamese position according to the Treaty of Sai-gon:

If the matter has gone as tar as this, order the mandarin charged with external relations to write to the French admiral to have him force a withdrawal. He should explain that this is not a trading port as stipulated in the treaw, and so it is not permitted to come here to cause problems.'

In thus presenting the case to Admiral Dupre, the Tu-duc Emperor was III effect appealing to the good faith of the French government in

104 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

adhering to the terms of the 1862 accords, which did not authorize French traders to operate in Tonkin. FOI the emperor the 1862 document provided the legal basis for the resolution of the Dupuis matter, The Vietnamese government's request did not include an offer to negotiate a 11 eaty regal ding the commercial opening of the Red River or any other matter outstanding between the two powers ..

In October of 1873, Admiral Dupre responded by dispatching Francis Garnier with formal written instructions directing him to adjudicate the Dupuis dispute and to negotiate the commercial opening of the Red River." By including the question of commer cial liberty on the Red River in Gamier's written instructions, Dupre already exceeded the Vietnamese government's request for expelling Dupuis based on the 1862 treaty .. Furthermore, it is likely that Garnier's written orders reveal only a part of Dupre's actual instructions, Milton Osborne has suggested that in private ver bal instructions Dupre went further than this, directing Garnier to open the Red River to European commerce by any means possible; in case of failure Dupre could deny that he had authorized aggression.F The hypothesis that Dupre gave Gamier supplementary secret instructions in regard to the means to be employed is a reasonable one .. However, Dupre's private and official correspondence during October indicates that Osborne perhaps underestimates the ends sought by Dupre, Dupre desired a commercial treaty, but, as a letter to the French Minister at Peking reveals, he also wanted Garnier to dictate personnel changes to the Hue court:

If the Hue court obstinately retains in the king's councils and at the head of the affairs of Tonkin men known for their systematic opposition to the French alliance and for their inveterate hatred of the Christians, he must abstain from all intervention, let destiny work itself out, and reserve for us a complete freedom of action.P

Furthermore, in a personal letter of October 19, 1873, Dupre envisioned the establishment of a protectorate over Tonkin and Annam, and he did not preclude the overthrow of the Nguyen dynasty itself:

The occupation of a military position in the heart of Tonkin will very probably be a necessary step towar d the conclusion of the treaty, which must be equivalent to the protectorate of France over the entire kingdom. If the Hue COUIt stubbornly maintains its stupid pride and rejects our protection, it will suffice to call upon all the malcontents of Tonkin in 01 del' to chase away all the mandarins. We would only have the problem of choosing among the more or less legitimate pretenders to the sovereignty of Tonkin .. Either the country submits to a new head invested by us, or it remains under Annamite authority, Our obligations and expenses will

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Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 105

remain the same, but the latter case is the most probable outcome" In either case our protectorate would not be a vain word" To make it effective we shall need a significant naval force to remain in the country until Its complete pacification, " , I cannot yet specify the figure, but I believe that it would not be adventuresome to declare that it would remain beneath that of the forces we 'presently maintain in Lower Cochin China. We will find [in Tonkin] more and better organizational elements than we found [in Lower Co chin China], and we will not be forced as we were [in Lower Cochin China] to substitute our administration for the indigenous one" A resident and several inspectors would suffice to ensure that the population be honestly and benevolently administer ed."

Dupre therefore intended--and probably instructed Captain Garnier--to extort from Hue at the minimum the commercial concession of navigation on the Red River, which the admiral had long sought in vain" But a formal protectorate to be obtained through an agreement with, or by the overthrow of, the Nguyen dynasty was also envisaged. It is probable that Dupre had shared these considerations with Garnier. Garnier evidently understood that he was to exercise considerable freedom in terms of means as well as ends, fOJ he wrote as follows to his brother shortly before leaving Sai-gon: "As fOJ instructions, carte blanche! The admiral is relying on me! Forward then for our beloved Francel'Y

Finally, Garnier's behavior upon arrival in Ha-noi demonstrates that from the beginning he intended to intimidate the Hue court or, failing this, to provoke a conflict, Whereas Vietnamese officials received Garnier honorably, he refused to discuss the Dupuis case with them." Garnier had no intention of "adjudicating" the Dupuis dispute if the term is understood in the sense of impartially deciding a dispute. This assertion is based on a letter that Garnier had composed en route and dispatched upon arrival by Catholic couriers to Dupuis. In a communication that would appear compromisingly cordial between a judge and a party to a case supposedly yet to be decided, Garnier explained that, although the necessity of maintaining appearances dictated that a certain distance initially be maintained between them, Dupuis' economic interests would be protected, his political counsel valued:

I can assure you in the most positive fashion that the admiral does not intend to abandon any of the engaged commercial interests. He has elsewhere given you the most unequivocal proofs of his lively sympathy for your enterprise. I shall soon be in Ha-noi, where we can meet to discuss the political situation37

Instead of consulting Hue's officials regarding the Dupuis case, Gamier cir culated the rumor that "something dangerous [viec nguy

106 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

hiem]" would happen if the Hue court did not negotiate a satisfactory commercial treaty." When his full contingent arrived, Gamier began to act as though he-representing France-were the sovereign authority in Tonkin. He interfered in a matter of indigenous military discipline, demanding the release of an imprisoned Vietnamese soldier who had been punished for permitting French troops to enter Nguyen Tri Phuong's residence." Gamier then proclaimed that the Chinese merchants and residents of Tonkin should come to him with their grievances regarding the behavior of Hue's officials.f Finally the Frenchman issued an ultimatum demanding that the Ha-noi citadel be disarmed, that the Vietnamese authorities in Ha-noi order the provincial authorities to comply with Gamier's demands for the opening and regulation of commerce on the Red River, and that Dupuis be allowed to continue his transactions with Yunnan .. 41 The Vietnamese government was also to award Dupuis an indemnity for losses suffered because of Hue's alleged interference in his conunercial dealings. If these demands wer e not met, an imminent assault on the Ha-noi citadel was threatened .. 42 In response Vietnamese officials insisted that as sovereign power having a legal relationship with France established by the Treaty of Sai-gon, the Vietnamese government had asked Admiral Dupre to send a mission to expel Dupuis, who had violated Vietnamese laws as well as the 1862 treaty. On this basis they maintained that Gamier's only legitimate purpose in Tonkin was to exhort and if necessary to compel Dupuis to depart .. Seeing that Gamier had no intention either of fulfilling the requested task of expelling Dupuis or of negotiating to resolve the crisis that he, Garnier, had created, Vietnamese commander Nguyen IIi Phuong gave orders for the Ha-noi citadel to prepare its defenses .. Garnier's forces attacked the citadel on November 20, 1873, easily overpowering the Vietnamese defenders .. This attack on Ha-noi, premeditated by Dupre and Gamier, could only have been prevented by Hue's complete capitulation to Garnier's commercial and political demands, the sum of which would have been equivalent to the surrender of Vietnamese sovereignty in Tonkin .. 43

The preceding discussion comprises the economic and political background to the French occupation of the Tonkin Delta.. It remains to be demonstrated that Dupre intended to exploit for these imperialist ends the pr esence of missionaries and indigenous Christians, protected under the 1862 treaty, on independent Vietnamese soil ..

The ministerial correspondence of the admirals at Sai-gon shows that these officials were well aware of the fact that the French missionaries had never been satisfied with the privileges procured them by the 1862 treaty .. According to Admiral Bonard, for example, the missionaries concealed neither their contempt for the treaty nor their projects to expand their status and influence at the expense of the Hue COUIt. Rather than patronizing an aggressive proselytization, the admirals were preoccupied with protecting

mission activitie termina of view formall territor aggr ess Christia

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Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 107

France's commercial and political advantages in Vietnam by restraining missionaries when the latter, in Bonard's words, "did everything in their power to move the government along the fateful path they travel to the overthrow of King Tu-duc.f'" Between the signing of the 1862 treaty and the eve of Gamier's Tonkin adventure, therefore, the admirals were primarily concerned that the missionaries of northern and central Vietnam would engage in activities and place demands that would push the Hue government to terminate a relationship that, if hardly ideal from the colonial point of view, at least provided a break on anti-French activity and formally recognized some of the French seizures of Vietnamese territory" It is to be argued that Dupre planned to exploit the aggressive potential of the missionaries and the Vietnamese Christians--a calculated divergence from this practice"

As noted earlier Dupre was careful to reserve fa! himself the freedom to deny that he had ordered Gamier to threaten or attack the indigenous authorities in Tonkin, Dupre's written instructions to Gamier in regard to the Catholics are similarly characterized by an equivocalness that makes it difficult to determine with certainty what were his precise intentions fOJ the Catholics' role in support of the Gamier mission" On the subject of the Catholic role, Dupre's instructions to Garnier read as follows:

I have officially notified the bishops about the mission you ar e about toundertake And I have asked them to lend you all their assistance, .' " You will recommend to them that they preach to their Christians patience, a temporary, complete submission to the authorities, that they oppose any blustering, any premature reaction, anything, in a word, that could be used against me when I reclaim for them the whole of their lights, You will find in the Catholic Missions a useful source of information of every kind 45

The most probable hypothesis is that Dupre hoped that the mere presence of the French force would frighten Tu-duc into granting the French demands, in which case the Catholics were to remain submissive to indigenous authority. Therefore, a "temporary, complete submission" to Vietnamese authorities was recommended, for a "premature reaction" by the Catholics would needlessly complicate matters. Such a choice of words hardly precludes the possibility of a more active role if the Hue court were to prove recalcitrant. In this eventuality, Dupr e probably wanted the missionaries to direct their Christians to bring a substantial assistance in the form of supplies, manpower, and military support to Garnier's small force. This interpretation is supported by Dupre's letter of July 28, 1873 to the Minister of the Navy and Colonies. Dupre expressed therein his hopes that the Garnier mission would benefit from missionary intelligence and from the "active assistance" of large numbers of Vietnamese Catholics:

108 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

I remind you of the 500,000 Christians, representing about one-twentieth of the total population, of whom the bishops promise US the active assistance '" We can also usefully employ the profound knowledge of the missionaries and the bishops, who have lived there for long years and travel there fr eely since they have been protected from violent persecution.f

In asking for the northern Catholic Missions' support for the Garnier expedition, Dupre appealed to the missionaries' conceptions of their interests in two ways: At the minimum he promised that Garnier would hear sympathetically the missionaries' specific grievances against Vietnamese officials; at the maximum he implied the possibility of the overthrow of the Nguyen dynasty. Dupre's circular letter of October 6, 1873 to the missionaries of the Tonkin Delta maintained the fiction that Dupuis was merely an "adventurer" but nevertheless asked, in effect, that the Catholic Missions offer Garnier their SUppOIt for an attempt to intimidate or overthrow the Vietnamese government:

The Annamite government is threatened with the imminent loss of Tonkin, and its vety existence will be in danger if this rich and populous province escapes its control. A band of adventurers holds it in check, , ,. and the government's incapacity to enforce its laws is now manifest.. , " " It can only achieve this if it asks our aid, which will impose serious efforts on us. If we accept, what compensation is Hue prepared to offer us and what guarantees against a return to its previous bad dispositions? I am ready to formulate them when the Hue court decides to negotiate on this basis and to give its ambassadors the requisite powers, ," Monsieur Gamier is to ask Monsieur Dupuis to renounce temporarily his enterprise-to take it up again under more official conditions-sand to compel his compliance if necessary, Then Gamier will provisionally open the Red River to Annamite, French, and Chinese vessels on the condition that they pay moderate dues, and he will see that the particular stipulations regarding the Christians are respected" " ., If, completely misunderstanding my truly Christian intentions, the Hue court persists in its blindness, causing difficulties, searching for pretexts to avoid its commitments, we shall withdraw the friendly hand that we offer, and the Hue cOUIt'S destiny will be sealed without OUI being for ced to hasten the pr ocess by violence" I do not doubt that I shall have the sincere assistance of YOUI' Grace and all of yOUI' venerable confreres in the plan I propose."?

Captain Garnier followed his superior closely in taking care to emoIl the Catholic communities and their spiritual heads on the French side for the coming conflict, Arriving at Cua Cam on

October: at Ke-mo foUowin:

Emphasi, the missir "the mak reads as f

SentI situat politi intere into I~ such a duties reclar agaim resol pacifu to fOJ religi compl soma

A sub

.. seizure ( hencefor intelligei interests 1

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The I endeavor

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Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 109

October 23, 1873 Garnier installed himself at the Dominican Mission at Ke-mot in Hai-duong province and sent by Catholic couriers the following message to Bishop Puginier on October 26, 1873. Emphasizing the commercial goals of his mission, Gamier offered the missionaries the bait of "complete satisfaction of grievances" and "the making good of all legitimate reclamations." The document reads as follows:

Sent by the Admiral-Governor of Cochinchina to study the situation in Tonkin and to negotiate a commercial and political modus vivendi satisfactory both to the country's mterests and to those of foreign commerce, I hasten to enter into relations with Your Grandeur, whose experience can be such a great help to me. '" , I need hardly add that one of my duties will be to hear and to make sood all the legitimate reclamations that the Tonkin Missions have to formulate against the Annamite authorities" Above all the admiral is 1 esolved to attain by whatever means necessary the pacification of this beautiful and rich country and its opening to foreign commer ce . While remaining outside of the religious question, he could not be indifferent to giving complete satisfaction to the Psievances of a religion that has so many adherents in Tonkin, 8

A subsequent letter to the French Missions written after the seizure of the Ha-noi citadel stated that the missionaries were henceforth under French authority, and it asked them to gather intelligence on behalf of the French force and the commercial interests that it represented:

I have the honor of informing you of the decisions that have placed all foreign residents under the protection of France and that opened to cornmer ce the Red River from the sea to the borders of Yunnan .on the condition of a two per cent ad valorem duty payable at Ha-noi. The entire province is now administered under my direction" I have informed the mandarins of these measures and informed them that I consider enemies all who oppose this" In the contrary case I am disposed to maintain WIth them relations of friendship" I would be pleased if Your Grandeur, who, along with the Spanish pnests, now finds Himself under French authority, would keep me informed as to the dispositions of the authorities of Hai-duong, Quang-yen, and Bac-ninh and would I eport to me any hostile measures taken by them in regard to Y OUI Grandeur and the foreign merchants" This information will allow me to render the protection that lowe them more effective and certain."

The missionaries of the Missions-Etrangeres de Paris had long endeavored to entice imperialistic intervention with the prerequisite

110 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

that it be powerful, permanent, and that the resulting political arrangements benefit the Catholic Missions" Puginier, Cezon, and Gauthier continued the Miss io ns-Etrangeres tradition of encouragement of, and cooperation with, French aggression against Vietnam, Their responses to Dupre and Garnier's allusions to satisfactions of grievances and the Nguyen's possible loss of Tonkin were enthusiastically affirmative" Writing on December 13, 1873, Puginier promised Dupre the assistance of the Tonkinese Christians for what he prayed would be a vigorous and permanent French intervention:

I believe that I can assure you that you will find in me, in my missionaries, in the Christians, and I dare to say even in the pagan element a generous assistance in the accomplishment of your noble intentions" Monsieur Garnier, '" will have the honor of keeping you up-to-date on developments here" For my part, Admiral, permit me to address you the following prayer, which is also that of all those who henceforth place themselves under your protection: Let the influence of France extend itself ave! Tonkin in a very special fashion; we ask that it always be powerful and permanent The French government in granting such a legitimate wish need not wait long, I hope, to receive the fruit of its sacrifices ,50

Monsignor Gauthier was no less ardent in pledging Garnier every assistance. Writing on November 7, 1873, he -expresse d his conviction that the only viable method was violence:

The news of your arrival has brought us the gt eat est pleasure, and it has given birth to the hope of a better future for this poor people, so worthy of interest, that now leads such a miserable existence because of the stupidity of its rulers. The admiral " " ' seems to think that the Hue court would be able to give him sufficient pledges of good faith, F01 my part, instructed by experience, I can affirm that this court is totally incapable of any kind of good faith and that force alone can make it accept and honor obligations" Furthermore, Tu-duc is not as powerful as one might think, Monsieur Dupuis was able with such feeble means to £01 ce the court into the position of begging the admiral for assistance" I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you soon and of offering you all of the services that are within my power to render.P

As the Tonkin Delta's Sino-Vaubanesque citadels successively succumbed to Gamier's troops, the missionaries' communications continued to offer him the military and political support required for pacification and occupation, On December 18, 1873 Monsignor Cezon WI ate to Garnier at the citadel of Ninh-binh, addr essing him as "the very venerable French mandarin, Governor of the citadel of

Ninh-b on the hesitat~ theadI Hue's e

Ire sav nO! pre sec anc sup the

The re appeal of the sub OJ( 1687, .

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13, 1873, Christians It French

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have all of

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Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 111

Ninh-binh" and demonstrating his support by supplying intelligence on the activities of nearby Vietnamese officials. Cezon did not hesitate to mention that capable Christians were available to assume the administrative posts from which the FI ench troops had removed Hue's officials.

I report to you all these facts so that you can take measures to save the people, for not only the Christians but also the non-Christians come to ask that the French governor select prefects and subprefects so that the people can live in security .... " If the governor has need in one manner or another of my influence, I would be disposed to bring you my support .... If you need someone for military and civil affairs, there is no lack of capable people in my Mission."

The responses of the Spanish Dominicans to Dupre's and Gamier's appeals form a striking contrast to the replies of the representatives of the Missions-Etr angeres. The Dominicans had long been subordinated to the French order according to the settlement of 1687, but suspicion and competition remained.P The Dominicans were no strangers to. political intrigue, but they suspected that the imperialistic adventures of the French state did not necessarily coincide with the interests of the SI?anish Missions .. When they were approached by Dupre and Garnier, the Dominican missionaries made it clear that they felt obliged to receive Garnier in the context of a peaceful diplomatic mission, but they were determined not to facilitate French aggression that might disrupt a "tranquil" and "harmonious" relationship between the Dominicans and the indigenous authorities .. Theil initial responses to Dupre and Garnier revealed their fear that a "regrettable" incident might result from the French captain's dealings with Hue's officials" Monsignor Colomer of the Dominican Vicarate of Eastern Tonkin wrote as follows to Dupre on November 17, 1873:

Nothing could be more regrettable than if either from some imprudence on the Hue court's part or through some other cause one were to have recourse to violence. In such a case Your Excellency will permit me to state that, the sale purpose of our Mission being the preaching of the Catholic religion outside of all political questions, our duty would be to keep strictly within the limits of this stated objective in order to avoid compromising the interests of religion.f

Writing to Gamier from Son-tay province on November 18, 1873, Calomel reiterated that the Spanish Missions would not support the French force in the event of a conflict between France and Vietnam:

I formulate this reservation so that in the eventuality of a clash between the two nations it will be known that it would

112 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

not be permitted in any manner to compromise my sacred ministry for reasons that are clearly political.P

The contrast with the responses of the representatives of the Missions-Etrangeres is striking, and the divergency gTew greater after the French troops began to attack the provincial citadels, forcefully removing any illusions that the missionaries could have maintained about Garnier's professed pacific intentions" Writing from Ke-ne on November 26, 1873, Colomer refused to be seduced by Gamier's invitations to associate the Spanish Missions with his adventure, denying the Frenchman's assertion that the primary purpose of the operation was to restore Older:

I release you from the special protection that you believe your duty requires you to offer to my humble person and to the other Spanish missionaries in the event of threats to OUI persons or offenses to our sacred ministry" " " Until the present we enjoy tranquility, thanks be to God, and we have

no fear that this tranquility will be altet ed in the near' future.56

When Garnier's lieutenants pushed their conquests into the East

Bank of the Red River, taking the citadel of Bac-ninh, Colomer wrote a letter of protest, accusing him of attacking the Vietnamese authorities without pr evocation,

The religious peace has been troubled not by the Annarnite mandarins but by other causes" . " " Ever since the allied nations, France and Spain, signed treaties with Annam, the Spanish missionaries have lived in perfect harmony with the Annamite mandarins, who have occasionally shown as much affection for the Catholic religion and for our persons as the governments of Em opean nations" If there have been several exceptions, it has only been necessary to notify the higher authorities to resolve the matter, .. , .' These acts of hostility against the Annamites, Monsieur Ie Commandant, are by themselves highly significant, and since I fear that they are only the beginning of more important events, I take the liberty to tell you that such occurrences seriously degrade the religion and the name of the European in this land."

Although several exceptions can be found, the reports of the French officers throughout the affair indicate that the Dominicans acted according to their words, maintaining their distance from the French forces, For example, Ensign Balny characterized the Dominican Mission in Hai-duong as "hostile" to the French occupation.f In a letter to Francis Gamier written in December 1873, Balny complained that Colomer attempted to dissuade him from attacking the Hai-duong citadel, refused him support, and protested vigorously against the French interve ntion.>? The

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Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 113

Dominican Mission in Hai-duong even served as a refuge for the fleeing Vietnamese officials.f? The respective reactions of the two religious orders vis-a-vis the French intrusion are perhaps best summarized by a post mortem on the Garnier affair written by Lieutenant Balezeaux in Ha-noi on January 4, 1874:

The bishop and the French missionaries, reserved at first, openly pronounced themselves for us as soon as they were convinced that we really wanted to take possession of the area. The Spanish bishop and his clergy, who had good relations with the Annamite mandarins, showed themselves more prudent, even protesting in Spain's name against what happened he1e,,61

For the purpose of evaluating the responsibility of the missionaries for their suppor t of the invaders, the reticence of the Dominicans demonstrates that the occupation of Tonkin by French t100pS did not necessarily compromise the missionaries and the Catholic Vietnamese. The presence of French troops presented all the missionaries of Tonkin with difficult choices. Most of the Dominicans decided not to facilitate the French invasion, but the missionaries of the Missions-Etrangeres-vled to believe that the French presence would be "powerful and permanent'v-compromised thems elves and their fo llowe r s through colla b OI a ti on, the significance of which is now to be examined.

After he captured the Ha-noi citadel, Francis Garnier installed his administration there and dispatched his gunboats to negotiate with the Vietnamese provincial authorities and military commanders throughout the Tonkin Delta .. 62 The Vietnamese officials were to I emove all fo rt ifi ca tions and obstructions to riverine communications, and they were to proclaim their acceptance of the stipulated commercial "freedoms." If the Vietnamese officials refused, Garnier's lieutenants were to overthrow them and to install an administration more amenable to the French demands .. 63 It may be useful at this point to sketch briefly the Fr ench penetration of the delta. Ha-noi, seized by Francis Gamier on November 20, 1873, is located about 100 kilometers from the sea. The land between Ha-noi and the sea is crossed by hundreds of rivers, streams, and canals, the major points of communication among which were defended by the Hue court's Sino-Vaubanesque fortresses .. Ensign Bain de la Coquerie seized the fort of Phu-hoai, west of Ha-noi, on November 21, 1873; on November 22, 1873 the Espingole under Bainy and Tretinian took Hung-yen on the Red River and Phu-ly on the Day River neal the Catholic Mission at Ke-mot. To secure riverine communication with the supply point at Cua Cam, the capital of Hai-ducng, located on the Thai-binh River between Ha-noi and Cua Cam, was taken by assault December 4, 1873 .. The delta's commercial emporium, Narn-dinh, fell on December 10, 1873, and a medical doctor serving in the French force, Jules Harmand,

114 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

was placed in charge of the province" French expansion was completed several days later with Marc Hautefeuille's seizure of Ninh-binh on the Day River, a point of control for north-south communications.s'

Many contemporary French authors, finding their national pride flatter ed, were profoundly impressed with Garnier's coup de force, which brought so large a population and so eXEansive a ten itOIY so rapidly under the shadow of French powerF' But Marquet and NOId have criticized this view" The French advance, they argue, was as spectacular as it was shallow; the French force merely seized a number of strongpoints, removed Hue's officials from them, and replaced these officials with others of their own choosing." The validity of the point is undeniable, but the contrast with Genouilly's fiasco of 1858 remains striking, Although Catholic collaboration with the European troops who landed at Da-nang in that year was more important than has gener ally been recognized, the Franco-Spanish forces there did remain relatively isolated from local support. Their sequestration was the result of pOOl planning that landed them on the central coast, which was far from potential supporters and which lacked an extensive deep-water riverine communications network.. The problem of relative isolation from internal support that retarded the invaders at Da-nang in 1858 was solved before the event of the 1873 attack on Tonkin by Dupre's circumspection in ananging matters with the Catholic missionaries of the region, He also provided Gamier with heavily armed, lightweight, flat-bottomed steamships powered either by coal or wood. These ships were well adapted to riverine operations, and they thus insured a powerful penetration into the Tonkin Delta that facilitated communication with the potential local supporters contacted in advance by DUPI e,67

What was the nature and extent of the assistance that the Catholics brought to the French expedition? The question was hotly debated by contemporaries, but a clear case has yet to be made, and the question remains one of the umesolved issues of the Tonkin affair" In regard to the religious composition of the militia forces recruited by Garnier, one contemporary author, Romanet du Caillaud, argued that Gamier made no special appeal to the Vietnamese Catholics, who, he further argues, compromised a minority of the pro-French militiamen" Commenting on a proclamation that Gamier issued upon his seizure of the Ha-noi citadel, Romanet du Caillaud writes:

Did Monsieur Garnier ask for the support of the indigenous Christians? Not at all. He merely declared that he would accept the services of men capable of governing. For the rest, it must be admitted that if Monsieur Gamier did make a special request for the support of the Christians, they did not respond with much more enthusiasm than did the pagans, for, among the six-thousand volunteers em oIled under OUI flag,

Ir 11

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VI

C W H

R

amoi Cath derii Chrii Hue' liben errs ~'eqUi in a4 miss Frell milit

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capt parti wod con~ oneTab< COIOl fami

on was zure of h-south

al pride le force, itory so uet and SUe, was seized a em, and ,66 The

nouilly's .oration ear was ed, the rm local ling that otential r iverine on from 858 was Dupre's .ionaries

armed, coal or ons, and elta that rporters

that the vas hotly ade, and

Tonkin ia forces ianet du rl to the .mised a ng on a ~ Ha-noi

::nous vould ; rest, ake a 'd not s, for, ( flag,

Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 115

five-thousand were pagans, and only one-thousand belonged to the Christian religion."

The author denies the predominantly Catholic character of the support for the French in Tonkin, describing the pro-French soldiers as "volunteers" seeking pr otection from unstable conditions:

In the very province of Ha-noi, the scholars sought to rouse the people against the French, and bands of brigands, profiting from the general disorder, went through the villages, pillaging at will, As I have already stated, several thousand volunteers without distinction of religion--pagans and Christians=offered themselves to Monsieur Garnier. They were given arms found in the citadel. With their help he reestablished tranquility/"

Romanet du Caillaud insists that the French found broad support among non-Catholic Vietnamese of the delta, compared to which Catholic support was insignificant. This view is untenable. It is derived from the politically motivated missionary claim that Christian and non-Christian villagers, suffering under the yoke of Hue's administration, regarded the French expeditionaries as liberators.' As has been demonstrated above, Romanet du Caillaud ens in asserting that Dupre and Garnier did not make "a special request" for Catholic support. On the contrary, they astutely did so in advance through direct written communications with the missionaries" Furthermore, he considers as having helped the French only those Catholics formally employed by Gamier as militiamen or administrators=only those who were "emolled under om flag."?" The scope of the investigation must be broadened, for membership in a formal administrative 01 military corps is not a useful measure of Catholic complicity.. The correspondence and reports of Balny and Harmand, who were dispatched by Garnier to obtain the submission of many of the provincial citadels and strongpoints of the delta, reveal patterns of significant Catholic assistance that inc1uded--but was not limited to--formal administrative and militia duty. These SOUIces further reveal a pattern of mutual manipulation by French officers and Catholic missionaries in which the "volunteers" often had as much or more to gain from the relationship as did the French officers ..

A discussion of the association of Catholic elements with the capture and administration of Tonkin's provincial citadels is particularly appropriate historiographically in light of the recent work by Adrien Balny d'Avricourt entitled L 'Enseigne Balny et la conquete du Tonkin.: Indochine 187'3. Published in 1973--the one-hundredth anniversary of the affair--and introduced by Georges Taboulet, the stuW is an unabashed attempt to revalorize the French colonial heritage. Basing his study on French colonial records and familial archives (the author is the grand-nephew of Ensign Balny

116 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

d'Avricourt), the author seeks to resuscitate the themes of the perfidy of the Vietnamese officials in dealing with Garnier and his lieutenants, the isolated and heroic struggle of the French officers in a hostile environment, and the superior mot ality of the Europeans in the midst of the "barbarism" practiced by the "Annamites . .''72

In order to counter these themes, it is useful to consider Balny's actions at Phu-ly and Hai-duong and Harmand's at Nam-dinh with an emphasis on the relationship between the Catholic Missions and the French force, The analysis I eveals that the French were far from alone in their attacks on the loci of Vietnamese authority because the invaders received a significant level of support from the missionaries and the Vietnamese Catholics. Moreover, the methods of the French officers and their Catholic collaborators could hardly be considered as evidence of a superior morality even by their own contemporary standards, for the Catholics Missions exchanged labor, I esources, and information in return for Fr ench assistance in perpetuating summary executions, desecrations of Buddhist religious edifices, burnings of non-Catholic villages, and pillaging of imperial citadels. This Catholic collaboration with French imperialism has not been adequately recognized by historians, but it was a significant contributing factor to the French success in Tonkin,

The supply point linking the French expeditionaries to Sai-gon was at Cua Cam; the supplies needed were munitions, foodstuffs, and coal for their steam-powered gunships, Yet the rapidity and depth of their penetration of the delta moved the French ships far away from easy access to these products and made an alternate source of supply necessary. One SOUIce of munitions, foodstuffs, and specie was the looting of the fallen imperial citadels. Yet a problem remained to haunt the French commanders: the necessity of procuring vast amounts of wood to power their gunships, the mobility and accurate firepower of which meant the differ ence between victory and defeat in confrontations with Vietnamese forces, The problem was not a simple one, for suitable wood was scarce in the delta, and its transportation from the mountains and its preparation for use as fuel were onerous tasks that the handful of Frenchmen could hardly have contemplated undertaking. Balny explained his concern in a letter of November 28, 1873: "Wood is very scarce here .... , .. I have the greatest difficulty in procuring it .. ,' At Phu-Iy I have promised the world in order that as much wood as possible be brought here and cut" . .''73 But the solution was not far to seek. At the order of the missionaries wood was purchased by Vietnamese Catholics throughout the delta and transported to the French-held citadel of Phu-ly, where a workshop was established Catholic laborers there cut and prepared the purchased wood and whatever lumber could be found in the citadel itself:

Ultimately, I have been able to obtain almost all the wood I need. It is meant for construction and is slightly green and hard, but it is the best available. I have given the order that it

of the and his icers III eansin

Balny's with an ind the ir from -ecause im the iethods

~ardly !lIOWn 1 labor, .nce in eligious nperial sm has .iificant

Sai-gon ffs, and epth of iy from . supply vas the ined to ng vast ccurate

defeat s not a and its as fuel ly have etter of ave the sed the ere and : of the tholics adelof s there ould be

)d I and at it

Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 117

be cut and piled at the marketplace so that it can be delivered to our door when we need it What remains of the wood from the citadel will also be cut and prepared, I have also asked the Mission to set up a workshop to be placed at our disposition. The Mission will be fully reimbursed for this. I have promised half a ligature per day of woodcutting, but the lack of cutter s and of cutting implements has raised the price of labor" , , " Further, two days ago ninety men arrived at the citadel, sent by the Mission in order to perform corvee in the citadel We have installed them in several houses, and they ar e reimbursed at my order Each day they receive a ration and a number of sapeques at the rate of two ligatures per month.?"

Thus, the close cooperation of the Catholic Missions with the French expedition provided the latter with a resource necessary for the occupation and provided it in such a way that the limited manpower of the French force was not depleted.

Communications among the French units and between the French officers and their Vietnamese opponents and allies were made possible largely through the use of Catholic interpreters, translators, and couriers" All of the French officers were ignorant of the Vietnamese language, and they were therefore heavily dependent, on the tr anslators and interpl eters furnished by the Missions" For example, Harmand descnbed his interpreter in the following terms:

I have as an interpreter an Annamite priest named Paulus Trinh, who speaks Latin, Annamite, Chinese, French, and who reads Chinese characters very well This invaluable man, who has rendered the greatest services, is one of the most intelligent Annamites I have ever met."

The superficial nature of the occupation and the limited number of French troops meant that French manpower could not be spared to secure land communications among the scattered French units" Ther efore, as BaIny explained to Francis Gamier in a letter from Phu-ly on November 28, 1873, written communications among the French officers were insured by the dispatch of two copies of each message: One was carried by the still-operative but hardly secure imperial courier network (tram); the other was delivered by Vietnamese Catholic couriers provided by the Missions."

Much of the freedom of movement that enabled the French to concentrate overwhelming force at vital points was facilitated by Catholic collaboration, for the Catholics performed many tasks for which Frenchmen could not be spared. For example, Balny's men did not need to spend their efforts pursuing the fleeing Vietnamese mandarins because the chore was undertaken by the Catholic Vietnamese." Nor did the French officers need to waste much time

118 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

researching the local situation and organizing the new administrations for the areas under the jurisdiction of the fallen citadels." For example, the night after BaIny's men took the citadel of Phu-ly, they were met by French missionaries who explained the local customs and governing systems to them. The missionaries further presented the French officers with a grou~ of educated Catholic Vietnamese to serve as administrative cadre .. 9 Finally, the crack French troops did not need to prolong their occupations of specific points. They could leave this for the Vietnamese Catholics. For instance, shortly after Balny's men conquered the citadel of Phu-ly, they were relieved by an armed Vietnamese Catholic force composed of 600 men sent by Garnier.f" With the Catholic occupation force in place, the Frenchmen departed from Phu-ly the following morning."

It is regrettable that the sources do not permit a more precise 01 complete accounting of the benefits that the French expedition derived from Catholic collaboration .. But the documentation cited above demonstrates the untenability of the pro-colonial vision of French units fighting in heroic isolation, and it leaves little doubt that French success in the Tonkin Delta was in no small measure due to the assistance provided by the Catholic Missions .. 82

In regard to the question of whether or not the French force exhibited a superior morality, a consideration of the manner in which the French officers repaid the Catholic Missions for their services reveals that this was not the case. The missionaries had high hopes that a forceful and durable FI ench occupation of Tonkin would improve the position of the Catholic religion vis-a-vis 'indigenous political authority. But this long-term goal did not preclude an immediate and material quid pro quo; nor did the Catholics hesitate to use the preeminent military position of the French force as a springboard for local aggr essions ..

From the beginning the French officers were prepared to pay the Catholics handsomely for their suppor 1. And the looted treasuries of the fallen imperial citadels provided them ample means to do so .. Harmand reported as follows in December 1873:

As for money, the treasury contained 17,000 ligatures, which gives me the means to pay everyone. Monsieur Garnier told me in parting: "Throw money around both hands full," I have not, of course, followed this literally, but I have always been generous in paying salaries, I ecompenses, and indemnities of all kinds .. 83

Another form of payment was the windfall opportunity to join the French troops in plundering the conquered citadels. Writing to Garnier from Phu-ly, BaIny implied that such was their due: "Thirty Christians have been sent to serve us. They are abandoning themselves to a real pillage in the citadel, but one must not dream of interfer ing. "84

In an that t seize with' to be their

A by th trooj Atte: trooj hype:

11 d b o s ti

Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 119

e new

fallen citadel led the maries ucated lly, the ions of tholics. idel of c force tholic -ly the

The French officers further rewarded their Catholic supporters by allowing the Missions to call upon French militarl forces when needed, Catholic aggr ession at the local level was facilitated by the general inclination of the French commanders to accept uncritically missionary denunciations of "bandits" and "rebels." At Phu-ly, for example, Balny allowed missionaries to select targets for summary execution:

A letter from Father Dervaux announces that he has taken twelve bandits near his residence and asks me to come to take charge of them, It is too far for me to think of it at this time, but I will do my utmost to have them taken to me so that the chiefs can be sho1..85

cise or .dition n cited .ion of

doubt re due

In another such instance Balny dispatched French troops to villages that the Catholics claimed harbored "brigands," Their orders were to seize and destroy any weapons found; anyone resisting or fleeing with weapon in hand was to be 5hot.86 The Catholics were thus able to benefit from France's presence by using French forces to strike at their opponents in local society"

An occasional br eaking effect on Catholic aggression was applied by the French officers, who had only a limited number of French troops at their disposal and sought to avoid unnecessary combat, Attempting to exer cise discretion in the dispatching of French troops, Hal mand grew wary of the Catholics' predilection for hyperbole:

1 force which

ervices hopes would ~enous Ide an esitate :e as a

It was, above all, the Christians who came, pr esenting demands for assistance with an exaggeration that knew no bounds, reporting three thousand brigands when there were only fifty. . , I am careful not to believe these stories, and I send no one unless I have first had the situation explored by a trusted, well-paid spy,,87

Harmand was occasionally forced to intervene more actively in order to counter Catholic aggression:

Once it was an Annamite minister who burned down, without provocation, a pagoda. Another time it was a French missionary who was simple enough to have placed himself at the head of a real band of brigands composed of 300 men making war on his own account. I hold the former in the citadel, and I summoned the latter and gave him some friendly advice, showing him how detrimental to religion his conduct was, " , and how it would perpetuate agitation in an area that it was necessary, above all, to pacify,,88

The missionaries were able to play upon the invader's ignorance of the local scene, but such attempts to manipulate the French presence

lay the Ties of do so"

ich old lYe .en

of

lin the ing to Thirty oning .am of

120 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

for their own ends were not appreciated by the French officers .. This is revealed by Harmand's report from Nam-dinh in January 1874, which describes such an instance and expresses his determination that it not recur, The citation also reveals that despite their protests and refusals to aid the French expedition, the Dominicans occasionally joined their French confreres in maneuvering the eyeless expeditionaries to terrorize local rivals:

[U]pon receipt of an urgent letter from Monsignor Cruzon, bishop of the Dominicans several leagues away, I sent him Quartermaster Boileve with two armed men in the three large junks armed with mortars along with 150 of General Ba's men, Sent without interpreters, they were led as though in triumph through a series of villages, and despite my formal orders and their desire to obey them, they were not able to return to Nam-dinh until three days later. At the Mission they were sent at the head of the entire Catholic population to seize and burn down a village of pirates 01 aimed scholars" They killed ten men, among them the chief of the band, but then the wounded were shamelessly martyrized, lacerated or burned alive, the pagodas destroyed" . " ., I promised myself that henceforth I would never again allow a gun to be fired outside of my presence in Older to oppose myself to these barbarous scenes, that only villages the guilt of which was well established would be attacked" In this way we can hope to avoid the fanatical and cruel reprisals that would follow in the event that we should suffer defeat or that our policy should change."

It would be W01 thwhile to close the discussion of the relationship between the Catholics and the French forces during the French occupation of the delta with an examination of sever al more citations from Harmand's journal, for the historiographical implications of his conclusions are several. Milton Osborne has described Harmand as an "ecstatic" believer in the expedition as it swept from victory to victory but a "harsh" critic of the enterprise after Gamier's death and the French withdrawal." This assessment is neither fair to Harmand nor congruent with the record of his criticisms before Garnier's death, l?articularly with reference to his evaluation of the exped ition's "too exclusive" I eliance on Catholic support.?' Furtherrnore, Harmand's journal contradicts Romanet du Caillaud and others who have maintained that Catholic support for the opel ation was insignificant in the context of widespread support f01 the PI ench intervention by the general population of the Tonkin Delta,

Harmand found that the Vietnamese Catholics were indeed more enthusiastic and numerous in their support of the French occupation than were their unconverted compatriots, However, Harmand considered that the Catholics' aggressive covetousness, vengeful

Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 121

This L874, ition tests cans eless

vituper ation, and administrative incompetence meant that the French risked much in employing them, As "governor" of Nam-dinh, Harmand found himself besieged by solicitors forming a long line outside his office from morning until night:

some demanding aid and protection, others, having assembled men, asking for alms to equip them and for brevets of authority to obtain command" Others-sand this was the majority--came to propose their services as scholars, functionaries of all categories, asking even the favor of being named prefects or subprefects All of them, or practically all, were Catholics who had come from the neighboring province of Ninh-binh, sent by their priests" The Catholics have revealed, in these difficult circumstances, an indecent covetousness, as imprudent as it is egotistical. I want to appoint, insofar as possible, more pagans than Christians, primarily to avoid exciting the discontentment natural to this country, secondarily because the Christians, held aside by the Annamite government, are not familiar with affairs, are absolutely inexperienced in administration, and are very rat ely scholars, being almost always of low extraction, All of these factors would clash sharply with the Annamite customs."

I, Q

e

S 1 1 )

1 1

t r

f i

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For Harmand, Catholic collaboration was a sine qua non for French success" He nonetheless deplored the Catholic propensity for using the French presence as a political pretext and a military buttress fOI sectarian aggression, The Catholics' predilection fOI punishing their local opponents interfered with what Harmand saw as the purely economic goals of the expedition, Harmand believed that the initial violence needed to eliminate the political impediments to the commercial opening of the Red River should quickly be superseded by pacification and the return to stable conditions that would facilitate commercial intercourse:

ship .nch ions f his d as y to and land ier's the r t ,91

aud the for

lkin

It is certain that the Christians have performed for us great services; in my particular case they have greatly facilitated the task Monsieur Garnier set for me, But they have also caused a multitude of difficulties , They have considered oUI arrival as signaling the hour of revenge and reprisals, and the missionaries, for their part, should have strictly forbidden this from the beginning", . , I have repeated to them ten times daily: "Do you think that we are here to launch a religious war? We are here with a purely commercial goal; be you Christians, pagans, or Chinese, it is of little consequence to us .. We would always be happy, doubtless, to lender service to the Christians, and our offices ale open to all the oppressed" But make no mistake; if we place Christians in important positions this is only because it is indispensable in the interest

iore tion and eful

122 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

Ii

of the country and of public security that these positions not remain vacant, and it happens that we have the Christians readily available. But if the former mandarins would come to us, we shall be haffY to prove to them our sympathies and OUI love of justice."

The harshest and the most persistent critic of the expedition's reliance on Catholic collaboration, Hannand did not suppose that the French force could have acted otherwise without compromising the success of the mission.. He clearly indicates that the administrative vacuum left by the flight of the Vietnamese officials could not be filled by the "pagans." This suggests that the general population's hostility to the French presence was great. In such an environment the French officers had little choice but to tum to the Catholics despite the numerous danger s and difficulties that this entailed. "I estimate," Harmand concluded in January 1874, "that if we have relied too exclusively on the Christians, perhaps we could not have done otherwise."?'

The discussion now turns to a consideration of the political status of the Vietnamese counterattack that took Gamier's life, The notion that the central authorities at Hue ordered the Black Flags' fatal attack has been a popular one ever since the event. This is because it seems to fulfill preconceived ideas of Oriental treachery and thus to justify a policy of aggression. FOI example, Adrien BaIny d'Avricourt-writing in 1973!--descIibed the Black Flags as "pirates covertly urged on by the Hue court, which had never failed to apply on every occasion a policy of duplicity .. "9s

The Vietnamese sources relevant to the Garnier affair reveal that the Tu-duc Emperor never envisioned any alternative to a negotiated settlement. From the time of the fall of Ha-noi, the emperor 's primary concern was to regain formal control of the citadel(s) by offering broad political concessions in the context of a negotiated settlement.. Luu Vinh Phuc's counterattack was instigated by provincial officials favorable to the position of the "advocates of war." It was probably launched without the knowledge and against the wishes of the Tu-duc Emperor, perhaps as part of a plan to involve Hue in a wider war against the French in the South. Tu-duc's refusal to consider this option and the interpretation that he subsequently gave to the French intervention in Tonkin shows that the Garnier affair did not move the Vietnamese emperor to abandon his policy of peace through concessions with France, Tu-duc presented the seizur e of the four provincial capitals as an unfortunate misunder standing and their return as evidence of the good will of the French and of the efficacy of his policy of pacific diplomacy ..

According to official Vietnamese documents, the Tu-duc Emperor and his advisors were well aware of the fact that the terror spread by Garnier in the North was related to the blocked negotiations with Dupre in the South. They concluded that the only

way to This pl or For citadel

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way to dislodge Garnier's force was to make concessions in Sai-gon This position was propounded in a meeting of the Quan Thuong Bac or Foreign Relations Bureau held immediately after the fall of the citadel of Ha-noi:

Ever since his arrival, their admiral regularly sends a plenipotentiary to ask us to sign a treaty, but we have not consented to act rapidly. We have always asked for the return of the three provinces, Vinh-long, An-giang, and Ha-tien, or one or two of them befor e we would consent to sign" Therefore, we have not yet distributed the requisite emblems of authority to a plenipotentiary, Thus, in appeaIance Dupre receives us politely, but in reality he creates problems to harry us. If we now desire to put an end to Garnier's disruptive violence, to resolve rapidly the north em imbroglio; ther e is no better means than to accede to Admiral Dupre's wishes .. %

The primary obstacle to a new treaty- Vietnamese reluctance to ratify the 1867 French seizure of An-giang, Vinh-long, and Ha-tien--' was removed by the threat to Vietnamese administrative control of the Tonkin Delta posed by France's seizure of the provincial citadels. Le Tuan was granted plenipotentiary authority with Nguyen Van Tuong to assist him in negotiations with the French in Sai-gon, The only remaining bar to the complete success of Dupre's ploy was the complex situation in Tonkin .. The Dai Nam thue lue describes as follows the results of the negotiations at Sai-gon:

Om delegation explained that this new treaty could be settled. However, since at present the situation in the North is of decisive importance, we asked that Dupre help settle it soon, and then the time will be right for a treaty. The admiral was certain that since he could now deal with a plenipotentiary, the treaty could be settled quickly, He therefore wrote to Garnier, telling him to withdraw in Older to allow OUI officials to enter the capital in order to conduct business .. 97

But on December 20, 1873, a Sino-Vietnamese militia group known as the Quan co den or Black Flags led by Luu Vinh Phuc attacked the French at the Ha-noi citadel itself and drew Garnier into a fatal ambush, Was this attack ordered by the Tu-duc Emperor as most contemporary French writers have argued? Once again the Vietnamese documents permit a rebuttal According to the Dai Nam thuc luc, the emperor and his advisors at court were willing to make new concessions to resolve the crisis, but they were not convinced that the French could be trusted to I etum the citadels.. The emperor therefore gave reluctant permission to imperial commanders Hoang Ta Viem and Ton That Thuyet to prep me for military action against Garnier while the court's emissaries negotiated concinrently.f The entry of the Black Flags into the struggle was initiated by these local

124 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

commanders and not by the central authorities .. The Dai Nam thuc luc account reads as follows:

PI eviously, Hoang Ta Viem and Ton That Thuyet memorialized from Ha-noi, asking that troops be sent there to await an 0PI?ortunity to attack. Hearing of the loss of the four provincial citadels, their hearts became recalcitrant, and they carelessly acted on their own initiative to bring Luu Vinh Phuc's troops to the spot in order to use them. Vinh Phuc volunteered to do his utmost in order to display his sense of gratitude to the king.... .. On the second day of that month, Luu's troops moved to the citadel's walls and challenged the French to fight Garnier was meeting with Tran Dinh Tuc at the camp, but they had yet to initiate negotiations when they were suddenly informed of the attacking troops. As Garnier immediately returned to the citadel and took his men outside the walls to intercept his opponents, the latter pretended to flee in fear. Garnier spurred his horse on, chasing them as far as the Cau Giay where Vinh Phuc's men attacked and killed

him99 .

Since the Dai Nam thue luc were published for internal circulation only, it is probable that the empirical aspects of this account are largely accurate .. The involvement of Luu Vinh Phuc's Black Flags and the fatal attack on the Ha-noi citadel were thus the initiatives of Hoang Ta Viem and Ton That Thuyet, who clearly exceeded their authority in so doing. However, the imperial historians' interpr eta tion of the emotional state of the two commanders at the time that they initiated the attack is problematic, Was the action of Ton That Thuyet and Hoang Ta Viem in involving Luu Vinh Phuc really a case of careless officials making errors of judgment in highly emotional cir cumstances? It is possible that Hoang Ta Viem and Ton That Thuyet, both of whom wet e associated with the "advocates of war," were acting with deliberate calculation when they secured Luu Vinh Phuc's cooperation and encouraged him to launch the attack. Their motivation would have been their interest in driving the French hom the Tonkin Delta before imperial negotiators could grant further concessions in a new treaty. This would have violated imperial policy, which perhaps explains the court historians' reference to the "careless" and emotional nature of their actions; such an interpretation would rationalize the disturbing possibility that these officials had attempted to make policy decisions on their own authority, Hoang Ta Viem's initial refusal to remove his troops from the Ha-noi mea after Garnier's death supports the interpretation that their decision to push Luu Vinh Phuc to attack was not a careless one. Hoang Ta Vi em's reputation as a military leader who preferred ruse to confrontation and who often disregarded imperial commands-practices for which he had previously been criticized by Tu··duc--

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Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 125

supports this interpretation.l'? The Tu-duc Emperor himself was convinced that he had been deceived by the two commanders, for he criticized their handling of the matter in an imperial edict issued in 1876:

In regard to military matters on the frontiers, you two have not yet fulfilled your responsibilities." "Your words and your deeds are not in accord with each other" For his part, Hoang Ta Viem tries to shift the blame for the matter of Tuyen-Quang; you, Ton That Thuyet, try to place the blame back on him f01 the affair of Luu Vinh Phuc's troops" , " , In sum, your guilt is inescapable.l'"

What was the Tu-duc Emperor's immediate reaction to the Black Flags' successful ambush, which left the French commander dead and his troops in disarray? As stated by the Dai Nam thuc lUG, the emperor hastened to emphasize to this court that this blow against the invaders was merely the result of a "stratagem" that could neither alter the fundamental imbalance of forces nor signal a change in the court's policy of peace through concessions as a response to French intervention" The document reads:

When'that matter was reported, the king stated that the deception and killing of Garnier by the troops under Luu were only the results of a stratagem, If we oppose them in a large conventional conflict it would be difficult to hold them at bay for long" At present, with the negotiations taking shape, we must take an overall view for resolving the entire situation, and naturally we cannot rely on this unit of troops to finish things ,102

To facilitate the negotiations with the French, the Tu-duc Emperor purported to accept Admiral Dupre's assertions that Garnier'S actions had been in violation of his instructions" And Hue's negotiators sought to calm the rage of their French counterparts by explaining that the death of Garnier had been the result of local circumstances unrelated to the policies of the Vietnamese government. Gamier's death took place while the Nguyen Van Tuong-Philastre mission was steaming northward, The French envoy regarded Luu Vinh Phuc's attack as cause for postponing negotiations, but Nguyen Van Tuong persuaded him to continue by comparing Garnier's attack on Ha-noi, which caused the death of the Vietnamese commander, Nguyen TIi Phuong, to Luu Vinh Phuc's ambush, which took Garnier's life. Neither of these unfortunate events, the Vietnamese negotiator concluded, should be interpreted as representing hostility on the part of either government, and they should not interfere with the return of the citadels and the signing of a new treaty. The Dai Nam thuc luc account reads as follows:

126 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

Just as yOUI' admiral has stated that he did not order the seizure of the four provinces, our country did not conflict with yours Therefore, neither side is in the wrong" Garnier's death was caused either by bands of robbers or by emaged scholars; this is not yet clear. Fat more important are the order of your admiral to obtain a new treaty and the order of my country to obtain the return of the citadels" As for the death of Gamier, it was unPcremeditated as was Garnier's killing of Nguyen Tri Phuong, 03

And 1 Gene Hisd The i And GatIl The I And Wha It mt Toa

In regard to the situation in the Tonkin Delta itself, the Tu-duc Emperor ordered that the attack against the encircled French units be discontinued" The Black Flags were told to return to the highlands, and the troops under Hoang Ta Viem and Ton That Thuyet were to withdraw from the Ha-noi area" These instructions were received with scant enthusiasm by the field commanders" The officials who relayed these orders to Hoang Ta Viem were first bluntly told by him that the duty of a commander in the field was to destroy the enemy--not to worry about peace treaties" Only when two high-level imperial representatives, Nguyen Trong Hop and Truong Gia Hoi, intervened did Hoang Ta Viem agree to desist.P' Luu Vinh Phuc was even more reluctant. According to his reminiscences, the Black Flag commander initially refused to follow orders and angrily rebuked Hue's officials in the following terms:

I have already wasted a lot of effort on this affair. We are determined to climb the ramparts and attack them by SUI prise

in Older to exterminate that miserable bunch, The advance combatants have all pr epared for the assault" Peace or no peace, we can finish this battle, and it will still not be too late to negotiate ,105

The COl suiking, of the 1 .duped ,t author ~ Vinh P from tl soldier hearts 1 enthusi In ( Gamic propag Vietna Tonkir civil s

.. _ ..... _ .. , __ +,c,=,_o---- convin result demo co nee degree preset

N evertheless, Luu Vinh Phuc eventually agreed to withdraw, and he permitted Hue's representatives to confiscate his soldiers' assault ladder s to ensure that the intended offensive could not be launched.P"

It is evident that many officials strongly resented the court's countermanding of this attack, which was seen as being certain of success given the disarray that reigned in the French ranks after the death of the expedition's leader: This is the view expressed in an anonymous poem entitled Nhac Nhi bi giet chet (The Death of Garnier), probably the work of a village scholar or lower official. Describing the fatal ambush, the poem reads:

The arrogant General Garnier,

Following his advantage, moved westward .. His horse had just crossed the Cau Giay, When a firecracker gave the signal,

Tl ab to 0\ Ul C( c~ te oj a p p

P E 1]

Hue: Peace & the 'Francis Garnier Affair' 127

r the :with nier's raged e the ler of J! the nier's

And the men waiting in ambush advanced. General Luu Ba Anh was in the lead,

His dancing sword bringing death ..

The invaders lost their souls in fear,

And they fled like pigeons ..

Garnier fell, dead.

The Great Warrior cut off his head, And carried it away ..

What a great battle that was!

It made the soldiers all the more eager To attack the invadersl'?'

e Tu-duc tch units n to the 'on That tructions ers .. The 'ere first ld was to nly when Hop and desist.P' g to his to follow rIDS:

The contrast with the Dai Nam thue luc account of the incident is striking. The author of Nhae Nhi hi giet chet is effusive in his praise of the Black Flag leaders and the masterful manner in which they duped the French commander and drew him to his doom. And the author's description of the condition of the French force after Luu Vinh Phuc's intervention implies a conclusion radically different from that of the Tu-duc Emperor; the movements of the French soldiers are compared to the frightened flight of birds while the hearts of the combatants on the Vietnamese side are seen as full of enthusiasm for further conflict.l'"

In order to counter this kind of criticism of his handling of the Garnier affair, the Tu-duc Emperor exerted considerable effort to propagate the unintentional seizure thesis; ironically, this was a Vietnamese version of Dupre's disclaimer of Gamier's aggressions in Tonkin.. Taking advantage of the imperial prerogative of writing the civil service examination questions, Tu-duc actively sought to convince the candidates that the conflict in Tonkin had been the result of unfortunate misunderstandings, the resolution of which demonstrated the wisdom of his policies of peace through concessions. For example, the examination tOpIC for the tien-si degree in 1877 took the form of a long essay in which the emper or pr esented his view of the affair and its implications:

That affair was only the result of a minor misunderstanding about the letters that were exchanged .. We wanted to return to our previous good relations, but there was the obstacle of our languages and characters, which are not mutually understandable. Therefore, the pearl of good intentions

could not easily be displayed But because this

carelessness did not reflect a desire to seize anyone's teuitmy--meaning that they value affection and think nothing of winning or losing--they cannot commit a wrong action with a peaceful heart. To them a promise is worth a thousand pieces of gold, and so they have returned to us the four provinces.. If they act in this way with regard to these four W0vinces, then the future of the six provinces can be known ..

,:eIyone in their country, from the king to his subjects, has this kind of benevolence .. 1tl9

e are .prise vance or no ) late

I, and he ;' assault i not be

e COUlt'S ertain of after the .ed in an .seatb of

officiaL

128 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

Imperial officials were also encouraged to understand the Garnier affair in this fashion, Officials who handled relations with the French were harangued shortly after the signing of the 1874 tr eaty by an edict stressing the fact that the Garnier affair had done nothing to change the principle of "mutual benefit" that had always

been at the COl e of the Franco- Vietnamese I elations: .

perc the s that neg: reac com inter

I abo' threbeer Gal and caUl c1ea an 1 Bye and Catl

In all that they do their goal is to share mutual advantages and happiness with us in order to enhance opulence and renown in the eyes of other countries, Therefore, when their envoy recently threw caution to the winds and seized the four provinces, it required only a word from us, and the French returned them with no regrets.P?

The emperor reiterated that the return of the four provinces that Garnier had taken in Tonkin could repr esent a precedent for the return of the southern territories:

We continue to hope that not only in this matter but also in the future in I egard to whatever else they have seized, all will be gradually returned to us, This would mean that they know that one must not take the possessions of others for one's own advantage, that one must rather take righteousness as one's advantage.!"

To encourage the French in these civilized sentiments, Vietnamese officials charged with foreign relations wet e to do all in their power to treat French officials "like members of one's own family." In the emperor's opinion this would create an emotional atmosphere that would move French officials to respond in a like manner."

These imperial interpretations of the Gamier affair were intended to I einforce the emperor's peace policy in the minds of his present and future administrators, Saying nothing about the additional cornmer cial, religious, and political privileges that the 1874 agreement brought France, the emperor presented Dupre's and Garnier's premeditated aggression as a simple misunderstanding caused by linguistic differences.U" The I eturn of the northern provinces was, the emperor argued, an example of FIance's good will and sense of justice" Tu-duc wanted present and future mandar ins to view the entire affair as a brilliant success for the policy of peace through concessions, a success that promised well for the future return of the six southern provinces remaining under the shadow of French power, Since imperial examination questions and edicts were not to be seen by the French, it is evident that the emperor was really trying to indoctrinate his present and future officials in the precepts of peace through concessions .. The Garnier affair had obviously not changed Tu-duc's mind about the political necessity of avoiding further conflict with France. That he went to such a ridiculous extreme in praising a putative French probity and in purporting to

Gar Cat] the hist col}; OCCl host to b

]

only to g of I anti 186~ writ Vie Old,

mili COU shoi mc Tujust pm Vie inte was and nor

Hue: Peace & the "Francis Garnier Affair" 129

perceive in the Garnier affair the promise of an eventual return of the southern provinces is probably indicative of the fact that he knew that his countermanding of Luu Vinh Phuc's attack and the resulting negotiated settlement of the conflict would provoke an angry reaction from the "advocates of war." The emperor therefore felt compelled to counter possible criticism by providing an official interpretation of the events of 1873-1874.,

In conclusion, the interpretation of the Garnier affair presented above differs from that which is usual among Western historians in three respects, Most of the Western authors treating the affair have been able to uncover the linkage between Dupre, Dupuis, and Garnier, The argument that Dupre covertly arranged for Dupuis' and Garnier's intimidation of and/or aggression against the Hue court is thus not entirely new. However, none of the author s has clearly shown that Dupre's appeals to the Catholic missionaries were an integral component of his plot to extort concessions from Hue .. By examining in detail the correspondence among Duple, Garnier, and the missionaries, it was shown that Dupre had arranged for Catholic support for Gamier's aggressions before the fact.

The examination of the writings of the French officers under Garnier=particularly the report of Jules Hal mand-« evealed that Catholic support for the expedition was significant This counters the interpretations of many contemporary as well as modem historians of the affair, According to Harmand, Catholic collaboration was an essential factor in the success of the French occupation because the majority of the Vietnamese population was hostile to the French intrusion. The Catholics, however, were eager to bring their aid to the French force-for a price.

Finally, the Western authors who have treated the affair have only used French documentation, They have therefore been reduced to guessing at the response of the Hue court. As with the questions of Hue's relationship to the southern anti-French resistance and to anti-Catholic activities in northern and central Vietnam during the 1860s, the result of this reliance on French SOUIces is that Western writers have usually repeated the views of the colonialists, The Vietnamese sources reveal that the Black Flags' attack was not ordered by the central authorities at Hue but rather by imperial military commanders who took matters into their own hands .. The counterattack on the Ha-noi citadel that took Garnier's life thus should not be cited as an example of Hue's "duplicity" or "treachery" in dealing with the French Furthermore, it was shown that the Tu-duc Emperor attempted to interpret the Garnier affair as a justification of his policy of peace thr ough concessions.. He purported to accept Dupre's disclaimer of Garnier's deeds, FOI Vietnamese students and officials, the "politically correct" interpretation of the Garnier affair was that the French aggression was merely a minor misunderstanding between Vietnamese officials and one of Dupre's overeager subordinates .. The return of the four northern provinces became, in this view, a proof of the efficacy of the

nd the ns with ie 1874 id done

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ir were is of his out the that the ue's and .tanding orthern .ood will Iarins to of peace e future adowof cts were as reilly precepts rusly not lVoiding diculous orting to

130 Vietnamese Response to French Intervention

peace policy and a promise for the future return of the Vietnamese territories occupied by the French in the South.

The
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186: 152 Notes

Article XX of the 1874 treaty, a French Charge d'Affaires was stationed at Hue to oversee the implementation of the accords .. It was from this official that any complaints lodged by the missionaries regarding the treatment of the Vietnamese Catholics were received by Vietnamese authorities. The emperor's reference to this official was thus a metaphor for French power protecting Vietnamese Catholicism See Tran Trong Kim, Viet Nam su. luoe 2:287.

6 HUE'S POLICY OF PEACE AND THE "FRANCIS GARNIER AFFAIR," 1873-1874

L See D. R. SarDesai, British Trade and Expan.sion in Southeast Asia, 1830-1914 (New Delhi: Allied Publishers, 1977),278-280..

2 .. Georges Taboulet, "Le Voyage d'exploration du Mekong (1866-1868): Doudart de Lagree et Francis Garnier," Revue Francaise d'Histoire d'Outre-Mer, no .. 62 (1970): 17-18.

3. Ibid., 18,.

4 .. Jean-Pierre Gomane, "Introduction," in Francis Garnier,

Voyage d'exploration en Indoehine (Paris: Editions La Decouverte,

1985), 10..

5 .. Nguyen The Anh, Viet Nam thoi Phap do-ho (Sai-gon: Lua

Thieng, 1970), 79-80..

6 .. Stephen H. Roberts, The History of French Colonial Policy,

1870.1925,2 vols. (London: P .. S .. King, 1929), 1:442.

7.. Francis Garnier, untitled manuscript, ANSOM, Paris, PA17,

Carton 2, 1866 .. 8.. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Dupre to Minister of Foreign Affairs, February 27, 1893,

ANSOM, Paris, AP8 (Bonault}

11.. Dupre to Minister, December 22, 1872, ANSOM, Paris, AP8

(Bonault).

12 .. Virginia Thompson, French Indochina (London: Allen &

Unwin, 1927),62-63.

13 .. Roberts, French Colonial Policy, 1:425.

14. Milton Osborne, River Road to China.' The Mekong

Exploration, 1866-1873 (New York: Liveright, 1975), 195.

15 .. Francis Gamier, La Question du Tonkin, ANSOM, Paris,

PAll, Carton 1.

16 .. Osborne, River Road to China, 195-196.

17.. Ibid., 203·204.

18 .. Frederic Degenaer to Dupre, January 25, 1875, ANSOM,

Paris, AP8 (Bonault). Degenaer was a private Hong-kong merchant who claimed to have furnished Captain Senez with wine and foodstuffs on credit to replace those that Senez had given to Dupuis In order to convince Degenaer that the purchase was an official one, Senez had described to Degenaer the purpose of his mission and the nature of the relationship between Dupre and Dupuis. In denying

his sponsors French gove: to reimburse

19. Sene (Bonault) 20. ROI Imptimeiie

21. See] 647-648; Ph Vu Khanh 1 su thu do H.

22. DN~ BanSuBol 23.lbid 24 .. Jea Challamel, 25 .. Ql

1971 .. 1972) 26 DN 27. Ibi( 28 .. Phs 29. It

Bourayne missionar upcoming Vietnamt claim to Catholic required the auth movemel was una Vietnam Bishop ( nouravn entoura involvini mission RelatiOl 1873,Al

30.L 31. ] (Bonaul 32 .. ( 33. ] Paris, P

34. (1), Ca: 35.

aires was ccords It ssionaries : received Lis official etnamese

~ARNIER

Southeast ~O'" Mekong ," Revue

Garnier, couverte,

on: Lua

tl Policy,

is, PA17,

:7, 1893,

uis, AP8

Allen &

Mekong

I, Paris,

NSOM, ierchant ine and Dupuis, rial one, and the denying

Notes 153

his sponsorship of Dupuis' mission, Dupre apparently felt that the French government in Sai-gon was thereby relieved of any obligation to reimburse the mission's suppliers; the debt was never paid"

19 .. Senez to Dupre, September 1872, ANSOM, Paris, AP8 (Bonault ).,

20,. Romanet du Caillaud, La France au Tonkin (Paris:

Imprimerie de Talitout, Questroy et Cie., 1874), S.

21. See Pham Van Son, Viet su toan thu (Sai-gon: Khai-tri, 1960), 647-648; Phan Khoang, Viet Nam Phap thuoe su. (Sai-gon: Phu Quoc Vu Khanh Dac Trach Van Hoa, 1971),208-209; TIan Huy Lieu, Lien su thu do Ha-noi (Ha-noi: Nha Xuat Ban Su Hoc, 1960), 92.

22, DNTL, 38 vols .. (Ha-noi: Nha Xuat Ban Xa Hoi, Nha Xuat Ban Su Hoc, Nha Xuat Ban Khoa Hoc, 1962-1978),32:225 ..

23., Ibid,

24" Jean Dupuis, Le Tonkin de 1872 a 1886 (Paris: Augustin Challamel, Editeur, 1910), 33-34,.

25 QTCB (Sai-gon: Nhom Nghien Cuu Su Dia Xuat Ban,

1971-1972),368-369. 26, DNTL 32:258" 27. Ibid, 328.

28, Phan Khoang, Viet Nam Phap thuoe su, 170··172,

29,. It is possible that the mission of Captain Senez of the Bourayne in October of 1872 included contacts with the Catholic missionaries of Tonkin in view of organizing their SUppOIt for the upcoming intervention" In an official letter dated January 6, 1872, Vietnamese authorities protested to Admiral Dupre that Senez's claim to have authorization from Sai-gon to visit the Tonkinese Catholic Missions was contrary to established procedure, which required advance notification by French authorities" According to the author of the letter of protest, Senez had lied about the movements of his ship in Vietnamese coastal waters and livers and was unable to account for the time he spent in these areas" Vietnamese officials also expressed their bewilderment as to why Bishop Gauthier as well as the Vietnamese interpreter from the Bourayne=ti native of Gia-dinh-vwere to be found in Dupuis' entourage. The Vietnamese evidently suspected a conspiracy involving Dupre, the French government at Sai-gon, and the Catholic missionaries of Tonkin, Minister of Commerce and Foreign Relations to the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, January 6, 1873, ANSOM, Paris, Indocbine AF A60, Carton L

3D., DNTL 32:.306.

31.. Dupre to Gamier, October 10, 187.3, ANSOM, Paris, AP8 (Bonault).

32 .. Osborne, River Road to China, 206.

33.. Dupre to FI ench Minister at Peking, October 1873, ANSOM, Paris, AP8 (Bonault).

34,. Dupre, October 19, 1873, ANSOM, Paris, Indochine AF A60 (1), Carton 24.,

35 .. Osborne, River Road to China, 206,

154 Notes

36. Tran Trong Kim, Viet Nam su luoc, 2 vols. (Sai-gon: Bo Giao Due, TIUng Tam Hoc lieu Xuat Ban, 1971), 2:281~282,

37, Jean Marquet and Jean Nord, L'Occupation du Tonkin par la France (187)-1874) d'apres des documents inedits (Sai-gon, 1936) ~~. ' 38.. DNTL 32:330~331

39. Garnier, Expedition du Tonkin, ANSOM, Paris, PA17 (Garnier).

40., Ibid"

41 Paulin Vial, N05 Premieres annees au Tonkin, 2 vols. (Paris:

Voirin, 1889), 1:58..

42" Marquet and Norel, L'Occupation du Tonkin, 44" 43., Nguyen The Anh, Viet Nam thoi Phap do-ho, 85-86.

44" Bonard to Minister, July 1862, ANSOM, Paris, AP8 (Bonault).

45" Dupre to Garnier, October 10., 1873, ANSOM, Paris, AP8 (Bonault )"

46. DUPle to Minister, July 28, 1873, ANSOM, Paris, Indochine AF A3D, Carton 12, Dossier 18"

47., Dupre to Schier, October 6, 1873, ANSOM, Paris, AP8 (Bonault).

48" Marquet and Norel, Le Drame Tonkinois (1873-1874):' Deuxiem e etude dapr es des documents inedit s (H'a-n oi:

Imprimerie-d'Extreme-Orienr, 1938),47., 49" Ibid,

50." Ibid", 57., 5L Ibid, 48" 52" Ibid., 56-57"

53" Schur hammer, "Nen van chuong cong giao," 154" 54" Marquet and Nord, Le Drame Tonkinois, 49-50., 55" Ibid" 51,

56" Ibid", 51-52,

57" Ibid., 52-54"

58.. Ibid., 85.

59, Adrien BaIny d'Avricourt, L'Enseigne Balny et la conquete du Tonkin: Indochine 1873 (Paris: Editions France-Empire, 1973),253., 60." Henry McAleavy, Black Flags in Vietnam: The Story of a Chinese Intervention;' The Tonkin War of 1884-188.5 (New York:

MacMillan, 1968), 142-141-

6L Marquet and Nord, L'Occupation du Tonkin, 153-154.

62" Andre Masson, Hanoi Pendent la period heroique 1873-1888

(Pads: Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1929),35-36" 63., Phan Khoang, Viet Nam Phap thuoe su, 219-221.

64" Marquet and Norel, L'Occupation du Tonkin, 48-49"

65" E. Luro, Le Pays d'Annam: Etude surl'organization politique et

sociale des Annamites (Paris: E.. Leroux, 1878), 11-12.

66" Marquet and Norel, L 'Occupation du Tonkin, 11-12, 67" Avricourt, L'Enseigne Balny, 181..

68, Romanet du Caillaud, La France au Tonkin, 11

wa nir SOl mi WI: an an pn otl en Ml Nc.

O~ nil an of 30 Hi H:

PI'

rru sh pI lip

ur r» Tl Fr ht co A,

(C (C A

C:

)0 Giao

n parla , 1936),

, PAl?

(Paris:

s, AP8

is, AP8

jochlne

S, AP8 -1874): a-no i:

uete du 3),253., )~y of a 1 York:

73-1888

uique et

Notes 155

69, Ibid" 12"

70, This manner of posing the question of Catholic collaboration was the standard argument of the pro-Catholic apologists" Louvet, a nineteenth-century author, presented--without any mention of their source-figures of 2,000 Catholic soldiers within a total pro-French militia force of 14,000 men; Phan Phat Huon, a twentieth-century writer, uncritically reiterates these figures. The problem is that there are no surviving records from which such figures could be derived, and it is therefore meaningless to cite them, Furthermore, the pro-Catholic authors do not address the possibility that there were other forms of Catholic aid to Garnier's expedition besides formal enrollment as a militiaman or administrator. See E. Louvet, Vie de Msgr. Puginier (Ha-noi: Schneider, 1894),225; Pharr Phat Huon, Viet Nam giao su, 2 vols" (Sai-gon: Cuu-the Tung-thu, 1962), 1:520-521,

71. One is reminded of the observations made by Chesneaux and Osborne regarding the historiographical potency retained by nineteenth-century ideals. See Milton E, Osborne, "Truong Vinh Ky and Phan Thanh Gian: The Problem of a Nationalist Interpretation of Nineteenth-Century Vietnamese History," Journal of Asian Studies 30, no, 1 (November 1970): 81; .Jean Chesneaux, "French Historiography and the Evolution of Colonial Vietnam," in D. 0., E. Hall, ed .. , Historians of Southeast Asia (London: Oxford University Press, 1961),233"

72. To illustrate his conception of the Europeans' super ior morality, the author juxtaposes two contemporary photographs, one showing the French use of wooden cangues to restrain Vietnamese prisoners, the other Vietnamese soldiers holding severed heads" "Prisoners in the cangue utilized by the French," the author notes under the former; "No prisoners taken among the Annamites. Decapitation was the minimum, " " is his comment on the latter" The implication is that the Europeans-the French soldiers and the French and Spanish missionaries-conducted themselves with greater humanity than their Vietnamese counterparts, The photos and commentary are pr esented hors texte between pages 256 and 257 of Avricourt, L'Enseigne Balny,

73" Balny to Garnier, November 28, 1873, ANSOM, Paris, PA 17 (Garnier), Carton 1,

74" BaIny to Garnier, November 29,1873, ANSOM, Paris, PA 17 (Garnier), Carton 1.

75. Harrnand, Report, January 1874, ANSOM, Paris, Indochine AF AOO (10), Carton L

76., BaIny, Report, undated, ANSOM, Paris, PA 17, Carton 1.

77,. BaIny to Gamier, November 1873, ANSOM, Paris, PA 17,

Carton 1.

78" Avricourt, L'Enseigne Balny, 226-227., 79" Ibid" 230-2.31.

so. Ibid" 231,

81 Ibid" 238-239.,

82 .. Marquet and Norel have suggested that Garnier suppressed

, '

j,; .

156 Notes

information about indigenous support lest it deflate the apparent heroism of his actions. Marquet and Norel, Le Drame Tonkinois, 61. 83. Harmand, Report, December 1873, ANSOM, Paris, Indochine AF AQQ (10.) Carton L

84" Bainy to Garnier, November 187.3, ANSOM, Paris, PA 17 (Garnier), Carton 1,

85,. BaIny, Notes, November 29, 1873, ANSOM, Paris, PA 17 (Garnier), Carton 1..

86., Marquet and Norel, Le Drame Tonkinois, 68.

87. Harmand, Report, January 1874, ANSOM, Paris, Indochine

AF AQQ (10.), Carton 1. 88 .. Ibid.

89,. Ibid.

90.. Osborne, River Road to China, 213 ..

91. Harmand, Report, January 1874, ANSOM, Paris, Indochine

AF AQQ (10.), Carton 1.. 92 .. Ibid.

9.3,. Ibid ..

94,. Ibid,

95.. Avricourt, L'Enseigne Balny, 260.-261. 96.. DNTL .32:.342 ..

97. Ibid

98. Ibid., .338 ..

99" Ibid. Recent research by Vietnamese scholars has clarified several perplexing problems in regard to the origins of Luu Vinh Phuc's Black Flags and their political relationship with the Hue court, A native of China's Kwangsi province, Luu Vinh Phuc was not a Tai-ping general as is often stated .. His Black Flags were loosely associated with the Heaven and Earth Society.. Although his Black Flags occasionally cooperated with Tai-ping forces, they retained their organizational and ideological independence.. After the destruction of the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace, Chinese imperial forces attacked the Black Flags and forced them to flee southwar d into Vietnam in approximately 1867. In the highlands of northern Vietnam, the Black Flags made themselves useful to the Hue court by extirpating a number of rival Sino-Vietnamese military bands.. Luu Vinh Phuc was rewarded by the Hue court with the title of That Pham Thien Ho, a seventh-level military mandarin's ranking, and the position of Bao-Thang Phong-Ngu Su, or royal defensive envoy.. As such, he was permitted to levy taxes on his own initiative and was generally allowed a free hand in the isolated regions of Lao-cai and Yen-bai where imperial authority was feeble. See Chuong Thau and Minh-Hong, "Luu Vinh Phuc trong cuoc khang Phap cua nhan dan Viet Nam," NeLS, no".36 (March 1962): 9-11.

10.0. .. Tu-duc, Bai du: khuyen sue quan Hiep Doc Ton That Thuyet va quan Thong Doc Hoang Ta Ji'iem, in Tu-due, Thanh che van tam tap, 2 vols .. Edited by Bui Tan Mien and Tran Tuan Khai (Sai-gon:

Phu Quoc Vu Khanh Dac Trach Van Hoa Xuat Ban, 1971),62. 10.1 Ibid .. , 66

nuo 40.2

psy Tor a gl bee 188 hac ant opp Ha leal drii we and vict On (H~

Tu-

Thz

stil del wit gm An Ca nrn

Mi the vi. tra the off reI its pee

dochine

Notes 157

clarified lU Vinh :he Hue was not : loosely is Black etained fter the Chinese t to flee .lands of 11 to the military

the title ranking, efensive nitiative gions of ile. See ic khang 9-1L

It Thuyet van tam :Sai-gon: 52,

102, DNTL 32:338, 103., Ibid .. , 342,

104" Phan Khoang, Viet Nam Phap thuoc su, 225.

105. Luu Vinh Phuc, Lich su chi thao, in Chuong Thau and Minh-Hong, "LUll Vinh Phuc," 10.

106" Chuong Thau and Minh-Hong, "Lull Vinh Phuc," 10"

107. Chu Thien et al., Hop tuyen tho van yeu nuoc: Tho van yeu nuoc nua sau the Ky XIX (Ha-noi: Nha Xuat Ban Van Hoc, 1970), 402.

108,. The viewpoint of the author of Nhac Nhi hi giet chet--that the psychological and organizational state of the French troops in Tonkin after the Black Flags's attack presented the Vietnamese with a golden opportunity to inflict on France a humiliating defeat-became a favorite theme with the advocates of war, FOI example, in 1883, Nguyen Xuan On, a provincial military mandarin whose career had encountered numerous setbacks because of his outspoken anti-Catholicism, sent Tu-duc the following evaluation of opportunities lost during the Tonkin episode: "In the course of the Ha-noi incident, Garnier was killed, leaving their troops without a leader. We should have taken advantage of their confusion and driven them away; it could have been done without difficulty.. Yet we offered them peace in Older to spare them the shame of defeat, and we .even offered them land. By no means can it be said that their victories were entirely caused by their great ability." Nguyen Xuan On, Tho van Nguyen Xuan On, edited by Nguyen Due Van et at (Ha-noi: Nha Xuat Ban Van Hoa, 1962),276.

109. Tu-duc, Bai che sach phuc thi khoa thi-hoi nam dinh-suu, in Tu-duc, Thanh ehe van tam tap, 254-256,.

110. Tu-duc, Bai duo khien tracn vien Thuong-Bac va

Thua-Thien-Phu, in ibid", 44 .. 111, Ibid.

112,. Ibid.

113. The 1874 treaty included among its provisions the following stipulations. Articles II and III declared that Vietnam was not a dependency of any country but was not to change its for eign policy without the approval of France Article V granted France full governmental authority in all of the occupied southern territories" Article IX reiterated, clarified, and enhanced the privileges of the Catholics. The Hue court agreed to abandon restrictions on the number of Catholic worshipers who might assemble in a single place. Missionaries were henceforth required only to secure the approval of the French authorities in Sai-gon and the agreement either of the Vietnamese Minister of Rites or a provincial mandarin in order to travel anywhere in Vietnam; they were no longer required to report their movements and verify their credentials with local Vietnamese officials. The Vietnamese government was obliged to reiterate its repeal of the edicts of persecution and to declare by imperial edict its supposed acknowledgment that the Catholic religion taught the people to perform good acts. Catholics were to be permitted to hold

pparent ois,6L dochine

,PA 17 . PA 17

dochine

158 Notes

any administrative position to which their talents qualified them, and they might not be forced to commit any act contrary to their religion Vietnamese priests were excluded from COIpO! al punishment in the event of infractions of Vietnamese law, and they were to be allowed to own land and rent land and buildings for religious purposes .. Articles XI and XII forced Vietnam to open ports at Thi-nai in Binh-dinh province and at Binh-hai in Hai-duong province. The Red River was opened to commerce from China to the sea, including the port of Ha-noi. Frenchmen and Vietnamese with French nationality wet e allowed full commercial liberties in these zones. Accor ding to Article XX a French official was to reside in Vietnamese territory to oversee the fulfillment of the treaty, See Pharr Khoang, Viet Nam Phap thuoe su, 230-239; Tran Trong Kim, Viet Nam su luoe 2:286-287,.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark W .. McLeod has MA. and Ph.D. degrees in Southeast Asian History from the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a diploma from the Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, where he studied Vietnamese in 1980-1981. Research for The Vietnamese Response to French Intervention, 1862-1874 was conducted during a four-year residence in Paris, France under grants nom the Fullbright-Hays Foundation and the Social Science Research CounciL McLeod currently lives in Spokane, Washington and teaches Asian history at Gonzaga University ..