On the Pacific, however, there were great gains; long-established plans for obtaining a port in China which might serve as a base for the growing trade at Tientsin were carried out at the end of 1897; the murder of two Catholic missionaries was made the pretext for landing troops in the bay of Kiao-chau; and in amends China granted the lease of some 50 sq.
During the period 1874-1894, when Li Hung-Chang was viceroy of Chih-li and ex officio superintendent of trade, he made Tientsin his headquarters and the centre of his experiments in military and naval education.
The Tientsin developments of German business on credit terms are said to have proved unsatisfactory, and heavy losses were suffered in Hong-Kong some years ago by merchants who endeavoured to initiate a bolder system of trading.
In fulfilment of these rights a railway has been constructed connecting Kiao-chow with Chinanfu, the capital; there it connects with another railway crossing the province north to south and forming part of the Tientsin and Chin-kiang line.
In 1853 Tientsin was besieged by an army of T'aip'ing rebels, which had been detached from the main force at Nanking for the capture of Peking.
The importance of Tientsin has been enhanced by the railways connecting it with Peking on the one hand and with Shanhai-kwan and Manchuria on the other.
He started at once and arrived at Tientsin in July, where he met Li Hung Chang, and learnt that affairs were in a critical condition, and that there was risk of war with Russia.
The town is built on a vast alluvial plain, which extends from the mountains beyond Peking to the sea, and through which the Peiho runs a circuitous course, making the distance by water from Tientsin to the coast about 70 m.