Gallant Deeds of the British Navy during Victoria's Reign
se Tartars are very brave fellows, and so are their officers; and in numberless instances they preferred death to defeat. They invariably fought to the last; and often, when they could fight no longer, cut the throats of their wives and children, and then their own, rather than yield. This horrible practice arose undoubtedly from ignorance, they believing that their conquerors would ill-treat and enslave them if they captured them alive. Besides these Tartar troops, who were far from contemptible enemies, our gallant redcoats and bluejackets had to contend with the pernicious climate of the south of China, by which, more than by the jingall-balls of the enemy, numbers were cut off. The Tartars we have been speaking of are powerful men, armed with long spears, and often they crossed them with the British bayonet, for which the long spear was sometimes more than a match. Hand-to-hand encounters with the Tartar troops were not uncommon, and our men learned to their cost that they had held the Chinese too cheap.