The Chinese scholar-official had long constituted a special type of iron-clad intelligentsia, firmly based on the Confucian tradition and accustomed to rule China with unchallenged authority. This tradition was threatened for the first time in 1838 with the outbreak of the “Opium” or First Anglo-Chinese War. Outwardly, this was a simple military defeat by a “barbarian” force on one frontier of China, remote from the capital and court at Peking. As such it was nothing new in Chinese history. Hsiung-nu, Toba Tartars, Mongols and Manchus had threatened and overrun Chinese borders through the centuries. To most articulate Chinese both this and successive assaults on China through the nineteenth century, were adequately explained by the traditional and reassuring formula.