Imatges de pàgina

express their contrition and to promise better conduct for the future. Kanghi had neither the desire nor the intention to irritate the mass of the people. He forgave all save the most guilty, and affected a belief in their pledges. But for the first time Manchu garrisons were placed in all the walled towns, and a part, known as the Tartar city, was specially marked off for their use.

Meantime Wou Sankwei maintained his independence in his own immediate neighbourhood. He appears to have come to the wise determination to content himself with the sovereignty of these provinces which he hoped to weld into a kingdom for his son; and it was none of Kanghi's policy to venture upon a precipitate attack on this formidable general, whose military skill he rightly dreaded. All Kanghi's efforts were devoted to the work of detaching his friends and of crushing his allies. In 1677, however, he had so far succeeded in this preliminary task that he gave instructions for his armies to converge upon Wou Sankwei's territory from the north and also from the east. The Manchus met their match in the field, but the dissensions prevalent among the Chinese elsewhere had been manifested even in the ranks of the followers of Wou Sankwei, and this disunion more than counterbalanced their successes. Gradually his forces were driven out of Hoonan, and over his part of Szchuen he could claim only a precarious tenure. When Wou Sankwei took his first step backwards, the sun of his fortunes set . His own adherents abandoned him, the rebels in other parts hastened to come to terms with the supreme power, and all the scattered bodies of Manchu troops converged upon him as a common centre. For fifty years this Chinese warrior had never known the meaning of defeat, but he was now on the eve of irretrievable ruin, from which there was none to extricate him.

From Szchuen Wou Sankwei passed into Yunnan, whence he superintended the conduct of the campaign on the Hoonan and Kweichow frontiers. So long as he lived the skill shown in his military dispositions compensated to a great extent for other deficiencies, and the tardiness of his generals' success induced Kanghi to proclaim his intention of taking the field VVOU'S DEATH. 593

in person. Several of his most experienced ministers disapproved of this resolution, as the absence of the Emperor from Pekin was held to be calculated to create disturbances in the North; but at this conjuncture the news of VVou Sankwei's death opportunely arrived. There are several versions of the manner in which this event happened, but the most probable one seems to be that he died of old age in the year 1679. Even with his great talents and reputation it had become clear that the success of his cause was virtually hopeless, and when he died his party dwindled down to an insignificant faction under the leadership of his grandson Wou Shufan. Kanghi then gave up his idea of taking the field in person, satisfied with the conviction that no other Chinese chieftain existed to take the place of his formidable opponent.

The disappearance of Wou Sankwei struck a rude blow at the courage and confidence of the Chinese people, for whom the death of their greatest man was an irreparable loss. Their ideas of resistance to the bitter end then gave place to the more worldly sentiment of coming to as speedy a settlement as possible with the Manchu officials. Wou Sankwei's long career covered the most critical period in the modern history of China, and, during the half-century that elapsed from the time when he distinguished himself in the defence of Ningyuen until he died as an independent prince in Yunnan, he occupied the very foremost place in the minds of his countrymen. The part which he had taken first in keeping out the Manchus, and then in introducing them into the state, reflected equal credit on his ability and patriotism. For even in requesting the Manchus to come to his aid against the robber Li he had been actuated by the purest motives, as there was then only a choice of evil alternatives; and it seemed preferable that a respectable, if alien, form of government should be established, to allowing the Empire to fall into the hands of a freebooter whose thoughts were solely of plunder. The Manchus, although well aware of the magnitude of their debt, secretly wished to exclude him from the just recompense of his unequalled services; but the Court was too wise to quarrel with one whose indignation might prove formidable. Yet vol- I. 2 Q

the workings of their minds were not wholly concealed from Wou Sankwei, and when he received from Kanghi the order to proceed in person to Pekin and to disband his army, the moral indignation which had long possessed him broke forth. Something he may have presumed on the youth and inexperience of the Emperor, and he certainly forgot that his own age precluded his taking the active part in the field necessary to the success of his enterprise. For a moment it almost seemed that he was destined to succeed, and that the verdict of fortune would be reversed. With regard to the Manchus, Wou Sankwei might flatter himself that he had played the part of king-maker; but when he attempted to set up his own individual authority, he failed in his task. Notwithstanding that his life closed under the blight of a failure, the long, varied, and picturesque career of Wou Sankwei remains one of the most remarkable and striking to be met with in the course of Chinese history.

Wou Shufan carried on the unequal struggle with the Manchu generals for a few years; but in 1681 he lost all the possessions he had received from his grandfather, except the town of Yunnan. Long and valiantly did these representatives of a lost cause defend that stronghold, and Wou Shufan emulated the fortitude of his family. But the inevitable end could not be averted. The Manchus having once gained admission within the walls, the siege speedily terminated. The garrison was put to the sword, and Wou Shufan only baffled his enemy by committing suicide. Yet the full measure of the Manchu vengeance was not satisfied until his head had been sent to Pekin to be hung up over the gate as a warning to traitors, and as a proof of the Tartar triumph. Nor was even this act the last that marked the repression of the great rebellion; for the body of Wou Sankwei himself was taken from the tomb, and his ashes were scattered throughout the eighteen provinces of China, to testify to all that no trace any longer remained of the man who had threatened the very existence of the Manchus, and at whose name all his foes used to tremble.

Kanghi had now occupied the throne for more than twenty years, and the child upon whom the weight of a great FORMOSA. 595

Empire had been cast was no longer an inexperienced and unknown boy. Unusual difficulties had beset his path, but he had triumphed over them by his own energy and indomitable will; and although still a young man, he had already won his way to a position of power and personal fame that gave him high rank among the rulers of his time. What he thus early accomplished the deeds of his later years fully established and maintained. Up to this point it had been to Kanghi a struggle for existence, but henceforth his place as Emperor of China was secure. The Manchu conquest, begun by Taitsong and completed by Ama Wang and Wou Sankwei, was achieved a second time and consolidated by the wise measures and determination of Kanghi.

Before concluding this early portion of the long reign, on the mere threshold of which we as yet stand, it may be pertinent to describe how the descendants of Koshinga fared in their later endeavours to establish an independent kingdom in Formosa. The conquest of that island represented another incident in the task of establishing the Manchu authority on a firm footing.

When the chief Ching lost Amoy, and with it his hold upon the mainland, he sank into a subordinate position ; but his activity on the sea hardly showed any abatement in vigour. So late as the year 1680 Ching resumed his operations on the mainland, and again acquired possession of Amoy. For a time his successes seemed remarkable, but they also served to increase the ardour of the Manchus, who spared no effort to secure his overthrow. After several delusive victories his troops were signally defeated, and Amoy and the other towns on the coast were finally lost to him. Several of his best officers deserted him, and many of his men followed their example. Encouraged by this turn in the fortune of this war, Kanghi refused to listen to Ching's propositions for peace, and ordered the invasion of Formosa. The Manchu fleet had before this period attained a certain degree of efficiency, and, being reinforced by a Dutch contingent and several vessels captured from the rebel force, it enjoyed a material advantage in numbers over that of the Formosan chief.

At this critical moment Ching died of over-indulgence, and numerous disorders broke out on his death as to who should be his successor. The Pekin Court turned these dissensions to the best advantage. Their fleet seized Ponghu, the principal island of the Pescadore group, whence it was no difficult task for them to throw a force across to Formosa, and to establish themselves in one of its harbours. Then the people surrendered without further resistance, for it was clear to them that the Manchus could be no longer resisted, and that their triumph was decreed by Heaven.

In this case Kanghi felt he could afford to be merciful. The principal representative of Koshinga's family was spared and created a count. Those who surrendered voluntarily were either rewarded or dismissed without further punishment; but all had to accept the badge of conquest, and wear the Manchu tail. Thus ended the brief existence of the free Chinese authority in Formosa which had continued twentythree years after the first proclamation of Koshinga, on the expulsion of the Dutch from Taiwan. Kanghi thus attained both his desires—the overthrow of Wou Sankwei, and the suppression of the piratical power of Formosa. He was at last supreme, both on land and on sea, within the limits of what was termed the Chinese Empire.

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