Imatges de pàgina
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The difficulty which had arisen with the Mongol chief Satchar warned Kanghi that he must be prepared to meet dangers from without as well as to encounter perils from within. If the Mongol tribes, who had helped his ancestors against the Chinese, and who had derived some benefit and advantage from the Manchu conquest, could not be trusted to remain staunch in their allegiance, what sort of friendship could he expect from those other tribes whose homes lay in the interior of Asia, and whose predatory instincts were continually urging them to harry the rich border districts of China? Kanghi had taken such measures as were within his power to establish the virtual supremacy of his name among these nomadic hordes, who resembled, in everything save military efficiency, the warrior clans which had followed the fortunes of the great Mongol leaders in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Of these tribes the Khalkas, who prided themselves on their direct descent from Genghis, and whose pasturages were watered by those tributary streams of the Amour which had beheld the dawn of Mongol fame and powqr, made no demur in recognizing the supremacy of the Manchu Emperor. They had long lost the ability to play any greater part on the wilds of Gobi than that of a small community of hardy and frugal shepherds, able and resolved to maintain their rights against the encroachments of their neighbours, but indifferent to any wider sway. Yet there still attached to their acts a higher significance among their kinsmen in consequence of the greatness of their origin; and the formal adhesion of the Khalkas to the Manchu cause meant that the great majority of the Mongols would thenceforth refrain from committing acts of unprovoked aggression on the Chinese borders.

Beyond the Mongols, in the region extending westwards to the provinces of Jungaria and Altyshahr (Hi and Kashgar), there was another people or race, which, divided into four hordes, obeyed the commands of as many chiefs. The Eleuths, a Calmuck tribe, more remote from the scene of Manchu triumph than their Mongol neighbours, were indisposed to pay those marks of subordination which either Chinese vanity or Kanghi's policy demanded. When the Khalkas made their court at the Chinese capital the Eleuths still held aloof, and expressed their intention to maintain an attitude of indifference towards the great Power of the East.

This resolution of the Eleuths might have possessed little practical significance, but for the appearance on the scene of one of those remarkable men who have risen at long intervals among these children of the desert, and who, out of unpromising materials and with scant resources, have founded a power of no slight proportions for the time that it endured. This individual, who now stands forward as a rival to Kanghi and as a competitor for empire with him—such was the exalted character of his ambition—was Galdan, chief by descent of one of the Eleuth clans, and the leader by virtue of his ability of all who bore the name. To the elevation of his race as a great people Galdan devoted all his energy and ability. The prize for which he strove was a brilliant and attractive one, while his own risk appeared in comparison insignificant. Victory assumed, under these circumstances, her most attractive colours, and defeat lost its chief terror.

Galdan was the younger son of the most powerful chief of the Eleuths. His proud and eager spirit could not forgive the accident of birth, and chafing at a position of inferiority, he quitted the camp of his people to advance his fortunes in a different sphere. The ambitious, as well as the disappointed, seek the ranks of religion's ministers to advance their ends and to gratify the promptings of an imperious will under the cloak of spiritual fervour, for humanity has allowed without THE DALAI LAMA. 599

murmur to those who advocate the cause of heaven the unscrupulous resolution and the unyielding persistency that are condemned in the search of worldly ends. Such were the views of Galdan, who for a moment aspired to attain as a minister of religion that unquestioned sway which, as the chief of a nomadic people, the difference of a few months seemed destined to prevent his enjoying.

Over the whole of Buddhist Asia the fame of the Dalai Lama of Tibet spreads its gentle influence. The poor and scattered clans on the northern steppe believe in the benefits to be derived from that saintly personage's intercession quite as much as, and probably much more than, astute statesmen and rulers at Pekin. The power of the Dalai Lama was exercised with less despotic sway over those who regarded that incarnation of an immortal spirit as their highest religious dignitary, than that of the Pope of Rome; but it was none the less real as a matter of general belief and common acceptance. It was to Lhasa, or rather to the lamasery of Botala, that the young Eleuth chief turned his steps. His absence was not lengthy. Before his departure Galdan had quarrelled with some of his brothers, and in the discussion that ensued had slain his full-brother Tsenka. This deed of violence precipitated his flight, but it also contributed to his prompt return. News of the crime reached the ears of the Dalai Lama, and the favour of admission to the ranks of the clergy of Tibet was refused to one coming with the stains of blood upon his hands. Galdan quitted Tibet and returned to the quarters of his race. Among a people accustomed to violence, his crime was easily forgotten, or lightly condoned by a brief absence. His return was hailed by those who knew that he came straight from the palace of the Dalai Lama, and he found that the reputation of having lived in the effulgence of that holy presence served him in almost as good stead as if his character were spotless. Then again he turned to the schemes of ambition which, ever uppermost in his brain, were to be attained either by fair means or by foul, and to which the superstition and the credulity of men were likely to be as good stepping-stones as his own ability and nerve.

Galdan's designs were carried out to the letter. He deposed the Khan who had been elected in his place after the murder of Tsenka, and as the next step decreed the death of all the members of his family whose opposition to his plans might be expected. This holocaust in the camp of the Eleuths terrified the people into a state of subjection, which it became Galdan's main object to make as light and durable as he could. Galdan had done enough for the moment towards strengthening his own position. He had now to consolidate his power by systematic encroachments on the lands of his neighbours; and as the preliminary to these latent designs he sent a mission, nominally of congratulation, but really of inquiry and investigation, to the Court of Kanghi. It arrived at the very moment when the rebellion of Wou Sankwei was at its height, and it returned before the death of that prince and the subsequent pacification of the South had taken place. The tale it brought back to Galdan was one, therefore, not of the power and resources of the Manchus, but of their weakness and embarrassment. These Central Asian envoys may well have been excused if they spread the rumour that the brave young Tartar ruler stood on the verge of ruin. When Galdan received the report of his messengers he abandoned whatever intention he may have had of preserving the peace with the Chinese Empire. The opportunity of advancing his interests at its expense, for which he had been on the look-out, seemed to have arrived, and he lost no time in beginning the encroachments over which he had long meditated. The Khalkas, who had given a willing and sincere recognition to the Manchu authority, presented the mark upon which he could most easily vent his simulated indignation and his deeply-felt ambition. They were within the reach of his power, and too remote to receive from China the aid which could alone enable them to resist his attack. The invasion of the Khalka districts formed the task undertaken by Galdan in his first campaign; but at the same time he sent troops in the direction of the Chinese frontier. The approach of his force induced many to flee within the Emperor's territory, and to seek the aid of his officials in recovering their possessions from an aggressor with no valid ground of complaint against them. Kanghi gave them GALDANS EMBASSY. 601

permission to settle on the frontier, and provided them with a few necessaries. But at first he could not do more than watch the progress of events with vigilant attention, and this he was always careful to do. His generals on the frontier were ordered to send spies into the territory of the Eleuths, and these reported that Galdan had established a formidable military power, and that he meditated extending his sway over all the regions adjacent to China.

While employed in the serious business of advancing his authority into the lands of the Khalkas, Galdan amused himself by frequently sending missions to Pekin, with the double object of increasing his information and of blinding the Emperor as to his plans. So little was known about the state of the regions beyond the Chinese frontier, that for a long time Galdan was able to keep the execution of his plans without the knowledge of the Chinese officials. So well did he combine the arts of vigilant activity in the field and of dissimulation in his diplomatic negotiations, that in the year '6/9, when his encroachments on the Khalka country were beginning to assume tangible form, his ambassador at Pekin was accorded a flattering reception, and returned to his master with the seal and patent of a khan.

Three years later Kanghi commissioned two of the principal officers attached to his person to proceed to the camp of Galdan to ascertain how far the disquieting rumours concerning his movements and military preparations were true. At the same time he sent other envoys to the Khalkas, and among these may be noted Feyanku, then a young captain in the bodyguard, but afterwards one of the most celebrated of Chinese generals. These diplomatic agents were the bearers of the usual number of presents for the princes to whom they were about to proceed; but their instructions were of the simplest land. One and all of the potentates whom they visited were to acknowledge the supremacy of the Chinese Emperor and to renew the formal expression of their allegiance at stated intervals. Of these missions, the result only of that to Galdan had any practical significance.

The laws of hospitality are sacred and exacting. Galdan, enraged at heart at the pretensions of a monarch whose power

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