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he affected to despise, lavished on Kanghi's envoys all the resources of his people and circumstances. The arrival of an embassy in his poor country from the rich and powerful Emperor of China was an event, he said, that would be handed down to posterity as the most glorious of his reign; yet he was no doubt thinking that his relation to Kanghi might become very similar to those of the early Manchu leaders with the last of the Ming emperors. The Chinese envoys did not succeed in obtaining any of those formal concessions which they were expected to bring back from him, and the indifference of Galdan's attitude was enhanced by the unaffected cordiality of the pledges of friendship given by the Khalkas. To this they were impelled both by their apprehensions of Galdan, and also by the divisions and rivalries which disturbed the harmony of their assemblies.
The dissensions of the Khalkas afforded Galdan his opportunity, and when Kanghi succeeded in 1687 in effecting a reconciliation between these princelets, who swore before an image of Buddha to keep the peace among themselves, Galdan resorted to all the artifices within his power to disturb the harmony of this arrangement and to revive the feuds and discord that many hoped had been happily healed. Kanghi addressed them by letter in terms which sought to bring before them all the risk and attendant evils of the course they were pursuing; but his principal aim was to check the pretensions and encroachments of Galdan. Early in the following year, therefore, he sent a new embassy into the Khalka country; and he attached so much importance to its success, that he entrusted the mission to some of his nearest and most intimate advisers. Prince Sosan, a captain of the bodyguard and minister of state, was placed at the head of the embassy, and with him was associated Tong Kwekang, another official of high rank, and Kanghi's maternal uncle. With these Chinese dignitaries also went the two European priests, Gerbillon and Pereira, as interpreters, for to the complications among the Khalkas there had been added a dispute with the Russian colonists, who had crossed a continent to find a fertile place of settlement on the banks of the Amour.
The Russians had constructed along the Southern border THE RUSSIANS. 603
of their new possession a line of block-houses, but, as their presence in this remote quarter did not apparently disturb the Chinese, they soon began to fortify their stations on a more pretentious and formidable scale. A fort was erected at Albazin, a place on the upper course of the Amour, and the Russian authorities in this quarter anticipated being able to derive substantial benefit from the disturbed state of the country held by the Khalkas as well as from the rival pretensions of Galdan and the Emperor Kanghi. In this expectation they were doomed to disappointment, for the Chinese troops sent into the neighbourhood by Kanghi, with the aid of the surrounding tribes, fell upon the garrison of Albazin, captured the place, and carried off a band of Russian prisoners to Pckin, where their descendants still remain. The Russians returned and re-established themselves at Albazin with that obstinacy which is one of their characteristics, and which they derive from their Tartar origin. Hostilities recommenced and languished throughout the year, and then it was that Kanghi, more anxious to crush Galdan than to embroil himself in an indefinite quarrel with the Russians, accepted the overtures that came to him from the Muscovites for a pacific arrangement . This embassy had almost reached the scene of its proposed diplomatic labours, when an event compelled its sudden return. War had at last broken out between the Eleuths and the Khalkas, and Galdan was in the act of invading the very territory whither Kanghi's representatives had gone to assert his right against the Russians. Although the diplomatists were recalled, the negotiations were only suspended, and not broken off. In the following year it may be stated that they were brought to an auspicious termination by the treaty of Nipchu.
Galdan had on his side speculated on the possible advantages he might derive from the appearance of these Russians, and possessed with the idea that it must tend to his advantage, he resolved to defer no longer his open rupture with the Khalkas. Even in these uncivilized regions, where the law of might supersedes every other consideration, the moral sentiment of the human race requires that some cloak shall be given to acts of wanton aggression. Galdan specified his grounds of complaint against the chief of the Khalka princes. He had participated in the murder of some of Galdan's kinsmen, and to all demands of redress had turned a deaf ear. There does not seem to have been much truth in the allegation, but it served its turn. Galdan had long resolved to overrun the country of his neighbours, and one excuse was as good as another. Yet in attacking the Khalkas the thought uppermost in his mind was how best he could injure Kanghi.
Chepsuntanpa, one of the principal Khalka princes, upon whom the Emperor had conferred the religious title of Koutuktoo, sent the first certain intelligence of Galdan's movements to China. With a force of 30,000 men he had overrun several of the districts belonging to these chieftains, and the Koutuktoo wrote that unless the Emperor promptly sent assistance it would be impossible for them to escape the yoke of the Eleuths. This bad news was fully confirmed by Kanghi's own envoys, who dwelt upon the panic that had seized the minds of the Khalkas in consequence of the rapid successes of Galdan. Kanghi at once gave orders for the reinforcement of the garrison in the North-West, and summoned eight of the Mongol banners to take the field with their contingents. Shortly afterwards, not feeling certain that these preparations would suffice in so critical an emergency, the Emperor moved a portion of the Leaoutung garrison, and some of the Manchu banners, nearer to the scene of the threatened fray.
Galdan was now more indifferent to appearances than he had ever been before, and he openly declared that he aimed at the destruction of the Khalka independence, and that nothing short of the death or capture of their two foremost princes would satisfy his intentions. He did not even refrain from putting forward a grievance against the Chinese Government for its having allowed several of the Khalka princes and their followers to take refuge within the limits of the Empire. Kanghi's reply to these pretensions was to allot the Khalkas settlements in the Kirong region, and to receive them into the ranks of his subjects, on the same footing as the other Mongol tribes. That Galdan was not wholly in ENVOYS SEIZED. 605
the wrong, or, at least, that he had succeeded in giving his case a semblance of right, is evident on the admission of Kanghi himself; but the unbridled extent of his ambition was clearly evident at all times.
In 1689 the question in dispute between these potentates had resolved itself into whether Kanghi would surrender the refugee Khalkas, or whether Galdan would agree to waive his demands on this point . Neither party was likely to make any substantial concession, and, unless a compromise could be effected, war was inevitable. Galdan's pretensions received the unexpected support of the Dalai Lama, who sent one of his attendants to Pekin to urge on Kanghi the advisability of complying with the demand of the Eleuth prince for the surrender of his personal enemies, the Koutuktoo and his companion. Kanghi refused to listen to the advice of his spiritual friend and correspondent, for it would ill become him, he wrote, as a great prince not to show consideration for the unfortunate. At this stage Galdan met with an unlookedfor check in a disastrous defeat which he suffered at the hands of his neighbour and nephew, Tse Wang Rabdan, son of the murdered Tsenka, with whose future career the development of this Central Asian question will have much to da
Galdan must have quickly recovered from the effects of this reverse, although report had painted its gravity to the Emperor in vivid colours; for the very next year, 1690, he took the first step of hostility that he had yet ventured upon against China. The act of hostility to which he resorted was to arrest the Chinese envoys staying at his camp, thus hoping to secure an equivalent for the eventual recovery of the objects of his personal animosity. In face of this outrage and insult all Kanghi's desire for peace, and dislike for an arduous war, disappeared; and, placing three armies in the field, he directed one to march with all despatch to the Kerulon. But Galdan was expert in this form of warfare, and, knowing the country well, long evaded the pursuit of the Chinese forces His own difficulties, however, remained so numerous and grave, that it was impossible for him to collect all his strength to resist the Chinese. His neighbour. Tse Wang Rabdan, continued to be a thorn in his side; and his best chance appeared to be an alliance with the Russians, although they had nominally settled all their misunderstandings with the Chinese by the Treaty of Nipchu. The Russians, whatever their inclination may have been, did not possess the available power to help the Eleuths; but, with the object of keeping themselves as well informed as they could about the affairs of their neighbours, they sent an officer on a visit to Galdan's camp. The mere rumour of a possible alliance between Galdan and the Russians roused Kanghi to acts of unprecedented energy and activity. The whole of the Northern army, composed of the picked troops of the Eight Manchu Banners, the Forty-nine Mongol Banners, and the Chinese auxiliaries, was ordered to proceed across the Mongolian steppe, and an expedition of formidable proportions was thus fitted out for the destruction of Galdan.
Meantime Galdan, although his main hope centred in the Russian alliance, and notwithstanding that his necessities had obliged him to kill most of his horses to satisfy the requirements of his followers, had not remained inactive. Collecting all his forces, he made a rapid advance into the territory under Chinese authority, attacked the advanced Chinese army under President Horni on the river Hourhoei, and after a stubborn engagement compelled it to quit the field, of which he remained the undisputed master. This reverse proved that the military power which Galdan had collected during these years was far from insignificant. Considerable as it already was for defence, but a few more years of inaction on the part of Kanghi were required to make it formidable for offence. The defeat of Horni on the banks of the Hourhoei proved this much, if it did not also show that Galdan was resolved to give the reins to his ambition in the direction of China.
Galdan's victory did not render him so elate that he failed to recognize that the chances in the war with China were overwhelmingly against him; and the extensive preparations made by Kanghi warned him that it would be wise to avert the coming storm by timely concessions. He, therefore, sent another envoy to Pekin, where the Emperor