Imatges de pàgina


accorded him an honourable reception, despite the fact that his own officers remained in confinement. Although Kanghi still protested his desire for a peaceful solution of the question, the only terms on which he would treat were the laying down of his arms by Galdan. At the same time that the Eleuth envoy left Pekin, Kanghi set out from his capital to place himself in nearer communication with his army.

Kanghi's brother, Yu Tsing Wang, was appointed to the chief command, and his instructions were to bring Galdan to an engagement as promptly as he could, and to wipe out the stain of the defeat on the Hourhoei by either the overthrow or the capture of the Eleuth prince. Although the Emperor was compelled by the state of his health to return to Pekin, active operations were continued with unabated vigour, and Kanghi had very soon the satisfaction of receiving the news of a decisive victory won by his generals. The battle was fought at Oulan Poutong, where Yu Tsing Wang fell upon the Eleuth camp, which had been formed at the foot of a mountain, with a wood on one side and a small stream on the other. The Chinese attacked Galdan in this advantageous position, and, although the Eleuths fought with much of the valour to be expected from men engaged in defending a popular cause, the former were completely victorious. The victors suffered considerable loss in this encounter, and among the slain was Prince Kiukiu, an uncle of the Emperor Kanghi.

This defeat made Galdan again anxious to come to terms with Kanghi, and negotiations were begun between him and Yu Tsing Wang. At first Galdan endeavoured to circumvent the intentions of the Chinese by negotiating on a basis from which his personal enemies, the Khalka princes, were excluded; but he was dealing with a race fully his equal in the art of diplomatic fence, and, as the material argument of superior force was against him, he had really in the end no prudent choice save to give in his unqualified surrender. Galdan sent the Emperor a formal expression of fealty and obedience, and Kanghi in return wrote him a letter of forgiveness. This was in the year 1690.

A few months later, Kanghi sent Galdan the sum of one thousand taels for the purpose of alleviating the sufferings of his people; but, although these arrangements were apparently satisfactory, very little confidence seems to have been felt in their enduring. Kanghi himself regarded the treaty as a hollow truce; but as matters stood he could congratulate himself on the conclusion of his first contest with Galdan. He had certainly curbed the pride of the Eleuths, and given security to the Khalkas.

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KANGHI's anticipations were soon verified. Galdan had not abandoned the ambitious dreams of his prime, and the mistrust of his intentions shown by the Chinese authorities supplied him with some excuse, if not justification, for renewing his aggressions in the direction of the Khalka districts. On the advice of his ministers, the Emperor had not only left a numerous garrison quartered in their country, but he held two bodies of troops in readiness to march at the shortest notice. Nor was this all. A summons was issued to the Khalka tribes to assemble on the plain of Dolonor for inspection by the Emperor, and the commotion produced by this ceremony caused a great stir throughout the steppe. The principal chiefs were granted further titles of honour, and rich presents were bestowed upon all according to their rank. When Kanghi returned to his capital he could congratulate himself on the cordiality which marked his relations with his Mongol subjects and vassals. Galdan alone held aloof from these transactions, and showed by his attitude that he regarded with little sympathy these measures for the extension westward of Chinese authority. Galdan's disapproval became more emphatic in consequence of the diplomatic negotiations which had been for some time in progress between the Emperor and Tse Wang Rabdan, his nephew and sworn personal enemy.

The question of their mutual relations might long have remained in this uncertain state without provoking a fresh appeal to arms but for an unfortunate occurrence which VOL. L 2 R

rendered war inevitable, and which precipitated the crisis that had long seemed imminent . This event was the murder of one of Kanghi's envoys. The messenger had been commissioned to proceed to the camp of Tse Wang Rabdan, and, while strengthening the friendly understanding with that potentate, he was also charged to impress upon him the importance of preserving peace in his region, for Tse Wang Rabdan had several times evinced a disposition to bring his feud with Galdan to a settlement by the summary means most in accordance with the customs of his race. The Chinese envoy effected his journey in safety across the desert of Gobi, and the small escort of sixty men, which the Viceroy of Shensi gave him as a bodyguard, sufficed to afford him protection against the nomad tribes who regarded that region as being under their peculiar patronage. He had almost reached the friendly shelter of the town of Hami, when he was beset by a large band, either of Galdan's immediate followers or of tribesmen subject to his authority. Plunder appears to have been their main object, as it is improbable that Galdan gave them instructions to commit this outrage, for the very simple reason that he had himself just despatched an envoy to Pekin. The result, however, was plain enough. The Chinese emissary and the greater number of his escort were slain, their baggage and the presents destined for Tse Wang Rabdan were carried off, and the fame of the achievement tended to enhance the reputation of Galdan in the eyes of the tribes as an individual not afraid to assert his power in the teeth of the Emperor of China himself.

Kanghi was either so desirous of peace, or so fully persuaded that Galdan would accept no alternative short of war, that, despite this outrage, he did not depart from his attitude of studied moderation. Galdan had broken the laws held sacred by all nations, and he could not but feel overwhelmed by the contrast of his conduct with that of the Emperor, who seemed anxious only for the preservation of peace. Kanghi still held open the door for the Eleuth prince to make reparation for his crimes, and to show that he desired to behave better in the future; but in the very letter in which he offered the opportunity of redeeming a fault, he resorted to the threat THE RELIGION OF HIS FATHERS. 6n

that unless Galdan promptly made amends for so many outrages, he would come with arms in his hands to exact due punishment.

Nor was Galdan slow for his part in taking such measures as he could, both for the attainment of his objects against the Khalkas, and also for the defence of his possessions when the long-threatened storm from China should burst upon him. He sent emissaries among the Mongol tribes to sow distrust of the Emperor's intentions in their regard, and to dwell on the advisability of uniting in a single confederacy all the clans of the Chinese frontier. Nor did he stop with these diplomatic overtures and this declaration of hostility. The man who had once thought of taking high rank as a lama of Buddhism, now resolved to repudiate a religious belief which had tended rather to embarrass than to strengthen his position, for at every stage of his dispute with China he had been met with the menaces of his spiritual head, the Dalai Lama of Tibet . In 1693 he took the decisive step of proclaiming himself a convert to Mahomedanism, by means of which he hoped to gain the assistance of not only the Tartar tribes, but also of the Mussulman colonies in China. At the same time he showed no disposition to break with the Dalai Lama personally, whose moral support he strove to enlist in his behalf by promises to maintain his supremacy against the encroachments which rumour attributed to Kanghi's prottgJ, the Koutuktoo Chepsuntanpa. Galdan's policy was thus based on certain high pretensions, and he resorted to any artifice to supply the deficiencies of his position, and to procure some substitute for want of numbers, and inferiority in material resources. The Chinese proclaimed that "ambition became his only God," and that " to it he sacrificed even the religion of his fathers."

Between neighbours thus situated it could not be long before frequent conflicts would ensue on borders which were but vaguely ascertained, and at points to which both sides advanced equal claims. Kanghi's general, Feyanku, who had risen so high in the service that he now held the post of chief commander on the Shensi frontier, sent reports of several of these combats, and he was not less desirous than his master

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