« AnteriorContinua »
themselves. The difficulty might have become more aggravated had not the military commander, Latsan Khan, taken the law into his own hands, and speedily put an end to the career and contentions of the Tipa. The latter was slain with most of his supporters, and the boy Lama he had selected died either by poison or by his own hand. Yet even the overthrow of the ambitious minister did not suffice to make the condition of things in the holy land of Buddhism one of assured tranquillity. For the new Dalai Lama did not obtain the support of Latsan Khan, and his friends conveyed him for safety to Sining on the Western Chinese border. It has been seen that the Eleuth leader, Tse Wang Rabdan, had succeeded to much of his uncle's power and influence through Central Asia, and he had also inherited those political views on the subject of Tibet, which led the Jungarian family to figure as the champions of the Tipa, in contradistinction to the Chinese Emperor's support of the spiritual authority of the Dalai Lama. The fall of the Tipa seemed, therefore, to him to require some vigorous step on his part to counteract the preponderating authority it might give to Chinese interest in Tibet. For this reason he turned a deaf ear to the proposals for an alliance made to him by Latsan Khan, and brought matters to an open breach by the imprisonment of his son, who happened to be paying a visit to Ili. Tse Wang Rabdan then followed up this hostile act by despatching an army into Tibet to overthrow Latsan Khan, and to reassert the influence of Jungaria. At the same time he directed another force to march on Sining, whither the young Dalai Lama had been conveyed for safety by his friends. Thus both indirectly and directly Tse Wang Rabdan proclaimed his hostility to Kanghi, and brought down upon his own head, and upon his successors and subjects, the full weight of China's indignation. The Eleuth army left the banks of the Ili in 1709 under the command of Zeren Donduk, and, having crossed the vast desert of Eastern Turkestan, in the centre of which Lob Nor forms an agreeable but almost solitary oasis, appeared in due course before the walls of Lhasa. Little or no attempt at
TIBET PILLAGED. 625
resistance was made there, and the Eleuths plundered and ravaged the whole of the surrounding region. Latsan Khan was slain, and the Eleuths slowly retraced their steps with a quantity of spoil, seized from the temples and monasteries, and stated to have been incalculable. Their expedition against Sining failed, but Tse Wang Rabdan could for the moment congratulate himself on having succeeded in the object which was of the more immediate importance, and which promised to prove the most advantageous. The tidings of this expedition and of the pillaging of Tibet warned Kanghi that in Tse Wang Rabdan he must meet an opponent scarcely less formidable than Galdan had been, and one whose overthrow would be the more difficult in consequence of his being at a greater distance from China. Yet the sincerity of Kanghi's desire for peace remained undoubted, and only the aggressions of his Western neighbours compelled him to turn his attention to this subject. The invasion of Tibet had been conducted with such celerity and secrecy that there had been no time to despatch reinforcements to Lhasa from Szchuen or Yunnan in order to prevent the acts of plunder of the ruthless conqueror. But no sooner had the news been received, than orders were at once issued for the collection of a large army in Szchuen to march into Tibet to avenge the injury inflicted on an unoffending people. Before this force, however, had begun its movements it is known that the Eleuths had evacuated the country, and that whatever measures of punishment might be taken would have to be carried out not in Tibet, but in Central Asia. It was, therefore, towards Hami that the Chinese troops received directions to advance. Emboldened by the failure of Tse Wang Rabdan's expedition against Sining, the Chinese troops advanced beyond Hami for the purpose of threatening Turfan. But the Jungarian forces stood prepared to resist their approach to that place, and while Kanghi's expedition was proceeding in perfect confidence towards its destination the Eleuths suddenly fell upon it, and inflicted great loss on the Chinese army. The consequences of this reverse revealed its gravity and extent. The town of Hami surrendered to the victor, WOL. I. 2 S
and, while in his hands, was given over to destruction. For the moment Kanghi's schemes of revenge remained perforce in abeyance, if they did not absolutely fall to the ground. He turned from unprofitable enterprises beyond Gobi to give security to the people of Tibet against any possible recurrence of the invasion from which they had so greatly suffered. Tibet was garrisoned by a Manchu army, while fresh levies were made for the reassertion of Chinese authority in the Hami region. Very soon the wave of battle set in against the leaders of Turkestan, and the Chinese army of more than a hundred thousand men crossed the desert, expelled the Mahomedans, and again set up the authority of the Bogdo Khan in the stronghold of Hami. Although the possession of this place enabled the Chinese to keep in check the fanaticism and ambitious instincts of the Mahomedan princelets and of the chief Tse Wang Rabdan in particular, the troubles of Kanghi in Central Asia still continued. If a durable and peaceful settlement of the questions relating to his Western borders was to be attained, it was made clear to him that no policy of mere defence would suffice. Kanghi had overthrown Galdan, and established his power without the possibility of rivalry among all the Mongol tribes. But although his authority was unchallenged round the Amour and in the region of Koko Nor, it was more than he could do or felt disposed to undertake to conquer the country up to the Pamir. Yet nothing short of that would suffice to give assured tranquillity to the borders of Kansuh and Shensi, and to put an end to the ever-recurring peril from the inordinate ambition and warlike habits of the desert chiefs and their clansmen. Hami was finally won back in the year 1717, when Kanghi was growing old, and was beginning to feel that there were some questions which must be left for his successors to grapple with. Each of the last few years of his long reign was marked by a desultory campaign with the forces of Tse Wang Rabdan, who supplied the deficiencies of his resources by the rapidity and secrecy of his movements. In 1721, on the eve of his death, Kanghi received the congratulations of his court on the occasion of a victory over
the Eleuth forces. The results of this signal success against the army of Tse Wang Rabdan proved, we are told, "equivalent to the conquest of Tibet." This achievement brought to as satisfactory a termination as the circumstances admitted the wars which Kanghi had waged for so many years in the heart of Asia. It showed that Kanghi's ardour and energy had not abated since the day when he first took up the pursuit of Galdan and decreed his ruin.
In Formosa, too, the same year was marked by an insurrection against the Chinese authority, and by its prompt and summary suppression. The Pekin authorities attributed it to the malice of the Dutch, but in this calumny we may detect another proof of the revulsion against foreigners which marked the last days of Kanghi's reign. Both on the mainland and in the possessions beyond the sea the military power of China was firmly asserted and maintained. Kanghi's achievements in war entitle him to rank as a great conqueror, but they derive their principal importance from the fact that they were turned to the realization of magnificent adminis. trative purposes. The Empire pacified by Wou Sankwei's overthrow, the Mongols and Khalkas confirmed in their allegiance by the vigour and presence of the young Emperor, the Eleuths and the other hordes of Central Asia driven back to the distant territories where they could do little to disturb the Chinese borders, Tibet annexed, Formosa pacified, Corca's friendship assured, and the Japanese overawed by the spectacle of superior might,-these formed the record of military achievements and their consequences during Kanghi's eventful reign. The grand result ensured was the security of a mighty Empire, and the prosperity of an industrious people, leaving to posterity a page of interesting and instructive history, and all the benefit that may be extracted from the consideration of a great and difficult task successfully and honourably performed.
AFTER the subversion of the power of Wou Sankwei and the other Chinese princes in the South, Kanghi was left undisturbed to carry on the administration of all the provinces of the country. The arduous campaigns in the interior of Asia, in Tibet and Mongolia, and the very large sacrifices both of men and money that they entailed, did not affect the general tranquillity or prosperity of the realm. Kanghi ruled a contented people, who were actively engaged in the numerous industries provided for them by the varied resources of the country, and who were, moreover, quite content to accept his views as to the advisability and necessity of giving the Empire an assurance of peace by the vigorous prosecution of wars with external enemies. The fact is clear enough, although the want of details renders it difficult to describe the prosperous state of China during the forty years that Kanghi continued to reign after the overthrow of the great Chinese vassals in Szchuen and Kwantung. Perhaps the strongest evidence of this will be found in the fact that the Chinese people, although there was always an influential party at Pekin in favour of the abandonment of the pursuit of Galdan, and of the cessation of all active campaigning beyond the desert, remained well-disposed towards the established Government. The absence of the greater portion of the Manchu and Mongol armies beyond the frontier afforded a favourable opportunity to revolt, but no inclination to do so was revealed. Among the principal and most interesting features of