Imatges de pàgina
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lent his countenance to the movement, and it seemed that Keen Lung with the greater vigour of his character had resolved to relieve himself once and for all from the embarrassment and trouble caused his Government by the everrecurring question of the Christians and their demands for greater liberty of action. The order sent to the Viceroy of Fuhkien to execute the missionaries, who had been thrown into prison and tortured, seemed to mark the termination of Chinese tolerance towards Christians.

The first years of Keen Lung's reign were devoted not merely to his self-instruction in the art of government, but also to the task of arranging the internal affairs of his vast possessions. Yet, strange as it may appear, very little is contained in the annals that have as yet seen the light about the events of the first ten years, during which Keen Lung's authority was recognized. They were undoubtedly years of great internal prosperity, and their predominant characteristic was the general prevalence of peace and the accompanying satisfaction and natural progress of a great and thrifty people. With the restoration of union among the ranks of the ruling family, which had now so widely extended its branches that there were stated to be at this time more than two thousand princes of the blood, one of the most disturbing causes to the assured tranquillity of a military race disappeared ; and the mass of the subjects were only too eager to follow the example thus set them of concord and good-will. During this period there appear, from certain vague references to be met with in the letters of the foreign residents, to have been some disturbances among the Miaotze and several of the intractable tribes of the South; but these were probably of no great importance.

Keen Lung's attention had at a very early period of his reign been attracted to the unsatisfactory condition of things on his remote Western frontier, where the advantages gained by his grandfather Kanghi had been sacrificed through his father Yung Ching's indifference or neglect. Although there could not be said to exist in this quarter a state of open war, yet the Mongol tribes, under the protection of China, had suffered much at the hands of Tse Wang Rabdan and of his son and successor Galdan Chereng. There was also the

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memory of unavenged defeats which had occurred during the last few years of Kanghi's reign to further complicate the situation, and to prevent men's minds from settling down on the basis of the existing condition of affairs. And although matters assumed a somewhat more favourable aspect after the accession of Keen Lung, it was clear that the vague and undefined basis on which these frontier affairs were being regulated contained little guarantee of any long continuation of tranquillity. Galdan Chereng shared, but in a minor degree, the abilities and ambition of his father, and during the last years of his rule, which was contemporary with the first ten years of Keen Lung's reign, he refrained from any direct conflict with Chinese authority. Until the death of Chereng in 1745 there was some probability that the turbulent spirits and nomadic tribes of the Gobi region would have been kept for an indefinite period tranquil, and in inaction by the existence of an understanding between the Chinese Emperor and the sovereign prince of Jungaria. To the death of Galdan Chereng in the year mentioned must undoubtedly be attributed the reopening of the whole question of border policy and frontier security, which had been long pressing itself under notice at Pekin.

Chereng had maintained the paramount influence which his father had acquired in the region south of the Tian Shan. On the death of the chief Danyal, he had divided the kingdom of Kashgaria into four distinct governorships, over each of which he placed one of Danyal's four sons. So long as the vigour of the Jungarian prince remained undoubted, this arrangement produced the most beneficial results, for the country of Little Bokhara had been for generations a prey to intestine disorders, and it needed a strong hand to repress these for the sake of the common weal. When Chereng died that hand was removed, and the old dissensions began to reveal themselves. There existed no longer any assurance of stability, and the Chinese border officials saw reason to fear the early recurrence of difficulties with their turbulent neighbours. When this unsatisfactory phase of the question arose, the Chinese also were less advantageously placed than they had been. Their authority was established

firmly enough in the Amour region, and on the Kerulon; but in the districts of Hami and Turfan it had been displaced.

The death of Galdan Chereng proved the signal for the outbreak of rivalries and contentions, and among those of his relatives who succeeded in establishing their authority none rose higher than the representative of the collateral branch of Ta Chereng. The son of Galdan Chereng, after enjoying a brief term of power, was deposed by an elder but half-brother, who usurped his place, and ruled for several years, chiefly by the support of the lamas, as monarch of Jungaria under the style of Dardsha. This insurrection and the violent scenes by which it was accompanied carried confusion throughout the tribes and peoples who had acquiesced in the supremacy of Tse Wang Rabdan and his son. The further stages of this complication were marked by a contest between Dardsha and the faction headed by Davatsi, Ta Chereng's grandson, assisted by Amursana, chief of the tribe called the Khoits. At first the balance of victory inclined in no uncertain manner to the side of Dardsha, who drove his opponents out of their territory and compelled them to seek refuge amongst the Kirghiz. But although thus unfortunate, neither Davatsi nor his friend and supporter Amursana despaired of the result, and when they had succeeded in raising a fresh force among the Kirghiz tribes they returned to renew the struggle with their rival. This time they experienced a kinder fortune. Dardsha was taken by surprise, his troops were scattered, and he himself was slain. Thus was Davatsi restored to the enjoyment of the sovereignty of Jungaria. His ally Amursana, whose assistance had greatly contributed to this success, evidently felt persuaded that the best way to promote his own ends was up to a certain point to advance his friend's interests; and when the struggle with Dardsha terminated he proceeded to set up his authority in the Ili region. He there assumed the semblance of royal state, and affected to regard Davatsi rather as his ally and equal than as his superior. Davatsi showed that he did not share his former colleague's opinion of their relative positions, and he accordingly turned his arms against his ambitious neighbour. Amursana either

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did not await, or at once succumbed to the storm. Davatsi's followers seized and occupied Ili, and Amursana fled to bear the tale of his grievances to the Emperor of China-a circumstance which will be found pregnant with important consequences.

The first decade of Keen Lung's reign had, therefore, little more than closed when the course of events began to make it clear that the affairs of these neighbouring peoples would attract much of the Emperor's attention. Before considering the reasons which induced Keen Lung to take up arms in support of Amursana, we may briefly consider the remaining events of this tranquil season which preceded the long period of war carried on by Keen Lung in Central Asia. The severe measures to which the Emperor at last had recourse against the Christians continued during the whole of this period. In the year 1750 these acts of repression had been extended into parts of China which had enjoyed a happy immunity from polemical warfare. The country round Nankin became the scene of persecutions, not less energetically carried out than those in the province of Fuhkien. These persecutions served the one useful purpose of inducing the missionaries to tell us of some of the inflictions that visited the country during these years. They failed to see, or neglected to record, events of national and historical importance passing under their very eyes; but when it became a question of retribution for wrongs inflicted on themselves they hastened to describe some of the events that made up the history of the country.

From their remarks it appears that, in the year 1751, Keen Lung had the misfortune to lose not only his eldest son, but also the Empress herself, while several of the provinces were ravaged by a terrible famine. The ministers whose advice had contributed to increase his dislike for the Christians happened to fall under his suspicion for different crimes, and were punished with severity-a coincidence which seemed in the eyes of a religious enthusiast to mark the vengeance of Heaven. These punishments may be taken with less stretch of the imagination as showing that the difficulties of conducting the State administration in the Chinese Empire

included the management of a powerful and almost irresponsible official class.

To the other difficulties of his position there were added for Keen Lung a physical weakness and a susceptibility to bodily ailments that detracted, during the first few years of his reign, from his capacity to meet all the duties of his position; and more than their usual share of power consequently fell into the hands of the great administering tribunals of the State. Probably the disgrace of the officials referred to must be attributed to this cause; but when Keen Lung resolutely devoted himself to the task of supervising the acts of the official world they became less perceptible, if they did not cease to exist, and gradually the provincial governors and administrators found it to be their best and wisest course to obey and faithfully execute the behests of the sovereign. For a short time Keen Lung seemed likely to prove more indifferent to the duties of his rank than either of his predecessors; but after a few years' practice he hastened to devote himself to his work with an energy which neither Kanghi nor Yung Ching had surpassed.

An interesting and imposing ceremony marked the commencement of the year 1752 on the occasion of the Emperor's mother attaining her sixtieth year. The capital was given over to the due performance of the accompanying fêtes, which were celebrated with much magnificence. The Emperor and his Court proceeded through the streets of Pekin, escorting the Empress-mother in state ; but according to our ideas half the effect was destroyed by the people being compelled to remain in their houses, with closed doors and barred windows. The masses were, however, allowed to share in the Imperial rejoicings, and benefactions were placed at the disposal of the poor and the aged. Even the European residents were permitted to offer their presents, and we fancy we can trace to this time some relaxation in the regulations made with regard to their position.

Among Keen Lung's favourite pursuits was that of witnessing the painters Castiglione and Attiret engaged in their labours within the palace. But we are told that the Imperial wish in regard to such alterations or changes as he might

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