Imatges de pàgina



and also the severity of the conditions of Chinese service. With his summary death there can be no doubt that a notable military career was cut short. Akoui remained the master of the situation, and his voice decided all military questions; but these did not arise for a long time after the pacification of the two most disturbed parts of the Empire. With the Eleuths and Miaotze reduced to a sense of good order, it was only an act of aggression on the part of one of his neighbours that could have availed to disturb Keen Lung's peaceful resolutions. We shall see, however, that as the occasion had not failed to arise from the arrogance of the Burmese, it was to recur from the military ardour and ambitious aggressiveness of the Goorkhas of Nepaul.



The control which the Emperor Kanghi had established over Tibet, after the retreat of the Jungarian army from Lhasa, was maintained under both of his successors. The internal affairs of that country regained their normal state of tranquillity after the decision of the rivalry between the Yellow and Red Caps, and the departure of the Eleuth hordes. Nor does any event of marked importance call for our notice during the fifty years that elapsed between the sack of Lhasa and the time when Keen Lung's attention was first drawn by the course of affairs to Himalayan regions. A brief notice * is alone necessary, and, indeed, possible, of the relations which subsisted during this period between the Tibetan lamas and the Chinese garrison and officials.

The young Dalai Lama, who had been removed for safety to Sining because he did not possess the support of the soldier Latsan Khan, returned to Lhasa after affairs had settled down there, and was restored to all the rights and privileges of his lofty spiritual position. This Dalai was named Lobsang Kalsang, and enjoyed the title for more than half a century. His relations with the Chinese Government continued to be of the most friendly and intimate character during that long period; and although the jealousy of the

* To Sir Clements Markham we are still indebted for the best account extant of the land of Tibet, which he has illustrated by copious notes and by a historical and geographical introduction to his edition of the “Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet, and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa," 1879.



lamas towards the Chinese Ambans, added perhaps to the natural antipathy between the two races, produced some unpleasantness, the main tenor of the connection continued satisfactory.

In 1749 there occurred the one complication that seemed likely to produce an unfavourable effect on the continuance of this amicable intercourse. The Gyalpo or Nomen Khan (Regent), who exercised for the Dalai the civil functions of his authority, incurred the displeasure of the Chinese Ambans. Without referring the matter to Pekin, these mandarins resolved to carry matters with a high hand, and to give reins to their resentment. The Gyalpo was put to death, and for the moment it seemed that none would dare to cross the path of the Ambans. But neither the people nor the lamas were disposed to regard with patience or indifference so flagrant an outrage against one of their recognized chiefs, and the people of Lhasa, instructed by their spiritual guides, or prompted by a natural movement of indignation, rose up and massacred all the Chinese, officials and soldiers, upon whom they could place their hands. The consequences of this wholesale slaughter might have been serious, as far less provocation had often brought down upon a people or country the full weight of Chinese vengeance ; but Keen Lung, on ascertaining the unwarrantable conduct of his representatives, refrained from adopting the extreme measures suggested by his natural impulse. An army was, however, sent for the purpose of restoring the connection that had been so rudely dissolved, but its commander was instructed to make concessions to popular agitation as well as to assert the authority of the Emperor. Keen Lung's moderation and the tact shown by his representatives sufficed to avert the danger of further complications and to restore the friendly relations previously existing

Up to the time of this outbreak the Chinese authorities had been content to trust for the maintenance of their predominance rather to their influence with the Dalai Lama and their well-known power than to any distinct or generally recognized position at Lhasa, where the justification for their presence had to a great extent been removed by their own

occupation of Central Asia and the consequent disappearance of all possibility of a repetition of the Eleuth invasion. But after this popular ebullition the policy of the Celestial authorities so far underwent a change that they no longer confined their efforts to obtaining the sympathetic support of the Dalai Lama. They resolved to assert their right to have a supreme voice in the nomination of the Gyalpo or Regent, and by always filling that office with a creature of their own to secure the support of the principal civil functionary as well as of the great spiritual head of Tibet. The policy was astute, and proved successful. From that time to the present the Gyalpo has been the nominee and creature of the Chinese, to whose cause and views he stands fully pledged. One of the first objects to which the Chinese turned the undisputed supremacy they thus acquired was to effect the expulsion of the small Capuchin colony which had resided at Lhasa for nearly half a century.

The cause and the justification of the presence of the Chinese in Tibet were, as has been said, the danger from foreign aggression which beset a people unaccustomed to war and without an army. The sense of security that arose after the destruction of the Jungarian power contributed to give an appearance of unreality to the Chinese occupation, and so long as events favoured the supposition that the Manchu garrison was unnecessary, there was a distinct element of weakness in the hold of the Emperor upon this dependency. The people of Tibet pined for complete independence, and the Lamas resented the interference of the Chinese Ambans. It is impossible to say whether the connection would have been long maintained in face of these causes of disagreement; but the sudden advent of an unexpected danger to the people of Tibet came to prove the necessity of, and the advantage to be derived from, the protection extended over their country by the Emperor of China. This new peril appeared from an unexpected quarter, and both its gravity, while it lasted, and the important consequences which followed, call for detailed notice of its origin and attendant circumstances.

South of the Himalayan range, but independent of the authority of either the Mogul or the British, there existed at



this time several small hill-states or kingdoms, of which the principal and most important was that known as Nepaul. The Nepaulese enjoyed complete independence under a native dynasty, but the strength derived from a happy union soon departed when the state became subdivided into three separate and hostile kingdoms. The kings of Khatmandu, Bhatgaon, and Patan, thought of little else than of indulging their mutual antipathies and rivalry; and although each was sufficiently strong to preserve his own independence, not one of them could impose his yoke upon either of his neighbours. In the year 1760 the reunion of the country appeared as remote as ever, when the King of Bhatgaon, threatened by a combination between his two rivals, entreated the assistance of the chief of an insignificant but warlike clan situated in the west of Nepaul and known by the name of Goorkhas. With the assistance of the Goorkhas the King of Bhatgaon repulsed the attack of his neighbours and signally triumphed over them. Indeed, so great was his success that it looked as if he might be able to subject to his yoke the whole of the Nepaulese valleys. The Goorkha chief Prithi Narayan, having performed his part of the compact, soon showed that he was not only master of the situation, but that he had views of his own on the subject of the future of Nepaul.

Prithi Narayan began his career by supporting one of the rival kings, but the ease with which he overthrew the others led him to conceive the ambitious task of retaining what he had won. Availing himself of their dissensions, and making an appeal on larger grounds than had yet been employed by any of the national leaders for the support of the peoples of these valleys, Prithi Narayan, backed by his band of hardy and warlike Goorkhas, soon made himself the undisputed master of the country from Kumaon to Sikhim. Before the year 1769 the Goorkha chief had overcome all his adversaries, and the three representatives of the ancient Newar kings were either slain or fugitives in India. The movement which had been begun by the English for the support of the native dynasty was suspended, and the fortunes of Nepaul passed into the hands of a military caste which regarded commerce with contempt and strangers with dislike.

« AnteriorContinua »