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attack lay Galdan's sole chance of safety, and, while Kanghi was employed in recruiting his troops in the country of the Northern Khalkas, the Eleuth chieftain advanced as fast as he could from Kobdo, and threw himself upon the Chinese entrenchments at Chowmodo.
At the very moment when Galdan formed this desperate resolve the Chinese commanders were so much embarrassed by the difficulty of obtaining supplies that it seemed impossible for them to maintain their positions. The advisability of retreat was under discussion when Galdan's movement rescued Feyanku from a dilemma in which it seemed next to impossible to save both his military honour and the lives of his soldiers. Few of the incidents of this battle have been preserved. Little more is known of its details than that Galdan assumed the offensive, while Feyanku, having dismounted his cavalry, long contented himself with standing on the defensive. The battle had lasted for nearly three hours when Feyanku gave the signal for attack. The Eleuths made but a brief stand against the onset of their more disciplined opponents, and Galdan, seeing that the day was lost, fled with a mere handful of his followers, leaving his camp and baggage in the hands of the victor. Two thousand Eleuths were slain, and the character of the struggle may be inferred from the fact that the Chinese took only one hundred prisoners, of whom most were women and children. The principal wife of Galdan was among the killed, his army was scattered and reduced in numbers, while that chief himself, after aspiring to be the undisputed ruler on the steppe, became a fugitive glad to hide himself in its remote recesses.
The victory of Chowmodo came like an unexpected Godsend to the Celestials, for, on the very eve of its attainment, it seemed as if all the expense and trouble to which Kanghi had been put were to result in nothing decisive. Feyanku's success removed further cause of disquietude, and enabled Kanghi to return to Pekin, leaving behind him the order to pursue Galdan with the utmost vigour, as the results of the war could only be considered partial so long as he remained at large.
The overthrow at Chowmodo marked the destruction of GALDAN'S DEATH.
the power which Galdan had set up among the nomad and pastoral tribes of his region, and it also showed that the end of his career was approaching. There is no need to enter into the extremities to which Galdan was reduced during the last days of his life, nor would there be sufficient interest in the theme to dwell upon the schemes to which a desperate man thought of resorting for the retrieval of his fortunes. At one moment he sent an envoy to Pekin to express, in abject terms, his desire to surrender, and at another he resumed his overtures to the Russian officials for a close alliance. But the one thing that was clear was that, although he had lost the power, he still clung to the wish, to injure the cause of China among the Mongols and her other vassals of his own race. The Chinese troops were on the eve of renewing the pursuit when the news came of Galdan's death. The nature of his last illness is not clearly known, and his death may be attributed either to the hardships and mental chagrin he had undergone, or, as some say, to the act of his own hand.
The death of Galdan not only removed from Kanghi's mind the anxiety which had so long weighed upon it, but it also closed a career of remarkable adventure. Galdan was a representative man of the class of desert chiefs who, from the earliest days of Chinese history, have troubled the Western borders of the great Empire. We have seen them in the persons of Meha, Yenta, and others as a cause of anxiety and trouble rather than of absolute danger to the integrity of the State. We have also in the cases of Genghis and Noorhachu found them sufficiently prompt and capable to overthrow the existing dynasty and to substitute that of their own family. Galdan belonged to the former class. Kanghi has himself testified to the remarkable skill and courage of this chieftain. In an edict summarizing the conquests which had made him the greatest potentate in Central Asia, he concludes with the statement that Galdan was a formidable enemy;" and the energetic and persistent manner with which he had laboured to effect his ruin proves that the Chinese Emperor was fully persuaded of the accuracy of his own statement. But the overthrow of Galdan also shows that, except under abnormal
circumstances, which have only occurred twice or, at the most, thrice in history, the unflagging determination and vastly superior resources of the Chinese have always availed to turn the scale against the ambition and even against the love of war of these independent leaders. The vitality of Chinese individuality and imperial power has always asserted itself even after long periods of apparent decay and dissolution.
Galdan overthrown, Kanghi ordered the return of his armies. Feyanku was left with a small force to completely pacify the newly conquered region; but the Emperor hoped that peace had been definitely assured. That this hope was soon dispelled we shall have presently to see; and the manner in which the Galdan episode gave place to a long interval of trouble, and then to the necessity of formulating a distinct Central Asian policy, will constitute one of the most important facts in the history of the next seventy years. With the death of Galdan in 1697, however, Kanghi offered up incense to Heaven in the evidently sincere persuasion that peace had been definitely obtained for himself and his people. So far as his inclination went he had had enough of arduous and unprofitable campaigns beyond China's proper frontier—and the sentiment was the more firmly rooted in his mind because he had undergone the privations of his soldiers, and knew by practical experience that even the strategical skill of his commanders might prove of little avail in face of the passive resistance of natural obstacles.
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KANGHI'S TROUBLES IN CENTRAL ASIA.
Tse WANG RABDAN, whose enmity had contributed to bring about the ruin of Galdan, and whose assistance Kanghi had repaid with various privileges in carrying on trade with China, was left by his uncle's death the undisputed chief both in actual power and in reputation among the Eleuth tribes. The tribal resources, which had failed to support Galdan's ambition, passed by the law of hereditary succession to the son of the murdered Tsenka, and Tse Wang Rabdan soon found that he enjoyed all the temporal power arising from an undisputed sway over the Eleuths. The centre of his authority had indeed been shifted further westwards, and his ambition did not urge him to molest the Khalkas, or to encroach in the direction of China. But none the less Tse Wang Rabdan claimed to be a great and independent prince, and he had his own views as to his position in Central Asia.
The nature of his pretensions, covering as they did a different ground, might not have brought him into immediate conflict with China, but only too much reason existed for fearing that the relations subsisting between him and the Emperor could not long maintain their cordiality. Causes of friction soon revealed themselves. Kanghi, acting on the Chinese principle that rebels should be extirpated root and branch, had ordered that no pains should be spared to capture the few surviving members of Galdan's family, and a great reward was offered to whoever brought in the body or the bones of Galdan. At the first blush it seems only possible to detect in this malignant pursuit the working of a savage and persistent vengeance, and the cruel maxim of the Chinese system, that "the families of rebels taken open-handed should be extirpated,” tends to confirm the impression. A more careful consideration of the subject may, however, result in leading us to take the view that the Chinese wished for nothing more than clear evidence of their chief enemy's death, and for some assurance that no member of his family felt either prepared or willing to carry on his schemes.
The fortune of war had placed in the hands of Tse Wang Rabdan the persons of a son and daughter of Galdan, as well as the bones of that chief. These prizes had fallen to his share after a victory near the town of Hami, where he defeated a neighbour who thought to dispute his authority. The Chinese at once sent a demand for the surrender to them of these relics and representatives of their recent enemy. Tse Wang Rabdan, whose humanity was either aroused, or who felt aggrieved at the dictatorial tone assumed by the Chinese, long evaded the request preferred to him by Feyanku. Instead of showing a spirit of humility towards Kanghi, he busied himself with the extension of his power in both Jungaria and Kashgaria, while the first force of his wrath was vented on the Mahomedan prince of Hami. Kanghi very soon learnt that even the ruin of Galdan would not avail to deter many from imitating him, and that the overthrow of one chieftain would not suffice to ensure permanent peace among races whose principal avocation and amusement had always been a savage and sanguinary strife. The pertinacity of the Chinese carried their point for them in this matter, as well as in other questions. Kanghi sent several embassies to Tse Wang Rabdan's capital, and showed marked insistence on the subject of his demand. At length success crowned his efforts, and in 1701 the Eleuth prince surrendered the ashes or bones of his uncle, and the person of his cousin. With the acquisition of these marks of victory Kanghi remained fully satisfied, and his generous treatment of his defenceless captive showed that he sought to gratify the requirements of a policy, and not the promptings of a poor revenge.
Although Tse Wang Rabdan went at last so far as to