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TSE WANG RABDAN.
concede to Kanghi the demand on which he placed so much stress, his general action marked him out rather as the antagonist than as the supporter of Chinese authority in Central Asia. In a less ostentatious but equally efficacious way he was gathering into his hands the superior authority to which Galdan had aspired. His victories over his Kirghiz neighbours gave his position also a degree of stability to which that of his relative had never attained. The result of this feud and of the accompanying strife was that the Kirghiz chief, to whose daughter Tse Wang Rabdan was married, felt himself compelled to coalesce with his son-in-law, and thus the military forces of the Eleuths and the Kirghiz were combined. This alone sufficed to make the military power of Tse Wang Rabdan extend without a break from Hami on the East to Khokand on the West. The opportunity soon presented itself of employing this considerable available force on a larger scene in advancing the influence of the Eleuth prince into a different region.
It had been one of the main objects of Galdan's ambition to assert his right to have a voice in the regulation of the internal affairs of Tibet, and the desire to succeed in this object was strengthened by the knowledge of the reputation that would accrue to him as speaking with the approval of the great spiritual head of Buddhism. The Chinese Government had its own views upon the same subject, and regarded with disfavour any measures having a tendency to weaken its influence and authority at Lhasa. But as yet the direct exercise of Chinese authority in Tibet had not been very great, and the interests of the Jungarian prince were better and more emphatically represented there than those of China and her sovereign. It became one of Kanghi's main objects to alter this condition of affairs, and to bring Tibet and its order of priestly rulers completely under his control. These intrigues and counter-intrigues precipitated the course of events in Tibet, and recalled Kanghi's attention to his Western borders. The boldness of Tse Wang Rabdan brought on a contest that was, perhaps, in any case inevitable, and left the Chinese again no choice save to appeal to the sword. Kanghi had taken his plans with such care, and shown such excellent judgment in his manipulation of the question, that the Chinese party in Tibet obtained a signal triumph. How that triumph was obtained, and what it practically entailed, must be described at some length, for it led up to several events of permanent importance, and it was marked by the double invasion of Tibetan territory, first by an Eleuth horde, and secondly by a Manchu army.
From an early period the supremacy in the Tibetan administration had been disputed between two different classes, the one which represented the military body making use of religious matters to forward its designs, the other being an order of priests supported by the unquestioning faith and confidence of the masses of the people. The former became known as the Red Caps, and the latter as the Yellow Caps. The rivalry between these classes had been keen, and was still bitterly contested when Chuntche first ascended the throne; but victory had finally inclined to the side of the Yellow Caps before the period at which we have arrived. The great spiritual head of this latter body was the Dalai Lama, pronounced to be of wisdom as profound and inscrutable as the ocean. The direct intervention of the Emperors Chuntche and Kanghi had contributed to make the triumph of the Dalai Lama still more decisive and unquestionable; but the Red Caps cherished for a further period the desire to dispute the palm with their rivals, if they felt that they could no longer hope to secure all the prize of victory. By the aid of a Calmuck army raised in Central Asia, the Dalai Lama had had the final satisfaction of beholding his opponents driven out of the country, and compelled to take refuge in the Himalayan state of Bhutan, where the sect of the Red Caps continues, after this lapse of time, to retain influence and authority. This event occurred before the year 1650, and consequently at a period when the Manchu authority was far from being firmly established in China itself.
The settlement of the disputes between the two rival religious parties in Tibet was followed by the appointment of a kind of civil and military functionary with authority to act under the Dalai Lama, This official was named the
Tipa, and, encouraged by the nature of the post he occupied, he soon began to carry on intrigues for the elevation of his own rank and power at the expense of the priestly rulers, in whose service he was pledged by the most sacred oaths to act uprightly and well. The ambition of one Tipa led to his fall and imprisonment; but the evil was set down to the indiscretion of the individual, and a successor was named to the office. The new Tipa had been chosen for the post chiefly because he was the reputed son of one of the Dalai Lamas, and when his father died in 1682 he concealed his death, gave out that he had only retired into the recesses of his palace, and ruled the state in his name for the space of sixteen years. The Tipa knew well that it would be impossible to secure the approval of Kanghi for what he had done, and, seeing that, the instant the secret of his perfidy was revealed, he would incur the resentment of the Chinese ruler, he began to prepare for the evil day by entering into cordial relations with Galdan, and by inviting the military support of the princes of Jungaria. For several years he proved able to carry on these machinations and to blind the Emperor as to his real intentions by a profusion of words. Kanghi, ignorant of the true state of the case, wrote the Tipa letters of friendly expression, and conferred upon him a title of much honour.
But even in the recesses of Asia the truth cannot be for ever concealed. Rumours at last reached Kanghi that there were suspicious circumstances in connection with the disappearance of the Dalai Lama, and these insinuations acquired increased force from the Tipa's undoubted sympathy with the cause of Galdan, for one of his personal lamas had even gone so far as to offer up prayers for the success of the Eleuth's arms. When Kanghi began to realize the fact that the Tipa had throughout been duping him, his indignation was pronounced, and he threatened him with condign punishment. The Tipa made numerous promises, and at last proclaimed one of his creatures as the personage into whom the never-dying spirit of the Buddha incarnate had passed. The choice proved an unfortunate one, and further roused the indignation, not only of Kanghi, but also of the Tibetans 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
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, VOL. I.