« AnteriorContinua »
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 EMPIRE PACIFIED.
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 administrative 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, Corea'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
Kanghi's long reign must undoubtedly be placed his relations with the Christians who, in the persons of the Roman Catholic missionaries, had penetrated into the interior of China and established themselves at the capital and in the chief cities of the Empire. It has been already seen how, after passing through several vicissitudes of fortune, the Jesuit fathers obtained permission to reside in China and to preach their gospel to the people. Kanghi personally had benefited by their instruction in a peculiar and exceptional degree. The more important part of his education had been entrusted to their care, and his Christian tutors had placed at his disposal much of the lore of Europe. The intercourse he held with them during his earlier days led him to regard with a friendly eye a race from whom he had nothing to fear, and from whose superior knowledge and exceptional attainments he might expect to derive many advantages and to obtain much assistance in the task of government. The Christian missionaries, the representatives of the Church of Rome, were therefore employed in numerous capacities. As the price of the privilege to preach their religion they were required to make themselves as useful as they could be, and to give their word to think no more of a return to their native country. This company of excellent and high-minded individuals gave the required promise, and devoted their lives to the work they had voluntarily accepted. Few instances are there of a worldly sacrifice more nobly performed and undertaken than this dedication of the Jesuit missionaries to a lifelong exile in a strange land; and well would it have been for the prospects of foreign intercourse if the Dutch and the Spaniards, as other exponents of European civilization, had more closely imitated their example.
It is not in accordance with the human character for the representatives of an existing system to feel or to evince much sympathy for one coming in a foreign guise and asserting views of a conflicting nature to everything they have been in the habit of accepting as true and indisputable. The intensity of national antipathies becomes inflamed when the subject in dispute is the one upon which we all feel most strongly, the question of religious belief. The philosophical
calmness and political sagacity of Kanghi led him to tolerate the presence of men whose ethics he could appreciate with an academic pleasure, and whose services he knew as an administrator were highly valuable. But what commended itself to the judgment of an intelligent prince found very little favour in the eyes of a people antipathetic to the foreigner and incited by an official class jealous of possible rivals, and discontented at the spectacle of many of their favourite posts being filled by Europeans. The reign of Kanghi was marked throughout by the conflict of these two elements. Thanks to the staunch support of Kanghi and to his enlightened tolerance, the Jesuits more than held their own. The antiforeign party was compelled to conceal the full bitterness of its venom, and to await with such patience as they could muster the time when the Emperor should grow tired of his favourites. For more than fifty years the Jesuits remained prominent among Kanghi's trusted councillors. They were employed as envoys, and as astronomers, as doctors, and as geographers. Their maps served to bring under Kanghi's eye the full extent of the territories he ruled, the artillery they constructed contributed to give him the victory over his enemies, and their medicines saved on more than one occasion the life of their benefactor. Kanghi's sympathy had been gained by his respect for their persons and their character, but his undeviating support was secured by the practical work they did for him-work which he felt there were none others to do so well, if at all.
In the year 1692, after a long discussion, during which the anti-foreign party spared no effort to thwart the personal views of the Emperor, and to impose restrictions on the persons and practices of the Christians, the Tribunal of Rites agreed upon an edict in favour of the strangers. Permission was given by this proclamation, which received the sanction and warm approval of Kanghi, to the missionaries to perform their religious rites, to burn incense and to preach their doctrine in the churches which they had already erected. It was also permitted to all persons to attend those services. The proclamation of the Tribunal of Rites in the year 1692 became the charter of Christianity in the Chinese Empire, and