Imatges de pÓgina

overthrow of Amursana and the incorporation of the kingdom of the Eleuths with the Empire had brought neither tranquillity to the Chinese nor prosperity to the new subjects on whom they had forced their yoke, the conquest of Kashgaria and the chastisement of its Mahomedan neighbours were very soon followed by the establishment of a firm peace throughout the whole of this region, and by its attendant era of prosperity. So far as was compatible with the preservation of Keen Lung's authority, Tchaohoei, when he drew up the scheme of administration, left the inhabitants as much liberty as he could, and the executive to which the charge of Chinese dominion was entrusted consisted of a native and Mahomedan official class.

For the present we can leave the Chinese victorious in Central Asia. Whether the results justified the means in this case, or repaid the cost must be matter of opinion, but it must be remembered that at no previous epoch in history has the western frontier of China been less disturbed by hostile attack than during the last one hundred and thirty years. This triumph had been won by the military skill of the two generals Tchaohoei and Fouta, as well as by the indomitable will and resolution of Keen Lung. Its results were assured and consolidated mainly, if not solely, by the admirable tact and moderation of Tchaohoei.

One event, and one only, remains to be recorded before concluding this description of the Chinese conquest of Central Asia. The Tourguts were the neighbours of the Eleuths in the days when Tse Wang Rabdan raised high his pretensions as the sovereign of Jungaria, and Ayouka was their chief. Not himself without courage and ambition, he feared in the Eleuth the qualities which he knew that he possessed, and which under more favourable auspices he might have exercised with practical effect. Ayouka saw in Tse Wang Rabdan an opponent too powerful to be resisted, and one of whom he could not but stand in awe. The Tourgut felt that the one chance of avoiding the danger that menaced him lay in a prompt withdrawal from the neighbourhood of the aggressive Rabdan. His followers shared his love of liberty, and, recognizing the gravity of the emergency, agreed to adopt his



proposal, and to seek a fresh home beyond the sphere of their rival's influence. Ayouka took his measures with the necessary vigilance and precaution. Tse Wang Rabdan was on the eve of delivering his attack when he learnt that the Tourguts had fled into Russian territory, and were beyond his reach.

Ayouka had to march with his people across the steppes of the Kirghiz for many hundred miles before he reached the settlements of Russian authority. The movements of this considerable body of people created some alarm, but when the Government of Orenburg realized their intentions, a district between the Volga and the Yaik was allotted as their place of residence. There, as the faithful subject of the Czar, Ayouka lived out the few remaining years of his life, and his son succeeded to his position as chief without possessing the desire to return to his ancestral home by the Ili. For fifty years and more the Tourguts remained the contented dependents of the Russian Government.

The report of Keen Lung's victories reached their settlements on the shores of the Caspian, and they appear to have stirred in their hearts a memory of their own country. The race of tyrannical despots, of whom Tse Wang Rabdan had been not the worst but only the most notable instance, was extinct, and in their place had been established the milder and more just rule of the Chinese Emperor. The Chinese had not neglected to proclaim that the Tourguts would be welcome whenever they pleased to return to their old settlements; and the exactions of the Russian tax-collector and drill-sergeant, which were rendered more severe by the wars with his neighbours in which the Czar was constantly engaged, gave increased weight to considerations of sentiment and patriotic feeling. The Tourguts, however, might long have wanted the resolution to undertake a second journey across Asia, but for an outrage offered to their chief Oubacha, the great grandson of Ayouka. The Russian officials seized his son either as a hostage for his father's good conduct, or as a further recruit for the service of the Czar.

Whatever the motive of the outrage, it decided the Tourguts to no longer hesitate about the return to their

native state to which the friendliness of the Celestial Government invited them to come back. Towards the close of the year 1770 they, to the number of several hundred thousand, gathered in their worldly belongings, collected their flocks, and, breaking up their camps, which served them in the place of more permanent dwellings, began their return march to the district they had reluctantly and under the pressure of a great fear quitted half a century before. Eight months were occupied in traversing the region from the Yaik to the Ili, bút the local forces were too few, and the means of summoning fresh troops too inadequate to allow the Russians to interfere with their movements or to molest their flight. The Tourguts reached their destination in safety, and became the faithful and peaceful dependents of the Chinese Emperor or Bogdo Khan. Their flight * from east to west, and their return to their old settlements, contribute a picturesque episode to the establishment of Chinese power in Central Asia, and we may attribute their coming back after the proclamation of Chinese authority either to the hardships of Russian rule, or to the greater attractions offered by that of China. Certainly in the eyes of the Asiatics there never has been a more lenient or considerate government established over them than that of the Chinese in times of peace and domestic tranquillity.

The return of the Tourguts ten years after the close of active campaigning in Kashgaria came as if to ratify the wisdom of Keen Lung's Central Asian policy. The sneers and doubts of the timid or the incapable had been silenced long before by the prowess and success of Tchaohoei, but ten years of peace and prosperity had placed in still clearer light than military triumphs the advantages of the able and farseeing policy of Keen Lung. A strong frontier had been secured ; the hostile and semi-hostile peoples and tribes of Mahomedan Turkestan had been overawed and converted into peaceful subjects; the reputation of China had been extended to the furthest bounds of the Asiatic continent; and the monarch who had conceived the grand scheme of

* The reader may be referred to De Quincey's “Flight of a Tartar Tribe."



conquest, and seen how to carry it out, had crowned the glory and durability of his achievements by showing that he knew when and where to stop. In the boundless wastes and intricate passages of the Pamir, in the dizzy heights and impracticable passes of the Hindoo Koosh, and the Kara Tau, he had found the perfection of a frontier. His own immediate territory, the rich provinces of China, were rendered secure against aggression by the strong position he occupied on either side of the Tian Shan, in the remote Central Asian province three thousand miles distant from his capital. His policy had been vindicated by results. He could say that he had effected a complete and lasting remedy of an evil that up to his time had been dealt with for many centuries only by half-measures and by compromise.


2 Y



KEEN LUNG's anxieties on the ground of his foreign relations were far from being confined to one quarter. The frontier of Yunnan was as much the scene of disturbance as the borders of Kansuh. The Shan and Karen tribes were by instinct not less addicted to predatory habits than the Mongols and the Eleuths, and behind the former stood the arrogant though feeble courts of Ava and Pegu anxious on occasion to make use of the military services of these clans. The weakness of the Chinese Emperor and the numerous other claims on his attention had long made it a point of policy with him to disregard the unsatisfactory condition of the Yunnan frontier, for the simple reason that his Government had neither the leisure nor the available resources to devote to its effectual and permanent pacification. Successive rulers had been content to leave the problem unsolved as one of the accidents of government, and trusted to the weakness of their neighbours that no serious consequences would ensue. So long as Pegu and Ava remained disunited and antipathetic to each other no cloud of danger threatened the peace of mind of the Viceroy of Yunnan. The corruption of the courts and the effeteness of the dynasties of those two kingdoms corresponded with the decrepitude to which their military power had been reduced by a long period of misrule. The commencement of the eighteenth century found such pretensions as Pegu and Ava possessed to the authority of kingdoms vanishing beneath the incompetence of the ruler and his advisers. From such neighbours China, even at its worst days, had nought to fear.

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