Chapter XXII - The Reign Of Kwangsu
Thus after a very brief interval the governing power again passed into the hands of the regents who had ruled the state so well for the twelve years following the death of Hienfung. The nominal emperor was a child of little more than three years of age, to whom was given the style of "Kwangsu," or "illustrious succession," and the empresses could look forward to many years of authority in the name of so young a sovereign. The only opposition to their return to power seems to have come from the palace eunuchs, who had asserted themselves during the brief reign of Tungche and hoped to gain predominance in the imperial councils. But they found a determined mistress in the person of Tsi An, the Eastern Empress, as she was also called, who took vigorous action against them, punishing their leaders with death and effectually nipping in the bud all their projects for making themselves supreme.
The return of the empresses to power was followed by a great catastrophe in the relations between England and China. For the moment it threw every other matter into the shade, and seemed to render the outbreak of war between the two countries almost inevitable. In the year 1874 the government of India, repenting of its brief infatuation for the Panthay cause, yet still reluctant to lose the advantages it had promised itself from the opening of Yunnan to trade, resolved upon sending a formal mission of explory under Colonel Horace Browne, an officer of distinction, through Burmah to that province. The difficulties in the way of the undertaking seemed comparatively few, as the King of Burmah was friendly and appeared disposed at that time to accept his natural position as the dependent of Calcutta. The Pekin authorities also were outwardly not opposed to the journey; and the only opposition to be apprehended was from the Yunnan officials and people.
It was thought desirable, with the view of preparing the way for the appearance of this foreign mission, that a representative of the English embassy at Pekin, having a knowledge of the language and of the ceremonial etiquette of the country, should be deputed to proceed across China and meet Colonel Browne on the Burmese frontier. The officer selected for this delicate and difficult mission was Mr. Raymond Augustus Margary, who to the singular aptitude he had displayed in the study of Chinese added a buoyant spirit and a vigorous frame that peculiarly fitted him for the long and lonely journey he had undertaken across China. His reception throughout was encouraging. The orders of the Tsungli Yamen, specially drawn up by the Grand Secretary Wansiang, were explicit, and not to be lightly ignored. Mr. Margary performed his journey in safety; and, on January 26, 1875, only one fortnight after Kwangsu's accession, he joined Colonel Browne at Bhamo. A delay of more than three weeks ensued at Bhamo, which was certainly unfortunate. Time was given for the circulation of rumors as to the approach of a foreign invader along a disturbed frontier held by tribes almost independent, and whose predatory instincts were excited by the prospect of rich plunder, at the same time that their leaders urged them to oppose a change which threatened to destroy their hold on the caravan route between Bhamo and Talifoo. When, on February 17, Colonel Browne and his companions approached the limits of Burmese territory, they found themselves in face of a totally different state of affairs from what had existed when Mr. Margary passed safely through three weeks before. The preparations for opposing the English had been made under the direct encouragement, and probably the personal direction, of Lisitai, a man who had been a brigand and then a rebel, but who at this time held a military command on the frontier.
As Colonel Browne advanced he was met with rumors of the opposition that awaited him. At first these were discredited, but on the renewed statements that a large Chinese force had been collected to bar his way, Mr. Margary rode forward to ascertain what truth there was in these rumors. The first town on this route within the Chinese border is Momein, which, under the name of Tengyue, was once a military station of importance, and some distance east of it again is another town, called Manwein. Mr. Margary set out on February 19, and it was arranged that only in the event of his finding everything satisfactory at Momein was he to proceed to Manwein. Mr. Margary reached Momein in safety, and reported in a letter to Colonel Browne that all was quiet at that place, and that there were no signs of any resistance. That letter was the last news ever received from Mr. Margary. On February 19 he started from Momein, and the information subsequently obtained left no doubt that he was treacherously murdered on that or the following day at Manwein. An ominous silence followed, and Colonel Browne's party delayed its advance until some definite news should arrive as to what had occurred in front, although the silence was sufficient to justify the worst apprehensions. Three days later the rumor spread that Mr. Margary and his attendants had been murdered. It was also stated that an army was advancing to attack the English expedition; and on February 22 a large Chinese force did make its appearance on the neighboring heights. There was no longer any room to doubt that the worst had happened, and it only remained to secure the safety of the expedition. The Chinese numbered several thousand men under Lisitai in person, while to oppose them there were only four Europeans and fifteen Sikhs. Yet superior weapons and steadfastness carried the day against greater numbers. The Sikhs fought as they retired, and the Chinese, unable to make any impression on them, abandoned an attack which was both perilous and useless.
The news of this outrage did not reach Pekin until a month later, when Mr. Wade at once took the most energetic measures to obtain the amplest reparation in the power of the Pekin government to concede. The first and most necessary point in order to insure not merely the punishment of the guilty, but also that the people of China should not have cause to suppose that their rulers secretly sympathized with the authors of the attack, was that no punitive measures should be undertaken, or, if undertaken, recognized, until a special Commission of Inquiry had been appointed to investigate the circumstances on the spot. Mr. Margary was an officer of the English government traveling under the special permission and protection of the Tsungli Yamen. The Chinese government could not expect to receive consideration if it failed to enforce respect for its own commands, and the English government had an obligation which it could not shirk in exacting reparation for the murder of its representative. The treacherous killing of Mr. Margary was evidently not an occurrence for which it could be considered a sufficient atonement that some miserable criminals under sentence of death, or some desperate individuals anxious to secure the worldly prosperity of their families, should undergo painful torture and public execution in order to shield official falseness and infamy. Although no one ever suspected the Pekin government of having directly instigated the outrage, the delay in instituting an impartial and searching inquiry into the affair strengthened an impression that it felt reluctant to inflict punishment on those who had committed the act of violence. Nearly three months elapsed before any step was taken toward appointing a Chinese official to proceed to the scene of the outrage in company with the officers named by the English minister; but on June 19 an edict appeared in the "Pekin Gazette" ordering Li Han Chang, governor- general of Houkwang, to temporarily vacate his post, and "repair with all speed to Yunnan to investigate and deal with certain matters." Even then the matter dragged along but slowly. Li Han Chang, who, as the brother of Li Hung Chang, was an exceptionally well-qualified and highly-placed official for the task, and whose appointment was in itself some evidence of sincerity, did not leave Hankow until August, and the English commissioners, Messrs. Grosvenor, Davenport and Colborne Baber, did not set out from the same place before the commencement of October. The intervening months had been employed by Mr. Wade in delicate and fluctuating negotiation with Li Hung Chang (who had succeeded Tseng Kwofan as Viceroy of Pechihli and who had now come to the front as the chief official in the Chinese service) at Tientsin and with the Tsungli Yamen at Pekin. It was not till the end of the year that the commission to ascertain the fate of Mr. Margary began its active work on the spot. The result was unexpectedly disappointing. The mandarins supported one another. The responsibility was thrown on several minor officials, and on the border-tribes or savages. Several of the latter were seized, and their lives were offered as atonement for an offense they had not committed. The furthest act of concession which the Chinese commissioner gave was to temporarily suspend Tsen Yuying the Futai for remissness; but even this measure was never enforced with rigor. The English officers soon found that it was impossible to obtain any proper reparation on the spot.
Sir Thomas Wade, who was knighted during the negotiations, refused to accept the lives of the men offered, whose complicity in the offense was known to be none at all, while its real instigators escaped without any punishment. When the new year, 1876, opened, the question was still unsettled, and it was clear that no solution could be discovered on the spot. Sir Thomas Wade again called upon the Chinese in the most emphatic language allowed by diplomacy to conform with the spirit and letter of their engagements, and he informed the Tsungli Yamen that unless they proffered full redress for Mr. Margary's murder it would be impossible to continue diplomatic relations. To show that this was no meaningless expression, Sir Thomas Wade left Pekin, while a strong re-enforcement to the English fleet demonstrated that the government was resolved to support its representative. In consequence of these steps, Li Hung Chang was, in August, 1876, or more than eighteen months after the outrage, intrusted with full powers for the arrangement, of the difficulty; and the small seaport of Chefoo was fixed upon as the scene for the forthcoming negotiations. Even then the Chinese sought to secure a sentimental advantage by requesting that Sir Thomas Wade would change the scene of discussion to Tientsin, or at least that he would consent to pay Li Hung Chang a visit there. This final effort to conceal the fact that the English demanded redress as an equal and not as a suppliant having been baffled, there was no further attempt at delay. The Chefoo Convention was signed in that town, to which the viceroy proceeded from Tientsin. Li Hung Chang entertained the foreign ministers at a great banquet; and the final arrangements were hurried forward for the departure to Europe of the Chinese embassador, whose dispatch had been decided upon in the previous year. When the secret history of this transaction is revealed it will be seen how sincere were Li Hung Chang's wishes for a pacific result, and how much his advice contributed to this end.
The most important passage in the Chefoo Convention was unquestionably that commanding the different viceroys and governors to respect, and afford every protection to, all foreigners provided with the necessary passport from the Tsungli Yamen, and warning them that they would be held responsible in the event of any such travelers meeting with injury or maltreatment. The next most important passage was that arranging for the dispatch of an embassy to London bearing a letter of regret for the murder of the English official. The official selected for this duty was Kwo Sungtao, a mandarin of high rank and unexceptionable character. The letter was submitted to Sir Thomas Wade in order that its terms should be exactly in accordance with Chinese etiquette, and that no phrase should be used showing that the Chinese government attached less importance to the mission than the occasion demanded. The embassy proceeded to Europe, and, whatever may be thought of its immediate effect, it must be allowed that it established a precedent of friendly intercourse with this country, which promises to prove an additional guarantee of peace. Kwo Sungtao was accompanied by the present Sir Halliday Macartney, who had rendered such good service to China, his adopted country, during the Taeping war and afterward, and who, during the last sixteen years, has taught the Chinese government how to make itself listened to by the most powerful States of Europe.
A curious incident arising from the passion of gambling which is so prevalent in China, and bearing incidentally upon the national character, may be briefly referred to. The attention of the Pekin government was attracted to this subject by a novel form of gambling, which not merely attained enormous dimensions, but which threatened to bring the system of public examination into disrepute. This latter fact created a profound impression at Pekin, and roused the mandarins to take unusually prompt measures. Canton was the headquarters of the gambling confederacy which established the lotteries known as the Weising, but its ramifications extended throughout the whole of the province of Kwantung. The Weising, or examination sweepstakes, were based on the principle of drawing the names of the successful candidates at the official examinations. They appealed, therefore, to every poor villager, and every father of a family, as well as to the aspirants themselves. The subscribers to the Weising lists were numbered by hundreds of thousands. It became a matter of almost as much importance to draw a successful number or name in the lottery as to take the degree. The practice could not have been allowed to go on without introducing serious abuses into the system of public examination. The profits to the owners of the lottery were so enormous that they were able to pay not less than eight hundred thousand dollars as hush-money to the viceroy and the other high officials of Canton. In order to shield his own participation in the profits, the viceroy declared that he devoted this new source of revenue to the completion of the river defenses of Canton.
In 1874 the whole system was declared illegal, and severe penalties were passed against those aiding, or participating in any way in, the Weising Company. The local officers did not, however, enforce with any stringency these new laws, and the Weising fraternity enjoyed a further but brief period of increased activity under a different name. The fraud was soon detected, and in an edict of August 11, 1875, it was very rightly laid down that "the maintenance of the purity of government demands that it be not allowed under any pretext to be re-established," and for their apathy In the matter the Viceroy Yinghan and several of the highest officials in Canton were disgraced and stripped of their official rank.
In China natural calamities on a colossal scale have often aggravated political troubles. The year 1870 witnessed the commencement of a dearth in the two great provinces of Honan and Shansi which has probably never been surpassed as the cause of a vast amount of human suffering. Although the provinces named suffered the most from the prevalent drought, the suffering was general over the whole of Northern China, from Shantung and Pechihli to Honan and the course of the Yellow River. At first the government, if not apathetic, was disposed to say that the evil would be met by the grant of the usual allowance made by the provincial governors in the event of distress; but when one province after another was absorbed within the famine area, it became no longer possible to treat the matter as one of such limited importance, and the high ministers felt obliged to bestir themselves in face of so grave a danger. Li Hung Chang in particular was most energetic, not merely in collecting and forwarding supplies of rice and grain, but also in inviting contributions of money from all those parts of the empire which had not been affected by famine. Allowing for the general sluggishness of popular opinion in China, and for the absence of any large amount of currency, it must be allowed that these appeals met with a large and liberal response. The foreign residents also contributed their share, and even the charity of London found a vent in sending some thousands of pounds to the scene of the famine in Northern China. This evidence of foreign sympathy in the cause of a common humanity made more than a passing impression on the minds of the Chinese people.
While the origin of the famine may be attributed to either drought or civil war, there is no doubt that its extension and the apparent inability of the authorities to grapple with it may be traced to the want of means of communication, which rendered it almost impossible to convey the needful succor into the famine districts. The evil being so obvious, it was hoped that the Chinese would be disposed to take a step forward on their own initiative in the great and needed work of the introduction of railways and other mechanical appliances. The viceroy of the Two Kiang gave his assent to the construction of a short line between Shanghai and the port of Woosung. The great difficulty had always been to make a start; and now that a satisfactory commencement had been made the foreigners were disposed in their eagerness to overlook all obstacles, and to imagine the Flowery Land traversed in all directions by railways. But these expectations were soon shown to be premature. Half of the railway was open for use in the summer of 1876, and during some weeks the excitement among the Chinese themselves was as marked as among the Europeans. The hopes based upon this satisfactory event were destined to be soon dispelled by the animosity of the officials. They announced their intention to resort to every means in their power to prevent the completion of the undertaking. The situation revealed such dangers of mob violence that Sir Thomas Wade felt compelled to request the company to discontinue its operations, and after some discussion it was arranged that the Chinese should buy the line. After a stipulated period the line was placed under Chinese management, when, instead of devoting themselves to the interests of the railway, and to the extension of its power of utility, they willfully and persistently neglected it, with the express design of destroying it. At this conjuncture the viceroy allowed the Governor of Fuhkien to remove the rails and plant to Formosa. The fate of the Woosung railway destroyed the hopes created by its construction, and postponed to a later day the great event of the introduction of railways into China. Notwithstanding such disappointments as this, and the ever present difficulty of conducting relations with an unsympathetic people controlled by suspicious officials, there was yet observable a marked improvement in the relations of the different nations with the Chinese. Increased facilities of trade, such as the opening of new ports, far from extending the area of danger, served to promote a mutual goodwill. In 1876 Kiungchow, in the island of Hainan, was made a treaty port, or rather the fact of its having been included in the Treaty of Tientsin was practically accepted and recognized. In the following year four new ports were added to the list. One, Pakhoi, was intended to increase trade intercourse with Southern China. Two of the three others, Ichang and Wuhu, were selected as being favorably situated for commerce on the Yangtse and its affluents, while Wenchow was chosen for the benefit of the trade on the coast. Mr. Colborne Baber, who had been a member of the Yunnan commission, was dispatched to Szchuen, to take up his residence at Chungking for the purpose of facilitating trade with that great province. The successful tour of Captain Gill, not merely through Southwest China into Burmah, but among some of the wilder and more remote districts of Northern Szchuen, afforded reason to believe that henceforth traveling would be safer in China, and nothing that has since happened is calculated to weaken that impression.
When Kwangsu ascended the throne the preparations for the campaign against Kashgaria were far advanced toward completion, and Kinshun had struck the first of those blows which were to insure the overthrow of the Tungani and of Yakoob Beg. The fall of Souchow had distinguished the closing weeks of the year 1873, and in 1874 Kinshun had begun, under the direction of Tso Tsung Tang, who was described by a French writer as "very intelligent, of a bravery beyond all question, and an admirable organizer," his march across the desert to the west. He followed a circuitous line of march, with a view of avoiding the strongly placed and garrisoned town of Hami. The exact route is not certain, but he seems to have gone as far north as Uliassutai, where he was able to recruit some of the most faithful and warlike of the Mongol tribes. But early in 1875 he arrived before the walls of Barkul, a town lying to the northwest of Hami. No resistance was offered, and a few weeks later Hami was also occupied. The Tungani retreated on the approach of the Chinese, and assembled their main force for the defense of the two towns of Urumtsi and Manas, which are situated on the northern side of the eastern spurs of the Tian Shan. Once Barkul and Hami were in the possession of the Chinese, it became necessary to reopen direct communications with Souchow. This task occupied the whole of the next twelve months, and was only successfully accomplished after many difficulties had been overcome, and when halting-stations had been established across Gobi. There is nothing improbable in the statement that during this period the Chinese planted and reaped the seed which enabled them, or those who followed in their train, to march in the following season. With the year 1876 the really arduous portion of the campaign commenced. The natural difficulties to the commencement of the war from distance and desert had been all overcome. An army of about twenty-five thousand effective troops, besides a considerable number of Mongol and other tribal levies, had been placed in the field and within striking distance of the rebels. The enemies were face to face. The Tungani could retreat no further. Neither from Russia nor from Yakoob Beg could they expect a place of refuge. The Athalik Ghazi might help them to hold their own; he certainly would not welcome them within the limits of the six cities. The Tungani had, therefore, no alternative left save to make as resolute a stand as they could against the Chinese who had returned to revenge their fellow-countrymen who had been slaughtered in their thousands twelve years before. The town of Urumtsi, situated within a loop of the mountains, lies at a distance by road of more than 300 miles from Barkul. Kinshun, who had now been joined by Liu Kintang, the taotai of the Sining district and a man of proved energy and capacity, resolved to concentrate all his efforts on its capture. He moved forward his army to Guchen, 200 miles west of Barkul, where he established a fortified camp and a powder factory, and took steps te ascertain the strength and intentions of the enemy. Toward the end of July the Chinese army resumed its march. The difficulties of the country were so great that the advanced guards of the opposing armies did not come into contact until August 10. The Chinese general seems to have attempted on that date a night surprise; but although he gained some success in the encounter which ensued, the result must have been doubtful, seeing that he felt obliged to call off his men from the attack. It was only, however, to collect his forces for the delivery of a decisive blow. On August 13 a second battle was fought with a result favorable to the Chinese. Two days later the enemy, who held a fortified camp at Gumti, were bombarded out of it by the heavy artillery brought from the coasts of China for the purposes of the war, and after twenty-four hours' firing three breaches were declared to be practicable. The place was carried by storm at the close of four hours' fighting and slaughter, during which 6,000 men were stated to have been killed. Kinshun followed up his victory by a rapid march on Urumtsi. That town surrendered without a blow, and many hundred fugitives were cut down by the unsparing Manchu cavalry, which pursued them along the road to Manas, their last place of shelter. As soon as the necessary measures had been taken for the military protection of Urumtsi, the Chinese army proceeded against Manas. Their activity, which was facilitated by the favorable season of the year, was also increased by the rumored approach of Yakoob Beg with a large army to the assistance of the Tungani. At Manas the survivors of the Tungan movement proper had collected for final resistance, and all that desperation could suggest for holding the place had been done. Kinshun appeared before Manas on September 2. On the 7th his batteries were completed, and he began a heavy fire upon the northeast angle of the wall. A breach of fourteen feet having been made, the order to assault was given, but the stormers were repulsed with the loss of 100 killed. The operations of the siege were renewed with great spirit on both sides. Several assaults were subsequently delivered; but although the Chinese always gained some advantage at the beginning they never succeeded in retaining it. In one of these later attacks they admitted a loss of 200 killed alone. The imperial army enjoyed the undisputed superiority in artillery, and the gaps in its ranks were more than filled by the constant flow of re-enforcements from the rear. The siege gradually assumed a less active character. The Chinese dug trenches and erected earthworks. They approached the walls by means of galleries in readiness to deliver the attack on any symptom of discouragement among the besieged. On October 16 a mine was sprung under the wall, making a wide breach; but although the best portion of the Chinese army made two assaults on separate occasions, they were both repulsed with loss. Twelve days later another mine was sprung, destroying a large portion of the wall; but when the Chinese stormers endeavored to carry the remaining works, they were again driven back with heavy loss, including two generals killed in the breach. Although thus far repulsed, the imperialists had inflicted very heavy losses on the besieged, who, seeing that the end of their resources was at hand, that there was no hope of succor, and that the besiegers were as energetic as ever, at last arrived at the conclusion that they had no choice left save to surrender on the best terms they could obtain. On November 4, after a two months' siege, Haiyen, as the Chinese named the Mohammedan leader, came out and offered to yield the town. His offer seems to have been partly accepted, and on the 6th of the month the survivors of the brave garrison, to the number of between two and three thousand men, sallied forth from the west gate. It was noticed as a ground of suspicion that all the men carried their weapons, and that they had placed their old men, women and children in the center of their phalanx as if they contemplated rather a sortie than a tame and unresisting surrender. The Chinese commanders were not indisposed to deal with the least suspicious circumstances as if they meant certain treachery. The imperialists gradually gathered around the garrison. The Mohammedans made one bold effort to cut their way through. They failed in the attempt, and were practically annihilated on the ground. Those men who were taken by the cavalry were at once beheaded, whether in the city or among those who had gone forth, but the aged, the women and the children were spared by Kinshun's express orders. All the leaders taken were tortured before execution as rebels, and even the bodies of the dead chiefs were exhumed in order that they might be subjected to indignity. The siege of Manas was interesting both for the stubbornness of the attack and defense, and also as marking the successful termination of the Chinese campaign against the Tungani. With its capture, those Mohammedans who might be said to be Chinese in ways and appearance ceased to possess any political importance. It would not be going much too far to say that they no longer existed. The movement of rebellion which began at Hochow in 1862 was thus repressed in 1876, after having involved during those fourteen years the northwestern provinces of China, and much of the interior of Asia, in a struggle which, for its bitter and sanguinary character, has rarely been surpassed.
[Illustration: KANG, THE REFORMER]
The successes of the Chinese gave their generals and army the confidence and prestige of victory, and the overthrow of the Tungani left them disengaged to deal with a more formidable antagonist. The siege of Manas had been vigorously prosecuted in order that the town might be taken before the army of Yakoob Beg should arrive. The Athalik Ghazi may have believed that Manas could hold out during the winter, for his movements in 1876 were leisurely, and betrayed a confidence that no decisive fighting would take place until the following spring. His hopes were shown to be delusive, but too late for practical remedy. Manas had fallen before he could move to its support. The Chinese had crushed the Tungani, and were in possession of the mountain passes. They were gathering their whole strength to fall upon him, and to drive him out of the state in which he had managed to set up a brief authority. While the events recorded had been in progress, Yakoob Beg had been ruling the state of Kashgaria with sufficient vigor and wisdom to attract the observation of his great neighbors, the governments of England and Russia. He had shown rare skill in adapting circumstances to suit his own ends. The people passively accepted the authority which he was prepared to assert with his Khokandian soldiery, and the independent state of Kashgaria might have continued to exist for a longer period had the Chinese not returned. But in 1875 the arrival of Kinshun at Barkul showed Yakoob Beg that he would have to defend his possessions against their lawful owners, while the overthrow of the Tungani and the capture of their strongholds, in 1876, carried with them a melancholy foreboding of his own fate. The Athalik Ghazi made his preparations to take the field, but there was no certainty in his mind as to where he should make his stand. He moved his army eastward, establishing his camp first at Korla and then moving it on to Turfan, 900 miles distant from Kashgar. The greatest efforts of this ruler only availed to place 15,000 men at the front, and the barrenness of the region compelled him to distribute them. The Ameer was at Turfan with 8,500 men and twenty guns. His second son was at Toksoun, some miles in the rear, at the head of 6,000 more and five guns. There were several smaller detachments between Korla and the front. Opposed to these was the main Chinese army under Kinshun at Urumtsi, while another force had been placed in the field at Hami by the energy of Tso, and intrusted to the direction of a general named Chang Yao. No fighting took place until the month of March, 1877, and then the campaign began with a rapid advance by Chang Yao from Hami to Turfan. The Kashgarians were driven out of Pidjam, and compelled, after a battle, to evacuate Turfan. The Chinese records do not help us to unravel the events of the month of April. The campaign contained no more striking or important episodes, and yet the reports of the generals have been mislaid or consigned to oblivion. The Athalik Ghazi fought a second battle at Toksoun, where he rejoined his son's army, but with no better fortune. He was obliged to flee back to his former camp at Korla. After the capture of Turfan the Chinese armies came to a halt. It was necessary to reorganize the vast territory which they had already recovered, and to do something to replenish their arsenals. During five months the Celestials stayed their further advance, while the cities were being re-peopled and the roads rendered once more secure. Tso Tsung Tang would leave nothing to chance. He had accomplished two of the three parts into which his commission might be naturally divided. He had pacified the northwest and overthrown the Tungani, and he would make sure of his ground before attempting the third and the most difficult of all. And while the Chinese viceroy had, for his own reasons, come to the very sensible conclusion to refresh his army after its arduous labors in the limited productive region situated between two deserts, the stars in their courses fought on his side.
Yakoob Beg had withdrawn only to Korla. He still cherished the futile scheme of defending the eastern limits of his dominion, but with his overthrow on the field of battle the magic power which he had exercised over his subjects vanished. His camp became the scene of factious rivalry and of plots to advance some individual pretension at the cost of the better interests and even the security of the State. The exact details of the conspiracy will never be known, partly from the remoteness of the scene, but also on account of the mention of persons of whom nothing was, or is ever likely to be, known. The single fact remains clear that Yakoob Beg died at Korla on May 1, 1877, of fever according to one account, of poison administered by Hakim Khan Torah according to another. Still the Chinese did not even then advance, and Yakoob's sons were left to contest with Hakim Khan Torah over the dismembered fragments of their father's realm, A bitter and protracted civil war followed close upon the disappearance of the Athalik Ghazi. On the removal of his dead body for sepulture to Kashgar his eldest son, Kuli Beg, murdered his younger brother over their father's bier. It was then that Hakim Khan came prominently forward as a rival to Kuli Beg, and that the Mohammedans, weak and numerically few as they were, divided themselves into two hostile parties. While the Chinese were recruiting their troops and repairing their losses, the enemy were exhausting themselves in vain and useless struggles. In June, 1877, Hakim Khan was signally defeated and compelled to flee into Russian territory, whence on a later occasion he returned for a short time in a vain attempt to disturb the tranquillity of Chinese rule. When, therefore, the Chinese resumed their advance much of their work had been done for them. They had only to complete the overthrow of an enemy whom they had already vanquished, and who was now exhausted by his own disunion. The Chinese army made no forward movement from Toksoun until the end of August, 1877. Liu Kintang, to whom the command of the advance had been given, did not leave until one month later; and when he arrayed his forces he found them to number about 15,000 men. It had been decided that the first advance should not be made in greater force, as the chief difficulty was to feed the army, not to defeat the enemy.
The resistance encountered was very slight, and the country was found to be almost uninhabited. Both Karashar and Korla were occupied by a Chinese garrison, and the district around them was intrusted to the administration of a local chief. Information that the rebel force was stationed at the next town, Kucha, which is as far beyond Korla as that place is from Toksoun, induced Liu Kintang to renew his march and to continue it still more rapidly. A battle was fought outside Kucha in which the Chinese were victorious, but not until they had overcome stubborn resistance. However, the Chinese success was complete, and with Kucha in their power they had simplified the process of attacking Kashgar itself. A further halt was made at this town to enable the men to recover from their fatigue, to allow fresh troops to come up, and measures to be taken for insuring the security of communications with the places in the rear. At Kucha also the work of civil administration was intrusted to some of the local notables. The deliberation of the Chinese movements, far from weakening their effect, invested their proceedings with the aspect of being irresistible. The advance was shortly resumed. Aksu, a once flourishing city within the limits of the old kingdom of Kashgar, surrendered at the end of October. Ush Turfan yielded a few days later. The Chinese had now got within striking distance of the capital of the state. They had only to provide the means of making the blow as fatal and decisive as possible. In December they seized Maralbashi, an important position on the Kashgar Darya, commanding the principal roads to both Yarkand and Kashgar. Yarkand was the chief object of attack. It surrendered without a blow on December 21. A second Chinese army had been sent from Maralbashi to Kashgar, which was defended by a force of several thousand men. It had been besieged nine days, when Liu Kintang arrived with his troops from Yarkand. A battle ensued, in which the Mohammedans were vanquished, and the city with the citadel outside captured. Several rebel leaders and some eleven hundred men were said to have been executed; but Kuli Beg escaped into Russian territory. The city of Kashgar was taken on December 26, and one week later the town of Khoten, famous from a remote period for its jade ornaments, passed into the hands of the race who best appreciated their beauty and value. The Chinese thus brought to a triumphant conclusion the campaigns undertaken for the reassertion of their authority over the Mohammedan populations which had revolted. They had conquered in this war by the superiority of their weapons and their organization, and not by an overwhelming display of numbers. Although large bodies of troops were stationed at many places, it does not seem that the army which seized the cities of Yarkand and Kashgar numbered more than twenty thousand men. Having vanquished their enemy in the field, the Celestials devoted all their attention to the reorganization of what was called the New Dominion, the capital of which after much deliberation was fixed at Urumtsi. Their rule has been described by a Mussulman as being both very fair and very just.
Having conquered Eastern Turkestan, the Chinese next took steps for the recovery of Ili. Without the metropolitan province the undertaking of Tso Tsung Tang would lack completeness, while indeed many political and military dangers would attend the situation in Central Asia. But this was evidently a matter to be effected in the first place by negotiation, and not by violence and force of arms. Russia had always been a friendly and indeed a sympathetic neighbor. In this very matter of Ili she had originally acted with the most considerate attention for China's rights, when it seemed that they had permanently lost all definite meaning, for she had declared that she would surrender it on China sending a sufficient force to take possession, and now this had been done. It was, therefore, by diplomatic representations on the part of the Tsungli Yamen to the Russian Minister at Pekin that the recovery of Ili was expected in the first place to be achieved. At about the same time the Russian authorities at Tashkent came to the conclusion that the matter must rest with the Czar, and the Chinese official world perceived that they would have to depute a Minister Plenipotentiary to St. Petersburg.
The official selected for the difficult and, as it proved, dangerous task of negotiating at St. Petersburg, was that same Chung How who had been sent to Paris after the Tientsin massacre. He arrived at Pekin in August, 1878, and was received in several audiences by the empresses while waiting for his full instructions from the Tsungli Yamen. He did not leave until October, about a month after the Marquis Tseng, Tseng Kwofan's eldest son, set out from Pekin to take the place of Kwo Sungtao as Minister in London and Paris. Chung How reached St. Petersburg in the early part of the following year, and the discussion of the various points in question, protracted by the removal of the court to Livadia, occupied the whole of the summer months. At last it was announced that a treaty had been signed at Livadia, by which Russia surrendered the Kuldja valley, but retained that of the Tekes, which left in her hands the command of the passes through the Tian Shan range into Kashgar. Chung How knew nothing about frontiers or military precautions, but he thought a great deal about money. He fought the question of an indemnity with ability, and got it fixed at five million roubles, or little more than half that at which it was placed by the later treaty. There was never any reason to suppose that the Chinese government would accept the partial territorial concession obtained by Chung How. The first greeting that met Chung How on his return revealed the fate of his treaty. He had committed the indiscretion of returning without waiting for the Edict authorizing his return, and as the consequence he had to accept suspension from all his offices, while his treaty was submitted to the tender mercies of the grand secretaries, the six presidents of boards, the nine chief ministers of state, and the members of the Hanlin. Three weeks later, Prince Chun was specially ordered to join the Committee of Deliberation. On January 27 Chung How was formally cashiered and arrested, and handed over to the Board of Punishment for correction. The fate of the treaty itself was decided a fortnight later. Chung How was then declared to have "disobeyed his instructions and exceeded his powers." On March 3 an edict appeared, sentencing the unhappy envoy to "decapitation after incarceration." This sentence was not carried out, and the reprieve of the unlucky envoy was due to Queen Victoria's expression of a hope that the Chinese government would spare his life.
At the same time that the Chinese refused their ratification to Chung How's treaty, they expressed their desire for another pacific settlement, which would give them more complete satisfaction. The Marquis Tseng was accordingly instructed to take up the thread of negotiation, and to proceed to the Russian capital as Embassador and Minister Plenipotentiary. Some delay ensued, as it was held to be doubtful whether Russia would consent to the reopening of the question. But owing to the cautious and well-timed approaches of the Marquis Tseng, the St. Petersburg Foreign Office acquiesced in the recommencement of negotiations, and, after six months' discussion, accepted the principle of the almost unqualified territorial concession for which the Chinese had stood firm. On February 12, 1881, these views were embodied in a treaty, signed at St. Petersburg, and the ratification within six months showed how differently its provisions were regarded from those of its predecessor. With the Marquis Tseng's act of successful diplomacy the final result of the long war in Central Asia was achieved. The Chinese added Ili to Kashgar and the rest of the New Dominion, which at the end of 1880 was made into a High Commissionership and placed under the care of the dashing General Liu Kintang.
The close of the great work successfully accomplished during the two periods of the Regency was followed within a few weeks by the disappearance of the most important of the personages who had carried on the government throughout these twenty years of constant war and diplomatic excitement. Before the Pekin world knew of her illness, it heard of the death of the Empress Dowager Tsi An, who as Hienfung's principal widow had enjoyed the premier place in the government, although she had never possessed a son to occupy the throne in person. In a proclamation issued in her name and possibly at her request, Tsi An described the course of her malady, the solicitude of the emperor, and urged upon him the duty of his high place to put restraint upon his grief. Her death occurred on April 18, from heart disease, when she was only forty-five, and her funeral obsequies were as splendid as her services demanded. For herself she had always been a woman of frugal habits, and the successful course of recent Chinese history was largely due to her firmness and resolution. Her associate in the Regency, Tsi Thsi, who has always been more or less of an invalid, still survives.
The difficulty with Russia had not long been composed, when, on two opposite sides of her extensive dominion, China was called upon to face a serious condition of affairs. In Corea, "the forbidden land" of the Far East, events were forced by the eagerness and competition of European states to conclude treaties of commerce with that primitive kingdom, and perhaps, also, by their fear that if they delayed Russia would appropriate some port on the Corean coast. To all who had official knowledge of Russia's desire and plan for seizing Port Lazareff, this apprehension was far from chimerical, and there was reason to believe that Russia's encroachment might compel other countries to make annexations in or round Corea by way of precaution. Practical evidence of this was furnished by the English occupation of Port Hamilton, and by its subsequent evacuation when the necessity passed away; but should the occasion again arise the key of the situation will probably be found in the possession not of Port Hamilton or Quelpart, but of the Island of Tsiusima. Recourse was had to diplomacy to avert what threatened to be a grave international danger; and although the result was long doubtful, and the situation sometimes full of peril, a gratifying success was achieved in the end. In 1881 a draft commercial treaty was drawn up, approved by the Chinese authorities and the representatives of the principal powers at Pekin, and carried to the court of Seoul for acceptance and signature by the American naval officer, Commodore Schufeldt. The Corean king made no objection to the arrangement, and it was signed with the express stipulation that the ratifications of the treaty were to be exchanged in the following year. Thus was it harmoniously arranged at Pekin that Corea was to issue from her hermit's call, and open her ports to trading countries under the guidance and encouragement of China. There can be no doubt that if this arrangement had been carried out, the influence and the position of China in Corea would have been very greatly increased and strengthened. But, unfortunately, the policy of Li Hung Chang--for if he did not originate, he took the most important part in directing it--aroused the jealousy of Japan, which has long asserted the right to have an equal voice with China in the control of Corean affairs; and the government of Tokio, on hearing of the Schufeldt treaty, at once took steps not merely to obtain all the rights to be conferred by that document, to which no one would have objected, but also to assert its claim to control equally with China the policy of the Corean court. With that object, a Japanese fleet and army were sent to the Seoul River, and when the diplomatists returned for the ratification of the treaty, they found the Japanese in a strong position close to the Corean capital. The Chinese were not to be set on one side in so open a manner, and a powerful fleet of gunboats, with 5,000 troops, were sent to the Seoul River to uphold their rights. Under other circumstances, more especially as the Chinese expedition was believed to be the superior, a hostile collision must have ensued, and the war which has so often seemed near between the Chinese and Japanese would have become an accomplished fact; but fortunately the presence of the foreign diplomatists moderated the ardor of both sides, and a rupture was averted. By a stroke of judgment the Chinese seized Tai Wang Kun, the father of the young king, and the leader of the anti-foreign party, and carried him off to Pekin, where he was kept in imprisonment for some time, until matters had settled down in his own country. The opening of Corea to the Treaty Powers did not put an end to the old rivalry of China and Japan in that country, of which history contains so many examples; and, before the Corean question was definitely settled, it again became obtrusive. Such evidence as is obtainable points to the conclusion that Chinese influence was gradually getting the better of Japanese in the country, and the attack on the Japanese legation in 1884 was a striking revelation of popular antipathy or of an elaborate anti-Japanese plot headed by the released Chinese prisoner, Tai Wang Kun.
At the opposite point of the frontier China was brought face to face with a danger which threatened to develop into a peril of the first magnitude, and in meeting which she was undoubtedly hampered by her treaties with the general body of foreign powers and her own peculiar place in the family of nations. It is the special misfortune of China that she cannot engage in any, even a defensive, war with a maritime power without incurring the grave risk, or indeed the practical certainty, that if such a war be continued for any length of time she must find herself involved with every other foreign country through the impossibility of confining the hostility of her own subjects to one race of foreigners in particular. In considering the last war with a European country in which China was engaged, due allowance must be made for these facts, and also for the anomalous character of that contest, when active hostilities were carried on without any formal declaration of war--a state of things which gave the French many advantages. Toward the end of the year 1882, the French government came to the decision to establish a "definite protectorate" over Tonquin. Events had for some time been shaping themselves in this direction, and the colonial ambition of France had long fixed on Indo- China as a field in which it might aggrandize itself with comparatively little risk and a wide margin of advantage. The weakness of the kingdom of Annam was a strong enough temptation in itself to assert the protectorate over it which France had, more or less, claimed for forty years; but when the reports of several French explorers came to promote the conviction that France might acquire the control of a convenient and perhaps the best route into some of the richest provinces of interior China without much difficulty, the temptation became irresistible. French activity in Indo- China was heightened by the declaration of Garnier, Rocher, and others, that the Songcoi, or Red River, furnished the best means of communicating with Yunnan, and tapping the wealth of the richest mineral province in China. The apathy of England in her relations with Burmah, which presented, under its arrogant and obstructive rulers, what may have seemed an insuperable obstacle to trade intercourse between India and China, afforded additional inducement to the French to act quickly; and, as they felt confident of their ability and power to coerce the court of Hue, the initial difficulties of their undertaking did not seem very formidable. That undertaking was, in the first place, defined to be a protectorate of Annam, and, as the first step in the enterprise, the town of Hanoi, in the delta of the Red River, and the nominal capital of Tonquin, was captured before the end of the year 1882.
Tonquin stood in very much the same relationship to China as Corea; and, although the enforcement of the suzerain tie was lax, there was no doubt that at Pekin the opinion was held very strongly that the action of France was an encroachment on the rights of China. But if such was the secret opinion of the Chinese authorities, they took no immediate steps to arrest the development of French policy in Tonquin by proclaiming it a Chinese dependency, and also their intention to defend it. It is by no means certain that the prompt and vigorous assertion of their rights would have induced the French to withdraw from their enterprise, for its difficulties were not revealed at first; but if China is to make good her hold over such dependencies, she must be prepared to show that she thinks them worth fighting for. While Li Hung Chang and the other members of the Chinese government were deliberating as to the course they should pursue, the French were acting with great vigor in Tonquin, and committing their military reputation to a task from which they could not in honor draw back. During the whole of the year 1883 they were engaged in military operations with the Black Flag irregulars, a force half piratical and half patriotic, who represented the national army of the country. It was believed at the time, but quite erroneously, that the Black Flags were paid and incited by the Chinese. Subsequent evidence showed that the Chinese authorities did not taken even an indirect part in the contest until a much later period. After the capture of Hanoi, the French were constantly engaged with the Black Flags, from whom they captured the important town of Sontay, which was reported to be held by imperial Chinese troops, but on its capture this statement was found to be untrue. The French were in the full belief that the conquest of Tonquin would be easily effected, when a serious reverse obliged them to realize the gravity of their task. A considerable detachment, under the command of Captain Henri Riviere, who was one of the pioneers of French enterprise on the Songcoi, was surprised and defeated near Hanoi. Riviere was killed, and it became necessary to make a great effort to recover the ground that had been lost. Fresh troops were sent from Europe, but before they arrived the French received another check at Phukai, which the Black Flags claimed as a victory because the French were obliged to retreat.
Before this happened the French had taken extreme measures against the King of Annam, of which state Tonquin is the northern province. The king of that country, by name Tuduc, who had become submissive to the French, died in July, 1883, and after his death the Annamese, perhaps encouraged by the difficulties of the French in Tonquin, became so hostile that it was determined to read them a severe lesson. Hue was attacked and occupied a month after the death of Tuduc, and a treaty was extracted from the new king which made him the dependent of France. When the cold season began in Tonquin, the French forces largely increased, and, commanded by Admiral Courbet, renewed operations, and on December 11 attacked the main body of the Black Flags at Sontay, which they had reoccupied and strengthened. They offered a desperate and well sustained resistance, and it was only with heavy loss that the French succeeded in carrying the town. The victors were somewhat recompensed for their hardships and loss by the magnitude of the spoil, which included a large sum of money. Desultory fighting continued without intermission; Admiral Courbet was superseded by General Millot, who determined to signalize his assumption of the command by attacking Bacuinh, which the Black Flags made their headquarters after the loss of Sontay. On March 8, he attacked this place at the head of 12,000 men, but so formidable were its defenses that he would not risk an attack in front, and by a circuitous march of four days he gained the flank of the position, and thus taken at a disadvantage the Black Flags abandoned their formidable lines, and retreated without much loss, leaving their artillery, including some Krupp guns, in the hands of the victors. At this stage of the question diplomacy intervened, and on May 11 a treaty of peace was signed by Commander Founder, during the ministry of M. Jules Ferry, with the Chinese government. One of the principal stipulations of this treaty was that the French should be allowed to occupy Langson and other places in Tonquin. When the French commander sent a force under Colonel Dugenne to occupy Langson it was opposed in the Bacle defile and repulsed with some loss. The Chinese exonerated themselves from all responsibility by declaring that the French advance was premature, because no date was fixed by the Fournier Convention, and because there had not been time to transmit the necessary orders. On the other hand, M. Fournier declared on his honor that the dates in his draft were named in the original convention. The French government at once demanded an apology, and an indemnity fixed by M. Jules Ferry, in a moment of mental excitement, at the ridiculous figure of $50,000,000. An apology was offered, but such an indemnity was refused, and eventually France obtained one of only $800,000.
After the Bacle affair hostilities were at once resumed, and for the first time the French carried them on not only against the Black Flags, but against the Chinese. M. Jules Ferry did not, however, make any formal declaration of war against China, and he thus gained an advantage of position for his attack on the Chinese which it was not creditable to French chivalry to have asserted. The most striking instance of this occurred at Foochow, where the French fleet, as representing a friendly power, was at anchor above the formidable defenses of the Min River. In accordance with instructions telegraphed to him, the French admiral attacked those places in reverse and destroyed the forts on the Min without much difficulty or loss, thanks exclusively to his having been allowed past them as a friend. The French also endeavored to derive all possible advantage from there being no formal declaration of war, and to make use of Hongkong as a base for their fleet against China. But this unfairness could not be tolerated, and the British minister at Pekin, where Sir Harry Parkes had in the autumn of 1883 succeeded Sir Thomas Wade, issued a proclamation that the hostilities between France and China were tantamount to a state of war, and that the laws of neutrality must be strictly observed. The French resented this step, and showed some inclination to retaliate by instituting a right to search for rice, but fortunately this pretension was not pushed to extremities, and the war was closed before it could produce any serious consequences. The French devoted much of their attention to an attack on the Chinese possessions in Formosa, and the occupation of Kelung; a fort in the northern part of that island was captured, but the subsequent success of the French was small. The Chinese displayed great energy and resource in forming defenses against any advance inland from Kelung or Tamsui, and the French government was brought to face the fact that there was nothing to be gained by carrying on these desultory operations, and that unless they were prepared to send a large expedition, it was computed of not less than 50,000 men, to attack Pekin, there was no alternative to coming to terms with China. How strong this conviction had become may be gathered from the fact that the compulsory retreat, in March, 1885, of the French from before Langson, where some of the Chinese regular troops were drawn up with a large force of Black and Yellow Flags--the latter of whom were in Chinese pay--did not imperil the negotiations which were then far advanced toward completion. On June 9 of the same year a treaty of peace was signed by M. Patenotre and Li Hung Chang which gave France nothing more than the Fournier Convention.
The military lessons of this war must be pronounced inconclusive, for the new forces which China had organized since the Pekin campaign were never fully engaged, and the struggle ended before the regular regiments sent to Langson had any opportunity of showing their quality. But the impression conveyed by the fighting in Formosa and the northern districts of Tonquin was that China had made considerable progress in the military art, and that she possessed the nucleus of an army that might become formidable. But while the soldiers had made no inconsiderable improvement, as much could not be said of the officers, and among the commanders there seemed no grasp of the situation, and a complete inability to conduct a campaign. Probably these deficiencies will long remain the really weak spot in the Chinese war organization, and although they have men who will fight well, the only capacity their commanders showed in Tonquin and Formosa was in selecting strong positions and in fortifying them with consummate art. But as the strongest position can be turned and avoided, and as the Chinese, like all Asiatics, become demoralized when their rear is threatened, it cannot be denied that, considerable progress as the Chinese have made in the military art, they have not yet mastered some of its rudiments. All that can be said is that the war between France and China was calculated to teach the advisability of caution in fixing a quarrel upon China. Under some special difficulties from the character of the war and with divided councils at Pekin, the Chinese still gave a very good account of themselves against one of the greatest powers of Europe.
During the progress of this struggle a coup d'etat was effected at Pekin of which at the time it was impossible to measure the whole significance. In July, 1884, the Chinese world was startled by the sudden fall and disgrace of Prince Kung, who had been the most powerful man in China since the Treaty of Pekin. A decree of the empress-regent appeared dismissing him from all his posts and consigning him to an obscurity from which after nine years he has not yet succeeded in emerging. The causes of his fall are not clear, but they were probably of several distinct kinds. While he was the leader of the peace party and the advocate of a prompt arrangement with France, he was also an opponent of Prince Chun's desire to have a share in the practical administration of the state, or, at least, an obstacle in the way of its realization. Prince Chun, who was a man of an imperious will, and who, on the death of the Eastern Empress, became the most important personage in the palace and supreme council of the empire, was undoubtedly the leader of the attack on Prince Kung, and the immediate cause of his downfall. Prince Kung, who was an amiable and well intentioned man rather than an able statesman, yielded without resistance, and indeed he had no alternative, for he had no following at Pekin, and his influence was very slight except among Europeans. Prince Chun then came to the front, taking an active and prominent part in the government, making himself president of a new board of national defense and taking up the command of the Pekin Field Force, a specially trained body of troops for the defense of the capital He retained possession of these posts after his son assumed the government in person, notwithstanding the law forbidding a father serving under his son, which has already been cited, and he remained the real controller of Chinese policy until his sudden and unexpected death in the first days of 1891. Some months earlier, in April, 1890, China had suffered a great loss in the Marquis Tseng, whose diplomatic experience and knowledge of Europe might have rendered his country infinite service in the future. He was the chosen colleague of Prince Chun, and he is said to have gained the ear of his young sovereign. While willing to admit the superiority of European inventions, he was also an implicit believer in China's destiny and in her firmly holding her place among the greatest powers of the world. In December, 1890, also died Tseng Kwo Tsiuen, uncle of the marquis, and a man who had taken a prominent and honorable part in the suppression of the Taeping Rebellion.
In 1885 an important and delicate negotiation between England and China was brought to a successful issue by the joint efforts of Lord Salisbury and the Marquis Tseng. The levy of the lekin or barrier tax on opium had led to many exactions in the interior which were injurious to the foreign trade and also to the Chinese government, which obtained only the customs duty raised in the port. After the subject had been thoroughly discussed in all its bearings a convention was signed in London, on July 19, 1885, by which the lekin was fixed at eighty taels a chest, in addition to the customs due of thirty taels, and also that the whole of this sum should be paid in the treaty port before the opium was taken out of bond. This arrangement was greatly to the advantage of the Chinese government, which came into possession of a large revenue that had previously been frittered away in the provinces, and much of which had gone into the pockets of the mandarins. This subject affords the most appropriate place for calling attention to the conspicuous services rendered, as Director-general of Chinese Customs during more than thirty years, by Sir Robert Hart, who, on the premature death of Sir Harry Parkes, was appointed British Minister at Pekin, which post, for weighty reasons, he almost immediately resigned. It is impossible to measure the consequences and important effect of his conduct and personal influence upon the policy and opinion of China, while his work in the interests of that country has been both striking and palpable. To his efforts the central government mainly owes its large and increasing cash revenue, and when some candid Chinese historian sums up the work done for his country by foreigners, he will admit that, what Gordon did in war and Macartney in diplomacy, Hart accomplished in those revenue departments which are an essential element of strength, and we must hope that this truthful chronicler will also not forget to record that all these loyal servants were English, members of a race which, after fighting China fairly, frankly held out the hand of friendship and alliance. In connection with this subject it may be noted that the emperor issued an edict in 1890 formally legalizing the cultivation of opium, which, although practically carried on, was nominally illegal. An immediate consequence of this step was a great increase in the area under cultivation, particularly in Manchuria, and so great is the production of native opium now becoming that that of India may yet be driven from the field as a practical revenge for the loss inflicted on China by the competition of Indian tea. But at all events these measures debar China from ever again posing as an injured party in the matter of the opium traffic. She has very rightly determined to make the best of the situation and to derive all the profit she can by taxing an article in such very general use and consumption; but there is an end to all representations like those made by prominent officials from Commissioner Lin to Prince Kung and Li Hung Chang, that the opium traffic was iniquitous, and constituted the sole cause of disagreement between China and England.
During these years the young Emperor Kwangsu was growing up. In February, 1887, in which month falls the Chinese New Year, it was announced that his marriage was postponed in consequence of his delicate health, and it was not until the new year of 1889, when Kwangsu was well advanced in his eighteenth year, that he was married to Yeh-ho-na-la, daughter of a Manchu general named Knei Hsiang, who had been specially selected for this great honor out of many hundred candidates. The marriage was celebrated with the usual state, and more than $5,000,000 is said to have been expended on the attendant ceremonies. At the same time the empress-regent issued her farewell edict and passed into retirement, but there is reason to believe that she continued to exercise no inconsiderable influence over the young emperor.
The marriage and assumption of governing power by the Emperor Kwangsu brought to the front the very important question of the right of audience by the foreign ministers resident at Pekin. This privilege had been conceded by China at the time of the Tientsin massacre, and it had been put into force on one occasion during the brief reign of Tungche. The time had again arrived for giving it effect, and, after long discussions as to the place of audience and the forms to be observed, Kwangsu issued in December, 1890, an edict appointing a day soon after the commencement of the Chinese New Year for the audience, and also arranging that it should be repeated annually on the same date. In March, 1891, Kwangsu gave his first reception to the foreign ministers, but after it was over some criticism and dissatisfaction were aroused by the fact that the ceremony had been held in the Tse Kung Ko, or Hall of Tributary Nations. As this was the first occasion on which Europeans saw the young emperor, the fact that he made a favorable impression on them is not without interest, and the following personal description of the master of so many millions may well be quoted. "Whatever the impression 'the Barbarians' made on him the idea which they carried away of the Emperor Kwangsu was pleasing and almost pathetic. His air is one of exceeding intelligence and gentleness, somewhat frightened and melancholy looking. His face is pale, and though it is distinguished by refinement and quiet dignity it has none of the force of his martial ancestors, nothing commanding or imperial, but is altogether mild, delicate, sad and kind. He is essentially Manchu in features, his skin is strangely pallid in hue, which is, no doubt, accounted for by the confinement of his life inside these forbidding walls and the absence of the ordinary pleasures and pursuits of youth, with the constant discharge of onerous, complicated and difficult duties of state which, it must be remembered, are, according to imperial Chinese etiquette, mostly transacted between the hours of two and six in the morning. His face is oval shaped with a very long narrow chin and a sensitive mouth with thin, nervous lips; his nose is well shaped and straight, his eyebrows regular and very arched, while the eyes are unusually large and sorrowful in expression. The forehead is well shaped and broad, and the head is large beyond the average."
Owing to the dissatisfaction felt at the place of audience, which seemed to put the Treaty Powers on the same footing as tributary states, the foreign ministers have endeavored to force from the Tsungli Yamen the formal admission that a more appropriate part of the imperial city should be assigned for the ceremony; but as the powers themselves were not disposed to lay too much stress on this point, no definite concession has yet been made, and the Chinese ministers have held out against the pressure of some of the foreign representatives. But, although no concise alteration has been made in the place of audience, the question has been practically settled by a courteous concession to the new English minister, Mr. O'Conor, who succeeded Sir John Walsham in 1892, and it is gratifying to feel that this advantage was gained more by tact than by coercion. When Mr. O'Conor wished to present his credentials to the emperor, it was arranged that the emperor should receive him in the Cheng Kuan Tien Palace, which is part of the imperial residence of Peace and Plenty within the Forbidden City. The British representative, accompanied by his secretaries and suite in accordance with arrangement, proceeded to this palace on December 13, 1892, and was received in a specially honorable way at the principal or imperial entrance by the officials of the court. Such a mark of distinction was considered quite unique in the annals of foreign diplomacy in China, and has since been a standing grievance with the other ministers at Pekin. It was noticed by those present that the emperor took a much greater interest in the ceremony than on previous occasions, and that he showed special attention as Prince Ching, the President of the Yamen, translated the letter from Queen Victoria. This audience, which lasted a considerable time, was certainly the most satisfactory and encouraging yet held with the Emperor Kwangsu by any foreign envoy, and it also afforded opportunity of confirming the favorable impression which the intelligence and dignified demeanor of the Emperor Kwangsu have made on all who have had the honor of coming into his presence. One incident in the progress of the audience question deserves notice, and that was the emperor's refusal, in 1891, to receive Mr. Blair, the United States Minister, in consequence of the hostile legislation of that country against China. The anti-foreign outbreak along the Yangtsekiang, in the summer of 1891, was an unpleasant incident, from which at one time it looked as if serious consequences might follow; but the ebullition fortunately passed away without an international crisis, and it may be hoped that the improved means of exercising diplomatic pressure at Pekin will render these attacks less frequent, and their settlement and redress more rapid.
During the last ten years events in Central Asia and Burmah have drawn England and China much more closely together, and have laid the basis of what it must be hoped will prove a firm and durable alliance. If suspicion was laid aside and candid relations established on the frontier, it should not be difficult to maintain an excellent understanding with China, and at the present moment every difficulty has been smoothed over with the exception of that on the Burmese frontier. It is to be hoped that not less success will be obtained in this quarter than in Sikhim and Hunza, and Mr. O'Conor's convention of Pekin in July, 1886, recognizing China's right to receive a tribute mission from Burmah once in ten years went far to prove the extent of concession England would make to China. It is divulging what cannot long be kept secret, to explain the circumstances under which Mr. O'Conor's convention was signed, and the unusual concession made by a British government of admitting its liability to send a tribute mission. The Chefoo Convention, closing the Yunnan incident, contained a promise from the Chinese government to allow an English mission to pass through Tibet. Years passed without any attempt to give effect to this stipulation, but at last, in 1884, Mr. Colman Macaulay, a member of the Indian Civil Service, obtained the assent of his government to requesting the permission of the Chinese government to visit Lhasa. He went to Pekin and he came to London, and he obtained the necessary permission and the formal passport of the Tsungli Yamen; and there is no doubt that if he had set off for Tibet with a small party, he would have been honorably received and passed safely through Tibet to India. On the other hand there is no doubt that such a visit would have presented no feature of special or striking importance. It would have been an interesting individual experience, but scarcely an international landmark, This modest character for his long-cherished project did not suit Mr. Macaulay, and unmindful of the adage that there may be a slip betwixt the cup and the lip, he not merely delayed the execution of his visit, but he made ostentatious preparations for an elaborate mission, and he engaged many persons with scientific qualifications to accompany him, with the view of examining the mineral resources of Tibet. The Chinese themselves did not like, and had never contemplated, such a mission, but their dissatisfaction was slight in comparison with the storm it raised in Tibet; and the Chinese government was thus brought face to face with a position in which it must either employ its military power to coerce the Tibetans, who made preparations to oppose the Macaulay mission by force of arms, or acquiesce in the Tibetans ignoring its official passports, and thus provoke a serious complication with this country. Such was the position of the Tibetan question when Burmah was annexed in January, 1886, and negotiations followed with China for the adjustment of her claims in the country. Negotiations were carried on, in the first place by Lord Salisbury, and in the second by Lord Rosebery, with the Chinese minister in London, and the draft of more than one convention was prepared. Among such contemplated arrangements were the dispatch of a mission from Burmah to China, and of a return one from China; the appointment of the Head Priest of Mandalay as the person to send the mission, thus making it a purely native matter, outside the participation of the British government; and the concession of material advantages on the Irrawaddy and in the Shan country, as the equivalent for the surrender of the tribute. It is probable that one of these three arrangements would have been carried out, but that, on certain points being referred to Pekin, the knowledge came to the ears of the British government that if the Tibetan mission were withdrawn, the Chinese would be content with the formal admission of their claim to receive the tribute mission from Burmah in accordance with established usage. As both governments wanted a speedy settlement of the question, the Chinese, with the view of allaying the rising agitation in Tibet and getting rid of a troublesome question, and the English not less anxious to have the claims of China in Burmah defined in diplomatic language, the convention which bears Mr. O'Conor's name was drawn up and signed with quite remarkable dispatch. For the abandonment of the Macaulay mission, and the recognition of their right to receive the tribute mission from Burmah, the authorities at Pekin were quite, at the moment, willing to forego material claims such as a port on the Irrawaddy. Diplomacy has not yet said the last word on this matter, and the exact frontier between Burmah and China has still to be delimited, but the fixing of a definite date for the dispatch of the first mission from Mandalay to Pekin, which is timed to set out in January, 1894, is in itself of hopeful augury for the settlement of all difficulties. When this matter is composed there will be no cloud in the sky of Anglo-Chinese relations, and that such an auspicious result will be obtained is not open to serious doubt. The most gratifying fact in the history of China during the last ten years is the increasing sympathy and tacit understanding between the two great empires of England and China in Asia, which must in time constitute an effective alliance against any common danger in that continent, and the aggressive policy of Russia.