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hands. Several years were occupied in the task of exterminating the Celestials, varied by the luxury of party strife; but eventually the whole of the former Chinese possessions as divided into three partsone of which was the state of Kashgaria, ruled by the late Yakoob Beg; another, the confederation of the cities held by the Tungani; and the third, the province of Kuldja, under the sway of a despot named Abul Oghlan.
This condition of things remained undisturbed until the year 1871, when the Russians entered and occupied Kuldja for the purpose of restoring order.' From that year onwards to the advent of the Chinese, the Tungan confederation was gradually becoming merged in Yakoob Beg's growing kingdom; so that in 1875 matters in this quarter of Asia seemed to have reached a permanent settlement, on the footing that the Russians were to be supreme north of the Tian Shan, and that Yakoob Beg was to have it his own way south of that range. Of the Chinese neither deemed it necessary to take any reckoning. In 1876 the sudden appearance of the Chinese army, under the command of Tso Tsung Tang, the Viceroy of Kansuh, disturbed the harmony of this arrangement; and the speedy overthrow of the Tungani and of Yakoob Beg showed that the assent of the Chinese was essential to any permanent settlement of this region. Before the end of January 1878, Tso Tsung Tang was able to notify to the Emperor the complete reconquest of all the Central Asian provinces, with the exception of Kuldja, held in trust for China by the Russian Government.' From that date until the other day no further advance had been made by the Chinese. They occupied the same positions, and the lapse of time has served only to show that their success was durable and not fleeting.
But while no military event of greater importance than the suppression of a few insignificant revolts has marked the annals of the last two years and a half, the great diplomatic question of how Russia was to be persuaded to restore Kuldja has been discussed in all its bearings, and the conviction has at last come home to all concerned, that diplomacy afforded no means of solving pretensions so conflicting, and reconciling interests so incompatible with each other, as those brought forward or represented by the Russians and the Chinese in In 1871, when the occupation of Kuldja was sanctioned. and carried out, the Russian Foreign Office assured the Pekin authorities that, whenever they should send an army into Central Asia strong enough to maintain order, Kuldja would be evacuated by the Russian garrison. In 1878 the necessary condition had been fulfilled by the Chinese; but the Russian garrison did not stir. Time works many changes, and in this short interval Kuldja had become one of the most prosperous of Russian provinces. It was felt to be too hard to have to surrender a valuable possession, because in a generous mood a rash promise had been made some years before. When Tso Tsung Tang preferred a formal request for the cession of the province, the matter was sent on to Tashkent, and thence to St. Peters
burg. The subject was one that called for discussion; and so towards the close of the year, a special embassy under the charge of Chung How, a high official, was sent to St. Petersburg for the purpose of settling the Kuldja difficulty in an amicable manner by negotiating a treaty. Six months' negotiation-wearisome from unnecessary delay-ensued; and a treaty was at last concluded at Livadia, in the autumn of 1879, by the terms of which Russia was to hand over to the Chinese a portion of the province on the payment of a large sum of money by way of compensation, and on the Pekin Government acknowledging her claim in perpetuity to the remainder, and on its granting fresh facilities for trade. Chung How, either cajoled into believing that he had obtained a full satisfaction of his country's claims, or more probably being imperfectly acquainted with the rights of the question, had the weakness to sign this treaty ; and many supposed that the Kuldja difficulty was finally settled when the Chinese Ambassador, having signed away his country's claims, took his congé of the Czar at Livadia. But the Chinese were not to be as easily deceived as their representative had been. The Pekin Government at once refused to ratify this unsatisfactory arrangement; Chung How was disgraced and arrested on his arrival; and the Imperial Council was divided into two parties-the one recommending the despatch of a fresh envoy to Russia, the other, that Tso Tsung Tang should be instructed to commence active operations against the Russians. The latter represented the dominant element among the councillors; and Tso Tsung Tang will certainly act upon his instructions if he has not already carried them out. In face of the collision now inevitable between these two vast and ancient empires, it becomes necessary to consider their relations in the past, and to touch upon those other points to which passing allusion has been made, and which, not less than the Kuldja question, await a permanent settlement in favour of the one Power or the other.
It is impossible to include in our retrospect the conquests of the Mongols; and though they certainly brought the Government of China into the closest contact with the princes of Russia, it may be doubted whether the remembrance of the prowess of the Mongol leaders has exercised any influence on the subsequent policy of China. The conquest of Western Siberia by the Cossack Irmak in the sixteenth century, and the completion of his task fifty years later by the subjection of the Eastern districts of that vast territory, which practically includes the whole of Northern Asia, brought Russia fairly into contact with China at the same time that it made her a great Asiatic Power. This event took place at a crisis in Chinese history. The native dynasty of the Mings had, after half a century of warfare, at last succumbed to the Tartar Manchus; and they for their part were, during many years after they had achieved their first success, engaged in consolidating the great triumph which they had won. The task of subduing the millions of China left the Manchu Tartars little time to devote close attention to the progress of events in the wilds
and solitudes beyond their own northern frontier. The Russians had only to vanquish the Tungusian tribes, and to overthrow a few barbarian dynasties, to find themselves supreme on the Amour and the Irtish, and established at the very door of the greatest of Asian empires. Almost at the same moment that Chuntche, the first Emperor of the Manchu dynasty, ascended the throne at Pekin, the Russians had established themselves on the shores of Baikal, and their line of forts, or block-houses, served to protect their new possessions from any sudden attempt at recovery on the part of the few Tartar troops kept in this region. In the year 1650 Russia's conquest of Northern Asia was completed. Such as her dominions were then they are still, with the sole addition of maritime Manchuria.
The Chinese were considerably alarmed at the construction of this line of forts on a portion of their frontier which was practically undefended; and when the first Russian embassy visited Pekin in 1656, it met with a cold reception. Soon afterwards the attention of both countries was more particularly directed to this region by the successes of Galdan, a Central Asian prince, who was gradually bringing under his influence all the nationalities between the Pamir and the Great Wall. To the Chinese the extension of his sway represented a grave peril, and the Russians were sufficiently aggressive in those days to hope that his ambition might prove a valuable auxiliary in the task of bringing their trade and political influence to bear more favourably on the Chinese. So about the time that the Emperor Kanghi resolved to advance into the desert for the purpose of coming to conclusions with Galdan, the Russian authorities in Eastern Siberia, believing that this contest would prove a protracted one, seized the opportunity to perfect their defences, by constructing two larger and stronger forts at Albazin and Astrog. These were built in the debatable country round the affluents of the Amour in its upper waters, and, as it happened, almost on the same site which Kanghi himself had selected for Chinese forts. Fresh cause was, therefore, furnished for dispute at the very moment that the armed forces of the two empires first came into proximity with each other. It was not to be expected that under these circumstances a collision could be avoided.
At first the campaigns with Galdan were marked by doubtful fortune; but when Kanghi's general Feyanku turned the scale of war against the Central Asian prince, a large Chinese army was left available for active operations in the Amour region. The victories won on the banks of the Kerulon in the Khalkha country were the greatest possible incentive to the Celestials to try conclusions with the small irregular and scattered Muscovite force in their neighbourhood. The Russian forts commanded the whole border, and were an insult to the Imperial authority; and the instant Galdan sued for peace, the Chinese troops were directed against the Russian possessions. A small detachment ventured to attack Fort Astrog, but was repulsed with loss. The Chinese, in nowise daunted, returned in greater strength and laid siege to Albazin, which, after little more than a show
of resistance, surrendered. The Russian garrison became prisoners of war, and were sent to Pekin, where they formed the nucleus of a Russian colony that still exists. Encouraged by their success against Albazin, the Chinese proceeded to demolish the other forts in the neighbourhood, thus, to all seeming, breaking up the hold which the Muscovites had acquired over this region.
The Chinese interest in these districts having always been of the slightest, their troops were withdrawn shortly after these events; but the Russian adventurers-for as yet the Government had little or nothing to do with affairs at this extremity of the empire-soon returned, and reconstructed the forts which Kanghi's generals had razed to the ground. Fort Albazin, in particular, rose from its ruins stronger and better prepared to resist a siege than before. In the meanwhile a second war had commenced with the troublesome Galdan, who aspired to little short of the empire of China itself; and the Russians were left undisturbed in their efforts to retrieve their shattered fortunes in Eastern Siberia. The local Chinese garrisons, however, collected an army of 7,000 men and several tyfus (pieces of leather artillery), with which they attacked the Russians at Albazin. After laying siege to the place for a fortnight, they were obliged to abandon the attempt. Recourse was then had to negotiation; and while Kanghi sent numerous reinforcements to this part of the frontier, he also despatched two French missionaries, Fathers Gerbillon and Parennin, to negotiate a treaty of peace. We are told that the Chinese concentrated an army at Nipchu on the Amour amounting to not fewer than 25,000 men, of whom 10,000 were foot and the remainder horse. Three thousand camels were also attached to the commissariat. When, therefore, the negotiations began the Chinese were in far greater force than the Russians, and felt that they were virtually masters of the situation. The Russians protested against this display of superior force, but their protests had no effect. After some delay a treaty was drawn up and signed between the plenipotentiaries, and one of its clauses stipulated that it shall be engraven in the Tartar, Chinese, Russian, and Latin languages upon a stone, which shall be placed at the bounds settled between the two empires, there to remain as a perpetual monument of the good understanding that ought to subsist between them.' More definite, and consequently more important, agreements were expressed in the other clauses, marking out the frontier line, and stipulating for the destruction of several Russian forts; and throughout it is plain that the consciousness of superior strength gave the Chinese the best of the bargain. But the most important portion of the frontier-that district lying between the Khingan mountains and the river Udi-was to remain undecided until fuller information had been received. It is only necessary to say that this question is still an open one theoretically, although the Russians have done their best to give it a practical solution by encroaching down to the most southern limit, thus acquiring possession of the whole of Lake Baikal, and of the rich mineral districts of
Nerchinsk. It remains to be seen whether the Pekin Government has finally acquiesced in the loss of districts which were declared to be its possession by this treaty, drawn up on September 7, 1689, at the fort of Nipchu.
On both sides of the frontier the borderers strove to turn this new arrangement to their own advantage; and although the population was too sparse to allow of either desperate or protracted warfare, the state of affairs must be pronounced to have been one of continual disturbIn 1692 Peter the Great, who was the first Russian sovereign to devote his serious attention to the Chinese question, sent an envoy to Pekin; but, although received in audience by Kanghi, nothing of importance accrued from this mission. The ostensible friendship between the courts exercised but little influence on those who were near the places of contact; and the Mongol tribes, assisted by a small body of regular troops, attacked and destroyed Albazin for a second time before the close of the seventeenth century. The garrison was sent to Pekin, to swell the numbers of the Russian colony; while Peter, loth to lose all the advantages he had pictured to himself from trade with China, resolved upon despatching a fresh embassy. He selected as his ambassador M. Ismaloff, who was accompanied on his adventurous journey by M. de Lange, his secretary, and Mr. Bell, an English gentleman attached to the court of the Czar. This was the most successful and the best received of all Russian embassies to China, and although little of permanent benefit ensued from it, it must be held to have played a very considerable part in the development of the relations between the two countries. Ismaloff appears to have been the model of what a successful ambassador to an Asiatic court should be; and the impression he made on Kanghi was so favourable, that when he left on his return to Europe, his secretary was permitted to remain behind as the Russian representative. But the court officials did not share these feelings of goodwill; to them foreign intercourse and the presence of a Russian envoy were as distasteful as ever; and when the whim of the Emperor had been gratified, they did everything in their power to make things uncomfortable for M. de Lange, and to obtain his dismissal.
The great object before the Russians being the extension of their trade, his chief efforts were devoted to the task of obtaining concessions for the caravan from Siberia; and, as soon as he began to ask for practical favours, he found how unreal were the friendly speeches of the Emperor. All his arguments and appeals met with the uniform reply that trade was a matter of little consequence, and regarded by them with contempt.' After seventeen months passed in a state of honourable confinement, De Lange left Pekin with the unfortunate first and only Russian caravan, bearing with him the final expression of the opinion of the Pekin Government on the subject of foreign tradewhich was that for the future no transactions should be carried on between the two nations, except upon the frontiers.' Kanghi died soon after his departure, and before the period of state mourning had