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.
THE WAR WITH JAPAN AND SUBSEQUENT EVENTS
We have seen that, up to 1892, it had been customary to receive the representatives of foreign powers in the Tse Kung Ko, or Hall of Tributary Nations. Naturally, much dissatisfaction was provoked by the selection of a place of audience which seemed to put the treaty powers on the same footing as tributary states, and, accordingly, the foreign ministers undertook to exact from the Tsungli Yamen, or Board for Foreign Affairs, the designation of a more suitable locality in the imperial city for the annual ceremony. The proposed innovation was resisted for some time; but when Sir Nicolas O'Conor was appointed British Minister at Pekin, an exception was made in his favor, and a place of superior importance to the Hall of Tributary Nations was chosen for the presentation of his credentials. The Emperor Kwangsu agreed to receive him in the Cheng Kuan Tien Palace, or pavilion which forms part of the imperial residence of Peace and Plenty within the Forbidden City. In pursuance of this arrangement, the British representative, attended by his suite, proceeded to this pavilion on December 13, 1892, and was received at the principal entrance by the high court officials. It was also noted that the emperor took a greater interest in the ceremony than on preceding occasions, and followed with attention the reading of Queen Victoria's letter, by Prince Ching, then president of the Tsungli Yamen. Thenceforth, there was observed with every year a decided improvement in the mode of receiving foreign diplomatists, and, eventually, the imperial audience was supplemented with an annual dinner given by the Board for Foreign Affairs. Through the personal reception accorded by the Emperor of China to Prince Henry of Prussia on May 15, 1898, the audience question was finally settled in favor of the right of foreign potentates to rank on an equality with the so-called Son of Heaven.
We come now to the most memorable event in the modern history of China since the Taeping Rebellion; to wit, the war with Japan. In order to comprehend, however, the causes of this contest between the two chief races of the Far East, it is necessary to review the development of the Corean question which gave rise to it. There seems to be no doubt that Japan derived its first civilizing settlers, and most of its arts and industries, from the Corean peninsula. It is certain that, for centuries, the intercourse between the two countries was very close, and that more than one attempt was made by Japanese rulers to subjugate Corea. The latest and most strenuous endeavor to that end was made near the end of the sixteenth century, and, although it resulted in a temporary occupation of the peninsula, the Japanese troops were eventually withdrawn, and Corea resumed its former status of a kingdom tributary to the Celestial Empire. Thenceforth, for almost three centuries, Corea and Tonquin bore, in theory, precisely the same relation to the Middle Kingdom. In each instance, the practical question was whether China was strong enough to make good her nominal rights. The outcome of her resistance to French aggression in Tonquin had shown that there, at least, she had no such power. But, in the subsequent ten years, efforts had been made to organize an efficient army and navy, and the belief was entertained at Pekin that China was at all events strong enough to uphold her claims in Corea, which was, geographically and strategically, of far more importance to the Middle Kingdom than was Tonquin. Yet, while it was evident that Corea would not be renounced without a struggle, the Pekin authorities, for some years, met the Japanese encroachments with a weak and vacillating policy. As early as 1876, the Mikado's advisers entered on a course which obviously aimed at the attainment of commercial, if not, also, political, ascendency in the Hermit Kingdom. An outrage having been committed upon some of her sailors, Japan obtained, by way of reparation from the court of Seoul, the opening of the port of Fushan to her trade. Four years later, Chemulpo, the port of Seoul, was also opened. These forward steps on the part of the Japanese aroused the Chinese to activity, and, in 1881, a draft commercial treaty was prepared by the Chinese authorities in council with the representatives of the principal powers at Pekin, and sent to Seoul, where it was accepted. The Japanese alleged, however, that they possessed a historical right to an equal voice with China in the Corean peninsula, and that, consequently, the treaty to which we have just referred required their ratification. To sustain this claim, the Japanese allied themselves with the Progressive party in Corea, a move which compelled the Chinese to lean upon the Reactionists, who were opposed to the concessions lately made to foreigners, and who, as events were to show, were preponderant in the Hermit Kingdom. In June, 1882, the Corean Reactionists attacked the Japanese Legation at Seoul, murdered some members of it, and compelled the survivors to flee to the seacoast. Thereupon, the Mikado sent some troops to exact reparation, and the Chinese, on their part, dispatched a force to restore order. A compromise was brought about, and, for two years, Japanese and Chinese soldiers remained encamped beside one another under the walls of the Corean capital. In December, 1884, however, a second collision occurred between the Japanese and the Coreans, the latter being, this time, assisted by the Chinese. The Mikado's subjects were again compelled to take to flight. The Tokio government now resolved upon firm measures, and, while it exacted compensation from the Coreans, it sent Count Ito Hirobumi to China to bring about an accommodation with the Pekin government. At that conjuncture, there is no doubt that China possessed advantages in the Corean peninsula that were lacking to the Japanese. Not only was she popular with the majority of the people, but the treaty powers were more disposed to act through her than through Japan in order to secure the general extension of trade with the Hermit Kingdom. Those advantages, nevertheless, were thrown away by an agreement which the shortsighted advisers of the Chinese emperor were persuaded to accept. Li Hung Chang was appointed the Chinese Plenipotentiary to negotiate with Count Ito, and, after a short conference, a convention was signed at Tientsin on April 18, 1885. The provisions of the convention were, first, that both countries should withdraw their troops from Corea; secondly, that no more officers should be sent by either country to drill the Corean army; and, thirdly, that if, at any future time, either of the two countries should send troops to Corea, it must inform the other. It is manifest that, by this agreement, China, practically, acquiesced in Japan's assertion of an equal right to control the Hermit Kingdom. Thenceforth, it was impossible to speak of Corea as being a vassal state of the Celestial Empire.
For some nine years, nevertheless, after the conclusion of the Tientsin agreement, there were no dangerous disturbances in the Peninsular Kingdom. In the early part of 1894, however, Kim-Ok-Kiun, a reformer, and the leader of the Corean uprising in 1884, was assassinated at Shanghai, and it subsequently transpired that the murder had been committed by the order of the Corean authorities. It is certain that honors and rewards were bestowed upon the assassin on his return to the Hermit Kingdom, while the body of his victim was drawn and quartered as that of a traitor. Just at this juncture, the Tonghaks, a body of religious reformers, having failed to obtain certain concessions, revolted, and, by the end of May, achieved so much success over the Corean forces that the Seoul government became alarmed, and sent to China for assistance. In response to the request, some two thousand Chinese troops were disembarked on June 10 at Asan, a seaport some distance south of the Corean capital, and a few Chinese men- of-war were dispatched to the coast of the peninsula. Formal notice of these proceedings was given to Japan under the terms of the Tientsin Convention. Thereupon, the Mikado's government decided to undertake a like interposition, and acted with so much energy that, within forty-eight hours after the arrival of the Chinese at Asan, they had placed at Seoul a much superior force. They were thus able to dominate the court, although it was in entire sympathy with China. The Pekin government now made the mistake of reviving its pretensions to regard the Hermit Kingdom as a vassal state. These pretensions Japan refused to tolerate, on the ground, first, that she had never admitted them, and, secondly, that the Tientsin Convention recognized an equality of rights in the two states. The Japanese also called attention to the misrule that prevailed in Corea, and proposed that the Chinese should join them in carrying out needful reforms. To this proposal, China could not accede, being hampered by her alliance with the reactionary party at Seoul; consequently, Japan undertook the execution of the task alone. As a first step in that direction, the Japanese got possession of the person of the Corean ruler, and compelled him to act as the instrument of his captors. The initial document which he was constrained to sign was an order that the Chinese troops, who had come at his invitation, should leave the country. The seizure of the king's person, which occurred on July 23, 1894, was followed by two successful acts of aggression. On the 25th, the Japanese squadron attacked the Chinese transport "Kowshing," conveying fresh soldiers to Asan, and its escort of warships. In the engagement, one Chinese man-of-war was sunk, one was disabled, and 1,200 soldiers were destroyed on the "Kowshing," which was torpedoed. On July 29, the Japanese general Oshima, at the head of a small force, made a night attack upon the Chinese fortified camp at Song Hwang, and carried the place with a loss to their opponents of 500 killed and wounded. These preliminary encounters were followed by a declaration of war on August 1, 1894. During the ensuing six weeks, Japan poured her troops into the peninsula, while the Chinese fleet, instead of harassing the enemy, remained in the harbors of Port Arthur and Wei-hai-Wei. On September 15, the Japanese army in Corea was strong enough to detach a corps of 14,000 men to attack the Chinese position at Pingyang, a town on the northern banks of the Paidong River. The passage of the river was difficult, and the Chinese might have overwhelmed the Japanese when crossing it, but they took no measures to this end, and the battle began at sunrise on the day just named. There were five forts to be captured, and some of them were vigorously defended, nor was it until night set in that the garrison finally determined upon evacuating the place. In the battle itself and the retreat, over 2,000 Chinese were killed, to say nothing of the wounded and the prisoners. The Japanese themselves lost 162 killed, 438 wounded and 33 missing, and there seems to be no reason to doubt that, had all the Chinese officers been capable of the valor displayed by the general Tso-pao-kuei, the Japanese would have been repulsed. As it was, the battle proved decisive, for not a Chinaman paused until he had reached the other side of the Yalu River, which forms the northwest boundary of Corea.
On the very day of the fight at Pingyang, a number of Chinese war vessels, under the command of Admiral Ting, were transporting troops to the mouth of the Yalu, where the Chinese were assembling a second army. On its return from this task, it was encountered, September 17, off tha island of Haiyang, by a Japanese squadron under Admiral Ito. Ostensibly, the two fleets were evenly matched. They each numbered ten fighting vessels, and, if two of the Chinese ships possessed a more powerful armament, the Japanese were superior in steam power. It was to quickness in maneuvering that the Japanese admiral trusted for victory, and his first attack consisted mainly in circling around the Chinese squadron. He was careful, also, to reserve his fire until only two miles separated him from his adversaries. After a duel with the Japanese "Matsushima," the Chinese flagship "Tingyuen" was severely damaged, and only saved from sinking by the intervention of her sister ship, the "Chenyuen." These two ironclads, together with the torpedo boats, succeeded in making their escape, but five of the Chinese vessels were sunk or destroyed. In men, the Chinese lost 700 killed or drowned and 300 wounded, while the Japanese lost 115 killed and 150 wounded. The result of this victory was that the Chinese never afterward attempted to dispute the control of the sea, and their water communication with the Yalu was effectually cut off.
After the battle of Pingyang, the Japanese army halted, and it was not until after they received re-enforcements under Marshal Yamagata that they resumed their forward movement. On October 10 their advance guard reached the Yalu, a river broad and difficult of passage, behind which was stationed a considerable Chinese army, which, however, after a nominal resistance, soon retreated. In the abandoned positions on the northern bank of the Yalu, the Japanese captured a vast quantity of material of war, including 74 cannons, over 4,000 rifles, and more than 4,000,000 rounds of ammunition. It was supposed that the retreating Chinese force would make a stand at Feng Hwang, but, on reaching that town, October 30, the Japanese found it evacuated, and were informed that the Chinese soldiers had dispersed.
While Marshal Yamagata was beginning the invasion of China from the direction of Corea, another Japanese army, under Marshal Oyama, had landed on the Liau-Tung, or Regent's Sword Peninsula, with the aim of capturing the Chinese naval station of Port Arthur. Even in Chinese hands, this was a redoubtable stronghold. It had 300 guns in position, and the garrison numbered some 10,000 men, while the attacking force did not exceed 13,000, although we should bear in mind that it was aided by the Japanese fleet. After landing at the mouth of the Huhua-Yuan River, about 100 miles north of Port Arthur, the Japanese advanced south, and took the fortified city of Chinchow, without incurring any loss. The next day they reached Talienwan, where the Chinese had five heavily armed batteries, and a considerable garrison, which, however, on the approach of the enemy, abandoned the post without firing a shot. In the forts at this point were found over 120 cannons, two and a half million rounds of ammunition for the artillery and nearly 34,000,000 rifle cartridges. On November 20, 1894, the Japanese army was drawn up in front of Port Arthur, and the fleet prepared to co-operate in the action. The attack began in the morning of November 22, and, although, in one quarter, the Chinese offered sturdy resistance, yet, by the end of the day, with the loss of no more than 18 men killed and 250 wounded, the Japanese were in possession of the strongest position in China, a naval fortress and arsenal on which $30,000,000 had been spent.
Throughout December the force under Marshal Yamagata pushed forward into Manchuria, but met there with more vigorous opposition than it had hitherto encountered. In the fight at Kangwasai, the Japanese lost 400, and, in the capture of the town of Kaiting, 300 killed and wounded. About the middle of January, 1895, the Japanese began operations against Wei- hai-Wei, the naval stronghold on the northern coast of Shangtung, in which the remnant of China's fleet had taken refuge. Although not so strong as Port Arthur, this harbor is considered one of the keys to the Gulf of Pechihli. On January 20 the Japanese troops began to land at Yungchang, a little west of the point to be attacked, and, on the 26th, they appeared at the gates of Wei-hai-Wei. About half of the beleaguered garrison consisted of 4,000 sailors from the fleet, under Admiral Ting, who was to show himself a leader of courage and energy. The assault on the land side of Wei-hai-Wei began on January 29, and continued throughout that and the following day. At certain points, where Admiral Ting's squadron was able to act with effect, the Japanese were repulsed, but, eventually, the whole of the land garrison fled panic-stricken to Chefoo. Even then Ting's squadron and the island force continued to resist, and it was not until February 9, when almost all the vessels had been taken or sunk, that he consented to capitulate, after receiving a telegram from Li Hung Chang to the effect that no help could be given him. No sooner were the terms of capitulation agreed upon than Admiral Ting retired to his cabin and took a fatal dose of opium. He had held out for three weeks, whereas Port Arthur had been lost in a day. The war continued for a few weeks longer, the Japanese pursuing their advance in Manchuria, and capturing the two places which are collectively called Newchang, thus threatening Pekin. They now possessed an army of 100,000 men ready to advance upon the Chinese capital. As there was no reason to suppose that Pekin could be successfully defended, the necessity of concluding peace as promptly as possible was recognized. To that end it was needful to appoint a plenipotentiary whose name would convince the Japanese government that the Chinese were in earnest in their overtures. The only two men who possessed the requisite qualifications were Prince Kung and Li Hung Chang. The former, however, being a prince of the imperial family, and the uncle of the reigning emperor, Kwangsu, could not be induced to submit to the humiliation of proceeding to Japan and suing for peace. The only possible selection, therefore, was Li Hung Chang, who was, accordingly, appointed plenipotentiary. He reached Shimonoseki on March 20, 1895, and, four days after his arrival, the success of his mission was greatly promoted by the attempt of a fanatic to assassinate him during his conference with Count Ito, the Japanese representative. The wound was not very serious, but the outrage caused a unanimous expression of sympathy and regret on the part of the Japanese people, and the Mikado sent his own physician to attend the wounded minister. To attest their sorrow for this incident, the Japanese at once granted an armistice, and the terms of peace which they at first proposed were materially mitigated. On April 17 the Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed, and, on May 8, the ratifications were exchanged at Chefoo. The terms of the original treaty were these: First, China was to surrender Formosa and the Pescadores Islands and the southern part of the Shingking province, including the Liau-Tung, or Regent's Sword Peninsula, and of course, also, the naval fortress of Port Arthur. China was likewise to pay in eight installments a money indemnity of 200,000,000 Kuping taels, or, say, $160,000,000. She was also to grant certain commercial concessions, including the admission of ships under the Japanese flag to the Chinese lakes and rivers, and the appointment of consuls. In view of the completeness of Japan's triumph, these conditions could not be considered onerous, but they, undoubtedly, disturbed the balance of power in the Far East, and, had they been permitted to stand, would have effectually thwarted Russia's plan of advancing southward, and of obtaining an ice-free port. The Czar's government, accordingly, determined to interpose, and, having secured the co-operation of its French ally, and also of Germany, it presented to the Mikado, in the name of the three powers, a request that he should waive that part of the Shimonoseki Treaty which provided for the surrender of the Liau-Tung Peninsula. It was proposed that, in return for the renunciation of this territory on the Chinese mainland, the pecuniary indemnity should be increased by $30,000,000, and that Wei-hai-Wei should be retained until the whole sum should have been paid. The demand was, obviously, one that could not be rejected without war against the three interposing powers, and the odds were too great for Japan to face without the assistance of Great Britain, which Lord Rosebery, then prime minister, did not see fit to offer. The Mikado, accordingly, submitted to the loss of the best part of the fruits of victory, retaining only Formosa and the Pescadores, the value of which is, as yet, undetermined; with the money indemnity, however, Japan has been enabled so greatly to strengthen her fleet that, when all the vessels building for her are completed, she will take rank as a naval power of the first class in the Pacific.
For some time after the revision of the Shimonoseki Treaty, the Chinese seem to have imagined that the Czar had intervened from disinterested motives, but Count Cassini, the Russian minister at Pekin, eventually made it clear that the interposition would not be gratuitous. In what form the payment for Russia's services should be made was, for some time, the subject of debate, but, before Li Hung Chang left China in the spring of 1896, as a special embassador to attend the coronation of Nicholas II. at Moscow, the heads of a convention had been drawn up, and, on Li's arrival in Russia, he signed an agreement which embodied the concessions to be made to the Czar in return for his services. This secret treaty gave Russia the control of the Liau-Tung Peninsula, which she had ostensibly saved, at the cost to China of $30,000,000, and the St. Petersburg government was also to be allowed to build a branch of the Trans-Siberian Railway through Manchuria to Talienwan and Port Arthur. A period of eighteen months elapsed before the details of this momentous agreement became known. On the return of Li Hung Chang to Pekin, he not only failed to recover the viceroyship of Chihli, but he found his relations with the Emperor Kwangsu quite as unsatisfactory as they had been after his return from Shimonoseki. He was restored, indeed, to a seat on the Tsungli Yamen, or Board of Foreign Affairs, but, for twelve months, it seemed as if, despite the support of the Empress-dowager Tsi An, his influence would never revive.
The two years that followed the Shimonoseki Treaty gave a breathing spell to China, and should have been devoted to energetic reforms in the military and naval administration. As a matter of fact, nothing had been accomplished, when, in 1897, a blow fell which brought the Middle Kingdom face to face with the prospect of immediate partition. In November of that year, without any preliminary notice or warning to the Pekin government, two German men-of-war entered the harbor of Kiao Chou, and ordered the commandant to give up the place in reparation for the murder of two German missionaries in the province of Shantung. Germany refused to evacuate Kiao Chou unless due reparation should be made for the outrage on the missionaries, and unless, further, China would cede to her the exclusive right to construct railways and work mines throughout the extensive and populous province of Shantung. This, of course, was equivalent to the demarcation of a sphere of influence. For a time, the Pekin government showed itself recalcitrant, but, in January, 1898, it consented to lease Kiao Chou to Germany for ninety-nine years, and to make the required additional concession of exclusive rights in Shantung. Russia, on her part, did not wait long after the German seizure of Kiao Chou, to put forward her claim for compensation on account of the services rendered in the matter of the revision of the Shimonoseki Treaty. The terms of the Cassini agreement were now gradually revealed. In December, 1897, the St. Petersburg government announced that the Chinese had given permission to the Russian fleet to winter at Port Arthur; in February, 1898, Russia added Talienwan to Port Arthur, but essayed to disarm criticism by declaring that the first-named port would be opened to the ships of all the great powers like other ports on the Chinese mainland. This promise was subsequently qualified, and on March 27 a convention was signed at Pekin giving the Russians the "usufruct" of Port Arthur and Talienwan, which, practically, meant that Russia had obtained those harbors unconditionally, and for an indefinite period. France, on her part, obtained possession of the port of Kwangchowfoo, which is the best outlet to the sea for the trade of the southern province of Kwangsi; she also secured a promise that the island of Hainan should not be ceded to any other power; and, finally, she gained a recognition of her claim, first advanced in 1895, to a prior right to control the commercial development of the province of Yunnan. This claim is as reasonable as that put forward by Germany with reference to the province of Shantung, but it is incompatible with the northeastward development of British Burmah. While these acts, which, virtually, amounted to mutilations of the Middle Kingdom, were being committed by Germany, Russia and France, England undertook to assert the principle of the "open door," the principle, namely, that, whatever territorial concessions might be made by the Pekin government, no nation could be deprived of its treaty rights in the ports ceded. That is to say, American citizens, British subjects, or the subjects of any other power which has a treaty with China containing "the most favored nation" clause, must be allowed to enjoy precisely the same rights in Talienwan, Kiao Chou and Kwangchowfoo as they would have enjoyed had not those places been surrendered to Russia, Germany and France respectively. This principle could only have been enforced by war, in which England would have needed the assistance of Japan; but Japan was not yet ready to engage in a contest, for the reason that she still had to receive $60,000,000 of the war indemnity due from China, and because the war vessels which she had ordered to be constructed in foreign shipyards were not yet sufficiently near completion. Being thus constrained to abandon the hope of maintaining its treaty rights in the ceded parts of China, the British Foreign Office changed its ground and fell back on the policy of exacting an equivalent for the advantages gained by Russia, Germany and France. In the pursuance of this policy it obtained Wei-hai- Wei, which, as we have said, is one of the two keys to the Gulf of Pechihli. It is, however, very inferior to Port Arthur; only by the expenditure of a large sum of money could it be made a naval fortress of high rank, and, even then, it would require a large garrison for its protection. This was not all that England gained, however; she secured a promise from the Pekin government that the valley of the Yangstekiang should never be alienated to any foreign power except Great Britain. The limits of the valley, nevertheless, were not defined, and the Pekin authorities have acted on the hypothesis that the covenant against alienation did not debar them from giving commercial and industrial privileges within the basin to the subjects of European powers other than England. The right to build, for instance, a railway from Pekin to Hangchow has been conferred upon a syndicate nominally Belgian, in which, however, it is understood that Russia is deeply interested. On the other hand, in spite of protests from St. Petersburg, the privilege of extending to Newchwang in Manchuria the railway which already extends some distance in a northeasterly direction from Tientsin, has been secured by a British corporation.
In September, 1898, a palace revolution occurred at Pekin. For some time, the Emperor Kwangsu had been known to be under the influence of a highly intelligent and progressive Cantonese named Kang Yu Wei. At the latter's suggestion, edicts were put forth decreeing important administrative reforms which would have deprived the mandarins of their opportunities of embezzlement, and also indicating an intention to reorganize the educational system of China upon European models. The necessity of such changes is obvious enough if China is to follow Japan in the path of progress, but it is equally plain that the advocacy of them would render the emperor obnoxious to the whole body of mandarins and of the literati. The unpopularity caused by his proposed innovations proved fatal to Kwangsu; for the party at court, headed by the Empress-dowager Tsi An, took advantage of it to arrest and imprison him. Kang Yu Wei, having received warning of the conspiracy, had fled, and succeeded in gaining an asylum under the British flag, but many of the emperor's personal followers were put to death. On September 22, appeared an edict ostensibly signed by Kwangsu announcing that he had requested the empress-dowager to resume authority over the affairs of State. It has been since reported that he has been killed. The immediate effect of the coup d'etat was to place all power at Pekin in the hands of Manchus least friendly to the adoption of European ideas, and more willing to lean upon Russia than upon any other foreign power. The early restoration to high office of Li Hung Chang, who has, for some time, been a useful tool of the St. Petersburg government, and who is a favorite of the empress-dowager, may be looked upon as probable.
THE FUTURE OF CHINA
It is obvious that arterial communication is the first organic need of all civilized States, and pre-eminently of a country so vast and various in its terrestrial conditions as is China. This need has been recognized by the ablest of its rulers, who, from time to time, have made serious efforts to connect the most distant parts of the empire by both land and water routes. The Grand Canal, or Yunho ("River of Transports"), is pronounced as memorable a monument of human industry in its way as is the Great Wall. It is not, however, a canal in the Western sense of the word, but merely, as Richthofen has explained, "a series of abandoned river beds, lakes and marshes, connected one with another by cuttings of no importance, fed by the Wanho in Shantung, which divides into two currents at its summit, and by other streams and rivers along its course. A part of the water of the Wanho descends toward the Hoangho and Gulf of Pechihli; the larger part runs south in the direction of the Yangtse." The Grand Canal links Hangchow, a port on the East China Sea, south of the Yangtse, with Tientsin in Chihli, where it unites with the Peiho, and thus may be said to extend to Tungchow in the neighborhood of Pekin. When the canal was in order, before the inflow of the Yellow River failed, there was uninterrupted water communication from Pekin to Canton, and to the many cities and towns met with on the way. For many years past, however, and especially since the carriage of tribute-rice by steamers along the coast began, repairs of the Grand Canal have been practically abandoned. The roads in China, confined generally to the northern and western sections of the country, are described as the very worst in the world. The paving, according to Baber, "is of the usual Chinese pattern, rough bowlders and blocks of stone being laid somewhat loosely together on the surface of the ground; 'good for ten years and bad for ten thousand,' as the Chinese proverb admits. On the level plains of China, where the population is sufficiently affluent to subscribe for occasional repairs, the system has much practical value. But, in the Yunnari mountains, the roads are never repaired; so far from it, the indigent natives extract the most convenient blocks to stop the holes in their hovel walls, or to build a fence on the windward side of their poppy patches. The rains soon undermine the pavement, especially where it is laid on a steep incline; sections of it topple down the slope, leaving chasms a yard or more in depth." Where traveling by water is impossible, sedan chairs are used to carry passengers, and coolies with poles and slings transport the luggage and goods. The distances covered by the sedan chair porters are remarkable, being sometimes as much as thirty-five miles a day, even on a journey extending over a month. The transport animals—ponies, mules, oxen and donkeys—are strong and hardy, and manage to drag carts along the execrable roads. The ponies are said to be admirable, and the mules unequaled in any other country. The distances which these animals will cover on the very poorest of forage are surprising.
The rapid adoption of steamers along the coast and on the Yangtse has paved the way for railways. Shallow steamers have yet to traverse the Poyang and the Tungting Lakes, which lie near the Yangtse, and Peiho and Canton Rivers, as well as many minor streams. It is the railway, however, that is the supreme necessity. Mr. Colquhoun has pointed out that, except along the Yangtse for the thousand-odd miles now covered by steamers, there is not a single trade route of importance in China where a railway would not pay. Especially would a line from Pekin carried through the heart of China to the extreme south, along the existing trade routes, be advantageous and remunerative. The enormous traffic carried on throughout the Celestial Empire in the face of appalling difficulties, on men's backs, or by caravans of mules or ponies, or by the rudest of carts and wheelbarrows, must be, some day, undertaken by railways. In the judgment of careful observers, too much stress should not be laid on the introduction of the locomotive for strategic purposes. The capital aim of railway construction should be, they think, the development of the interprovincial trade of China, the interchange of the varied products of a country which boasts so many climates and soils. This would bring prosperity to the people, render administrative reforms possible, and open China for the Chinese quite as much as for the European merchant or manufacturer. From the viewpoint of Chinese interests, the most useful lines would be two that should connect Pekin, Tientsin and all the northern part of the country with central and southern China. Trunk lines could be constructed for this purpose without any difficulty. They would pass along the old trade tracks, and would encounter populous cities the whole way. Through eastern Shansi and Honan, for example, to Hangchow on the Yangtse; thence to the Si Kiang and Canton; such lines would be shafts driven through the heart of the Middle Kingdom, connecting the North and the South. For the entire distance, some 1,300 or 1,400 miles, the extent, fertility and variety of the soil are described as remarkable. From the North, abounding in cotton and varieties of grain and pulse, to the South, where many vegetable products of the Orient are met, the redundancy of the population is a striking feature. A constant succession of villages, towns and cities would be transformed into a picture of bustle and business.
The internal economical conditions of China to-day are very much the same as were those of India when railways were introduced. The only difference is that the Chinese people are better off per man, and that the Chinese and Indo-Chinese, unlike the natives of India, are born travelers and traders. Yet, even in India, contrary to expectation, the passenger traffic on the railways has, from the first, exceeded the goods traffic. In 1857, the number of passengers carried by railway in India was 2,000,000; in 1896, it had risen to 160,000,000. In the first named year, the quantity of goods transported was 253,000 tons; in 1896, it was 32,500,000 tons. There has been witnessed in India during those forty years an expansion of commerce which, at the outset of the period, would have been deemed incredible. The imports and exports rose in that time from 400,000,000 to 2,000,000,000 rupees. Forty years ago, India was merely a dealer in drugs, dyes and luxuries; now she is one of the largest purveyors of food grains, fibers, and many other staples. Few persons are aware how favorably the earnings of Indian railways compare with those of other countries. The average earnings of railways in the United States are 3 per cent; in Great Britain, 3.60 per cent; in India, 5.46 per cent. This in spite of the fact that, in India, a man can travel 400 miles within twenty-four hours for the sum of $2.08. The policy of low charges has answered well, the people, on its adoption, at once having begun to travel and to send their produce by rail. In China, also, low rates will be a necessity. Another fact of importance to China is that, out of the 260,000 people employed on Indian railways, 95.66 per cent are natives. Only the higher posts are held by Europeans. In China, the proportions would probably be even more in favor of the native element.
Mr. Colquhoun, who is a high authority, has no doubt that, as Richthofen anticipated years ago, China will eventually be directly connected with Europe via Hami, Lanchow and Sian. "No direct connection of this kind," says Richthofen "is possible south of the Wei basin, and any road to the north of it would have to keep entirely north of the Yellow River and run altogether through desert countries." The same reason which confined the commerce of China with the West during thousands of years to the natural route via Hami will be decisive as regards railway communication also. In respect of natural facilities, and because of the existence of populous, productive and extensive commercial regions at both ends of the line, it is the only practicable route. It is further to be noted that the whole tract would be provided with coal. The province of Kansuh rivals Shansi in the richness and extent of its coal fields; no section of it north of the Tsungling Mountains appears to be deficient in coal measures, and, in some parts, a superabundance of the combustible exists. The coal formation extends, with few interruptions, from Eastern Shansi to Hi through thirty degrees of longitude. There is scarcely, remarks Richthofen, an instance on record "where so many favorable and essential conditions co-operate to concentrate all future intercourse on so long a line upon one single and definite channel." As regards railways within the empire, a Pekin-Hankow line has been arranged for, as we pointed out in the previous chapter, with a so-called Belgian syndicate, and, if properly executed, should be a good line; but, as we have said, it is the opinion of experts that the best railway contemplated in China would be that from Pekin via Tientsin to Hangchow, with an extension later to Canton. The line would pass some forty towns, with an average population of 25,000 each, and a large number of villages. The length of the Grand Canal from Tientsin to Hangchow is 650 miles. According to Mr. Colquhoun, no better line for a railway exists in the world, from the viewpoint of population, resources and cheapness of construction. It follows the most important of the actual routes of commerce in the empire, passes the greatest possible number of cities, towns and villages, and connects great seaports with rich coal regions of authenticated value.