China

Among the Mongol tribes the noblest at this period were the Khalkas. They prided themselves on being the descendants of the House of Genghis, the representatives of the special clan of the great conqueror, and the occupants of the original home in the valleys of the Onon and Kerulon. Although their military power was slight, the name of the Khalka princes stood high among the Mongol tribes, and they exercised an influence far in excess of their numbers or capacity as a fighting force.

Immediately after the death of Kanghi, his fourth son, who had long been designated as his heir, was proclaimed emperor, under the style of Yung Ching, which name means "the indissoluble concord or stable peace." The late emperor had always favored this prince, and in his will he publicly proclaimed that he bore much resemblance to himself, and that he was a man of rare and precious character. His first acts indicated considerable vigor and decision of mind.

It was the arrival of a chief named Amursana at his court that first led Keen Lung to seriously entertain the idea of advancing into Central Asia, and having determined on the Central Asian campaign, Keen Lung's military preparations were commensurate with the importance and magnitude of the undertaking. He collected an army of 150,000 men, including the picked Manchu Banners and the celebrated Solon contingent, each of whom was said to be worth ten other soldiers.

Keen Lung was the first Manchu prince to receive formal embassies from the sovereigns of Europe. Among these the Portuguese were the first in point of time, although they never attained the advantage derivable from that priority; and indeed the important period of their connection with China may be said to have terminated before the Manchus had established their authority.

by Demetrius Charles Boulger

 

The favorable opinion which his father had held of Kiaking does not seem to have been shared by all his ministers. The most prominent of them all, Hokwan, who held to Keen Lung the relation that Wolsey held to Henry the Eighth, soon fell under the displeasure of the new emperor, and was called upon to account for his charge of the finances. The favor and the age of Keen Lung left Hokwan absolutely without control, and the minister turned his opportunities to such account that he amassed a private fortune of eighty million taels, or more than one hundred and twenty-five million dollars.

As China has now fairly taken her place in the family of nations, it is unnecessary to elaborate an argument in support of even the humblest attempt to elucidate her history. It is a subject to which we can no longer remain indifferent, because circumstances are bringing every day more clearly into view the important part China must play in the changes that have become imminent in Asia, and that will affect the security of our position and empire in that continent.

The early years of the new reign were marked by a number of events unconnected with each other but all contributing to the important incidents of the later period which must be described, although they cannot be separated. The name of Taoukwang, which Prince Meenning took on ascending the throne, means Reason's Light, and there were many who thought it was especially appropriate for a prince who was more qualified for a college than a palace.

The Chinese are unquestionably the oldest nation in the world, and their history goes back to a period to which no prudent historian will attempt to give a precise date. They speak the language and observe the same social and political customs that they did several thousand years before the Christian era, and they are the only living representatives to-day of a people and government which were contemporary with the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Jews.

AT the very time that the Emperor Taoukwang, by the dismissal of the Portuguese astronomers at Pekin and by his general indifference to the foreign question, was showing that no concessions were to be expected from him, an unknown legislature at a remote distance from his capital was decreeing, in complete indifference to the susceptibilities of the occupant of the Dragon Throne, that trade with China might be pursued by any English subject.

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