Read CHAPTER XIII of The Life of Yakoob Beg Athalik Ghazi‚ and Badaulet Ameer of Kashgar, free online book, by Demetrius Boulger, on ReadCentral.com.

THE CHINESE RECONQUEST OF KASHGAR.

When Yakoob Beg died at Korla the task of reconquering Kashgar had barely commenced. The Chinese army, victorious at Turfan, was lingering in idleness round that city, exhausted, as some believed, by the greatness of the effort. It was not clear even that the Chinese aspired to achieve any greater triumph than that they had already won, viz., the subjection of the Tungani, a subjection which could not be considered accomplished so long as Yakoob Beg remained in the neighbourhood at the head of a large army; and that with the withdrawal of the Kashgarian army to Karashar the Chinese generals might call a halt of an indefinite duration. Nor did it follow as a matter of necessity that because the Chinese had taken Turfan they could capture Kashgar or Yarkand. Distance alone was no slight obstacle, and when added to the barrenness of the country, which would be made more desolate by the retreating army of the Mussulmans, an impartial observer might have hesitated to predict any very speedy triumph for the Chinese. But besides these, there were other impediments, of which a prudent general had to take careful cognizance. To seize Karashar or Korla only needed a bold attack; but to subject Kucha might have been a more arduous undertaking than was even the siege of Manas. A delay of two months in the heart of Eastern Turkestan must have strained the resources of the Chinese very much, and might have ruined their whole enterprise. And even if Kucha fell there still remained Aksu, and afterwards Ush Turfan in the north, and Maralbashi in the south, barring the way to the vital portion of the state round Kashgar and Yarkand. Now the death of Yakoob Beg did not remove any one of these defences, and for a time it was believed that his son, who had always the repute of being a good soldier, would make the best of the very strong line of defence that he undoubtedly possessed. As a matter of fact, the death of Yakoob Beg was an irretrievable disaster, for it destroyed whatever cohesion and unity there were in the country. He himself might have been unable to avert a final overthrow, but the contest would have been made more protracted. Therefore in the months of May and June, 1877, immediately after the death of the Athalik Ghazi, it is strictly true to say that the Chinese reconquest of the country had barely commenced.

The hesitation shown by the invading generals after the victory of Turfan was at first caused by a belief in the formidableness of their antagonist, and, when that antagonist died, by a prudent resolve to permit the disintegrating causes that speedily manifested themselves in Kashgaria to have full time to work in their favour. Meanwhile they formed their plans in secret, laid in large stores of supplies from Russian territory, and explored the little-known passes of Tekes and Yuldus. A large number of fresh troops was received from the Calmucks north of Chuguchak, who during the worst period of the Tungan revolt had preserved that city for the Chinese.

But before following the forward movement of the Chinese it is necessary to say something of the internal disturbances in Eastern Turkestan, more especially of the rivalry of Beg Bacha and Hakim Khan for supremacy. In the first place, it is necessary that it should be distinctly understood that of the events that occurred in Kashgaria between the death of the Athalik Ghazi and the final advance of the Chinese army we are really without any definite intelligence at all, and it is not probable that we shall ever be accurately informed of the course of events during those five months. In the absence of exact data, we must assume the events to have taken place which are most in accordance with probability. On Yakoob Beg’s death, his eldest son, Beg Kuli Beg, was either in the city of Kashgar or somewhere on the road thither. It is probable that he had been despatched to the rear, to bring up reinforcements after the defeat at Turfan, and in his absence Hacc Kuli Beg, the Ameer’s second son, assumed the command of the army when his father died. It is certain that he accompanied the funeral cortege of Yakoob Beg back to Kashgar, and that he was murdered outside the walls by his brother. It was during this time that Hakim Khan Torah appeared upon the scene. It should be remembered that tidings of the death of Yakoob Beg travelled very slowly to this country, and that almost immediately after it arrived we received intelligence of events that had occurred many weeks after the death of the Ameer. We were therefore hearing at the same time the particulars of the circumstances of Yakoob Beg’s death, and of those commotions which broke out some weeks after that event.

When Hacc Kuli Beg left Korla no personal representative remained there of the dynasty of the Athalik Ghazi, and during that interval the occasion arose for the intriguing elements that a mixed court, such as that of Yakoob Beg, could never be free from. Hakim Khan seized that opportunity, and established his authority in Karashar, Korla, and, probably, Kucha also; and during a short time Kashgaria was accordingly divided into three hostile camps. It appears that Beg Bacha, lulled into a false sense of security by the inactivity of the Chinese, resolved to chastise the insolence of his rebellious governor, a task which he should have left for the Chinese. A war then broke out between Beg Bacha and Hakim Khan, which exhausted the few resources that still remained to a ruler of Kashgar. The contest appears to have been of a desultory nature, and although the final result was in favour of Beg Bacha, he never appears to have recovered possession of Karashar and Korla. In the neighbourhood of Aksu the battle of this war took place, and Hakim Khan was defeated, “by the overwhelming numbers of his enemy.” Beg Bacha’s chief loss was the death of Mahomed Yunus, the Dadkhwah of Yarkand, his ablest and most faithful adviser. Hakim then fled to Russian territory, with 1,000 sarbazes, who were promptly interned by order of General Kolpakovsky, and there he sought to restore his shattered fortunes by carrying on intrigues with the Russian government. It is scarcely necessary to say that these came to nothing, and that Hakim Khan has sunk into that insignificance which, to judge from his acts when called into public life, is his most befitting atmosphere.

While engaged on this successful campaign east of Aksu, an event occurred of singular significance, as illustrating the condition of Kashgar under Beg Bacha. The Kirghiz chief Sadic Beg, who had disappeared from the scene since his old rivalry with Yakoob Beg thirteen years before, seized the opportunity afforded by Beg Bacha’s embarrassment to attack the city of Kashgar, denuded of the greater portion of its garrison. He plundered the suburbs, and only withdrew when the young Ameer hastened back from Aksu to defend his capital. The Kirghiz, true to their nature, at once sought the desolate regions of Kizil Yart. They had, however, made the confusion arising from the death of the Ameer and the disaffection of Hakim Khan worse confounded, and completed those elements of weakness and discord which had always proved an invaluable ally to the Chinese. By themselves both Hakim Khan and the Kirghiz depredator were beneath contempt; but with an enemy established on the soil of the country, they assumed a too clear and mischievous importance. The minor séditions that manifested themselves in Sirikul and at Khoten completed the round of dissension that, combined with external force, shattered the fair show of Yakoob Beg’s empire. We are completely ignorant of the details of the disturbances that were reported to have taken place round Tashkurgan or Sirikul; but it is plausible to suppose that these were caused either by inroads on the part of the Wakhis or Badakshis, or by some fresh Kirghiz attack. The inhabitants of Tashkurgan being Yarkandi settlers, it is not probable that the rising, or whatever form the commotion assumed, originated with them; at Khoten the rising was more tangible, and more easily understood. The people of that city never forgave Yakoob Beg his treachery towards their ruler, and the instant he disappeared they hastened to take their revenge. When the Kashgarian garrison was withdrawn the towns-people simply deposed their dadkwah, and nominated a ruler of their own, who retained authority until the triumph of the Chinese made it politic for them and him to bow to the rising sun. The example of Khoten had been followed by Sanju and the vicinity; and thus the whole southern portion of the state acquiesced in the Chinese conquest, after the fall of Kashgar, without the necessity for a single Chinese soldier to be advanced south of Yarkand. It seems probable that at this very moment the Chinese troops have remained content with the submission of these districts, and have not garrisoned those important towns which skirt the Kuen Lun range with their own soldiers.

When Beg Bacha returned post haste to Kashgar, to encounter the Kirghiz, we said that Sadic Beg fled to the Kizil Yart; but he did not remain there long, for soon we find him back again at the capital in high favour with the Ameer, with whom he had come to terms. His Kirghiz followers were taken into the pay of the state, and just as this alliance had been struck up, tidings came of events that made that alliance, however futile and insignificant, a matter of the first necessity, both to Kirghiz and Kashgar. The Chinese army was at last advancing. The danger that had for five months been hanging in suspense over the devoted heads of a Mussulman people was close upon them. The long-feared and long-expected Khitay were drawing nigh to the capital, in irresistible strength; and the apprehensions of a cowed people made them know, too surely, that their end was at hand. The dissensions among the people themselves, the discord in the ruling house, and the dissentient elements in every effort towards unity, had all operated in favour of the invader. While the Chinese had plotted and prepared in the deliberate manner of a great nation, the people of Kashgar had entered into cabals and schemes of party tactics that were well nigh ludicrous. And all the time that the sap of their vigour was being expended, the Chinese generals were drawing the noose more closely together that was to strangle the newly erected state beyond all chance of recovery. It would almost seem as if the Kashgari and their rulers had recovered from their first shock at the Chinese invasion, and were becoming reconciled to their presence east of Korla, when they experienced a second, more severe, and more lasting shock, in the announcement that the Chinese were again advancing. Their brief contentment passed away, and all their old terror revived in tenfold force. Hope died within their bosoms, and the resignation of despair only nerved them to bear a fate which their own valour should have striven to avert. It is time for us now to return to the Chinese army, and to follow its decisive operations.

North of the Tian Shan the supreme command was vested in the hands of Tso Tsung Tang, generalissimo of the army operating against Kashgar, and Viceroy of the province of Kansuh. South of it the commanders were Generals Kin Shun and Chang Yao, the former the hero of the siege of Manas, the latter of the diversion against Turfan from Hamil. The base of the former was Manas, of the latter Turfan. Their sources of supply were Hamil, Barkul, and Chuguchak, within the Chinese frontier, and Kuldja, Semiretchinsk, and Semipalatinsk, without. Their weapons and ammunition were transported across the desert from Lanchefoo, and their ranks were swollen by recruits from the Calmuck and other tribes. It does not appear that the Chinese were very eager to enlarge their army in size; they rather aimed at increasing its efficiency by the distribution of Berdan rifles and Krupp’s cannon; and during the heat of the summer months they remained at rest in their recently acquired possessions. Nor is it probable that those epidemics broke out in their ranks which it was asserted had appeared amongst them. A sensational paragraph was published in the Tashkent Gazette, which was copied by some of the London newspapers, asserting that a species of cholera, known in Kashgar by the name of vuoba, had decimated the Chinese army, and that in consequence of that calamity its advance was permanently checked. Certainly, this was a piece of gross exaggeration, even if there were a substratum of fact for the assertion. Then, again, we were apprised, on high authority, that the Russian government had put a stop to the despatch of provisions to the country occupied by the Chinese army, at the request of its new-found friend, Beg Bacha. Yet there is no question that the caravans of Mr. Kamensky continued to pass between Kuldja and Manas, and that the chief caterers for the Chinese army were the Russian merchants of Central Asia. In the course of their intercourse the best feelings do not appear to have prevailed between the Russians and Chinese. The latter, flushed with their triumph, had become arrogant, and were too fond of referring to the question of Kuldja to be agreeable to the actual possessors of that province. On one or two occasions these verbal disputes assumed a more dangerous aspect, and from words the disputants proceeded to blows. Whether this collision was magnified or not, the Russian government took no diplomatic steps to secure reparation for injury to their subjects, and continued to wink at, if they did not actually approve of, their merchants supplying the Chinese. The clearest proof of this is that the moment Aksu fell a large caravan was despatched there by Mr. Kamensky. Still there was no little bad blood between the two people, and for a long time it was doubtful whether Russia would preserve her attitude of neutrality until Kashgar had been finally subdued. Beneath all this doubt, and the uncertainty of the strength and of the ultimate intentions of China, there existed a sentiment of dissatisfaction in the minds of the Russians at the renown China was acquiring, as well as at the prospect of having to restore a rich and paying province.

In short, beneath the Tungan and the Kashgarian questions there smouldered the Kuldja question. Having now shown how well prepared the Chinese were at every point, how well armed, and how well fed was the tactical unit, and how Russia, although far from indifferent as to the results, was really abetting the side of China, we may pass on to those more active movements which proved that the Chinese generals possessed the ability and military knowledge necessary to make full use of the very powerful weapon which they had created, and which was capable of accomplishing the most arduous of enterprises.

The first move was made south of the Tian Shan. So far as we know, Tso Tsung Tang did not break up from Manas until many weeks afterwards. A brigadier-general, by name Tang Jen-Ho, left Toksoun on the 25th of August, 1877, with the advanced guard, to occupy the outlying villages of Subashi and Agha Bula. He does not appear to have had under him more than a few hundred men. A fortnight later, on the 7th of September, Generals Tung Fuh-siang and Chang Tsun followed after him with 1,500 troops, all infantry. They advanced through Agha Bula, Kumush, and Usha Tal to Kuhwei. At this place the troops were concentrated.

The chief duty of these detachments was to prepare the road for the advance of the main body, to lay in at stated places stores of fuel and water, and to erect temporary fortifications. So thoroughly was this portion of the task performed, that General Kin Shun, now known as Liu Kin-Tang, gave the order for a general forward movement on the 27th of September.

The infantry followed the main road, while the cavalry, under the immediate orders of the general, proceeded by by-paths in the same direction. On the 2nd of October the Chinese army south of the Tian Shan was assembled at Kuhwei. Its numbers were probably about fifteen thousand men all told. On the 24th of September a small force of Kashgarian troops threatened General Tang Jen-Ho’s communications, but on the appearance of the Chinese they “turned tail and dashed away.” The very next day after his arrival at Kuhwei General Kin Shun continued his forward movement. Two brigadier-generals, whose names it is not necessary to mention, were entrusted with one division, 6,000 strong, with which to perform a flanking movement against Korla. The commander in person led his main body against Korla, arriving at the River Kaidu, which flows into Lake Bostang, half-way between Karashar and Korla. But his advance was here checked, as Bayen Hu, the rebel leader, had flooded the country by damming up the course of the river. The depth of the inundation was said to be in the deepest parts over a man’s head, and in the shallowest it came up to the horses’ cruppers. The Chinese march was then changed to a northerly direction, in order to strike the river higher up, where the obstruction raised by the enemy would be more easily overcome. A cart-road was carefully constructed along these alkaline plains, and the Kaidu was dammed to stop the flow from the upper course, and a bridge was erected over it. This detour had caused some delay, yet Karashar was reached on the 7th of October, four days after Kin Shun had set out in person from Kuhwei. The inundation from the Kaidu had spread as far as here, and the town was several feet under water. All the official and private residences had been destroyed alike, and the Turki-Mussulman, as the Pekin Gazette styles them, population had been compelled by Bayen Hu to follow him in his retreat. It would be interesting to know whom the Chinese meant by Bayen Hu, but it is almost impossible to say. As it was not Hakim Khan, the most probable personage would be one of the Tungan leaders, either of Urumtsi or Hamil, who had been mediatized by Yakoob Beg and placed in command of the Turfan region. He appears to have been the commander of that portion of the Kashgarian army which was left round Korla.

Not only was Karashar deserted by its inhabitants, but so was the whole country round about. Some, indeed, had fled to the mountains, but these were afraid to return when they saw the Chinese established in their homes. And then the conquerors followed out their usual plan by settling fresh colonists in the town. The Mongol noble, Cha-hi-telkh, was directed to move up some hundreds of the members of his tribe to occupy this important post, to restore the homes and to retill the fields; and while this work of restoration was proceeding on territory conquered by the Chinese, that through which they passed in hostile guise was subjected to far other treatment. On the 9th of October the Chinese marched against Korla from two sides, and on that day a cavalry skirmish took place, in which fifteen of Bayen Hu’s horsemen were slain, and two taken prisoners. From the evidence of these, who were dressed in the Khokandian garb, but were Mussulman subjects of China, being natives of Shensi, it was learnt that Bayen Hu had withdrawn with all his forces to Kucha, taking with him the produce of the country and the majority of the people. They affirmed that the small detachment to which they belonged was only a scouting party, sent out to learn what the Chinese army was doing. When the Chinese had exhausted their stock of information they beheaded them. The same day they entered Korla, which they found to be completely deserted, although not flooded. The walls remained, but many of the houses had been thrown down. Here the general was nearly reduced to a desperate plight, as the provision train, which was transported by cart and camel, did not come up, and there was the prospect of starvation compelling the victorious army to retreat. But happily the thought struck the able general, or perhaps some one gave him a hint, that there might be some stores concealed in the city which the Kashgari had been unable to carry away with them. Accordingly the whole army set to work to search the houses, and to dig into the ground in all likely places for hidden stores. Their toil was soon rewarded, and “several tens of thousand catties’ weight of food” were discovered. As a catty weighs 1-3/4 lb., this was no slight supply for an army of men which was probably under 10,000 strong. These concerted movements of the army south of the Tian Shan placed the country as far west as Karashar in the possession of the invader. Their next advance, which they could not expect to be as unopposed as their late one, would bring them into the plain of Kashgar. No sooner had Karashar and Korla fallen into their possession than an edict was issued inviting the Mahomedan population to return to their homes, and many of them accepted the invitation. In this quarter the arms of China were not disgraced by any excesses, and moderation towards the unarmed population extenuated their severity towards armed foes.

While halting some days at Korla, Kin Shun heard that Bayen Hu was coercing the people east of Kucha at Tsedayar and other places, and compelling them to withdraw to Kucha and to destroy their crops. He at once resolved to frustrate the plan, and set out in person at the head of 1,500 light infantry and 1,000 cavalry to protect the inhabitants. By forced marches, sometimes carried on through the better part of the night, he reached Tsedayar on the 17th of October, when he learnt that Bayen Hu had driven off the whole of the population, and was already at Bugur, on the road to Kucha. At the next village to Tsedayar, a fortified post known as Yangy Shahr, he found that Bayen Hu was still ahead of him, and that he was setting fire to the villages on his line of march. Kin Shun left a portion of his infantry behind to put out the conflagration, and resolutely pressed on with the remainder of his force to Bugur. This small town had also been set on fire, but here the rapidity of the Chinese general’s advance was rewarded with the news that the enemy’s army, with a large number of the inhabitants, was only a short distance ahead. The rear-guard, composed of 1,000 cavalry, was soon touched, and the Kashgari, emboldened by the small numbers of the Chinese, came on to the attack in gallant fashion. Their charge was broken, however, by the steadiness of the Chinese infantry, armed with excellent rifles, and the cavalry performed the rest. The Kashgari left 100 slain on the field of battle and twelve prisoners. From these latter it was discovered that the main body of 2,000 soldiers was some distance on the road to Kucha, with the family of Bayen Hu and the villagers under its charge. It was too late to advance further that day, but on the next the forward movement was resumed. A large multitude “some tens of thousands of people” was speedily sighted by the advanced guard, but on examining these through glasses it was discovered that scarcely more than a thousand carried arms. All the troops were then brought to the front, and Kin Shun issued instructions that all those found with arms in their hands should be slain, but the others spared.

The armed portion of the Kashgarian army drew off from the unarmed, leaving in the midst the large assemblage of Mussulman villagers who were being carried off to Kucha. These were sent to the rear by order of Kin Shun, and distributed in such of the villages as were most convenient. In the meanwhile a sharp fight took place a few miles in the rear of the old position, near a village called Arpa Tai. The action appears to have been well contested, but the superior tactics and weapons of Kin Shun’s small army prevailed; and the Mussulman army retreated with considerable loss and in great disorder. Kin Shun followed up his success with marvellous rapidity and restless energy, while the Kashgarian troops fled incontinently to Kucha, abandoning the people and the country to the invader. The unfortunate inhabitants implored with piteous entreaties the mercy of the conqueror, and it is with genuine satisfaction we record the fact that Kin Shun informed them of their safety, and bade them have no further alarm.

By this time it is probable that the Chinese army had been largely reinforced from the rear, for we have now come to a more arduous portion of the enterprise, the attack against Kucha. When the Chinese appeared before its walls they found that a battle was proceeding there between the Kashgarian soldiers and the townspeople, who refused to accompany them in a further retreat westward. On the appearance of the Chinese army, the Kashgarian force evacuated the city, and joined battle with it on the western side of Kucha. The Chinese at once attacked them, at first with little success; and a charge of the cavalry, numbering some four or five thousand men, was only repulsed with some difficulty. But the cannon of the Chinese were playing with remarkable effect upon the Mahomedans, and the Chinese reserves were every moment coming upon the ground. The infantry were at last ordered to advance, under cover of a heavy artillery fire, and the cavalry made a charge at a most opportune moment. The whole army then broke and fled in irretrievable confusion, leaving more than a thousand of their number on the ground. Their general, Ma-yeo-pu the Chinese called him, was wounded early in the day, but, although stated to be a noted man, it is impossible to recognize his identity under the Chinese appellation. This was certainly the most sanguinary and the best-contested action of the whole war. The numbers on each side were probably about 10,000 men, and it was won as much by superior tactics and skill as by brute force and courage. All the movements of the Chinese were characterized by remarkable forethought, and evinced the greatest ability on the part of the general and his lieutenants, as well as obedience, valour, and patience on the part of his soldiers. The rapid advance from Kuhwei to Karashar, the forced march thence to Bugur, the capture of Kucha, the forbearance of the conqueror towards the inhabitants, all combine to make this portion of the war most creditable to China and her generals, to Kin Shun in particular. The reason given in the Official Report for the Kashgarian authorities attempting to carry off the population was that the rebels wished in the first place to deprive the invading force of all assistance, thus making further pursuit a work of difficulty, and in the second place, to ingratiate themselves with the new Pahia (probably Bacha) of Kashgar, Kuli Beg, by delivering this large mass of Turki-Mussulmans into his hands. Bayen Hu was, therefore, certainly not Hakim Khan. It is tolerably clear that he must have been either a Tungan refugee or a subordinate of Beg Bacha’s.

A depot was formed at Kucha, and a large body of troops remained there as a garrison; but the principal administrative measures were directed to the task of improving the position of the Turki-Mussulman population. A board of administration was instituted for the purpose of providing means of subsistence for the destitute, and for the distribution of seed-corn for the benefit of the whole community. It had also to supervise the construction of roads, and the establishment of ferry boats, and of post-houses, in order to facilitate the movements of trade and travel, and to expedite the transmission of mails. Magistrates and prefects were appointed to all the cities, and special precautions were taken against the outbreak of epidemic or of famine. All these wise provisions were carried out promptly, and in the most matter-of-fact manner, just as if the legislation and administration of alien states were the daily avocations of Chinamen. There is no reason to believe that in the vast region from Turfan to Kucha the Chinese have departed from the statesmanlike and beneficent schemes which marked their re-installation as rulers; and whatever harshness or cruelty they manifested towards the Tungani rebels and the Kashgarian soldiers was more than atoned for by the mildness of their treatment of the people.

On the 19th, or more probably the 22nd of October, Kin Shun resumed his forward movement, encountering no serious opposition. His first halt was at a village called Hoser, where he halted for one night, which he employed in inditing the report to Pekin, which described the successes and movements of the previous three weeks. At the next town, known as Bai, Kin Shun halted to await the arrival of the rear-guard, under General Chang Yao. This force came up before the close of October, and the advance against Aksu was resumed. Up to this point the chief interest centred in the army south of the Tian Shan, and in the achievements of Kin Shun. Our principal, in fact our only, authority for this portion of the campaign is the Pekin Gazette.

We have now to describe the movements of the Northern Army, which was under the immediate command of Tso Tsung Tang, and which was operating in the north of the state, in complete secrecy. That general had under him, at the most moderate computation, an army of 28,000 men. By some it was placed at a higher figure; but a St. Petersburg paper, on the authority of a Russian merchant, who had been to Manas, computed it to be of that strength. It was concentrated in the neighbourhood of Manas, and along the northern skirts of the Tian Shan; and also on the frontier of the Russian dominions in Kuldja. To all appearance this army was consigned to a part of enforced inactivity, since it was impossible to enter Kuldja, and thus proceed by their old routes through the passes of Bedal or Muzart. But it was not so; the travels of Colonel Prjevalsky in the commencement of 1877 had not been unobserved by the Chinese, and it was assumed that where a Russian officer with his Cossack following could go, there also could go a Chinese army. By those little-known passes, which are made by the Tekes and Great Yuldus rivers, the Chinese army, under Tso Tsung Tang, crossed over into Kashgaria; and it is probable that the two armies joined in the neighbourhood of Bai. It was by this stroke of strategy on the part of Tso Tsung Tang that the Chinese found themselves before the walls of Aksu, with an overwhelming army, at the very sight of which all thought of resistance died away from the hearts of the Mussulman peoples and garrisons. Tso Tsung Tang appeared before the walls of Aksu, the bulwark of Kashgar on the east, and its commandant, panic stricken, abandoned his post at the first onset. He was subsequently taken prisoner by an officer of Kuli Beg, and executed. The Chinese then advanced on Ush Turfan, which also surrendered without a blow. As we said, the Chinese have not published any detailed description of this portion of the war, and we are consequently unable to say what their version is of those reported atrocities at Aksu and Ush Turfan, of which the Russian papers have made so much. There is no doubt that a very large number of refugees fled to Russian territory, perhaps 10,000 in all, and these brought with them the tales of fear and exaggerated alarm. We may feel little hesitation in accepting the assertion as true, that the armed garrisons were slaughtered without exception; but that the unarmed population and the women and children shared the same fate we distinctly refuse to credit. There is every precedent in favour of the assumption that a more moderate policy was pursued, and there is no valid reason why the Chinese should have dealt with Aksu and Ush Turfan differently to Kucha or Turfan. The case of Manas has been greatly insisted upon by the agitators on this “atrocity” question; but there is the highest authority for asserting that only armed men were massacred there. This the Chinese have always done; it is a national custom, and they certainly did not depart from it in the case of the Tungani and Kashgar. But there is no solid ground for convicting them of any more heinous crime, even in the instances of Manas and Aksu, which are put so prominently forward.

Early in December the last move of all began against the capital, and on the 17th of that month the Chinese took it by a coup de main. Beg Kuli Beg, according to one account, fought a battle outside the town, in which he was defeated; according to another report, he had withdrawn to Yarkand, whence he fled to Russian territory, when he heard of the fall of Kashgar. It is more probable that he resisted the Chinese attack on Kashgar, for he certainly reached Tashkent, in company with the Kirghiz Chief, Sadic Beg, who was wounded in that battle. With the fall of Kashgar the Chinese reconquest of Eastern Turkestan was completed, and the other cities, Yangy Hissar and Yarkand, speedily shared the same fate. Khoten and Sirikul also sent in formal promises of subjection. But the capture of Kashgar virtually closed the campaign. No further resistance was encountered, and the new rulers had only to begin the task of reorganization. When Kashgar fell the greater portion of the army, knowing that they could expect no mercy at the hands of the Chinese, fled to Russian territory, and then spread reports of fresh Chinese massacres, which probably only existed in their own imagination. There can be no doubt that the Chinese triumph has been thorough, and that it will be many years before the people of Eastern Turkestan will have again the heart to rebel against their authority. The strength of China has been thoroughly demonstrated, and the vindication of her prestige is complete. Whatever danger there may be to the permanence of China’s triumph lies rather from Russia than from the conquered peoples of Tian Shan Nan Lu; nor is there much danger that the Chinese laurels will become faded even before an European foe. Tso Tsung Tang and his lieutenants, Kin Shun, who has since fallen into disgrace, perhaps he had excited the envy of his superior and Chang Yao, accomplished a task which would reflect credit on any army and any country. They have given a lustre to the present Chinese administration which must stand it in good stead, and they have acquired a personal renown that will not easily depart. The Chinese reconquest of Eastern Turkestan is beyond doubt the most remarkable event that has occurred in Asia during the last fifty years, and it is quite the most brilliant achievement of a Chinese army, led by Chinamen, that has taken place since Keen-Lung subdued the country more than a century ago. It also proves, in a manner that is more than unpalatable to us, that the Chinese possess an adaptive faculty that must be held to be a very important fact in every-day politics in Central Asia. They conquered Kashgar with European weapons, and by careful study of Western science and skill. Their soldiers marched in obedience to instructors trained on the Prussian principle; and their generals manoeuvred their troops in accordance with the teachings of Moltke and Manteuffel. Even in such minor matters as the use of telescopes and field glasses we find this Chinese army well supplied. Nothing was more absurd than the picture drawn by some over-wise observer of this army, as consisting of soldiers fantastically garbed in the guise of dragons and other hideous appearances. All that belonged to an old-world theory. The army of Eastern Turkestan was as widely different from all previous Chinese armies in Central Asia as it well could be; and in all essentials closely resembled that of an European power. Its remarkable triumphs were chiefly attributable to the thoroughness with which China had in this instance adapted herself to Western notions.

With the flight of Beg Kuli Beg to Tashkent closed the career of the house of the Athalik Ghazi in Kashgar. Whatever turn events may take in this portion of Central Asia, whatever schemes there may be formed in Khokand, or elsewhere, of challenging anew the Chinese domination, it will not be round the banner of Kuli Beg that the ousted Khokandian officials will rally. By his flight in the hour of danger, by the hesitation which marked all his movements, and by the murder of his brother in cold blood, this prince, of whom much at one time was expected, has irretrievably ruined both his career and his reputation. If on any future occasion Russia should seek to play the part played of old by Khans of Khokand in the internal history of Kashgar, it will not be Kuli Beg whom they will put forward as their puppet. His old rival, Hakim Khan, stands a much better chance than he, more especially if it be true that he is the representative of the Khojas, being the son of Buzurg Khan, as many have asserted. But the fact remains clear, that all the dreams of Yakoob Beg of founding a personal dynasty in Eastern Turkestan are now dispelled beyond all prospect of realization.