ECCP for the WEB
The text of Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period is in the public domain and may be freely reproduced. These html-coded pages and the programmed pages for ECCP READER are © Tonseth House Studios 2021.


Tulišen 圖理琛 (T. 瑤圃), 1667-1741, official and diplomat, was a member of the Manchu Plain Yellow Banner. His family belonged to the Ayan Gioro clan and lived in the Yehe nation (see under Yangginu) until his great-grandfather joined the forces of Abahai [q.v.] in the decade [785] 1625-35. In his youth Tulisen was physically weak and his family was poor. He studied both the Manchu and the Chinese languages but was not a brilliant student. By payment of the required fee he was registered as a student of the Imperial Academy. In 1685 he passed an examination for a position as translator of the T'ung-chien kang-mu, or Mirror of History (see under Sung Lao), and in the following year passed the examination for a secretaryship in the Grand Secretariat. In 1697 he was promoted to the post of assistant reader in the same office, and served from 1702 to 1703 as superintendent of Customs at Wuhu, Anhwei. Returning to Peking in 1703, he was given charge of the cattle raised for sacrificial use by the Board of Ceremonies. Two years later he was discharged because he failed to raise the required number of cattle, and thereafter he retired for seven years.

In 1712 he volunteered to be the envoy to Ayuki 阿玉氣 (d. 1724, age 83?), Khan of the Torguts, who had migrated to the lower Volga River Valley. This Torgut tribe was one of the Four Tribes (Uirads 衛拉特) of Mongolian nomads who occupied the Kokonor region and part of Chinese Turkestan (see under Galdan). The chief of the Torguts traced his ancestry to a brother of Wêng Khan 翁罕 About 1616 their chief, Khu Urluk 翁罕和鄂爾勒克 (d. 1643), finding the preSsŭre of the rising power of the Sungarians woder Batur (father of Galdan) unbearable, had led the tribe westward in search of new pastures. He halted in southwestern Siberia on the Russian border north of the Caspian Sea where the tribe tirived, despite constant warfare with the Turks ard other nomads. The Torguts soon found it expedient to recognize Russian suzerainty, but lived quite independently. In 1672 Khu Urluk's peat-grandson, Ayuki, succeeded to the chieftainship and became so prosperous and powerful *at about the year 1700 he styled himself Khan King). In 1698 Ayuki's nephew, Arabjur 阿拉布珠兒, set out on a pilgrimage to Tibet, and while sojourning there five years was prevented from rejoining his tribesmen because a war broke out between his uncle, Ayuki, and Tsewang Araptan [q.v.] of Sungaria. Appealing to Emperor Shêng-tsu for help, he was given pasturage west of Chia-yü-kuan 嘉峪關. Since envoys from Ayuki had to pass through Siberia in order reach Peking, Emperor Shêng-tsu sent Tulišen to Ayuki by that route, ostensibly to ascertain whether Arabjur could return that same way, but in reality perhaps to learn more about the conditions, both of the Torguts and of the Russians. After his official rank of assistant reader of the Grand Secretariat had been restored to him, Tulišen set out on this journey with a large retinue on June 23, 1712. Passing through Mongolia via Urga, he reached Selenginsk, Siberia, on August 24. Here the embassy was detained for five months awaiting permission from Moscow to proceed through Siberia--a delay caused by the fact that the Chinese memorandum concerning the mission was dispatched from Peking only seven days before the main caravan started. The Czar's permission finally came and, on February 10, 1713, the party moved northward on sleds along the Selenga river to Udinsk and thence westward across Lake Baikal. After waiting at Irkutsk more than three months for the ice on the Angara river to melt, Tulisen resumed his journey on May 27. His party proceeded in boats most of the way and arrived at Tobolsk on August 24. He was well received by the Russian governor of Siberia, Prince Matviei Petrovich Gagarin, who aSsŭred him that if Russia had not been at war with Sweden the Czar would gladly have granted him an audience. Quitting Tobolsk on September 1, he arrived at Saratov on the Volga river January 2, 1714, where he remained about seven months awaiting envoys from Ayuki to welcome him, although it would have taken but ten days for the latter to make the journey. Concerning this delay, Ayuki explained that he had expected the Russians to escort the Chinese embassy, whereas the Russians thought it was his duty.

Having descended the Volga river, Tulišenn met Ayuki in the latter's camp at Manytch on July 12, 1714, and was well received. Ayuki was told that it was better for his nephew, Arabjur, to remain where he was. Ayuki, on his part, confided to Tulisen that he regarded himself as having much more in common with the Manchus than with the Russians, but that, however much he might desire to communicate with China, he feared that his aims would be frustrated by Russia. He therefore urged China to pay more heed to the Russian situation. Perhaps this friendly gesture was a factor in the migration of the Torguts back to China in 1770-71 (see under Shu-ho-t6). Tuli'sen returned to China, for the most part by the same route he had previously taken. He sojourned in Tobolsk from December 13, 1714, to January 27, 1715, and finally reached Peking April 30, 1715, after being nine months on the way, although the outward journey had taken more than two years. Chinese official accounts explain this delay on the ground [786] that the Russians purposely desired to frustrate the conference with the Torguts. The accusation is unfounded--the delay of fourteen months at Selenginsk, Irkutsk, and Saratov being in no sense the fault of the Russians.

In Peking, Tulišen had an audience with the Emperor, who was much pleased with the results of the expedition and officially accepted Tulisen's diary and a map of his journey. Tulisen was appointed assistant department director of the Board of War and later was promoted to a department directorship. It was at this time that Galdan's successor, Tsewang Araptan, invaded Hami in Chinese Turkestan and so provoked a conflict with China. In July of the same year Tulišen was once more sent to Selenginsk to diSsŭade the Russians from rendering assistance to the Eleuths.

When Emperor Shih-tsung succeeded to the throne he evinced a new interest in the personnel of the provincial administrations, especially the treasurers. Tulišen was dispatched (1723) to Kwangtung to inspect the provincial finances, and while there was appointed financial commissioner of the province. Early in 1725 he was transferred to Shênsi, and a few months later was made governor of that province. During that and the following year, he was rebuked several times for partiality to Manchus and for other blunders. Late in 1726 he was recalled to Peking. There he became vice-president of the Board of War and in the following year was transferred to the Board of Civil Office. Possibly his recall was due to the presence in Peking of a Russian envoy who had come to confer on frontier and trade problems between the two countries.

The Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689 (see under Songgotu) defined the boundary of north Manchuria, but did not mention the Mongolian boundary to the west of the Argun river. In the ensuing twenty-five years no important agreements concerning border questions had been reached although the Russians had sent, during that period, two embassies, one under Elizarü Izbrandt in the years 1692-95 and another one under Lev Vasil'evich Izmailov (1685-1738) in the years 1719-22; and stationed an agent, Lorentz Lange, in Peking from 1722 to 1725. In 1725 a Russian envoy, Savva Lukich-Vladislavich (see under Maci), was sent to China witlr more power than had been given his predecessors: He stayed in Peking from November 1726 to May 1727, holding more than thirty conferences with three ministers, of whom Tulišen was one. At last, the general terms of a treaty in ten articles were agreed upon, after which the meeting shifted to Kiakhta on the Siberian border north of Urga where the boundary line between Mongolia and Siberia was to be determined. At first the chief Chinese representative was Lungkodo [q.v.], but owing to his obstinacy, he was soon recalled, and the Mongolian Prince Tsereng [q.v.] and Tuli"sen became the heads of the Chinese delegation. On August 31, 1727, general terms of an article defining the border were agreed to and on November 1 the final version of the Treaty of Kiakhta was drawn up. By the terms of this treaty the boundary between Mongolia and Siberia was established, much as it is at present. Two hundred Russian merchants were allowed to come to China to trade every third year and were permitted to erect a church on the premises of the Russian Hostel in Peking, In addition to the one priest already officiating, three more were allowed to conduct religious services for the descendants of the Russian captives (see under Sabsu and Maci) and others of that nationality in Peking. Four Russian students and two tutors were granted leave to reside is the Hostel, and were subsidized by the Chinese government to study the Chinese, Mongol, and Manchu languages. This treaty, revised in 1768 and in 1792, governed the relations between the two countries until the treaties of 1858 and 1860 (see under Kuei-liang and I-hsin). After 1737 the trade between the two countries shifted from Peking to Kiakhta. According to Russiaa sources (Cahen, pp. 215, 219, LXIV-LXV) the success of Vladislavich in reaching this agreement was due in part to the friendship of Grawi Secretary Maci [q.v.] who had charge of Sino-Russian affairs, and to the Jesuit missionary,„ Dominique Parrenin (see under Maci). The latter, who acted as interpreter and intermediary in Peking, is said to have established a code with the Russian delegation in Kiakhta to carry on a secret correspondence. We are told the Vladislavich promised Maci a present of two thousand roubles but, being short of funds after the treaty was concluded, paid him half that sum. Parrenin was given one hundred roubles.

After his return to Peking Tulišen was accused of "unlawful" conduct at the Treaty Conference because, after signing the treaty, he had ordered guns fired "to thank Heaven" and had, on his own initiative, erected wooden tablets to mark the boundary, when he should first have obtained [786] Imperial consent. He was also accused of having divulged a military secret while governor of Shansi--namely, handing over to Yên-hsin [q.v.] a complete account of the number of soldiers in the empire, and where they were stationed. Tried in 1728, he was found guilty and sentenced to death, but was granted Imperial pardon. To make amends, he was ordered early in 1729 to build, at his own expense, the walls of Jak 札克 and of Baidarik 拜達里, two cities on the caravan route to Uliasutai and Kobdo in Outer Mongolia. When Emperor Kao-tsung ascended the throne in 1735 he made Tulišen a chancellor of the Grand Secretariat, and early in the following year promoted him to the post of vice-president of the Board of Works. But manifesting senility and lack of mental clarity, he was ordered to return to his former post. He retired in 1737 and died four years later.

Tulišen's own account of his journey to the Torguts in 1712-15 was completed about 1720 and printed in 1723 under the title 異域錄 I-yü lu. There are at least four reprints of the work in various ts'ung-shu, and probably a manuscript text in Manchu which he submitted to the throne. The work long ago attracted the attention of Western scholars. It was translated into French by P. Gaubil as early as 1726 and this became the basis for a German version. There are two Russian translations, one by H. Rossokhim in 1764 and another by A. Leont'ev in 1782. Sir George Staunton translated it into English in 1821 under the title, Narrative of the Chinese Embassy to the Khan of the Tourgouth Tartars.

[ 1/159/la; 1/289/3b; 1/527/13b; 3/62/12a; 34/ 152/la; Ho Ch'iu-t'ao [q.v.], Shuo fang pei-shêng, chüan 37, 38, 43-44; Cahen, Gaston, Histoire des Relations de la Russie avec la Chine sous Pierre le Grand (1689-1730), Paris, 1912; Ides, Isbrants, Three Year's Travels from Moscow Overland to China (1706); Lange, Lorenz, Journal; Bell, John, Travels from St. Petersberg in Russia to Divers Parts of Asia (1763) vol. II; Howorth, H. H., History of the Mongols, Part I, pp. 534-89.]