Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/152

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garrisons of those towns of Kan-su which still remained in the power of China were strengthened. Nothing more was done in the first instance. The Dungans, gratified with their success in freeing themselves from Chinese rule, discontinued aggressive measures, and gave themselves up to looting, while the Chinese garrisons immured within mud walls remained tranquil spectators of the complete devastation of the country.

The Chinese troops in Kan-su and on the Hoang-ho were brought from the southern provinces of the empire, and were called by the inhabitants Khotens; they also included a few Solones from Manchuria. Their arms consisted of swords, matchlocks, a few smooth-bore English muskets and double-barrelled pistols, some of English and others of Tula manufacture, the latter probably obtained on the Amur. The cavalry and some of the infantry were armed with long bamboo lances, decorated with red flags and effigies of the dragon.

The moral qualities of Chinese soldiers are so peculiar that a European would find difficulty in believing it possible for an army composed of such elements to exist, particularly when brought into the field. In the first place all of them, officers and men, are addicted to opium-smoking, and cannot exist without it for a single day. This vile habit is not only practised in barracks, but even on a campaign, in the face of an enemy, they will smoke themselves into a state of torpor. The result is moral and physical debility, and complete unfitness