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CHINA AND THE MANCHUS

 

 

CHAPTER I

THE N-CHNS AND KITANS

The Manchus are descended from a branch of certain wild Tungusic

nomadswho were known in the ninth century as the N-chnsa name

which has been said to mean "west of the sea." The cradle of their

race lay at the base of the Ever-White Mountainsdue north of Korea

and was fertilised by the head waters of the Yalu River.

In an illustrated Chinese work of the fourteenth centuryof which the

Cambridge University Library possesses the only known copywe read

that they reached this spotoriginally the home of the Su-shn tribe

as fugitives from Korea; furtherthat careless of death and prizing

valour onlythey carried naked knives about their personsnever

parting from them by day or nightand that they were as "poisonous"

as wolves or tigers. They also tattooed their facesand at marriage

their mouths. By the close of the ninth century the N-chns had

become subject to the neighbouring Kitansthen under the rule of the

vigorous Kitan chieftainOpaochiwhoin 907proclaimed himself

Emperor of an independent kingdom with the dynastic title of Liao

said to mean "iron" and who at once entered upon that long courseof

aggression against China and encroachment upon her territory which was

to result in the practical division of the empire between the two

powerswith the Yellow River as boundaryK`ai-fng as the Chinese

capitaland Pekingnow for the first time raised to the status of a

metropolisas the Kitan capital. Hithertothe Kitans had recognised

China as their suzerain; they are first mentioned in Chinese history

in A.D. 468when they sent ambassadors to courtwith tribute.

Turning now to Chinathe famous House of Sungthe early years of

which were so full of promise of national prosperityand which is

deservedly associated with one of the two most brilliant periods in

Chinese literaturewas founded in 960. Korea was then forcedin

order to protect herself from the encroachments of Chinato accept

the hated supremacy of the Kitans; but being promptly called upon to

surrender large tracts of territoryshe suddenly entered into an

alliance with the N-chnswho were also ready to revoltand who

sent an army to the assistance of their new friends. The N-chn and

Korean armiesacting in concertinflicted a severe defeat on the

Kitansand from this victory may be dated the beginning of the N-

chn power. China had indeed already sent an embassy to the N-chns

suggesting an alliance and also a combination with Koreaby which

means the aggression of the Kitans might easily be checked; but during

the eleventh century Korea became alienated from the N-chnsand

even went so far as to advise China to join with the Kitans in

crushing the N-chns. Chinano doubtwould have been glad to get

rid of both these troublesome neighboursespecially the Kitanswho

were gradually filching territory from the empireand driving the

Chinese out of the southern portion of the province of Chihli.

For a long period China weakly allowed herself to be blackmailed by

the Kitanswhoin return for a large money subsidy and valuable

supplies of silkforwarded a quite insignificant amount of local

producewhich was called "tribute" by the Chinese court.

Early in the twelfth centurythe Kitan monarch paid a visit to the

Sungari Riverfor the purpose of fishingand was duly received by

the chiefs of the N-chn tribes in that district. On this occasion

the Kitan Emperorwho had taken perhaps more liquor than was good for

himordered the younger men of the company to get up and dance before

him. This command was ignored by the son of one of the chiefsnamed

Akutng (sometimesbut wronglywritten /Akuta/)and it was

suggested to the Emperor that he should devise means for putting out

of the way so uncompromising a spirit. No noticehoweverwas taken

of the affair at the moment; and that night Akutngwith a band of

followersdisappeared from the scene. Making his way eastwardacross

the Sungarihe started a movement which may be said to have

culminated five hundred years later in the conquest of China by the

Manchus. In 1114 he began to act on the offensiveand succeeded in

inflicting a severe defeat on the Kitans. By 1115 he had so far

advanced towards the foundation of an independent kingdom that he

actually assumed the title of Emperor. Thus was presented the rare

spectacle of three contemporary rulerseach of whom claimed a title

whichaccording to the Chinese theorycould only belong to one. The

style he chose for his dynasty was Chin (also read /Kin/)which means

"gold" and which some say was intended to mark a superiority over

Liao (= iron)that of the Kitanson the ground that gold is not

like irona prey to rust. Othershowevertrace the origin of the

term to the fact that gold was found in the N-chn territory.

A small point which has given rise to some confusionmay fitly be

mentioned here. The tribe of Tartars hitherto spoken of as N-chns

and henceforth known in history as the "Golden Dynasty" in 1035

changed the word /chn/ for /chih/and were called N-chih Tartars.

They did this because at that date the word /chn/ was part of the

personal name of the reigning Kitan Emperorand therefore taboo. The

necessity for such change would of course cease with their

emancipation from Kitan ruleand the old name would be revived; it

will accordingly be continued in the following pages.

The victories of Akutng over the Kitans were most welcome to the

Chinese Emperorwho saw his late oppressors humbled to the dust by

the victorious N-chns; and in 1120 a treaty of alliance was signed

by the two powers against the common enemy. The upshot of this move

was that the Kitans were severely defeated in all directionsand

their chief cities fell into the hands of the N-chnswho finally

succeededin 1122in taking Peking by assaultthe Kitan Emperor

having already sought safety in flight. Whenhoweverthe time came

for an equitable settlement of territory between China and the

victorious N-chnsthe Chinese Emperor discovered that the N-chns

inasmuch as they had done most of the fightingwere determined to

have the lion's share of the reward; in factthe yoke imposed by the

latter proved if anything more burdensome than that of the dreaded

Kitans. More territory was taken by the N-chnsand even larger

levies of money were exactedwhile the same old farce of worthless

tribute was carried on as before.

In 1123Akutng diedand was canonised as the first Emperor of the

Chinor Golden Dynasty. He was succeeded by a brother; and two years

laterthe last Emperor of the Kitans was captured and relegated to

private lifethus bringing the dynasty to an end.

The new Emperor of the N-chns spent the rest of his life in one long

struggle with China. In 1126the Sung capitalthe modern K`ai-fng

Fu in Honanwas twice besieged: on the first occasion for thirty-

three dayswhen a heavy ransom was exacted and some territory was

ceded; on the second occasion for forty dayswhen it felland was

given up to pillage. In 1127the feeble Chinese Emperor was seized

and carried offand by 1129 the whole of China north of the Yang-tsze

was in the hands of the N-chns. The younger brother of the banished

Emperor was proclaimed by the Chinese at Nankingand managed to set

up what is known as the southern Sung dynasty; but the N-chns gave

him no restdriving him first out of Nankingand then out of

Hangchowwhere he had once more established a capital. Ultimately

there was peace of a more or less permanent characterchiefly due to

the genius of a notable Chinese general of the day; and the N-chns

had to accept the Yang-tsze as the dividing line between the two

powers.

The next seventy years were freely marked by raidsfirst of one side

and then of the other; but by the close of the twelfth century the

Mongols were pressing the N-chns from the northand the southern

Sungs were seizing the opportunity to attack their old enemies from

the south. Finallyin 1234the independence of the Golden Dynasty of

N-chns was extinguished by Ogotaithird son of the great Genghis

Khanwith the aid of the southern Sungswho were themselves in turn

wiped out by Kublai Khanthe first Mongol Emperor to rule over a

united China.

The name of this wandering peoplewhose territory covers such a huge

space on the maphas been variously derived from (1) /moengel/

celestial(2) /mong/braveand (3) /munku/silverthe last

mentioned being favoured by some because of its relation to the iron

and golden dynasties of the Kitans and N-chns respectively.

Three centuries and a half must now pass away before entering upon the

next act of the Manchu drama. The N-chns had been scotchedbut not

killedby their Mongol conquerorswhoone hundred and thirty-four

years later (1368)were themselves driven out of Chinaa pure native

dynasty being re-established under the style of Ming"Bright."During

the ensuing two hundred years the N-chns were scarcely heard ofthe

House of Ming being busily occupied in other directions. Their warlike

spirithoweverfound scope and nourishment in the expeditions

organised against Japan and Tan-loor Quelpartas named by the

Dutcha large island to the south of the Korean peninsula; while on

the other hand the various tribes scattered over a portion of the

territory known to Europeans as Manchuriaavailed themselves of long

immunity from attack by the Chinese to advance in civilization and

prosperity. It may be noted here that "Manchuria" is unknown to the

Chinese or to the Manchus themselves as a geographical expression. The

present extensive home of the Manchus is usually spoken of as the

Three Eastern Provincesnamely(1) Shng-kingor Liao-tungor

Kuan-tung(2) Kirinand (3) Heilungchiang or Tsitsihar.

Among the numerous small independent communities above mentioned

which traced their ancestry to the N-chns of oldone of the

smallestthe members of which inhabited a tract of territory due east

of what is now the city of Mukdenand were shortly to call themselves

Manchus--the origin of the name is not known--producedin 1559a

young hero who altered the course of Chinese history to such an extent

that for nearly three hundred years his descendants sat on the throne

of Chinaand ruled over what was for a great portion of the time the

largest empire on earth. Nurhachuthe real founder of the Manchu

powerwas born in 1559from a virile stockand was soon recognised

to be an extraordinary child. We need not linger over his dragon face

his phnix eyeor even over his largedrooping earswhich have

always been associated by the Chinese with intellectual ability. He

first came into prominence in 1583whenat twenty-four years of age

he took up armsat the head of only one hundred and thirty menin

connection with the treacherous murder by a rival chieftain of his

father and grandfatherwho had ruled over a petty principality of

almost infinitesimal extent; and he finally succeeded three years

later in securing from the Chinesewho had been arrayed against him

not only the surrender of the murdererbut also a sum of money and

some robes of honour. He was further successful in negotiating a

treatyunder the terms of which Manchu furs could be exchanged at

certain points for such Chinese commodities as cottonsugarand

grain.

In 1587Nurhachu built a walled cityand established an

administration in his tiny principalitythe even-handed justice and

purity of which soon attracted a large number of settlersand before

very long he had succeeded in amalgamating five Manchu States under

his personal rule. Extension of territory by annexation after

victories over neighbouring States followed as a matter of coursethe

result being that his growing power came to be regarded with

suspicionand even dread. At lengtha joint attempt on the part of

seven Statesaided by two Mongol chieftainswas made to crush him;

butalthough numerical superiority was overpoweringly against himhe

managed to turn the enemy's attack into a routkilled four thousand

menand captured three thousand horsesbesides other booty.

Following up this victory by further annexationshe now began to

present a bold front to the Chinesedeclaring himself independent

and refusing any longer to pay tribute. In 1604he built himself a

new capitalHingkingwhich he placed not very far east of the modern

Mukdenand there he received envoys from the Mongolian chieftains

sent to congratulate him on his triumph.

At this period the Manchuswhose spoken words were polysyllabicand

not monosyllabic like Chinesehad no written language beyond certain

rude attempts at alphabetic writingformed from Chinese characters

and found to be of little practical value. The necessity for something

more convenient soon appealed to the prescient and active mind of

Nurhachu; accordinglyin 1599he gave orders to two learned scholars

to prepare a suitable script for his rapidly increasing subjects. This

they accomplished by basing the new script upon Mongolwhich had been

invented in 1269by Baschpaor 'Phagspaa Tibetan lamaacting

under the direction of Kublai Khan. Baschpa had based his script upon

the written language of the Ouigourswho were descendants of the

Hsiung-nuor Huns. The Ouigoursknown by that name since the year

629were once the ruling race in the regions which now form the

khanates of Khiva and Bokharaand had been the first of the tribes of

Central Asia to have a script of their own. This they formed from the

Estrangelo Syraic of the Nestorianswho appeared in China in the

early part of the seventh century. The Manchu written language

thereforeis lineally descended from Syraic; indeedthe family

likeness of both Manchu and Mongol to the parent stem is quite

obviousexcept that these two scriptsevidently influenced by

Chineseare written verticallythoughunlike Chinesethey are read

from left to right. Thirty-three years later various improvements were

introducedleaving the Manchu script precisely as we find it at the

present day.

In 1613Nurhachu had gathered about him an army of some forty

thousand men; and by a series of raids in various directionshe

further gradually succeeded in extending considerably the boundaries

of his kingdom. There now remained but one large and important State

towards the annexation of which he directed all his efforts. After

elaborate preparations which extended over more than two yearsat the

beginning of which (1616) the term Manchu (etymology unknown) was

definitively adopted as a national titleNurhachuin 1618drew up a

list of grievances against the Chineseunder which he declared that

his people had been and were still sufferingand solemnly committed

it to the flames--a recognised method of communication with the

spirits of heaven and earth. This document consisted of seven clauses

and was addressed to the Emperor of China; it wasin facta

declaration of war. The Chinesewho were fast becoming aware that a

dangerous enemy had arisenand that their own territory would be the

next to be threatenedat length decided to oppose any further

progress on the part of Narhachu; and with this view dispatched an

army of two hundred thousand men against him. These troopsmany of

whom were physically unfitwere divided on arrival at Mukden into

four bodieseach with some separate aimthe achievement of which was

to conduce to the speedy disruption of Nurhachu's power. The issue of

this move was certainly not expected on either side. In a word

Nurhachu defeated his Chinese antagonists in detailfinally

inflicting such a crushing blow that he was left completely master of

the situationand before very long had realised the chief object of

his ambitionnamelythe reunion under one rule of those states into

which the Golden Dynasty had been broken up when it collapsed before

the Mongols in 1234.

 

 

CHAPTER II

THE FALL OF THE MINGS

It is almost a conventionalism to attribute the fall of a Chinese

dynasty to the malign influence of eunuchs. The Imperial court was

undoubtedly at this date entirely in the hands of eunuchswho

occupied all kinds of lucrative posts for which they were quite

unfittedand even accompanied the armynominally as officialsbut

really as spies upon the generals in command. One of the most

notorious of these was Wei Chung-hsienwhose career may be taken as

typical of his class. He was a native of Sun-ning in Chihliof

profligate characterwho made himself a eunuchand changed his name

to Li Chin-chung. Entering the palacehe managed to get into the

service of the mother of the future Emperorposthumously canonised as

Hsi Tsungand became the paramour of that weak monarch's wet-nurse.

The pair gained the Emperor's affection to an extraordinary degree

and Weian ignorant brutewas the real ruler of China during the

reign of Hsi Tsung. He always took care to present memorials and other

State papers when his Majesty was engrossed in carpentryand the

Emperor would pretend to know all about the questionand tell Wei to

deal with it. Aided by unworthy censorsa body of officials who are

supposed to be the "eyes and ears" of the monarchand privilegedto

censure him for misgovernmenthe gradually drove all loyal men from

officeand put his opponents to cruel and ignominious deaths. He

persuaded Hsi Tsung to enrol a division of eunuch troopsten thousand

strongarmed with muskets; whileby causing the Empress to have a

miscarriagehis paramour cleared his way to the throne. Many

officials espoused his causeand the infatuated sovereign never

wearied of loading him with favours. In 1626temples were erected to

him in all the provinces except Fuhkienhis image received Imperial

honoursand he was styled Nine Thousand Yearsi.e. only one thousand

less than the Emperor himselfthe Chinese term in the latter case

being /wan sui/which has been adopted by the Japanese as /banzai/.

All successes were ascribed to his influencea Grand Secretary

declaring that his virtue had actually caused the appearance of a

"unicorn" in Shantung. In 1627he was likened in a memorial to

Confuciusand it was decreed that he should be worshipped with the

Sage in the Imperial Academy. His hopes were overthrown by the death

of Hsi Tsungwhose successor promptly dismissed him. He hanged

himself to escape trialand his corpse was disembowelled. His

paramour was executedand in 1629nearly three hundred persons were

convicted and sentenced to varying penalties for being connected with

his schemes.

Jobbery and corruption were rife; and at the present juncture these

agencies were successfully employed to effect the recall of a really

able general who had been sent from Peking to recover lost groundand

prevent further encroachments by the Manchus. For a timeNurhachu had

been held in check by his skilful dispositions of troopsMukden was

strongly fortifiedand confidence generally was restored; but the

fatal policy of the new general rapidly alienated the Chinese

inhabitantsand caused them to enter secretly into communication with

the Manchus. It was thus that in 1621 Nurhachu was in a position to

advance upon Mukden. Encamping within a mile or two of the cityhe

sent forward a reconnoitring partywhich was immediately attacked by

the Chinese commandant at the head of a large force. The former fled

and the latter pursuedonly to fall into the inevitable ambush; and

the Chinese troopson retiring in their turnfound that the bridge

across the moat had been destroyed by traitors in their own campso

that they were unable to re-enter the city. Thus Mukden fellthe

prelude to a series of further victoriesone of which was the rout of

an army sent to retake Mukdenand the chief of which was the capture

of Liao-yangnow remembered in connection with the Russo-Japanese

war. In many of these engagements the Manchuswhose chief weapon was

the long bowwhich they used with deadly effectfound themselves

opposed by artillerythe use of which had been taught to the Chinese

by Adam Schaalthe Jesuit father. The supply of powderhoweverhad

a way of running shortand at once the pronounced superiority of the

Manchu archers prevailed.

Other cities now began to tender a voluntary submissionand many

Chinese took to shaving the head and wearing the queuein

acknowledgment of their allegiance to the Manchus. Allhoweverwas

not yet overfor the growing Manchu power was still subjected to

frequent attacks from Chinese arms in directions as far as possible

removed from points where Manchu troops were concentrated. Meanwhile

Nurhachu gradually extended his borders eastwarduntil in 1625the

year in which he placed his capital at Mukdenhis frontiers reached

to the sea on the east and to the river Amur on the norththe

important city of Ning-yan being almost the only possession remaining

to the Chinese beyond the Great Wall. The explanation of this is as

follows.

An incompetent generalas above mentionedhad been sent at the

instance of the eunuchs to supersede an officer who had been holding

his own with considerable successbut who was not a /persona grata/

at court. The new general at once decided that no territory outside

the Great Wall was to be held against the Manchusand gave orders for

the immediate retirement of all troops and Chinese residents

generally. To this command the civil governor of Ning-yanand the

military commandantsent an indignant protestwriting out an oath

with their blood that they would never surrender the city. Nurhachu

seized the opportunityand delivered a violent attackwith which he

seemed to be making some progressuntil at length artillery was

brought into play. The havoc caused by the guns at close quarters was

terrificand the Manchus fled. This defeat was a blow from which

Nurhachu never recovered; his chagrin brought on a serious illness

and he died in 1626aged sixty-eight. Later onwhen his descendants

were sitting upon the throne of Chinahe was canonised as T`ai Tsu

the Great Ancestorthe representatives of the four preceding

generations of his family being canonised as Princes.

Nurhachu was succeeded by his fourth sonAbkhaithen thirty-four

years of ageand a tried warrior. His reign began with a

correspondence between himself and the governor who had been the

successful defender of Ning-yanin which some attempt was made to

conclude a treaty of peace. The Chinese on their side demanded the

return of all captured cities and territory; while the Manchuswho

refused to consider any such termssuggested that China should pay

them a huge subsidy in moneysilketc.in return for which they

offered but a moderate supply of fursand something over half a ton

of ginseng (/Panax repens/)the famous forked root said to resemble

the human bodyand much valued by the Chinese as a strengthening

medicine. Thisof coursewas a case of "giving too little and asking

too much" and the negotiations came to nothing. In 1629Abkhaiwho

by this time was master of Koreamarched upon Pekingat the head of

a large armyand encamped within a few miles from its walls; but he

was unable to capture the cityand had finally to retire. The next

few years were devoted by the Manchuswho now began to possess

artillery of their own castingto the conquest of Mongoliain the

hope of thus securing an easy passage for their armies into China. An

offer of peace was now made by the Chinese Emperorfor reasons

shortly to be stated; but the Manchu terms were too severeand

hostilities were resumedthe Manchus chiefly occupying themselves in

devastating the country round Pekingtheir numbers being constantly

swelled by a stream of deserters from the Chinese ranks. In 1643

Abkhai died; he was succeeded by his ninth sona boy of fiveand was

later on canonised as T`ai Tsungthe Great Forefather. By 1635he

had already begun to style himself Emperor of Chinaand had

established a system of public examinations. The name of the dynasty

had been "Manchu" ever since 1616; twenty years later he translated

this term into the Chinese word /Ch`ing/ (or Ts`ing)which means

"pure"; and as the Great Pure Dynasty it will be remembered in

history. Other important enactments of his reign were prohibitions

against the use of tobaccowhich had been recently introduced into

Manchuria from Japanthrough Korea; against the Chinese fashion of

dress and of wearing the hair; and against the practice of binding the

feet of girls. All except the first of these were directed towards the

complete denationalisation of the Chinese who had accepted his rule

and whose numbers were increasing daily.

So farthe Manchus seem to have been little influenced by religious

beliefs or scruplesexcept of a very primitive kind; but when they

came into closer contact with the ChineseBuddhism began to spread

its charmsand not in vainthough strongly opposed by Abkhai

himself.

In 1635 the Manchus had effected the conquest of Mongoliaaided to a

great extent by frequent defections of large bodies of Mongols who had

been exasperated by their own ill-treatment at the hands of the

Chinese. Among some ancient Mongolian archives there has recently been

discovered a documentdated 1636under which the Mongol chiefs

recognised the suzerainty of the Manchu Emperor. It washowever

stipulated thatin the event of the fall of the dynastyall the laws

existing previously to this date should again come into force.

A brief review of Chinese history during the later years of Manchu

progressas described abovediscloses a state of things such as will

always be found to prevail towards the close of an outworn dynasty.

Almost from the day whenin 1628the last Emperor of the Ming

Dynasty ascended the thronenational grievances began to pass from a

simmering and more or less latent condition to a state of open and

acute hostility. The exactions and tyranny of the eunuchs had led to

increased taxation and general discontent; and the horrors of famine

now enhanced the gravity of the situation. Local outbreaks were

commonand were with difficulty suppressed. The most capable among

Chinese generals of the periodWu San-kueishortly to play a leading

part in the dynastic dramawas far awayemployed in resisting the

invasions of the Manchuswhen a very serious rebellionwhich had

been in preparation for some yearsat length burst violently forth.

Li Tz{u}-ch`ng was a native of Shensiwhobefore he was twenty

years oldhad succeeded his father as village beadle. The famine of

1627 had brought him into trouble over the land-taxand in 1629 he

turned brigandbut without conspicuous success during the following

ten years. In 1640he headed a small gang of desperadoesand

overrunning parts of Hupeh and Honanwas soon in command of a large

army. He was joined by a female banditformerly a courtesanwho

advised him to avoid slaughter and to try to win the hearts of the

people. In 1642after several attempts to capture the city of K`ai-

fngduring one of which his left eye was destroyed by an arrowhe

at length succeededchiefly in consequence of a sudden rise of the

Yellow Riverthe waters of which rushed through a canal originally

intended to fill the city moat and flood out the rebels. The rise of

the riverhoweverwas so rapid and so unusually high that the city

itself was floodedand an enormous number of the inhabitants

perishedthe rest seeking safety in flight to higher ground.

By 1744Li Tz{u}-ch`ng had reduced the whole of the province of

Shensi; whereupon he began to advance on Pekingproclaiming himself

first Emperor of the Great Shun Dynastythe term /shun/ implying

harmony between rulers and ruled. Terror reigned at the Chinese court

especially as meteorological and other portents appeared in unusually

large numbersas though to justify the panic. The Emperor was in

despair; the exchequer was emptyand there was no money to pay the

troopswhoin any casewere too few to man the city walls. Each of

the Ministers of State was anxious only to secure his own safety. Li

Tz{u}-ch`ng's advance was scarcely opposedthe eunuch commanders of

cities and passes hastening to surrender them and save their own

lives. Forin case of immediate surrenderno injury was done by Li

to life or propertyand even after a short resistance only a few

lives were exacted as penalty; but a more obstinate defence was

punished by burning and looting and universal slaughter.

The Emperor was now advised to send for Wu San-kuei; but that step

meant the end of further resistance to the invading Manchus on the

eastand for some time he would not consent. Meanwhilehe issued an

Imperial proclamationsuch as is usual on these occasionsannouncing

that all the troubles which had come upon the empire were due to his

own incompetence and unworthinessas confirmed by the droughts

faminesand other signs of divine wrathof recent occurrence; that

the administration was to be reformedand only virtuous and capable

officials would be employed. The near approachhoweverof Li's army

at length caused the Emperor to realise that it was Wu San-kuei or

nothingand belated messengers were dispatched to summon him to the

defence of the capital. Long before he could possibly arrivea gate

of the southern city of Peking was treacherously opened by the eunuch

in charge of itand the next thing the Emperor saw was his capital in

flames. He then summoned the Empress and the court ladiesand bade

them each provide for her own safety. He sent his three sons into

hidingand actually killed with his own hand several of his

favouritesrather than let them fall into the hands of the One-Eyed

Rebel. He attempted the same by his daughtera young girlcovering

his face with the sleeve of his robe; but in his agony of mind he

failed in his blowand only succeeded in cutting off an armleaving

the unfortunate princess to be dispatched later on by the Empress.

After thisin concert with a trusted eunuch and a few attendantshe

disguised himselfand made an attempt to escape from the city by

night; but they found the gates closedand the guard refused to allow

them to pass. Returning to the palace in the early morningthe

Emperor caused the great bell to be rung as usual to summon the

officers of government to audience; but no one came. He then retired

with his faithful eunuchto a kiosqueon what is known as the Coal

Hillin the palace groundsand there wrote a last decree on the

lapel of his coat:--"Ipoor in virtue and of contemptible

personalityhave incurred the wrath of God on high. My Ministers have

deceived me. I am ashamed to meet my ancestors; and therefore I myself

take off my crownand with my hair covering my faceawait

dismemberment at the hands of the rebels. Do not hurt a single one of

my people!" Emperor and eunuch then committed suicide by hanging

themselvesand the Great Ming Dynasty was brought to an end.

Li Tz{u}-ch`ng made a grand official entry into Pekingupon which

many of the palace ladies committed suicide. The bodies of the two

Empresses were discoveredand the late Emperor's sons were captured

and kindly treated; but of the Emperor himself there was for some time

no trace. At length his body was foundand was encoffinedtogether

with those of the Empressesby order of Li Tz{u}-ch`ngby-and-by to

receive fit and proper burial at the hands of the Manchus.

Li Tz{u}-ch`ng further possessed himself of the persons of Wu San-

kuei's father and affianced bridethe latter of whoma very

beautiful girlhe intended to keep for himself. He next sent off a

letter to Wu San-kueioffering an alliance against the Manchuswhich

was fortified by another letter from Wu San-kuei's fatherurging his

son to fall in which Li's wishesespecially as his own life would be

dependent upon the success of the missions. Wu San-kuei had already

started on his way to relieve the capital when he heard of the events

above recorded; and it seems probable that he would have yielded to

circumstances and persuasion but for the fact that Li had seized the

girl he intended to marry. This decided him; he retraced his steps

shaved his head after the required styleand joined the Manchus.

It was not very long before Li Tz{u}-ch`ng's army was in full

pursuitwith the twofold object of destroying Wu San-kuei and

recovering Chinese territory already occupied by the Manchus. In the

battle which ensuedall these hopes were dashed; Li sustained a

crushing defeatand fled to Peking. There he put to death the Ming

princes who were in his handsand completely exterminated Wu San-

kuei's familywith the exception of the girl above mentionedwhom he

carried off after having looted and burnt the palace and other public

buildings. Now was the opportunity of the Manchus; and with the

connivance and loyal aid of Wu San-kueithe Great Ch`ing Dynasty was

established.

Li Tz{u}-ch`ngwho had officially mounted the Dragon Throne as

Emperor of China nine days after his capture of Pekingwas now hotly

pursued by Wu San-kueiwho had the good fortune to recover from the

rebels the girlwho had been taken with them in their flightand

whom he then married. Li Tz{u}-ch`ng retreated westwards; and after

two vain attempts to check his pursuershis army began to melt away.

Driven southhe held Wu-ch`ang for a time; but ultimately he fled

down the Yang-tszeand was slain by local militia in Hupeh.

Li was a born soldier. Even hostile writers admit that his army was

wonderfully well disciplinedand that he put a stop to the hideous

atrocities which had made his name a terror in the empirejust so

soon as he found that he could accomplish his ends by milder means.

His men were obliged to march lightvery little baggage being

allowed; his horses were most carefully looked after. He himself was

by nature calm and coldand his manner of life was frugal and

abstemious.

 

 

CHAPTER III

SHUN CHIH

The back of the rebellion was now broken; but an alien racecalled in

to drive out the rebelsfound themselves in command of the situation.

Wu San-kuei had therefore no alternative but to acknowledge the

Manchus definitely as the new rulers of Chinaand to obtain the best

possible terms for his country. Ever since the defeat of Li by the

combined forces of Chinese and Manchusit had been perfectly well

understood that the latter were to be supported in their bid for

Imperial powerand the conditions under which the throne was to be

transferred were as follows:--(1) No Chinese women were to be taken

into the Imperial seraglio; (2) the Senior Classic at the great

triennial examinationon the results of which successful candidates

were drafted into the public servicewas never to be a Manchu; (3)

Chinese men were to adopt the Manchu dressshaving the front part of

the head and plaiting the back hair into a queuebut they were to be

allowed burial in the costume of the Mings; (4) Chinese women were not

to adopt the Manchu dressnor to cease to compress their feetin

accordance with ancient custom.

Wu San-kuei was loaded with honoursamong others with a triple-eyed

peacock's feathera decoration introducedtogether with the"button"

at the top of the hatby the Manchusand classed as single-

double-and triple-eyedaccording to merit. A few years laterhis

son married the sister of the Emperor; and a few years later stillhe

was appointed one of three feudatory princeshis rule extending over

the huge provinces of Ynnan and Ss{u}ch`uan. There we shall meet him

again.

The new Emperorthe ninth son of Abkhaibest known by his year-title

as Shun Chih (favourable sway)was a child of seven when he was

placed upon the throne in 1644under the regency of an uncle; and by

the time he was twelve years oldthe uncle had diedleaving him to

his own resources. Before his early deaththe regent had already done

some excellent work on behalf of his nephew. He had curtailed the

privileges of the eunuchs to such an extent that for a hundred and

fifty years to come--so longin factas the empire was in the hands

of wise rulers--their malign influence was inappreciable in court

circles and politics generally. He left Chinese officials in control

of the civil administrationkeeping closely to the lines of the

system which had obtained under the previous dynasty; he did not

hastily press for the universal adoption of Manchu costume; and he

even caused sacrificial ceremonies to be performed at the mausolea of

the Ming Emperors. One new rule of considerable importance seems to

have been introduced by the Manchusnamelythat no official should

be allowed to hold office within the boundaries of his own province.

Ostensibly a check on corrupt practicesit is probable that this rule

had a more far-reaching political purport. The members of the Han-lin

College presented an address praying him (1) to prepare a list of all

worthy men; (2) to search out such of these as might be in hiding; (3)

to exterminate all rebels; (4) to proclaim an amnesty; (5) to

establish peace; (6) to disband the armyand (7) to punish corrupt

officials.

The advice conveyed in the second clause of the above was speedily

acted uponand a number of capable men were secured for the

government service. At the same timewith a view to the full

technical establishment of the dynastythe Imperial ancestors were

canonisedand an ancestral shrine was duly constituted. The general

outlook would now appear to have been satisfactory from the point of

view of Manchu interests; but from lack of means of communication

China had in those days almost the connotation of space infiniteand

events of the highest importanceinvolving nothing less than the

change of a dynastycould be carried through in one portion of the

empire before their imminence had been more than whispered in another.

No sooner was Peking taken by the One-Eyed Rebelthan a number of

officials fled southwards and took refuge in Nankingwhere they set

up a grandson of the last Emperor but one of the Ming Dynastywho was

now the rightful heir to the throne. The rapidly growing power of the

Manchus had been lost sight ofif indeed it had ever been thoroughly

realisedand it seemed quite natural that the representative of the

House of Ming should be put forward to resist the rebels.

This monarchhoweverwas quite unequal to the fate which had

befallen him; andbefore longboth he himself and his capital were

in the hands of the Manchus. Other claimants to the throne appeared in

various places; notablyone at Hangchow and another at Foochoweach

of whom looked upon the other as a usurper. The former was soon

disposed ofbut the latter gradually established his rule over a wide

areaand for a long time kept the Manchus at bayso hateful was the

thought of an alien domination to the people of the province in

question. Towards the close of 1646he too had been capturedand the

work of pacification went onthe penalty of death now being exacted

in the case of officials who refused to shave the head and wear the

queue. Two more Emperorsboth of Imperial Ming bloodwere next

proclaimed in Cantonone of whom strangled himself on the advance of

the Manchuswhile the other disappeared. A large number of loyal

officialsrather than shave the front part of the head and wear the

Manchu queuevoluntarily shaved the whole headand sought sanctuary

in monasterieswhere they joined the Buddhist priesthood.

One more early attempt to re-establish the Mings must be noticed. The

fourth son of a grandson of the Ming Emperor Wan Li (died 1620) was in

1646 proclaimed Emperor at Nan-yang in Honan. For a number of years of

bloody warfare he managed to hold out; but gradually he was forced to

retirefirst to Fuhkien and Kuangtungand then into Kueichou and

Ynnanfrom which he was finally expelled by Wu San-kuei. He next

fled to Burmawhere in 1661 he was handed over to Wu San-kueiwho

had followed in pursuit; and he finally strangled himself in the

capital of Ynnan. He is said to have been a Christianas also many

of his adherentsin consequence of whichthe Jesuit fatherA.

Kofflerbestowed upon him the title of the Constantine of China. In

view of the general character for ferocity with which the Manchus are

usually creditedit is pleasant to be able to record that when the

official history of the Ming Dynasty came to be writtena Chinese

scholar of the daysitting on the historical commissionpleaded that

three of the princes above mentionedwho were veritable scions of the

Imperial stockshould be entered as "brave men" and not as"rebels"

and that the Emperorto whose reign we are now cominggraciously

granted his request.

In the year 1661 Shun Chihthe first actual Emperor of the Ch`ing

dynasty"became a guest on high." He does not rank as one ofChina's

great monarchsbut his kindly character as a manand his magnanimity

as a rulerwere extolled by his contemporaries. He treated the

Catholic missionaries with favour. The Dutch and Russian embassies to

his court in 1656 found there envoys from the Great Mogulfrom the

Western Tartarsand from the Dalai Lama. Chinain the days when her

civilization towered above that of most countries on the globeand

when her strength commanded the respect of all nationsgreat and

smallwas quite accustomed to receive embassies from foreign parts;

the first recorded instance being that of "An-tun" = MarcusAurelius

/Anton/inuswhich reached China in A.D. 166. But because the tribute

offered in this case contained no jewelsconsisting merely of ivory

rhinoceros-horntortoise-shelletc.which had been picked up in

Annamsome have regarded it merely as a trading enterpriseand not

really an embassy from the Roman Emperor; Chinese writerson the

other handsuggest that the envoys sold the valuable jewels and

bought a trumpery collection of tribute articles on the journey.

By the end of Shun Chih's reignthe Manchusonce a petty tribe of

hardy bowmenfar beyond the outskirts of the empirewere in

undoubted possession of all Chinaof Manchuriaof Koreaof most of

Mongoliaand even of the island of Formosa. How this island

discovered by the Chinese only in 1430became Manchu propertyis a

story not altogether without romance.

The leader of a large fleet of junkstraders or pirates as occasion

servedknown to the Portuguese of the day as Iquonwas compelled to

place his services at the command of the last sovereign of the Ming

dynastyin whose cause he fought against the Manchu invaders along

the coasts of Fuhkien and Kuangtung. In 1628 he tendered his

submission to the Manchusand for a time was well treatedand

cleared the seas of other pirates. Graduallyhoweverhe became too

powerfuland it was deemed necessary to restrain him by force. He was

finally induced to surrender to the Manchu general in Fuhkien; and

having been made a prisonerwas sent to Pekingwith two of his sons

by a Japanese wifetogether with other of his adherentsall of whom

were executed upon arrival. Another sonfamiliar to foreigners under

the name of Koxingaa Portuguese corruption of his titlehad

remained behind with the fleet when his father surrenderedand he

determined to avenge his father's treacherous deathdeclared an

implacable war against the Manchus. His piratical attacks on the coast

of China had long been a terror to the inhabitants; to such an extent

indeedthat the populations of no fewer than eighty townships had

been forced to remove inland. Then Formosaupon which the Dutch had

begun to form colonies in 1634and where substantial portions of

their forts are still to be seenattracted his piratical eye. He

attacked the Dutchand succeeded in driving them out with great

slaughterthus possessing himself of the island; but gradually his

followers began to drop offin submission to the new dynastyand at

length he himself was reported to Peking as dead. In 1874partly on

the ground that he was really a supporter of the Ming dynasty and not

a rebeland partly on the ground that "he had founded in the midst of

the waters a dominion which he had transmitted to his descendantsand

which was by them surrendered to the Imperial sway"--a memorial was

presented to the throneasking that his spirit might be canonized as

the guardian angel of Formosaand that a shrine might be built in his

honour. The request was granted.

Consolidation of the empire thus won by the sword was carried out as

follows. In addition to the large Manchu garrison at Pekingsmaller

garrisons were established at nine of the provincial capitalsand at

ten other important points in the provinces. The Manchu commandant of

each of the nine garrisons above mentionedfamiliar to foreigners as

the Tartar Generalwas so placed in order to act as a check upon the

civil Governor or Viceroyof whom hestrictly speakingtook

precedencethough in practice their ranks have always been regarded

as equal. With the empire at peacethe post of Tartar General has

always been a sinecureand altogether out of comparison with that of

the Viceroy and his responsibilities; but in the case of a Viceroy

suspected of disloyalty and collusion with rebelsthe swift

opportunity of the Tartar General was the great safeguard of the

dynastyfurther strengthened as he was by the regulation which gave

to him the custody of the keys to the city gates. Those garrisonsthe

soldiers of which were accompanied by their wives and familieswere

from the first intended to be permanent institutions; and there until

quite recently were to be found the descendants of the original

draftsnot allowed to intermarry with their Chinese neighboursbut

otherwise influenced to such an extent that their Manchu

characteristics had almost entirely disappeared. In one direction the

Manchus made a curious concession whichthough entirely sentimental

was nevertheless well calculated to appeal to a proud though

unconquered people. A rule was established under which every Manchu

high officialwhen memorializing the thronewas to speak of himself

to the Emperor as "your Majesty's slave" whereas the term accepted

from every Chinese high official was simply "your Majesty'sservant."

During the early years of Manchu ruleproficiency in archery was as

much insisted on as in the days of Edward III with us; and even down

to a few years ago Manchu Bannermenas they came to be calledmight

be seen everywhere diligently practising the art--actually one of the

six fine arts of China--by the aid of which their ancestors had passed

from the state of a petty tribal community to possession of the

greatest empire in the world.

The term Bannermanit may here be explainedis applied to all

Manchus in reference to their organization under one or other of eight

banners of different colour and design; besides whichthere are also

eight banners for Mongoliansand eight more for the descendants of

those Chinese who sided with the Manchus against the Mingsand thus

helped to establish the Great Pure dynasty.

One of the first cares to the authorities of a newly-established

dynasty in China is to provide the country with a properly authorized

Penal Codeand this has usually been accomplished by accepting as

basis the code of the preceding rulersand making such changes or

modifications as may be demanded by the spirit of the times. It is

generally understood that such was the method adopted under the first

Manchu Emperor. The code of the Mings was carefully examinedits

severities were softenedand various additions and alterations were

made; the result being a legal instrument which has received almost

unqualified admiration from eminent Western lawyers. It hashowever

been stated that the true source of the Manchu code must be looked for

in the code of the T`ang dynasty (A.D. 618-905); possibly both codes

were used. Within the compass of historical timesthe country has

never been without onethe first code having been drawn up by a

distinguished statesman so far back as 525 B.C. In any caseat the

beginning of the reign of Shun Chih a code was issuedwhich contained

only certain fundamental and unalterable laws for the empirewith an

Imperial prefacenominally from the hand of the Emperor himself. The

next step was to supply any necessary additions and modifications; and

as time went on these were further amended or enlarged by Imperial

decreesfounded upon current events--a process which has been going

on down to the present day. The code therefore consists of two parts:

(1) immutable laws more or less embodying great principles beyond the

reach of revisionsand (2) a body of case-law whichsince 1746has

been subject to revision every five years. With the publication of the

Penal Codethe legal responsibilities of the new Emperor began and

ended. There is notand never has beenanything in China of the

nature of civil lawbeyond local custom and the application of common

sense.

Towards the close of this reignintercourse with China brought about

an economic revolution in the Westespecially in Englandthe

importance of which it is difficult to realize sufficiently at this

distant date. A new drink was put on the breakfast-tabledestined to

displace completely the quart of ale with which even Lady Jane Grey is

said to have washed down her morning bacon. It is mentioned by Pepys

under the year 1660as "tee (a China drink)" which he says he had

never tasted before. Two centuries laterthe export of tea from China

had reached huge proportionsno less an amount than one hundred

million /lb./ having been exported in one season from Foochow alone.

 

 

CHAPTER IV

K`ANG HSI

The Emperor Shun Chih was succeeded by his third sonknown by his

year-title as K`ang Hsi (lasting prosperity)who was only eight years

old at the time of his accession. Twelve years later the new monarch

took up the reins of governmentand soon began to make his influence

felt. Fairly tall and well proportionedhe loved all manly exercises

and devoted three months annually to hunting. Large bright eyes

lighted up his facewhich was pitted with smallpox. Contemporary

observers vie with one another in praising his witunderstandingand

liberality of mind. He was not twenty when the three feudatory princes

broke into open rebellion. Of theseWu San-kueithe virtual founder

of the dynastywho had been appointed in 1659was the chief; and it

was at his instigation that his colleagues who ruled in Kuangtung and

Fuhkien determined to throw off their allegiance and set up

independent sovereignties. Within a few monthsK`ang Hsi found vast

portions of the empire slipping from his grasp; but though at one

moment only the provinces of ChihliHonanand Shantung were left to

him in peaceable possessionhe never lost heart. The resources of Wu

San-kuei were ultimately found to be insufficient for the struggle

the issue of which was determined partly by his death in 1678and

partly by the powerful artillery manufactured for the Imperial forces

by the Jesuit missionarieswho were then in high favour at court. The

capital city of Ynnan was taken by assault in 1681upon which Wu

San-kuei's son committed suicideand the rebellion collapsed. From

that date the Manchus decided that there should be no more"princes"

among their Chinese subjectsand the rule has been observed until the

present day.

Under the Emperor K`ang Hsi a re-arrangement of the empire was planned

and carried out; that is to saywhereas during the Mongol dynasty

there had only been thirteen provincesincreased to fifteen by the

Mingsthere was now a further increase of threethus constituting

what is known as the Eighteen Provincesor China Proper. To effect

thisthe old province of Kiangsan was divided into the modern Anhui

and Kiangsu; Kansuh was carved out of Shensi; and Hukuang was

separated into Hupeh and Hunan. Formosawhich was finally reconquered

in 1683was made part of the province of Fuhkienand so remained for

some two hundred yearswhen it was erected into an independent

province. Thusfor a time China Proper consisted of nineteen

provincesuntil the more familiar "eighteen" was recently restoredby

the transfer of Formosa to Japan. In addition to the abovethe

eastern territoryoriginally inhabited by the Manchuswas divided

into the three provinces already mentionedall of which were at first

organized upon a purely military basis; but of late years the

administration of the southernmost provincein which stands Mukden

the Manchu capitalhas been brought more into line with that of China

Proper.

In 1677 the East India Company established an agency at Amoywhich

though withdrawn in 1681was re-established in 1685. The first treaty

with Russia was negotiated in 1679but less than ten years later a

further treaty was found necessaryunder which it was agreed that the

river Amur was to be the boundary-line between the two dominionsthe

Russians giving up possession of both banks. Thus Ya-k`o-saor

Albazinwas ceded by Russia to Chinaand some of the inhabitants

who appear to have been either pure Russians or half-casteswere sent

as prisoners to Pekingwhere religious instruction was provided for

them according to the rules of the orthodox church. All the

descendants of these Albazins probably perished in the destruction of

the Russian college during the siege of the Legations in 1900.

Punitive expeditions against Galdan and Arabtan carried the frontiers

of the empire to the borders of Khokand and Badakshanand to the

confines of Tibet.

Galdan was a khan of the Kalmuckswho succeeded in establishing his

rule through nearly the whole of Turkestanafter attaining his

position by the murder of a brother. He attacked the Khalkasand thus

incurred the resentment of K`ang Hsiwhose subjects they were; and in

order to strengthen his powerhe applied to the Dalai Lama for

ordinationbut was refused. He then feigned conversion to

Mahometanismthough without attracting Mahometan sympathies. In 1689

the Emperor in person led an army against himcrossing the deadly

desert of Gobi for this purpose. Finallyafter a further expedition

and a decisive defeat in 1693Galdan became a fugitiveand died

three years afterwards. He was succeeded as khan by his nephew

Arabtanwho soon took up the offensive against China. He invaded

Tibetand pillaged the monasteries as far as Lhasa; but was

ultimately driven back by a Manchu army to Sungariawhere he was

murdered in 1727.

The question of the calendar early attracted attention under the reign

of K`ang Hsi. After the capture of Peking in 1644the Manchus had

employed the Jesuit FatherSchaalupon the Astronomical Boardan

appointment whichowing to the jealousies arousedvery nearly cost

him his life. What he taught was hardly superior to the astronomy then

in voguewhich had been inherited from the Mongolsbeing nothing

more than the old Ptolemaic systemalready discarded in Europe. In

1669a Flemish Jesuit Father from Courtrainamed Verbiestwas

placed upon the Boardand was entrusted with the correction of the

calendar according to more recent investigations.

Christianity was officially recognized in 1692and an Imperial edict

was issued ordering its toleration throughout the empire. The

discovery of the Nestorian tablet in 1625 had given a considerable

impulsein spite of its heretical associationsto Christian

propagandism; and it was estimated that in 1627 there were no fewer

than thirteen thousand convertsmany of whom were highly placed

officialsand even members of the Imperial family. An important

questionhowevernow came to a headand completely put an end to

the hope that China under the Manchus might embrace the Roman Catholic

faith. The question was this: May converts to Christianity continue

the worship of ancestors? Riccithe famous Jesuitwho died in 1610

and who is the only foreigner mentioned by name in the dynastic

histories of Chinawas inclined to regard worship of ancestors more

as a civil than a religious rite. He probably foresawas indeed time

has shownthat ancestral worship would prove to be an insuperable

obstacle to many inquirersif they were called upon to discard it

once and for all; at the same timehe must have known that an

invocation to spiritscoupled with the hope of obtaining some benefit

therefromis /worship/ pure and simpleand cannot be explained away

as an unmeaning ceremony.

Against the Jesuits in this matter were arrayed the Dominicans and

Franciscans; and the two parties fought the question before several

Popessometimes one side carrying its pointand sometimes the other.

At lengthin 1698a fresh petition was forwarded by the Jesuit order

in Chinaasking the Pope to sanction the practice of this rite by

native Christiansand also praying that the Chinese language might be

used in the celebration of mass. K`ang Hsi supported the Jesuits in

the view that ancestral worship was a harmless ceremony; but after

much wranglingand the dispatch of a Legate to the Manchu courtthe

Pope decided against the Jesuits and their Imperial ally. This was too

much for the pride of K`ang Hsiand he forthwith declared that in

future he would only allow facilities for preaching to those priests

who shared his view. In 1716an edict was issuedbanishing all

missionaries unless excepted as above. The Emperor had indeed been

annoyed by another ecclesiastical squabbleon a minor scale of

importancewhich had been raging almost simultaneously round the

choice of an appropriate Chinese term for God. The term approvedif

not suggestedby K`ang Hsiand indisputably the right oneas shown

by recent researchwas set aside by the Pope in 1704 in favour of one

which was supposed for a long time to have been coined for the

purposebut which had really been applied for many centuries

previously to one of the eight spirits of ancient mythology.

In addition to his military campaignsK`ang Hsi carried out several

journeys of considerable lengthand managed to see something of the

empire beyond the walls of Peking. He climbed the famous mountain

T`ai-shanin Shantungthe summit of which had been reached in 219

B.C. by the famous First Emperorburner of the books and part builder

of the Great Walland where a century later another Emperor had

instituted the mysterious worship of Heaven and Earth. The ascent of

T`ai-shan had been previously accomplished by only six Emperors in

allthe last of whom went up in the year 1008; since K`ang Hsi no

further Imperial attempts have been madeso that his will close the

list in connexion with the Manchu dynasty. It was on this occasion too

that he visited the tomb of Confuciusalso in Shantung.

The vagaries of the Yellow Rivernamed "China's Sorrow" by a later

Emperorwere always a source of great anxiety to K`ang Hsi; so much

so that he paid a personal visit to the sceneand went carefully into

the various plans for keeping the waters to a given course. Besides

causing frequently recurring floodswith immense loss of life and

propertythis river has a way of changing unexpectedly its bed; so

lately as 1856it turned off at right angles near the city of K`ai-

fngin Honanand instead of emptying itself into the Yellow Sea

about latitude 34found a new outlet in the Gulf of Peichili

latitude 38.

K`ang Hsi several times visited Hangchowreturning to Tientsin by the

Grand Canala distance of six hundred and ninety miles. This canal

it will be rememberedwas designed and executed under Kublai Khan in

the thirteenth centuryand helped to form an almost unbroken line of

water communication between Peking and Canton. At Hangchowduring one

visithe held an examination of all the (so-called) B.A.'s and

M.A.'sespecially to test their poetical skill; and he also did the

same at Soochow and Nankingtaking the opportunitywhile at Nanking

to visit the mausoleum of the founder of the Ming dynastywho lies

buried near byand whose descendants had been displaced by the

Manchus. Happily for K`ang Hsi's complacencythe book of fate is

hidden from Emperorsas well as from subjects--

All but the page prescribedtheir present state

and he was unable to foresee another visit paid to that mausoleum two

hundred and seven years laterunder very different conditionsto

which we shall come in due course.

The census has always been an important institution in China. Without

going back so far as the legendary golden agethe statistics of which

have been invented by enthusiastswe may accept unhesitatingly such

records as we find subsequent to the Christian eraon the

understanding that these returns are merely approximate. They could

hardly be otherwiseinasmuch as the Chinese count families and not

headsroughly allowing five souls to each household. This plan yields

a total of rather over fifty millions for the year A.D. 156and one

hundred and five millions for the fortieth year of the reign of K`ang

Hsi1701.

No record of this Emperorhowever briefcould fail to notice the

literary side of his characterand his extraordinary achievements in

this direction. It is almost paradoxicalthough absolutely truethat

two Manchu Emperorssprung from a race which but a few decades before

had little thought for anything beyond war and the chaseand which

had not even a written language of its ownshould have conferred more

benefits upon the student of literature than all the rest of China's

Emperors put together. The literature in question isof course

Chinese literature. Manchu was the court languagespoken as well as

writtenfor many years after 1644and down to quite recent times all

official documents were in duplicateone copy in Chinese and one in

Manchu; but a Manchu literature can hardly be said to existbeyond

translations of all the most important Chinese works. The Manchu

dynasty is an admirable illustration of the old story: conquerors

taken captive by the conquered.

At this momentthe term "K`ang Tsi" is daily on the lips of every

student of the Chinese languagenative or foreignthroughout the

empire. This is due to the fact that the Emperor caused to be produced

under his own personal superintendenceon a more extensive scale and

a more systematic plan than any previous work of the kinda lexicon

of the Chinese languagecontaining over forty thousand characters

with numerous illustrative phrases chronologically arrangedthe

spelling of each character according to the method introduced by

Buddhist teachers and first used in the third centurythe tones

various readingsetc.etc.altogether a great work and still

without a rival at the present day.

It would be tedious even to enumerate all the various literary

undertakings conceived and carried out under the direction of K`ang

Hsi; but there are two works in particular which cannot be passed

over. One of these is the huge illustrated encyclopdia in which

everything which has ever been said upon each of a vast array of

subjects is brought into a systematized book of referencerunning to

many hundred volumesand being almost a complete library in itself.

It was printedafter the death of K`ang Hsifrom movable copper

types. The other isif anythinga still more extraordinary though

not such a voluminous work. It is a concordance to all literature; not

of wordsbut of phrases. A student meeting with an unfamiliar

combination of characters can turn to its pages and find every passage

givenin sufficient fullnesswhere the phrase in question has been

used by poethistorianor essayist.

The last years of K`ang Hsi were beclouded by family troubles. For

some kind of intriguein which magic played a prominent parthe had

been compelled to degrade the Heir Apparentand to appoint another

son to the vacant post; but a year or two laterthis son was found to

be mentally derangedand was placed under restraint. So things went

on for several more yearsthe Emperor apparently unable to make up

his mind as to the choice of a successor; and it was not until the

last day of his life that he finally decided in favour of his fourth

son. Dying in 1723his reign had already extended beyond the Chinese

cycle of sixty yearsa feat which no Emperor of Chinain historical

timeshad ever before achievedbut which was again to be

accomplishedbefore the century was outby his grandson.

 

 

CHAPTER V

YUNG CHNG AND CH`IEN LUNG

The fourth son of K`ang Hsi came to the throne under the year-title of

Yung Chng (harmonious rectitude). He was confronted with serious

difficulties from the very first. Dissatisfaction prevailed among his

numerous brothersat least one of whom may have felt that he had a

better claim to rule than his junior in the family. This feeling

culminated in a plot to dethrone Yung Chngwhich washowever

discovered in timeand resulted only in the degradation of the guilty

brothers. The fact that among his opponents were native Christians--

some say that the Jesuits were at the bottom of all the mischief--

naturally influenced the Emperor against Christianity; no fewer than

three hundred churches were destroyedand all Catholic missionaries

were thenceforward obliged to live either at Peking or at Macao. In

1732 he thought of expelling them altogether; but finding that they

were enthusiastic teachers of filial pietyhe left them alonemerely

prohibiting fresh recruits from coming to China.

These domestic troubles were followed by a serious rebellion in

Kokonorwhich was not fully suppressed until the next reign; also by

an outbreak among the aborigines of Kueichow and Ynnanwhich lasted

until three years laterwhen the tribesmen were brought under

Imperial rule.

A Portuguese envoynamed Magalhaens (or Magaillans)visited Peking

in 1727bearing presents for the Emperor; but nothing very much

resulted from his mission. In 1730in addition to terrible floods

there was a severe earthquakewhich lasted ten daysand in which one

hundred thousand persons are said to have lost their lives. In 1735

Yung Chng's reign came to an end amid sounds of a further outbreak of

the aborigines in Kueichow. Before his deathhe named his fourth son

then only fifteenas his successorunder the regency of two of the

boy's uncles and two Grand Secretariesone of the latter being a

distinguished scholarwho was entrusted with the preparation of the

history of the Ming dynasty. Yung Chng's name has always been

somewhat unfairly associated by foreigners with a bitter hostility to

the Catholic priests of his daysimply because he refused to allow

them a free hand in matters outside their proper sphere. Altogether

it may be said that he was a just and public-spirited ruleranxious

for his people's welfare. He hated warand failed to carry on his

father's vigorous policy in Central Asia; neverthelessby 1730

Chinese rule extended to the Laos borderand the Shan States paid

tribute. He was a man of lettersand completed some of his father's

undertakings.

Yung Chng's successor was twenty-five years of age when he came to

the throne with the year-title of Ch`ien Lung (or Kien Long = enduring

glory)and one of his earliest acts was to forbid the propagation of

Christian doctrinea prohibition which developed between 1746 and

1785 into active persecution of its adherents. The first ten years of

this reign were spent chiefly in internal reorganization; the

remainderwhich covered half a centurywas almost a continuous

succession of wars. The aborigines of Kueichowknown as the Miao-

Tz{u}offered a determined resistance to all attempts to bring them

under the regular administration; and although they were ultimately

conqueredit was deemed advisable not to insist upon the adoption of

the queueand also to leave them a considerable measure of self-

government. Acting under Manchu guidancechiefs and leading tribesmen

were entrusted with important executive offices; they had to keep the

peace among their peopleand to collect the revenue of local produce

to be forwarded to Peking. These posts were hereditary. On the death

of the fatherthe eldest son proceeded to Peking and received his

appointment in persontogether with his seal of office. Failing sons

or their childrenbrothers had the right of succession.

In 1741 the population was estimated by Pre AmiotS.J.at over one

hundred and fifty millionsas against twenty-one million households

in 1701.

In 1753 there was trouble in Ili. After the death of Galdan II.son

of Arabtanan attempt was made by oneAmursanato usurp the

principality. He washoweverdriven outand fled to Pekingwhere

he was favourably received by Ch`ien Lungand an army was sent to

reinstate him. With the subsequent settlementunder which he was to

have only one quarter of IliAmursana was profoundly dissatisfied

and took the earliest opportunity of turning on his benefactors. He

murdered the Manchu-Chinese garrison and all the other Chinese he

could findand proclaimed himself khan of the Eleuths. His triumph

was short-lived; another army was sent from Pekingthis time against

himand he fled into Russian territorydying there soon afterwards

of smallpox. This campaign was lavishly illustrated by Chinese

artistswho produced a series of realistic pictures of the battles

and skirmishes fought by Ch`ien Lung's victorious troops. How far

these were prepared under the guidance of the Jesuit Fathers does not

seem to be known. About sixty years previouslyunder the reign of

K`ang Hsithe Jesuits had carried out extensive surveysand had

drawn fairly accurate maps of Chinese territorywhich had been sent

to Paris and there engraved on copper by order of Louis XIV. In like

mannerthe pictures now in question were forwarded to Paris and

engravedbetween 1769 and 1774by skilled draughtsmenas may be

gathered from the lettering at the foot of each; for instance--/Grav

par J. P. Le Basgraveur du cabinet du roi/ (Cambridge University

Library).

Kuldja and Kashgaria were next added to the empireand Manchu

supremacy was established in Tibet. Burma and Nepal were forced to pay

tributeafter a disastrous war (1766-1770) with the former country

in which a Chinese army had been almost exterminated; rebellions in

Ss{u}ch`uan (1770)Shantung (1777)and Formosa (1786) were

suppressed.

Early in the eighteenth centurythe Turgutsa branch of the Kalmuck

Tartarsunable to endure the oppressive tyranny of their rulers

trekked into Russiaand settled on the banks of the Volga. Some

seventy years lateronce more finding the burden of taxation too

heavythey again organized a trek upon a colossal scale. Turning

their faces eastwardthey spent a whole year of fearful suffering and

privation in reaching the confines of Ilia terribly diminished host.

There they received a districtand were placed under the jurisdiction

of a khan. This journey has been dramatically described by De Quincey

in an essay entitled "Revolt of the Tartarsor Flight of the Kalmuck

Khan and his people from the Russian territories to the Frontiers of

China." Of this contribution to literature it is only necessary to

remark that the scenes describedand especially the numbers

mentionedmust be credited chiefly to the perfervid imagination of

the essayistand also to certain not very trustworthy documents sent

home by Pre Amiot. It is probable that about one hundred and sixty

thousand Turguts set out on that long marchof whom only some seventy

thousand reached their goal.

In 1781the Dungans (or Tungans) of Shensi broke into open rebellion

which was suppressed only after huge losses to the Imperialists. These

Dungans were Mahometan subjects of Chinawho in very early times had

colonizedunder the name of Gao-tchanin Kansuh and Shensiand

subsequently spread westward into Turkestan. Some say that they were a

distinct racewhoin the fifth and sixth centuriesoccupied the

Tian Shan rangewith their capital at Harashar. The namehowever

meansin the dialect of Chinese Tartary"converts" that isto

Mahometanismto which they were converted in the days of Timour by an

Arabian adventurer. We shall hear of them again in a still more

serious connexion.

Eight years later there was a revolution in Cochin-China. The king

fled to Chinaand Ch`ien Lung promptly espoused his causesending an

army to effect his restoration. This was no sooner accomplished than

the chief Minister rebelledandrapidly attracting large numbers to

his standardsucceeded in cutting off the retreat of the Chinese

force. Ch`ien Lung then sent another armywhereupon the rebel

Minister submittedand humbled himself so completely that the Emperor

appointed him to be king instead of the other. After thisthe

Annamese continued to forward tributebut it was deemed advisable to

cease from further interference with their government.

The next trouble was initiated by the Gurkhaswhoin 1790raided

Tibet. On being defeated and pursued by a Chinese armythey gave up

all the booty takenand entered into an agreement to pay tribute once

every five years.

The year 1793 was remarkable for the arrival of an English embassy

under Lord Macartneywho was received in audience by the Emperor at

Jehol (= hot river)an Imperial summer residence lying about a

hundred miles north of Pekingbeyond the Great Wall. It had been

built in 1780 after the model of the palace of the Panshen Erdeni at

Tashilumboin Tibetwhen that functionarythe spiritual ruler of

Tibetas opposed to the Dalai Lamawho is the secular ruler

proceeded to Peking to be present on the seventieth anniversary of

Ch`ien Lung's birthday. Two years laterthe aged Emperorwho had

like his grandfathercompleted his cycle of sixty years on the

throneabdicated in favour of his sondying in retirement some four

years after. These two monarchsK`ang Hsi and Ch`ien Lungwere among

the ablestnot only of Manchu rulersbut of any whose lot it has

been to shape the destinies of China. Ch`ien Lung was an indefatigable

administratora little too ready perhaps to plunge into costly

military expeditionsand somewhat narrow in the policy he adopted

towards the "outside barbarians" who came to trade at Canton and

elsewherebut otherwise a worthy rival of his grandfather's fame as a

sovereign and patron of letters. From the long list of worksmostly

on a very extensive scaleproduced under his supervisionmay be

mentioned the new and revised editions of the Thirteen Classics of

Confucianism and of the Twenty-Four Dynastic Histories. In 1772 a

search was instituted under Imperial orders for all literary works

worthy of preservationand high provincial officials vied with one

another in forwarding rare and important works to Peking. The result

was the great descriptive Catalogue of the Imperial Libraryarranged

under the four heads of Classics (Confucianism)HistoryPhilosophy

and General Literaturein which all the facts known about each work

are set forthcoupled with judicious critical remarks--an

achievement which has hardly a parallel in any literature in the

world.

 

 

CHAPTER VI

CHIA CH`ING

Ch`ien Lung's sonwho reigned as Chia Ch`ing (high felicity--not to

be confounded with Chia Ching of the Ming dynasty1522-1567)found

himself in difficulties from the very start. The year of his accession

was marked by a rising of the White Lily Societyone of the dreaded

secret associations with which China isand always has been

honeycombed. The exact origin of this particular society is not known.

A White Lily Society was formed in the second century A.D. by a

certain Taoist patriarchand eighteen members were accustomed to

assemble at a temple in modern Kiangsi for purposes of meditation. But

this seems to have no connexion with the later sectof which we first

hear in 1308when its existence was prohibitedits shrines

destroyedand its votaries forced to return to ordinary life. Members

of the fraternity were then believed to possess a knowledge of the

black art; and later onin 1622the society was confounded by

Chinese officials in Shantung with Christianity. In the present

instanceit is said that no fewer than thirty thousand adherents were

executed before the trouble was finally suppressed; from which

statement it is easy to gather that under whatever form the White Lily

Society may have been originally initiatedits activities were now of

a much more serious characterand werein factplainly directed

against the power and authority of the Manchus.

Almost from this very date may be said to have begun that turn of the

tide which was to reach its flood a hundred years afterwards. The

Manchus came into poweras conquerors by force of armsat a time

when the mandate of the previous dynasty had been frittered away in

corruption and misrule; and although to the Chinese eye they were

nothing more than "stinking Tartars" there were not wanting manyglad

enough to see a change of rule at any price. Under the first Emperor

Shun Chihthere was barely time to find out what the new dynasty was

going to do; then came the long and glorious reign of K`ang Hsi

followedafter the thirteen harmless years of Yung Chngby the

equally long and equally glorious reign of Ch`ien Lung. The Chinese

peoplewhostrictly speakinggovern themselves in the most

democratic of all republicshave not the slightest objection to the

Imperial traditionwhich has indeed been their continuous heritage

from remotest antiquityprovided that public liberties are duly

safeguardedchiefly in the sense that there shall always be equal

opportunities for all. They are quick to discover the character of

their rulersand discovery in an unfavourable direction leads to an

early alteration of popular thought and demeanour. At the beginning of

the seventeenth centurythey had tired of eunuch oppression and

unjust taxationand they naturally hailed the genuine attempt in 1662

to get rid of eunuchs altogethercoupled with the persistent attempts

of K`ang Hsiand later of Ch`ien Lungto lighten the burdens of

revenue which weighed down the energies of all. But towards the end of

his reign Ch`ien Lung had become a very old man; and the gradual decay

of his powers of personal supervision opened a way for the old abuses

to creep inbringing in their train the usual accompaniment of

popular discontent.

The Emperor Chia Ch`inga worthless and dissolute rulernever

commanded the confidence of his people as his great predecessors had

donenor had he the same confidence in them. This want of mutual

trust was not confined to his Chinese subjects only. In 1799Ho-shn

a high Manchu official who had been raised by Ch`ien Lung from an

obscure position to be a Minister of State and Grand Secretarywas

suspectedprobably without a shadow of evidenceof harbouring

designs upon the throne. He was seized and triednominally for

corruption and undue familiarityand was condemned to deathbeing

allowed as an act of grace to commit suicide.

In 1803 the Emperor was attacked in the streets of Peking; and ten

years later there was a serious outbreak organised by a secret society

in Honanknown as the Society of Divine Justiceand alternatively as

the White Feather Societyfrom the badge worn by those members who

took part in the actual movementwhich happened as follows. An attack

upon the palace during the Emperor's absence on a visit to the

Imperial tombs was arranged by the leaderswho represented a

considerable body of malcontentsroused by the wrongs which their

countrymen were suffering all over the empire at the hands of their

Manchu rulers. By promises of large rewards and appointments to

lucrative offices when the Manchus should be got rid ofthe collusion

of a number of the eunuchs was secured; and on a given day some four

hundred rebelsdisguised as villagers carrying baskets of fruit in

which arms were concealedcollected about the gates of the palace.

Some say that one of the leaders was betrayedothers that the eunuchs

made a mistake in the date; at any rate there was a sudden rush on the

part of the conspiratorsthe guards at the gates were overpowered

every one who was not wearing a white feather was cut downand the

palace seemed to be at the mercy of the rebels. The latterhowever

were met by a desperate resistance from the young princeswho shot

down several of themand thus alarmed the soldiers. Assistance was

promptly at handand the rebels were all killed or captured.

Immediate measures were taken to suppress the Societyof which it is

said that over twenty thousand members were executedand as many more

sent in exile to Ili.

Not onehoweverof the numerous secret societieswhich from time to

time have flourished in Chinacan compare for a moment either in

numbers or organization with the formidable association known as the

Heaven and Earth Societyand also as the Triad Societyor Hung

Leaguewhich dates from the reign of Yung Chngand from first to

last has had one definite aim--the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty.

The term "Triad" signifies the harmonious union of heaven (q.d.God)

earthand man; and members of the fraternity communicate to one

another the fact of membership by pointing first up to the skythen

down to the groundand last to their own hearts. The Society was

called the Hung Leaguebecause all the members adopted Hung as a

surnamea word which suggests the idea of a cataclysm. By a series of

lucky chances the inner working of this Society became known about

fifty years agowhen a mass of manuscripts containing the history of

the Societyits ritualoathsand secret signstogether with an

elaborate set of drawings of flags and other regaliafell into the

hands of the Dutch Government at Batavia. These documentstranslated

by Dr. G. Schlegeldisclose an extraordinary similarity in many

respects between the working of Chinese lodges and the working of

those which are more familiar to us as temples of the Ancient Order of

Free and Accepted Masons. Such points of contacthoweveras may be

discoverableare most probably mere coincidences; if notand ifas

is generally understoodthe ritual of the European craft was

concocted by Cagliostrothen it follows that he must have borrowed

from the Chineseand not the Chinese from him. The use of the square

and compasses as symbols of moral rectitudewhich forms such a

striking feature of European masonryfinds no place in the ceremonial

of the Triad Societyalthough recognized as such in Chinese

literature from the days of Confuciusand still so employed in the

every-day colloquial of China.

In 1816 Lord Amherst's embassy reached Peking. Its object was to

secure some sort of arrangement under which British merchants might

carry on trade after a more satisfactory manner than had been the case

hitherto. The old Co-honga system first established in 1720under

which certain Chinese merchants at Canton became responsible to the

local authorities for the behaviour of the English merchantsand to

the latter for all debts due to themhad been so complicated by

various oppressive lawsthat at one time the East India Company had

threatened to stop all business. Lord Amhersthoweveraccomplished

nothing in the direction of reform. From the date of his landing at

Tientsinhe was persistently told that unless he agreed to perform

the /kotow/he could not possibly be permitted to an audience. It was

probably his equally persistent refusal to do so--a ceremonial which

had been excused by Ch`ien Lung in the case of Lord Macartney--that

caused the Ministers to change their tacticsand to declareon Lord

Amherst's arrival at the Summer Palacetired and waywornthat the

Emperor wished to see him immediately. Not only had the presentsof

which he was the bearernot arrived at the palacebut he and his

suiteamong whom were Sir George StantonDr Morrisonand Sir John

Davidshad not received the trunks containing their uniforms. It was

therefore impossible for the ambassador to present himself before the

Emperorand he flatly refused to do so; whereupon he received orders

to proceed at once to the sea-coastand take himself off to his own

country. A curious comment on this fiasco was made by Napoleonwho

thought that the English Government had acted wrongly in not having

ordered Lord Amherst to comply with the custom of the place he was

sent to; otherwisehe should not have been sent at all. "It is my

opinion that whatever is the custom of a nationand is practised by

the first characters of that nation towards their chiefcannot

degrade strangers who perform the same."

In 1820 Chia Ch`ing diedafter a reign of twenty-five yearsnotable

if for nothing elseas marking the beginning of Manchu decadence

evidence of which is to be found in the unusually restless temper of

the peopleand even in such apparent trifles as the abandonment of

the annual hunting excursionsalways before carried out on an

extensive scaleand presentingas it werea surviving indication of

former Manchu hardihood and personal courage. He was succeeded by his

second sonwho was already forty years of ageand whose hitherto

secluded life had ill-prepared him for the difficult problems he was

shortly called upon to face.

 

 

CHAPTER VII

TAO KUANG

Tao Kuang (glory of right principle)as he is calledfrom the style

chosen for his reigngave promise of being a useful and enlightened

ruler; at the least a great improvement on his father. He did his best

at first to purify the courtbut his natural indolence stood in the

way of any real reformand with the best intentions in the world he

managed to leave the empire in a still more critical condition than

that in which he had found it. Five years after his accessionhis

troubles began in real earnest. There was a rising of the people in

Kashgariadue to criminal injustice practised over a long spell of

time on the part of the Chinese authorities. The rebels found a leader

in the person of Jehangirwho claimed descent from one of the old

native chiefsformerly recognized by the Manchu Emperorsbut now

abolished as such. Thousands flocked to his standard; and by the time

an avenging army could arrive on the scenehe was already master of

the country. During the campaign which followedhis men were defeated

in battle after battle; and at length he himself was taken prisoner

and forwarded to Pekingwhere he failed to defend his conductand

was put to death.

The next serious difficulty which confronted the Emperor was a rising

in 1832of the wild Miao tribes of Kuangsi and Hunanled by a man

who either received or adopted the title of the Golden Dragon. At the

bottom of all the trouble we findas usually to be expected

henceforwardthe secret activities of the far-reaching Triad Society

which seized the occasion to foment into open rebellion the

dissatisfaction of the tribesmen with the glaring injustice they were

suffering at the hands of the local authorities. After some initial

massacres and reprisalsa general was sent to put an end to the

outbreak; but so far from doing thishe seems to have come off second

best in most of the battles which ensuedand was finally driven into

Kuang-tung. For this he was supersededand two Commissioners

dispatched to take charge of further operations. It occurred to these

officials that possibly persuasion might succeed where violence had

failed; and accordingly a proclamation was widely circulated

promising pardon and redress of wrongs to all who would at once return

to their allegianceand pointing out at the same time the futility of

further resistance. The effect of this move was magical; within a few

days the rebellion was over.

We are now reaching a period at which European complications began to

be added to the more legitimate worries of a Manchu Emperor. Trade

with the Portuguesethe Spaniardsthe Dutchand the Englishhad

been carried on since the early years of the sixteenth centurybut in

a very haphazard kind of wayand under many vexatious restrictions

bribery being the only effectual means of bringing commercial ventures

to a successful issue. So far back as 1680the East India Company had

received its charterand commercial relations with Chinese merchants

could be entered into by British subjects only through this channel.

Such machinery answered its purpose very well for a long period; but a

monopoly of the kind became out of date as time went onand in 1834

it ceased altogether. The Company was there for the sake of tradeand

for nothing else; and one of its guiding principles was avoidance of

any acts which might wound Chinese susceptibilitiesand tend to

defeat the object of its own existence. Consequentlythe directors

would not allow opium to be imported in their vessels; neither were

they inclined to patronize missionary efforts. It is true that

Morrison's dictionary was printed at the expense of the Companywhen

the punishment for a native teaching a foreigner the Chinese language

was death; but no pecuniary assistance was forthcoming when the same

distinguished missionary attempted to translate the Bible for

distribution in China.

The Manchuswho had themselves entered the country as robbers of the

soil and spoliators of the peoplewere determined to do their best to

keep out all future intruders; and it was for this reason that

suspicious of the aims of the barbarianevery possible obstacle was

placed in the way of those who wished to learn to speak and read

Chinese. This suspicion was very much increased in the case of

missionarieswhose real object the Manchus failed to appreciateand

behind whose plea of religious propagandism they thought they detected

a deep-laid scheme for territorial aggressionto culminate of course

in their own overthrow; and already in 1805 an edict had been issued

strictly forbidding anyone to teach even Manchu to any foreigner.

From this date (1834)any British subject was free to engage in the

tradeand the Home Government sent out Lord Napier to act as Chief

Superintendentand to enter into regular diplomatic relations with

the Chinese authorities. Lord Napierhowevereven though backed by a

couple of frigateswas unable to gain admission to the city of

Cantonand after a demonstrationthe only result of which was to

bring all business to a standstillhe was finally obliged in the

general interest to retire. He went to Macaoa small peninsula to the

extreme south-west of the Kuangtung provincefamous as the residence

of the poet Camoensand there he died a month later. Macao was first

occupied by the Portuguese trading with China in 1557; though there is

a story that in 1517 certain Portuguese landed there under pretence of

drying some tribute presents to the Emperorwhich had been damaged in

a stormand proceeded to fortify their encampmentwhereupon the

local officials built a wall across the peninsulashutting off

further access to the mainland. It also appears thatin 1566Macao

was actually ceded to the Portuguese on condition of payment of an

annual sum to Chinawhich payment ceased after trouble between the

two countries in 1849.

The next few years were employed by the successors of Lord Napier in

endeavoursoften wrongly directedto establish workingif not

harmoniousrelations with the Chinese authorities; but no

satisfactory point was reachedfor the simple reason that recent

events had completely confirmed the officials and the people in their

old views as to the relative status of the barbarians and themselves.

It is worth noticing here that Russiawith her conterminous and ever-

advancing frontierhas always been regarded somewhat differently from

the oversea barbarian. She has continually during the past three

centuries been the dreaded foreign bogy of the Manchus; and a few

years backwhen Manchus and Chinese alike fancied that their country

was going to be "chopped up like a melon" and divided among western

nationsa warning geographical cartoon was widely circulated in

Chinashowing Russia in the shape of a huge bear stretching down from

the north and clawing the vast areas of Mongolia and Manchuria to

herself.

Nowto aggravate the already difficult situationthe opium question

came suddenly to the front in an acute form. For a long time the

import of opium had been strictly forbidden by the Governmentand for

an equally long time smuggling the drug in increasing quantities had

been carried on in a most determined manner untilfinallyswift

vessels with armed crewssailing under foreign flagssucceeded in

terrorizing the native revenue cruisersand so delivering their

cargoes as they pleased. It appears that the Emperor Tao Kuangwho

had sounded the various high authorities on the subjectwas genuinely

desirous of putting an end to the import of opiumand so checking the

practice of opium-smokingwhich was already assuming dangerous

proportions; and in this he was backed up by Captain Elliot

(afterwards Sir Charles Elliot)now Superintendent of Tradean

official whose vacillating policy towards the Chinese authorities did

much to precipitate the disasters about to follow. After a serious

riot had been provokedin which the foreign merchants of Canton

narrowly escaped with their livesand to quell which it was necessary

to call out the soldierythe Emperor decided to put a definite stop

to the opium traffic; and for this purpose he appointed one of his

most distinguished servantsat that time Viceroy of Hukuangand

afterwards generally known as Commissioner Lina name much reverenced

by the Chinese as that of a true patriotand never mentioned even by

foreigners without respect. Early in 1839Lin took up the post of

Viceroy of Kuangtungand immediately initiated an attack whichto

say the least of itdeserved a better fate.

Within a few days a peremptory order was made for the delivery of all

opium in the possession of foreign merchants at Canton. This demand

was resistedbut for a short time only. All the foreign merchants

together with Captain Elliotwho had gone up to Canton specially to

meet the crisisfound themselves prisoners in their own houses

deprived of servants and even of food. Then Captain Elliot undertook

on behalf of his Governmentto indemnify British subjects for their

losses; whereupon no fewer than twenty thousand two hundred and

ninety-one chests of opium were surrendered to Commissioner Linand

the incident was regarded by the Chinese as closed. On receipt of the

Emperor's instructionsthe whole of this opiumfor which the owners

received orders on the Treasury at the rate of 120 per chestwas

mixed with lime and salt waterand was entirely destroyed.

Lin's subsequent demands were so arbitrary that at length the English

mercantile community retired altogether from Cantonand after a

futile attempt to settle at Macaowhere their presenceowing to

Chinese influence with the Portuguese occupierswas made unwelcome

they finally found a refuge at Hongkongthen occupied only by a few

fishermen's huts. Further negotiations as to the renewal of trade

having fallen throughLin gave orders for all British ships to leave

China within three dayswhich resulted in a fight between two men-of-

war and twenty-nine war-junksin which the latter were either sunk or

driven off with great loss. In June1840a British fleet of

seventeen men-of-war and twenty-seven troopships arrived at Hongkong;

Canton was blockaded; a port on the island of Chusan was subsequently

occupied; and Lord Palmerston's letter to the Emperor was carried to

Tientsinand delivered there to the Viceroy of Chihli. Commissioner

Lin was now cashiered for incompetency; but was afterwards instructed

to act with the Viceroy of Chihliwho was sent down to supersede him.

Further vexatious actionor rather inactionon the part of these two

at length drove Captain Elliot to an ultimatum; and as no attention

was paid to thisthe Bogue forts near the mouth of the Canton river

were taken by the British fleetafter great slaughter of the Chinese.

In January1841a treaty of peace was arrangedunder which the

island of Hongkong was to be ceded to Englanda sum of over a million

pounds was to be paid for the opium destroyedand satisfactory

concessions were to be made in the matter of official intercourse

between the two nations. The Emperor refused ratificationand ordered

the extermination of the barbarians to be at once proceeded with.

Again the Bogue forts were capturedand Canton would have been

occupied but for another promised treatythe terms of which were

accepted by Sir Henry Pottingerwho now superseded Elliot. At this

juncture the British fleet sailed northwardscapturing Amoy and

Ningpoand occupying the island of Chusan. The further capture of

Chapuwhere munitions of war in huge quantities were destroyedwas

followed by similar successes at Shanghai and Chinkiang. At the last-

mentioneda desperate resistance was offered by the Manchu garrison

who fought heroically against certain defeatand whowhen all hope

was gonecommitted suicide in large numbers rather than fall into the

hands of the enemyfrom whomin accordance with prevailing ideas and

with what would have been their own practicethey expected no

quarter. The Chinese troopsas distinguished from the Manchus

behaved differently; they took to their heels before a shot had been

fired. This behaviourwhich seems to be nothing more than arrant

cowardiceis nevertheless open to a more favourable interpretation.

The yoke of the Manchu dynasty was already beginning to press heavily

and these men felt that they had no particular cause to fight for

certainly not such a personal cause as then stared the Manchus in the

face. The Manchu soldiers were fighting for their all: their very

supremacy was at stake; while many of the Chinese troops were members

of the Triad Societythe chief object of which was to get rid of the

alien dynasty. It is thustoothat we can readily explain the

assistance afforded to the enemy by numerous Cantoneseand the

presence of many as servants on board the vessels of our fleet; they

did not help us or accompany us from any lack of patriotismof which

virtue Chinese annals have many striking examples to showbut because

they were entirely out of sympathy with their rulersand would have

been glad to see them overthrowncoupled of course with the tempting

pay and good treatment offered by the barbarian.

It now remained to take Nankingand thither the fleet proceeded in

August1842with that purpose in view. This move the Chinese

authorities promptly anticipated by offering to come to terms in a

friendly way; and in a short time conditions of peace were arranged

under an important instrumentknown as the Treaty of Nanking. Its

chief clauses provided for the opening to British trade of Canton

AmoyFoochowNingpoand Shanghaiat which all British subjects

were to enjoy the rights of extraterritorialitybeing subject to the

jurisdiction of their own officials only; alsofor the cession to

England of the island of Hongkongand for the payment of a lump sum

of about five million pounds as compensation for loss of opium

expenses of the waretc. All prisoners were to be releasedand there

was a special amnesty for such Chinese as had given their services to

the British during the war. An equality of status between the

officials of both nations was further concededand suitable rules

were to be drawn up for the regulation of trade. The above treaty

having been duly ratified by Tao Kuang and by Queen Victoriait must

then have seemed to British merchants that a new and prosperous era

had really dawned. But they counted without the ever-present desire of

the great bulk of the Chinese people to see the last of the Manchus;

and the Triad Societystimulated no doubt by the recent British

successeshad already shown signs of unusual activity whenin 1850

the Emperor diedand was succeeded by his fourth sonwho reigned

under the title of Hsien Fng (or Hien Fong = universal plenty).

 

 

CHAPTER VIII

HSIEN FNG

Hsien Fng came to the throne at the age of nineteenand found

himself in possession of a heritage which showed evident signs of

going rapidly to pieces. His fatherin the opinion of many competent

Chinesehad been sincerely anxious for the welfare of his country; on

the other handhe had failed to learn anything from the lessons he

had received at the hands of foreignerstowards whom his attitude to

the last was of the bow-wow order. On one occasionindeedhe

borrowed a classical phraseand referring to the intrusions of the

barbariandeclared roundly that he would allow no man to snore

alongside of his bed. Brought up in this spiritHsien Fng had

already begun to exhibit an anti-foreign biaswhen he found himself

in the throes of a struggle which speedily reduced the European

question to quite insignificant proportions.

A clever young Cantonesenamed Hung Hsiu-ch`anfrom whom great

things were expectedfailedin 1833to secure the first degree at

the usual public examination. Four years laterwhen twenty-four years

of agehe made another attemptonlyhoweverto be once more

rejected. Chagrin at this second failure brought on melancholiaand

he began to see visions; and later onwhile still in this depressed

state of mindhe turned his attention to some Christian tracts which

had been given to him on his first appearance at the examinationbut

which he had so far allowed to remain unread. In these he discovered

what he thought were interpretations of his earlier dreamsand soon

managed to persuade himself that he had been divinely chosen to bring

to his countrymen a knowledge of the true God.

In one sense this would only have been reversion to a former

conditionfor in ancient times a simple monotheism formed the whole

creed of the Chinese people; but Hung went much furtherand after

having become head of a Society of Godhe started a sect of

professing Christiansand set to work to collect followersstyling

himself the Brother of Christ. Graduallythe authorities became aware

of his existenceand also of the fact that he was drawing together a

following on a scale which might prove dangerous to the public peace.

It was then that force of circumstances changed his status from that

of a religious reformer to that of a political adventurer; and almost

simultaneously with the advent of Hsien Fng to the Imperial power

the long-smouldering discontent with Manchu rulecarefully fostered

by the organization of the Triad societybroke into open rebellion. A

sort of holy war was proclaimed against the Manchusstigmatized as

usurpers and idolaterswho were to be displaced by a native

administrationcalled the T`ai P`ing (great peace) Heavenly Dynasty

at the head of which Hung placed himselfwith the title of "Heavenly

King" in allusion to the Christian principles on which this new

departure was founded.

"Our Heavenly King" so ran the rebel proclamations"hasreceived a

divine commission to exterminate the Manchus utterlymenwomenand

childrenwith all idolatersand to possess the empire as its true

sovereign. For the empire and everything in it is his; its mountains

and riversits broad lands and public treasuries; you and all that

you haveyour familymales and females alikefrom yourself to your

youngest childand your propertyfrom your patrimonial estates to

the bracelet on your infant's arm. We command the services of alland

we take everything. All who resist us are rebels and idolatrous

demonsand we kill them without sparing; but whoever acknowledges our

Heavenly King and exerts himself in our service shall have full

reward--due honour and station in the armies and court of the

Heavenly Dynasty."

The T`ai-p`ings now got rid of the chief outward sign of allegiance to

the Manchusby ceasing to shave the forepart of the headand

allowing all their hair to grow longfrom which they were often

spoken of at the time--and the name still survives--as the long-haired

rebels. Their early successes were phenomenal; they captured city

after citymoving northwards through Kuangsi into Hunanwhence

after a severe check at Ch`ang-shathe provincial capitalthe siege

of which they were forced to raisethey reached and capturedamong

othersthe important cities of Wu-ch`angKiukiangand An-ch`ingon

the Yangtsze. The next stage was to Nankinga city occupying an

important strategic positionand famous as the capital of the empire

in the fourth and fourteenth centuries. Here the Manchu garrison

offered but a feeble resistancethe only troops who fought at all

being Chinese; within ten days (March1853) the city was in the hands

of the T`ai-p`ings; all Manchus--menwomenand childrensaid to

number no fewer than twenty thousand--were put to the sword; and in

the same monthHung was formally proclaimed first Emperor of the T`ai

P`ing Heavenly DynastyNanking from this date receiving the name of

the Heavenly City. So farthe generals who had been sent to oppose

his progress had effected nothing. One of these was Commissioner Lin

of opium famewho had been banished and recalledand was then living

in retirement after having successfully held several high offices. His

health was not equal to the effortand he died on his way to take up

his post.

After the further capture of Chinkianga feat which created a

considerable panic at Shanghaia force was detached from the main

body of the T`ai-p`ingsand dispatched north for no less a purpose

than the capture of Peking. Apparently a fool-hardy projectit was

one that came nearer to realization than the most sanguine outsider

could possibly have expected. The army reached Tientsinwhich is only

eighty miles from the capital; but when therea slight reverse

together with other unexplained reasonsresulted in a return (1855)

of the troops without having accomplished their object. Meanwhilethe

comparative ease with which the T`ai-p`ings had set the Manchus at

defianceand continued to hold their ownencouraged various

outbreaks in other parts of the empire; until at length more

systematic efforts were made to put a stop to the present impossible

condition of affairs.

Opportunity just now was rather on the side of the Imperialistsas

the futile expedition to Peking had left the rebels in a somewhat

aimless statenot quite knowing what to do next. It is true that they

were busy spreading the T`ai-p`ing conception of Christianityin

establishing schoolsand preparing an educational literature to meet

the exigencies of the time. They achieved the latter object by

building anew on the linesbut not in the spiritof the old. Thus

the Trimetrical Classicthe famous schoolboy's handbooka veritable

guide to knowledge in which a variety of subjects are lightly touched

uponwas entirely rewritten. The formrhyming stanzas with three

words to each linewas preserved; but instead of beginning with the

familiar Confucian dogma that man's nature is entirely good at his

birth and only becomes depraved by later environmentwe find the

story of the Creationtaken from the first chapter of Genesis.

By 1857Imperialist troops were drawing close lines around the

rebelswho had begun to lose rather than to gain ground. An-ch`ing

and Nankingthe only two cities which remained to themwere

blockadedand the Manchu plan was simply to starve the enemy out.

During this period we hear little of the EmperorHsien Fng; and what

we do hear is not to his advantage. He had become a confirmed

debaucheein the hands of a degraded cliquewhose only contribution

to the crisis was a suggested issue of paper money and debasement of

the popular coinage. Among his generalshoweverthere was now one

whose name is still a household word all over the empireand who

initiated the first checks which led to the ultimate suppression of

the rebellion. Tsng Kuo-fan had been already employed in high

officeswhenin 1853he was first ordered to take up arms against

the T`ai-p`ings. After some reverseshe entered upon a long course of

victories by which the rebels were driven from most of their

strongholds; and in 1859he submitted a plan for an advance on

Nankingwhich was approved and ultimately carried out. Meanwhilethe

plight of the besieged rebels in Nanking had become so unbearable that

something had to be done. A sortie on a large scale was accordingly

organizedand so successful was it that the T`ai-p`ings not only

routed the besieging armybut were able to regain large tracts of

territorycapturing at the same time huge stores of arms and

munitions of war. These victories were in reality the death-blow to

the rebel causefor the brutal cruelty then displayed to the people

at large was of such a character as to alienate completely the

sympathy of thousands who might otherwise have been glad to see the

end of the Manchus. Among other acts of desolationthe large and

beautiful city of Soochow was burnt and lootedan outrage for which

the T`ai-p`ings were held responsibleand regarding which there is a

pathetic tale told by an eye-witness of the ruins; in this instance

howeverif indeed in no othersthe acts of vandalism in question

were committed by Imperialist soldiers.

It is with the T`ai-p`ing rebellion that we associate /likin/a tax

which has for years past been the bugbear of the foreign merchant in

China. The term means "thousandth-part money" that isthethousandth

part of a /tael/ or Chinese ounce of silversay one /cash/; and it

was originally applied to a tax of one /cash/ per tael on all sales

said to have been voluntarily imposed on themselves by the peopleas

a temporary measurewith a view to make up the deficiency in the

land-tax caused by the rebellion. It was to be set apart for military

purposes only--hence its common name"war-tax"; but it soondrifted

into the general body of taxationand became a serious impost on

foreign trade. We first hear of it in 1852as collected by the

Governor of Shantung; to hear the last of it has long been the dream

of those who wish to see the expansion of trade with China.

Tsng Kuo-fan was now (1860) appointed Imperial War Commissioner as

well as Viceroy of the Two Kiang (= provinces of Kiangsi and Kiangsu +

Anhui). He had already been made a /bataru/a kind of order

instituted by the first Manchu Emperor Shun Chihas a reward for

military prowess; and had also received the Yellow Riding Jacket from

the Emperor Hsien Fngwho drew off the jacket he was himself wearing

at the timeand placed it on the shoulders of the loyal and

successful general. In 1861 he succeeded in recapturing An-ch`ing and

other places; and with this city as his headquarterssiege was

forthwith laid to Nanking.

The Imperialist forces were at this juncture greatly strengthened by

the appointmentson Tsng's recommendationof two notable menTso

Tsung-t`ang and Li Hung-changas Governors of Chehkiang and Kiangsu

respectively. Assistancetoocame from another and most unexpected

quarter. An American adventurernamed Warda man of considerable

military abilityorganized a small force of foreignerswhich he led

to such purpose against the T`ai-p`ingsthat he rapidly gathered into

its ranks a large if motley crowd of foreigners and Chineseall

equally bent on plunderand with that end in view submitting to the

discipline necessary to success. A long run of victories gained for

this force the title of the Ever Victorious Army; until at length Ward

was killed in battle. He was buried at Sungkiangnear Shanghaia

city which he had retaken from the T`ai-p`ingsand there a shrine was

erected to his memoryand for a long time--perhaps even now--

offerings were made to his departed spirit. An attempt was made to

replace him by another American named Burgevinewho had been Ward's

second in command. This manhoweverwas found to be incapable and

was superceded; and in 1863 Major GordonR.E.was allowed by the

British authorities to take over command of what was then an army of

about five thousand menand to act in co-operation with Tsng Kuo-fan

and Li Hung-chang. Burgevine shortly afterwards went over to the

rebels with about three hundred menand finally came to a tragic end.

Gordon's appointment to the work which will always be associated with

his namewas speedily followed by disastrous results to the T`ai-

p`ings. The Ever Victorious troopswho had recently been worsted in

more than one encounter with their now desperate enemiesbegan to

retrieve their reputationgreatly stimulated by the regular pay which

Gordon always insisted upon. Towards the close of the yearthe siege

of Soochow ended in a capitulation on terms which Gordon understood to

include a pardon for the eight T`ai-p`ing "princes" engaged in its

defence. These eight were hurriedly decapitated by order of Li Hung-

changand Gordon immediately resignedafter having searched that

same nightso the story goesrevolver in handfor Li Hung-chang

whose brains he had determined to blow out on the spot. The Emperor

sent him a medal and a present of about 3000both of which he

declined; and Imperial affairs would again have been in a bad waybut

that Gordonyielding to a sense of dutyagreed to resume command.

Foreign interests had begun to suffer badly; trade was paralysed; and

something had to be done. Further successes under Gordon's leadership

reduced the T`ai-p`ings to their last extremity. Only Nanking remained

to be capturedand that was already fully invested by Tsng Kuo-fan.

Gordon therefore laid down his commandand was rewarded with the

title of Provincial Commander-in-Chiefand also with the bestowal of

the Yellow Riding Jacket. A month or so later (July1864)Nanking

was carried by stormdefended bravely to the last by the only

remaining "prince" the Heavenly King himself having taken poison

three weeks beforehand. This prince escaped with the new kinga boy

of sixteenwho had just succeeded his father; but he was soon caught

and executedhaving first been allowed time to write a short history

of the movement from the T`ai-p`ing point of view. The boy shared his

fate. The Imperial edicts of this date show clearly what a sense of

relief came over the Manchu court when once it could be said

definitively that the great rebellion was over. On the other hand

there were not wanting some foreigners who would have liked to see the

Manchus overthrownand who severely blamed the British Government for

helping to bolster up a dynasty already in the last stage of decay;

for it seems to be an indubitable fact that but for British

interventionthe rebellion would ultimately have succeeded in that

particular direction.

During a great part of the last eight years described abovean

ordinary observer would have said that the Manchus had already

sufficient troubles on handand would be slow to provoke further

causes of anxiety. It is none the less truehoweverthat at one of

the most critical periods of the rebellionChina was actually at war

with the very power which ultimately came to the rescue. In 1856 the

Viceroy of Cantonknown to foreigners as Governor Yeha man who had

gained favour at the Manchu court by his wholesale butchery of real

and suspected rebelsarrested twelve Chinese sailors on board the

"Arrow" a Chinese-owned vessel lying at Cantonwhich had been

licensed at Hongkong to sail under the British flagand at the same

time the flag was hauled down by Yeh's men. Had this been an isolated

actit is difficult to see why very grave circumstances need have

followedand perhaps Justin McCarthy's condemnation of our ConsulMr

(afterwards Sir Harry) Parkesas "fussy" because he sent at onceto

Hongkong for armed assistancemight in such case be allowed to stand

unchallenged; but it must be remembered that Yeh was all the time

refusing to foreigners rights which had been already conceded under

treatyand that action such as Parkes tookagainst an adversary such

as Yehwas absolutely necessary either to mend or end the situation.

Accordinglyhis action led to what was at first an awkward state of

reprisalsin which some American men-of-war joined for grievances of

their own; forts being attacked and occupiedthe foreign houses of

business at Canton being burned downand rewards offered for

foreigners' heads. In January1857an attempt was actually made in

Hongkong to get rid of all foreigners at one fell strokein which

plot there is no doubt that the local officials at Canton were deeply

implicated. The bread was one day found to be poisoned with arsenic

but so heavily that little mischief was done. The only possible end to

this tension was war; and by the end of the year a joint British and

French forcewith Lord Elgin and Baron Gros as plenipotentiarieswas

on the spot. Canton was captured after a poor resistance; and Governor

Yehwhose enormous bulk made escape difficultwas captured and

banished to Calcuttawhere he died. On the voyage he sank into a kind

of stuportaking no interest whatever in his new surroundings; and

when asked by Alabasterwho accompanied him as interpreterwhy he

did not readhe pointed to his stomachthe Chinese receptacle for

learningand said that there was nothing worth reading except the

Confucian Canonand that he had already got all that inside him.

After his departure the government of the city was successfully

directed by British and French authoritiesacting in concert with two

high Manchu officials.

Lord Elgin then decided to proceed forthin the hope of being able to

make satisfactory arrangements for future intercourse; but the

obstructive policy of the officials on his arrival at the Peiho

compelled him to attack and capture the Taku fortsand finallyto

take up his residence in Tientsin. The lipsas the Chinese saybeing

now gonethe teeth began to feel cold; the court was in a state of

panicand within a few weeks a treaty was signed (June 261858)

containingamong other concessions to Englandthe right to have a

diplomatic representative stationed in Pekingand permission to trade

in the interior of China. It would naturally be supposed that Lord

Elgin's mission was now endedand indeed he went home; the Emperor

howeverwould not hear of ratifications of the treaty being exchanged

in Pekingand in many other ways it was made plain that there was no

intention of its stipulations being carried out. There was the example

of Confuciuswho had been captured by rebels and released on

condition that he would not travel to the State of Wei. Thither

notwithstandinghe continued his route; and when asked by a disciple

if it was right to violate his oathhe replied"This was a forced

oath; the spirits do not hear such."

By June1859another Anglo-French force was at the mouth of the

Peihoonly to find the Taku forts now strongly fortifiedand the

river staked and otherwise obstructed. The allied fleetafter

suffering considerable damagewith much loss of lifewas compelled

to retiregreatly to the joy and relief of the Emperorwho at last

saw the barbarian reduced to his proper status. It was on this

occasion that Commander Tatnell of the U.S. navywho was present

strictly speakingas a spectator onlyin complete violation of

international lawof which luckily the Chinese knew nothing at that

datelent efficient aid by towing boat-loads of British marines into

actionjustifying his conduct by a saying which will always be

gratefully associated with his name--"Blood is thicker thanwater."

By August1860thirteen thousand British troopsseven thousand

Frenchand two thousand five hundred Cantonese coolieswere ready to

make another attempt. This time there were no frontal attacks on the

forts from the seaward; capture was effectedafter a severe struggle

by land from the reara feat which was generally regarded by the

Tartar soldiery as most unsportsmanlike. High Manchu officials were

now hurriedly dispatched from Peking to Tientsin to stop by fair

promises the further advance of the allies; but the British and French

plenipotentiaries decided to move up to T`ung-chowa dozen miles or

so from the capital. It was on this march that ParkesLochand

otherswhile carrying out orders under a flag of trucewere

treacherously seized by the soldiers of Sng-ko-lin-sinthe Manchu

prince and general (familiar to the British troops as "Sam

Collinson")who had just experienced a severe defeat at the taking of

the Taku forts. After being treated with every indignitythe

prisonersFrench and Englishnumbering over thirty in allwere

forwarded to Peking. There they were miserably torturedand many of

them succumbed; but events were moving quickly nowand relief was at

hand for those for whom it was not already too late. Sng-ko-lin-sin

and his vaunted Tartar cavalry were completely routed in several

encountersand Peking lay at the mercy of the foreignerthe Emperor

having fled to Jeholwhere he died in less than a year. Only then did

Prince Kunga younger brother of Hsien Fngwho had been left to

bear the brunt of foreign resentmentsend backin a state too

terrible for wordsfourteen prisonersless than half the original

number of those so recently captured. Something in the form of a

punitive act now became necessaryto mark the horror with which this

atrocious treatment of prisoners by the Manchu court was regarded

among the countrymen of the victims. Accordinglyorders were given to

burn down the Summer Palaceappropriately condemned as being the

favourite residence of the Emperorand also the scene of the

unspeakable tortures inflicted. This palace was surrounded by a

beautiful pleasance lying on the slope of the western hillsabout

nine miles to the north-west of Peking. Yan-ming Yanor the "Bright

Round Garden" to give it its proper namehad been laid out by the

Jesuit fathers on the plan of the Trianon at Versaillesand was

packed with valuable porcelainold bronzesand every conceivable

kind of curiomost of which were looted or destroyed by the

infuriated soldiery.

The ratification of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858) was now completed

and before the end of the year the allied forces were gonesave and

except garrisons at Tientsin and Takuwhich were to remain until the

indemnity was paid.

 

 

CHAPTER IX

T`UNG CHIH

On the death of the Emperora plot was concocted by eight members of

the extreme anti-foreign party at Courtwho claimed to have been

appointed Regentsto make away with the Empress Dowagerthe

concubine motherknown as the Western Empressof the five-year-old

child just proclaimed under the title of Chi Hsiang (good omen)and

also the late Emperor's three brothersthus securing to themselves

complete control of the administration. Prince Kunghowevermanaged

to be "first at the fire" and in accordance with the Chineseproverb

was therefore "first with his cooking." Having got wind of thescheme

in concert with the two Empresses Dowagerwho had secured possession

of the Emperorhe promptly caused the conspirators to be seized. Two

of themImperial princeswere allowed to commit suicideand the

others were either executed or banishedwhile Prince Kung and the two

Empresses formed a joint regency for the direction of public affairs

after changing the style of the reign from Chi Hsiang to T`ung Chih

(united rule).

The position of these two Empresses was a curious one. The Empress

Dowager /par excellence/--for there is only one legal wife in China--

had no children; a concubine had provided the heir to the throneand

had in consequence been raised to the rank of Western Empress

subordinate only to the childless Eastern Empress. Of the latter

there is nothing to be saidexcept that she remained a cipher to the

end of her life; of the concubinea great deal has been saidmuch of

which is untrue. Taken from an ordinary Manchu family into the palace

she soon gained an extraordinary influence over Hsien Fngand began

to make her voice heard in affairs of State. Always on the side of

determined measuresshe had counselled the Emperor to remain in

Peking and face the barbarians; she is further believed to have urged

the execution of Parkes and Lochthe order luckily arriving too late

to be carried out. For the next three years the Regents looked

anxiously for the final collapse of the T`ai-p`ingshaving meanwhile

to put up with the hateful presence of foreign diplomatsnow firmly

established within the Manchu section of the city of Peking. No sooner

was the great rebellion entirely suppressed (1864)than another

rising broke out. The Nien-feior Twist Rebelssaid to have been so

called because they wore as a badge turbans twisted with greasewere

mounted banditti whohere to-day and gone to-morrowfor several

years committed much havoc in the northern provinces of Chinauntil

finally suppressed by Tso Tsung-t`ang.

Turkestan was the next part of the empire to claim attention. A son

and successor of Jehangirruling as vassal of China at Khokandhad

been murdered by his lieutenantYakoob Begwhoin 1866had set

himself up as Ameer of Kashgariathrowing off the Manchu yoke and

attracting to his standard large numbers of discontented Mahometans

from all quarters. His attack upon the Dunganiswho had risen on

their own account and had spread rebellion far and wide between the

province of Shensi and Kuldjacaused Russia to step in and annex

Kuldja before it could fall into his hands. Stillhe became master of

a huge territory; and in 1874 the title of Athalik Ghazi"Champion

Father" was conferred upon him by the Ameer of Bokhara. He is also

spoken of as the Andijanifrom Andijana town in Khokhand whence he

and many of his followers came. Luckily for the Manchusthey were

able to avail themselves of the services of a Chinese general whose

extraordinary campaign on this occasion has marked him as a commander

of the first order. Tso Tsung-k`angalready distinguished by his

successes against the T`ia-p`ings and the Nien-feibegan by

operationsin 1869against the Mahometans in Shensi. Fighting his

way through difficulties caused by local outbreaks and mutinies in his

rearhe had captured by 1873 the important city of Su-chow in Kansuh

and by 1874 his advance-guard had reached Hami. There he was forced to

settle down and raise a crop in order to feed his troopssupplies

being very uncertain. In 1876 Urumtsi was recovered; and in 1877

TurfanHarasharYarkandand Kashgar. At this junctureYakoob Beg

was assassinatedafter having held Kashgaria for twelve years. Khoten

fell on January 21878. This wonderful campaign was now overbut

China had lost Kuldja. A Manchu officialnamed Ch`ung-houwho was

sent to St Petersburg to meet Russian diplomats on their own ground

the main object being to recover this lost territorywas condemned to

death on his return for the egregious treaty he had managed to

negotiateand was only spared at the express request of Queen

Victoria; he will be mentioned again shortly. His error was afterwards

retrieved by a young and brilliant officialson of the great Tsng

Kuo-fanand later a familiar figure as the Marquis TsngMinister at

the Court of St James'sby whom Kuldja was added once more to the

Manchu empire.

The year 1868 is remarkable for a singular episode. The Regents and

other high authorities in Peking decidedat whose instigation can

only be surmisedto send an embassy to the various countries of

Europe and Americain order to bring to the notice of foreign

governments China's rightas an independent Powerto manage her

internal affairs without undue interference from outside. The mission

which included two Chinese officialswas placed under the leadership

of Mr BurlingameAmerican Minister at Pekingwhoin one of his

speechestook occasion to say that China was simply longing to cement

friendly relations with foreign powersand that within some few short

years there would be "a shining cross on every hill in the Middle

Kingdom."

Burlingame died early in 1870before his mission was completedand

only four months before the Tientsin Massacre threw a shadow of doubt

over his optimistic pronouncements. The native population at Tientsin

had been for some time irritated by the height to whichcontrary to

their own customthe towers of the Roman Catholic Cathedral had been

carried; and rumours had also been circulated that behind the lofty

walls and dark mysterious portals of the Catholic foundling hospital

children's eyes and hearts were extracted from still warm corpses to

furnish medicines for the barbarian pharmacopia. On June 21the

cathedral and the establishment of sisters of mercythe French

Consulateand other buildingswere pillaged and burnt by a mob

composed partly of the rowdies of the place and partly of soldiers who

happened to be temporarily quartered there. All the priests and

sisters were brutally murderedas also the French Consul and other

foreigners. For this outrage eighteen men were executeda large

indemnity was exactedand the superintendent of tradethe same

Manchu official whose subsequent failure at St Petersburg has been

already noticedwas sent to France with a letter of apology from the

Emperor.

In 1872 T`ung Chih was marriedand in the following year took over

the reins of government. Thereuponthe foreign Ministers pressed for

personal interviews; and after much obstruction on the part of the

Manchu courtthe first audience was granted. This same year saw the

collapse of the Panthaysa tribe of Mahometans in Ynnan whoso far

back as 1855had begun to free themselves from Chinese rule. They

chose as their leader an able co-religionist named Tu Wn-hsiuwho

was styled Sultan Suleimanand he sent agents to Burma to buy arms

and munitions of war; after whichsecure in the natural fortress of

Ta-lihe was soon master of all western Ynnan. In 1863 he repulsed

with heavy loss two armies sent against him from the provincial

capital; but the end of the T`ai-p`ing rebellion set free the whole

resources of the empire against himand he remained inactive while

the Imperialists advanced leisurely westwards. In 1871 he tried vainly

to obtain aid from Englandsending over his sonPrince Hassanfor

that purpose. The following year saw the enemy at the gates of Ta-li

and by and by there was a treacherous surrender of an important

position. Then a promise of an amnesty was obtained at the price of

Tu's headand an enormous indemnity. On January 151873his family

having all committed suicidethe Sultan passed for the last time

through the crowded streets of Ta-li on his way to the camp of his

victorious adversary. He arrived there senselesshaving taken poison

before setting forth. His corpse was beheaded and his head was

forwarded to the provincial capitaland thence in a jar of honey to

Peking.

His conquerorwhose name is not worth recordingwas one of those

comparatively rare Chinese monsters who served their Manchu masters

only too well. Eleven days after the Sultan's deathhe invited the

chief men of the town to a feastand after putting them all to death

gave the signal for a general massacrein which thirty thousand

persons are said to have been butchered.

In 1874 the Japanese appear on the sceneadding fresh troubles to

those with which the Manchus were already encompassed. Some sailors

from the Loo-choo Islandsover which Japanese sovereignty had been

successfully maintainedwere murdered by the savages on the east

coast of Formosa; and failing to obtain redressJapan sent a punitive

expedition to the islandand began operations on her own accountbut

withdrew on promises of amendment and payment of all expenses

incurred.

 

 

CHAPTER X

KUANG HS

In 1875 the Emperor T`ung Chih died of smallpoxand with his death

the malign influence of his mother comes more freely into play. The

young Empress was about to become a mother; and had she borne a son

her position as mother of the baby Emperor would have been of

paramount importancewhile the grandmotherthe older Empress

Dowagerwould have been relegated to a subordinate status.

Consequently--it may now be saidhaving regard to subsequent

happenings--the death of the Empress followed that of her husband at

an indecently short intervalfor no particular reason of health; and

the old Empress Dowager became supreme. In order to ensure her

supremacyshe had previouslyon the very day of the Emperor's death

caused the succession to be allottedin utter violation of

established customto a first cousinmaking him heir to the Emperor

Hsien Fnginstead of naming one of a lower generation whoas heir

to T`ung Chihwould have been qualified to sacrifice to the spirit of

his adopted father. Thusthe late Emperor was left without a sonand

his spirit without a ministrant at ancestral worshipthe only

consolation being that when a son should be born to the new Emperor

(aged four)that child was to become son by adoption to his late

MajestyT`ung Chih. Remonstranceseven from Manchuswere soon heard

on all sides; but to these the Empress Dowager paid no attention until

four years afterwards (1879)on the occasion of the deferred funeral

of the late Emperorwhen a censornamed Wu K`o-tucommitted suicide

at the mausoleumleaving behind him a memorial in which he strongly

condemned the action of the two Empresses Dowagerstill regarded

officially as joint regentsand called for a re-arrangement of the

successionunder which the late Emperor would be duly provided with

an heir. Nothinghowevercame of this sacrificeexcept promises

until 1900. A son of Prince Tuanwithin a few months to espouse the

Boxer causewas then made heir to his late Majestyas required; but

at the beginning of 1901this appointment was cancelled and the

spirit of the Emperor T`ung Chih was left once more unprovided for in

the ancestral temple. The first cousin in questionwho reigned as

Kuang Hs (= brilliant succession)was not even the next heir in his

own generation; but he was a child of fourand that suited the plans

of the Empress Dowagerwhohaving appointed herself Regentnow

entered openly upon the career for which she will be remembered in

history. What she would have done if the Empress had escaped and given

birth to a soncan only be a matter of conjecture.

In 1876 the first resident Envoy ever sent by China to Great Britain

or to any other nationwas accredited to the Court of St James's. Kuo

Sung-taowho was chosen for the postwas a fine scholar; he made

several attempts on the score of health to avoid what then seemed to

all Chinese officials--no Manchu would have been sent--to be a

dangerous and unpleasant dutybut was ultimately obliged to succeed.

It was he whoon his departure in 1879said to Lord Salisbury that

he liked everything about the English very muchexcept their shocking

immorality.

The question of railways for China had long been simmering in the

minds of enterprising foreigners; but it was out of the question to

think that the Government would allow land to be sold for such a

purpose; therefore there would be no sellers. In 1876 a private

company succeeded in obtaining the necessary land by buying up

connecting strips between Shanghai and Woosung at the mouth of the

riverabout eight miles in all. The company then proceeded to lay

down a miniature railwaywhich was an object of much interest to the

nativewhose amusement soon took the form of a trip there and back.

Political influence was then brought to bearand the whole thing was

purchased by the Government; the rails were torn up and sent to

Formosawhere they were left to rot upon the sea-beach.

The suppression of rebellion in Turkestan and Ynnan has already been

mentioned; also the retrocession of Kuldjawhich brings us down to

the year 1881when the Eastern Empress died. Death must have been

more or less a relief to this colourless personagewho had been

entirely superseded on a stage on which by rights she should have

played the leading partand who had been terrorized during her last

years by her more masterful colleague.

In 1882 there were difficulties with France over Tongking; these

howeverwere adjustedand in 1884 a convention was signed by Captain

Fournier and Li Hung-chang. A further dispute then arose as to a

breach of the convention by the Chineseand an /tat de reprsailles/

followedduring which the French destroyed the Chinese fleet. After

the peace which was arranged in 1885a few years of comparative

tranquillity ensued; the Emperor was married (1889)and relieved his

aunt of her duties as Regent.

Japanin earlier centuries contemptuously styled the Dwarf-nation

and always despised as a mere imitator and brain-picker of Chinese

wisdomnow swims definitively into the ken of the Manchu court. The

Formosan imbroglio had been forgotten as soon as it was overand the

recent rapid progress of Japan on Western lines towards national

strength had been ignored by all Manchu statesmeneach of whom lived

in hope that the deluge would not come in his own time. So far back as

1885in consequence of serious troubles involving much bloodshedthe

two countries had agreed that neither should send troops to Korea

without due notification to the other. Nowin 1894China violated

this contract by dispatching troopsat the request of the king of

Koreawhose throne was threatened by a serious rebellionwithout

sufficient warning to Japanand furtherby keeping a body of these

troops at the Korean capital even when the rebellion was at an end. A

disastrous war ensued. The Japanese were victorious on land and sea;

the Chinese fleet was destroyed; Port Arthur was taken; and finally

after surrendering Wei-hai-wei (1895)to which he had retired with

the remnant of his fleetAdmiral Tingwell known as "a gallant

sailor and true gentleman" committed suicide together with four of

his captains. Li Hung-chang was then sent to Japan to sue for peace

and while there he was shot in the cheek by a fanatical member of the

Soshi class. This act brought him much sympathy--he was then seventy-

two years old; and in the treaty of Shimonosekiwhich he negotiated

better terms perhaps were obtained than would otherwise have been the

case. The terms granted included the independence of Koreafor

centuries a tribute-paying vassal of Chinaand the cession of the

island of Formosa. Japan had occupied the peninsula on which stands

the impregnable fortress of Port Arthurand had captured the latter

in a few hours; but she was not to be allowed to keep them. A

coalition of European powersRussiaGermanyand France--England

refused to join--decided that it would never do to let Japan possess

Port Arthurand forced her to accept a money payment instead. So it

was restored to China--for the moment; and at the same time a republic

was declared in Formosa; but of this the Japanese made short work.

[I once read the memoirs of a Japanese foreign minister from this

period. He didn't think much of most of the Chinese diplomatswhom he

considered completely untrustworthy.--JB.]

The following year was marked by an unusual display of initiative on

the part of the Emperorwho now ordered the introduction of railways;

but in 1897 complications with foreign powers rather gave a check to

these aspirations. Two German Catholic priests were murderedand as a

punitive measure Germany seized Kiaochow in Shantung; while in 1898

Russia "leased" Port Arthurand as a counterblastEngland thoughtit

advisable to "lease" Wei-hai-wai. So soon as the Manchu court had

recovered from the shock of these eventsand had resumed its normal

state of torporit was rudely shaken from within by a series of

edicts which peremptorily commanded certain reforms of a most far-

reaching description. For instancethe great public examinations

which had been conducted on much the same system for seven or eight

centuries pastwere to be modified by the introduction of subjects

suggested by recent intercourse with Western nations. There was to be

a university in Pekingand the templeswhich cover the empire in all

directionswere to be closed to religious services and opened for

educational purposes. The Manchusindeedhave never shown any signs

of a religious temperament. There had not beenunder the dynasty in

questionany such wave of devotional fervour as was experienced under

more than one previous dynasty. Neither the dreams of Buddhismnor

the promises of immortality held out by the Taoistsseem to have

influenced in a religiousas opposed to a superstitious sensethe

rather Botian mind of the Manchu. The learned emperors of the

seventeenth and eighteenth centuries accepted Confucianism as

sufficient for every-day humanityand did all in their power to

preserve it as a quasi-State religion. ThusBuddhism was not favoured

at the expense of Taoismnor /vice versa/; Mahometanism was tolerated

so long as there was no suspicion of disloyalty; Christianityon the

other handwas bitterly opposedbeing genuinely regarded for a long

time as a cloak for territorial aggression.

To return to the reforms. Young Manchus of noble family were to be

sent abroad for an education on wider lines than it was possible to

obtain at home. This last was in every way a desirable measure. No

Manchu had ever visited the West; all the officials previously sent to

foreign countries had been Chinese. But other proposed changes were

not of equal value.

At the back of this reform movement was a small band of earnest men

who suffered from too much zealwhich led to premature action. A plot

was conceivedunder which the Empress Dowager was to be arrested and

imprisoned; but this was betrayed by Yan Shih-k`aiand she turned

the tables by suddenly arresting and imprisoning the Emperorand

promptly decapitating all the conspiratorswith the exception of

K`ang Yu-weiwho succeeded in escaping. He had been the moving spirit

of the abortive revolution; he was a fine scholarand had completely

gained the ear of the Emperor. The latter became henceforth to the end

of his life a person of no importancewhile Chinafor the third time

in historypassed under the dominion of a woman. There was no secret

about it; the Empress Dowagerpopularly known as the Old Buddhahad

succeeded in terrorizing every one who came in contact with herand

her word was law. It was said of one of the Imperial princes that he

was "horribly afraid of her Majestyand that when she spoke to him he

was on tenter-hooksas though thorns pricked himand the sweat ran

down his face."

All promise of reform now disappeared from the Imperial programmeand

the recent edictswhich had raised premature hope in this direction

were annulled; the old rgime was to prevail once more. The weakness

of this policy was emphasized in the following year (1899)when

England removed from Japan the stigma of extra-territorial

jurisdictionby which act British defendantsin civil and criminal

cases alikenow became amenable to Japanese tribunals. Japan had set

herself to work to frame a codeand had trained lawyers for the

administration of justice; China had done nothingcontent that on her

own territory foreigners and their lawsuitsas aboveshould be tried

by foreign Consuls. One curious edict of this date had for its object

the conferment of duly graded civil rankthe right to salutes at

official visitsand similar ceremonial privilegesupon Roman

Catholic archbishopsbishopsand priests of the missionary body in

China. The Catholic view was that the missionaries would gain in the

eyes of the people if treated with more deference than the majority of

Chinese officials cared to display towards what was to them an

objectionable class; in practicehoweverthe system was found to be

unworkableand was ultimately given up.

The autumn of this year witnessed the beginning of the so-called Boxer

troubles. There was great unrestespecially in Shantungdueit was

saidto ill-feeling between the people at large and converts to

Christianityand at any rate aggravated by recent foreign

acquisitions of Chinese territory. It was thus that what was

originally one of the periodical anti-dynastic risingswith the usual

scion of the Ming dynasty as figure-headlost sight of its objective

and became a bloodthirsty anti-foreign outbreak. The story of the

siege of the Legations has been written from many points of view; and

most people know all they want to know of the two summer months in

1900the merciless bombardment of a thousand foreignerswith their

women and childrencooped up in a narrow spaceand also of the awful

butchery of missionariesmenwomenand children alikewhich took

place at the capital of Shansi. Whatever may have been the origin of

the movementthere can be little doubt that it was taken over by the

Manchuswith the complicity of the Empress Dowageras a means of

getting rid of all the foreigners in China. Considering the

extraordinary position the Empress Dowager had created for herselfit

is impossible to believe that she would not have been able to put an

end to the siege by a wordor even by a mere gesture. She did not do

so; and on the relief of the Legationsfor a second time in her life

--she had accompanied Hsien Fng to Jehol in 1860--she sought safety

in an ignominious flight. Meanwhilein response to a memorial from

the Governor of Shansishe had sent him a secret decreesaying

"Slay all foreigners wheresoever you find them; even though they be

prepared to leave your provinceyet they must be slain." A second and

more urgent decree said"I command that all foreignersmenwomen

and childrenbe summarily executed. Let not one escapeso that my

empire may be purged of this noisome source of corruptionand that

peace may be restored to my loyal subjects." The first of these

decrees had been circulated to all the high provincial officialsand

the result might well have been an indiscriminate slaughter of

foreigners all over Chinabut for the action of two Chinese

officialswho had already incurred the displeasure of the Empress

Dowager by memorializing against the Boxer policy. These men secretly

changed the word "slay" into "protect" and this is thesense in which

the decree was acted upon by provincial officials generallywith the

exception of the Governor of Shansiwho sent a second memorial

eliciting the second decree as above. It is impossible to say how many

foreigners owe their lives to this alteration of a wordand the

Empress Dowager herself would scarcely have escaped so easily as she

didhad her cruel order been more fully executed. The trick was soon

discoveredand the two heroesYan Ch`ang and Hs Ching-ch`ngwere

both summarily beheadedeven though it was to the former that the

Empress Dowager was indebted for information which enabled her to

frustrate the plot against her life in 1898.

Nowat the very moment of departureshe perpetrated a most brutal

crime. A favourite concubine of the Emperor'swho had previously

given cause for offenceurged that his Majesty should not take part

in the flightbut should remain in Peking. For this suggestion the

Empress Dowager caused the miserable girl to be thrown down a wellin

spite of the supplications of the Emperor on her behalf. Then she

fledultimately to Hsi-an Futhe capital of Shensiand for a year

and a half Peking was rid of her presence. In 1902she came back with

the Emperorwhose prerogative she still managed to usurp. She

declared at once for reformand took up the cause with much show of

enthusiasm; but those who knew the Manchu bestdecided to "wait and

see." She began by suggesting intermarriage between Manchus and

Chinesewhich had so far been prohibitedand advised Chinese women

to give up the practice of footbindinga custom which the ruling race

had never adopted. It was henceforth to be lawful for Manchuseven of

the Imperial familyto send their sons abroad to be educated--a step

which no Manchu would be likely to take unless forcibly coerced into

doing so. Any spirit of enterprise which might have been possessed by

the founders of the dynasty had long since evaporatedand all that

Manchu nobles asked was to be allowed to batten in peace upon the

Chinese people.

The direct issue of the emperors of the present dynasty and of their

descendants in the male linedating from 1616are popularly known as

Yellow Girdlesfrom a sash of that colour which they habitually wear.

Each generation becomes a degree lower in rankuntil they are mere

members of the family with no rank whateveralthough they still wear

the girdle and receive a trifling allowance from the government. Thus

beggars and even thieves are occasionally seen with this badge of

relationship to the throne. Members of the collateral branches of the

Imperial family wear a red girdleand are known as GiorosGioro

being part of the surname--Aisin Gioro = Golden Race--of an early

progenitor of the Manchu emperors.

As a next step in reformthe examination system was to be remodelled

but not in the one sense in which it would have appealed most to the

Chinese people. Examinations for Manchus have always been held

separatelyand the standard attained has always been very far below

that reached by Chinese candidatesso that the scholarship of the

Manchu became long ago a by-word and a joke. Nowin 1904it was

settled that entry to an official career should be obtainable only

through the modern educational colleges; but this again applied only

to Chinese and not to Manchus. The Manchus have always had wisdom

enough to employ the best abilities they could discover by process of

examination among the Chinesemany of whom have risen from the lowest

estate to the highest positions in the empireand have proved

themselves valuable servants and staunch upholders of the dynasty.

Stillin addition to numerous other postsit may be said that all

the fat sinecures have always been the portion of Manchus. For

instancethe office of Hoppoor superintendent of customs at Canton

(abolished 1904)was a position which was allowed to generate into a

mere opportunity for piling a large fortune in the shortest possible

timeno particular ability being required from the holder of the

postwho was always a Manchu.

Then followed a mission to Europeat the head of which we now find a

Manchu of high rankan Imperial Dukesent to study the mysteries of

constitutional governmentwhich was henceforth promised to the

peopleso soon as its introduction might be practicable. In the midst

of these attractive promises (1904-5) came the Russo-Japanese war

with all its surprises. Among other causes to which the Manchu court

ascribed the success of the Japanesefreedom from the opium vice took

high rankand this led to really serious enactments against the

growth and consumption of opium in China. Continuous and strenuous

efforts of philanthropists during the preceding half century had not

produced any results at all; but now it seemed as though this weakness

had been all along the chief reason for China's failures in her

struggles with the barbarianand it was to be incontinently stamped

out. Ten years' grace was allowedat the end of which period there

was to be no more opium-smoking in the empire. One awkward feature was

that the Empress Dowager herself was an opium-smoker; the difficulty

howeverwas got over by excluding from the application of the edict

of 1906 persons over sixty years of age. Whatever may be thought of

the wisdom of this policywhich so far has chiefly resulted in the

substitution of morphiacocaineand alcoholthe thoroughness and

rapidity with which it has been carried outcan only command the

admiration of all; of those most who know China best.

 

 

CHAPTER XI

HSAN T`UNG

The health of the Emperornever very goodnow began to failand by

1908 he was seriously ill; in this same yeartoothere were signs

that the Empress Dowager was breaking up. Her last political act of

any importanceexcept the nomination of the heir to the thronewas

to issue a decree confirming the previous promise of constitutional

governmentwhich was to come into full force within nine years. Not

many weeks later the Emperor died (November 14)the Empress Dowager

having alreadywhile he lay dyingappointed one of his nephewsa

child barely three years oldto succeed himin the vain hope that

she would thus enjoy a further spell of power until the child should

be of age. But on the following day the Empress Dowager also died; a

singular coincidence which has been attributed to the determination of

the eunuchs and others that the Emperor should not outlive his aunt

for some time past seen to be "drawing near the wood" lest his

reforming spirit should again jeopardize their nefarious interests.

The Regency devolved upon the Emperor's fatherbut was not of very

long duration. There was a show of introducing constitutional reform

under the guise of provincial and national assemblies intended to

control the government of the empire; but after allthe final power

to accept or reject their measures was vested in the Emperorwhich

really left things very much as they had been. The new charter was not

found to be of much valueand there is little doubt that the Manchus

regarded it in the light of what is known in China as a "dummy

document" a measure to be extolled in theorybut not intended to

appear in practice. Suddenlyin September 1911the great revolution

broke outand the end came more rapidly than was expected.

It must not be imagined that this revolution was an inspiration of the

moment; on the contraryit had been secretly brewing for quite a long

time beforehand. During that period a few persons familiar with China

may have felt that something was comingbut nobody knew exactly what.

Those who accept without reservation the common statement that there

is no concealment possible in a country where everybody is supposed to

have his priceand that due notice of anything important is sure to

leak outmust have been rather astonished whenwithout any warning

they found China in the throes of a well-planned revolutionwhich was

overwith its object gainedalmost as soon as the real gravity of

the situation was realized. It is true that under the Manchus access

to official papers of the most private description was always to be

obtained at a moderate outlay; it was thusfor instancethat we were

able to appreciate the inmost feelings of that grim old Manchu

Wo-jenwhoin 1861presented a secret memorial to the throneand

stated therein that his loathing of all foreigners was so great that

he longed to eat their flesh and sleep on their skins.

The guiding spirit of the movementSun Yat-senis a native of

Kuangtungwhere he was bornnot very far from Cantonin 1866. After

some early education in Honoluluhe became a student at the College

of MedicineKongkongwhere he took his diploma in 1892. But his

chief aim in life soon became a political oneand he determined to

get rid of the Manchus. He organized a Young China party in Canton

and in 1895 made an attempt to seize the city. The plot failedand

fifteen out of the sixteen conspirators were arrested and executed;

Sun Yat-sen alone escaped. A year laterhe was in Londonpreparing

himself for further efforts by the study of Western forms of

governmenta very large reward being offered by the Chinese

Government for his bodydead or alive. During his stay there he was

decoyed into the Chinese Legationand imprisoned in an upper room

from which he would have been hurried away to Chinaprobably as a

lunaticto share the fate of his fifteen fellow-conspiratorsbut for

the assistance of a woman who had been told off to wait upon him. To

her he confided a note addressed to Dr Cantliea personal friend of

long standingunder whom he had studied medicine in Hongkong; and she

handed this to her husbandemployed as waiter in the Legationby

whom it was safely delivered. He thus managed to communicate with the

outer world; Lord Salisbury intervenedand he was released after a

fortnight's detention.

Well might Sun Yat-sen now say--

"They little thought that day of pain

That one day I should come again."

More a revolutionary than everhe soon set to work to collect funds

which flowed in freely from Chinese sources in all quarters of the

world. At lastin September 1911the train was firedbeginning with

the province of Ss{u}ch`uanand within an incredibly short space of

timehalf China was ablaze. By the middle of October the Manchus were

beginning to feel that a great crisis was at handand the Regent was

driven to recall Yan Shih-k`aiwhom he had summarily dismissed from

office two years beforeon the conventional plea that Yan was

suffering from a bad legbut really out of revenge for his treachery

to the late Emperorwhich had brought about the latter's arrest and

practical deposition by the old Empress Dowager in 1898.

To this summons Yan slily replied that he could not possibly leave

home just thenas his leg was not yet well enough for him to be able

to travelmeaningof courseto gain timeand be in a position to

dictate his own terms. On the 30th Octoberwhen it was already too

latethe baby Emperorreigning under the year-title Hsan T`ung

(wide control)published the following edict:--

"I have reigned for three yearsand have always acted conscientiously

in the interests of the peoplebut I have not employed men properly

not having political skill. I have employed too many nobles in

political positionswhich contravenes constitutionalism. On railway

matters someone whom I trusted fooled meand thus public opinion was

opposed. When I urged reformthe officials and gentry seized the

opportunity to embezzle. When old laws are abolishedhigh officials

serve their own ends. Much of the people's money has been takenbut

nothing to benefit the people has been achieved. On several occasions

edicts have promulgated lawsbut none of them have been obeyed.

People are grumblingyet I do not know; disasters loom aheadbut I

do not see.

"The Ss{u}ch`uan trouble first occurred; the Wu-ch`ang rebellion

followed; now alarming reports come from Shansi and Hunan. In Canton

and Kiangsi riots appear. The whole empire is seething. The minds of

the people are perturbed. The spirits of our nine late emperors are

unable properly to enjoy sacrificeswhile it is feared the people

will suffer grievously.

"All these are my own faultand hereby I announce to the world that I

swear to reformandwith our soldiers and peopleto carry out the

constitution faithfullymodifying legislationdeveloping the

interests of the peopleand abolishing their hardships--all in

accordance with the wishes and interests of the people. Old laws that

are unsuitable will be abolished."

Nowhere else in the world is the belief that Fortune has a wheel which

in the long run never fails to "turn and lower the proud" so

prevalent or so deeply-rooted as in China. "To prosperity" saysthe

adage"must succeed decay"--a favourite theme around which the

novelist delights to weave his romance. This may perhaps account for

the tame resistance of the Manchus to what they recognized as

inevitable. They had enjoyed a good span of powerquite as lengthy as

that of any dynasty of modern timesand now they felt that their hour

had struck. To borrow another phrase"they had come in with the roar

of a tigerto disappear like the tail of a snake."

On November 3certain regulations were issued by the National

Assembly as the necessary basis upon which a constitution could be

raised. The absolute veto of the Emperor was now withdrawnand it was

expressly stated that Imperial decrees were not to over-ride the law

though even here we find the addition of "except in the event of

immediate necessity." The first clause of this document was confined

to the following prophetic statement: "The Ta Ch`ing dynasty shall

reign for ever."

On November 8Yan Shih-k`ai was appointed Prime Ministerand on

December 3the new Empress Dowager issued an edictin which she

said:

"The Regent has verbally memorialized the Empress Dowagersaying that

he has held the Regency for three yearsand his administration has

been unpopularand that constitutional government has not been

consummated. Thus complications aroseand people's hearts were

brokenand the country thrown into a state of turmoil. Hence one

man's mismanagement has caused the nation to suffer miserably. He

regrets his repentance is already too lateand feels that if he

continues in power his commands will soon be disregarded. He wept and

prayed to resign the regencyexpressing the earnest intention of

abstaining in the future from politics. Ithe Empress Dowagerliving

within the palaceam ignorant of the state of affairs but I know that

rebellion exists and fighting is continuingcausing disasters

everywherewhile the commerce of friendly nations suffers. I must

enquire into the circumstances and find a remedy. The Regent is

honestthough ambitious and unskilled in politics. Being misledhe

has harmed the peopleand therefore his resignation is accepted. The

Regents seal is cancelled. Let the Regent receive fifty thousand

/taels/ annually from the Imperial household allowancesand hereafter

the Premier and the Cabinet will control appointments and

administration. Edicts are to be sealed with the Emperor's seal. I

will lead the Emperor to conduct audiences. The guardianship of the

holy person of the Emperorwho is of tender ageis a special

responsibility. As the time is criticalthe princes and nobles must

observe the Ministerswho have undertaken a great responsibilityand

be loyal and help the country and peoplewho now must realize that

the Court does not object to the surrender of the power vested in the

throne. Let the people preserve order and continue businessand thus

prevent the country's disruption and restore prosperity."

 

 

CHAPTER XII

SUN YAT-SEN

On January 11912Sun Yat-sen entered the republican capital

Nankingand received a salute of twenty-one guns. He assumed the

presidency of the provisional governmentswearing allegianceand

taking an oath to dethrone the Manchusrestore peaceand establish a

government based upon the people's will. These objects accomplished

he was prepared to resign his officethus enabling the people to

elect a president of a united China. The first act of the provisional

government was to proclaim a new calendar forthwithJanuary 1

becoming the New Year's Day of the republic.

On January 5 was issued the following republican manifesto:--

"To all friendly nations--Greeting. Hitherto irremediable suppression

of the individual qualities and the national aspirations of the people

having arrested the intellectualmoraland material development of

Chinathe aid of revolution was invoked to extirpate the primary

cause. We now proclaim the consequent overthrow of the despotic sway

of the Manchu dynastyand the establishment of a republic. The

substitution of a republic for a monarchy is not the fruit of

transient passionbut the natural outcome of a long-cherished desire

for freedomcontentmentand advancement. We Chinese peoplepeaceful

and law-abidinghave not waged war except in self-defence. We have

borne our grievance for two hundred and sixty-seven years with

patience and forbearance. We have endeavoured by peaceful means to

redress our wrongssecure libertyand ensure progress; but we

failed. Oppressed beyond human endurancewe deemed it our inalienable

rightas well as a sacred dutyto appeal to arms to deliver

ourselves and our posterity from the yoke to which we have for so long

been subjected. For the first time in history an inglorious bondage is

transformed into inspiring freedom. The policy of the Manchus has been

one of unequivocal seclusion and unyielding tyranny. Beneath it we

have bitterly suffered. Now we submit to the free peoples of the world

the reasons justifying the revolution and the inauguration of the

present government. Prior to the usurpation of the throne by the

Manchus the land was open to foreign intercourseand religious

tolerance existedas is shown by the writings of Marco Polo and the

inscription on the Nestorian tablet at Hsi-an Fu. Dominated by

ignorance and selfishnessthe Manchus closed the land to the outer

worldand plunged the Chinese into a state of benighted mentality

calculated to operate inversely to their natural talentsthus

committing a crime against humanity and the civilized nations which it

is almost impossible to extirpate. Actuated by a desire for the

perpetual subjugation of the Chineseand a vicious craving for

aggrandizement and wealththe Manchus have governed the country to

the lasting injury and detriment of the peoplecreating privileges

and monopolieserecting about themselves barriers of exclusion

national customand personal conductwhich have been rigorously

maintained for centuries. They have levied irregular and hurtful taxes

without the consent of the peopleand have restricted foreign trade

to treaty ports. They have placed the /likin/ embargo on merchandise

obstructed internal commerceretarded the creation of industrial

enterprisesrendered impossible the development of natural resources

denied a regular system of impartial administration of justiceand

inflicted cruel punishment on persons charged with offenceswhether

innocent or guilty. They have connived at official corruptionsold

offices to the highest biddersubordinated merit to influence

rejected the most reasonable demands for better governmentand

reluctantly conceded so-called reforms under the most urgent pressure

promising without any intention of fulfilling. They have failed to

appreciate the anguish-causing lessons taught them by foreign Powers

and in process of years have brought themselves and our people beneath

the contempt of the world. A remedy of these evils will render

possible the entrance of China into the family of nations. We have

fought and have formed a government. Lest our good intentions should

be misunderstoodwe publicly and unreservedly declare the following

to be our promises:--

"The treaties entered into by the Manchus before the date of the

revolutionwill be continually effective to the time of their

termination. Any and all treaties entered into after the commencement

of the revolution will be repudiated. Foreign loans and indemnities

incurred by the Manchus before the revolution will be acknowledged.

Payments made by loans incurred by the Manchus after its commencement

will be repudiated. Concessions granted to nations and their nationals

before the revolution will be respected. Any and all granted after it

will be repudiated. The persons and property of foreign nationals

within the jurisdiction of the republic will be respected and

protected. It will be our constant aim and firm endeavour to build on

a stable and enduring foundation a national structure compatible with

the potentialities of our long-neglected country. We shall strive to

elevate the people to secure peace and to legislate for prosperity.

Manchus who abide peacefully in the limits of our jurisdiction will be

accorded equalityand given protection.

"We will remodel the lawsrevise the civilcriminalcommercialand

mining codesreform the financesabolish restrictions on trade and

commerceand ensure religious toleration and the cultivation of

better relations with foreign peoples and governments than have ever

been maintained before. It is our earnest hope that those foreign

nationals who have been steadfast in their sympathy will bind more

firmly the bonds of friendship between usand will bear in patience

with us the period of trial confronting us and our reconstruction

workand will aid the consummation of the far-reaching planswhich

we are about to undertakeand which they have long vainly been urging

upon our people and our country.

"With this message of peace and good-will the republic cherishes the

hope of being admitted into the family of nationsnot merely to share

its rights and privilegesbut to co-operate in the great and noble

task of building up the civilization of the world.

"Sun Yat-sen/President/."

 

The next step was to displace the three-cornered Dragon flagitself

of quite modern originin favour of a new republican emblem. For this

purpose was designed a flag of five stripes--yellowredblue

whiteblack--arranged at right angles to the flagstaff in the above

orderand intended to represent the five races--ChineseManchus

MongolsTibetanMussulmans--gathered together under one rule.

On February 12three important edicts were issued. In the firstthe

baby-emperor renounces the throneand approves the establishment of a

provisional republican governmentunder the direction of Yan Shih-

k`aiin conjunction with the existing provisional government at

Nanking. In the secondapproval is given to the terms under which the

emperor retiresthe chief item of which was an annual grant of four

million /taels/. Other more sentimental privileges included the

retention of a bodyguardand the continuance of sacrifices to the

spirits of the departed Manchu emperors. In the thirdthe people are

exhorted to preserve order and abide by the Imperial will regarding

the new form of government.

Simultaneously with the publication of these edictsthe last scene of

the drama was enacted near Nankingat the mausoleum of the first

sovereign of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Sun Yat-senas

provisional first presidentaccompanied by his Cabinet and a numerous

escortproceeded thitherand after offering sacrifice as usual

addressedthough a secretarythe following oration to the tablet

representing the names of that great hero:--

"Of old the Sung dynasty became effeteand the Kitan Tartars and Yan

dynasty Mongols seized the occasion to throw this domain of China into

confusionto the fierce indignation of gods and men. It was then that

your Majestyour founderarose in your wrath from obscurityand

destroyed those monsters of iniquityso that the ancient glory was

won again. In twelve years you consolidated the Imperial swayand the

dominions of the Great Y were purged of pollution and cleansed from

the noisome Tartar. Often in history has our noble Chinese race been

enslaved by petty frontier barbarians from the north. Never have such

glorious triumphs been won over them as your Majesty achieved. But

your descendants were degenerateand failed to carry on your glorious

heritage; they entrusted the reins of government to bad menand

pursued a short-sighted policy. In this way they encouraged the

ambitions of the eastern Tartar savages (Manchus)and fostered the

growth of their power. They were thus able to take advantage of the

presence of rebels to invade and possess themselves of your sacred

capital. From a bad eminence of glory basely wonthey lorded it over

this most holy soiland our beloved China's rivers and hills were

defiled by their corrupting touchwhile the people fell victims to

the headman's axe or the avenging sword. Although worthy patriots and

faithful subjects of your dynasty crossed the mountain ranges into

Canton and the far southin the hope of redeeming the glorious Ming

tradition from utter ruinand of prolonging a thread of the old

dynasty's lifealthough men gladly perished one after the other in

the forlorn attemptheaven's wrath remained unappeasedand mortal

designs failed to achieve success. A brief and melancholy page was

added to the history of your dynastyand that was all.

"As time went onthe law became ever harsherand the meshes of its

inexorable net grew closer. Alas for our Chinese peoplewho crouched

in corners and listened with startled earsdeprived of power of

utteranceand with tongues glued to their mouthsfor their lives

were past saving. Those others usurped titles to fictitious clemency

and justicewhile prostituting the sacred doctrines of the sages:

whom they affected to honour. They stifled public opinion in the

empire in order to force acquiescence in their tyranny. The Manchu

despotism became so thorough and so embracing that they were enabled

to prolong their dynasty's existence by cunning wiles. In Yung Chng's

reign the Hunanese Chang Hsi and Tsng Ching preached sedition against

the dynasty in their native provincewhile in Chia Ch`ing's reign the

palace conspiracy of Lin Ching dismayed that monarch in his capital.

These events were followed by rebellions in Ss{u}-ch`uan and Shensi;

under Tao Kuang and his successor the T`ai-p`ings started their

campaign from a remote Kuangsi village. Although these worthy causes

were destined to ultimate defeatthe gradual trend of the national

will became manifest. At last our own era dawnedthe sun of freedom

had risenand a sense of the rights of the race animated men's minds.

In addition the Manchu bandits could not even protect themselves.

Powerful foes encroached upon the territory of Chinaand the dynasty

parted with our sacred soil to enrich neighbouring nations. The

Chinese race of to-day may be degeneratebut it is descended from

mighty men of old. How should it endure that the spirits of the great

dead should be insulted by the everlasting visitation of this scourge?

"Then did patriots arise like a whirlwindor like a cloud which is

suddenly manifested in the firmament. They began with the Canton

insurrection; then Peking was alarmed by Wu Yeh's bomb (1905). A year

later Hs Hsi-lin fired his bullet into the vitals of the Manchu

robber-chiefEn MingGovernor of Anhui. Hsiung Chng-chi raised the

standard of liberty on the Yang-tsze's banks; rising followed rising

all over the empireuntil the secret plot against the Regent was

discoveredand the abortive insurrection in Canton startled the

capital. One failure followed anotherbut other brave men took the

place of the heroes who diedand the empire was born again to life.

The bandit Manchu court was shaken with pallid terroruntil the

cicada threw off its shell in a glorious regenerationand the present

crowning triumph was achieved. The patriotic crusade started in

Wu-ch`ang; the four corners of the empire responded to the call. Coast

regions nobly followed in their wakeand the Yang-tsze was won back

by our armies. The region south of the Yellow River was lost to the

Manchusand the north manifested its sympathy with our cause. An

earthquake shook the barbarian court of Pekingand it was smitten

with a paralysis. To-day it has at last restored the government to the

Chinese peopleand the five races of China may dwell together in

peace and mutual trust. Let us joyfully give thanks. How could we have

attained this measure of victory had not your Majesty's soul in heaven

bestowed upon us your protecting influence? I have heard say that the

triumphs of Tartar savages over our China were destined never to last

longer than a hundred years. But the reign of these Manchus endured

unto doubleayunto treblethat period. Yet Providence knows the

appointed hourand the moment comes at last. We are initiating the

example to Eastern Asia of a republican form of government; success

comes early or late to those who strivebut the good are surely

rewarded in the end. Why then should we repine to-day that victory has

tarried long?

"I have heard that in the past many would-be deliverers of their

country have ascended this lofty mound wherein is your sepulchre. It

has served to them as a holy inspiration. As they looked down upon the

surrounding rivers and upward to the hillsunder an alien swaythey

wept in the bitterness of their heartsbut to-day their sorrow is

turned into joy. The spiritual influences of your grave at Nanking

have come once more into their own. The dragon crouches in majesty as

of oldand the tiger surveys his domain and his ancient capital.

Everywhere a beautiful repose doth reign. Your legions line the

approaches to the sepulchre; a noble host stands expectant. Your

people have come here to-day to inform your Majesty of the final

victory. May this lofty shrine wherein you rest gain fresh lustre from

to-day's eventand may your example inspire your descendants in the

times which are to come. Spirit! Accept this offering!"

We are told by an eye-witnessDr Lim Boon-kengthat when this

ceremony was overSun Yat-sen turned to address the assembly. "He was

speechless with emotion for a minute; then he briefly declared how

after two hundred and sixty yearsthe nation had again recovered her

freedom; and now that the curse of Manchu domination was removedthe

free peoples of a united republic could pursue their rightful

aspirations. Three cheers for the president were now called forand

the appeal was responded to vigorously. The cheering was taken up by

the crowds belowand then carried miles away by the thousands of

troopsto mingle with the booming of distant guns."