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- China - 6/83 -


long as this was kept in repair there were no floods. The most remarkable event of Mingti's reign was undoubtedly the official introduction of Buddhism into China. Some knowledge of the great Indian religion and of the teacher Sakya Muni seems to have reached China through either Tibet, or, more probably, Burma, but it was not until Mingti, in consequence of a dream, sent envoys to India to study Buddhism, that its doctrine became known in China. Under the direct patronage of the emperor it made rapid progress, and although never unreservedly popular, it has held its ground ever since its introduction in the first century of our era, and is now inextricably intertwined with the religion of the Chinese state and people. Mingti died after a successful reign of eighteen years in 75 A.D. His son, Changti, with the aid of his mother, Machi, the daughter of the general Mayuen, enjoyed a peaceful reign of thirteen years, and died at an early age lamented by his sorrowing people.

After Changti came his son, Hoti, who was only ten at the time of his accession, and who reigned for seventeen years. He was a virtuous and well-intentioned prince, who instituted many internal reforms, and during his reign a new writing paper was invented, which is supposed to have been identical with the papyrus of Egypt. But the reign of Hoti is rendered illustrious by the remarkable military achievements of Panchow. The success of that general in his operations with the Huns has already been referred to, and he at last formed a deliberate plan for driving them away from the Chinese frontier. Although he enjoyed the confidence of his successive sovereigns, the imperial sanction was long withheld from this vast scheme, but during the life of Changti he began to put in operation measures for the realization of this project that were only matured under Hoti. He raised and trained a special army for frontier war. He enlisted tribes who had never served the emperor before, and who were specially qualified for desert warfare. He formed an alliance with the Sienpi tribes of Manchuria, who were probably the ancestors of the present Manchus, and thus arranged for a flank attack on the Huns. This systematic attack was crowned with success. The pressure brought against them compelled the Hiongnou to give way, and as they were ousted from their possessions, to seek fresh homes further west. In this they were, no doubt, stimulated by the example of their old opponents, the Yuchi, but Panchow's energy supplied a still more convincing argument. He pursued them wherever they went, across the Gobi Desert and beyond the Tian Shan range, taking up a strong position at modern Kuldja and Kashgar, sending his expeditions on to the Pamir, and preparing to complete his triumph by the invasion of the countries of the Oxus and Jaxartes. When Hoti was still a youth, he completed this programme by overrunning the region as far as the Caspian, which was probably at that time connected with the Aral, and it may be supposed that Khiva marked the limit of the Chinese general's triumphant progress. It is affirmed with more or less show of truth that he came into contact with the Roman empire or the great Thsin, as the Chinese called it, and that he wished to establish commercial relations with it. But however uncertain this may be, there can be no doubt that he inflicted a most material injury on Rome, for before his legions fled the Huns, who, less than four centuries later, debased the majesty of the imperial city, and whose leader, Attila, may have been a descendant of that Meha at whose hands the Chinese suffered so severely.

After this brilliant and memorable war, Panchow returned to China, where he died at the great age of eighty. With him disappeared the good fortune of the Han dynasty, and misfortunes fell rapidly on the family that had governed China so long and so well. Hoti's infant son lived only a few months, and then his brother, Ganti, became emperor. The real power rested in the hands of the widow of Hoti, who was elevated to the post of regent. Ganti was succeeded in A.D. 124 by his son, Chunti, in whose time several rebellions occurred, threatening the extinction of the dynasty. Several children were then elevated to the throne, and at last an ambitious noble named Leangki, whose sister was one of the empresses, acquired the supreme direction of affairs. He gave a great deal of trouble, but at last, finding that his ambitious schemes did not prosper, he took poison, thus anticipating a decree passed for his execution. Hwanti, the emperor who had the courage to punish this powerful noble, was the last able ruler of the Hans. His reign was, on the whole, a brilliant one, and the Sienpi tribes, who had taken the place of the Hiongnou, were, after one arduous campaign, defeated in a pitched battle. The Chinese were on the verge of defeat when their general, Twan Kang, rushed to the front, exclaiming: "Recall to your minds how often before you have beaten these same opponents, and teach them again to-day that in you they have their masters."

After Hwanti's death the decline of the Hans was rapid. They produced no other ruler worthy of the throne. In the palace the eunuchs, always numerous at the Chinese court, obtained the upper hand, and appointed their own creatures to the great governing posts. Fortunately this dissension at the capital was not attended by weakness on the frontier, and the Sienpi were again defeated. The battle is chiefly memorable because the Sienpi endeavored to frighten the Chinese general by threatening to kill his mother, who was a prisoner in their hands, if he attacked. Not deterred by this menace, Chow Pow attacked the enemy, and gained a decisive victory, but at the cost of his mother's life, which so affected him that he died of grief shortly afterward. After some time dissensions rose in the Han family, and two half-brothers claimed the throne. Pienti became emperor by the skillful support of his uncle, General Hotsin, while his rival, Hienti, enjoyed the support of the eunuchs. A deadly feud ensued between the two parties, which was aggravated by the murder of Hotsin, who rashly entered the palace without an escort. His soldiers avenged his death, carrying the palace by storm and putting ten thousand eunuchs to the sword. After this the last emperors possessed only the name of emperor. The practical authority was disputed among several generals, of whom Tsow Tsow was the most distinguished and successful; and he and his son Tsowpi founded a dynasty, of which more will be heard hereafter. In A.D. 220 Hienti, the last Han ruler, retired into private life, thus bringing to an end the famous Han dynasty, which had governed China for four hundred and fifty years.

Among the families that have reigned in China none has obtained as high a place in popular esteem as the Hans. They rendered excellent work in consolidating the empire and in carrying out what may be called the imperial mission of China. Yunnan and Leaoutung were made provinces for the first time. Cochin China became a vassal state. The writ of the emperor ran as far as the Pamir. The wealth and trade of the country increased with the progress of its armies. Some of the greatest public works, in the shape of roads, bridges, canals, and aqueducts, were constructed during this period, and still remain to testify to the glory of the Hans. As has been seen, the Hans produced several great rulers. Their fame was not the creation of one man alone, and as a consequence the dynasty enjoyed a lengthened existence equaled by few of its predecessors or successors. No ruling family was ever more popular with the Chinese than this, and it managed to retain the throne when less favored rulers would have expiated their mistakes and shortcomings by the loss of the empire. With the strong support of the people, the Hans overcame innumerable difficulties, and even the natural process of decay; and when they made their final exit from history it was in a graceful manner, and without the execration of the masses. That this feeling retains its force is shown in the pride with which the Chinese still proclaim themselves to be the sons of Han.

CHAPTER III

A LONG PERIOD OF DISUNION

The ignominious failure of the usurper Wang Mang to found a dynasty was too recent to encourage any one to take upon himself the heavy charge of administering the whole of the Han empire, and so the state was split up into three principalities, and the period is known from this fact as the Sankoue. One prince, a member of the late ruling family, held possession of Szchuen, which was called the principality of Chow. The southern provinces were governed by a general named Sunkiuen, and called Ou. The central and northern provinces, containing the greatest population and resources, formed the principality of Wei, subject to Tsowpi, the son of Tsow Tsow. A struggle for supremacy very soon began between these princes, and the balance of success gradually declared itself in favor of Wei. It would serve no useful purpose to enumerate the battles which marked this struggle, yet one deed of heroism deserves mention, the defense of Sinching by Changte, an officer of the Prince of Wei. The strength of the place was insignificant, and, after a siege of ninety days, several breaches had been made in the walls. In this strait Changte sent a message to the besieging general that he would surrender on the hundredth day if a cessation of hostilities were granted, "as it was a law among the princes of Wei that the governor of a place which held out for a hundred days and then surrendered, with no prospect of relief visible, should not be considered as guilty." The respite was short and it was granted. But the disappointment of the besieger, already counting on success, was great when a few days later he saw that the breaches had been repaired, that fresh defenses had been improvised, and that Sinching was in better condition than ever to withstand a siege. On sending to inquire the meaning of these preparations, Changte gave the following reply: "I am preparing my tomb and to bury myself in the ruins of Sinching." Of such gallantry and resource the internecine strife of the Sankoue period presents few instances, but the progress of the struggle steadily pointed in the direction of the triumph of Wei.

The Chow dynasty of the Later Hans was the first to succumb to the princes of Wei, and the combined resources of the two states were then directed against the southern principality of Ou. The supreme authority in Wei had before this passed from the family of Tsowpi to his best general, Ssemachow, who had the satisfaction of beginning his reign with the overthrow of the Chow dynasty. If he had earned out the wishes of his own commander, Tengai, by attacking Ou at once, and in the flush of his triumph over Chow, he might have completed his work at a stroke, for as Tengai wrote, "An army which has the reputation of victory flies from one success to another." But Ssemachow preferred a slower and surer mode of action, with the result that the conquest of Ou was put off for twenty years. Ssemachow died in A.D. 265, and his son Ssemachu founded the new dynasty of the Later Tsins under the name of Vouti, or the warrior prince.

The main object with Vouti was to add the Ou principality to his dominions, and the descendants of Sunkiuen thought it best to bend before the storm. They sent humble embassies to Loyang, expressing their loyalty and submission, but at the same time they made strenuous preparations to defend their independence. This double policy precipitated the collision it was intended to avert. Vouti paid more heed to the acts than the promises of his neighbor, and he ordered the invasion of his territory from two sides. He placed a large fleet of war junks on the Yangtsekiang to attack his opponent on the Tunting Lake. The campaign that ensued was decided before it began. The success of Vouti was morally certain from the beginning, and after his army had suffered several reverses Sunhow threw up the struggle and surrendered to his opponent. Thus was China again reunited for a short time under the dynasty of the Later Tsins. Having accomplished his main task, Vouti gave himself up to the pursuit of pleasure, and impaired the reputation he had gained among his somewhat severe fellow-countrymen by entertaining a theatrical company of five thousand female comedians, and by allowing himself to be driven in a car drawn by sheep through the palace grounds. Vouti lived about ten years after the unity of the empire was restored, and his son, Ssemachong, or Hweiti, became emperor on his death in A.D. 290. One of the great works of his reign was the bridging of the Hoangho at Mongtsin, at a point much lower down its course than is bridged at the present time.

The reign of Hweiti was marred by the ambitious vindictiveness of his wife, Kiachi, who murdered the principal minister and imprisoned the widow


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