The Fifth Dynasty, called Han, which had twenty-five Emperors in the Space of 426 Years.
LIEOU PANG was the Founder and first Emperor of this Dynasty, under the Name of Cao tsou, at first he only assumed the Title of King of Tsin, because he had taken the Metropolis of the Empire in the Name of the King of Tsou, who had promised to give him that Kingdom.
Hiang yu, the other General, whom I have already spoken of, and who had also been sent to dethrone the Emperor, could not suppress his Indignation at Lieou Pang’s having, through his Prudence and Address, got from him the Principality to which he aspir’d , and as he was brutish and cruel, and at the Head of a numerous and well disciplin’d Army, Lieou pang was fortunate in being able to prevent its coming to an open Rupture : At last they had an Interview, at which the Father of Hiang yu reconcil’d them to each other, and they entered the Metropolis together.
Hiangyu, not pleased with the Clemency and Mildness of Lieou pang, set the City and the Imperial Palace on fire, had the Tombs of the Princes of Tsin searched, and their Bones thrown into unknown Places, and with his own Hands murder’d the reigning Prince, whom Lieou pang had used with great Respect since his Disgrace.
A great number of the late Emperor’s Soldiers, who were amongst his Troops, having murmured on account of so many cruel Actions, he immediately caused their Arms to be taken from them, had them surrounded by his Army, and cut to pieces.
As he had made himself absolute Master of the State of Han, and placed Garrisons in the Towns, he, aspir’d to the Empire, and resolved to murder his Master, for having preferred ui?(M, pavg before him,. in giving him the Principality of Tsin ; besides he thought be could not secure the Empire to himself whilst he was living.
In order to put his Scheme in execution, he set forward towards the City of Kiou kiang in the Province of Kiang si where the King of Tsou was. This Prince to honour his General came himself to meet him, and was immediately assassinated by him : Lieou pang, being griev’d at the Misfortune of this Prince, who was his Benefactor, ordered the most magnificent Obsequies possible for him : This gained him the Affection of the People, who join’d with him to revenge the Death of their Sovereign. From that time the two Generals were at War with one another for the Imperial Crown, and fought seventeen Battles with various Success ; at last Lieou pang entirely defeated his Antagonist’s Army, who flew himself to prevent his falling into the Enemy’s Hands.
This War being ended he assembled the General Estates of the Empire, who declared him Emperor by the Name of Cao tsou, and he was acknowledged such by all the tributary Princes of the Empire. He kept his Court at first in the Province of Chen si , but afterwards remov’d it into the Province of Ho nan, which it continued 196 Years under twelve Emperors.
Cao tsou falling sick, named his Son Huei si for his Successor, appointing him Ministers in whom he might confide : He died the forty-third Year of the Cycle ; the Chinese History is full of high Panegyricks on him.
THE Empire expected great things from this Prince, he being endu’d with many good Qualities, ftKh as Courage, Meekness, and Moderation; but these were overpoised by greater Vices, for his immoderate Love for Women ruin’d his Health, and his Complaisance for his Mother induc’d him to intrust her with the Care of the Empire.
This Princess assum’d the whole Imperial Authority to herself, and was generally hated for her Cruelty and other Vices ; she removed the Ministers and Governors as she pleas’d, and dispos’d of their Places to her Favourites and Relations, poisoning all those that dared in the least to oppose her .
The King of Tsi , who was the Emperor’s eldest Brother, coming to visit him when he was sick, had been likewise poison’d by her, if the Emperor himself had not taken the fatal Cup out of his Hand.
Hoei ti died the fiftieth Year of the Cycle, being oppress’d with Infirmities which his loose Life had brought upon him.
Liu heou, his Mother, fearing that one of the Emperor’s Brothers should succeed him, pretended to have a Child, which she bought from a Countrywoman, and named herself his Guardian, but fearing the Cheat should be discovered if the Mother of the Child liv’d, she caused her to be strangled.
THIS Princess was not satisfy’d to have rais’d her Family, which was of a very mean Extraction, to the highest Dignities of the Empire, but she wanted also to have the tributary Crowns at her Disposal, and put to Death one of her Ministers who had the Courage to tell her that these Dominions belonged only to the Princes of the Family of Han, and th her Husband had sworn all the Governors to maintain that Right by Force of Arms, if Necessity requir’d it; however, she thought herself powerful enough to fear nothing, and dispos’d of Part of those Dominions to her own Relations, upon condition of their paying her Homage.
After this she murder’d the young Child to which she was Guardian, and discover’d the Secret of the Artifice which her Ambition had prompted her to. Her Relations also abusing the Power they were rais’d to, behaved themselves with so much Arrogance and Pride, that the Nobles combined together to reduce them to their former Condition, when this wicked Princess was taken away by a sudden Death, in the fifty-eighth Year of the Cycle : Her Memory was so odious that no Body would take the Part of her Family, so that all her Relations were massacred throughout the Empire.
The Nobles chose the Sovereign of a small State to be Emperor, who was the second Son of Cao tsou, and ascended the Throne without Opposition, taking the Name of Ven ti.
UNDER the Reign of this Prince the Empire Cycle 37. Year before Christ 177. recovered its ancient Splendor, and his Virtues gain’d him the Love of the Nobles as well as the People: To ease his Subjects he remitted them the Duties on Salt, as also half of all the other Duties which were then paid.
He revived Agriculture which had been neglected during all the preceding Wars, to the great Detriment of the Country, planted Mulberry-Trees in his Palace, and bred up Silk-Worms ; he encouraged and protected Learning, and gave leave for the Books which had been saved from the Fire to be produced and read : Before that time every thing was wrote on Leaves, or Barks of Trees, with an Iron Pencil ; the Way of making Paper was also first discover’d in his Reign, by grinding Bamboo on Mills made on purpose ; they invented likewise little Pencils made of Hair, and Ink which dissolves in Water.
The tartars made several Inroads into the Empire but were repuls’d with Loss, and drove beyond the Frontiers of the Empire. The Provinces Quang tong and Quang si voluntarily submitted to his Law, and paid him yearly Tributes.
A certain Impostor presented the Prince with a Liquor of great Price, assuring him that if he drank it, it would make him immortal ; the Prince was so weak as to believe him, which is the only Foible lie is accused of.
He died in the forty-sixth Year of his Age, and the twenty-first Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by by Son King ti.
THIS Prince was remarkable for his Mildness and Clemency ; he mollify’d the Rigour of the punishments which were then inflicted on Criminals, but re-establish’d the Taxes which his Father had reduced to one half.
The great indigence of the Tutors, who had the Care of the education of the young Princes, occasioned great Disorders in this Reign: It was usual for the Children of the tributary Princes to be educated with those of the Emperor; the eldest Son of King ti, having contracted a particular Friendship for one of them, made a Feast for him, in which he carry’d the Debauch to such an Excess, that the young Prince, having quarrell’d with his Favourite, slew him on the Spot ; the Father of the dead Prince, hearing of the Death of his Son, swore to revenge , and engag’d in his Quarrel six other tributary Princes who joined Forces with him : The Emperor sent an able General with an Army against them, who entirely defeated them, and made a great Slaughter among them, and the six confederate Princes were either killed by the Emperor’s Soldiers, or pot an end to their lives, to being made Captives.
The Emperor died the thirty-seventh Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Vou ti.
THE Prudence, Moderation, and valor of this Prince, his Application to publick Affairs, his Love of learning, and particular Regard to learned Men, made him esteem’d one of the greatest Emperor that ever reign’d in China. As soon as he had perform’d his Father’s Obsequies, he sent for all the greatest Philosophers of his Empire to his Court, to consult them in Affairs of State; and as he was naturally inclin’d to War, he though they would have grarify’d his inclination by advising him to attempt some Conquest or other, but he was mightily surpriz’d to find these Wisemen persuading him to maintain Peace both at home and abroad, and representing to him the Dangers and Inconveniences which generally attend War: This made him give over the Thoughts of it, and apply himself to the well governing of his People, in order to which he made several good Laws ; among which he ordain’d, that whenever a Prince should die his Estate should be equally divided amongst his lawful Children ; but, if he dy’d without lawful Heirs, it should fall to the Crown.
In order to promote Learning he commanded the learned Men, whom he had called to his Court, to put in order those ancient and precious Books which had escaped the general Destruction, and that they might be taught publickly ; as also the Morals of Confucius and Mencius.
These Books were Manuscripts, Printing not being yet invented, nor till within fifty Years before the Christian Æra.
This Prince had the Weakness to give ear to Impostors, who promised him an Elixir which should render him immortal ; one Day one of these Chemists brought him a Cup full of this immortal Liquor, and desired him to drink it for an Experiment ; one of his Ministers, who was advising him not to hearken to such Cheats, took the Cup and drank it himself ; the Emperor being very angry that his Minister had deprived him of Immortality, revolved to punish him with Death for it ; to which the Minister reply’d with a Smile, If this Drinks, Sir, has made me immortal, how can you put me to Death? But if you can put me to Death, how doth this frivolous theft deserve it? This Answer soften’d the Emperor, who praised the Wisdom of his Minister, but was not thoroughly cured of that Weakness.
Vou ti won four great Victories over the Tartars, and, after having drove them far beyond the Great Wall, he march’d with his victorious Army into the Kingdoms of Pegu, Siam, Cambaia, and Bengal.
He divided the vanquished Countries between the two Generals, and other Officers who had conquered them ; he built several Cities, and honour’d the two Generals with the Titles of King : These Chinese soon learned the Manners and Inclinations of the Tartars, and prov’d, in time, to be the greatest Enemies to those from whom they were originally descended.
One of these Kings of the Tartars dreading the Resentment of the Emperor, sent him his eldest Son to be educated at his Court, who being very skilful in Horses, the Emperor made him his Master of the Horse, and afterwards put him at the Head of his Army, and honoured him with the Title of Kin.
Cycle 38. Year before Christ 117. when Vou ti drew near his End he declared the Son of one of his Concubines Successor, whom he loved better than any of his Children : This young Prince was but eight Years of Age, but he appointed him for a Guardian one of his Ministers, in whom he had the greatest Confidence ; and fearing that the Neither of the young Emperor should stir up Troubles in the Empire, as Liu heou had done, he resolved to put her to Death for the several Crimes she was accused of, but gave her the Choice of what Death she would die.
The Emperor died the thirty-first Year of the Cycle, in the seventy-first Year of his Age, and the young Prince Tchao ti succeeded him.
ALTHO’ this Prince was very young, yet his good Dispositions and Prudence were far above his Years, being very tractable to the Instructions which he received from the wife Guardian which his Father had appointed him.
He began his Reign by rewarding the Officers who had served the State well, and sending just and able Magistrates into the Provinces, to inquire secretly if the People lay under any Oppression.
He concluded an honourable Peace with the Tartars, but did not long survive it, dying without Male-Issue, in the forty-fourth Year of the Cycle, before he was quite twenty-two Years old, being mightily lamented by the Empire on account of his good Qualities.
Hiao ti his Uncle succeeded him with the Consent of the People, who soon repented of their Choice, for he was negligent of the Government and People, and spent both Day and Night in Debauches; he despis’d all the good Counsels which his Ministers offered him, which obliged them and the Grandees to drive him from the Throne on which they had placed him.
They went to the Palace and seiz’d the Seals, and other Ensigns of the Imperial Dignity, declaring he had forfeited his Authority, and then sent him to the little State whereof he was Sovereign : They chose in his Place Prince Suen ti, who was Grandson to the Emperor Vou ti.
THE Misfortunes which this Prince suffer’d in his Youth, did not a little contribute to the Virtues which qualify’d him for the Government of the Empire , he had been educated in a Prison, where the Princess his Mother had been shut up by the Command of the Emperor Vou ti, who suspected her, tho’ falsely, of Witchcraft and Sorcery, being only an Excuse to put to Death the Princes and Princesses of the Royal Blood : The Keeper of the Prison was very careful of him, and Suen ti, as soon as he was Emperor, rewarded him with a Principality for it.
This Prince was of easy Access, of a very mild, compassionate Nature to all unfortunate Persons, and of an Application very constant to State Affairs.
As the Laws were become troublesome and tedious, and gave room for Querks and Tricks to confound the clearest Matters, and to lengthen out Suits, he reduced them to a certain Number of Articles, and disannuU’d the rest.
The Emperor having been informed that the Kingdoms in India, which were conquered by his Grandfather, had rebelled against him. Was preparing to go and chastise the Rebels, but was dissuaded from it by his Ministers, who told him it was not worth him while to shed the Blood of his Subjects for such distant Conquests, and that those who refused his Wisdom and Virtue did not deserve to enjoy the Blessings of his Government Cycle 39. Year before Christ, 57. In the forty-eighth Year of the Cycle there was great Earthquake, which overturned several Mountains, and such things not being common here, it Very much frightened the People, who looked on it as foreboding some greater Calamity.
Tan yu,a King of the Tartars, sent Embassadors to the Emperor to pay him Homage, and to acknowledge himself Tributary to him, who were very graciously received, and treated as Envoys of a Prince the State was in Amity with.
Suen ti was eighteen Years old when he ascended the Throne, and died in the ninth Year of the Cycle, and in the forty-third Year of his Age, leaving his Crown to his Son Yuen ti.
THE Singular Taste which this Prince had for Learning, and his Respect for learned Men, whom he entertained at his Court, and with whom he often convers’d, made him a great Scholar, tho’ not a great Prince : He was highly esteem’d for his Moderation, his Love to his People, and his Frugality ; and he used to say, That he that could he contented with little, wanted for nothing.
But all these fine Qualities were quite clouded thro’ want of Judgment in the Choice of his Ministers, having neither Regard to their Capacities nor Experience ; for to express themselves politely and eloquently, were all the Qualifications he demanded in those with whom he entrusted the greatest Affairs of the Empire; and these Ministers, who had no other Views than their own Promotion, fill’d the Court with Factions and Parties.
Notwithstanding the Peace which had been concluded with the Tartars, the Garrisons on the Great Wall took two of their Princes Prisoners as they were hunting in the Mountains, trusting to the Sanction of the former Treaty, and beheaded them both.
The Emperor, instead of punishing the Treachery which the Commander of those Forces had committed, rewarded him for it ; but hearing that the Successor of one of those Princes was levying Forces to revenge that infamous Breach of the Peace, in order to appease him, tad prevent the War, he was oblig’d to give him a Princess of the Imperial Family in Marriage, with a very considerable Dowry.
Intestine Wars among the Ministers were ready to break out in the Empire, when the Emperor died in the twenty-sixth Year of the Cycle, and in the forty-third Year of his Age. He was succeeded by his Son Tching ti.
THE passionate Love which this Prince had for Women and Wine, engag’d him in all manner of Vices, and he gave the highest Places of the Empire to the Relations of the Empress his Mother, who was of the Family of Leaning. He fell violently in Love with a Woman belonging to the Playhouse, for her fine Voice, and upon her Account drove his lawful Wife from the Palace, taking this Actress in her Room, whom he declared Empress, and gave her Father a Principality in order to gloss over her low Extraction ; but some of his Ministers having remonstrated to him the Shame of such an Alliance, he ordered them all to be put to Death, and yet these are but a small Part of his Crimes.
A sudden Death delivered the Empire from this wicked Prince, in the fifty-first Year of the Cycle : He left no Issue, but was succeeded by his Nephew Hiao ngai ti,
THIS Prince was but eighteen Years old when he came to the Crown, and the Empire was in no wise deceived in the great Hopes it had conceived of his Mildness and Moderation.
He displaced several Governors, whom he thought unworthy of the great Dignities to which they had been raised, and deposed the Prime Minister, whose Family was grown too powerful, and whose Credit seem’d to overbalance the Sovereign Power : He made several other Regulations, which were very necessary, and which gave great Expectations of a happy Reign, had his Life been prolonged. In the fifth Year of his Reign Tan you, King of the Tartars, obtained Leave to come in Person to pay his Homage to him, who was received in a very magnificent manner, and a firm Peace was established between the two Nations.
The Emperor dy’d the Year after this happened, at the Age of twenty-five, being the same Year that Christ was born.
They placed on the Throne a Prince descended from Yuen , the eighth Emperor of this Dynasty, who was but nine Years old.
THE Empress, Grandmother to the young Emperor, very imprudently trusted the Government of the Empire in the Hands of one Vang mang, whom she made Colao, or Prime Minister during the Minority of the Emperor : This Man was not only deceitful and artful, but also excessively proud, and made no Scruple to commit the most cruel Actions to gratify the secret Ambition he had of usurping the Sovereign Authority.
He had an Associate in his Ministry who was a Man of Merit, but his Ambition could suffer no Rival, and therefore he found ways to remove him from the Government, and to make himself absolute. In order to execute his Design, he made several new Principalities, and bestowed them on those who were most devoted to his Interest.
In the second Year of the Cycle, the treacherous Cycle 40. Year before Christ, 4. Vang mang mixed Poison with the Emperor’s Food, which in a few Days reduced him to the last Extremity, during which time the Traitor pretended to lament very greatly, and made the Palace resound with his Cries, making Vows to Heaven for the Recovery of the Emperor, and offering his own Life as a Sacrifice for his, the better to conceal his monstrous Crime.
However he did not think it safe at this Juncture to usurp the Empire, but placed the Imperial Crown for the present on the Head of a young Infant of two Years old, called Iu tse yng, who descended from Suen ti the seventh Emperor of this Dynasty .
THE Infancy of this Prince maintained Vang mang in the Power which he had assum’d, and he made use of it to increase his Party ; three Years were scarcely past when he made the young Prince quit the Throne on which he had placed him, and proclaimed himself Emperor.
AS soon as the Usurper was plac’d on the Throne, which he had obtained by the vilest of Crimes, he gave the Name of Tsin to his Family, which signifies New : He divided the Empire into nine Provinces, and each Province into several Districts, over which he set Governors in whom he could confide, and created several new Principalities to increase the Number of his Dependants, After this he began to think himself very safe on the Throne, but soon found himself mistaken, for several of the Grandees leaguing together drew a numerous Army into the Field, to which they gave the Name of Tche mouy, because the Soldiers had painted their Eyebrows red, to distinguish themselves from their Enemies. The other Armies were commanded by two Chiefs who were Brothers, of the Family of Hauy whose Name, were Lieou sieou, and Lieou yng : These Wars lasted a long time, and were very bloody. The nineteenth Year of the Cycle there was such a Multitude of Grasshoppers, that they devoured the Harvest, and a great Famine ensued, which occasion’d abundance of Riots and Robberies.
In the twentieth Year the Usurper’s Army was entirely defeated, his Palace plundered and burnt to the Ground, his own Throat cut, and his Head put on a Pitchfork and publickly expos’d. The victorious Army elected Hoai yang vang Emperor, who was descendant of King ti the fourth Emperor of the Dynasty.
THE loose and effeminate Life which this new Emperor led, induced the Army to take the Crown from him, as being unworthy to wear it.
They put in his Place Vang lang, who was an Impostor, pretending himself to be the Son of Tching ti the ninth Emperor, but the Cheat being discovered they cut off his Head, and elected in his Place Lieau sieou, who assum’d the Name of Quang vou ti, and was descended from the tenth Son of King ti, the fourth Emperor of the reigning Dynasty.
THIS Prince remov’d his Court from the Province of Chen si to that of Ho nan, and made himself famous by his Politicks and warlike Achievements ; and tho’ he had but an indifferent Education among the Country People, yet he was very mild, affable, liberal, and a great Admirer of learned Men, whom he brought to his Court, and gave them honourable Places.
He was twelve Years employed in subduing the Rebels, and settling the Peace of the Empire; because the Army, the Soldiers of which had painted their Eyebrows red, would have chosen an Emperor of the Family of Han, called Pouan tse, who being defeated, went to the Emperor, threw himself at his Feet, and intreated his Clemency, and the Emperor granted him not only his Life, but gave him likewise a Principality. The Chinese Annals say, that in the twenty-eighth Year of the Cycle, the last Day of the seventh Moon, there was a total Eclipse of the Sun, which appeared before the Time that it was foretold : I leave it to Astronomers to examine if this Eclipse is the fame which happened at the Death of Christ.
Quang vou ti died in the sixty-first Year of his Age, and the fifty-fourth of the Cycle, leaving ten Children ; One of them called Ming ti succeeded him.
THIS Prince is extolled by the Historians for his Prudence, Clemency, and Judgment : He establish’d an Academy of Sciences in his Palace for the Benefit of young Noblemen of the Empire ; Strangers were also admitted into it, and he was often present there himself.
He placed in a Hall the Pictures of the greatest Men of the Empire.
He married the Daughter of one of his Generals, and declared her Empress, which Marriage was generally applauded. The Hoang ho, or Yellow River, having often overflowed the neighbouring Country, the Emperor caused a Bank to be made to prevent these Inundations, which was ten Leagues long, and one hundred thousand Men were employ’d in that Work. Cycle 41. A. D. 64. In the second Year of the Cycle, dreaming that a man of a Gigantick Size appeared to him, he remembred a Word which Confucius had often said, that the Holy One was in the West, upon which he sent immediately Embassadors to India to seek for the true Religion,
These Ambassadors staid at a Place where the Idol Foe was in great Veneration, and taking some Bonzes with them to China, they introduced that impious Sect into the Empire, as also the ridiculous Opinion of Metempsychosis : This Emperor is greatly condemned by the Chinese Historians for having admitted such a detestable Doctrine ; he died the twelfth Year of the Cycle, and left his Crown to his Son Tchang ti.
THE Reign of this Prince was very pacifick, being neither disturbed by Wars at home or abroad, which is attributed to his Wisdom and Prudence, as also to the Protection he granted to Men of Learning.
He died the twenty-fifth Year of the Cycle, in the thirty-first Year of his Age, and his Son Hoti, who was but ten years old, succeeded him.
AS this young Prince was but ten Years old, the Empress his Mother was his Guardian : His Authority was extended to very remote Countries, through the Valour of one of his Generals called Pan tchao, who obliged a great number of Sovereigns to pay Homage to the Emperor, and to crave his Protection ; It is said that he went into Judea, which the Chinese call Ta tsin, spending several Years in these Expeditions.
The Wife of the Emperor having given cause for Jealousy, was divorced, and soon after died with Grief, when the Emperor married one of his General’s Daughters, and made her Empress : She was a Princess of an extraordinary Merit, and well skill’d in all the Chinese Learning.
Ho ti was the first Emperor that introduced Eunuchs in his Palace, and raised them to the highest Places of the Empire, which was the Occasion of great Disturbances afterwards.
The Emperor died in the twenty-seventh Year of bis Age, and the forty-second Year of the Cycle, and his Son called Chang ti succeeded him.
THIS Prince ought not to be number’d amongst the Emperors, because he was only a Child in the Cradle when the Crown was plac’d on his Head, and lived scarcely a Year after. Ngan ti, Grandson to Tchang ti, succeeded him on the Throne,
AS this Prince was but thirteen Years of Age, the Empress his Mother was made Regent, and took upon her the Sovereign Authority, which she was so well pleas’d with, that she prolonged her Regency beyond the Bounds prescribed by the Laws.
She thought that the Extent of the Empire was too great, and, fearing of what dangerous Consequence it might prove, she refused the Homage which foreign Nations use to pay to the Emperor, and reduced the Bounds of the Empire to a narrower Compass.
Ngan ti had created one of his Wives Empress, but this Princess, his Mother, finding that she was barren, advised her to take another Woman’s Son as her Cycle 42. A.D. 124. own, and secretly to poison the true Mother of the Child. The Emperor died the second Year of the Cycle, in the thirty-second Year of his Age, and was succeeded by his Son Chun ti.
THE beginning of the Reign of this Prince was remarkable on account of several Victories which he obtained over the Barbarians.
The Empress who had poison’d the Concubine, Mother of Chun ti, did not long outlive her Crime ; and the Emperor being informed of it, forbid that she should have honourable Obsequies suitable to her Dignity, in order to be reveng’d for the Death of his Mother.
In the ninth Year of the Cycle a great Number of Vagabonds uniting, made a considerable Army under the Command of one called Ma mien, and plundered several Towns of the Southern Provinces. This Chief, flush’d with Victory, thought immediately of usurping the Crown, but he was slain before he could accomplish his Design.
The Emperor died in the twenty-first Year of the Cycle, and thirty-second Year of his Age, and was succeeded by his Son Tchung ti.
HE was two Years old when he ascended the Throne, and died the same Year. The Reign of his Successor was of no longer Duration.
HE was but eight Years old when he succeeded to the Crown, but had a maturity of Genius far above his Years, which raised the Expectations of the whole Empire. This Prince being so young, Leang ki, the Brother of the Empress, despis’d him and abusing his Sister’s Authority spoke and acted as if he had been absolute Master, nor could he forbear shewing his Pride and Insolence at a publick Assembly in the Presence of the Emperor, who taking Notice of his haughty Behaviour, said to those about him, looking steadfastly on Leang ki, Thai is a very arrogant Fellow.
These Words Cost the Prince dear, for Leang ki, finding that he had reason to fear his Resentment for his ill conduct, took care to get him poisoned; so that this young Prince reigned but one Year, and his eldest Brother, Houan ti succeeded him.
UNDER the Reign of this Emperor the Magistracy became Venal : He was a great Protector of the Sect of Leao kiun, and Eunuchs were his greatest Favourites, which obliged the Learned Men to retire from Court, tho’ the Emperor did his endeavours, both by Invitations and rich Presents which he sent them, to keep them near him : But this proved ineffectual, for these wise Men preferred Tranquility to the continual Follies of a Court, where the whole Authority was placed in the Hands of Eunuchs.
However Leang ki, the Murderer of the late Emperor, was raised to the highest Dignities of the Empire, and his Wife was honoured with the Title of Heroine, with a yearly Revenue of 500,000 Taels.
These great Favours so swelled his Pride and Ambition, that he thought he could do whatsoever he pleased: At the beginning of the Chinese Year, when all the Grandees pay their Duty to the Emperor, he had the Confidence to enter the Palace with his Sabre by his Side, contrary to all the Laws of the Country: Upon this he was immediately disarmed, and obliged to acknowledge his Crime, and ask the Emperor’s Pardon for it, which was accordingly granted him. But his Insolence and Pride soon made him odious to every body, and finding himself surrounded by a Troop of Eunuchs, whose Vengeance he could not escape, he murdered both his Wife and himself. His Relations and Friends were stript of all the high Dignities to which he had preferred them, and his Riches, which were very great, were confiscated.
In the twenty-eighth Year of the Cycle there was such a dreadful Famine in some Parts of the Empire, that many of the Chinese were obliged to feed upon Human Flesh.
The Emperor died the forty-fourth Year of the Cycle, and in the thirty-sixth Year of his Age. Altho’ he had a great many Concubines, he left no Issue : Ling ti, who was of the Family of Tchan ti, succeeded him.
AMONGST the ill Qualities for which this Prince is chiefly blamed, his Affection for Eunuchs is not the least, for he gave them more Power than his Predecessors had done ; besides, he had an Aversion against those that attempted to give him good Counsel : He was likewise very avaritious, and of a sharp satirical Humour.
The only good Action for which this Emperor is extolled, was the Care that he took to have the wise Instructions of the ancient Emperors, which were contained in the five Classical Books, ingraven on Marble Tables, and publickly exposed at the Entrance of the Academy.
The Power of the Eunuchs became so very greats that they caused a great number of the Nobles of the Empire, who had conspired against them, to be put to Death. This gave rise to many Rebellions , several Armies of Vagabonds appeared openly in the Field, who stiled themselves Yellow-Caps, commanded by three Brothers called Tchang, of the Sect of Leao kiun, who plundered divers Provinces : At last their Armies were defeated one after another, and the three Brothers perish’d.
The Barbarians (for so the Chinese call all Strangers) Cycle 43. A.D. 184. endeavoured several times to make Conquests in the Empire, but were repulsed by a Chinese General called Touan kiong.
In the fifth Year of the Cycle some remaining Rebels, called Yellow-Caps, appeared again in order to create new Troubles. The Emperor died the following Year, in the thirty-fourth Year of his Age, without having named a Successor ; his second Son Hien ti succeeded him.
THE eldest Brother of this Emperor, who reigned some Months, and then abdicated the Crown to Hien ti, is not numbered among the Emperors. Hien ti was but nine Years of Age when he came to the Crown ; the Weakness, Negligence, and Stupidity of this Prince, occasion’d perpetual Contentions at home, as well as abroad.
China was divided first into three, afterwards into four Parts, and had as many Sovereigns. The Eastern Part first conspired against Tong tcho, General of the Imperial Army, who murdered the Emperor and his eldest Brother, and burnt the Palace ; and having open’d the Sepulchres of the Emperors, he found a great deal of Wealth in them, and removed his Court into the Province of Chensi : But his Crimes did not long go unpunished, for the next Year he was murdered, and his Body exposed in the publick Market-place.
In the mean time the Yellow-Caps, taking advantage of these Disorders, very much encreas’d the Number of Rebels, but they were gradually destroy’d by Tsao sao who usurp’d the Sovereign Authority, of which he Was stript, die thirty-seventh Year of the Cycle, by his own Son called Tsao poi, and banished to a Principality which he have him, and where he died fourteen Year after, being generally despised.