The Third Dynasty, called Tcheou, which comprehends the Reign of Thirty-five Emperors, within the Space of 813 Years.
THIS new Emperor fixed the Seat of his Empire in the Metropolis of the Province of Chen si, now called Si ngan : He began his Reign with offering Sacrifices to the Lord of Heaven, and reestablishing the Laws and Customs which his Predecessor had in some measure abolished.
He consulted Ki tson, the Uncle of the Tyrant, who had counterfeit, Madness to save his Life, in Affairs of State, Politicks, and Astronomy, whose Instructions to the Emperor are to be seen in a Book called Chu king, of which we shall speak hereafter ; and he rewarded this Great Man, by giving him and his Posterity the Kingdom of Corey for a Sovereignty and made it in a manner independant : He also erected fifteen Principalities, which he gave to fifteen of his Relations, bellowed great Rewards on his Ministers, and rais'd some to the highest Honours and Preferments of the Empire, particularly his Prime Minister Tcheou kong, for whom he had a very' great Regard. He governed his People with the Tenderness of a Father, and was indefatigable in publick Affairs to the Day of his Death, which happened the twenty-third Year of the Cycle, He was succeeded by his Son Tching vang.
THE tender Years of this Prince when he ascended the Throne, rendered him incapable of Governing, but his Uncle Tcheou kong, who was Prime Minister, and whose Virtue was generally acknowledged, took upon him the Care both of the Emperor and the Empire, and governed with great Wisdom and Prudence,
Nevertheless his Virtues could not foreseen him from the Envy of his Enemies, who persuaded the young Prince that his Uncle design'd to usurp the Imperial Dignity, which the Minister hearing of took a Resolution of retiring from Court, which was a great Affliction to all good Men, who were convinced of his Probity, and Zeal for the Welfare of his Nephew.
The young Emperor was very well pleas'd to be from under the Tuition of his Uncle, and took upon him, with great Joy, the Government of the Empire, till Experience, and ill Success, made him sensible of his own Incapacity of supporting such a Weight, Having ordered the secret Records of the Empire to be read to him, in order to make them the Standing Rule of his future conduct, he found, among others, a Writing under his Father's own Hand, in which he related the generous Action of Tchou kong, when at the Time of his Sickness, which happened in the second Year of his Reign, he had not only offer'd Sacrifices for his Recovery, but also had publickly offer'd his own Life to Heaven, to preserve that of Vou vang.
After reading the Writing, Tching vang was so sensibly affected with this singular Love of a Subject towards his Sovereign, that he went himself to the place where Tcheou kong had retir'd and liv'd in private, intreating him not to forsake him, but to help and assist him with his Counsel, and brought him directly to Court with him, and reinstated him in his former Honours and Dignities. The Emperor afterwards follow'd the Counsel of this wise Minister, which made him admir'd as well abroad as at home, and occasion'd the King of Cochinchina to send Ambassadors to him, to congratulate him on his Happiness of having so wise a Minister as Tcheou kong. These Ambassadors were received with the highest Marks of Esteem and Friendship.
After they had had their Audience of Leave in order to return to their own Country, Tcheou kong gave them an Instrument, which on one side pointed towards the North, and on the opposite side towards the Souths to direct them better on their way home, than they had been directed in coming to China. This Instrument was called Tchi nan, which is the same Name at the Chinese now call the Sea Compass by : This has given Occasion to think that Tcheou kong was the Inventor of the Compass.
This great Minister died the thirty third Year of the Cycle in the hundredth Year of his Age ; and the Emperor, to shew the great Regard he had for him, caused him to be buried near his Father's Tomb, with the same Obsequies as were customary at the Interments of the Emperors.
Sometime after the Emperor assembled the States of the Empire, and ordered that every Prince should be obliged to forbid the immoderate Use of Wine in his Dominions, as being the Source of infinite Misfortunes. This Prince died the fiftieth Year of the Cycle, and left his Crown to his Son called Kang vang.
[Cycle 22 . Year before Christ1077.] THIS Emperor was very peaceably inclined, and his Reign was free from Wars both at home and abroad, and from thence he was surnamed the Pacifick : He was a great Lover of Agriculture, which was brought to great perfection in his Days. He died the twenty fifth Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Tchao vang.
ONE single passion, to which this Prince was intirely devoted, eclipsed all his Virtues. He was so given to Hunting that he neglected intirely the Affairs of the Empire, being continually engaged in that exercise, and followed by an Army of Hunters and Dogs, which spoiled the whole Country, and ruined his People, who were continually lamenting to fee their finest Harvests overrun by Horses and Dogs. This ill Conduct drew an universal Hatred upon him, and brought him to an untimely Death, [Cycle 23. Year before Christ 1017] for his Subjects conspired against his Life, and invented the following Stratagem to prevent their being discover'd. Knowing that the Emperor in returning from hunting was obliged to cross a River which was pretty broad, and that there were Boats ordered to wait upon him, they prepared one so built that they knew it would immediately fell in Pieces ; the Emperor went into it with some of his Nobles, and before they had got to the middle of the River, the Boat separated and sunk at once, and the Emperor and all his Attendants were drowned. Thus perished this Prince the sixteenth Year of this Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Mo vang.
It is said that in the sixteenth Year of his Reign, and the forty first of the Cycle, the Author of the abominable Sect of Bonzees and of the Doctrine of Metempsychosis, was born in Indian whose Name was Fo. This Idolatrous Sect was first introduced into this Empire the sixty fifth Year after Christ, under the Protection of the Emperor, which shall be related in its proper Place.
THE great Virtues of this Prince, and Disposition to do Justice, soon gain'd him the Affection of his Subjects. Some of the Barbarians of the Southern Parts having revolted, he sent an Army against them, commanded by Kao fou, who entirely defeated them , and the Emperor rewarded him with the Principality of Tchao in the Province of Chan si.
This Success encouraged him to lead his victorious Arms against the Tartars , his Son-in-law endeavour'd to dissuade him from it, which he gave no Attention to, but march'd at the Head of a powerful Army to the Borders of Tartary. The Tartars hearing of his March, withdrew into the Heart of their Country, with their Tents and Cattle : The Emperor finding no Enemies to fight with was obliged to return, after having fatigu'd and impaired his Army with long and troublesome Marches.
Fo, the Author of the Idolatrous Sect mentioned before, died in India the ninth Year of the Cycle. [Cycle 24. year before Christ 957. ]
The Emperor died the eleventh Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Kong vang.
THIS Prince began his Reign with an Action so cruel and barbarous, that it would have been a perpetual Blot upon him, if his future Conduct had not greatly made amends for it.
He often used to walk by the side of a Lake, which was in a Country called Mie, where the finest Women of the Country frequently walked, with three of whom he fell desperately in Love, but they being warned of the Danger they were in absented themselves, and went no more to the Walk : With this the Emperor was so enraged, that he commanded all the Inhabitants of Mie to be immediately massacred. He repented this cruel Action all the Days of his Life, and performed many great Acts of Justice and Equity, which took off the Odium that it had brought upon him, and made him rank'd amongst the best of Princes. He died the twenty third Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Ye vang.
THE Memory of this Prince had been buried with him, if his Negligence had not given the Poets of his Time matter of Rallery, by whose satirical Descriptions he is only known. He died in the forty eighth Year of the Cycle, being despised of all Men, and without being able to secure the Crown to his Children, his Brother Hiao vang usurping it by Violence.
THIS Usurper maintained himself peaceably on the Throne by his Merit and Address: He was over fond of Horses, and spent large Sums of Money in keeping and buying great Numbers of them ; and the gave a Sovereignty to one Fi chou, a Groom whom he highly esteem'd for his Skill in his Business, which in time proved to be the Ruin of his Family , for one of the Offspring of this Groom was the Founder of the following Dynasty, as shall be shew'd hereafter. Hiao vang died the third Year of the Cycle, and Y vang succeeded him.
THE Irregularities of this Prince's Conduct, and his want of Judgment, rendered him contemptible to all his Subjects ; he was so timorous, that he could neither make any Answer to his Ministers when they came to him for Orders, nor give Audience to foreign Ambassadors, nor receive in publick the Homages of tributary Princes. He died the nineteenth Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Lia vang.
THIS Prince was proud, self conceited, prodigal and cruel ; the Wealth of his Subjects, which he drew from them through Exactions, could scarcely satisfy his passion for Riches, which he spent lavishly and without Judgment : The Misery of his Subjects was extreme, and nothing was heard but Complaints and Murmurs. These Clamours and Repinings of an oppress'd People only increased his Fury, and he punish'd, with the utmost Severity, those whom he suspected to be at the Head of the Malecontents.
As he was conscious how odious he had made himself to his Subjects, he suspected that all their Discourse was on his ill Conduct, and therefore he forbid them, on Pain of Death to converse together, or even whisper to one another, so that you might see all the Inhabitants walking the Streets with Eyes cast down, in mournful Silence, and shunning each other.
Tchao kong, one of his most faithful Ministers, frequently advis'd him to desist from these arbitrary Proceedings, telling him that the forced Silence of his Subjects seem'd to forebode something more dangerous, than if they had the open Liberty to complain.
The Prediction of this wise Minister proved but too true; the fifty second Year of the Cycle the Despairing People all revolted, and rushed into the Imperial palace in order to assassinate the Tyrant ; but not finding him there, he having fled at the first Rumour of the Tumult, they murdered all his Family, excepting his young Son, whom Tchao kong had secretly convey'd to his own House, in order to conceal him from the Rage of the Multitude; but hearing that one of the Sons of the Emperor was concealed at Tchao kong's, they besieged his House, and demanded him with Threats ; however he refused to give him up, and at last delivered them his own Son instead of him, whose Throat they inhumanly cut before the Father's Face.
Li vang henceforward lived in Obscurity, a Wanderer and Fugitive : Tchao kong tried the utmost of his Power to appease the People, and to reestablish him on the Throne, but he could not succeed in it, so that the Throne was vacant for some Years.
[Cycle 26. Year before Christ 837.] Li VANG died in his Exile, the Tenth Year of the Cycle, and the Throne was filled by the young Prince Suen vang, whom Tcbao kong had saved from the Fury of a revolted People. This Minister by degrees brought the People to Obedience, and to acknowledge Suen vang Emperor after the Death of his Father. As he was then very young, Tchao kong and another Minister were appointed to be his Tutors, and to take Care of his Education. These two Ministers acquitted themselves of this important Employ with great Zeal and Fidelity, and their Royal Pupil was equally tradable on his Part. He recalled to Court numbers of wise Men and Philosophers, who either through the Cruelty or ill Conduct of the former Emperors had been obliged to retire into deserts and Mountains.
Some of the Nations, who were to the Southward of China, near the great River Yang tse kiang, having taken the Advantage of the Independency in which they lived, plundered the Neighbouring Provinces, against whom Suen vang sent an Army commanded by excellent Officers, who forced them to submit to the Laws and Customs of the Empire.
This Prince died the fifty-sixth Year of the Cycle, and his Son Yeou vang succeeded him.
THIS Prince had none of the good Qualities which were admir'd in his Father, but had very great Faults, which made him contemptible to his People.
[Year before Christ, 777.] He was desperately in love with a Concubine called Pao ssee, for whose Sake he put away the Empress and her Son, who was the lawful Heir to the Crown, in order to put in his Place the Son which he had by his Concubine : The Empress, with the Prince retired to his Uncle, who had the Government of the Province of Chensi.
Notwithstanding this Yeou vang had so great Pleasure in the Enjoyment of his beloved Pao Ssee, because she was naturally of a very splenetic and melancholy Temper, altho' he had recourse to all sorts of Amusements that might inspire her with Gaiety and Mirth.
He was then at War with the Eastern Tartars, and had given Orders that when the Soldiers saw Fires lighted they should immediately take to their Arms, and attend his Person. This Signal, which was never used but in case of Necessity, he looked on as a proper Diversion for the Object: of his Love, who was highly delighted to see the Hurry that the Soldiers were in to run to the Emperor when the Fires were lighted, in order, as they thought, to defend him against the Enemy, and then to fee how surpriz'd and astonish'd they look'd at their Disappointment, after all their needless Flutter and Fatigue.
Nevertheless the Emperor was displeas'd that his Son had abandoned him, and sent an Order to his Brother to bring him to him immediately : His Brother answer'd, that he would obey his Orders as soon as the young Prince should be declared lawful Heir of the Empire ; which so provok'd Yeou vang, that he immediately declared War against him.
This Prince, not being in a Condition to stand out against the Forces of the Emperor, join'd the Tartars, and in the nighttime attacked the Imperial Camp : The Fires were immediately lighted, but as this Signal had deceived the Soldiers so often before, they disregarded it, and look'd on it as the ordinary Diversion of Pao Ssee : In the mean time the Camp was forc'd, and the Emperor slain. This happened the seventh Year of the Cycle, and Ping vang his Son succeeded him in the Empire.
THE Tartary who were introduced into the Empire, took advantage of the Confusion which the Emperor's Death had caused among the Chinese Troops ; they plundered wherever they came, and made divers Conquests. The tributary Princes being alarm'd at it, united their Forces in order to oppose them, and prevent their own Ruin : Among these Confederate Princes, the Kings of Tsin and of Ouei distinguish themselves for their Valour, and drove the Tartars from the Conquests they had made.
THIS Success put an end to a foreign War, but gave rise to civil Commotions more dangerous than that: These two Kings kept in their Possession the Conquests of which they had deprived the Tartars, and refused to pay Homage to the Emperor, under , colour that he had lent them no Assistance. This Example produced fatal Consequences, which the Emperor brought on himself, by removing his Court from the Province of Chen si to that of Ho nan.
This Caution was imputed to the Fear wherewith the melancholy Fate of his Father had inspir'd him ; and it was not doubted but his retiring farther from the Neighbourhood of the Tartars, shew'd he was more careful of his own Person than of the Safety of the Empire : Several tributary Princes followed the Examples of the Kings of Tsin and Ouei, and made themselves independent.
There were three especially that signaliz'd themselves by their Usurpations, and founded three considerable Kingdoms, The King of Tsi took the Southern Part of the Province of Chan tong : The King of Tsou seiz'd the Provinces of Hou quang and Kiang si, and the King of Tsin usurp'd the greater Part of the Province of Chen si, These three Princes having now no Matter fallowed the Dictates of their Ambitions, and seeking to enlarge their Dominions made War against each other ; the Emperor indeed endeavour'd to put A Stop to these Disorders, and enjoyn'd them to live in Peace, but they despised his Authority,
These War a lasted several Ages, and were not ended in the Time of the celebrated Philosopher Confucius, who from hence begins his History, which he has intituled Tchun tsiou.
The Emperor died the fifty-eighth Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by Huuan vang his Brother's Son.
[Cycle 28. Year before Christ 717.] HOUAN VANG ascended the Throne at this difficult Conjuncture, and earnestly endeavoured to bring the tributary Princes to their Obedience by gentle Means; but they proving ineffectual he had recourse to Arms, which Method was as unsuccessful as the former, for he was wounded and his Army defeated ; so that finding his Endeavours to reestablish his Authority in the revolted Provinces were in vain, he was oblig'd to content himself with preserving the Provinces that acknowledged him : He died the twenty first Year of the Cycle, and his Son Tchuang vang succeeded him.
THIS Prince came to the Crown contrary to the Will of his Father, and several of his Ministers, the late Emperor having named for his Successor the Son of one of his Concubines, called Keou ; but one of the principal Persons of the Court persuaded the Grandees, and many Ministers of State, to acknowledge for Emperor Tchuang vang the lawful Heir.
Notwithstanding this Keou had a Party on his Side, which form'd a Conspiracy in his Favour that was three Years before it was discover'd, the Chief of the Conspirators being one of the Council, and a Person of Credit: The Minister, who had taken so much Pains to place Tchuang vang on the Throne, persuaded him to take no Notice that he was acquainted with the Conspiracy, but to send for the chief Conspirator, as if he wanted his Advice on some important Affair, and then to have him murder'd ; which was accordingly put in Execution by the hands of a Soldier, who had taken upon him to perform it. Keou finding that the Conspiracy was discovered fled to the King of Yen ; his Flight, and the Death of the chief Conspirator, secured the Possession of the Crown to the Emperor.
But the revolted Princes constantly maintained their Independency, and even the King of Tsi, through the Advice of his Calao, or Prime Minister, called Quent tchu, got such Credit among those Princes, that they Respected him as if they had depended entirely upon him, and would undertake no Affair of Moment without his Approbation.
The Emperor dying in the thirty-sixth Year of the Cycle, Quent tchu had such an Influence over the Ministers and Grandees of the Empire, that he obtained the Consent of the greater Number of them in favour of Li vang, a Relation of his Master, and descended from a younger Brother of the Imperial Family called Tcheou, and he was accordingly elected Emperor.
THE Crown, by natural Right, descended to one of the Nephews of the late Emperor, but he was excluded from it by the Election of Li vang, who was supported by the King of Tsi his Relation. This tributary Prince enlarged his rower to the great Prejudice of the Imperial Authority, and usurp'd the Title of Pa, that is to say, the Chief of other Princes, the greatest Part of whom acknowledged him in that Quality ; but this Title lasted but one hundred Years, and then was abolish'd. Li vang died the forty-first Year of the Cycle, and his Son Hoei vang succeeded him.
THE first six Years of this Reign were peaceable, but this Tranquillity was soon disturb'd by the Tartars who inhabit the North Part of the Province of Chansi, against whom the Emperor sent an Army commanded by the King of Tsi. This Army attacking them while they were besieging Tai tongfou, gave them an entire Defeat, and forc'd them back into their own Country.
It is said that the Kingdom of Japan began to be governed by Kings in the fifty-eighth Year of the Cycle, and the sixteenth of this Emperor's Reign.
The Emperor died the sixth Year of the Cycle, [Cycle 29. Year before Christ 657.] and he was succeeded, by his eldest Son, called Siang vang.
SIANG VANGy altho' very young, observ'd in his Father's Time, that the King of Tsi's Ambition was without Bounds, that his Authority increased daily, and that he aim'd at making himself Master of the Empire ; therefore as soon as this young Prince had ascended the Throne, he resolv'd to restrain his ambitious Designs , but as he could not effect it by force of Arms, he made use of the following Stratagem, which proved successful.
The King of Tsi, through the Intrigues of his Prime Minister, had assembled all the Sovereigns that were subject to the Imperial Crown . This Assembly was a kind of Convocation of the States, which none but the Emperor had a Right to summon ; his Design was to engage these Princes to acknowledge him for their Sovereign,
When the Time came that the Assembly was to be held, the Emperor sent a skilful Embassador thither, with Letters, to the Assembly : The Order of the Ceremony is, that when a Letter comes from the Emperor, it should be placed on a Table magnificence adorn'd, and that the same Honours should be paid to it as if the Emperor was present ; before the Letter was opened, the Ceremony was perform'd by all the tributary princes, except the King of Tsi, who seem'd to be at a stand whether he should do it or not; but at last, through the Advice of his Prime Minister, he performed it, and by that act gave a publick Acknowledgment of his Submission to the Emperor ; and this was a great Step to confirm the other Princes in a due Subjection to the Emperor.
Siang vang was beginning to enjoy the Pleasures of Peace, when new Troubles put an end to it ; his Son, called Cho Tai, left his Court the fifteenth Year of the Cycle, went to the King Tsi, and put himself under his Protection, and in the mean time a tributary Prince of the Province of Chen si openly revolted, but the Emperor soon defeated him, with the help of an Army of Tartars, for he had married the Daughter of their Chief.
The King of Tsi died soon after, so that being now delivered from all his Enemies he divorced the Daughter of the Chief of the Tartars, whom he had marry'd for Political Reasons, under pretence that she was a Stranger.
The Chief of the Tartars, being highly provoked at this Affront, resolv'd to be reveng'd ; he sent therefore to Cho Tai, and promised to make him Emperor if he would join with him, which he did, and they both carry'd the War into the Metropolis of the Empire, which the Emperor was obliged to quit, and fly for his Life : Cho tai caused himself to be proclaimed Emperor, while his Father wander'd about like a Fugitive, imploring the Assistance of the tributary Princes.
He received from them the Succours he expected, with which he form, two Armies, one of them besieged the Metropolis, enter'd it in Triumph, and punish'd with Death the rebellious Prince, the other Army defeated the Tartar, and reestablish'd Siang vang upon the Throne.
This Event happened the seventeenth Year of the Cycle, when the Empire was restor'd to its former Splendour, and the Emperor enjoy'd it peaceably to his Death, which happened the thirty-ninth Year of the Cycle, and his Son King vang succeeded him.
THE Empire began to flourish when this Prince took Possession of it ; but his Reign was too short for the Good of bis People, who were always praising his Mildness, Wisdom, and Moderation. He dy'd the forty-fifth Year of the Cycle, and left his Crown to his Son Quang vang.
THIS Reign was as short, and as much applauded by the People as the preceding, Quang vang had inherited all the great and good Qualities of his Father, and the new King of Tsi was not in a Capacity to cause any Disturbance, being hated of his Subjects because of his Cruelties, and his Negligence of the Government. The Emperor dy'd the fifty-first Year of the Cycle, and was succeed by his Brother Ting vang.
THIS Prince kept the Empire in Peace, and took care the Laws should be put in Execution.
On the fourteenth Day of the ninth Month, in the fifty-fourth Year of the Cycle, Lao kiun was born in the Province of Hou quang ; he is the Founder of one of the two principal Sects which have infected the Empire, and of which I shall speak hereafter.
His Opinion was, that the Soul died with the Body ; that the Happiness of Man consisted in Voluptuousness ; and confining all Happiness to this Life, he pretended to have found out a Way to prolong it beyond its natural Course, which Opinion caused these Sects to be called. The Sects of Immortals. They were received with Joy by the Grandees, who flatter'd themselves that by embracing them they should prolong their Days.
However, there is reason to believe that the Founder of this impious Sect confefs'd a Supreme Being, which he called Tao ; for he says, in one of his Treatises. That this Tao has no Name that is suitable to him; that he created the Heaven and the Earth; that he is incorporeal ; and that, tho' he is himself immovable, he gives Motion to all things : This has occasion'd some to think, that his Doctrines have been corrupted by his Disciples. He dy'd at the Age of eighty-four Years.
THIS Emperor dy'd the twelfth Year of the Cycle, and his Son Kien vang succeed him, [Cycle 30. Year before Christ 597.]
THIS Prince, by his Wisdom and Prudence, preserv'd the Grandeur and Glory of the Empire ; and in his Reign two dangerous Opinions of the Philosophers began, which made a great Noise, and were both of them refuted.
These two Philosophers Names were Yang and Me ; the former said, That all Men should be loved , alike, as well Strangers as those that were nearest akin : the latter would have every Man to mind no body but himself, nor be concerned about the Welfare of the rest of Mankind, nor even of the Emperor himself.
History does not mention the Kingdom of Ou till this Reign, it is now called The Province of Kiang nan.
The Emperor died the twenty-sixth Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son called Ling vang.
THE Chinese History relates, that this Prince was born with Hair on his Head, and a Beard on his Chin; and he is chiefly prais'd for his Wisdom and Prudence in having preicrv'd his Authority, and the Peace of the Empire, when all the tributary Princes were at War against each other.
The forty-seventh Year of this Cycle was remarkable for the Birth of Confucius, whom the Chinese respect as the greatest Philosopher of their Nation : He was born in the Province of Chan tong, the fourth Day of the eleventh Month : His Father died when he was but three Years old, whole Name was Cho leang ho, and was First Minister in the Principality of Tsou. The Emperor died the fifty-third Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son called King vang.
THIS Emperor is blam'd for his great Negligence of the Government of the Empire, which occasion'd that the King of Qu sent no Ambassadors to the Imperial Court, but to the Court of King lou, who was of the Family of Tcheou.
[Cycle 31.Year before Christ, 537.] Confucius marry'd, being nineteen Years of Age, but shortly he divorced his Wife, that he might attend his Studies with greater Application, and in a few Years he made such a Progress in them, that he became the most learned Doctor of the Empire.
He died the eighteenth Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son, called Men vang : This Prince reign'd but few Months, in which time he had a Son born, whose Birth gave Life to two notorious Factions in the Empire.
The Grandees of the Court declared this newborn Child Emperor, and named Guardians to govern the Empire in his Minority, while some of the Governors of the Provinces proclaimed the Brother of Meng vang Emperor: They proceeded to take up Arms, but this last Faction being the strongest, took the Metropolis, and plac'd King vang on the Throne, and tho' his Name is the same as his Brother's, yet it is written in different Characters, and has a different Signification,
CONFUCIUS had attain'd already such great Reputation, that he was follow'd by three thousand Disciples, of which seventy two were distinguish'd by their Learning ; and in this last Number there were ten, who were so accomplished in all sorts of Knowledge, that they were called by way of excellence Ten Philosophers.
The thirty-eighth Year of the Cycle Confucius was preferred to be Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lou, his Native Country ; Through his wise Counsels the Face of Affairs changed, Candour, Justice, Equity, and all other civil Virtues flourish'd during his Administration, which continued not very long, the King of Lou having given himself up to all sorts of Voluptuousness to please a Mistress, which the Minister of the King of Tsi, who had murder'd his Master and usurp'd the Crown, had sent him for a Present.
Confucius finding that he could not long preserve Justice, Equity and good Order, and that the King would no longer follow his good Advice and Counsels, lay'd down his Place of Prime Minister, and retired Out of the Kingdom,
The War among the tributary Princes still continued, the King of Ou was destroy'd by the King of Yue, The fifty-second Year of the Cycle, the Family of Tsao, who had had twenty five Kings in the Space of six hundred and thirty fix Years, was entirely extinguish'd by the King of Song, Confucius ends about this Time the History of the Wars of the tributary Princes, which had lasted two hundred Years, Confucius died the fifty-ninth Year of the Cycle in the seventy-third Year of his Age, and the forty-first of this Reign.
The Chinese pay the greatest Veneration to the Memory of this Philosopher ; they look on him , the Master and Doctor of the Empire. His Works have such a great Authority, that if any body offer'd to make the least Alteration in them, he would be liable to Punishment. Whenever any Disputes in point of Doctrine, and a Quotation is made out of his Works, it immediately decides the Dispute.
His descendants enjoy the greatest Privileges, and whatever Revolutions have happened in the Empire, these Privileges have always subsisted : His Progeny are in being still.
In the sixtieth Year of the Cycle, the Kingdom and the Family of Tchin, who had had twenty four Princes in the Space of six hundred and forty-five Years, was entirely destroy'd by the King of Tsou.
[Cycle 31. Year before Christ 477.] The Emperor died the second Year of this Cycle, and left his Crown to his Son called Tuen vang.
IF the Reign of this Emperor had been longer, the Power and Reputation of the Empire had been completely reestablish'd through the Wisdom and Mildness,of his Government ; the ancient Laws of his Predecessors were beginning to revive, and most of the tributary Princes were returned to his Obedience, excepting the King of Lou, who refus'd to come to the Assembly of the States which the Emperor had convened, pretending that he was not a Vassal of the Empire : The Emperor caus'd him to be proscrib'd as a Rebel, which is the first Instance of that kind.
The Prime Minister of that Prince being discontented came to the Emperor, who gave him the command of an Army, with which he fought several Battles, conquered almost the whole Province, and sent Ambassadors with Presents to the Emperor, and desir'd of him the Investiture of that Province, which was granted him on condition to render the ordinary Homage and Tributes.
The Kingdom of Ou, which had subsisted during six hundred and fifty Years, under twenty petty Kings, was abolished at that Time by the King of Yue.
Yuen vang died the ninth Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Tching ting vang.
WHEN this Prince ascended the Throne, he found the Empire almost restor'd to its ancient Splendour, and maintain'd the Dignity of it by his Prudence,
After the Death of the Empress he liv'd in Celibacy, an Example of Continency which was no less admired, than the Rarity of it ; from whence he was surnamed the Chaste.
The Emperor died the thirty-seventh Year of the Cycle, leaving three Sons who were old enough to reign : The eldeft called Ngan succeeded him, but he reign'd only three Months, and was murdered by his Brother Sou, who reigned only five Months, and was murder'd by his younger Brother Kao vang, who ascended the Throne without Opposition.
ALTHO' this Prince had usurp'd the Crown without Opposition, yet the barbarous Action, by which he had made his way to it, disgrac'd him throughout the Empire, and was a Pretence for most of the tributary Princes to refuse to pay him the usual Homage, or to acknowledge him for their Sovereign.
He had a Brother called Houan kong, whom he removed from Court, by giving him a Principality in the Province of Ho nan. One of his descendants was the last Emperor of the Dynasty Tcheou.
Kao vang died the fifty-second Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Guei lie vang.
ABOUT this time the cruel Wars between the tributary Princes began again, and lasted near 300 Years : The Historians call these Times Tchen koue, or the warlike Ages.
Each Prince aimed at the Empire, and endeavour'd to destroy his Rival : The Emperors had scarcely any thing left them except their Dignity, and they soon lost both their Authority and their Provinces. The Kingdom of Tsin had been divided among four Princes, one of whom overcame the rest, and get the Kingdom into his own Hands. His Son Tchi Sang, who succeeded him, was a proud, ambitious Prince, he quarrel'd with the Kings of Han, of Guot, and with the King of Tchao, in order to deprive them of their Dominions, which obliged these three Kings to unite their Forces for their Preservation against him, whereby his Army was defeated, and himself slain, and the King of Tcbao took his Kingdom, and entirely destroy'd his Family.
There was another War between the King of Lou and the King of Tsi, the former gave the Command of his Army to a great General called Ouki,who defeated the King of Tsi, and obliged him to make Peace with his Matter.
The Emperor died the sixteenth Year of the Cycle, and his Son Ngan vang succeeded him.
HISTORY relates nothing remarkable of this Emperor, excepting the Number of Years that he reigned, and gives only an Account of the Wars between the tributary Princes, which for brevity sake I shall pass over.
The Emperor died the forty-second Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Lie vang.
THE Empire decay'd daily, and the imperial family was on the Brink of ruin. All the tributary Princes maintained themselves in independence; and when this Prince ascended the Throne, there was none but the King of Tsi who paid him Homage.
The same Year that he came to the Crown, the Kingdom of Tching, which had been governed by twenty three Princes, in the space of four hundred and thirty two Years, was destroy'd by the King of Han.
The forty-second Year of this Cycle was remarkable for the Birth of the Philosopher Meng tsee, commonly known by the Name of Mencius, who is esteem'd the wisest of the Chinese after Confucius.
Lie vang died without Issue in the forty ninth Year of the Cycle, his younger Brother Hien vang succeeded him.
THIS Prince had scarcely any thing else but the empty Title of Emperor : The tributary Princes not only refused to acknowledge him for their Sovereign, but also threatened to declare War against him if he oppos'd their Designs, or blam'd their Conduct.
They being prepossessed with an Opinion, that the Crown belonged to the Possessor of the nine Vases of Copper, which the great Yu, Founder of the first Dynasty, had caused to be made, every one of the tributary Princes strove to get the Possession of them, in order to usurp the Imperial Authority. Hien vang, to defeat their Designs, was obliged to throw them into a deep Lake, from which it was impossible to get them out.
Mencius was now thirty-six Years old, and was in the Highest Reputation, and had seventeen Disciples that follow'd him, he travelled over different Kingdoms Countries, especially those of Guei and of tsi, instructing Princes how to govern their Subjects, and the Subjects in their Duty towards their Princes , and also in the Virtues that they ought to practice in their private Capacities.
Hien vang died the thirty-seventh Year of the cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Chin tsin vang.
IF this Prince had had Strength and Courage enough to have taken Advantage of the Divisions, which were among the tributary Princes, doubtless lie would have restor'd the Empire to its former Grandeur and Glory , but his Cowardice and Sloth, in which he exceeded his Predecessor, did not contribute a little to the Abasement of his Dignity, and to the Annihilation of his Authority, while the King of Tsin increased both his Authority and Dignity, and had the Imperial Authority tho' not the Dignity, keeping the other Princes in Subjection to him.
These five Kings, viz. the King of Tsou ,Tchao, Han, Guei, and Yen, joyn'd their Forces together in order to oppose his formidable Power ; but the King of Tsin defeated their Army, and might have deprived them of their Kingdoms, if an Object of greater Interest had not called him elsewhere.
Two Princes of the Western Part of the Province of Se Tchuen, who were independant of the Empire, were at War against one another, and each of them demanded Aids from the King of Tsin ; accordingly he went with his Army and joyn'd one of them, and defeated the other, and oblig'd the Prince likewise, whom he had succour'd, to pay him a yearly Tribute ; the King of Guei was forc'd to pay him Tribute, and the same Respect as if he had been the Emperor.
The Emperor, who had been an idle Spectator of all the Victories of King Tsin, died the forty-third Year of the Cycle, and was succeeded by his Son Ngan vang.
ALTHO' this Prince's Reign was long, yet it was not successful, for when he came to the Throne the Imperial Authority was almost annihilated; and tho' he neither wanted Skill nor Prudence, yet the State was too weak to undertake any thing against such a powerful Prince as the King of Tsin.
Mencius died the ninth Year of this Cycle, in the [ Cycle 35. Year before Christ 297. ] Eighty-fourth Year of his Age, and is looked upon Year as the greatest Philosopher of the Empire, except Confucius : His Works are held in great Veneration, and his descendants enjoy great Privileges.
The King of Tsin follow'd his ambitious Designs, and insensibly cleared the way to the Empire by underhand something Discord among the tributary Princes, that they might mutually destroy each other : When they were at Variance and ask'd Succours from him, he would furnish Troops to one that he might thereby destroy the other. Thus the Kingdom of Song, which had subsisted 381 Years, under thirty two Princes, was destroy'd by the Kings of Tsi and Tsou ; and the Principality , Lou, which had been governed by thirty-four Sovereigns, was destroy'd by the King of Tsou, and he himself invaded the Territories of the King of Guei, whom he made tributary to him.
After all this Tchao siang, King of Tsin, no longer concealed his Design upon the Imperial Crown, but offered to the Sovereign Lord of Heaven a Sacrifice, with the same Ceremonies which none but the Emperors were allowed to perform, by which publick Act he openly declared his Pretensions to that Sovereign Dignity.
At that time there was no Prince powerful enough to dispute with him the Imperial Dignity, except the King of Tsi, but Tchao Siang entirely defeated him, and immediately he sent Part of his Army to dethrone the Emperor, whose Army was so small that it was immediately defeated, and this unfortunate Prince was forc'd to implore the Clemency of the Conqueror, and to acknowledge him for his Sovereign, yielding to him the few Towns that remained in his Hands. This submission saved him his Life, which he ended in the Province of Chensi the Year following.
As soon as the Emperor's Misfortune was publickly known, federal of the Princes, particularly the King of Han, hasten'd to pay Homage to the King of Tsin: But the Provinces which had not acknowledged him for their Emperor, elected Tcheou kiun, one of the Grandsons of the Brothers of Kao vang, the twenty-eighth Emperor.
THE forty third Year of the Cycle, tcheou Kiun took the Title of Emperor, and gathered Forces on all sides to make head against the Usurper, demanding Aids from the Kings of Tsi, tsou and Guei; but these Princes fearing Tchao Siang, refus'd to aid the Emperor.
Tcheou kiun finding himself forsaken, and out of hopes of maintaining himself on the Throne, abdicated the Crown, and lived a private Life. Thus ended the Dynasty of Tcheou.
Tchao siang did not long enjoy the Authority which he had usurp'd, but died before the Abdication of the Emperor, His Son Hiao ven vang died the same Year, and left the Imperial Crown to his Son called Tchuang Siang vang, who was the Founder of the fourth Dynasty.