The Thirteenth Dynasty , called Tang

The Thirteenth Dynasty , called Tang, which had twenty Emperors in the Space of 289 Years.

Chin yao ti, the First Emperor , reigned 9 Years.

HE began his Reign with an Act of Clemency, which expressed the Mildness of his future Government ; he abated the Rigour of Penal Laws, and moderated the Taxes ; but, on the other hand, he shewed himself too favourable to the Doctrine of Lao kiun, by erecting a Temple in honour of the Chief of that Sect, In the sixteenth Year of the Cycle he reduced all the Rebels to his Obedience, and thereby enjoyed the quiet Possession of this vast Monarchy. ’Twas he who enacted that one Ounce of Copper should be coined into ten Pieces of Money, with these two Words, Tong Pao, impressed upon them. This was the current Money of China, and is in use at this Time : By the Advice of his Prime Minister, called Fou Yue, he enjoyned 100,000 Bonzes to marry, in order to multiply, and in length of Time to furnish Troops for the Augmentation of his Armies. In the twenty-third Year of the Cycle he abdicated the Crown in favour of his second Son, called Tai tsong, and declared him Emperor. He died nine Years later, in the seventieth Year of his Age.

Tai tsong, the Second Emperor , reigned 23 Years.

In the twenty-fourth Year of the Cycle Tai Tsong began his Reign ; he was esteemed by the Chinese as one of the greatest Emperors China ever had , they praise him above all for his Wisdom, and the easy Access to his Person, which he allowed, to all who were capable of giving him discreet Counsels, or had Courage enough to advertise him of his Faults : So great was his Temperance and Frugality, that he suffered no more than eight Dishes of Meat to be served up to his Table, and drove almost all the Concubines out of the Palace : But that which crowned the Happiness of this Prince was, that in his Reign the Christian Religion gained Footing in his Empire, as appears by the Sequel : He caused the best Books to be brought from all Parts, and became, in some respects, the Restorer of the Sciences, by the Care he took to reinstate in his Palace an Academy for Literature, wherein were reckoned 8000 Scholars, and amongst them many sons of foreign Princes : He provided them with able Masters, and of these he appointed eighteen of the most Ingenious to overlook their Studies ; He sounded also a Military Academy, where Archery was taught, and he himself often assisted at these exercises. It was not at all agreeable to the Ministers that the Emperor frequented this Academy, they represented to him the Unbecomingness, as well as the danger that might accrue there to his person, “I look upon my self in my Empire,” Answered Tai Tsong, “as a Father in his Family, and I love my Subjects as my Children ; what have I then to fear? ” This Affection for his Subjects made him say, That he wished his People to have always plenty of the common Necessaries of Life : Adding, " That the Welfare of the Empire depends upon the People: An Emperor who fleeces his People to enrich himself, is like a Man who cuts off his own Flesh to supply his Stomach, Which is filled, ’tis true, but in a short time his whole Body must perish. How many Emperors have owed their Ruin to their Ambition! What Expences were they at to maintain it ! and what heavy Taxes were charged upon the poor People to supply those Expenses ! When the People are rack’d and oppressed, what becomes of the Empire? Is it not upon the Brink of Destruction? and what is the Emperor if the Empire perish? these are the Reflections,” continued he, “that served to regulate my Desires.” He forbade the Magistrates to receive of present upon pain of Death, and to be satisfied that his Orders were obeyed, he made a Tryal upon a Mandarin, by a Man whom he had suborned to make him a Present , the Mandarin received it, and the Emperor being informed thereof condemned him to Death. Upon this the Prime Minister spake to him, " Great Prince ! Your Sentence is just, and the Mandarin deserves Death ; but you, who have decoyed him into this Fault which he has committed, are you altogether innocent, and do not you partake of his Crime?” This Remonstrance had its Effect, and the Emperor pardoned the Offender. In the Year following one of the great Mandarins of War received likewise a Garment of Silk as a Present , the Emperor, who was told of it, sent him immediately a Quantity of the same Stuff; the Courtiers, who saw this, could not conceal their Resentment, and cryed out, " This Mandarin deserves a Punishment, and not a Reward.” The Emperor replied, " The Confusion wherewith he will be struck, will be to him a Pain more severe than the sharpest Punishment: These Stuffs, which I sent him, are so far from contributing to his Honour, that they will continually reproach him with his Crime. ” Whenever the Country was threatned with Scarcity, Drought, or immoderate Rains, after the Examples of the ancient Emperors, he published an Edict, by which he ordered his Miscarriages to be signified to him, that he might take Care to reform them, and appease the Wrath of Heaven. He gave no heed to Soothsayers ; for one Day as the Storks were building their Nests in his Presence, they flood and clapped their Wings ; his Mistresses testified their Joy, because the fluttering of their Wings portended him some unexpected good Luck ; the Emperor smil’d at their Discourse, and said, " Choui tsai te hien, what signifies it? A happy Omen for me is to have wise Men about me,” and immediately ordered the Nest to be destroyed. In the second Year of his Reign the Fields were covered with Locusts, which by the Havock they made threatned a general Famine. " Mischievous Insects, “ cried the Emperor with a deep Sigh, “in ruining the Crops, you destroy the Lives of my People. Alas! I had rather you would devour my own Bowels," and at these Words swallowed a Locust alive. In reading the Books of Physick, composed by the Emperor Hoang ti, he found that when a Man’s Shoulders are bruised or hurt, the vital Parts within are injured thereby; from that time he made a Law that no Criminal should be bastinado’d upon the Back, but , upon the lower Parts, after the manner that is now Practiced throughout the whole Empire. He used to say, “ That an Emperor is like an Architect ; when a Fabrick is well built and grounded upon solid Foundations, if the Architect attempts any, Alterations, he exposes it to certain Ruin : ’Tis, the same with the Empire, when once it is well established, and governed by good Laws, care must be taken not to introduce any Innovation.” “’Tis a common Proverb,” saith he another time, “that an Emperor is feared by every body, and has nothing to be afraid of himself. This is not my Sentiment, I always stand in awe both of the Observation of the Emperor of Heaven, whom nothing can escape, and of the Eyes of my Subjects, which are continually fixed upon me. ’Tis for this that, I watch every Moment over my self, that I may do nothing but what is agreeable to the Will of God, and to the Desires of my People.
To comfort his People in a time of Drought, he released the Prisoners, and granted a general Pardon, confessing nevertheless that this was an Indulgence, whereof a Prince ought to be very sparing, for fear that the Impunity of the Wicked might prove a Prejudice to the Publick, and that he ought to root out the Tares, lest they should damage the good Corn. In the seventh Year of his Reign he went in Person to the publick Prisons, in which were 390 capital Offenders; he set them all at Liberty, but with an Injunction to return thither after Harvest, which they, all to a Man did at the appointed Time. The Emperor was so surprized at their Exactness in keeping their Word, and so highly delighted therewith, that he granted them all their Lives and Liberty.
The Chinese Annals report, that in the eighth Year of this Reign there came to China Ambassadors from foreign Nations, whose Air, Shape, and Habits were altogether strange to the Chinese, who had never seen the like before, and the Emperor himself rejoiced that in his Reign Men with fair Hair and blue Eyes arrived in the Empire. It is certain that the Strangers were those whose Names we read upon a Stone Monument, found in 1625 at Sin ngan fou, in the Province of Chen si, on which you see the Cross, an Abstract of the Christian Law, together with the Names of seventy two Preachers of this Law, engraved in Syriack Characters, and a Date specifying the eighth Year of the Reign of Tai tsong. In the King’s Library is preserved an old Arabian Manuscript, wherein we find that at this very Time the Catholick Patriarch of the Indies sent Preachers of the Gospel into China, who were honourably received in the Imperial City, and conduced thither by Fan hiuen ling, Prime Minister of the Empire : About this time the Emperor made choice of thirteen Persons, most eminent for Merit and Integrity, to visit all Parts of his Empire, and gave them full Power to execute Justice, and to punish severely those Governors of Towns, and Viceroys of Provinces, whose Conduct deserved it. In the tenth Year of his Reign he was deeply affected with the Loss of the Empress, whose Name was Tcbang sun: She was a Princess of singular Discretion, joined with a Capacity not common among those of her Sex : It was observed, that while she lived there was not one of the great Number of Officers, who served in the Palace, that suffered severe Punishment, which is a thing almost without Example. The Emperor, being disgusted with the frequent and troublesome Admonitions of his Prime Minister Guei tching, forbade hinn his Presence ; the Empress, who was informed of it, put on immediately her richest dress, and went to her Husband, to whom she said, “ Prince, I have often heard that when an Emperor has Wisdom and Sagacity, his Subjects have Honesty, and fear not to speak the Truth, You have a Prime Minister that knows not how to dissemble ; by this I judge of your Wisdom, and how much it deserves to be admired, therefore I am come to express my Satisfaction, and to wish you Joy.” This Compliment appeased the Emperor, and the Minister was restored to favour ; This Princess composed a Book divided into thirty Chapters, concerning the Manner of Behaviour towards Women : The Emperor holding the Book in his Hands, and melting in Tears, “ See.” says he, “the Rules that ought to be observed in all Ages.” “I know,” added he, “that my Affliction proceeded from God, and cannot be remedied ; but when I reflect upon the Loss of so faithful and so excellent a Companion, and that I am for ever depriv’d of her good Counsels is it possible for me to refrain from Tears? ” He was willing to leave an eternal Monument of his Grief, and to that end raised a stately Tomb far more magnificent than that which he built for his Father, who died the Year before.
One Day being with his Prime Minister upon an Eminence, from whence they might have a View of this Mausoleum and taking particular Notice of it to him, the Prime Minister pretending he did not understand him, said, “Prince, I thought you shewed me the Sepulchre of your Father , as for that of your Spouse, I saw it long ago.” At this Discourse the Prince shed Tears, and stung with the secret Reproach of his Prime Minister, he ordered the Mausoleum to be demolished.
In the eleventh Year of his Reign he took in, to the Palace a young Girl of fourteen, named Vou chi, endowed with extraordinary Beauty, and the most agreeable Wit : This is she who afterwards usurped the Sovereign Power, and tyrannized over th, Empire. In the twelfth Year the Emperor permitted the Christian Law to be preached in his Empire , he allotted a Piece of Ground in the Imperial City to build thereon a Temple to the True God. Guei tching, the Prime Minister, died in the Year seventeen, extremely regretted by the Emperor. This Prince wrote an Encomium upon him himself, and caused it to be engraved on his Tomb, and afterwards turning to his Courtiers, said, “We have three Sorts of Mirrors ; One is of Steel, which serves the Ladies for to dress their Heads, and set themselves out. The second, which I call so, are Books of Antiquity, wherein we read of the Rise, Progress, and Fall of Empires. The third are Men themselves ; by a little Study of whose Actions we see what to shun, and what to practice. I had this last Mirror in the Person or my Prime Minister, which to my Misfortune I have lost, Despairing to find such another."
Another time that he entertained his Courtiers, he told them, “ A Prince has but one Heart, and this Heart is continually besieged by those about him : Some attack him by the Love of vain Glory, which they endeavour to inspire into him ; others by Luxury and Pleasures ; some by Caresses and Flattery ; others have Recourse to Subtlety and Falsehood in order to impose upon him, and all these Arts they make use of, aim at nothing but to insinuate into the good Graces of the Prince, to gain his Favour, and to be advanced to the high Offices and Dignities of the Empire : For one Moment that a Prince ceases to watch over his Heart, what has he not to fear?”
At the Age of twenty one he married the Daughter of his Prime Minister, called Sin hoei, and gave her the Title of Sage. This Princess was celebrated for her admirable Genius, and Skill in the Chinese Sciences ; ’tis said that at four Months old she began to speak, at four Years she got by Heart the Books of Confucius, and at eight Years old she made learned Compositions upon all sorts of Subjects : Thus much is certain, that she employed almost all her Time in Reading.
The Emperor had Thoughts of sending a formidable Army to reduce the Coreans, who had revolted, but his Death intervening that Expedition was deferred to another Time; ’Tis scarce credible what Diligence and Care this Prince took for the Education of his Children ; every Object served as a Matter for their Instruction: If, for instance, he was eating Rice, he made them sensible how much Sweat and Toil this Rice Cost the poor Labourers : One Day as he was sailing with them upon the Water, “You see, my Children,” says he, “that this Boat is supported by the Water, which at the same time can overwhelm it, consider that the People resemble the Water, and the Emperor the Boat.”
The Year before his Death he gave his Successor the twelve following Advices, which he expressed in twenty four Characters. “ Govern well your Heart , and all its Inclinations. Promote none but Persons of Merit into Places and Dignities. Encourage wise Men to come to your Court. Watch over the conduct of Magistrates. Drive Slanderers from your Presence. Be an Enemy to Pomp. Keep good Economy. Let your Rewards and Punishments be proportionable to Merit and Crimes. Have special Regard to the Encouragement of Agriculture. Art Military, Laws and Learning. Search among the former Emperors for Models to form your Government upon, for I do not deserve to be regarded as such, having made too many Slips while I governed the Empire. Have an Eye always upon the most perfect Pattern, without which you will never keep a just Medium, wherein Virtue consists. Lastly, Take Care that the Splendor of your Rank puff you not up with Pride, and that you indulge not your self in the Pleasures of a voluptuous Life, for so you will ruin both the Empire and your self.”
Tai tsong died in the forty-sixth Year of the Cycle, and the fifty-third of his Age ; in the Year following his Son Kao tsong was acknowledged Emperor.

Kao tsong, the third Emperor , reign, 34 Years.

HE had reigned five Years when he fell in love with Vou chi, the young Girl which I mentioned before, and whom Tat tsong had placed in his Seraglio. She was retired to a Monastery of Bonzesses ; the Emperor went himself to fetch her out, and conducted her to bis Palace. A tittle after, under pretence he had no Male Issue, he put away the Empress and one of the Queens,, in spite of the Remonstrance of his Ministers who opposed it with all their might. Vou chi was, then placed upon the Throne, nevertheless she perceiv’d that the Emperor had not forgot the divorced Princess ; and incensed thereat caused their Hands and Feet to be cut off, and in some Days after their Heads likewise. Scarce had she committed these bloody Actions, but she fancied herself pursued Day and Night by the Ghosts of these Princesses, as by so many Furies ready to fall upon her; The Fright she was in made her shift her Place continually ; nevertheless the Emperor was enamour’d more and more with this unworthy Object of his Love.
He was infatuated to that Degree, as to put the Government of the Empire into her Hand, and to give her the Name of Tien Heou, i. e. The The Queen of Heaven, a Title of Honour till then unheard of in China.
This, cruel Princess no sooner saw herself invested with Sovereign Power, but she made the first Use of it in poisoning her eldest Son, with a Design that the Crown should fall to her Brother’s Children, and that means to settle her Family upon the Throne, but the did not obtain that Satisfaction.
In the sixteenth Year of the new Cycle, the Coreans Cycle 51. A.D. 664. submitted, and did their Homage in the accustomed Manner. This Emperor was favorable to the Christian. Religion, as appears by the Stone Monument mentioned above; Churches were built for the Service of the true God, and the Faith was preach’d in the Provinces : One of the Missionaries, whose Name was Olo puen, had a Title of Honour conferred upon him. Kao tsong died at the Age of sixty-six and in the twentieth Year of the Cycle ; The cruel, Vou heou seized the Throne.

Vou heou, the Usurper, reigned 21 Years.

THIS Princess, as subtle as she was crude, resolved to maintain her self in all the Power which, the late Emperor’s Weakness had entrusted her with. To this end she sent away her Son, who was declaimed heir of the Crown, and gave him a petty Sovereignty in the Province of Hou quang: In his room she placed her third Son, who was very young, and had only the Name of Emperor. She Began forthwith to rid her self of all those whom she suspected not to be in her Interest, and in one Day put to Death a great many of the Heads of the chief Families of the Empire. In the fifteenth Year of her Reign she raised a Persecution against the Christian Religion, which lasted fifteen Years : In the same Year the Prime Minister, called Tie, had the Courage to make pressing Instances to her in behalf of her Son, who was appointed by Kao tsong to inherit the Crown, and whom she had banished these fourteen Years : The Reason which he gave was, that it is a thing unheard of that a Name, which did not belong to the Family, and which the descendants would never acknowledge, should be placed in the Hall of their Ancestors. Then the Prince was recalled from Exile, and lived seven Years in the Eastern Palace till the Death of Vou heou, before he ascended the Throne, which came to pass in the forty-first Year of the Cycle, when this Princess died, aged eighty-one Years.

Tchung tsong, the Fourth Emperor, reigned 5 Years.

THIS Prince little deserved the Throne, whereon his Birth, the Tenderness of his Father Kao tsong, and the Courage of the Prime Minister had placed him. He gave himself entirely up to Indolence and Debauchery ; that he might not be interrupted in his Pleasures, he deposited his whole Authority in the Hands of the Empress, whose Name was Guei, who had been his faithful Companion in his Exile. This Princess, by the persuasion of San se, Governor of the Palace, would place his Son Chang upon the Throne : The Princes and petty Kings of China opposed this Resolution, and took up Arms on all sides. Tchung tsong died of Poison in the fifty fifth Year of his Age : Chang was immediately proclaimed Emperor ; but his Uncle, a petty Prince, at the same time seized the Palace : The Empress was killed, together with her Daughter, and young Chang saved his Life by surrendering himself to his Uncle’s Discretion, and delivering the Crown into his Hands. Juy tsong, the deceased Emperor’s Brother, succeeded him.

Juy tsong, the Fifth Emperor , reigned two Years.

The Shortness of this Prince’s Reign ranks him amongst those of whom we have little to say. All that is come to our Knowledge is, that he took Possession of the Empire in the forty-seventh Year of the Cycle, and died in the forty-eighth, fifty-five. Years old. Hiuen tsong, his third Son, was declared his Successor.

Hiuen tsong, the Sixth Emperor, reigned 44 Years.

THE good Nature of this Prince, his Discretion, Singular Temperance, and Zeal for the Publick Good, gave presently great Hopes of the Felicity of his Reign. He became the Restorer of his Family, which was upon the Brink of Ruin , but he committed one Fault almost irreparable, in promoting one of the Eunuchs, called Kao lie se, to be Master of the Palace ; without doubt he did not foresee the Misfortunes which the Power of the Eunuchs would one day draw upon him and his Successors.
The Christian Religion began to recover and flourish under this and the three succeeding Reigns. Hiuen tsong looked upon Luxury as the Bane of Cycle 52. A.D.724 good Manners, and declared himself an open Enemy to it, and publish’d an Edict forbidding to fish for Pearls. One Day he caused all the Gold and Silver Vessels, together with all the Cloths imbroidered with Gold, to be brought out and burnt before the Gate of the Palace, in order to restrain, by his own Example, the Extravagance of his People, who ruin’d themselves by their Costly Expences. He established in his Palace a College, consisting of forty of the most learned Doctors of the Empire , which Body of Men affords Historiographers, Visitors of Provinces, Governors, Viceroys, &c. He sought out the ancient Books which treated of the Military Science, and had them reviled for the training up of Soldiers : He visited one day the House where Confucius was born, and honoured that great Man with the Title of King of Learning : It was wished that this Prince had complied with the Counsels which Yuen tchao his Prime Minister gave him ; for in a Memorial which he presented to him he advised him, among other things, to confer no publick Employment upon the Eunuchs, to grant no Power to his Relations, to extirpate the idolatrous Sect of Foe and Tao &c. but he gave no ear to these wise Counsels : This Emperor was the first who honoured with a Title of petty king or Sovereign the Generals of his Armies, who had most distinguished themselves, or done the greatest Service to the State, tho’ they were not of Imperial Blood. When he visited his Empire he divided it into fifteen Provinces.
He placed in his Palace, with great Solemnity, the Statue of Lao kiun, Author of one of the Sects which are found in China, whose Disciples, as well as the Bonzes, used to burn at Funerals Silk-stuffs, and Ingots of Silver. The Emperor, by the Advice of his Brother Van yu, altered this Custom, and commanded that for the future they should burn none but Stuffs or Cloths made of Paper, which is still in use among the Bonzes. It was almost thirty Years that the Empire enjoyed profound Peace, but it was at last disturbed by fresh Insurrections, and the Imperial Army was entirely defeated with the Loss of 70,000 Men.
The Emperor knew nothing of all this, for the passages to the Throne were kept shut by the Eunuchs : The Chief of the Rebels was a foreign Prince, Ngan lo chan, whom the Emperor, in spite of the Opposition of his Ministers, had raised to the highest Offices, and entrusted with the Command of his Troops : This Traitor, imboldened by his Successes, and seeing himself Master of a great Part of the North, had the Insolence to assume the Title of Emperor. There was Disturbance within the Palace as well as without, for the Emperor divorced his Wife, put three of his Children to Death upon slight Grounds, and married his Daughter in law. As one Misfortune often draws another, so the Disasters which happened encouraged a Company of Robbers to get together, who attacking the Imperial Army routed it, and killed 40000 Men ; the Emperor was forced to fly, and retire into the Province of Se tchuen.

So tsong, the Seventh Emperor, reigned fix Years.

TOWARDS the End of the thirty-third Year of the Cycle, Hiuen tsong made his ignominious Retreat, and So tsong took Possession of the Government, tho’ his Father was still living : He was a warlike Prince, who, with the help of his Prime Minister Ko tsou y, entirely overthrew the Army of Robbers, and dispersed them. The Publick Tranquility was no sooner settled, but he brought home his Father from the Province of Se tchuen, and conducted him into the Palace with all the Honours due to his Rank ; but he did not long enjoy the Repose which his Son procured him, for he died in the thirty-eighth of the Cycle, and the seventy-eighth of his Age. Nevertheless Ngan lo chan plundered the Palace of Tcbang ngan, and with the Riches, which he conveyed into the Province of Ho nan, he bought an hundred Elephants and Horses, which had been taught to dance to the Sound of Instruments, and to present to the Emperor a Cup which they held in their Trunks. Ngan lo chan had a mind to procure himself this Diversion ; but as if these Beasts had refused to acknowledge him for Emperor, in that they could never be drawn to do what he desired, he was so inraged that he ordered them to be killed upon the Spot. The Perfidiousness of this Traitor, who made use of his Master’s Favour to ruin him, was not long unpunished, for he was killed in his Bed by his own Son. The Parricide was murdered in his turn by Se mong. General of the Army, who, being desirous to make the youngest of his Children his Heir, was likewise killed by his eldest Son. So tsong died in the thirty-ninth Year of the Cycle, and left the Crown to his Son Tai tsong.

Tai tsong, the Eighth Emperor, reigned 17 Years.

THE Beginning of this Reign prospered very well by the Care of able Ministers, in whom the Emperor placed his Confidence ; the Rebels were forced to return to their Obedience, and Peace was restored in the Empire : But it was of short Continuance, for five of the most powerful Kings shook off the Yoke, and, refusing to acknowledge the Emperor for their Master, pretended to reign absolutely independent.
A Mandarin called Fou hou tsien, finding himself at the Point of Death, ordered his Head to be shaved after the manner of the Bonzes, whose Protector he was, and desired to be interred according to their Ceremonies : We shall see this Example afterwards copied by many Grandees of the Empire, in the nineteenth Dynasty.
In the eighth Year of this Reign more than 200000 Tartars made an Irruption into the Empire, and forced the Emperor to fly : His Palace was plundered, and these Barbarians, loaded with immense Treasures, retired into their own Country. The Emperor, with the Assistance of the famous Ko tsou y, came back again to his Palace ; the Elogium of this great General is to be seen upon the Stone Monument which I spoke of more than once ; there his Liberality is mentioned with Praise, and that he contributed much to his own Credit and Interest, by erecting Temples to the True God ; some also conjecture that he had embraced Christianity. The same Monument gives an account, that on the Day of our Saviour’s Nativity the Emperor sent rich Perfumes to the Church, and Fruits from his own Table to the Ministers of the Gospel. Tai tsong died in the fifty-third Year of his Age, and was succeeded by Tc tsong his eldest Son.

Te tsong, the Ninth Emperor, reigned 25 Years.

THE Empire found no great Support from this Prince, for he passed his Time in trifling Employments, was of a timorous Nature, extremely mistrustful, and ready to lend an Ear to Flatterers : He was applauded for refusing to receive presents from Strangers, which was look’d upon as a happy Omen : The best Augury I can have, says he, is to see Wife Men about me. He shewed one Sign of Disinterestedness, which gained great Commendation : When a great Sum of Money was offered him, instead of receiving it he ordered it to be distributed among his Soldiers.
In the third Year of this Reign the famous Ko Cycle 53. A.D.784. tsou y, who had rendered such important Service to the Empire, died in the eighty-fifth Year of his Age ; he had been Prime Minister under four Emperors, and so great was the Reputation of his Probity, that it was universally said He had not his Equal for many Ages : Such Confidence was placed in this Minister, that it may be truly affirmed. That the Fate of the reigning Family was in his Hands : Tho’ he attained to the highest Honours, and had acquired immense Riches, yet Envy it self revered him, and he never felt its Stroke, and tho’ he kept a splendid House, his Liberality exceeded his Magnificence. He left eight Children, who all made themselves memorable by the Honour with which they discharged the different Posts their Merit had raised them to. China mourned three Years for this great Man, whom she bewailed as her common Father.
The Power of the Eunuchs became so formidable, and their Insolence increased to so great a degree, that on all sides there was nothing but Revolts talked of, and the Emperor was obliged to levy a great number of fresh Troops to augment his Army, and to double the Taxes to maintain them : There was even a Tax laid upon Tea, which is the common Drink of the Chinese. These extraordinary Impositions exasperated all Persons, and the extreme Poverty of the People occasioned infinite Thefts and Robberies : By good Fortune the Imperial Arms were victorious every where, and the Rebels being defeated, Peace was reestablished, and the People relieved. The Emperor at last attributed the Wars and Calamities to his own ill Destiny, and added, that part of theft Misfortunes was foretold him by the Astrologers: Li Mie, his Prime Minister, made Answer, “Prince, leave this kind of Talk to the Ignorant and Vulgar, ’tis not convenient for you and me to use it ; for according as we govern the State well or ill, so we render our own Destiny happy or unhappy. This Prince died at the Age of sixty-four, in the twenty-first Year of the Cycle , he had for his Successor Chun tsong his Son.

Chun tsong, the Tenth Emperor , reigned one Year.

THERE was reason enough to hope for a happy Reign under this new Emperor, but he being attacked by a grievous Distemper, for which he could find no Remedy, abdicated the Crown, and delivered it to his Son Hien tsong.

Hien tsong, the Eleventh Emperor, reigned 15 Years.

THIS Prince had wonderful Penetration, Under Handing, and Skill in disentangling and dispatching the most difficult Affairs, and a Firmness of Mind, which no Consideration could conquer, in carrying on what he once undertook, and he gave solid Proofs of his Affection for his People in a time of Famine, by opening his Treasures and publick Granaries in favour of the afflicted Provinces : He font the Grandees of his Court to inform themselves of the Condition of his People, and to relieve them in proportion to their Want. In the thirty-sixth Year of the Cycle, he ordered the Finger bone of the Idol Foe to be brought in great Pomp from the Province of Chen si : The Chief Tribunal of Ceremonies strongly opposed this whimsical Resolution of the Emperor, boldly alleging that the execrable Remains of this Idol ought to be burnt ; as they firmly persisted in their Determination, without regarding the Displeasure of the Emperor, many of them were degreed, which is a common Punishment of the great Mandarins of the Empire : He fell into another piece of Folly, which Cost him his Life ; for having fought every where after the pretended Liquor of Immortality, which the Sect of Tao promised, to which he was devoted, the Eunuchs presented this Drink to him, and it was believ’d that they poison’d him, for this unhappy Prince, after he took it, dy’d suddenly at the Age of Forty-three, and his Son Mo tsong succeeded him.

Mo tsong, the Twelfth Emperor, reigned 14 Years.

THE Choice which the last Emperor made of his Son Mo tsong to succeed him, was at first opposed by certain Lords, who had a Design to place another Prince upon the Throne, but their Projects miscarrying they were put to death , and now seeing himself in quiet Possession of the Crown, he granted, according to Custom, a general Amnesty, and by paying too much Deference to the Advice of some of his Courtiers, he had the Imprudence to disband Part of his Troops ; the Hardships which these dismissed Soldiers underwent, obliged them to take Refuge among the Robbers, whose Number they increased. It was under this Prince that the Imperial Family of Tang began to decline from that State of Splendor which it had hitherto maintained, and the following Princes completed its Ruin.
He died at the Age of Thirty, after he had taken a Medicine which had been prepared for him : His Son King tsong succeeded him in the following Year, which was the forty-second of the Cycle.

King tsong, the Thirteenth Emperor y reigned two Years.

IT was by the Election of the Eunuchs, who were now become Matters, that King tsong mounted the Throne ; and by the same Authority which they had usurp’d, they deprived him of the Government not long after, in order to confer it on the Empress Mother : The childish Behaviour of this young Prince, and his Irregularities, were the Motives they made use of to dispossess him, and to leave him no more than the empty Title of Emperor : This Prince returning from Hunting went into his Apartment to change his Clothes, when the Candles being suddenly put out he was murder’d by the Eunuchs at the Age of eighteen Years, who placed his Brother Ven tsong in his Room.

Ven tsong, the Fourteenth Emperor, reigned fourteen Years.

THIS Prince had an Affection for Men of Letters, and the Sages of his Empire : He bore with Impatience the Power of the Eunuchs, and in the ninth Year of his Reign he took private Measures to destroy them , but the Eunuchs, perceiving the Snares which were laid for them, fell immediately with so much Fury upon the Ministers, and the Guards of the Palace, that they flew above a thousand Man, and many Families entirely perish’d. These Misfortunes, and still others greater which the Emperor foresaw, overwhelmed him with Sorrow so sensibly, that he often endeavoured to divert it, or drown it in Wine ; but in spite of all his Endeavours, Grief seiz’d his Spirits to that degree that he decayed insensibly, and at last died of a Consumption in the fifty-seventh Year of the Cycle. The Eunuchs, who now took upon them to nominate Emperors, never thought of the Son of the Deceased, but chose his Brother called Vou tsong, who was the fifth Son of the twelfth Emperor of this Dynasty.

Vou tsong, the Fifteenth Emperor, reigned six Years.

THE superior Qualifications of this Prince justify’d the Preference they gave him before the Son of the last Emperor , he had an Inclination for War, and dreaded neither Danger nor Fatigue ; he drove the Tartars out of the Province of Chansi, who had fortify’d themselves in that Place, and cleared several Provinces of the Empire of the Robbers, who got together in Troops, and made great Havock therein ; He had an exquisite Judgment, which seldom deceived him in the Choice he made of his Ministers , ’twas he who establish’d, or rather revived a Law, which is still observed, that obliges all the Mandarins of the Imperial City to do their Duty, upon whom the other Mandarins dispersed in the Provinces are dependent ; this Law enjoins that every five, or at least seven Years, the conduct of the chief Officers of the Empire, in the Execution of their Charge, should be strictly examined into ; and it is a constant Practice, that every one of these Mandarins should deliver in Writing a sincere and particular Confession of all the Faults he has been guilty of, and intreat the Emperor’s Pardon, and if it happened that in this humble Confession, which they were obliged to make, they excused their Faults, or disguised and extenuated their Guilt, they had then no Favour to expect, and were inevitably deprived of their Employments.
This Emperor did not live long enough for the Good of his People, being but thirty-three Years old, Cycle 54. A.D.844. when he died, which happened in the third Year of this new Cycle. The Eunuchs rejected his Son, and in his stead elected Suen tsong, the youngest Son of the eleventh Emperor of this Dynasty.

Suen tsong, the Sixteenth Emperor, reigned thirteen Years.

’TIS probable that the slender Capacity, which this Prince discovered in his Infancy, induced the Eunuchs to prefer him to all others, rightly judging that the less capable the Emperor was of governing himself, the more they would be Matters , but they were mistaken, for Suen tsong was no sooner upon the Throne but he appeared another Man, and all the Qualities which constitute a great Prince shined in him : His Wisdom, Judgment, Moderation, Equity, plication to Affairs, and Love for his People, made them look upon him as a perfect Copy of Tai tsong, the second Emperor of the Dynasty, whose Memory was still revered throughout the Empire : Whatever Merit this Prince had, he could not curb the Power of the Eunuchs : His Prime Minister, Hou tao, presented a Memorial to him, in which he advise him to be inexorable with regard to those Eunuchs who should commit any Fault, and not to supply the Places of those who die, that their Number lessening by little and little, it might be more easy to destroy diem ; this Project, being discovered by the Eunuchs, produced mortal Enmities between them and the Minister, the Troubles growing greater than ever. The Chinese Writers blame this Prince for admitting to his Court the Sectaries of Tao, in order to procure, by their means, the pretended Drink which renders Men immortal, upon which one of his Ministers represented to him, that the best Method to procure himself a long and happy Life was to control his Appetites, subdue his passions, and practice Virtue : Most of the Emperors, your Predecessors, added he, would have arrived to extreme old Age, if they bad followed the Advice which I give you : Scarce had he taken the Drink which the Sectaries gave him, but he saw himself devoured by Worms which swarm’d in his Body, and in few Days after he died, at the Age of fifty Years, being succeeded by his Son Y tsong,who was elected by the Eunuchs.

Y tsong, the Seventeenth Emperor, reigned fourteen Years.

THE Haughtiness and Pride of this Prince, his Prodigality, Luxury, and excessive Debaucheries, raised a general Cry against him : In the fourteenth Year of his Reign he brought into his Palace, in great Pomp, a Bone of the Idol Foe, and three Months after dy’d, at the Age of thirty-one Years, The Chinese Writers attribute his Death, and the Troubles which followed, to his extravagant passion for this Idol : The Eunuchs placed his Son Hi tsong in his Room.

Hi tsong, the Eighteenth Emperor, reigned fifteen Years.

THE Eunuchs, who were absolute Masters, set, tied this Prince upon the Throne, being but twelve Years old. He spent his Time in Play and Musick, in Riding and Shooting, while on all sides, but especially in the Northern Provinces, there was nothing to be seen but Tumults and Revolts ; the Taxes wherewith the People were loaded, the Famine caused by the overflowing of Rivers, and by the Grasshoppers which destroy’d the Corn, increased the Number of the Rebels ; Hoan tsao, who was of the Province of Chan tong, being at the Head of them, went and laid Siege to the Imperial City, and having drove his Sovereign away, caused himself to be proclaimed Emperor : A young Man twenty-eight Years old, called Li ke yong, to whom was given the Name of To yen long, because he had but one Eye, commanded the Imperial Troops, and attacked the Captain of the Rebels ; at first he was repulsed, but rallying his Soldiers, he returned to the Charge with so much Fury that he obtained a complete Victory, and brought the Emperor back in Triumph to his Palace ; for these Services he was rewarded with the Principality of Tsin , his Son became the Founder of the fifteenth Dynasty.
The Emperor did not enjoy the Fruit of this Victory above three Months; tor he dy’d in the forty-fifth Year of the Cycle, at the Age of twenty-seven, and the Eunuchs set the Imperial Crown on the Head of Tchao tsong, who was the last Emperor’s sixth Son.

Tchao tfong, the Nineteenth Emperor , reigned sixteen Years.

THIS Prince, who wanted neither Understanding nor Courage, shewed great Marks of his Esteem for Men of Learning, and for his principal Ministers of State, hoping, by their help, to be able to restore by degrees the Affairs of the Empire, which were in a very bad Situation, by reason of the great Authority the Eunuchs had usurped, and of the Multitude of People who every where were disposed to revolt ; in order to this, he judg’d it most necessary to begin with the Destruction of the Eunuchs ; but as he was considering of the most proper Methods to bring this about the Eunuchs, suspecting his Designs, came suddenly upon him with a great number of Soldiers well armed, seized his Person, and shut him up In a remote Apartment under a sure Guard, leaving a Hole in the Wall through which to convey Victuals to him ; the Prime Minister, Tsou yu, having discover’d the Place where the Emperor was confined, sent thither a number of resolute Fellows well armed, who slew the Guards, released the Emperor, and brought him to his Palace, Tchou uen, Captain of the Band of Robbers, being invited by the Prime Minister to come to the Emperor’s Succour against the Eunuchs, arrived just at the time that this Prince publish’d an Edict for extirpating the Eunuchs, reserving only thirty of the youngest of them for the serve Offices of his Palace, and executed this Commission with such Rigour, that many hundreds of the Eunuchs were massacred. Tchou uen had appeared loyal hitherto, but Ambition, which seized his Heart, rendered him treacherous soon after ; he killed the Prime Minister who was so strongly attached to his Prince, and obliged the Emperor to remove his Court from, the Province of Chen si to that of Ho nan, and the Emperor had no sooner establish’d his new Court there, but the Traitor Tchou uen murder’d him, which happened in the first Year of the Cycle, and in the thirty-eighth Year of this Prince’s Age. The Rebel immediately placed the Imperial Crown on the Head of Tchao suen tsong, Son of the deceased Emperor, till he could take it himself with Safety.

Tchao suen tsong, the Twentieth Emperor , reigned two Years.

THIS young Prince was scarce two Years upon the Throne, when seeing plainly that he should be sacrificed, as well as his Father, to the Ambition of the perfidious Tchou uen, chose voluntarily to resign the Crown to him to prevent his committing a fresh Crime, and to save his own Life: The Usurper, who took the Name of Tai tsou, gave him a Principality, which he held no longer than three Years, being kill’d at the Age of Seventeen, and with him ended the Family of Tang. The Five following are counted by the Chinese as small Dynasties, as well as the Five which precede the Dynasty of Tang, they these Heou ou tai, i. e. The five latter Dynasties ; they resemble the former in Wars, Revolts, and Parricides, which so often stained the Throne ; but they differ in the Number of Princes, and in the Time of their Duration. The five former reckon twenty-four Emperors in the space of 198 Years, whereas these latter lasted not one Cycle, and reckon no more than thirteen Emperors : The warlike Nation called Sie tan, inhabiting the Country which goes at this time by the Name of Leao song, being exceedingly increased by many Colonies that came from Corea, created much Trouble to the following Emperors.

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