The Fourteenth Dynasty, called Heo Leang, which had two Emperors in the Space of 16 Years.
Tai tsou, the First Emperor, reigned fix Years.
TOURING these Times of Confusion many Principalities fell off by degrees from the Body of the Empire, and every one of these Sovereigns govern’d his own petty State according to his own Fancy, yet without discontinuing his Homage to the Emperor : Tai tsou fixed his Court in the Province of Ho nan, but did not long wear the Crown which he had usurp’d by so much Treachery, being murder’d at the Age of sixty-two Years by his eldest Son, but succeeded by his third Son Mo ti.
Mo ti, the Second Emperor, reigned ten Years.,
Mo ti was only a petty Prince ; when he heard the News of his Father’s Death, he instantly march’d at the Head of his Forces and engaged his Brother’s Army, which he intirely defeated, kill’d the Parricide, and ascended the Throne the tenth Year of the Cycle. Towards the thirteenth Year a barbarous People of the North, called Sie tan, who afterwards were named Leao, laid the Foundation of their Government, which in the space of 209 Years reckons a Succession of nine Princes.
Tchouang tsong, Son of the famous Warrior Li ke yong beforemention’d, who had done such Service to the State under the eighteenth Emperor, took advantage of these Troubles to gain a Crown, which he found himself more worthy to wear than the Usurper ; he commanded an always victorious Army, and having taken several Towns he engag’d the Emperor’s Army, which was cut to Pieces : Mo ti in Despair slew himself, and with him his Family was extinct.
The Fifteenth Dynasty, called Heou Tang, containing four Emperors in the Space of 12 Years.
Tchouang tsong, the First Emperor, reined three Years.
TCHOUANG TSONG inherited the Martial Temper of his Father, being inured to the Hardships of War from his Youth : In all his Campaigns he lay on the Ground, and for fear of sleeping too long wore a Bell about his Neck.
This Prince would have deserv’d a Place among the greatest Heroes of his Country, if he had not obscur’d the Glory of his earlier Years by Idleness and Luxury ; he not only delighted in seeing Plays, but would also debase himself so low as to act a Part to give a trifling Diversion to his Queens and Children ; and he employed his Time in so many other frivolous Amusements, that he was despised by his Subjects : He was moreover so sordidly covetous, that altho’ he was immensely rich, yet he would never open his Coffers for the Relief of his People.
At length, in a Sedition of the Army, he was wounded by an Arrow, of which he dy’d the twenty-second Year of the Cycle ; but it is not known whether the Stroke was given by Design or Chance : Ming tsong was elected Emperor by the Grandees.
Ming tsong, the Second Emperor, reigned eight Years.
THE Father of the late Emperor had adopted Ming tsong, tho’ he was not a Native of the Empire: This Prince had acquired a general Esteem, and he perfectly Answer’d the People’s Expectations ; he is chiefly prais’d for his Liberality, Moderation, Love of Peace, and a particular, Affection for his Subjects : Tho’ he was illiterate, he gave frequent Marks of his Esteem for Learned Men: The Art of Printing WAS INVENTED IN HIS REIGN.
The Chinese Writers also praise his Piety and Modesty, and affirm that every Night he burnt Perfumes to the Honour of the Lord of Heaven, and implored his Assistance in these Words, “ I was born a Barbarian, in a savage Country, yet in the midst of the Troubles that disturb’d this Empire I was chosen to govern it : I make but one Request, which is, that the heavenly Majesty would condescend to watch over my Conduct , and send me wise and experienced Men, whose Counsel may aid me to govern without Error.” And indeed he had always in his Palace a great Number of wise Men, by whole Counsel he made many excellent Regulations, and among others, that which excludes Eunuchs from all publick Employments.
The same Writers attribute to the Piety of this Prince the Birth of that illustrious Man, who was afterwards the Founder of the nineteenth Dynasty, the profound Peace the Nation enjoy’d, and the Plenty which reign’d in all the Provinces of the Empire : Among the many wife Counselors of this Prince, a Colao, named Fong tao, is highly praised for his great Knowledge and Integrity : He used to say, " That a State is to be govem’d with the Care and Penetration that is required of a Person that manages a Horse : I have often (said he) travelled on Horseback in very rough , and mountainous Countries, and never got any Hurt, always taking care to keep a stiff Rein , but in the smoothest Plains, thinking the same Care needless, and letting loose the Reins, my Horse has Rumbled and put me in danger ; the Government of a State is the same Case, for when it is in the most flourishing Condition, a Prince ought not to abate any thing of his usual Vigilance.
Mig tsong dy’d in the sixty-seventh Year of his Age, and me thirtieth of the Cycle, and left the Crown to his Son Min tsong.
Min tsong, the Third Emperor , reigned one Year.
Min tsong was scarce seated on the Throne, when Che king tang, Soninlaw of the late Emperor, came with an Army of 50000 Men, which was levied by the People of Leao tong, and making himself Master of the Palace, deprived Min tsong of his Life and Crown : This Prince was murdered in the forty-fifth Year of his Age, and Fi ti his adopted Son was his Successor, who was before named Lo vang.
Fi ti, the Fourth Emperor, reigned one Year.
Ft ti not being able to resist the Murderer of his Father, fled to a Town called Guei tcheou, where seeing himself in danger, he shut up himself and his Family in a Palace, with every thing he had of any Value, which he set on fire, and perish’d in the Flames. Che king tang became Emperor by the Extinction of this Dynasty, and took the Name of Kao tsou.
The Sixteenth Dynasty, named Heou tsin, which contains two Emperors in the Space of 11 Years.
Hao tsou, the First Emperor, reigned seven Years.
THE General of the Forces of Leao tong, who had so much contributed to the Advancement of Kao tsou, scrupled to acknowledge him for Emperor, and would have taken the Title himself , so that Kao tsou, not caring to undertake a new War, purchased a Peace at the Expence of the Honour of his Country, for, to gratify the Tartarian General, he yielded to him sixteen Towns of the Province of Pe tche li, which were the nearest to Leao tong, and engaged to give him annually 300000 Pieces of Silk ; this imprudent Donative very much augmented the Force and Power of a warlike and turbulent People, and was the Cause of numberless Wars which afflicted China upwards of four hundred Years.
Kao tsou dy’d in the thirty-ninth Year of the Cycle, aged fifty-one Years, and his Nephew, Tsi vang, was elected by the Grandees.
Tsi vang, the Second Emperor, reigned four Years.
THE barbarous People of Leao tong soon breaking the Treaty, made a sudden Irruption into the Empire ; the Emperor opposed them with an Army sufficient to have given them a Repulse, which he intruded to Lieou tchi yuen ; but this General concealing a violent Ambition, under an Appearance of Zeal, made short Marches, and by affected Delays gave the Barbarians an Opportunity to make the Emperor Prisoner, who seeing himself dethroned was contented to accept a small Sovereignty, where he ended his Days.
Lieou tchi yuen took possession of the Crown by the Name of Kao tsou, and was the Founder of the following Dynasty.
The Seventeenth Dynasty , called Heou Han, which reckons only two Emperors in the Space of four Years.
Kao tsou, the First Emperor , reined two Years.
TH E Troops of Leao tong finding no Resistance, ravaged all the Northern Provinces, and were marching to the Souths but being stop’d by considerable Bodies of Troops which possess’d the passes, occasion’d the Tartarian General to say, he could not have believ’d the Conquest of China would have prov’d so difficult , wherefore retiring to his Country, he contented himself with getting a rich Booty. During these Transactions, Kao tsou dy’d in the fifty-fourth Year of his Age, and the next Year, which was the forty-sixth of the Cycle, his Son Yn ti succeeded.
Yn ti, the Second Emperor y reigned two Years.
THE Youth of this Prince gave occasion to the Eunuchs to raise Commotions, by which they endeavoured to regain their Authority, while the Army was employed, at a distance from the Court, in opposing the Tartars of Leao tong.
This Army was commanded by Ko guei, who fought several Battles with the Barbarians, in which he was always victorious, and restored Peace to the Northern Provinces, but at the same time the Court Was in Confusion, for the Intrigues of the Eunuchs raised a Sedition, in which the Emperor was kill’d, being twenty Years old. The Empress placed his Brother on the Throne, who was scarcely seated before Ko guei arrived with Triumph from his glorious expedition, when the Army cover’d him with the Banners of the Empire, and proclaimed him Emperor.
The Empress abandoned the Interest of the Brother of Yn ti, and paid the General the Honours due to a Sovereign, and he in Acknowledgment always rejected her as a Mother : He took the Name of Tai tsou.
The Eighteenth Dynasty, named Heou Cheou, wbich contains Three Emperors in the Space of nine Years.
Tai tsou, the First Emperor, reigned three Years.
TH E new Emperor fix’d his Court in the Capital of the Province of Ho nan ; he visited the Sepulchre of Confucius, and to honour his Memory gave him the Title of King.
Some of his Courtiers telling him that this Honour ill became a Man who had been always a Subject, not only to the Emperors, but also to a petty King, Yon are mistaken, reply’d the Emperor, we cannot give too much Honour to a Man who has been the Master of Kings and Emperors. Some believe that about this time the Sect of Mohamed first appeared in this Country, but other Authors say it was established here in the thirteenth Dynasty of Tang.
Tai tsou dy’d at the Age of fifty-three, in the fiftieth Year of the Cycle, leaving no Heirs, but was succeeded by Chi tsong his adopted Son.
Chi tsong, the Second Emperor, reigned six Years.
THE Love of Sciences, and the Proofs which Chi tsong had given of his Bravery and Skill in the Art of War, were the Steps by which he ascended the Throne ; but he was modest in the height of his Grandeur, and always kept in his Palace a Plow and a Loom to remind him the Station and hard Labour of his Ancestors.
In a Time of Scarcity he opened all the publick Granaries, and ordered the Rice to be sold at a very low Rate, for which the People were to pay when they were able ; but the Officers of the Granaries representing that the Poor could never pay. How! says the Emperor, don’t you know they are my Children, and that I am their Father? Was a Father ever known to let his Child perish for Hunger, for fear of losing what be lent him? At the same time he melted all the Statues of Idols to coin Money, which was become very scarce. Several little Sovereigns, who had been a long time independant, were so charm’d with the Fame of this Prince’s Virtues, that they voluntarily submitted to his Authority : A Memorial was presented to him on the proper Means for recovering the Countries the Empire had lost during the late Troubles, which he was considering how to put in Execution when Death interrupted his Projects, which happened in the fifty-sixth Year of the Cycle, and the thirty-ninth of his Age ; his Son, Cong ti, who was seven Years old, succeeded him.
Cong ti, the third Emperor, reigned some Months.
CHI TSoNG had put his Son Cong ti under the Protection of his Colao, named Tchao quang yn, who had distinguish’d himself in the Army, and done great Services to the State ; the tender Age of this Prince, and the great Abilities of his Protector, made the great Officers of the State and Army resolve to place him on the Throne instead of the young Prince , they went therefore to his Palace, and finding him in Bed, saluted him Emperor, and cloath’d him in a yellow Habit, which is the Imperial Colour, Cong ti was made a tributary Prince in the Room of one lately displac’d and thus ended this Dynasty : Tchao quang yn took the Name of Tai tsou, and accepted the Crown with this Condition, That his Mother should always take place of him upon all Occasions.