The Nineteenth Dynasty, named Song, which contains eighteen Emperors in the Space of 319 Years.
NINE Emperors of this Dynasty kept their Courts for 160 Years in the Northern Province of China, the others resided 152 Years in the Southern Provinces.
Under this Dynasty the Empire began to take Breath, after the many Disorders, Wars, and other Misfortunes it had suffer’d ; these Continual Storms were succeeded by a long Calm, and the Blessing which Peace generally procures had been more lasting, if all the Princes of this Family had prov’d as warlike as they were learned.
Tai tsou possess’d all the Qualities which the Chinese with for in an Emperor, being a Prince of great Judgment, diligent in Business, sober, prudent, liberal, affectionate to his People, modest, frugal, goodnatur’d, and naturally inclin’d to Clemency, which appeared in his moderate Punishment of Criminals, and his mild and affable Behaviour to those he vanquish’d ; he commanded the four Gates of his Palace, which fronted the Quarters of the World, to be left always open, desiring, as he said, that his House should be like his Heart, always open to his Subjects. By this Character of Goodness and Affability he regain’d the Obedience of ten little Sovereigns, and made Peace between these Princes, who had been long engag’d in continual Wars.
Intending to banish Luxury from the Empire, he began by reforming himself and the Court, and wore only a plain and modest Habit, forbidding his Daughter to wear Jewels. To honour the Memory of his Ancestors, he gave the Title of Emperor to his Father, his Grandfather, his Great Grandfather, and his Great-grandfather’s Father, and made his Mother Empress, who was esteem’d a Pattern of Prudence and Modesty, When the Lords came to congratulate her on the Promotion of her Son, she did not show the least Sign of Joy, at which they being surpriz’d, she said, “I have been told that the Art of Ruling well is very difficult ; if my Son governs his Subjects with Wisdom, I shall receive your Compliments with Pleasure ; if not, I shall readily forsake these Honours to finish my Days in my former Station.” A Year before her Death she conjur’d her Son not to be guided, by the partial Tenderness of a Father, in naming a Successor, but rather to make Choice of his Brother : She added, “Remember, my Son, that you owe the Crown much less to your own. Merit, than to the Infancy of the Prince of the preceding Family.”
During a severe Winter, the Emperor reflecting on the Hardship his Army endur’d, which was opposing the Tartars of Leao long in the Northern Provinces, and being touched with Compassion at what they were like to suffer from the Rigour of the Weather, he pull’d off his Garment which was lin’d with Furs, and sent it to the General, telling him, That he wish’d he could make the same Present to each of, his Soldiers : It is hard to conceive how greatly this Action of the Emperor rais’d the Courage and Ardor of his Troops.
This Prince order’d an Examination for the Officers of his Army, like that for the Men of Letters, that those who aspire to Posts in the Army are obliged to pass through, and do not rise to the Chief Employments till they have given Proofs of their Capacity, by their Writings on the Art of War, and by their Dexterity in Horsemanship, and Shooting in the Long Bow. Among the famous Men, of this Reign, two are particularly distinguished, one in the Magistracy, the other in the Army, the first was called Tchaopou, the second Kao pin.
Tchao pou, who was of the emperor’s Council, was continually presenting some Petition or Memorial to admonish him of his Duty : One Day the Emperor being tired with so many Remonstrances, took his Petition and tore it before him : Tchao pou very calmly gathered up the Pieces, and going home joyn’d them together in the best manner he could : The very next Day he appeared before the Emperor with the most Respectful Behaviour, and presented the same Petition.
The Emperor, far from being angry with his Minister, admired his Constancy and Resolution, and to reward his uncommon Virtue made him Colao.
He gave on another Occasion a great Proof of his Love for his People : The town of Nan king was besieg’d by Kao pin, and reduced to the last Extremities, the Emperor, foreseeing the Slaughter which would certainly happen on the taking this Place, feigned himself sick, the great Officers were alarm’d, and surrounding his Bed, every one was proposing some Remedy ; The most effectual Remedy, reply’d the Emperor, and from which I expect a Cure, depend, only on you: Swear that you will not shed the Blood of the Citizens, They all swore accordingly, and the emperor seem’d immediately to recover. The Generals took such wise Precautions, that the Lives of very few of the Inhabitants were sacrificed to the Rage of the Soldiers.
And even this drew Tears from the Emperor : “Alas ! said he, what a melancholy thing is War, which cannot be carried on without destroying innocent Parsons ! ” And as the Town had suffered by Famine during the Siege, as soon as it was taken he sent l00000 Measures of Rice to be divided among the People.
For the Encouragement of Learning he visited the Birthplace of the celebrated Confucius, and composed an Oration in his Praise : He also bestow’d on one of his descendants a Title of Honour, which gave him a considerable Rank in the Empire. Tai tsou died the thirteenth Year of the Cycle, having nam’d his brother Tai tsong to succeed him, as he had been advised by his Mother on her Deathbed.
TAI TSONG was a Prince of great Moderation, and a general Patron of learned Men ; he was learned himself, and Employ’d part of the Day in Reading : He had a Library which contained 80,000 Volumes,
In an Expedition which he undertook to subdue a little Kingdom, and make it a Province of the Empire, he laid Siege to the principal City, and there happening one Night a great Disturbance in the Camp, which was commanded by Tchao the Emperor’s Brother, the next. Day a Report was spread, that a Project of the Soldiers, to set Tchao their General on the Throne, as the Occasion of the Tumult, the Emperor concealing his Resentment employed himself wholly to reduce the Town : Some time after it was taken, his Brother in Conversation said, He wondered that those who had distinguished themselves in the Siege were so long unrewarded : I expected, Answer’d the Emperor, that you would reward their Service.
This Answer so vex’d Tchao that he killed himself before Night : When the Emperor heard of his Brother’s Death, he fainted and shed a Flood of Tears, often embraced his Body, and caused his Funeral Obsequies to be perform, with great Solemnity.
He passionately wish’d to recover those Towns his Predecessors had yielded to the Tartars of Leao tong ; but the Commander in Chief of his Army, Tchang si hien, always dissuaded him from this Undertaking : It is proper first, said he, to secure the Peace of the Empire, and when that is well established, we shall mere easily reduce these Barbarians.
The Emperor not following this Counsel, several Battles were fought, in which sometimes the Chinese find sometimes the Tartars gain’d the Advantage. The General Tchang si hien made use of a remarkable Stratagem to raise the Siege of a Town ; he detach’d 300 Soldiers carrying each a lighted Torch, with Orders to approach the Enemy’s Camp, who being surprised at such a Number of Lights, thought that the whole Army was pouring upon them : Struck with a general Panick they immediately fled, and the General having laid Ambuscades in all their passages; very few of the Fugitives escap’d Slaughter. This Prince died at the Age of fifty nine Years, and was succeeded by his third Son Tchin tsong.
TCHIN TSONG began his Reign in such a Manner as gave the People great Expectations : Upon the Appearance of a Comet, which was looked upon as a Presage of some Calamity, he publish’d art Edict, that they should let him know his Faults, in order to amend his Conducts, thereby to avert the Evil which threatned the Empire, and at the same Time remitted l0000000 of the Taxes, and let 3000 Prisoners at Liberty. He thought himself indebted to the Sovereign of Heaven for his Son who was now born, because he had for some time past addressed continual Prayers to him for an Heir to succeed him.
The Tartars of Leao tong having laid Siege to a Town in the Province of Pe tche li, the Emperor march’d thither with his Army and his Arrival, which was sudden and unexpected, so terrified the barbarian , that they instantly raised the Siege. The Emperor was advised to take Advantage of their Consternation, and regain the Country which had been yielded to the Tartars, and is blamed for neglecting to pursue his Victory, and for making a Treaty, after their shameful Retreat, as advantageous as if he had been beaten ; for he gave them l00000 Taels, and agreed to pay annually 200000 Pieces of Silk.
His Credulity is also blam’d, which gave Encouragement to Magic, and many other Superstitions; In the eleventh Year of the Cycle, being told that a Book fell from Heaven near one of the Gates of the Imperial City, he immediately thought of going in Person to receive the Celestial Gift : His Colaos endeavour’d to prevent such an imprudent Step, by representing in strong Terms, that it was only an Impostor of some idle People to flatter the Emperor, and that the Book ought to be burnt ; he remain’d some time in Suspense, but at last resolv’d to follow his first Design, because, as he said, a Spirit had appeared to him in a Dream about a Year before, and promised him this wonderful Book. He set out directly afoot with several of his Courtiers, and received this miraculous Book with the greatest Respect, and built a Temple on the Place where it fell.
Upon Examination it appeared to be full of Enchantments, and contained all the Principles of the abominable Sect of Tao, concerning which an Interpreter, named Hou sin gnan, observes, that from this fatal Time the Respect and Honour due to the Sovereign Heaven has very much decreased among great numbers of the Chinese.
In the sixteenth Year of his Reign he caused all the People to be numbered, who by their Station might be employed in Agriculture, and there were found 21976965 Persons able to cultivate the Lands. This number does not comprehend the Magistrates, the Learned, the Eunuchs, the Soldiers, the Bonzes, nor those who live on the Rivers in floating Towns, of whom there is an incredible Number.
A Colao, named Van tan, being at the Point of Death, call’d his Children, and spake to them as follows; “My Conference does not reproach me for having done any thing against the Interest of the Emperor or the Publick Good, but there is one thing I cannot forgive my self, and that is not having advised the Emperor to burn that pernicious Book which he received with so much Respect. I desire to be punished for it after my Death ; wherefore, my Children, I command you, as soon as I am dead to shave my Head and my Face, and bury me like a wretched Bonze, without Cap or Girdle.” The Emperor having reprinted the ancient Books, to disperse them thro’ the Empire, died the fifty-ninth of the Cycle, aged fifty-nine Years, Gin tsong his sixth Son by his second Queen was his Successor.
GIN TSONG was but thirteen Years old when he was proclaimed Emperor : The Empress governed during his Minority, and continued in Power till her Death, which happened eleven Years after the Accession of this Prince, who always paid the fame Deference to her, as if she had been his own Mother. ,As soon as he took the Government upon himielf, his whole. Employment was to preserve the Peace of his Dominions, and to make his Subje6ts taste the Sweets of it : His pacifick Dilpofition raised the Courage and Ambition of the Tartars of Leao tongy and they had renewed the War if the Emperor hid not bought a Peace on most ihameful Conditions.
The best thing he did was clearing his Palace of all the Idols and their Worshipers : When the Empire suffer’d by a great Drought in the twenty-sixth Year of his Reign, a plentiful Rain, following was the Cause of a publick Rejoicing, and all the great Officers complimented the Emperor on this Occasion. All the Time, said this Prince, that my People suffer’d, I never fail’d daily to burn Incense, and lift up my Hands to Heaven. Hearing the Noise of Thunder in the Night, I rose hastily out of Bed and went into my Garden, and as soon as the ’ Rain fell I prostrated my self on the Earth to return Thanks to the supreme Lord : The Favour I ask of you is to speak boldly what you think, amiss in my Behaviour ; perhaps I have only the empty Tide of Emperor, and am blind to my own Defects, being dazzled by the Splendor of my Greatness; I see of what Importance, it is to address my Prayers to Heaven Morning and Evening with a clean Heart.” The great Desire he had of a Son made him divorce the Empress ; some approved this Conduct, but this was generally looked upon as a Blemish in his Character ; but he was universally applauded for the Succour he sent his Subjects, by the Counsel and Care of a Colao nam’d Fou pie, which sav’d the Lives of; 500000 People, who were ready to perish’d with Hunger. About the same time he had another Vexation ; Hien tsong, seventh King of the Leao, tong Tartars, sent an Embassy to demand the Restitution of ten Toyirns in the Province of Pe tche li, which had been ’ retaken by the Founder of the eighteenth Dynasty.: , The Emperor, who was fond of Peace, dispatch’d Fou pie to the Tartar Prince, and instead of the Towns he demanded, engaged to pay him yearly 200000 Taels, and 300000 Pieces of Silk ; and to complete his Disgrace made use of the Character Na in the Treaty, which signifies a Tributary. After he had divorced the Empress he married the Granddaughter of the famous Kao pin, but had no Heirs by this Princess. Finding himself near his End, he was obliged to name Yng tsong for his Successor, who was the thirteenth Son of his Brother ; he died at the Age of fifty-four, in the fortieth Year of the Cycle.
TH E first Year of the Reign of Yng tsong there was some Difference between him and the Empress, who had a Share in the Government, the Vexation of which had given him a Fit of Sickness : Upon his Recovery he made the Empress a visit, which was contrived by his Colao, Hoan ki.
This wise Minister, having show’d them the Misfortunes their Quarrels would produce, exhorted the Emperor in particular to pay the Empress the Respect and Duty of a Son, tho’ she was not his Mother, and tho’ she should prove of a disagreeable Temper. He represented to him that Virtue was easily practiced among our Friends, whose Complaisance engages our Affection, but that we do not deserve to be call’d Virtuous till We have been tried, and support the Character in the midst of Opposition ; that he should have always in remembrance the Example of the great Emperor, whose Respect and Obedience were never diminished by the harsh Usage of a barbarous Father, and a crud Stepmother. The Care of this Minister perfectly reconciled the Emperor and Empress, and the Reconciliation was so sincere, that Shortly after the Empress intirely resign’d her Part of the Government.
The Colao, nam’d Sou ma quang, flourish’d at this Time, who is one of their best Historians : He is the Author of a History compiled from above 2000 Volumes , his Annals begin with Heang ti, the third Emperor of China.
Yng tsong died the forty-fourth Year of the Cycle, aged thirty-six ; He was succeeded by his Son Chin tsong.
THIS Prince had more Courage than conduct : passionately desired to deliver the Northern Provinces from the Yoke of Barbarians , but he was dissuaded from it by the Counsel his Mother give him at her Death, to preserve Peace upon any Terms.
Learned Men had a great Share of his Favour ; he gave the Title of Duke to Mencius, who is reckoned the greatest Philosopher after Confucius his Master, who had been declared a King by a former Emperor.
In this Reign flourished several Authors of a new Philosophy, who undertook to explain the ancient Books ; they were called Tcheou, Tching, Tchang, Chao, &c. The Emperor distinguished them by Titles of Honour while they lived, and after their Death Vang Ngan che, one of these new Philosophers, who began to entertain Atheistical Principles, observing that tho Emperor appeared sad in a dry Season, and endeavour’d to appease the Anger of Heaven by Fading and Prayer , “To what purpose do you afflict yourself,” says he, “and what have you to fear from Heaven? Know, O Prince, that all Events are the Effect of Chance, and that your Labour is in vain.” Fou Pie, a Colao of Distinction, could not bear this Discourse, “How dare you teach such Doctrine?” says he in an angry Tone, if an Emperor should lose all Respect and Fear of Heaven, what Crimes would he not be capable of committing?” The same Vang ngan che strove to introduce many other Novelties, but the celebrated Sou ma quang, who was in great esteem, vigorously oppos’d all the Projects of this rash and superficial Genius. Chin tsong died in the second Year of the Cycle, at thirty Cycle 58. An. Dom. 1084. eight Years of Age, his Son named be tsong being his Successor.
TCHE TSONG, who was but ten Years old at his Accession to the Throne, was under the Care of the Empress his Grandmother ; she governed the Empire with great Prudence during the eight Years that she liv’d : A little before her Death she ordered the Colaos to expel from Court the great Number of useless Ministers, who were only fit to corrupt the young Prince , but the Order was too late, she ought to have done it when it was in her Power: Liu kong tchu, being rais’d to the Dignity of Colao, presented a Memorial to the Emperor, which contained the ten following Counsels. i. Fear Heaven. 2. Love your Subjects. 3. Endeavour to perfect. 4. Apply your self to the Sciences. 5. Give Employments to Persons of Merit. 6. Be ready to hear Advice. 7. Lessen the Taxes. 8. Mitigate the Severity of Punishments. 9. Shun Prodigality. 10. Detest vicious Pleasures.
The Emperor divorced his Wife, upon which one of his Ministers presenting a Memorial containing Remonstrances on this Occasion, the Prince told him. He had followed the Example of some of his Ancestors : You had better (replied the Minister) imitate their Virtues than their Faults. The Emperor was so stung with this Reply, that he threw down the Memorial, and trampled upon it, and deprived the Colao of his Dignity for giving him this Advice.
Tche tsong was but twenty-five Years of Age when he died, in the seventeenth Year of the Cycle. Hoei tsong was his Successor , he was the eleventh Son of Chin tsong, the sixth Emperor of this Dynasty.
HOEI TSONG divided his Authority with the Empress his Grandmother, and spent more Time in the Pleasures of his Court, than in the Business of the State, yet he loved Literature, in which he had made a considerable Progress.
Tho’ he could not be ignorant of the Troubles occasioned in former Times by the Power of the Eunuchs, yet he honoured them with his Favour and Protection, and went so far as to grant Sovereignties to some of them, which were never bestow’d but on Princes of the Imperial Family, or to great Men who had done signal Services to the Empire : This was an Error which admits of no Excuse.
His Reputation suffer’d more by his Adherence to the Sect of Tao ; for he carefully collected all the Books which contained their Doctrine, and was so infatuated as to give the Title of Chang ti, that is Supreme Lord, to a famous Disciple among them, named Tchang y ; nay, he went further, for he declared himself Head of this impious Sect.
The Authors of this Time cannot forbear railing against these Proceedings, and readily ascribe all the succeeding Misfortunes, and the Destruction of the Empire to this enormous Blasphemy, which was so dishonourable to the true Lord of Heaven.
The Emperor, contrary to the Advice of the King of Corea, and the Majority of his Ministers, joined Forces with the Eastern Tartars, called Niu tche, intending, with this additional Strength, to destroy the Kingdom of Leao tong : The Tartars joyfully entered into this Confederacy, and several Battles were fought, in which the Army of Leao tong was always defeated, and reduced at last: to that Extremity, that the Remnant of the People were obliged to fly for Safety to the Western Mountains. Thus ended the Government of Leao tong, which in two hundred and nine Years was ruled by nine Princes : The Tartar General grew so proud of this Conquest, that he determined to found an Empire by the Name of Kin.
Soon after, seeking to aggrandize himself, he openly broke the Treaties he had made with the Emperor of China, and invading the Provinces of Pe tche li and Chen si, made himself Master of them more by the Treachery of some Chinese Malecontents, than by the Strength of his Arms. The Emperor, fearing he should lose the greatest part of his Dominions, made the Tartars several advantageous Proposals : The Tartar Prince invited the Emperor to come in Person, and settle the Limits of the two Empires ; he accepted the Invitation, and they agreed on new Articles to ratify the Peace , but on the Emperor’s Return to his Capital City, his Ministers made him change his Design, telling him, that the Treaty ought not to take place, and that the sharpest War was preferable to such a shameful Peace. The Tartar , who was informed of this Resolution, had immediately recourse to Army, and taking several Towns enter’d the Province of Chan si in Triumph, and desired the Emperor to come a second time and settle their Limits. This unhappy Prince, who dreaded War, was so weak as to go to his Enemy, who presently after his Arrival kept him Prisoner, and stript him of all the Ensigns of his Dignity. A faithful Minister named Li so chin, who accompanied the Emperor, enraged at such base Treachery, cry’d out with a deep Sigh, "Heaven cannot have two Suns, nor I obey two Masters!” The Tartars endeavoured to appease him, but they only encreased his Fury, and in the Height of his passion he killed himself, after he had cut off his Lips and his Tongue.
Hoei tsong died in the Desert of Cha mo, where he was confined, the forty-second Year of the Cycle, aged fifty-four Years ; before his Death he named Kin tsong his eldest Son to succeed him.
Kin tsong began his Reign by executing the Orders of his Father, who had enjoin’d him to put to death six of his Ministers, that had betrayed him to the Tartars; nevertheless they pursued their Conquests, invading the Province of Ho nan, and palling the Yellow River without Opposition ; they were even surprized at the Indolence of the Chinese, who with a handful of Men could have prevented their passing this River ; then they marched directly to the Imperial City, which they took and plunder’d, carrying away Captives the Emperor and his Queens : The principal Lords, and several of the Ministers, preferr’d Death before such an ignominious Bondage: The Tartars did not carry off the Empress Meng, because she told them she was divorced, and had no Concern in the Management of Affairs. This Princess preserv’d the Empire by her prudent conduct, in gaining over the principal Persons, and placing Kao tsong on the throne ; he was Brother of the last Emperor, and Ninth Son of Hoei tsong, by the Empress he divorced.
KAO TSONG first resided at Nan king, but shortly after was obliged to remove the Court to Hang tcheou, Capital of the Province of Tche Kiang Tho’ he was of a peaceable Disposition, and a Lover of Learning, yet he gain’d several Victories over the Tartars, and also over some rebellious Leaders, who took advantage of the present Troubles to enrich themselves by plundering the Provinces.
Cong ye, who commanded his Army, had several times repuls’d the Tartars, but with little Profit, since he Emperor could never regain any of the conquered Countries : This Prince is blamed for two things , First, or flighting Ministers of the greatest Skill and Integrity, and placing his whole Confidence in two or three Sharpers : Secondly, for being so much devoted to the Sect of the Bonzes, that he abandoned the government to his adopted Son, thus he might have the more Time for their superstitious Contemplations.
Hi tsong, the Tartar King, to gain the Love of his Subjects gave publick Proofs of his Esteem for Learning and learned Men ; he also visited the Hall of Confucius and paid him regal Honours : The Courtiers were displeased that a Man of such mean Extraction should receive such Honours, and discover’d their Surprise to the King : He reply’d, " If he does not deserve these Honours by his Birth, he deserves them for his excellent Doctrine : He fell afterwards on the Town of Nan king, from whence the Emperor was retired, and took it.
The Fidelity of a Chinese General, who was made Prisoner, is highly commended ; he was greatly importuned to fide with the Tartars, but he refused the most advantageous Offers, and wrote with his Blood on his Robe, " That he had rather die, and meet the Spirit of the Imperial Family of Song, than live to serve the Barbarians.” This resolute Behaviour Cost him his Life, for he was instantly killed.
In the mean time Yofi, another Chinese General, was advancing by long Marches to relieve the Town of Nan king ; the Tartars had notice of it, and Setting Fire to the Palace retired towards the North. Yofi arriv’d time enough to attack their Rear Guard, which suffer’d very much : They never afterward ventured to cross the River Kiang.
Cycle 52. An, Dom. 1144. A few Years after the Emperor made Peace with the Tartar King on very disonourable Conditions ; for in signing this Treaty he made use of the Word Tchin, which signifies Subject, and of Cong, which is Tributary: The Tartar, in consideration of these submissive Terms, engaged to send the Emperor the Bodies of eight of his Relations, who had died within eight Years : When these Bodies were brought to the Imperial City, they were received with great Demonstrations of Joy, the Prison Doors were set open, and a general Pardon granted to the whole Empire.
The Chinese Authors highly praise this Action, as a rare Example of filial Piety : In the thirtieth Year of this Reign the Tartar King broke the Peace, and with a formidable Army invaded the Provinces of the South, and took the Town of Yang tcheou, and approaching the River Tang tse kiang, which is near the City, he commanded his Troops to pass over near the Mouth of the River, where it is widest and most rapid ; upon which the whole Army mutinied, and the King was killed in the beginning of the Tumult , the Army instantly retired towards the North, where several Troubles began to appear. In the 19th Year of the Cycle, Kao tsong resign’d the Crown to his adopted Son Hiao tsong ; he lived twenty-four Years after, and died without Children, at the Age of eighty-four Years.
HIAO TSONG was descended from the Founder of this Dynasty, and enjoyed a quiet and peaceful Reign, because the Tartar King, named Che tsong, was of a gentle and pacifick Disposition.
Tchu hi, one of the most celebrated Interpreters of the Ancient Books, flourish’d at this time, he enjoy’d, with Honour, the first Posts in the State under four Emperors.
Hiao tsong died sixty-eight Years old, in the forty-sixth Year of the Cycle ; his third Son named Quang tsong was his Successor.
QuANG TSONG was seized by an Apoplexy, in the fifty-first Year of the Cycle, and died a few Days after, aged fifty-four Years ; he was succeeded by his third Son Ning tsong.
NING TSONG, was with Difficulty persuaded to accept of the Crown, and was in some measure obliged to ascend the Throne against his Inclination He was of a temperate and gentle Disposition, be withal of such a narrow Genius, that his Courtier ruled him as they pleased, or rather continually imposed on his Credulity. He published an Edict, which forbid all private Persons to write or print any Annal of the Empire, without the Licence of the Government.
About this time died the famous Tchu hi, who was honoured after his Death with the Title of Ven kong, which signifies Prince of Learning, and his Tablette was set up in the Hall of Confucius, in the Rank of his Disciples. It is a Custom established in China, that when any Person.has remarkably distinguish’d himself by his Virtue,or Knowledge in the Art of Government, the Emperor rank him among the Disciples of Confucius, that he may partake of the Honours which the Mandarins and learned Men pay to his Memory on certain Days in the Year. The Palace was set on fire, and continued burning four Days, and some Years after a Fire happened in the Imperial Town of Hang tcheou, which consumed 530000 Houses. Cycle 60. An. Dom. 1204.
The twelfth Year of this Reign, the Chief [A] [A] The Chief is said to be the famous Zinghis kan. of the Western Tartars laid the Foundation of his Empire, and gave his Family the Name of Yuen. These Tartars possess the Country which extends from the Province of Chen si to Thibet, and to Samarcand. Since they had been entirely defeated by the fifth Emperor of the fifth Dynasty Han, about a hundred Years before the Christian Æra, they paid a great Regard to the Chinese Power, either because the Western People of Asia found them Employment, or because their Forces were divided among many petty Sovereigns, who not being always in Friendship with each other, were not able to undertake any Enterprise against China. A fabulous Story is reported of these tartars, that having destroy’d the Kingdom of Matena; and carried their Conquests to the Indies and Samarcand, they advanced to Tie muen, that is, the Iron Gate, which was the Name of a Cittadel ; that in this Place their General was stopt by a Monster shaped like a Hart, his Skin was green, and he had a Horn in his Forehead, and a Tail like a Horse. This Monster spoke to the Tartar Prince, and ask’d him if he was not satisfied with so much Blood and Slaughter, and if his Fury would have no Bounds? This so frighted the Tartar, that he returned to his own Country, and sometime afterwards invaded China.
In the mean time the Eastern tartars broke the Peace, and made an Irruption into the Empire. Upon this the Emperor entered into a League with the Prince of West Tartary to destroy the Eastern Tartars, hoping to rid himself of an Enemy, who derided the Faith of Treaties, and continually harrass’d the Country. The Eastern Tartars, in a great Consternation, immediately sued for Peace, and made very advantageous Proposals ; but the Emperor, incensed by their Breach of the most solemn Treaties, and depending more on the Faith of the Western Tartars, scornfully rejected these Conditions. Ning tsong died without Issue the twenty-first Year of the Cycle, aged fifty-seven Years. He was succeeded by Li tsong, who was descended from the Founder of this Dynasty.
THE present Conjuncture required a warlike Prince, but Li tsong was entirely devoted to the Sciences, and very much attached to the mad Opinion of the Sect of Tao : In the second Year of his Reign he gave the Title of Duke in perpetuity to the eldest Son of the Family of Confucius ; this is the only Family in the Empire which is exempted from paying Tribute.
In the mean time the War was carry’d on against the Tartars with great Vigour, for they were attack’d on one side by the Chinese, and on the other by the Western Tartars, commanded by a skilful General named Pe yeti, and were defeated in several Engagements. The Town of Ho nan was taken, where the King of East Tartary kept his Court, and the Capital of the Province of Chan tong was besieged ; the Siege held a long Time, for the Besieged defended the Place so obstinately, that they were driven by Famine to feed on human Flesh : At length Ngai ti, the Tartar Prince, despairing of Relief, hang’d himself ; his Death put an end to the Empire of the Eastern Tartars , which had been rul’d by nine Princes in the Space of 17 Years: Nevertheless the small Remains of these People gave rise to the Family, which afterwards possess’d the Empire of China, and govern it with Glory to this Day, as we shall see in the Sequel.
Whilst Li tsong had only the Southern Provinces of China under his Dominion, the Western Tartars had the Empire of the North. Their King Ho pie lie, who had studied the Sciences, gain’d the good Will of his Subjects by the Encouragement he gave to Learning, and by doing Honour to the Memory of Confucius, whom the Learned of China reverence as their Matter. Li tsong died without Issue the first Year of the Cycle, aged sixty two Years ; Tou tsong his Nephew succeeded him.
THE vicious Courses to which Ton tsong was abandon’d, prov’d fatal to himself and the Empire. He was supported in his Follies by a treacherous Colao, who was equally a Slave to the most criminal passions.
The Ministers presented Memorials to disengage the Emperor from this wicked Man, but without Success. Many of them, seeing no Remedy for the Misfortunes which were ready to fall on the imperial Family, retired to the Western Tartars, who were pursuing their Design of conquering the Empire: Their Army having overrun the Provinces of Yun nan, Se tchuen, and Chen si, entered the Province of Hou quang ; most of the Cities open’d the Gates to the Conqueror, whilst the wretched Tou tsong, dissolv’d in Pleasures, was robb’d of his Dominions by degrees, before he was informed of these Misfortunes.
It was about this Time that Mark Paul, a Venetian Gentleman, came into China, and travelled thro’ the finest Provinces of this Country, of which he afterwards publish’d a Relation which gain’d but little Credit in Europe.
Tou tsong died the eleventh Year of the Cycle, aged twenty-five Years, leaving three young Children, who were born to be the Sport of Fortune. Kong tsong his second Son was plac’d upon the tottering Throne.
THE Empress governing during the Infancy of Kong tsong, sent Ambassadors to the Tartar Prince to beg Peace, submitting to the most humble and hardest Conditions.
The Tartar King, without the least Compassion, Answer’d, “ Your Family owes its Rise to the Infancy of the preceding Dynasty, it is therefore just that the Remains of the Family of Tsong , who are Infants, should give place to another Family.
In the interim Pe yen, the Tartar General, advanced , with a numerous Army, and nothing stopt the Progress of the Conqueror ; Pe yen is highly praised for his Prudence, in conducing an Army of 200000 Men with as much ease as a single Soldier ; and for his Modesty, which was so remarkable, that in the midst of all his Victories he never spoke the least Word in his own Praise. The thirteenth Year of the Cycle he took the Emperor Prisoner, who died in the Desart of Tartary call’d Kobi or Cha mo ; this Prince was but ten Years old, and was succeeded by his eldest Brother Touan tsong in the Empire and his Misfortunes.
THE victorious March of the Tartar, who met with no Resistance, obliged the Emperor to go on board his Fleet, with the Lords of his Court, and the Remains of his Army, which consisted of 130000 Men ; they would have retired towards the Province of Fo kien, but being pursued by the Tartars, both by Sea and Land, they were oblig’d to fly to the Coast of Quang tong, which is the last Province of China, where the Emperor died of a Disease, aged 11 Years. His younger Brother Ti ping, who was the last of the Family of Song, was his Successor.
THE Chinese Fleet, being overtaken by the Tartartan Fleet, could not avoid an Engagement, which proved very bloody, and decisive in favour of the Tartars, who gained a complete Victory.
The Colao Li fieou se, who had the Care of the Emperor, seeing his Ship surrounded by the Tartarian Vessels, took the young Prince in his Arms, being but eight Years, and threw himself with him into the Sea. The rest of the Lords and Ministers followed his Example : The Empress, frantick in Despair, with Horrid Shrieks threw herself also into the Sea ; This terrible Catastrophe happen’d near an Island in the District: of Quang tcheou fou, Capital of the Province of quang tong : Another General, who commanded a Part of the Chinese Fleet, fought his Way through the Enemy, and escaped their Fury with some of his Vessels ; he did his utmost Endeavour to make to Shore, but he was drove off by a strong Land Wind, and a violent Storm arising at the fame Time, he was instantly sunk with all that follow’d him.
It is affirm’d that above 1 00000 Chinese perish’d in this Fight, either by the Sword or the Sea, into which the greatest Part threw themselves in Despair. Thus ended the Dynasty of Song, the last of the Chinese Emperors : Chi tsou, who was before called Ho pi lie, the fourth Son of Tai tsou, the Founder of the Empire of the Western Tartars, took Possession of his new Conquest, and was the first Emperor of this new Dynasty.