The twelfth Dynasty, called Souy, which had three Emperors in the Space of 29 Years.
'TWAS the forty-seventh Year of the Cycle when this Prince seized the Throne : The River Yang tse kiang had parted the Northern and Southern Empires for 300 Years, and serv'd as a Boundary to each ; but in the Year fifty-four these Dominions were reunited under the new Emperor, who descended from a Noble Family, which had performed great Services to the Fifth House of Han; his solid and penetrating Judgment made amends for his Want of learning , and his admirable Temperance and Love of his People gained him their Esteem and Confidence , he reformed the ancient Musick,. and commanded the Learned to use in their Compositions nothing, but found Reasoning, avoiding all Rhetorical Flourishes as vain Ornaments, fit only to flatter the Ear, and enervate Eloquence; he caused also publick Granaries to be built in all Towns, and ordered each Family, in proportion, to their Substance, to furnish every Year a certain Quantity of Rice and Corn for the Support of the Poor in time of Scarcity: He publish'd likewise an Edict making it Capital to steal the Value of Eight Pence ; afterwards, upon the Representations that were made to him, he abolished this Law, but was inexorable towards the Judges who received Bribes.
Last of all he ordered Merchants and Mechanicks Cycle 50. A.D.604. to be excluded from publick Commands, and tho' he knew his eldest Son to be a Person of mean Capacity, yet he pitched upon him for his Successor: This Preference so exasperated his second Son Yang ti, that he murdered his Father in the sixty-fourth Year of his Age, and the first of the Cycle ; with the same Barbarity he treated his Brother, whom he look'd upon as his Rival, and by this double Murder attained the Throne.
THO' this Prince had very valuable Qualities, yet he was universally blamed for his Luxury and prodigality : Having removed his Court from the Province of Chen si to that of Ho nan, he caused two public Granaries of prodigious Largeness to be built, and a Park to be made fifteen Leagues in Circumference, with stately Palaces and magnificent Gardens, where he took the Air on Horseback, accompany'd by a great number of his Women, who perform'd Consorts of Vocal and Instrumental Mufick: His Fame drew many foreign Princes to his Court, who came to throw themselves under his Protection: He forbad his Subjects to carry Arms, a Trick of State which is still in use ; he also repaired the Great Wall which divides China from Tartary, employing, 'tis said, a Million of Men about it : He was so intent upon the Advancement and Progress of the Sciences, that he commissioned an hundred of the most learned Men to revise and reprint, after the manner practiced in those Days, all the Books which treated of War, Politicks, Physick, and Husbandry : He established the Degree of Doctor, whereby Soldiers, as well as Men of Letters, might be capacitated for Civil and Military Employments : He attacked the Coreans both by Sea and Land, but this Expedition was without Success ; yet coming upon them again, he forc'd them to send Ambassadors to implore his Clemency in quality of his Vassals. In visiting the Southern Provinces of the Empire, he arrived at Yang tcheou, a Town in the Province of Kiang nan, where he was assassinated at thirty-nine Years of Age by a contemptible Fellow, whose Name was Hoa kie. Li yuen, one of the petty Sovereigns, having assembled an Army of 12,000 Men, placed the Crown upon the Head of Kong ti, the young Son of the Emperor Kao tsou ven ti.
THIS Prince was deposed by Li yuen the same Year wherein he made him Emperor. The second Son of Li yuen, at the Head of an Army raised by his Father, made himself Matter of the Palace ; and as he was viewing the Magnificence and Riches thereof, he fetch'd a deep Sigh, and said, " No, such a stately Edifice must not be permitted to stand any longer, it is good for nothing but to soften the Spirit of a Prince, and vitiate his Inclinations , and so ordered it immediately to be burnt to Ashes. Thus ended the Dynasty Souy, which is the last of the five petty Dynasties. Li yuen was the Founder of the following Dynafly, and reigned by the Name of Chin yao ti.