MM The twenty-second Dynasty, named Tsing, now, reigning, which to the present Time reckons three Emperors.
THERE is no certain Account what became of the Usurper, who was purfoed some time by the Tartars ; some think he was kill'd in an Engagement by Ou san guey : This General found too late the Error he had committed, in sending for the Tartars to get rid of the Tyrant, and would sometimes say that he had brought Lions to drive away Dogs ; nevertheless he receiv'd the Dignity of King from the Hands of Chun tchi, and the Title of Ping si, which signifies Peacemaker of the West, and the Town of Si ngan fou was assign'd him for his residence, which had been ravag'd with Fire and Sword.
Chun tchi having mattered the Northern Provinces, turned his Arms towards the South, that he might intirely reduce them to his Obedience ; Hong quang, a Grandson of the preceding Emperor, being proclaimed Emperor at Nan king, was taken Prisoner, brought to Peking, and strangled. The Tartars afterwards entered me Province of Tche kiang, and besieg'd the Capital ; Lo vang, who was King of this Place, and who had refus'd the Title of Emperor, got upon the Walls, and upon his Knees beseech'd the Tartars to spare his Subjects ; but if they would not be appeased without some Victim, he offered to sacrifice himself for the Safety of his People, and at the same time went out of the City, and submitted to the Discretion of the Conqueror.
Long vou, another Grandson of Chin tsong, or Van lie the thirteenth Emperor of the preceding Dynasty, was proclaimed in the Province of Fo kien, but all the Cities open'd their Gates at the Approach of the Conqueror : Nor could this Prince escape Death, being forc'd to strengthen the Conquest of the Tartars with his Blood.
There was at this time a remarkable Person named Tchin chi long, who acted a considerable Part in the Affairs of the Empire ; he was at first a Servant to the Portuguese at Macao, among whom he was instructed in the Christian Religion, and received at his Baptism the Name of Nicholas , afterwards, from a petty Trader, he grew to be the richest Merchant of China, by Commerce with the Spaniards and Hollanders, and became at last Commander of a great Fleet : He at first acknowledged Long vou for Emperor, but afterwards the Tartar Prince : Chun tchi offered to make him a King, and invited him to a solemn Feast ; Tchin chi long accepted the Invitation in hopes of obtaining the greatest Dignities at Court, whither he was honourably conducted ; he left the Command of the Fleet to his Son Tcbing tching cong, who inviolably preserv'd his Zest for his Country, and his Fidelity to the Chinese Princes, against the Intreaties of his Father, and the Promises of the new Emperor.
The Army of the Tartars advanced to the Province of Quang tong, and met no Resistance ; but the Course of their Victories was interrupted in the Province of Quangsi, for Thomas, Kiu, Viceroy of this Province, and Luke Tchin, chief General of the Chinese Forces, who were both Christians, opposed the Tartars, and entirely routed them after an obstinate Engagement ; the Conquerors immediately elected a Prince of the Imperial Family, named Yong lie, who was King of the Capital of the Province of Koei tcheou, and after he was proclaimed Emperor he went to keep his Court at Chao king : A Christian Eunuch named Pan Achilles, who was very zealous for the Faith, was his chief Counselor, by whose means Father Andrew Koffley instructed the Emperor's Mother, his Wife, and eldest Son, in the Truths of Christianity, and gave them Baptism.
It was expected that this Emperor would one Day be the Constantine of China, by which Name he was baptised ; for these illustrious Converts, with the Consent of the Emperor, sent Father Michel Boym to Rom to pay a filial Obedience to the holy See in their Names.
The Fame which was spread thro' all the Provinces of a great Victory gain'd over the Tartars, and of the Election of a new Emperor, rous'd the Courage of the Chinese ; A Commander who had got together an Army in the Province of Fo Kien, and Tching tching cong, who Scoured the Seas with a numerous Fleet, retook several Towns both within the Country and upon the Sea Coast ; at the same time the Viceroy of the Province of Kiang se shook off the Yoke, and defeated the Tartars in several Engagements : In the Northern Parts two Captains, one named Ho, the other Kiang, had rais'd each a considerable Army, the first seiz'd several Cities in the Province of Shensi, and the second enter'd the same Province with 140000 Horse, and a greater number of Foot , they defeated the Tartars in two Battles, and put them into such a Consternation that they durst not appear in the Field.
Nevertheless in the space of three or four Years, what with Craft and Policy, Rewards and Promises, and the Quarrels of the two Chinese Leaders, the Tartars became Conquerors, and recovered all the Cities they had lost. In the West another Leader of the Revolt ravaged the whole Country, and seem'd to be a Demon in Human Shape, for after having exercised all manner of Cruelties in the Provinces of Ho nan, Kiang nan, and Kiang si, the Storm of his Fury fell on the Province of Se Tchuen.
He was good-natur'd and affable to none but his Soldiers, whom he used with great Familiarity , for to all others he was cruel beyond Example.
He put to death the King of the Capital, who was a Prince of the preceding Dynasty, and if any Man committed a trifling Fault, he kill'd all the People that lived in the same Street ; five thousand Eunuchs were slain by his Order, because one of them had not given him the Title of Emperor ; having called ten thousand Literati to an Examination, as soon as they were assembled in the Hall appointed for their Compositions, he caused them all to be murder'd on pretence that by their Sophisms they stirr'd up the People to rebel : Upon leaving the City of Tchin tou fou, to enter the Province of Chensi, he caused all the Inhabitants to be brought out in Chains, and massacred in the Fields, and it was on this Occasion that several Children were baptized by Father Buglio and Father Magalhaens : He order'd all his Soldiers to kill their Women, because they were only troublesome to an Army in War, and he set them an Example by cutting the Throats of three hundred of his own, reserving only twenty to wait on the three Queens; in short he did not leave the Province of Se tchuen to enter that of Chen si, till he had burnt the Capital and several other Towns. As he was preparing to engage the Tartars, who were not far off, he was told that five Warriors were seen upon the Hills at some distance, upon which he went immediately to reconnoitre them, without putting on his Helmet or Cuirass, and as soon as he came in fight of them he was shot thro' the Heart with an Arrow : His Death dispers'd his Army, and the People received the Tartars as their Deliverers, and joyfully submitted to their Yoke : By this time eleven Provinces were reduced under the Dominion of the Tartar Emperor, and there remain'd only four in the South under the Government of the Chinese, which the Court sent three different Armies to subdue ; the Capital of Quang tong was besieg'd, which Siege hfted a whole Year, with great Losses on both sides ; at length the City was taken, and the Soldiers were allowed to plunder it for ten Days r They march'd afterwards to Chao kingy where Tong lie kept his Court, but this Prince, being too weak to refift the Conqueror, retired first to the Province of Quang si, and afterwards to Yun nan. The next Year, which was the twenty-eighth of the Cycle, died A ma van, Uncle and Tutor to the Emperor, who was extremely regretted, having gain'd the Love of the Chinese by his great Qualities and prudent Behaviour, and 'tis properly he who fix'd the reigning Tartar Family on the Throne.
His Brother, who had a small Sovereignty, claim'd the Right of succeeding in the Guardianship of the Emperor ; but all the Grandees oppos'd it, because the Emperor being now fourteen Years old, and marry'd to a Daughter of a Prince of the Western Tartars, was able to govern alone ; the Dispute went so for, that they hung up at the Gates of their Palaces , the Ensigns of their Dignities, saying, that they would receive them only from the Hands of Chun tchi ; however it was at last agreed that this Prince should take the Government into his own Hands, which he did in a manner that soon gain'd him the Love of the People ; instead of shutting himself up in the Palace, as the Chinese Emperors usually did, Chun tchi began his Reign by shewing himself in Publick., and by giving free Access to his Person : He made no Alterations in the Laws and Government of China, not suffering the Chinese to learn the Tartarian Language without a particular License : He preserv'd the six supreme Tribunals at Peking, but would not admit any elsewhere, so that those of Nan king were suppress'd, he also order'd that there should be a Tartar added to the Chinese President.
He bestowed the Governments of Cities and Provinces only on the Literati, and as the Safety or Ruin of the Empire depends on the choice of proper Persons to fill these important Posts, having been informed that some Literati had bought the Suffrages of their Examiners, he order'd thirty-six of the Examiners to be beheaded, and condemn'd the Literati to pass through a fresh Examination, pardoning those who were admitted to their Degrees nor their Capacity, but thole who were found uncapable were sent with all their Families to Tartary, which is at present the common Place of Banishment for the Guilty ; the Design in peopling these vast Desarts is that the Children who are born here should naturally take the Temper and Manners of the Tartan.
This Prince had a singular Affection for P. Adam Schaal, and always call'd him Ma fa, which signifies, My Father ; he made him principal of the Tribunal of Mathematicks appointed to reform the Chinese Astronomy, and expell'd the Mahometans who had possess'd those Employments during three Ages : By a very extraordinary Favour he permitted him to present his Petitions into his own Hands, without ending them thro' the Tribunals, according to the establish'd Custom , and this remarkable Favour contributed greatly to the Advancement of Religion, for soon after two fine Churches were built at Peking by the Authority and Protection of the Emperor.
The thirty-third Year of the Cycle the first Embassy of the Great Duke of Muscovy arrived at Peking, but it was not favourably received, because the Ambassador would not submit to the Chinese Ceremonies, nor was that which came from Holland more successful.
The thirty-third Year of the Cycle Tching tching cong, who till then contented himself with making little Excursions, and plundering the Coasts of China, came and besieg'd Nan king with 3000 Ships : A pretty young Chinese being Viceroy of the City and Province, a Council of War was held, and the Tartar Chief declared, That the City could not be defended unless the Inhabitants were destroy'd, who were very numerous , this Proposal was receiv'd with Horror by the Viceroy, You must begin this Butchery on me, says he, if you cannot otherwise save the City : This Answer stopt the Tartar's Mouth, and sav'd the Lives of the Citizens.
The twentieth Day of the Siege there were great Rejoicings in the Camp of the Besiegers, on account of the Birth-Day of their General, and the Festival held three whole Days, which were spent in Rafting and all manner of Diversions ; the Besieged sallying out at Midnight with great Silence, and finding their Enemies overcome with Sleep and Wine, attacked them, and flew near 3000, forcing the rest to fly to their Ships, abandoning their Camp, Baggage and Provisions to the Conquerors.
Tching tching cong, seeking to repair his Loss as soon as possible, sail'd to engage the Tartar Fleet, and coming up with it, after an obstinate Fight he sunk and took several Tartar Vessels, put the rest to flight, and took 4000 Prisoners, whom he set on Shore after he had cut off their Noses and Ears.
The Tartar could not bear the Sight of this dismal Spectacle, and as their hideous Countenances were constant Mark of their Defeat, they were all put to death by the Emperor's Order.
After this Victory Tching tching cong thought of securing a Retreat, and pitch'd upon the Island of Formosa, which was possess'd by the Dutch ; he besieg'd it by Sea and Land, and after four Months Resistance the Besieg'd were obliged to surrender for want of Provisions : Here he establish'd his new Government, but did not enjoy it long, for the following Year he dy'd, and left it to his Son.
Yong Li was the only surviving Person that could disturb the new Conqueror, who still kept the Title of Emperor, tho' he was driven out of China, and had taken Refuge in the Kingdom of Pegu, which borders on the Province of Yun nan, the Court sent some Troops with threatning Letters to the King of Pegu, which enjoin'd him to deliver up the fugitive Prince.
He was immediately given up, with his whole Family, to the Tartars , who carry'd him to the Capital, where he was strangled ; the two Queens, his Mother and Wife, were sent to Peking, where they had each a separate Palace, and were honourably treated, and where they always preserv'd their first Adherence to the Faith.
The same Year, being the third of the Cycle, was fatal to the Emperor, by the violent passion which he entertained for the Wife of a young Tartar Lord; whom he had seen with the Empress ; this Lady informed her Husband of the Prince's Solicitations, upon which the Husband gave her Instructions how to behave, and this she told again to the Lover, either thro' Simplicity or Design : Chun tchi, who was intirely govern'd by his passion, sent for this Lord, and on pretence of his having neglected the Business of his Post gave him a Box on the Ear : The Tartar could not survive this Outrage, but died of Grief the third Day.
The Emperor immediately after marry'd the Widow, and made her Queen, and had a Son by her, whose Birth was celebrated with Pomp and Magnificence; but this Child lived but three Months, and his Mother followed him soon after to the Grave : The Emperor was inconsolable for this Loss, and made thirty Men kill themselves to appease her Manes, which Ceremony the Chinese look'd upon with Horror, and which his Successor took care to abolish.
He order'd the Grandees of the Court, and the Ministers of the Empire to go into Mourning for a Month, and the common People for three Days, as if she had been Empress: After the Body was burnt on a Funeral Pile he gather'd up her Ashes himself, and with streaming Eyes inclosed them in a silver urn : He then devoted himself to the Bonzes, and the Worship of their Idols, which he had hitherto treated with Contempt, and in a few Days this unhappy Prince was reduced to the last Extremity. Father Adam had often made strong Remonstrances, which this Prince look'd upon as the Effect of his Love, but they were ineffectual ; however in this melancholy Situation he resolv'd to make another Effort ; and the prince receiv'd him in a friendly manner, heard him patiently, but forbid him to kneel, made him drink Tea, and sent him away.
After the Father was gone he order'd four Lords of the Court to draw near, and in their Presence he reproach'd himself for neglecting the Government of his Dominions, for his little Regard to those who had serv'd him faithfully, for despising the Counsel of his Mother, for his Avarice and idle Expences in vain Curiosities, for his Affection to the Eunuchs, his excessive passion for the deceased Queen, and the Troubles he had made his People undergo ; after this he declared them Tutors of his youngest Son Cang hi, who was but eight Years old ; then cloathing himself in the Imperial Mantle, he said, Now I leave you, and expir'd the same Instant, about Midnight, aged eighty Years.
The next Morning all the Bonzes were expelled the Court, and the Body of the Emperor was inclos'd in a magnificent Coffin : The Day after Cang hi ascended the Throne, and received the Homage of all Grandees of the Empire.
AS in the Course of this Work we have mentioned at large the great Qualities and Merit of this famous Emperor, whose Name is respected in all the East, and has deserv'd the Regard of all Europe, nothing remains in this Place but to relate the principal Events of his Reign in a Chronological Method.
The Administration of the Four Tutors was not attended with any great Troubles; the first Use they made of their Authority was in beheading the principal Eunuch, who had been the Author of the former Misfortunes, and driving from the Palace 4000 Eunuchs, retaining only l000 to be employ'd in the meanest Offices. Soon after an Edict was publish'd, which ordain'd all those in the six Provinces, who inhabit the Seacoast, on pain of Death to leave their Dwellings, and to settle themselves three Leagues from the Sea, in pursuance of which they demolish'd all their Cities, Forts, and Maritime Towns, and all Trading by Sea was absolutely forbid.
By this means the Power of this formidable Enemy was weakned, who was become Matter of the Sea, but an infinite number of Families, who liv'd on the Fishing Trade, were reduced to Want : A great many Churches were also destroy'd, as well as the Idol Temples, and the City of Macao would have shar'd the same Fate, if Father Adam had not solicited for its Safety, and employed all his Credit to exempt it from the general Law.
In the Year Forty-one Yang quang sien, a Man of Letters, presented a Petition to the Regents full of the most horrid Calumnies against Religion, and the Missionaries, of whom Father Adam was look'd upon as the Head ; he and three of his Companions were loaded with nine Chains, and dragg'd before several Tribunals, where they underwent very long and mortifying Interrogatories, their Books of Devotion, their Chaplets, their Medals were looked upon as secret Marks, by which those in the Conspiracy were supposed to know each other, and these Symbols of Christian Piety were ordered to be burnt : However they were forbid to persecute the Christians, to profane there Churches, and their Sacred Images.
The following Year Father Adam was condemned to be strangled, but this Sentence was afterwards revoked, and they condemned him to be cut, while living, into ten thousand Pieces. This is the greatest Punishment they ever inflict for the most horrid Crime: This Sentence was carried to the Princes of the Blood, and to the Regents for Confirmation, but as often as they attempted to read it in dreadful Earthquake dispersed the Assembly.
The Consternation was so great that they granted a general Pardon , all the Prisoners was released, except Father Adam, and he did not get his Liberty till a Month afterwards, when the Royal Palace was consumed by the Flames ; all the Missionaries Were banished to Canton, except four who were retained at Court , there were reckoned among the Banished three Religious of Saint Dominique, one Franciscan, and twenty-one Jesuits.
The fifteenth of August, in the same Year, Father Adam Schaal died, at the Age of seventy-seven Years, whereof he had spent forty-seven in the Labour, of an Apostolic Life : The emperor afterwards declared his Innocence, and honoured him with an Elogium, and several Titles of Honour.
The forty-third Year of the Cycle happen, the death of Sony, the Chief of the four Regents of the Empire, at which time the young Emperor took the Government of his Dominions into his own Hands, and soon gave great Hopes of that extraordinary Reputation, which he afterwards acquired in the Sequel of a Reign the most flourishing, that ever happened.
Sou ca ma, who had the greatest Credit of the four Regents, and who was the most cruel Enemy of Christianity, had twenty Articles of Accusation but against him, his Goods were confiscated , he was loaded with Irons, and condemned to the most cruel Punishment, but the Emperor mitigated the Rigour offals Sentence, and he was only strangled; seven of his Children or Grandchildren, and his third Son were cut into several Pieces.
In the forty-fifth Year of the Cycle ah Ambassador from the King of Portugal came to Court, who was received with Honour, and did not a little contribute to establish the Portuguese Nation in the Possession of the City of Macao.
The following Year Father Ferdinand Verbiest was Ordered, by the Emperor, to examine and put in writing all the Faults of the Chinese Calendar made by Yang quang sien, who had taken Father Adam's Place, and who had exasperated the Grandees, the Bonzes, and the Mahometans, against the Christian Religion, The Faults were enormous, and many in number, insomuch that Yang quang sien was deprived of his Office, degraded of his Honour, and even condemned to Death : However the Emperor was satisfied with banishing him into his own Country, where he was feared arrived but he died of a pestilential Ulcer.
The Pere Verbiest became President of the Tribunal of the Mathematicks, and so far gained the Esteem of the Emperor, as to teach him the Mathematical Sciences for the Space of five Months.
The Father made use of this Opportunity to present a Petition to the Emperor, in which he exposed the Calumnies that bad been published against the Christian Faith, and the Injustices which had been done, under Pretence of his Authority, to the Preachers of the Gospel. They spent seven Days in examining the Allegations before a General Assembly of the Mandarins, after Which it was declared, That the Christian Religion taught nothing that was evil, nor that tended to Sedition : An Imperial Edict recalled the banish'd Missionaries, nevertheless forbidding them to build any more Churches, and the Chinese to embrace the Christian Faith.
In the fiftieth Year of the Cycle Ou san guey, who had introduced the Tartars into the Empire to suppress the Rebellion, endeavoured to deliver his Country from their Tyranny : The Emperor invited him to Court, but his Answer was to the Deputies, That he would not appear there, unless in the Company of 80000 Men, by which means his Design was made publick.
He had already made himself Master of the Provinces of Yun nan, Se tchuen, Koei tcheou, and part of Hou quang, and, which is a Mark of the Imperial Authority, he sent the Chinese Calendar to the Tributary Princes his Neighbours, and among the rest to the King of Tong king : Both he and the rest refused to receive it, and sent it back to the Emperor : The eldest Son of Ou san guey, who was then at Court, was beheaded.
Soon after the Kings of Fo kien and Quang tong revolted, and the Prince of Formosa joined himself to them : It had been over with the Tartars if all these Princes had acted in Concert, in behalf of the common Cause, but they were divided by Jealousies : The Prince of Formosa, thinking himself not honourably treated by the King of Fo kien, declared War against him, defeated him in several Battles, and forced him to submit to the Emperor : The King of Quang tong, for a like reason of Discontent, broke the Treaty which he had made with Ou san guey, and put his Province into the Hands of the Tartan.
The Court sent several Armies, commanded by Tartarian Princes, into the Provinces of Hou quang, Tche kiang, Fo kien, Quang tong, and Quang si, to reduce the rest that refused to acknowledge his Authority.
However Ou san guey died in the fifty-sixth Year of the Cycle in a good old Age, and his youngest Son Hong hoa was proclaimed Emperor.
The second of September, in the fame Year, there was a dreadful Earthquake at Peking, a great many Palaces and Temples, and the Towers and Walls of the City were overthrown, which buried more than 400 Persons in the Ruins : There were more than 30000 that perished in the neighbouring City Tong Tcheou, and as the Shocks were perceived from time to time for the Space of three Months, the Emperor, the Princes, and the Nobility, quitted their Palaces, and dwelt in Tents ; the Emperor bestowed large Sums for the Encouragement and assistance of the People.
The last Month of the same Year the Royal Palace was all in Flames, and in a few Hours time it was reduced to Ashes ; its said that the Loss amounted to 2850000 Taels.
Four Days after this Accident the Emperor let out to take the Diversion of Hunting at his Pleasure-House, and perceiving at a distance the magnificent Monument, which his Father had erected to the Honour of the last Chinese Emperor, he went to it, and after having prostrated himself on the Ground, and burnt Incense, You know, great Emperor, said he, bursting into Tears, it was not we, hut your rebellious Subjects who were the Cause of your Death.
Altho' the King of the Province of Quang tong had submitted to the Government of the Tartars, his conduct was not the less suspected at Court, because he had an enterprizing Spirit, and was very powerful by the Trade that he carried on, notwithstanding the Emperor's Prohibition, with the Spaniards and Dutch,
The fifty-seventh Year of the Cycle he received Orders to march his Army against the Rebels of the Province of Quang si : This Army being divided into several Bodies, as Necessity required, they had the Cunning to persuade him to return to his Palace in the Province of Quang tong. A little time after he was visited by two Grandees of the Court, who on the ninth of October, early in the Morning, presented him with a silken Halter, with the Emperor's Order to strangle himself in it. one hundred and twelve of his Accomplices, among whom were three of his Brothers, were beheaded, and his great Riches were divided amongst his other Brothers, whereof one was Son-in-law to the Emperor.
Towards the end of the same Year some reverend Augustine Fathers, being arrived at Macao from the Philippines, entered happily into China. The following Year the King of Fo kien, who in the time of his Revolt was treated with Contempt by the Emperor's faithful Mandarins, was capitally punished, and his Body cast to the Dogs , his Brothers, tho' innocent, were beheaded.
In the mean time the Tartars possessed themselves of the Capital of Yun nan ; Hang hoa, who had been declared Emperor, prevented the punishment designed for him, by killing himself , they dug up the Bones of his Father Ou san guey, and carried them to Peking, part of which were exposed with Marks of Infamy on Stakes, the other part were reduced to Ashes and Scattered in the Wind.
The fame Year, being, the fifty-eighth of the Cycle, and of our Lord 1681, was the 100th since the Missionaries of the Society of Jesus had carried the Light of the Christian Faith into China.
The fifty-ninth Year the Emperor, having happily subdued the fifteen Provinces of China, and established Peace throughout his whole Empire, took a Resolution to go and visit his Country and the Tombs of his Ancestors : He set out for Eastern Tartary the twenty-third of March, accompanied with the Prince his Heir apparent, his three Queens, his Great Lords and principal Mandarins, and with an Army of about 60000 Men : He also took with him Pere Verbiest, who was always near his Person ; apci in the fiftieth and last Year of the Cycle, he made a second Journey into Western Tartary, with a greater Train, and a more numerous Army. This Custom was continued every Year, and he spent several Months, in the Exercise of Hunting during his Stay in Tartary.
The third Year of this new Cycle , Tching che fan, Cycle 68. An. Dom. 1684. the Grandson of the famous Pirate who had taken the Island of Formosa from the Hollanders , was obliged to replace it in the Hands of the Emperor, and to surrender himself at Peking, where he was dignified with the Title of Count.
The fourth Year of the Cycle five new French Missionaries arrived at Peking, the seventh of February ; they embarked at Brest in March 1685.
Lewis the fourteenth of glorious Memory, who was possessed of so many Heroick Virtues, by which, he merited the Name of Grand, joined to the greatest Zeal for the Propagation of the Faith, had honoured these Fathers with the Title of his Mathematicians, and had gratified them with settled Salaries and magnificent presents.
They had not the Consolation to see Father Verbiest to whom their Permission to enter into China, was owing : This Apostolical Man died the twenty-seventh of January, universally lamented by the Emperor, Grandees, and the People , Pere Grimaldi was named to supply his Place, and the Emperor reserved the Peres Gervillion and Bovett out of the five that were, newly arrived for his Court.
The following Year the Peres Gervillion and Pereyra had Orders from the Emperor, to accompany the Chinese Ambassadors into Tartary, who went to settle with the Muscovite Plenipotentiaries the Limits of the two Empires.
China enjoyed a profound Peace, which was owing to the Wisdom and superior Skill of the Emperor.
The indefatigable Application of this Great Prince to all the Affairs of State, his Equity and Penetration in the Choice of proper Persons to fill the Chief Offices, his Frugality, and Hatred to Luxury with Respect to himself, joined with his Profuseness and Magnificence with reference to his Dominions ; his Tenderness to his People, and Readiness to assist them, his Steadiness in the vigorous Execution of the Law, his continual Watchfulness over the Conduct of his Viceroys and Governors, and the absolute Government that he had over himself ; all these things put together, kept up a regular Subordination in all the Members of this vast Empire, without which nothing is more common than Trouble and Confusion.
Tho' this Prince was so much taken up with the Government of the Empire, he found sufficient Leisure for Application to the Sciences, for which he had a Taste and a particular Genius : He was not contented with the Chinese Learning, in which he was very well versed ; but was desirous of being instructed in the European Sciences, namely Geometry, Algebra, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, Physick, and Anatomy : The Pere Gerbillon, Bovett, and Thomas, imployed several Years in turning their Lectures into the Tartarian Language, and in explaining them twice a day, either at Peking, or his Pleasure House : He was likewise desirous that Pere Gerbillon should attend on him in all his Journeys into Tartary,
As the Christian Religion was only tolerated in China, it was not free from Persecution in some of the Provinces, there was one very cruel in the Province of tche kiang : The Fathers, who were at Court, presented a Petition to the Emperor, and after great Contestations on the Part of the Tribunals, they at length obtained, by the Protection of the Prince So fan, a Relation of the Emperor, an Edict in favour of it, and permitted its free Exercise throughout the Empire, This Edict was obtained the ninth Year of the Cycle of our Lord 1692, and the thirty-first of the Reign of Cang hi, which was confirmed the twenty-second of March, and published soon after in all the Provinces.
So signal a Favour was some time after followed by another, which we scarce durst hope for ; the Emperor granted to the Pere Gerbillon and Bovet a large Spot of Ground within the Walls of his own Palace, for the Building of a House and Church, and even furnished them with Money, as also a great part of the Materials, appointing Mandarins to be Overseers of the Work : In four Years all was finished, and in the nineteenth Year of the Cycle, that is to say 1702, the Church was opened and solemnly consecrated.
The twenty-sixth Year of the Cycle was remarkable for a very uncommon Event , the second Son of the Emperor, who was appointed his Successor, and was almost equal with him, was all of a sudden deposed, and loaded with Irons, and his Children and principal. Officers were involved in the same Misfortune : Likewise an Astrologer, who had predicted that if this Prince was not Emperor in a particular Year he never would attain that Dignity, was condemned to be cut in a thousand Pieces ; the publick NewsPapers were filled with Invectives against the Conduct of the Prince, whose Life they examined even from his very Infancy:
Soon after his Innocence was made to appear, and 'twas known that his elder Brother, to render the younger's Loyalty suspected, had recourse to Magick by the Assistance of certain Lamas, who are skilful in things of that nature : These Lamas were put to death, the eldest Son was condemned to perpetual Imprisonment, and the Prince his Brother was reestablished in the Quality of Heir apparent: There were publick Rejoicings on this occasion, and a Comedy was acted for some time, drawn from Ancient History, that alluded to this Event : But this Reestablishment was not lasting, for afterwards he was deprived of his Titles, and the Prerogatives of his Rank, for real Conspiracies against his Father.
The thirtieth Year of the Cycle, that is to say in 1710, my Lord the Cardinal le Tournon, Apostolical Legate, died at Macao the eighth of June, at the Age of forty-one, of a Distemper which had like to have killed him at Pontichery, and afterwards at Nan king, from whence he travelled to the Emperor's Court, to which he was sent by the Pope to put an End to the Disputes which had risen amongst the Missionaries.
The thirty-seventh Year of the Cycle, 17 17, a Tsong ping, or Mandarin of War, whose Name was Tchin mao, presented a Petition to the Emperor full of Invectives and Calumnies against the Christian Religion, and the Preachers thereof, inventing the most horrid Crimes under pretence of Watchfulness over the publick Tranquillity, which, as he said, was ready to be broke in upon at home by the Missionaries and their Disciples, and from without by the Europeans who trade to China.
They were astonish'd when they found that this Petition was referred to the Tribunals for Examination, and that the Emperor confirmed their Decree, which revived two Edicts, one of the eighth Year of Cang hi, which prohibited the Building of Churches, and embracing the Christian Faith ; the other of the forty-fifth Year, wherein it is ordained, that every European shall receive an Imperial Patent, wherein shall be mentioned his Country, his Religious Order, the Time he hath been in China, and a Promise of his never returning to Europe any more. Father Farinin, with two other Missionaries, went and threw themselves at the Emperor's Feet, but all the Answer they could gain was, that none were prohibited to preach the Gospel but those who had not received their Patents.
The Year following happened the Decease of the Emperor's Mother on the eleventh of January, and the whole Empire went into deep Mourning for forty Days. The Mandarins, and even the Sons of the Emperor, went to sleep without putting off there Cloaths ; all the Mandarins on horseback with white Garments and a small Train, went for three Days , together to perform the usual Ceremonies before the Monument of the deceased Empress : The Tribunals were shut up while the Mourning lasted, and red Silk was prohibited, for which reason it was taken out of every one's Cap, as well as all other Ornaments.
The same Year the Emperor was attack'd with a Distemper which gave a general Alarm, especially an account of his Design of not choofing, for a Successor, any of his Children, but a Prince of the Dynasty of Yuen, of which House there was yet left more than a thousand.
One of the Chief Mandarins caused his Son to present a Memorial, wherein he respectfully shewed of how great Importance it was for the Repose of the Empire to name his second Son for his Heir. The Emperor was enraged at this Remonstrance, yet pardoned him who presented it, because it was in Obedience to his Father, but gave Orders that the Father should be put to Death , this Example of Severity stopt the Mouth of all the Grandees, who durst not so much as mention a Successor any more.
The fortieth Year of the Cycle, 1720, they learnt at Court the agreeable News of the Chinese Troops having gained a complete Victory over their Enemy tse vang Raptan, King of the Eluths, who occupied the Country of the Lamas , and ravaged it for the Space of four Years, together, by which means Thibet was in the Possession of the victorious Army.
Tho' this Conquest was at some distance from the Confines of China, the Consequence of it was not small, because the Emperor had the finishing of this War much at heart, and all the Grandees congratulated him upon it.
The eleventh of June, in the same Year, there was an Earthquake at Peking at nine in the Morning, which lasted two Minutes ; the Shocks began again the next Day at half an hour after seven in the Evening, continuing for about fix Minutes, and there was nothing heard in the City but confused Cries and Shrieks, at length it ceased for the present, tho' there were ten other Shocks before Morning, but not by far so violent as the former. At the break of Day their Calamity did not appear so great as their Fears had represented, there being but l000 Persons crush'd to Death ; for as the Streets are generally broad they could place themselves out of the Reach of the fell of the Buildings ; yet for twenty Days afterwards there were felt from time to time some flight Shocks.
The twenty-second of November a Muscovite Ambassador made his publick Entry into Peking, with a great deal of Pomp and Magnificence, having almost a hundred Persons in his Train most splendidly drest after the European Fashion. The Gentlemen on each side the Ambassador had drawn Swords in their Hands, which was a Sight entirely new and extraordinary.
The new Legate from his Holiness M. Messabarber, who embarked at Lisbon in a Portuguese Vessel, arrived at Peking, and met with an honourable Reception from the Emperor, After several Audiences he took his Leave, in order to return to Europe, to give the Pope an Account of what the Emperor had said, promising to return to China as soon as possible. He was conducted to Canton, where he stayed by four or five Days, and from thence to Macao with all the Honours due to his Character and Dignity.
The Year following the Island of Formosa threw off the Emperor's Yoke, but was recovered again in a few Months , the Chinese belonging to the Island, assisted by those of Fo kien and Keonu, had kilJ'd all the Mandarins except one, and put ail the Imperial Troops to the Sword.
The News was spread at Peking, and the Revolt was attributed to the Dutch, who had certainly no hand in it, and this doubtless on account of the Enmity which is between the Chinese and all Strangers, with Design to render the Europeans odious ; but there were great Rejoicing when they learnt soon after. That the Imperial Troops, lately sent thither, had entered the Capital and killed one part of the Rebels, that the rest were dispersed, and their Chief was fled into the Mountains.
The forty-second Year of the Cycle, 1722, in December, the Emperor diverting himself with hunting the Tiger was taken with a Cold and Shivering, and immediately gave Orders to his Train to return to his Pleasure-House : This did not a little astonish the whole Company, but they were not long ignorant of the Cause, for his Blood was coagulated, and no Remedy did him any Service : Perceiving himself near his End, he assembled all the Grandees, and appointed his fourth Son to succeed him in the Empire. He expired the twentieth of December about eight in the Evening, aged sixty-nine Years, and the same Night his Body was transported to Peking.
THE Day after the Death of Cang hi, the new Emperor, aged about forty-five Years, ascended the Throne about five in the Morning, and assumed the Name of Yong tching , which signifies Lofting Peace, and was acknowledged by all the Prime Grandees, and the Mandarins belonging to the Tribunals : He was no sooner come to the Crown but he discover'd Signs of Discontent against some of his Brothers, especially the ninth, condemning him to pay large Sums, which he pretended were unlawfully acquired during the Life of his Father, and banished him into Tartary, where he died soon after his arrival He afterwards recalled his fourteenth Brother to Peking, who was at the Head of the Chinese Army , but his eighth and tenth fell under his Displeasure, and he placed entire Confidence in none but the thirteenth, to whom he trusted all the Affairs of the Government. At the same Time he imprisoned or banished several Princes and Noblemen, many of which protected the Missionaries, and by this means were favourable to Christianity : Whether this Prince hath not the same Taste for Sciences as his Father, or whether he seeks Occasion to lay aside the Missionaries, they yet have received but few Marks of his Benevolence, except his letting them live in quiet ; one Italian Jesuit only, an excellent Painter, is employ'd at Court. If he has given a new Title of Honour to Father Kegler, President of the Tribunal of the Mathematicks, it was with no other View than that he may appear with Decency in his Presence, especially on certain Days when great Ceremony is required, for it ought not to be concluded from hence that his Disposition to Religion is more favourable.
In Respect to Affairs of State his Application is constant, he is steady and resolute, ready to hear Grievances and to redress them, holds the Government intirely in his own Hands, insomuch that there never was a more absolute Monarch, or more to be dreaded,
He was prejudiced against the Europeans from the first Year of his Reign, by means of several Petitions which were presented to him by the Learned, remonstrating, That these Foreigners had deceived the late Emperor, and that that Prince had lost much of his Reputation, in condescending so far as to let Them settle in the Provinces, for they had built Churches in all Places, and that their Faith was propagated greatly, that the Chinese Christian acknowledged no other Teachers, and that in times of Trouble they were only governed by them.
These bad Impressions were strengthned by a publick Petition, presented to the Emperor by the Tsong fou of Fo kien, wherein, after having given an Account of the important Reasons that he had for prohibiting the Christian Religion throughout the Extent of his Government, he besought him, for the Repose of the Emperor and the Good of the People, to order all Strangers, to be sent out of the Provinces, and conducted to Court or to Macao, and that their Temples might be put to other uses.
This Petition was referred to the Tribunal of Rites to determine what should be done in it, and the Sentence of the Tribunal was to keep at Court the Europeans that are already there, to bring thither those from the Provinces that might be useful, to send the rest to Macao, to convert their Temples to the publick use, and strictly to forbid the exercise of their Religion.
This Judgment of the Tribunal was confirmed by the Emperor, to which he only added, that the Viceroys of the Provinces should allow them a Mandarin to conduct them to Court or to Macao, to protect them from any Insult : The Missionaries exerted themselves as much as possible by means of their Friends, but to no purpose ; all the Favour that he granted them was, that they might be conducted to Canton instead of Macao, but he would not give them Leave to stay there if they gave any Cause of Complaint.
By virtue of this solemn Edict of the Emperor, which was published throughout the Empire, the Missionaries were drove from their Churches, and tolerated no where but at Peking and Canton ; above 300 Churches were either demolished or put to profane Uses, and more than 300000 Christians deprived of their Pastors : Seeing themselves delivered up to the Rage of Infidels, there was then made use of, and still is, every Method that a prudent and well-go-vern'd Zeal can inspire to re-animate, as often as possible, the Faith of all these Christians.
This Edict was scarcely published, but the Emperor let fall the whole Weight of his Anger and Indignation upon an illustrious and numerous Family that had embraced the Faith. The Head of this Family is a Prince of the Blood, descended from the eldest Brother of him who was the Founder of the reigning Dynasty, whom, without any Regard to his Rank or old Age, or the important Service he had done the State, he banished, together with his Children into Tartary : There were no less than eleven Princes, and sixteen Princesses married to Mongol Princes, or to Mandarins of Peking.
All these Princes and Princesses, who had each a numerous Family, were degraded from their Rank, and were allowed no other Abode than a desart Place in Tartary, where they were closely guarded, and not suffered to go out of fight of the Soldiers, This Venerable old Man was seen, on his Departure to the Place of his Exile, with his Children and Grandchildren to the Number of thirty-seven, without reckoning the Females, who were almost as many, and a bout 300 Domesticks of both Sexes, the greatest Part of whom were baptized.
All these Disgraces not having the Power to stagger their Faith, the Princes were brought to Peking in Carts, and loaded with nine Chains, they underwent several Interrogatories, and were promised to be restored to the Dignity of their Rank if they would renounce their Faith, and if they refused more dreadful Punishments were threatned ; but their Steadiness and Constancy could not be overcome, neither by Promises nor Threatnings, and for this Reason they were condemned to die.
But the Emperor changed this Punishment into perpetual Imprisonment, so that several were shut up in close Prisons, and three died merely through the Hard ships they underwent ; the rest were disperst in the Provinces to end their Days under a Load of Irons, or in the Obscurity of a Dungeon. Two Ambassador, the one from Portugal, the other from Muscovy, who were then at the Court of Peking, were the Admirers of the Consistency and Intrepidity of these illustrious Confessors of Jesus Christ.
As little a Favourer of Religion as this Prince appear'd, it is impossible not to praise his unwearied Application to Business, for he applied his Thoughts night and day to the reforming of Errors in the Government, and to procure Happiness to his Subjects : You cannot do him a greater Pleasure than to present him a Plan which tends to promote the publick Welfare, and the Ease of the People ; he immediately enters therein, and puts it in Execution without any regard to Expence : He hath settled a great many excellent Rules to dignify Merit, and reward Virtue, to cause a worthy Emulation among Artificers, and to assist his Subjects in Years of Famine : These Qualities have gained him in a short time the Respect and Love of all his Subjects.
The fiftieth Year of the Cycle, 1730, the Emperor's thirteenth Brother, who had his Share in the Difficulties of Government, died the nineteenth of June of a languishing Distemper, which was owing to his excessive Labour for the Publick Good : The Emperor appeared inconsolable for his Loss, which hath had a bad Effect upon his Health.
He was desirous of rendering to this Prince extra ordinary Honours, which he made known to the Publick by frequent Declarations, in which he intimated how agreeable it would be to him that all the World should share in his Grief, and assist at his Funeral without Distinction of Rank, giving Leave to the Vulgar, as well as to the Nobility, to do Honour to the Deceased, according to their own Way, either by Presents or Praises. He added, nevertheless, that he would use no Constraint, and that those who did not think this Prince deserved such Honours should be exempted from paying them : Nevertheless he commanded his Officers to observe all those who performed this Duty, and to give him an Account of them daily. His Body was exposed in the great Ting, where none were admitted but the Princes of the Blood : Before the first Gate of the Palace was a great Court, in the middle of which a long Hall was erected made of Matts, and in this was placed a Throne, for the Deceased was not only a Regulo of the highest Degree, but he had also the Title of King, [Kove vang.]
Before this Throne was a small Table, upon which were only two Candlesticks and a Perfuming-pan ; at the Entrance into the Hall was a Folding door, which was open'd only when the Officers of the Tribunal came to pay their Homage, a set Number entering at a time , at first they stood upright behind the Tables paced on each side the Hall, then they kneeled down and fell prostrate fix several times, giving a deep Groan altogether, and so silently withdrew. After these went in others, and performed the same Ceremonies : Sometime after the Body was carried half a league from the City into a Palace built on purpose, where the fame Ceremonies were performed. At this Place the City Mandarins, the Merchants, and the Vulgar, went to pay him their last Honours.
One hundred Days after he was carried to another Place prepared in the same manner, where he lay the same space of Time. In short he had five several Stations of 100 Days each, where the same Ceremonies were observed ; after which he was carried to the Place of his Sepulchre, which the Emperor had caused to be prepared, and was four Leagues in Circumference.
The Mandarins of the Provinces; either came to pay the due Honours themselves, or deputed their Sons in their stead ; afterwards they caused Monuments to be erected in their proper Districts, which contain the greatest Elogiums on this Illustrious Person deceased : The Emperor placed his Name in the Hall of Emperors, which is very seldom done to private Persons, but when they have done the most important Services to the State.
Soon after the Emperor caused his third Brother to be taken up, and conducted into a close Prison, where he was shut up, but the Cause of his Disgrace is unknown ; This Prince's Family have also felt the Blow, and have been degraded from their Rank.
The thirteenth of November in the following Year, 1731 , the City of Peking was almost overturned by an Earthquake, the most extraordinary that ever was felt in China ; the first Shocks were perceived about eleven in the Morning so sudden, and with such Violence, that their Houses and Buildings were overthrown at the same Instant : One would have imagined that a general Mine had been sprung, and that the Earth had opened under our Feet ; for in less than a Minute more than l00000 Inhabitants were buried in the Ruins, and a greater Number in the Country, where whole Towns were intirely destroy'd.
What is remarkable in this Earthquake is, that in the Course which it took in some Places it made a great Devastation, and others it scarcely molested, the Shocks being but slightly felt ; nothing could resist two Shocks so sudden and contrary to each other; where the Buildings were most solid and strong, there the Effects were most violent : These were followed by twenty-three others in the space of twenty-four Hours, but more favourable.
The Emperor was at his fine Pleasure-House two Leagues from Peking, which was instantly reduced to such miserable Condition, that it cannot be repaired without immense Sums , he was taking the Air in a Bark upon the Canal, which crosses the Garden, when he immediately fell prostrate, and lifted his Hands and Eyes towards Heaven : Afterwards in publish'd an Edict, wherein he accused himself, and attributed this Plague to the Wrath of Heaven for his Offences, and to the little Care he took for the Government of the Empire.
This Prince appeared very sensible of the Affliction of his People, and commanded several Officers to make an Estimate of the demolished Houses, and to examine into the Loss which each Family has sustained, advancing several considerable Sums towards their Assistance : The Missionaries at Peking partook of his Liberality, for he gave them Audience, received them with Condescension , and bestow'd upon them a thousand Taels towards the Repairs of their Churches.
The fifty second Year of the Cycle, 1732, the Missionaries, who were ten Years before driven from the Provinces to Canton, were now forced from Canton to Macao, a little City belonging to the Portuguese, but of which the Chinese are Matters, and they allowed them but three Days to prepare their Journey, and to carry away their Effects ; the only Reason which is given for so severe a Treatment was, that they had disobeyed the Emperor's Order in propagating the Christian Faith.
The twentieth of August they embarked to the Number of thirty, under the Convoy of four Galleys and two Mandarins. When they Went on Shore at Macao, the Mandarins caused their Domesticks, and the Christians who had followed the Missionaries to land also, and sent them back to Canton loaded with Irons ; they then dragged them in an ignominious Manner before several Tribunals, some were cast into Prison, others received the Bastinado, and others were condemn'd to carry the Cangue during two Months : They all confessed openly the Name of Christ, and gave publick Testimony to the Truth of his Holy Religion.
These are the most remarkable things that have happened hitherto in the Reign of this Emperor, who hath now been upon the Throne eleven Years compleat, and who governs his vast Dominions with an absolute Authority, so that I must there come to a Conclusion of the Annals of this Great Monarch.
Tie End of the First Volume.