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Title: China and the Manchus
Author: Giles, Herbert Allen, 1845-1935
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "China and the Manchus" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


By Herbert A. Giles

Professor of Chinese in the University of Cambridge, and sometime H.B.M.
Consul at Ningpo.


It is impossible to give here a complete key to the pronunciation
of Chinese words. For those who wish to pronounce with approximate
correctness the proper names in this volume, the following may be a
rough guide:--

     a            as in alms.
     ê            as u in fun.
     i            as ie in thief.
     o            as aw in saw.
     u            as oo in soon.
     ü            as u in French, or ü in German.
     {u}          as e in her.
     ai           as aye (yes).
     ao           as ow in cow.
     ei           as ey in prey.
     ow           as o (not as ow in cow).
     ch           as ch in church.
     chih         as chu in church.
     hs           as sh (hsiu = sheeoo).
     j            as in French.
     ua and uo    as wa and wo.

     The insertion of a rough breathing ` calls for a strong aspirate.



The Manchus are descended from a branch of certain wild Tungusic nomads,
who were known in the ninth century as the Nü-chêns, a name which has
been said to mean "west of the sea." The cradle of their race lay at the
base of the Ever-White Mountains, due north of Korea, and was fertilised
by the head waters of the Yalu River.

In an illustrated Chinese work of the fourteenth century, of which the
Cambridge University Library possesses the only known copy, we read that
they reached this spot, originally the home of the Su-shên tribe, as
fugitives from Korea; further, that careless of death and prizing valour
only, they carried naked knives about their persons, never parting from
them by day or night, and that they were as "poisonous" as wolves or
tigers. They also tattooed their faces, and at marriage their mouths.
By the close of the ninth century the Nü-chêns had become subject to
the neighbouring Kitans, then under the rule of the vigorous Kitan
chieftain, Opaochi, who, in 907, proclaimed himself Emperor of an
independent kingdom with the dynastic title of Liao, said to mean
"iron," and who at once entered upon that long course of aggression
against China and encroachment upon her territory which was to result
in the practical division of the empire between the two powers, with the
Yellow River as boundary, K`ai-fêng as the Chinese capital, and Peking,
now for the first time raised to the status of a metropolis, as the
Kitan capital. Hitherto, the Kitans had recognised China as their
suzerain; they are first mentioned in Chinese history in A.D. 468, when
they sent ambassadors to court, with tribute.

Turning now to China, the famous House of Sung, the early years of which
were so full of promise of national prosperity, and which is deservedly
associated with one of the two most brilliant periods in Chinese
literature, was founded in 960. Korea was then forced, in order to
protect herself from the encroachments of China, to accept the hated
supremacy of the Kitans; but being promptly called upon to surrender
large tracts of territory, she suddenly entered into an alliance with
the Nü-chêns, who were also ready to revolt, and who sent an army to the
assistance of their new friends. The Nü-chên and Korean armies, acting
in concert, inflicted a severe defeat on the Kitans, and from this
victory may be dated the beginning of the Nü-chên power. China had
indeed already sent an embassy to the Nü-chêns, suggesting an alliance
and also a combination with Korea, by which means the aggression of the
Kitans might easily be checked; but during the eleventh century Korea
became alienated from the Nü-chêns, and even went so far as to advise
China to join with the Kitans in crushing the Nü-chêns. China, no doubt,
would have been glad to get rid of both these troublesome neighbours,
especially the Kitans, who were gradually filching territory from the
empire, and driving the Chinese out of the southern portion of the
province of Chihli.

For a long period China weakly allowed herself to be blackmailed by the
Kitans, who, in return for a large money subsidy and valuable supplies
of silk, forwarded a quite insignificant amount of local produce, which
was called "tribute" by the Chinese court.

Early in the twelfth century, the Kitan monarch paid a visit to the
Sungari River, for the purpose of fishing, and was duly received by
the chiefs of the Nü-chên tribes in that district. On this occasion the
Kitan Emperor, who had taken perhaps more liquor than was good for him,
ordered the younger men of the company to get up and dance before him.
This command was ignored by the son of one of the chiefs, named Akutêng
(sometimes, but wrongly, written _Akuta_), and it was suggested to
the Emperor that he should devise means for putting out of the way so
uncompromising a spirit. No notice, however, was taken of the affair
at the moment; and that night Akutêng, with a band of followers,
disappeared from the scene. Making his way eastward, across the Sungari,
he started a movement which may be said to have culminated five hundred
years later in the conquest of China by the Manchus. In 1114 he began to
act on the offensive, and succeeded in inflicting a severe defeat on
the Kitans. By 1115 he had so far advanced towards the foundation of an
independent kingdom that he actually assumed the title of Emperor. Thus
was presented the rare spectacle of three contemporary rulers, each of
whom claimed a title which, according to the Chinese theory, could only
belong to one. The style he chose for his dynasty was Chin (also read
_Kin_), which means "gold," and which some say was intended to mark a
superiority over Liao (= iron), that of the Kitans, on the ground that
gold is not, like iron, a prey to rust. Others, however, trace the
origin of the term to the fact that gold was found in the Nü-chên

A small point which has given rise to some confusion, may fitly be
mentioned here. The tribe of Tartars hitherto spoken of as Nü-chêns, and
henceforth known in history as the "Golden Dynasty," in 1035 changed the
word _chên_ for _chih_, and were called Nü-chih Tartars. They did this
because at that date the word _chên_ was part of the personal name of
the reigning Kitan Emperor, and therefore taboo. The necessity for such
change would of course cease with their emancipation from Kitan rule,
and the old name would be revived; it will accordingly be continued in
the following pages.

The victories of Akutêng over the Kitans were most welcome to the
Chinese Emperor, who saw his late oppressors humbled to the dust by the
victorious Nü-chêns; and in 1120 a treaty of alliance was signed by the
two powers against the common enemy. The upshot of this move was that
the Kitans were severely defeated in all directions, and their chief
cities fell into the hands of the Nü-chêns, who finally succeeded, in
1122, in taking Peking by assault, the Kitan Emperor having already
sought safety in flight. When, however, the time came for an equitable
settlement of territory between China and the victorious Nü-chêns, the
Chinese Emperor discovered that the Nü-chêns, inasmuch as they had done
most of the fighting, were determined to have the lion's share of the
reward; in fact, the yoke imposed by the latter proved if anything more
burdensome than that of the dreaded Kitans. More territory was taken by
the Nü-chêns, and even larger levies of money were exacted, while the
same old farce of worthless tribute was carried on as before.

In 1123, Akutêng died, and was canonised as the first Emperor of the
Chin, or Golden Dynasty. He was succeeded by a brother; and two years
later, the last Emperor of the Kitans was captured and relegated to
private life, thus bringing the dynasty to an end.

The new Emperor of the Nü-chêns spent the rest of his life in one long
struggle with China. In 1126, the Sung capital, the modern K`ai-fêng
Fu in Honan, was twice besieged: on the first occasion for thirty-three
days, when a heavy ransom was exacted and some territory was ceded; on
the second occasion for forty days, when it fell, and was given up to
pillage. In 1127, the feeble Chinese Emperor was seized and carried off,
and by 1129 the whole of China north of the Yang-tsze was in the
hands of the Nü-chêns. The younger brother of the banished Emperor was
proclaimed by the Chinese at Nanking, and managed to set up what is
known as the southern Sung dynasty; but the Nü-chêns gave him no rest,
driving him first out of Nanking, and then out of Hangchow, where he had
once more established a capital. Ultimately, there was peace of a more
or less permanent character, chiefly due to the genius of a notable
Chinese general of the day; and the Nü-chêns had to accept the Yang-tsze
as the dividing line between the two powers.

The next seventy years were freely marked by raids, first of one side
and then of the other; but by the close of the twelfth century the
Mongols were pressing the Nü-chêns from the north, and the southern
Sungs were seizing the opportunity to attack their old enemies from
the south. Finally, in 1234, the independence of the Golden Dynasty
of Nü-chêns was extinguished by Ogotai, third son of the great Genghis
Khan, with the aid of the southern Sungs, who were themselves in turn
wiped out by Kublai Khan, the first Mongol Emperor to rule over a united

The name of this wandering people, whose territory covers such a
huge space on the map, has been variously derived from (1) _moengel_,
celestial, (2) _mong_, brave, and (3) _munku_, silver, the last
mentioned being favoured by some because of its relation to the iron and
golden dynasties of the Kitans and Nü-chêns respectively.

Three centuries and a half must now pass away before entering upon the
next act of the Manchu drama. The Nü-chêns had been scotched, but not
killed, by their Mongol conquerors, who, one hundred and thirty-four
years later (1368), were themselves driven out of China, a pure native
dynasty being re-established under the style of Ming, "Bright." During
the ensuing two hundred years the Nü-chêns were scarcely heard of, the
House of Ming being busily occupied in other directions. Their warlike
spirit, however, found scope and nourishment in the expeditions
organised against Japan and Tan-lo, or Quelpart, as named by the Dutch,
a large island to the south of the Korean peninsula; while on the other
hand the various tribes scattered over a portion of the territory known
to Europeans as Manchuria, availed themselves of long immunity from
attack by the Chinese to advance in civilization and prosperity. It
may be noted here that "Manchuria" is unknown to the Chinese or to the
Manchus themselves as a geographical expression. The present extensive
home of the Manchus is usually spoken of as the Three Eastern Provinces,
namely, (1) Shêng-king, or Liao-tung, or Kuan-tung, (2) Kirin, and (3)
Heilungchiang or Tsitsihar.

Among the numerous small independent communities above mentioned, which
traced their ancestry to the Nü-chêns of old, one of the smallest, the
members of which inhabited a tract of territory due east of what is now
the city of Mukden, and were shortly to call themselves Manchus,--the
origin of the name is not known,--produced, in 1559, a young hero who
altered the course of Chinese history to such an extent that for nearly
three hundred years his descendants sat on the throne of China, and
ruled over what was for a great portion of the time the largest empire
on earth. Nurhachu, the real founder of the Manchu power, was born
in 1559, from a virile stock, and was soon recognised to be an
extraordinary child. We need not linger over his dragon face, his phoenix
eye, or even over his large, drooping ears, which have always been
associated by the Chinese with intellectual ability. He first came into
prominence in 1583, when, at twenty-four years of age, he took up arms,
at the head of only one hundred and thirty men, in connection with the
treacherous murder by a rival chieftain of his father and grandfather,
who had ruled over a petty principality of almost infinitesimal extent;
and he finally succeeded three years later in securing from the
Chinese, who had been arrayed against him, not only the surrender of
the murderer, but also a sum of money and some robes of honour. He was
further successful in negotiating a treaty, under the terms of which
Manchu furs could be exchanged at certain points for such Chinese
commodities as cotton, sugar, and grain.

In 1587, Nurhachu built a walled city, and established an administration
in his tiny principality, the even-handed justice and purity of which
soon attracted a large number of settlers, and before very long he had
succeeded in amalgamating five Manchu States under his personal rule.
Extension of territory by annexation after victories over neighbouring
States followed as a matter of course, the result being that his growing
power came to be regarded with suspicion, and even dread. At length,
a joint attempt on the part of seven States, aided by two Mongol
chieftains, was made to crush him; but, although numerical superiority
was overpoweringly against him, he managed to turn the enemy's attack
into a rout, killed four thousand men, and captured three thousand
horses, besides other booty. Following up this victory by further
annexations, he now began to present a bold front to the Chinese,
declaring himself independent, and refusing any longer to pay tribute.
In 1604, he built himself a new capital, Hingking, which he placed not
very far east of the modern Mukden, and there he received envoys from
the Mongolian chieftains, sent to congratulate him on his triumph.

At this period the Manchus, whose spoken words were polysyllabic, and
not monosyllabic like Chinese, had no written language beyond certain
rude attempts at alphabetic writing, formed from Chinese characters, and
found to be of little practical value. The necessity for something more
convenient soon appealed to the prescient and active mind of Nurhachu;
accordingly, in 1599, he gave orders to two learned scholars to prepare
a suitable script for his rapidly increasing subjects. This they
accomplished by basing the new script upon Mongol, which had been
invented in 1269, by Baschpa, or 'Phagspa, a Tibetan lama, acting under
the direction of Kublai Khan. Baschpa had based his script upon the
written language of the Ouigours, who were descendants of the Hsiung-nu,
or Huns. The Ouigours, known by that name since the year 629, were once
the ruling race in the regions which now form the khanates of Khiva and
Bokhara, and had been the first of the tribes of Central Asia to have a
script of their own. This they formed from the Estrangelo Syraic of
the Nestorians, who appeared in China in the early part of the seventh
century. The Manchu written language, therefore, is lineally descended
from Syraic; indeed, the family likeness of both Manchu and Mongol
to the parent stem is quite obvious, except that these two scripts,
evidently influenced by Chinese, are written vertically, though, unlike
Chinese, they are read from left to right. Thirty-three years later
various improvements were introduced, leaving the Manchu script
precisely as we find it at the present day.

In 1613, Nurhachu had gathered about him an army of some forty thousand
men; and by a series of raids in various directions, he further
gradually succeeded in extending considerably the boundaries of his
kingdom. There now remained but one large and important State, towards
the annexation of which he directed all his efforts. After elaborate
preparations which extended over more than two years, at the beginning
of which (1616) the term Manchu (etymology unknown) was definitively
adopted as a national title, Nurhachu, in 1618, drew up a list of
grievances against the Chinese, under which he declared that his people
had been and were still suffering, and solemnly committed it to the
flames,--a recognised method of communication with the spirits of heaven
and earth. This document consisted of seven clauses, and was addressed
to the Emperor of China; it was, in fact, a declaration of war. The
Chinese, who were fast becoming aware that a dangerous enemy had arisen,
and that their own territory would be the next to be threatened, at
length decided to oppose any further progress on the part of Narhachu;
and with this view dispatched an army of two hundred thousand men
against him. These troops, many of whom were physically unfit, were
divided on arrival at Mukden into four bodies, each with some separate
aim, the achievement of which was to conduce to the speedy disruption of
Nurhachu's power. The issue of this move was certainly not expected on
either side. In a word, Nurhachu defeated his Chinese antagonists
in detail, finally inflicting such a crushing blow that he was left
completely master of the situation, and before very long had realised
the chief object of his ambition, namely, the reunion under one rule of
those states into which the Golden Dynasty had been broken up when it
collapsed before the Mongols in 1234.


It is almost a conventionalism to attribute the fall of a Chinese
dynasty to the malign influence of eunuchs. The Imperial court was
undoubtedly at this date entirely in the hands of eunuchs, who occupied
all kinds of lucrative posts for which they were quite unfitted, and
even accompanied the army, nominally as officials, but really as spies
upon the generals in command. One of the most notorious of these was Wei
Chung-hsien, whose career may be taken as typical of his class. He was a
native of Sun-ning in Chihli, of profligate character, who made himself
a eunuch, and changed his name to Li Chin-chung. Entering the palace,
he managed to get into the service of the mother of the future Emperor,
posthumously canonised as Hsi Tsung, and became the paramour of that
weak monarch's wet-nurse. The pair gained the Emperor's affection to an
extraordinary degree, and Wei, an ignorant brute, was the real ruler
of China during the reign of Hsi Tsung. He always took care to present
memorials and other State papers when his Majesty was engrossed in
carpentry, and the Emperor would pretend to know all about the question,
and tell Wei to deal with it. Aided by unworthy censors, a body of
officials who are supposed to be the "eyes and ears" of the monarch,
and privileged to censure him for misgovernment, he gradually drove all
loyal men from office, and put his opponents to cruel and ignominious
deaths. He persuaded Hsi Tsung to enrol a division of eunuch troops, ten
thousand strong, armed with muskets; while, by causing the Empress to
have a miscarriage, his paramour cleared his way to the throne. Many
officials espoused his cause, and the infatuated sovereign never wearied
of loading him with favours. In 1626, temples were erected to him in all
the provinces except Fuhkien, his image received Imperial honours, and
he was styled Nine Thousand Years, i.e. only one thousand less than the
Emperor himself, the Chinese term in the latter case being _wan sui_,
which has been adopted by the Japanese as _banzai_. All successes were
ascribed to his influence, a Grand Secretary declaring that his virtue
had actually caused the appearance of a "unicorn" in Shantung. In 1627,
he was likened in a memorial to Confucius, and it was decreed that he
should be worshipped with the Sage in the Imperial Academy. His hopes
were overthrown by the death of Hsi Tsung, whose successor promptly
dismissed him. He hanged himself to escape trial, and his corpse was
disembowelled. His paramour was executed, and in 1629, nearly three
hundred persons were convicted and sentenced to varying penalties for
being connected with his schemes.

Jobbery and corruption were rife; and at the present juncture these
agencies were successfully employed to effect the recall of a really
able general who had been sent from Peking to recover lost ground, and
prevent further encroachments by the Manchus. For a time, Nurhachu had
been held in check by his skilful dispositions of troops, Mukden was
strongly fortified, and confidence generally was restored; but the fatal
policy of the new general rapidly alienated the Chinese inhabitants, and
caused them to enter secretly into communication with the Manchus. It
was thus that in 1621 Nurhachu was in a position to advance upon
Mukden. Encamping within a mile or two of the city, he sent forward
a reconnoitring party, which was immediately attacked by the Chinese
commandant at the head of a large force. The former fled, and the
latter pursued, only to fall into the inevitable ambush; and the Chinese
troops, on retiring in their turn, found that the bridge across the
moat had been destroyed by traitors in their own camp, so that they were
unable to re-enter the city. Thus Mukden fell, the prelude to a series
of further victories, one of which was the rout of an army sent to
retake Mukden, and the chief of which was the capture of Liao-yang, now
remembered in connection with the Russo-Japanese war. In many of these
engagements the Manchus, whose chief weapon was the long bow, which they
used with deadly effect, found themselves opposed by artillery, the
use of which had been taught to the Chinese by Adam Schaal, the Jesuit
father. The supply of powder, however, had a way of running short, and
at once the pronounced superiority of the Manchu archers prevailed.

Other cities now began to tender a voluntary submission, and
many Chinese took to shaving the head and wearing the queue, in
acknowledgment of their allegiance to the Manchus. All, however, was not
yet over, for the growing Manchu power was still subjected to frequent
attacks from Chinese arms in directions as far as possible removed
from points where Manchu troops were concentrated. Meanwhile Nurhachu
gradually extended his borders eastward, until in 1625, the year in
which he placed his capital at Mukden, his frontiers reached to the sea
on the east and to the river Amur on the north, the important city of
Ning-yüan being almost the only possession remaining to the Chinese
beyond the Great Wall. The explanation of this is as follows.

An incompetent general, as above mentioned, had been sent at the
instance of the eunuchs to supersede an officer who had been holding
his own with considerable success, but who was not a _persona grata_
at court. The new general at once decided that no territory outside the
Great Wall was to be held against the Manchus, and gave orders for the
immediate retirement of all troops and Chinese residents generally.
To this command the civil governor of Ning-yüan, and the military
commandant, sent an indignant protest, writing out an oath with their
blood that they would never surrender the city. Nurhachu seized the
opportunity, and delivered a violent attack, with which he seemed to be
making some progress, until at length artillery was brought into play.
The havoc caused by the guns at close quarters was terrific, and
the Manchus fled. This defeat was a blow from which Nurhachu never
recovered; his chagrin brought on a serious illness, and he died in
1626, aged sixty-eight. Later on, when his descendants were sitting upon
the throne of China, he was canonised as T`ai Tsu, the Great Ancestor,
the representatives of the four preceding generations of his family
being canonised as Princes.

Nurhachu was succeeded by his fourth son, Abkhai, then thirty-four
years of age, and a tried warrior. His reign began with a correspondence
between himself and the governor who had been the successful defender of
Ning-yüan, in which some attempt was made to conclude a treaty of peace.
The Chinese on their side demanded the return of all captured cities and
territory; while the Manchus, who refused to consider any such terms,
suggested that China should pay them a huge subsidy in money, silk,
etc., in return for which they offered but a moderate supply of furs,
and something over half a ton of ginseng (_Panax repens_), the famous
forked root said to resemble the human body, and much valued by the
Chinese as a strengthening medicine. This, of course, was a case of
"giving too little and asking too much," and the negotiations came to
nothing. In 1629, Abkhai, who by this time was master of Korea, marched
upon Peking, at the head of a large army, and encamped within a few
miles from its walls; but he was unable to capture the city, and had
finally to retire. The next few years were devoted by the Manchus, who
now began to possess artillery of their own casting, to the conquest of
Mongolia, in the hope of thus securing an easy passage for their armies
into China. An offer of peace was now made by the Chinese Emperor, for
reasons shortly to be stated; but the Manchu terms were too severe, and
hostilities were resumed, the Manchus chiefly occupying themselves in
devastating the country round Peking, their numbers being constantly
swelled by a stream of deserters from the Chinese ranks. In 1643, Abkhai
died; he was succeeded by his ninth son, a boy of five, and was later on
canonised as T`ai Tsung, the Great Forefather. By 1635, he had already
begun to style himself Emperor of China, and had established a system
of public examinations. The name of the dynasty had been "Manchu" ever
since 1616; twenty years later he translated this term into the Chinese
word _Ch`ing_ (or Ts`ing), which means "pure"; and as the Great Pure
Dynasty it will be remembered in history. Other important enactments of
his reign were prohibitions against the use of tobacco, which had been
recently introduced into Manchuria from Japan, through Korea; against
the Chinese fashion of dress and of wearing the hair; and against the
practice of binding the feet of girls. All except the first of these
were directed towards the complete denationalisation of the Chinese who
had accepted his rule, and whose numbers were increasing daily.

So far, the Manchus seem to have been little influenced by religious
beliefs or scruples, except of a very primitive kind; but when they
came into closer contact with the Chinese, Buddhism began to spread its
charms, and not in vain, though strongly opposed by Abkhai himself.

In 1635 the Manchus had effected the conquest of Mongolia, aided to a
great extent by frequent defections of large bodies of Mongols who had
been exasperated by their own ill-treatment at the hands of the Chinese.
Among some ancient Mongolian archives there has recently been discovered
a document, dated 1636, under which the Mongol chiefs recognised the
suzerainty of the Manchu Emperor. It was, however, stipulated that, in
the event of the fall of the dynasty, all the laws existing previously
to this date should again come into force.

A brief review of Chinese history during the later years of Manchu
progress, as described above, discloses a state of things such as will
always be found to prevail towards the close of an outworn dynasty.
Almost from the day when, in 1628, the last Emperor of the Ming Dynasty
ascended the throne, national grievances began to pass from a simmering
and more or less latent condition to a state of open and acute
hostility. The exactions and tyranny of the eunuchs had led to increased
taxation and general discontent; and the horrors of famine now enhanced
the gravity of the situation. Local outbreaks were common, and were with
difficulty suppressed. The most capable among Chinese generals of the
period, Wu San-kuei, shortly to play a leading part in the dynastic
drama, was far away, employed in resisting the invasions of the Manchus,
when a very serious rebellion, which had been in preparation for some
years, at length burst violently forth.

Li Tz{u}-ch`êng was a native of Shensi, who, before he was twenty years
old, had succeeded his father as village beadle. The famine of 1627
had brought him into trouble over the land-tax, and in 1629 he turned
brigand, but without conspicuous success during the following ten years.
In 1640, he headed a small gang of desperadoes, and overrunning parts of
Hupeh and Honan, was soon in command of a large army. He was joined by a
female bandit, formerly a courtesan, who advised him to avoid slaughter
and to try to win the hearts of the people. In 1642, after several
attempts to capture the city of K`ai-fêng, during one of which his
left eye was destroyed by an arrow, he at length succeeded, chiefly in
consequence of a sudden rise of the Yellow River, the waters of which
rushed through a canal originally intended to fill the city moat and
flood out the rebels. The rise of the river, however, was so rapid and
so unusually high that the city itself was flooded, and an enormous
number of the inhabitants perished, the rest seeking safety in flight to
higher ground.

By 1744, Li Tz{u}-ch`êng had reduced the whole of the province of
Shensi; whereupon he began to advance on Peking, proclaiming himself
first Emperor of the Great Shun Dynasty, the term _shun_ implying
harmony between rulers and ruled. Terror reigned at the Chinese court,
especially as meteorological and other portents appeared in unusually
large numbers, as though to justify the panic. The Emperor was in
despair; the exchequer was empty, and there was no money to pay the
troops, who, in any case, were too few to man the city walls. Each of
the Ministers of State was anxious only to secure his own safety. Li
Tz{u}-ch`êng's advance was scarcely opposed, the eunuch commanders of
cities and passes hastening to surrender them and save their own lives.
For, in case of immediate surrender, no injury was done by Li to life
or property, and even after a short resistance only a few lives were
exacted as penalty; but a more obstinate defence was punished by burning
and looting and universal slaughter.

The Emperor was now advised to send for Wu San-kuei; but that step meant
the end of further resistance to the invading Manchus on the east, and
for some time he would not consent. Meanwhile, he issued an Imperial
proclamation, such as is usual on these occasions, announcing that
all the troubles which had come upon the empire were due to his own
incompetence and unworthiness, as confirmed by the droughts, famines,
and other signs of divine wrath, of recent occurrence; that the
administration was to be reformed, and only virtuous and capable
officials would be employed. The near approach, however, of Li's army at
length caused the Emperor to realise that it was Wu San-kuei or nothing,
and belated messengers were dispatched to summon him to the defence
of the capital. Long before he could possibly arrive, a gate of the
southern city of Peking was treacherously opened by the eunuch in charge
of it, and the next thing the Emperor saw was his capital in flames.
He then summoned the Empress and the court ladies, and bade them each
provide for her own safety. He sent his three sons into hiding, and
actually killed with his own hand several of his favourites, rather than
let them fall into the hands of the One-Eyed Rebel. He attempted the
same by his daughter, a young girl, covering his face with the sleeve
of his robe; but in his agony of mind he failed in his blow, and only
succeeded in cutting off an arm, leaving the unfortunate princess to
be dispatched later on by the Empress. After this, in concert with a
trusted eunuch and a few attendants, he disguised himself, and made
an attempt to escape from the city by night; but they found the gates
closed, and the guard refused to allow them to pass. Returning to the
palace in the early morning, the Emperor caused the great bell to be
rung as usual to summon the officers of government to audience; but no
one came. He then retired, with his faithful eunuch, to a kiosque, on
what is known as the Coal Hill, in the palace grounds, and there wrote
a last decree on the lapel of his coat:--"I, poor in virtue and of
contemptible personality, have incurred the wrath of God on high. My
Ministers have deceived me. I am ashamed to meet my ancestors; and
therefore I myself take off my crown, and with my hair covering my face,
await dismemberment at the hands of the rebels. Do not hurt a single
one of my people!" Emperor and eunuch then committed suicide by hanging
themselves, and the Great Ming Dynasty was brought to an end.

Li Tz{u}-ch`êng made a grand official entry into Peking, upon which many
of the palace ladies committed suicide. The bodies of the two Empresses
were discovered, and the late Emperor's sons were captured and kindly
treated; but of the Emperor himself there was for some time no trace.
At length his body was found, and was encoffined, together with those of
the Empresses, by order of Li Tz{u}-ch`êng, by-and-by to receive fit and
proper burial at the hands of the Manchus.

Li Tz{u}-ch`êng further possessed himself of the persons of Wu
San-kuei's father and affianced bride, the latter of whom, a very
beautiful girl, he intended to keep for himself. He next sent off a
letter to Wu San-kuei, offering an alliance against the Manchus, which
was fortified by another letter from Wu San-kuei's father, urging his
son to fall in which Li's wishes, especially as his own life would be
dependent upon the success of the missions. Wu San-kuei had already
started on his way to relieve the capital when he heard of the events
above recorded; and it seems probable that he would have yielded to
circumstances and persuasion but for the fact that Li had seized the
girl he intended to marry. This decided him; he retraced his steps,
shaved his head after the required style, and joined the Manchus.

It was not very long before Li Tz{u}-ch`êng's army was in full pursuit,
with the twofold object of destroying Wu San-kuei and recovering Chinese
territory already occupied by the Manchus. In the battle which ensued,
all these hopes were dashed; Li sustained a crushing defeat, and fled
to Peking. There he put to death the Ming princes who were in his hands,
and completely exterminated Wu San-kuei's family, with the exception of
the girl above mentioned, whom he carried off after having looted and
burnt the palace and other public buildings. Now was the opportunity of
the Manchus; and with the connivance and loyal aid of Wu San-kuei, the
Great Ch`ing Dynasty was established.

Li Tz{u}-ch`êng, who had officially mounted the Dragon Throne as Emperor
of China nine days after his capture of Peking, was now hotly pursued
by Wu San-kuei, who had the good fortune to recover from the rebels the
girl, who had been taken with them in their flight, and whom he then
married. Li Tz{u}-ch`êng retreated westwards; and after two vain
attempts to check his pursuers, his army began to melt away. Driven
south, he held Wu-ch`ang for a time; but ultimately he fled down the
Yang-tsze, and was slain by local militia in Hupeh.

Li was a born soldier. Even hostile writers admit that his army was
wonderfully well disciplined, and that he put a stop to the hideous
atrocities which had made his name a terror in the empire, just so soon
as he found that he could accomplish his ends by milder means. His men
were obliged to march light, very little baggage being allowed; his
horses were most carefully looked after. He himself was by nature calm
and cold, and his manner of life was frugal and abstemious.


The back of the rebellion was now broken; but an alien race, called in
to drive out the rebels, found themselves in command of the situation.
Wu San-kuei had therefore no alternative but to acknowledge the Manchus
definitely as the new rulers of China, and to obtain the best possible
terms for his country. Ever since the defeat of Li by the combined
forces of Chinese and Manchus, it had been perfectly well understood
that the latter were to be supported in their bid for Imperial power,
and the conditions under which the throne was to be transferred were
as follows:--(1) No Chinese women were to be taken into the Imperial
seraglio; (2) the Senior Classic at the great triennial examination, on
the results of which successful candidates were drafted into the public
service, was never to be a Manchu; (3) Chinese men were to adopt the
Manchu dress, shaving the front part of the head and plaiting the back
hair into a queue, but they were to be allowed burial in the costume of
the Mings; (4) Chinese women were not to adopt the Manchu dress, nor to
cease to compress their feet, in accordance with ancient custom.

Wu San-kuei was loaded with honours, among others with a triple-eyed
peacock's feather, a decoration introduced, together with the "button"
at the top of the hat, by the Manchus, and classed as single-, double-,
and triple-eyed, according to merit. A few years later, his son married
the sister of the Emperor; and a few years later still, he was appointed
one of three feudatory princes, his rule extending over the huge
provinces of Yünnan and Ss{u}ch`uan. There we shall meet him again.

The new Emperor, the ninth son of Abkhai, best known by his year-title
as Shun Chih (favourable sway), was a child of seven when he was placed
upon the throne in 1644, under the regency of an uncle; and by the time
he was twelve years old, the uncle had died, leaving him to his own
resources. Before his early death, the regent had already done some
excellent work on behalf of his nephew. He had curtailed the privileges
of the eunuchs to such an extent that for a hundred and fifty years
to come,--so long, in fact, as the empire was in the hands of wise
rulers,--their malign influence was inappreciable in court circles and
politics generally. He left Chinese officials in control of the civil
administration, keeping closely to the lines of the system which had
obtained under the previous dynasty; he did not hastily press for the
universal adoption of Manchu costume; and he even caused sacrificial
ceremonies to be performed at the mausolea of the Ming Emperors. One
new rule of considerable importance seems to have been introduced by
the Manchus, namely, that no official should be allowed to hold office
within the boundaries of his own province. Ostensibly a check on
corrupt practices, it is probable that this rule had a more far-reaching
political purport. The members of the Han-lin College presented an
address praying him (1) to prepare a list of all worthy men; (2) to
search out such of these as might be in hiding; (3) to exterminate
all rebels; (4) to proclaim an amnesty; (5) to establish peace; (6) to
disband the army, and (7) to punish corrupt officials.

The advice conveyed in the second clause of the above was speedily
acted upon, and a number of capable men were secured for the
government service. At the same time, with a view to the full technical
establishment of the dynasty, the Imperial ancestors were canonised, and
an ancestral shrine was duly constituted. The general outlook would
now appear to have been satisfactory from the point of view of Manchu
interests; but from lack of means of communication, China had in those
days almost the connotation of space infinite, and events of the highest
importance, involving nothing less than the change of a dynasty, could
be carried through in one portion of the empire before their imminence
had been more than whispered in another. No sooner was Peking taken by
the One-Eyed Rebel, than a number of officials fled southwards and took
refuge in Nanking, where they set up a grandson of the last Emperor but
one of the Ming Dynasty, who was now the rightful heir to the throne.
The rapidly growing power of the Manchus had been lost sight of, if
indeed it had ever been thoroughly realised, and it seemed quite natural
that the representative of the House of Ming should be put forward to
resist the rebels.

This monarch, however, was quite unequal to the fate which had befallen
him; and, before long, both he himself and his capital were in the
hands of the Manchus. Other claimants to the throne appeared in various
places; notably, one at Hangchow and another at Foochow, each of whom
looked upon the other as a usurper. The former was soon disposed of, but
the latter gradually established his rule over a wide area, and for
a long time kept the Manchus at bay, so hateful was the thought of an
alien domination to the people of the province in question. Towards the
close of 1646, he too had been captured, and the work of pacification
went on, the penalty of death now being exacted in the case of officials
who refused to shave the head and wear the queue. Two more Emperors,
both of Imperial Ming blood, were next proclaimed in Canton, one of
whom strangled himself on the advance of the Manchus, while the other
disappeared. A large number of loyal officials, rather than shave the
front part of the head and wear the Manchu queue, voluntarily shaved the
whole head, and sought sanctuary in monasteries, where they joined the
Buddhist priesthood.

One more early attempt to re-establish the Mings must be noticed. The
fourth son of a grandson of the Ming Emperor Wan Li (died 1620) was in
1646 proclaimed Emperor at Nan-yang in Honan. For a number of years of
bloody warfare he managed to hold out; but gradually he was forced
to retire, first to Fuhkien and Kuangtung, and then into Kueichou and
Yünnan, from which he was finally expelled by Wu San-kuei. He next
fled to Burma, where in 1661 he was handed over to Wu San-kuei, who had
followed in pursuit; and he finally strangled himself in the capital
of Yünnan. He is said to have been a Christian, as also many of his
adherents, in consequence of which, the Jesuit father, A. Koffler,
bestowed upon him the title of the Constantine of China. In view of
the general character for ferocity with which the Manchus are usually
credited, it is pleasant to be able to record that when the official
history of the Ming Dynasty came to be written, a Chinese scholar of
the day, sitting on the historical commission, pleaded that three of
the princes above mentioned, who were veritable scions of the Imperial
stock, should be entered as "brave men" and not as "rebels," and that
the Emperor, to whose reign we are now coming, graciously granted his

In the year 1661 Shun Chih, the first actual Emperor of the Ch`ing
dynasty, "became a guest on high." He does not rank as one of China's
great monarchs, but his kindly character as a man, and his magnanimity
as a ruler, were extolled by his contemporaries. He treated the Catholic
missionaries with favour. The Dutch and Russian embassies to his court
in 1656 found there envoys from the Great Mogul, from the Western
Tartars, and from the Dalai Lama. China, in the days when her
civilization towered above that of most countries on the globe, and when
her strength commanded the respect of all nations, great and small,
was quite accustomed to receive embassies from foreign parts; the first
recorded instance being that of "An-tun" = Marcus Aurelius _Anton_inus,
which reached China in A.D. 166. But because the tribute offered in this
case contained no jewels, consisting merely of ivory, rhinoceros-horn,
tortoise-shell, etc., which had been picked up in Annam, some have
regarded it merely as a trading enterprise, and not really an embassy
from the Roman Emperor; Chinese writers, on the other hand, suggest that
the envoys sold the valuable jewels and bought a trumpery collection of
tribute articles on the journey.

By the end of Shun Chih's reign, the Manchus, once a petty tribe of
hardy bowmen, far beyond the outskirts of the empire, were in undoubted
possession of all China, of Manchuria, of Korea, of most of Mongolia,
and even of the island of Formosa. How this island, discovered by the
Chinese only in 1430, became Manchu property, is a story not altogether
without romance.

The leader of a large fleet of junks, traders or pirates as occasion
served, known to the Portuguese of the day as Iquon, was compelled to
place his services at the command of the last sovereign of the Ming
dynasty, in whose cause he fought against the Manchu invaders along the
coasts of Fuhkien and Kuangtung. In 1628 he tendered his submission to
the Manchus, and for a time was well treated, and cleared the seas of
other pirates. Gradually, however, he became too powerful, and it was
deemed necessary to restrain him by force. He was finally induced to
surrender to the Manchu general in Fuhkien; and having been made a
prisoner, was sent to Peking, with two of his sons by a Japanese wife,
together with other of his adherents, all of whom were executed upon
arrival. Another son, familiar to foreigners under the name of Koxinga,
a Portuguese corruption of his title, had remained behind with the fleet
when his father surrendered, and he, determined to avenge his father's
treacherous death, declared an implacable war against the Manchus. His
piratical attacks on the coast of China had long been a terror to the
inhabitants; to such an extent, indeed, that the populations of no fewer
than eighty townships had been forced to remove inland. Then Formosa,
upon which the Dutch had begun to form colonies in 1634, and where
substantial portions of their forts are still to be seen, attracted his
piratical eye. He attacked the Dutch, and succeeded in driving them
out with great slaughter, thus possessing himself of the island; but
gradually his followers began to drop off, in submission to the new
dynasty, and at length he himself was reported to Peking as dead. In
1874, partly on the ground that he was really a supporter of the Ming
dynasty and not a rebel, and partly on the ground that "he had founded
in the midst of the waters a dominion which he had transmitted to his
descendants, and which was by them surrendered to the Imperial sway,"--a
memorial was presented to the throne, asking that his spirit might be
canonized as the guardian angel of Formosa, and that a shrine might be
built in his honour. The request was granted.

Consolidation of the empire thus won by the sword was carried out as
follows. In addition to the large Manchu garrison at Peking, smaller
garrisons were established at nine of the provincial capitals, and at
ten other important points in the provinces. The Manchu commandant of
each of the nine garrisons above mentioned, familiar to foreigners as
the Tartar General, was so placed in order to act as a check upon
the civil Governor or Viceroy, of whom he, strictly speaking, took
precedence, though in practice their ranks have always been regarded as
equal. With the empire at peace, the post of Tartar General has always
been a sinecure, and altogether out of comparison with that of the
Viceroy and his responsibilities; but in the case of a Viceroy suspected
of disloyalty and collusion with rebels, the swift opportunity of
the Tartar General was the great safeguard of the dynasty, further
strengthened as he was by the regulation which gave to him the custody
of the keys to the city gates. Those garrisons, the soldiers of which
were accompanied by their wives and families, were from the first
intended to be permanent institutions; and there until quite recently
were to be found the descendants of the original drafts, not allowed to
intermarry with their Chinese neighbours, but otherwise influenced to
such an extent that their Manchu characteristics had almost entirely
disappeared. In one direction the Manchus made a curious concession
which, though entirely sentimental, was nevertheless well calculated
to appeal to a proud though unconquered people. A rule was established
under which every Manchu high official, when memorializing the throne,
was to speak of himself to the Emperor as "your Majesty's slave,"
whereas the term accepted from every Chinese high official was simply
"your Majesty's servant." During the early years of Manchu rule,
proficiency in archery was as much insisted on as in the days of Edward
III with us; and even down to a few years ago Manchu Bannermen, as they
came to be called, might be seen everywhere diligently practising the
art--actually one of the six fine arts of China--by the aid of which
their ancestors had passed from the state of a petty tribal community to
possession of the greatest empire in the world.

The term Bannerman, it may here be explained, is applied to all Manchus
in reference to their organization under one or other of eight banners
of different colour and design; besides which, there are also eight
banners for Mongolians, and eight more for the descendants of those
Chinese who sided with the Manchus against the Mings, and thus helped to
establish the Great Pure dynasty.

One of the first cares to the authorities of a newly-established dynasty
in China is to provide the country with a properly authorized Penal
Code, and this has usually been accomplished by accepting as basis the
code of the preceding rulers, and making such changes or modifications
as may be demanded by the spirit of the times. It is generally
understood that such was the method adopted under the first Manchu
Emperor. The code of the Mings was carefully examined, its severities
were softened, and various additions and alterations were made; the
result being a legal instrument which has received almost unqualified
admiration from eminent Western lawyers. It has, however, been stated
that the true source of the Manchu code must be looked for in the code
of the T`ang dynasty (A.D. 618-905); possibly both codes were used.
Within the compass of historical times, the country has never been
without one, the first code having been drawn up by a distinguished
statesman so far back as 525 B.C. In any case, at the beginning of
the reign of Shun Chih a code was issued, which contained only certain
fundamental and unalterable laws for the empire, with an Imperial
preface, nominally from the hand of the Emperor himself. The next step
was to supply any necessary additions and modifications; and as time
went on these were further amended or enlarged by Imperial decrees,
founded upon current events,--a process which has been going on down to
the present day. The code therefore consists of two parts: (1) immutable
laws more or less embodying great principles beyond the reach of
revisions, and (2) a body of case-law which, since 1746, has been
subject to revision every five years. With the publication of the Penal
Code, the legal responsibilities of the new Emperor began and ended.
There is not, and never has been, anything in China of the nature of
civil law, beyond local custom and the application of common sense.

Towards the close of this reign, intercourse with China brought about an
economic revolution in the West, especially in England, the importance
of which it is difficult to realize sufficiently at this distant date.
A new drink was put on the breakfast-table, destined to displace
completely the quart of ale with which even Lady Jane Grey is said to
have washed down her morning bacon. It is mentioned by Pepys, under the
year 1660, as "tee (a China drink)," which he says he had never tasted
before. Two centuries later, the export of tea from China had reached
huge proportions, no less an amount than one hundred million _lb._
having been exported in one season from Foochow alone.


The Emperor Shun Chih was succeeded by his third son, known by his
year-title as K`ang Hsi (lasting prosperity), who was only eight years
old at the time of his accession. Twelve years later the new monarch
took up the reins of government, and soon began to make his influence
felt. Fairly tall and well proportioned, he loved all manly exercises,
and devoted three months annually to hunting. Large bright eyes lighted
up his face, which was pitted with smallpox. Contemporary observers vie
with one another in praising his wit, understanding, and liberality of
mind. He was not twenty when the three feudatory princes broke into open
rebellion. Of these, Wu San-kuei, the virtual founder of the dynasty,
who had been appointed in 1659, was the chief; and it was at his
instigation that his colleagues who ruled in Kuangtung and Fuhkien
determined to throw off their allegiance and set up independent
sovereignties. Within a few months, K`ang Hsi found vast portions of
the empire slipping from his grasp; but though at one moment only the
provinces of Chihli, Honan, and Shantung were left to him in peaceable
possession, he never lost heart. The resources of Wu San-kuei were
ultimately found to be insufficient for the struggle, the issue of which
was determined partly by his death in 1678, and partly by the
powerful artillery manufactured for the Imperial forces by the Jesuit
missionaries, who were then in high favour at court. The capital city
of Yünnan was taken by assault in 1681, upon which Wu San-kuei's son
committed suicide, and the rebellion collapsed. From that date the
Manchus decided that there should be no more "princes" among their
Chinese subjects, and the rule has been observed until the present day.

Under the Emperor K`ang Hsi a re-arrangement of the empire was planned
and carried out; that is to say, whereas during the Mongol dynasty there
had only been thirteen provinces, increased to fifteen by the Mings,
there was now a further increase of three, thus constituting what is
known as the Eighteen Provinces, or China Proper. To effect this, the
old province of Kiangsan was divided into the modern Anhui and Kiangsu;
Kansuh was carved out of Shensi; and Hukuang was separated into Hupeh
and Hunan. Formosa, which was finally reconquered in 1683, was made part
of the province of Fuhkien, and so remained for some two hundred years,
when it was erected into an independent province. Thus, for a time
China Proper consisted of nineteen provinces, until the more familiar
"eighteen" was recently restored by the transfer of Formosa to Japan.
In addition to the above, the eastern territory, originally inhabited by
the Manchus, was divided into the three provinces already mentioned, all
of which were at first organized upon a purely military basis; but of
late years the administration of the southernmost province, in which
stands Mukden, the Manchu capital, has been brought more into line with
that of China Proper.

In 1677 the East India Company established an agency at Amoy, which,
though withdrawn in 1681, was re-established in 1685. The first treaty
with Russia was negotiated in 1679, but less than ten years later a
further treaty was found necessary, under which it was agreed that the
river Amur was to be the boundary-line between the two dominions, the
Russians giving up possession of both banks. Thus Ya-k`o-sa, or Albazin,
was ceded by Russia to China, and some of the inhabitants, who appear to
have been either pure Russians or half-castes, were sent as prisoners to
Peking, where religious instruction was provided for them according to
the rules of the orthodox church. All the descendants of these Albazins
probably perished in the destruction of the Russian college during the
siege of the Legations in 1900. Punitive expeditions against Galdan and
Arabtan carried the frontiers of the empire to the borders of Khokand
and Badakshan, and to the confines of Tibet.

Galdan was a khan of the Kalmucks, who succeeded in establishing his
rule through nearly the whole of Turkestan, after attaining his position
by the murder of a brother. He attacked the Khalkas, and thus incurred
the resentment of K`ang Hsi, whose subjects they were; and in order to
strengthen his power, he applied to the Dalai Lama for ordination, but
was refused. He then feigned conversion to Mahometanism, though without
attracting Mahometan sympathies. In 1689 the Emperor in person led an
army against him, crossing the deadly desert of Gobi for this purpose.
Finally, after a further expedition and a decisive defeat in 1693,
Galdan became a fugitive, and died three years afterwards. He was
succeeded as khan by his nephew, Arabtan, who soon took up the offensive
against China. He invaded Tibet, and pillaged the monasteries as far
as Lhasa; but was ultimately driven back by a Manchu army to Sungaria,
where he was murdered in 1727.

The question of the calendar early attracted attention under the reign
of K`ang Hsi. After the capture of Peking in 1644, the Manchus had
employed the Jesuit Father, Schaal, upon the Astronomical Board, an
appointment which, owing to the jealousies aroused, very nearly cost him
his life. What he taught was hardly superior to the astronomy then in
vogue, which had been inherited from the Mongols, being nothing more
than the old Ptolemaic system, already discarded in Europe. In 1669, a
Flemish Jesuit Father from Courtrai, named Verbiest, was placed upon the
Board, and was entrusted with the correction of the calendar according
to more recent investigations.

Christianity was officially recognized in 1692, and an Imperial edict
was issued ordering its toleration throughout the empire. The discovery
of the Nestorian tablet in 1625 had given a considerable impulse, in
spite of its heretical associations, to Christian propagandism; and it
was estimated that in 1627 there were no fewer than thirteen thousand
converts, many of whom were highly placed officials, and even members of
the Imperial family. An important question, however, now came to a head,
and completely put an end to the hope that China under the Manchus might
embrace the Roman Catholic faith. The question was this: May converts
to Christianity continue the worship of ancestors? Ricci, the famous
Jesuit, who died in 1610, and who is the only foreigner mentioned by
name in the dynastic histories of China, was inclined to regard worship
of ancestors more as a civil than a religious rite. He probably foresaw,
as indeed time has shown, that ancestral worship would prove to be an
insuperable obstacle to many inquirers, if they were called upon to
discard it once and for all; at the same time, he must have known
that an invocation to spirits, coupled with the hope of obtaining some
benefit therefrom, is _worship_ pure and simple, and cannot be explained
away as an unmeaning ceremony.

Against the Jesuits in this matter were arrayed the Dominicans and
Franciscans; and the two parties fought the question before several
Popes, sometimes one side carrying its point, and sometimes the other.
At length, in 1698, a fresh petition was forwarded by the Jesuit order
in China, asking the Pope to sanction the practice of this rite by
native Christians, and also praying that the Chinese language might be
used in the celebration of mass. K`ang Hsi supported the Jesuits in
the view that ancestral worship was a harmless ceremony; but after much
wrangling, and the dispatch of a Legate to the Manchu court, the Pope
decided against the Jesuits and their Imperial ally. This was too much
for the pride of K`ang Hsi, and he forthwith declared that in future he
would only allow facilities for preaching to those priests who shared
his view. In 1716, an edict was issued, banishing all missionaries
unless excepted as above. The Emperor had indeed been annoyed by another
ecclesiastical squabble, on a minor scale of importance, which had been
raging almost simultaneously round the choice of an appropriate Chinese
term for God. The term approved, if not suggested, by K`ang Hsi, and
indisputably the right one, as shown by recent research, was set aside
by the Pope in 1704 in favour of one which was supposed for a long time
to have been coined for the purpose, but which had really been applied
for many centuries previously to one of the eight spirits of ancient

In addition to his military campaigns, K`ang Hsi carried out several
journeys of considerable length, and managed to see something of the
empire beyond the walls of Peking. He climbed the famous mountain,
T`ai-shan, in Shantung, the summit of which had been reached in 219 B.C.
by the famous First Emperor, burner of the books and part builder of the
Great Wall, and where a century later another Emperor had instituted the
mysterious worship of Heaven and Earth. The ascent of T`ai-shan had been
previously accomplished by only six Emperors in all, the last of whom
went up in the year 1008; since K`ang Hsi no further Imperial attempts
have been made, so that his will close the list in connexion with the
Manchu dynasty. It was on this occasion too that he visited the tomb of
Confucius, also in Shantung.

The vagaries of the Yellow River, named "China's Sorrow" by a later
Emperor, were always a source of great anxiety to K`ang Hsi; so much so
that he paid a personal visit to the scene, and went carefully into the
various plans for keeping the waters to a given course. Besides causing
frequently recurring floods, with immense loss of life and property,
this river has a way of changing unexpectedly its bed; so lately as
1856, it turned off at right angles near the city of K`ai-fêng, in
Honan, and instead of emptying itself into the Yellow Sea about latitude
34º, found a new outlet in the Gulf of Peichili, latitude 38º.

K`ang Hsi several times visited Hangchow, returning to Tientsin by the
Grand Canal, a distance of six hundred and ninety miles. This canal, it
will be remembered, was designed and executed under Kublai Khan in the
thirteenth century, and helped to form an almost unbroken line of water
communication between Peking and Canton. At Hangchow, during one
visit, he held an examination of all the (so-called) B.A.'s and M.A.'s,
especially to test their poetical skill; and he also did the same at
Soochow and Nanking, taking the opportunity, while at Nanking, to visit
the mausoleum of the founder of the Ming dynasty, who lies buried near
by, and whose descendants had been displaced by the Manchus. Happily for
K`ang Hsi's complacency, the book of fate is hidden from Emperors, as
well as from subjects,--

All but the page prescribed, their present state and he was unable to
foresee another visit paid to that mausoleum two hundred and seven years
later, under very different conditions, to which we shall come in due

The census has always been an important institution in China. Without
going back so far as the legendary golden age, the statistics of which
have been invented by enthusiasts, we may accept unhesitatingly such
records as we find subsequent to the Christian era, on the understanding
that these returns are merely approximate. They could hardly be
otherwise, inasmuch as the Chinese count families and not heads, roughly
allowing five souls to each household. This plan yields a total of
rather over fifty millions for the year A.D. 156, and one hundred and
five millions for the fortieth year of the reign of K`ang Hsi, 1701.

No record of this Emperor, however brief, could fail to notice the
literary side of his character, and his extraordinary achievements in
this direction. It is almost paradoxical, though absolutely true, that
two Manchu Emperors, sprung from a race which but a few decades before
had little thought for anything beyond war and the chase, and which
had not even a written language of its own, should have conferred more
benefits upon the student of literature than all the rest of China's
Emperors put together. The literature in question is, of course, Chinese
literature. Manchu was the court language, spoken as well as written,
for many years after 1644, and down to quite recent times all official
documents were in duplicate, one copy in Chinese and one in Manchu; but
a Manchu literature can hardly be said to exist, beyond translations of
all the most important Chinese works. The Manchu dynasty is an
admirable illustration of the old story: conquerors taken captive by the

At this moment, the term "K`ang Tsi" is daily on the lips of every
student of the Chinese language, native or foreign, throughout the
empire. This is due to the fact that the Emperor caused to be produced
under his own personal superintendence, on a more extensive scale and
a more systematic plan than any previous work of the kind, a lexicon of
the Chinese language, containing over forty thousand characters, with
numerous illustrative phrases chronologically arranged, the spelling of
each character according to the method introduced by Buddhist teachers
and first used in the third century, the tones, various readings, etc.,
etc., altogether a great work and still without a rival at the present

It would be tedious even to enumerate all the various literary
undertakings conceived and carried out under the direction of K`ang Hsi;
but there are two works in particular which cannot be passed over. One
of these is the huge illustrated encyclopædia in which everything which
has ever been said upon each of a vast array of subjects is brought into
a systematized book of reference, running to many hundred volumes, and
being almost a complete library in itself. It was printed, after
the death of K`ang Hsi, from movable copper types. The other is, if
anything, a still more extraordinary though not such a voluminous work.
It is a concordance to all literature; not of words, but of phrases. A
student meeting with an unfamiliar combination of characters can turn
to its pages and find every passage given, in sufficient fullness, where
the phrase in question has been used by poet, historian, or essayist.

The last years of K`ang Hsi were beclouded by family troubles. For some
kind of intrigue, in which magic played a prominent part, he had been
compelled to degrade the Heir Apparent, and to appoint another son
to the vacant post; but a year or two later, this son was found to be
mentally deranged, and was placed under restraint. So things went on for
several more years, the Emperor apparently unable to make up his mind as
to the choice of a successor; and it was not until the last day of his
life that he finally decided in favour of his fourth son. Dying in 1723,
his reign had already extended beyond the Chinese cycle of sixty years,
a feat which no Emperor of China, in historical times, had ever before
achieved, but which was again to be accomplished, before the century was
out, by his grandson.


The fourth son of K`ang Hsi came to the throne under the year-title
of Yung Chêng (harmonious rectitude). He was confronted with serious
difficulties from the very first. Dissatisfaction prevailed among his
numerous brothers, at least one of whom may have felt that he had
a better claim to rule than his junior in the family. This feeling
culminated in a plot to dethrone Yung Chêng, which was, however,
discovered in time, and resulted only in the degradation of the guilty
brothers. The fact that among his opponents were native Christians--some
say that the Jesuits were at the bottom of all the mischief--naturally
influenced the Emperor against Christianity; no fewer than three
hundred churches were destroyed, and all Catholic missionaries were
thenceforward obliged to live either at Peking or at Macao. In 1732
he thought of expelling them altogether; but finding that they were
enthusiastic teachers of filial piety, he left them alone, merely
prohibiting fresh recruits from coming to China.

These domestic troubles were followed by a serious rebellion in Kokonor,
which was not fully suppressed until the next reign; also by an outbreak
among the aborigines of Kueichow and Yünnan, which lasted until three
years later, when the tribesmen were brought under Imperial rule.

A Portuguese envoy, named Magalhaens (or Magaillans), visited Peking in
1727, bearing presents for the Emperor; but nothing very much resulted
from his mission. In 1730, in addition to terrible floods, there was
a severe earthquake, which lasted ten days, and in which one hundred
thousand persons are said to have lost their lives. In 1735, Yung
Chêng's reign came to an end amid sounds of a further outbreak of the
aborigines in Kueichow. Before his death, he named his fourth son, then
only fifteen, as his successor, under the regency of two of the
boy's uncles and two Grand Secretaries, one of the latter being a
distinguished scholar, who was entrusted with the preparation of the
history of the Ming dynasty. Yung Chêng's name has always been somewhat
unfairly associated by foreigners with a bitter hostility to the
Catholic priests of his day, simply because he refused to allow them a
free hand in matters outside their proper sphere. Altogether, it may
be said that he was a just and public-spirited ruler, anxious for his
people's welfare. He hated war, and failed to carry on his father's
vigorous policy in Central Asia; nevertheless, by 1730, Chinese rule
extended to the Laos border, and the Shan States paid tribute. He was a
man of letters, and completed some of his father's undertakings.

Yung Chêng's successor was twenty-five years of age when he came to
the throne with the year-title of Ch`ien Lung (or Kien Long = enduring
glory), and one of his earliest acts was to forbid the propagation of
Christian doctrine, a prohibition which developed between 1746 and 1785
into active persecution of its adherents. The first ten years of this
reign were spent chiefly in internal reorganization; the remainder,
which covered half a century, was almost a continuous succession of
wars. The aborigines of Kueichow, known as the Miao-Tz{u}, offered a
determined resistance to all attempts to bring them under the regular
administration; and although they were ultimately conquered, it was
deemed advisable not to insist upon the adoption of the queue, and also
to leave them a considerable measure of self-government. Acting under
Manchu guidance, chiefs and leading tribesmen were entrusted with
important executive offices; they had to keep the peace among their
people, and to collect the revenue of local produce to be forwarded to
Peking. These posts were hereditary. On the death of the father, the
eldest son proceeded to Peking and received his appointment in person,
together with his seal of office. Failing sons or their children,
brothers had the right of succession.

In 1741 the population was estimated by Père Amiot, S.J., at over one
hundred and fifty millions, as against twenty-one million households in

In 1753 there was trouble in Ili. After the death of Galdan II., son
of Arabtan, an attempt was made by one, Amursana, to usurp the
principality. He was, however, driven out, and fled to Peking, where
he was favourably received by Ch`ien Lung, and an army was sent to
reinstate him. With the subsequent settlement, under which he was to
have only one quarter of Ili, Amursana was profoundly dissatisfied, and
took the earliest opportunity of turning on his benefactors. He murdered
the Manchu-Chinese garrison and all the other Chinese he could find,
and proclaimed himself khan of the Eleuths. His triumph was short-lived;
another army was sent from Peking, this time against him, and he fled
into Russian territory, dying there soon afterwards of smallpox. This
campaign was lavishly illustrated by Chinese artists, who produced a
series of realistic pictures of the battles and skirmishes fought by
Ch`ien Lung's victorious troops. How far these were prepared under the
guidance of the Jesuit Fathers does not seem to be known. About sixty
years previously, under the reign of K`ang Hsi, the Jesuits had carried
out extensive surveys, and had drawn fairly accurate maps of Chinese
territory, which had been sent to Paris and there engraved on copper by
order of Louis XIV. In like manner, the pictures now in question were
forwarded to Paris and engraved, between 1769 and 1774, by skilled
draughtsmen, as may be gathered from the lettering at the foot of
each; for instance--_Gravé par J. P. Le Bas, graveur du cabinet du roi_
(Cambridge University Library).

Kuldja and Kashgaria were next added to the empire, and Manchu supremacy
was established in Tibet. Burma and Nepal were forced to pay tribute,
after a disastrous war (1766-1770) with the former country, in which
a Chinese army had been almost exterminated; rebellions in Ss{u}ch`uan
(1770), Shantung (1777), and Formosa (1786) were suppressed.

Early in the eighteenth century, the Turguts, a branch of the Kalmuck
Tartars, unable to endure the oppressive tyranny of their rulers,
trekked into Russia, and settled on the banks of the Volga. Some seventy
years later, once more finding the burden of taxation too heavy, they
again organized a trek upon a colossal scale. Turning their faces
eastward, they spent a whole year of fearful suffering and privation
in reaching the confines of Ili, a terribly diminished host. There they
received a district, and were placed under the jurisdiction of a khan.
This journey has been dramatically described by De Quincey in an essay
entitled "Revolt of the Tartars, or Flight of the Kalmuck Khan and his
people from the Russian territories to the Frontiers of China." Of
this contribution to literature it is only necessary to remark that the
scenes described, and especially the numbers mentioned, must be credited
chiefly to the perfervid imagination of the essayist, and also to
certain not very trustworthy documents sent home by Père Amiot. It is
probable that about one hundred and sixty thousand Turguts set out on
that long march, of whom only some seventy thousand reached their goal.

In 1781, the Dungans (or Tungans) of Shensi broke into open rebellion,
which was suppressed only after huge losses to the Imperialists. These
Dungans were Mahometan subjects of China, who in very early times
had colonized, under the name of Gao-tchan, in Kansuh and Shensi, and
subsequently spread westward into Turkestan. Some say that they were a
distinct race, who, in the fifth and sixth centuries, occupied the Tian
Shan range, with their capital at Harashar. The name, however, means, in
the dialect of Chinese Tartary, "converts," that is, to Mahometanism,
to which they were converted in the days of Timour by an Arabian
adventurer. We shall hear of them again in a still more serious

Eight years later there was a revolution in Cochin-China. The king fled
to China, and Ch`ien Lung promptly espoused his cause, sending an army
to effect his restoration. This was no sooner accomplished than the
chief Minister rebelled, and, rapidly attracting large numbers to his
standard, succeeded in cutting off the retreat of the Chinese force.
Ch`ien Lung then sent another army, whereupon the rebel Minister
submitted, and humbled himself so completely that the Emperor appointed
him to be king instead of the other. After this, the Annamese continued
to forward tribute, but it was deemed advisable to cease from further
interference with their government.

The next trouble was initiated by the Gurkhas, who, in 1790, raided
Tibet. On being defeated and pursued by a Chinese army, they gave up all
the booty taken, and entered into an agreement to pay tribute once every
five years.

The year 1793 was remarkable for the arrival of an English embassy under
Lord Macartney, who was received in audience by the Emperor at Jehol
(= hot river), an Imperial summer residence lying about a hundred miles
north of Peking, beyond the Great Wall. It had been built in 1780 after
the model of the palace of the Panshen Erdeni at Tashilumbo, in Tibet,
when that functionary, the spiritual ruler of Tibet, as opposed to the
Dalai Lama, who is the secular ruler, proceeded to Peking to be present
on the seventieth anniversary of Ch`ien Lung's birthday. Two years
later, the aged Emperor, who had, like his grandfather, completed his
cycle of sixty years on the throne, abdicated in favour of his son,
dying in retirement some four years after. These two monarchs, K`ang Hsi
and Ch`ien Lung, were among the ablest, not only of Manchu rulers, but
of any whose lot it has been to shape the destinies of China. Ch`ien
Lung was an indefatigable administrator, a little too ready perhaps
to plunge into costly military expeditions, and somewhat narrow in the
policy he adopted towards the "outside barbarians" who came to trade at
Canton and elsewhere, but otherwise a worthy rival of his grandfather's
fame as a sovereign and patron of letters. From the long list of works,
mostly on a very extensive scale, produced under his supervision, may
be mentioned the new and revised editions of the Thirteen Classics of
Confucianism and of the Twenty-Four Dynastic Histories. In 1772 a search
was instituted under Imperial orders for all literary works worthy of
preservation, and high provincial officials vied with one another in
forwarding rare and important works to Peking. The result was the great
descriptive Catalogue of the Imperial Library, arranged under the four
heads of Classics (Confucianism), History, Philosophy, and General
Literature, in which all the facts known about each work are set forth,
coupled with judicious critical remarks,--an achievement which has
hardly a parallel in any literature in the world.


Ch`ien Lung's son, who reigned as Chia Ch`ing (high felicity--not to
be confounded with Chia Ching of the Ming dynasty, 1522-1567), found
himself in difficulties from the very start. The year of his accession
was marked by a rising of the White Lily Society, one of the dreaded
secret associations with which China is, and always has been,
honeycombed. The exact origin of this particular society is not known.
A White Lily Society was formed in the second century A.D. by a certain
Taoist patriarch, and eighteen members were accustomed to assemble at a
temple in modern Kiangsi for purposes of meditation. But this seems to
have no connexion with the later sect, of which we first hear in 1308,
when its existence was prohibited, its shrines destroyed, and its
votaries forced to return to ordinary life. Members of the fraternity
were then believed to possess a knowledge of the black art; and later
on, in 1622, the society was confounded by Chinese officials in Shantung
with Christianity. In the present instance, it is said that no fewer
than thirty thousand adherents were executed before the trouble was
finally suppressed; from which statement it is easy to gather that under
whatever form the White Lily Society may have been originally initiated,
its activities were now of a much more serious character, and were, in
fact, plainly directed against the power and authority of the Manchus.

Almost from this very date may be said to have begun that turn of
the tide which was to reach its flood a hundred years afterwards. The
Manchus came into power, as conquerors by force of arms, at a time
when the mandate of the previous dynasty had been frittered away in
corruption and misrule; and although to the Chinese eye they were
nothing more than "stinking Tartars," there were not wanting many glad
enough to see a change of rule at any price. Under the first Emperor,
Shun Chih, there was barely time to find out what the new dynasty
was going to do; then came the long and glorious reign of K`ang Hsi,
followed, after the thirteen harmless years of Yung Chêng, by the
equally long and equally glorious reign of Ch`ien Lung. The Chinese
people, who, strictly speaking, govern themselves in the most democratic
of all republics, have not the slightest objection to the Imperial
tradition, which has indeed been their continuous heritage from remotest
antiquity, provided that public liberties are duly safeguarded, chiefly
in the sense that there shall always be equal opportunities for all.
They are quick to discover the character of their rulers, and discovery
in an unfavourable direction leads to an early alteration of popular
thought and demeanour. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, they
had tired of eunuch oppression and unjust taxation, and they naturally
hailed the genuine attempt in 1662 to get rid of eunuchs altogether,
coupled with the persistent attempts of K`ang Hsi, and later of Ch`ien
Lung, to lighten the burdens of revenue which weighed down the energies
of all. But towards the end of his reign Ch`ien Lung had become a very
old man; and the gradual decay of his powers of personal supervision
opened a way for the old abuses to creep in, bringing in their train the
usual accompaniment of popular discontent.

The Emperor Chia Ch`ing, a worthless and dissolute ruler, never
commanded the confidence of his people as his great predecessors had
done, nor had he the same confidence in them. This want of mutual trust
was not confined to his Chinese subjects only. In 1799, Ho-shên, a
high Manchu official who had been raised by Ch`ien Lung from an obscure
position to be a Minister of State and Grand Secretary, was suspected,
probably without a shadow of evidence, of harbouring designs upon the
throne. He was seized and tried, nominally for corruption and undue
familiarity, and was condemned to death, being allowed as an act of
grace to commit suicide.

In 1803 the Emperor was attacked in the streets of Peking; and ten years
later there was a serious outbreak organised by a secret society in
Honan, known as the Society of Divine Justice, and alternatively as the
White Feather Society, from the badge worn by those members who took
part in the actual movement, which happened as follows. An attack upon
the palace during the Emperor's absence on a visit to the Imperial tombs
was arranged by the leaders, who represented a considerable body of
malcontents, roused by the wrongs which their countrymen were suffering
all over the empire at the hands of their Manchu rulers. By promises
of large rewards and appointments to lucrative offices when the Manchus
should be got rid of, the collusion of a number of the eunuchs was
secured; and on a given day some four hundred rebels, disguised as
villagers carrying baskets of fruit in which arms were concealed,
collected about the gates of the palace. Some say that one of the
leaders was betrayed, others that the eunuchs made a mistake in
the date; at any rate there was a sudden rush on the part of the
conspirators, the guards at the gates were overpowered, every one who
was not wearing a white feather was cut down, and the palace seemed
to be at the mercy of the rebels. The latter, however, were met by a
desperate resistance from the young princes, who shot down several of
them, and thus alarmed the soldiers. Assistance was promptly at hand,
and the rebels were all killed or captured. Immediate measures were
taken to suppress the Society, of which it is said that over twenty
thousand members were executed, and as many more sent in exile to Ili.

Not one, however, of the numerous secret societies, which from time
to time have flourished in China, can compare for a moment either in
numbers or organization with the formidable association known as the
Heaven and Earth Society, and also as the Triad Society, or Hung League,
which dates from the reign of Yung Chêng, and from first to last has had
one definite aim,--the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty.

The term "Triad" signifies the harmonious union of heaven (q.d. God),
earth, and man; and members of the fraternity communicate to one another
the fact of membership by pointing first up to the sky, then down to the
ground, and last to their own hearts. The Society was called the Hung
League, because all the members adopted Hung as a surname, a word which
suggests the idea of a cataclysm. By a series of lucky chances the inner
working of this Society became known about fifty years ago, when a mass
of manuscripts containing the history of the Society, its ritual, oaths,
and secret signs, together with an elaborate set of drawings of flags
and other regalia, fell into the hands of the Dutch Government at
Batavia. These documents, translated by Dr. G. Schlegel, disclose an
extraordinary similarity in many respects between the working of Chinese
lodges and the working of those which are more familiar to us as
temples of the Ancient Order of Free and Accepted Masons. Such points
of contact, however, as may be discoverable, are most probably mere
coincidences; if not, and if, as is generally understood, the ritual of
the European craft was concocted by Cagliostro, then it follows that he
must have borrowed from the Chinese, and not the Chinese from him. The
use of the square and compasses as symbols of moral rectitude, which
forms such a striking feature of European masonry, finds no place in the
ceremonial of the Triad Society, although recognized as such in Chinese
literature from the days of Confucius, and still so employed in the
every-day colloquial of China.

In 1816 Lord Amherst's embassy reached Peking. Its object was to secure
some sort of arrangement under which British merchants might carry on
trade after a more satisfactory manner than had been the case hitherto.
The old Co-hong, a system first established in 1720, under which certain
Chinese merchants at Canton became responsible to the local authorities
for the behaviour of the English merchants, and to the latter for all
debts due to them, had been so complicated by various oppressive laws,
that at one time the East India Company had threatened to stop all
business. Lord Amherst, however, accomplished nothing in the direction
of reform. From the date of his landing at Tientsin, he was persistently
told that unless he agreed to perform the _kotow_, he could not possibly
be permitted to an audience. It was probably his equally persistent
refusal to do so--a ceremonial which had been excused by Ch`ien Lung in
the case of Lord Macartney--that caused the Ministers to change their
tactics, and to declare, on Lord Amherst's arrival at the Summer Palace,
tired and wayworn, that the Emperor wished to see him immediately. Not
only had the presents, of which he was the bearer, not arrived at the
palace, but he and his suite, among whom were Sir George Stanton, Dr
Morrison, and Sir John Davids, had not received the trunks containing
their uniforms. It was therefore impossible for the ambassador to
present himself before the Emperor, and he flatly refused to do so;
whereupon he received orders to proceed at once to the sea-coast, and
take himself off to his own country. A curious comment on this fiasco
was made by Napoleon, who thought that the English Government had acted
wrongly in not having ordered Lord Amherst to comply with the custom
of the place he was sent to; otherwise, he should not have been sent at
all. "It is my opinion that whatever is the custom of a nation, and is
practised by the first characters of that nation towards their chief,
cannot degrade strangers who perform the same."

In 1820 Chia Ch`ing died, after a reign of twenty-five years, notable,
if for nothing else, as marking the beginning of Manchu decadence,
evidence of which is to be found in the unusually restless temper of
the people, and even in such apparent trifles as the abandonment of the
annual hunting excursions, always before carried out on an extensive
scale, and presenting, as it were, a surviving indication of former
Manchu hardihood and personal courage. He was succeeded by his second
son, who was already forty years of age, and whose hitherto secluded
life had ill-prepared him for the difficult problems he was shortly
called upon to face.


Tao Kuang (glory of right principle), as he is called, from the style
chosen for his reign, gave promise of being a useful and enlightened
ruler; at the least a great improvement on his father. He did his best
at first to purify the court, but his natural indolence stood in the way
of any real reform, and with the best intentions in the world he managed
to leave the empire in a still more critical condition than that in
which he had found it. Five years after his accession, his troubles
began in real earnest. There was a rising of the people in Kashgaria,
due to criminal injustice practised over a long spell of time on the
part of the Chinese authorities. The rebels found a leader in the person
of Jehangir, who claimed descent from one of the old native chiefs,
formerly recognized by the Manchu Emperors, but now abolished as such.
Thousands flocked to his standard; and by the time an avenging army
could arrive on the scene, he was already master of the country. During
the campaign which followed, his men were defeated in battle after
battle; and at length he himself was taken prisoner and forwarded to
Peking, where he failed to defend his conduct, and was put to death.

The next serious difficulty which confronted the Emperor was a rising,
in 1832, of the wild Miao tribes of Kuangsi and Hunan, led by a man who
either received or adopted the title of the Golden Dragon. At the bottom
of all the trouble we find, as usually to be expected henceforward, the
secret activities of the far-reaching Triad Society, which seized
the occasion to foment into open rebellion the dissatisfaction of the
tribesmen with the glaring injustice they were suffering at the hands
of the local authorities. After some initial massacres and reprisals,
a general was sent to put an end to the outbreak; but so far from doing
this, he seems to have come off second best in most of the battles
which ensued, and was finally driven into Kuang-tung. For this he was
superseded, and two Commissioners dispatched to take charge of further
operations. It occurred to these officials that possibly persuasion
might succeed where violence had failed; and accordingly a proclamation
was widely circulated, promising pardon and redress of wrongs to all who
would at once return to their allegiance, and pointing out at the same
time the futility of further resistance. The effect of this move was
magical; within a few days the rebellion was over.

We are now reaching a period at which European complications began to be
added to the more legitimate worries of a Manchu Emperor. Trade with the
Portuguese, the Spaniards, the Dutch, and the English, had been carried
on since the early years of the sixteenth century, but in a very
haphazard kind of way, and under many vexatious restrictions, bribery
being the only effectual means of bringing commercial ventures to
a successful issue. So far back as 1680, the East India Company had
received its charter, and commercial relations with Chinese merchants
could be entered into by British subjects only through this channel.
Such machinery answered its purpose very well for a long period; but a
monopoly of the kind became out of date as time went on, and in 1834 it
ceased altogether. The Company was there for the sake of trade, and for
nothing else; and one of its guiding principles was avoidance of any
acts which might wound Chinese susceptibilities, and tend to defeat the
object of its own existence. Consequently, the directors would not allow
opium to be imported in their vessels; neither were they inclined to
patronize missionary efforts. It is true that Morrison's dictionary was
printed at the expense of the Company, when the punishment for a native
teaching a foreigner the Chinese language was death; but no pecuniary
assistance was forthcoming when the same distinguished missionary
attempted to translate the Bible for distribution in China.

The Manchus, who had themselves entered the country as robbers of the
soil and spoliators of the people, were determined to do their best
to keep out all future intruders; and it was for this reason that,
suspicious of the aims of the barbarian, every possible obstacle
was placed in the way of those who wished to learn to speak and
read Chinese. This suspicion was very much increased in the case of
missionaries, whose real object the Manchus failed to appreciate, and
behind whose plea of religious propagandism they thought they detected
a deep-laid scheme for territorial aggression, to culminate of course
in their own overthrow; and already in 1805 an edict had been issued,
strictly forbidding anyone to teach even Manchu to any foreigner.

From this date (1834), any British subject was free to engage in the
trade, and the Home Government sent out Lord Napier to act as Chief
Superintendent, and to enter into regular diplomatic relations with
the Chinese authorities. Lord Napier, however, even though backed by a
couple of frigates, was unable to gain admission to the city of Canton,
and after a demonstration, the only result of which was to bring all
business to a standstill, he was finally obliged in the general interest
to retire. He went to Macao, a small peninsula to the extreme south-west
of the Kuangtung province, famous as the residence of the poet Camoens,
and there he died a month later. Macao was first occupied by the
Portuguese trading with China in 1557; though there is a story that
in 1517 certain Portuguese landed there under pretence of drying some
tribute presents to the Emperor, which had been damaged in a storm, and
proceeded to fortify their encampment, whereupon the local officials
built a wall across the peninsula, shutting off further access to the
mainland. It also appears that, in 1566, Macao was actually ceded to
the Portuguese on condition of payment of an annual sum to China, which
payment ceased after trouble between the two countries in 1849.

The next few years were employed by the successors of Lord Napier
in endeavours, often wrongly directed, to establish working, if not
harmonious, relations with the Chinese authorities; but no satisfactory
point was reached, for the simple reason that recent events had
completely confirmed the officials and the people in their old views as
to the relative status of the barbarians and themselves.

It is worth noticing here that Russia, with her conterminous and
ever-advancing frontier, has always been regarded somewhat differently
from the oversea barbarian. She has continually during the past three
centuries been the dreaded foreign bogy of the Manchus; and a few years
back, when Manchus and Chinese alike fancied that their country was
going to be "chopped up like a melon" and divided among western nations,
a warning geographical cartoon was widely circulated in China, showing
Russia in the shape of a huge bear stretching down from the north and
clawing the vast areas of Mongolia and Manchuria to herself.

Now, to aggravate the already difficult situation, the opium question
came suddenly to the front in an acute form. For a long time the import
of opium had been strictly forbidden by the Government, and for an
equally long time smuggling the drug in increasing quantities had been
carried on in a most determined manner until, finally, swift vessels
with armed crews, sailing under foreign flags, succeeded in terrorizing
the native revenue cruisers, and so delivering their cargoes as they
pleased. It appears that the Emperor Tao Kuang, who had sounded the
various high authorities on the subject, was genuinely desirous of
putting an end to the import of opium, and so checking the practice of
opium-smoking, which was already assuming dangerous proportions; and in
this he was backed up by Captain Elliot (afterwards Sir Charles Elliot),
now Superintendent of Trade, an official whose vacillating policy
towards the Chinese authorities did much to precipitate the disasters
about to follow. After a serious riot had been provoked, in which the
foreign merchants of Canton narrowly escaped with their lives, and
to quell which it was necessary to call out the soldiery, the Emperor
decided to put a definite stop to the opium traffic; and for this
purpose he appointed one of his most distinguished servants, at that
time Viceroy of Hukuang, and afterwards generally known as Commissioner
Lin, a name much reverenced by the Chinese as that of a true patriot,
and never mentioned even by foreigners without respect. Early in 1839,
Lin took up the post of Viceroy of Kuangtung, and immediately initiated
an attack which, to say the least of it, deserved a better fate.

Within a few days a peremptory order was made for the delivery of all
opium in the possession of foreign merchants at Canton. This demand was
resisted, but for a short time only. All the foreign merchants, together
with Captain Elliot, who had gone up to Canton specially to meet the
crisis, found themselves prisoners in their own houses, deprived of
servants and even of food. Then Captain Elliot undertook, on behalf
of his Government, to indemnify British subjects for their losses;
whereupon no fewer than twenty thousand two hundred and ninety-one
chests of opium were surrendered to Commissioner Lin, and the incident
was regarded by the Chinese as closed. On receipt of the Emperor's
instructions, the whole of this opium, for which the owners received
orders on the Treasury at the rate of £120 per chest, was mixed with
lime and salt water, and was entirely destroyed.

Lin's subsequent demands were so arbitrary that at length the English
mercantile community retired altogether from Canton, and after a futile
attempt to settle at Macao, where their presence, owing to Chinese
influence with the Portuguese occupiers, was made unwelcome, they
finally found a refuge at Hongkong, then occupied only by a few
fishermen's huts. Further negotiations as to the renewal of trade having
fallen through, Lin gave orders for all British ships to leave China
within three days, which resulted in a fight between two men-of-war and
twenty-nine war-junks, in which the latter were either sunk or driven
off with great loss. In June, 1840, a British fleet of seventeen
men-of-war and twenty-seven troopships arrived at Hongkong; Canton was
blockaded; a port on the island of Chusan was subsequently occupied;
and Lord Palmerston's letter to the Emperor was carried to Tientsin,
and delivered there to the Viceroy of Chihli. Commissioner Lin was now
cashiered for incompetency; but was afterwards instructed to act with
the Viceroy of Chihli, who was sent down to supersede him. Further
vexatious action, or rather inaction, on the part of these two at length
drove Captain Elliot to an ultimatum; and as no attention was paid to
this, the Bogue forts near the mouth of the Canton river were taken by
the British fleet, after great slaughter of the Chinese. In January,
1841, a treaty of peace was arranged, under which the island of Hongkong
was to be ceded to England, a sum of over a million pounds was to be
paid for the opium destroyed, and satisfactory concessions were to be
made in the matter of official intercourse between the two nations.
The Emperor refused ratification, and ordered the extermination of the
barbarians to be at once proceeded with. Again the Bogue forts were
captured, and Canton would have been occupied but for another promised
treaty, the terms of which were accepted by Sir Henry Pottinger, who now
superseded Elliot. At this juncture the British fleet sailed northwards,
capturing Amoy and Ningpo, and occupying the island of Chusan. The
further capture of Chapu, where munitions of war in huge quantities were
destroyed, was followed by similar successes at Shanghai and Chinkiang.
At the last-mentioned, a desperate resistance was offered by the Manchu
garrison, who fought heroically against certain defeat, and who, when
all hope was gone, committed suicide in large numbers rather than fall
into the hands of the enemy, from whom, in accordance with prevailing
ideas and with what would have been their own practice, they expected no
quarter. The Chinese troops, as distinguished from the Manchus, behaved
differently; they took to their heels before a shot had been fired.
This behaviour, which seems to be nothing more than arrant cowardice, is
nevertheless open to a more favourable interpretation. The yoke of the
Manchu dynasty was already beginning to press heavily, and these men
felt that they had no particular cause to fight for, certainly not such
a personal cause as then stared the Manchus in the face. The Manchu
soldiers were fighting for their all: their very supremacy was at stake;
while many of the Chinese troops were members of the Triad Society, the
chief object of which was to get rid of the alien dynasty. It is thus,
too, that we can readily explain the assistance afforded to the enemy
by numerous Cantonese, and the presence of many as servants on board the
vessels of our fleet; they did not help us or accompany us from any
lack of patriotism, of which virtue Chinese annals have many striking
examples to show, but because they were entirely out of sympathy with
their rulers, and would have been glad to see them overthrown, coupled
of course with the tempting pay and good treatment offered by the

It now remained to take Nanking, and thither the fleet proceeded
in August, 1842, with that purpose in view. This move the Chinese
authorities promptly anticipated by offering to come to terms in a
friendly way; and in a short time conditions of peace were arranged
under an important instrument, known as the Treaty of Nanking. Its
chief clauses provided for the opening to British trade of Canton, Amoy,
Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai, at which all British subjects were
to enjoy the rights of extraterritoriality, being subject to the
jurisdiction of their own officials only; also, for the cession to
England of the island of Hongkong, and for the payment of a lump sum of
about five million pounds as compensation for loss of opium, expenses of
the war, etc. All prisoners were to be released, and there was a special
amnesty for such Chinese as had given their services to the British
during the war. An equality of status between the officials of both
nations was further conceded, and suitable rules were to be drawn up for
the regulation of trade. The above treaty having been duly ratified by
Tao Kuang and by Queen Victoria, it must then have seemed to British
merchants that a new and prosperous era had really dawned. But they
counted without the ever-present desire of the great bulk of the Chinese
people to see the last of the Manchus; and the Triad Society, stimulated
no doubt by the recent British successes, had already shown signs of
unusual activity when, in 1850, the Emperor died, and was succeeded by
his fourth son, who reigned under the title of Hsien Fêng (or Hien Fong
= universal plenty).


Hsien Fêng came to the throne at the age of nineteen, and found himself
in possession of a heritage which showed evident signs of going rapidly
to pieces. His father, in the opinion of many competent Chinese, had
been sincerely anxious for the welfare of his country; on the other
hand, he had failed to learn anything from the lessons he had received
at the hands of foreigners, towards whom his attitude to the last was
of the bow-wow order. On one occasion, indeed, he borrowed a classical
phrase, and referring to the intrusions of the barbarian, declared
roundly that he would allow no man to snore alongside of his bed.
Brought up in this spirit, Hsien Fêng had already begun to exhibit an
anti-foreign bias, when he found himself in the throes of a struggle
which speedily reduced the European question to quite insignificant

A clever young Cantonese, named Hung Hsiu-ch`üan, from whom great things
were expected, failed, in 1833, to secure the first degree at the usual
public examination. Four years later, when twenty-four years of age, he
made another attempt, only, however, to be once more rejected. Chagrin
at this second failure brought on melancholia, and he began to see
visions; and later on, while still in this depressed state of mind, he
turned his attention to some Christian tracts which had been given to
him on his first appearance at the examination, but which he had so far
allowed to remain unread. In these he discovered what he thought were
interpretations of his earlier dreams, and soon managed to persuade
himself that he had been divinely chosen to bring to his countrymen a
knowledge of the true God.

In one sense this would only have been reversion to a former condition,
for in ancient times a simple monotheism formed the whole creed of the
Chinese people; but Hung went much further, and after having become head
of a Society of God, he started a sect of professing Christians, and
set to work to collect followers, styling himself the Brother of Christ.
Gradually, the authorities became aware of his existence, and also of
the fact that he was drawing together a following on a scale which
might prove dangerous to the public peace. It was then that force of
circumstances changed his status from that of a religious reformer
to that of a political adventurer; and almost simultaneously with
the advent of Hsien Fêng to the Imperial power, the long-smouldering
discontent with Manchu rule, carefully fostered by the organization of
the Triad society, broke into open rebellion. A sort of holy war was
proclaimed against the Manchus, stigmatized as usurpers and idolaters,
who were to be displaced by a native administration, called the T`ai
P`ing (great peace) Heavenly Dynasty, at the head of which Hung placed
himself, with the title of "Heavenly King," in allusion to the Christian
principles on which this new departure was founded.

"Our Heavenly King," so ran the rebel proclamations, "has received a
divine commission to exterminate the Manchus utterly, men, women, and
children, with all idolaters, and to possess the empire as its true
sovereign. For the empire and everything in it is his; its mountains
and rivers, its broad lands and public treasuries; you and all that
you have, your family, males and females alike, from yourself to your
youngest child, and your property, from your patrimonial estates to the
bracelet on your infant's arm. We command the services of all, and we
take everything. All who resist us are rebels and idolatrous demons, and
we kill them without sparing; but whoever acknowledges our Heavenly King
and exerts himself in our service shall have full reward,--due honour
and station in the armies and court of the Heavenly Dynasty."

The T`ai-p`ings now got rid of the chief outward sign of allegiance to
the Manchus, by ceasing to shave the forepart of the head, and allowing
all their hair to grow long, from which they were often spoken of at
the time--and the name still survives--as the long-haired rebels. Their
early successes were phenomenal; they captured city after city, moving
northwards through Kuangsi into Hunan, whence, after a severe check at
Ch`ang-sha, the provincial capital, the siege of which they were forced
to raise, they reached and captured, among others, the important cities
of Wu-ch`ang, Kiukiang, and An-ch`ing, on the Yangtsze. The next stage
was to Nanking, a city occupying an important strategic position,
and famous as the capital of the empire in the fourth and fourteenth
centuries. Here the Manchu garrison offered but a feeble resistance,
the only troops who fought at all being Chinese; within ten days (March,
1853) the city was in the hands of the T`ai-p`ings; all Manchus,--men,
women, and children, said to number no fewer than twenty thousand,--were
put to the sword; and in the same month, Hung was formally proclaimed
first Emperor of the T`ai P`ing Heavenly Dynasty, Nanking from this date
receiving the name of the Heavenly City. So far, the generals who had
been sent to oppose his progress had effected nothing. One of these was
Commissioner Lin, of opium fame, who had been banished and recalled,
and was then living in retirement after having successfully held several
high offices. His health was not equal to the effort, and he died on his
way to take up his post.

After the further capture of Chinkiang, a feat which created a
considerable panic at Shanghai, a force was detached from the main body
of the T`ai-p`ings, and dispatched north for no less a purpose than the
capture of Peking. Apparently a fool-hardy project, it was one that came
nearer to realization than the most sanguine outsider could possibly
have expected. The army reached Tientsin, which is only eighty miles
from the capital; but when there, a slight reverse, together with other
unexplained reasons, resulted in a return (1855) of the troops without
having accomplished their object. Meanwhile, the comparative ease with
which the T`ai-p`ings had set the Manchus at defiance, and continued
to hold their own, encouraged various outbreaks in other parts of the
empire; until at length more systematic efforts were made to put a stop
to the present impossible condition of affairs.

Opportunity just now was rather on the side of the Imperialists, as the
futile expedition to Peking had left the rebels in a somewhat aimless
state, not quite knowing what to do next. It is true that they were busy
spreading the T`ai-p`ing conception of Christianity, in establishing
schools, and preparing an educational literature to meet the exigencies
of the time. They achieved the latter object by building anew on the
lines, but not in the spirit, of the old. Thus the Trimetrical Classic,
the famous schoolboy's handbook, a veritable guide to knowledge in which
a variety of subjects are lightly touched upon, was entirely rewritten.
The form, rhyming stanzas with three words to each line, was preserved;
but instead of beginning with the familiar Confucian dogma that man's
nature is entirely good at his birth and only becomes depraved by later
environment, we find the story of the Creation, taken from the first
chapter of Genesis.

By 1857, Imperialist troops were drawing close lines around the rebels,
who had begun to lose rather than to gain ground. An-ch`ing and Nanking,
the only two cities which remained to them, were blockaded, and the
Manchu plan was simply to starve the enemy out. During this period we
hear little of the Emperor, Hsien Fêng; and what we do hear is not to
his advantage. He had become a confirmed debauchee, in the hands of a
degraded clique, whose only contribution to the crisis was a suggested
issue of paper money and debasement of the popular coinage. Among his
generals, however, there was now one, whose name is still a household
word all over the empire, and who initiated the first checks which led
to the ultimate suppression of the rebellion. Tsêng Kuo-fan had been
already employed in high offices, when, in 1853, he was first ordered
to take up arms against the T`ai-p`ings. After some reverses, he entered
upon a long course of victories by which the rebels were driven from
most of their strongholds; and in 1859, he submitted a plan for an
advance on Nanking, which was approved and ultimately carried out.
Meanwhile, the plight of the besieged rebels in Nanking had become so
unbearable that something had to be done. A sortie on a large scale was
accordingly organized, and so successful was it that the T`ai-p`ings not
only routed the besieging army, but were able to regain large tracts of
territory, capturing at the same time huge stores of arms and munitions
of war. These victories were in reality the death-blow to the rebel
cause, for the brutal cruelty then displayed to the people at large was
of such a character as to alienate completely the sympathy of thousands
who might otherwise have been glad to see the end of the Manchus. Among
other acts of desolation, the large and beautiful city of Soochow
was burnt and looted, an outrage for which the T`ai-p`ings were held
responsible, and regarding which there is a pathetic tale told by an
eye-witness of the ruins; in this instance, however, if indeed in no
others, the acts of vandalism in question were committed by Imperialist

It is with the T`ai-p`ing rebellion that we associate _likin_, a tax
which has for years past been the bugbear of the foreign merchant in
China. The term means "thousandth-part money," that is, the thousandth
part of a _tael_ or Chinese ounce of silver, say one _cash_; and it was
originally applied to a tax of one _cash_ per tael on all sales, said
to have been voluntarily imposed on themselves by the people, as a
temporary measure, with a view to make up the deficiency in the land-tax
caused by the rebellion. It was to be set apart for military purposes
only--hence its common name, "war-tax"; but it soon drifted into the
general body of taxation, and became a serious impost on foreign trade.
We first hear of it in 1852, as collected by the Governor of Shantung;
to hear the last of it has long been the dream of those who wish to see
the expansion of trade with China.

Tsêng Kuo-fan was now (1860) appointed Imperial War Commissioner as
well as Viceroy of the Two Kiang (= provinces of Kiangsi and Kiangsu +
Anhui). He had already been made a _bataru_, a kind of order instituted
by the first Manchu Emperor Shun Chih, as a reward for military prowess;
and had also received the Yellow Riding Jacket from the Emperor Hsien
Fêng, who drew off the jacket he was himself wearing at the time, and
placed it on the shoulders of the loyal and successful general. In 1861
he succeeded in recapturing An-ch`ing and other places; and with this
city as his headquarters, siege was forthwith laid to Nanking.

The Imperialist forces were at this juncture greatly strengthened by
the appointments, on Tsêng's recommendation, of two notable men, Tso
Tsung-t`ang and Li Hung-chang, as Governors of Chehkiang and Kiangsu
respectively. Assistance, too, came from another and most unexpected
quarter. An American adventurer, named Ward, a man of considerable
military ability, organized a small force of foreigners, which he led to
such purpose against the T`ai-p`ings, that he rapidly gathered into its
ranks a large if motley crowd of foreigners and Chinese, all equally
bent on plunder, and with that end in view submitting to the discipline
necessary to success. A long run of victories gained for this force the
title of the Ever Victorious Army; until at length Ward was killed in
battle. He was buried at Sungkiang, near Shanghai, a city which he had
retaken from the T`ai-p`ings, and there a shrine was erected to his
memory, and for a long time--perhaps even now--offerings were made
to his departed spirit. An attempt was made to replace him by another
American named Burgevine, who had been Ward's second in command. This
man, however, was found to be incapable and was superceded; and in 1863
Major Gordon, R.E., was allowed by the British authorities to take over
command of what was then an army of about five thousand men, and to act
in co-operation with Tsêng Kuo-fan and Li Hung-chang. Burgevine shortly
afterwards went over to the rebels with about three hundred men, and
finally came to a tragic end.

Gordon's appointment to the work which will always be associated
with his name, was speedily followed by disastrous results to the
T`ai-p`ings. The Ever Victorious troops, who had recently been worsted
in more than one encounter with their now desperate enemies, began to
retrieve their reputation, greatly stimulated by the regular pay which
Gordon always insisted upon. Towards the close of the year, the siege
of Soochow ended in a capitulation on terms which Gordon understood
to include a pardon for the eight T`ai-p`ing "princes" engaged in
its defence. These eight were hurriedly decapitated by order of Li
Hung-chang, and Gordon immediately resigned, after having searched that
same night, so the story goes, revolver in hand, for Li Hung-chang,
whose brains he had determined to blow out on the spot. The Emperor sent
him a medal and a present of about £3,000, both of which he declined;
and Imperial affairs would again have been in a bad way, but that
Gordon, yielding to a sense of duty, agreed to resume command. Foreign
interests had begun to suffer badly; trade was paralysed; and something
had to be done. Further successes under Gordon's leadership reduced
the T`ai-p`ings to their last extremity. Only Nanking remained to be
captured, and that was already fully invested by Tsêng Kuo-fan. Gordon
therefore laid down his command, and was rewarded with the title of
Provincial Commander-in-Chief, and also with the bestowal of the Yellow
Riding Jacket. A month or so later (July, 1864), Nanking was carried by
storm, defended bravely to the last by the only remaining "prince," the
Heavenly King himself having taken poison three weeks beforehand.
This prince escaped with the new king, a boy of sixteen, who had just
succeeded his father; but he was soon caught and executed, having first
been allowed time to write a short history of the movement from the
T`ai-p`ing point of view. The boy shared his fate. The Imperial edicts
of this date show clearly what a sense of relief came over the Manchu
court when once it could be said definitively that the great rebellion
was over. On the other hand, there were not wanting some foreigners who
would have liked to see the Manchus overthrown, and who severely blamed
the British Government for helping to bolster up a dynasty already in
the last stage of decay; for it seems to be an indubitable fact that but
for British intervention, the rebellion would ultimately have succeeded
in that particular direction.

During a great part of the last eight years described above, an ordinary
observer would have said that the Manchus had already sufficient
troubles on hand, and would be slow to provoke further causes of
anxiety. It is none the less true, however, that at one of the most
critical periods of the rebellion, China was actually at war with the
very power which ultimately came to the rescue. In 1856 the Viceroy of
Canton, known to foreigners as Governor Yeh, a man who had gained favour
at the Manchu court by his wholesale butchery of real and suspected
rebels, arrested twelve Chinese sailors on board the "Arrow," a
Chinese-owned vessel lying at Canton, which had been licensed at
Hongkong to sail under the British flag, and at the same time the flag
was hauled down by Yeh's men. Had this been an isolated act, it is
difficult to see why very grave circumstances need have followed, and
perhaps Justin McCarthy's condemnation of our Consul, Mr (afterwards Sir
Harry) Parkes, as "fussy," because he sent at once to Hongkong for armed
assistance, might in such case be allowed to stand unchallenged; but
it must be remembered that Yeh was all the time refusing to foreigners
rights which had been already conceded under treaty, and that action
such as Parkes took, against an adversary such as Yeh, was absolutely
necessary either to mend or end the situation. Accordingly, his action
led to what was at first an awkward state of reprisals, in which some
American men-of-war joined for grievances of their own; forts being
attacked and occupied, the foreign houses of business at Canton being
burned down, and rewards offered for foreigners' heads. In January,
1857, an attempt was actually made in Hongkong to get rid of all
foreigners at one fell stroke, in which plot there is no doubt that the
local officials at Canton were deeply implicated. The bread was one day
found to be poisoned with arsenic, but so heavily that little mischief
was done. The only possible end to this tension was war; and by the end
of the year a joint British and French force, with Lord Elgin and Baron
Gros as plenipotentiaries, was on the spot. Canton was captured after
a poor resistance; and Governor Yeh, whose enormous bulk made escape
difficult, was captured and banished to Calcutta, where he died. On the
voyage he sank into a kind of stupor, taking no interest whatever in his
new surroundings; and when asked by Alabaster, who accompanied him as
interpreter, why he did not read, he pointed to his stomach, the Chinese
receptacle for learning, and said that there was nothing worth reading
except the Confucian Canon, and that he had already got all that inside
him. After his departure the government of the city was successfully
directed by British and French authorities, acting in concert with two
high Manchu officials.

Lord Elgin then decided to proceed forth, in the hope of being able
to make satisfactory arrangements for future intercourse; but the
obstructive policy of the officials on his arrival at the Peiho
compelled him to attack and capture the Taku forts, and finally, to take
up his residence in Tientsin. The lips, as the Chinese say, being now
gone, the teeth began to feel cold; the court was in a state of panic,
and within a few weeks a treaty was signed (June 26, 1858) containing,
among other concessions to England, the right to have a diplomatic
representative stationed in Peking, and permission to trade in the
interior of China. It would naturally be supposed that Lord Elgin's
mission was now ended, and indeed he went home; the Emperor, however,
would not hear of ratifications of the treaty being exchanged in Peking,
and in many other ways it was made plain that there was no intention of
its stipulations being carried out. There was the example of Confucius,
who had been captured by rebels and released on condition that he would
not travel to the State of Wei. Thither, notwithstanding, he continued
his route; and when asked by a disciple if it was right to violate
his oath, he replied, "This was a forced oath; the spirits do not hear

By June, 1859, another Anglo-French force was at the mouth of the Peiho,
only to find the Taku forts now strongly fortified, and the river staked
and otherwise obstructed. The allied fleet, after suffering considerable
damage, with much loss of life, was compelled to retire, greatly to the
joy and relief of the Emperor, who at last saw the barbarian reduced to
his proper status. It was on this occasion that Commander Tatnell of the
U.S. navy, who was present, strictly speaking, as a spectator only, in
complete violation of international law, of which luckily the Chinese
knew nothing at that date, lent efficient aid by towing boat-loads of
British marines into action, justifying his conduct by a saying which
will always be gratefully associated with his name,--"Blood is thicker
than water."

By August, 1860, thirteen thousand British troops, seven thousand
French, and two thousand five hundred Cantonese coolies, were ready to
make another attempt. This time there were no frontal attacks on the
forts from the seaward; capture was effected, after a severe struggle,
by land from the rear, a feat which was generally regarded by the
Tartar soldiery as most unsportsmanlike. High Manchu officials were now
hurriedly dispatched from Peking to Tientsin to stop by fair promises
the further advance of the allies; but the British and French
plenipotentiaries decided to move up to T`ung-chow, a dozen miles or so
from the capital. It was on this march that Parkes, Loch, and others,
while carrying out orders under a flag of truce, were treacherously
seized by the soldiers of Sêng-ko-lin-sin, the Manchu prince and general
(familiar to the British troops as "Sam Collinson"), who had just
experienced a severe defeat at the taking of the Taku forts. After
being treated with every indignity, the prisoners, French and English,
numbering over thirty in all, were forwarded to Peking. There they were
miserably tortured, and many of them succumbed; but events were moving
quickly now, and relief was at hand for those for whom it was not
already too late. Sêng-ko-lin-sin and his vaunted Tartar cavalry were
completely routed in several encounters, and Peking lay at the mercy of
the foreigner, the Emperor having fled to Jehol, where he died in less
than a year. Only then did Prince Kung, a younger brother of Hsien Fêng,
who had been left to bear the brunt of foreign resentment, send back, in
a state too terrible for words, fourteen prisoners, less than half the
original number of those so recently captured. Something in the form of
a punitive act now became necessary, to mark the horror with which this
atrocious treatment of prisoners by the Manchu court was regarded among
the countrymen of the victims. Accordingly, orders were given to burn
down the Summer Palace, appropriately condemned as being the favourite
residence of the Emperor, and also the scene of the unspeakable tortures
inflicted. This palace was surrounded by a beautiful pleasance lying on
the slope of the western hills, about nine miles to the north-west of
Peking. Yüan-ming Yüan, or the "Bright Round Garden," to give it its
proper name, had been laid out by the Jesuit fathers on the plan of
the Trianon at Versailles, and was packed with valuable porcelain, old
bronzes, and every conceivable kind of curio, most of which were looted
or destroyed by the infuriated soldiery.

The ratification of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858) was now completed, and
before the end of the year the allied forces were gone, save and except
garrisons at Tientsin and Taku, which were to remain until the indemnity
was paid.


On the death of the Emperor, a plot was concocted by eight members
of the extreme anti-foreign party at Court, who claimed to have been
appointed Regents, to make away with the Empress Dowager, the concubine
mother, known as the Western Empress, of the five-year-old child just
proclaimed under the title of Chi Hsiang (good omen), and also the late
Emperor's three brothers, thus securing to themselves complete control
of the administration. Prince Kung, however, managed to be "first at the
fire," and in accordance with the Chinese proverb, was therefore "first
with his cooking." Having got wind of the scheme, in concert with the
two Empresses Dowager, who had secured possession of the Emperor, he
promptly caused the conspirators to be seized. Two of them, Imperial
princes, were allowed to commit suicide, and the others were either
executed or banished, while Prince Kung and the two Empresses formed a
joint regency for the direction of public affairs, after changing the
style of the reign from Chi Hsiang to T`ung Chih (united rule).

The position of these two Empresses was a curious one. The Empress
Dowager _par excellence_--for there is only one legal wife in China--had
no children; a concubine had provided the heir to the throne, and had in
consequence been raised to the rank of Western Empress, subordinate only
to the childless Eastern Empress. Of the latter, there is nothing to be
said, except that she remained a cipher to the end of her life; of the
concubine, a great deal has been said, much of which is untrue. Taken
from an ordinary Manchu family into the palace, she soon gained an
extraordinary influence over Hsien Fêng, and began to make her voice
heard in affairs of State. Always on the side of determined measures,
she had counselled the Emperor to remain in Peking and face the
barbarians; she is further believed to have urged the execution of
Parkes and Loch, the order luckily arriving too late to be carried out.
For the next three years the Regents looked anxiously for the final
collapse of the T`ai-p`ings, having meanwhile to put up with the hateful
presence of foreign diplomats, now firmly established within the
Manchu section of the city of Peking. No sooner was the great rebellion
entirely suppressed (1864), than another rising broke out. The Nien-fei,
or Twist Rebels, said to have been so called because they wore as a
badge turbans twisted with grease, were mounted banditti who, here
to-day and gone to-morrow, for several years committed much havoc in
the northern provinces of China, until finally suppressed by Tso

Turkestan was the next part of the empire to claim attention. A son and
successor of Jehangir, ruling as vassal of China at Khokand, had been
murdered by his lieutenant, Yakoob Beg, who, in 1866, had set himself
up as Ameer of Kashgaria, throwing off the Manchu yoke and attracting to
his standard large numbers of discontented Mahometans from all quarters.
His attack upon the Dunganis, who had risen on their own account and had
spread rebellion far and wide between the province of Shensi and Kuldja,
caused Russia to step in and annex Kuldja before it could fall into
his hands. Still, he became master of a huge territory; and in 1874 the
title of Athalik Ghazi, "Champion Father," was conferred upon him by the
Ameer of Bokhara. He is also spoken of as the Andijani, from Andijan, a
town in Khokhand whence he and many of his followers came. Luckily for
the Manchus, they were able to avail themselves of the services of a
Chinese general whose extraordinary campaign on this occasion has
marked him as a commander of the first order. Tso Tsung-k`ang, already
distinguished by his successes against the T`ia-p`ings and the Nien-fei,
began by operations, in 1869, against the Mahometans in Shensi. Fighting
his way through difficulties caused by local outbreaks and mutinies
in his rear, he had captured by 1873 the important city of Su-chow in
Kansuh, and by 1874 his advance-guard had reached Hami. There he was
forced to settle down and raise a crop in order to feed his troops,
supplies being very uncertain. In 1876 Urumtsi was recovered; and in
1877, Turfan, Harashar, Yarkand, and Kashgar. At this juncture, Yakoob
Beg was assassinated, after having held Kashgaria for twelve years.
Khoten fell on January 2, 1878. This wonderful campaign was now over,
but China had lost Kuldja. A Manchu official, named Ch`ung-hou, who was
sent to St Petersburg to meet Russian diplomats on their own ground, the
main object being to recover this lost territory, was condemned to death
on his return for the egregious treaty he had managed to negotiate, and
was only spared at the express request of Queen Victoria; he will be
mentioned again shortly. His error was afterwards retrieved by a young
and brilliant official, son of the great Tsêng Kuo-fan, and later
a familiar figure as the Marquis Tsêng, Minister at the Court of St
James's, by whom Kuldja was added once more to the Manchu empire.

The year 1868 is remarkable for a singular episode. The Regents and
other high authorities in Peking decided, at whose instigation can only
be surmised, to send an embassy to the various countries of Europe and
America, in order to bring to the notice of foreign governments China's
right, as an independent Power, to manage her internal affairs without
undue interference from outside. The mission, which included two Chinese
officials, was placed under the leadership of Mr Burlingame, American
Minister at Peking, who, in one of his speeches, took occasion to say
that China was simply longing to cement friendly relations with foreign
powers, and that within some few short years there would be "a shining
cross on every hill in the Middle Kingdom."

Burlingame died early in 1870, before his mission was completed, and
only four months before the Tientsin Massacre threw a shadow of doubt
over his optimistic pronouncements. The native population at Tientsin
had been for some time irritated by the height to which, contrary to
their own custom, the towers of the Roman Catholic Cathedral had been
carried; and rumours had also been circulated that behind the lofty
walls and dark mysterious portals of the Catholic foundling hospital,
children's eyes and hearts were extracted from still warm corpses
to furnish medicines for the barbarian pharmacopoeia. On June 21,
the cathedral and the establishment of sisters of mercy, the French
Consulate, and other buildings, were pillaged and burnt by a mob
composed partly of the rowdies of the place and partly of soldiers who
happened to be temporarily quartered there. All the priests and sisters
were brutally murdered, as also the French Consul and other foreigners.
For this outrage eighteen men were executed, a large indemnity was
exacted, and the superintendent of trade, the same Manchu official whose
subsequent failure at St Petersburg has been already noticed, was sent
to France with a letter of apology from the Emperor.

In 1872 T`ung Chih was married, and in the following year took over
the reins of government. Thereupon, the foreign Ministers pressed for
personal interviews; and after much obstruction on the part of the
Manchu court, the first audience was granted. This same year saw the
collapse of the Panthays, a tribe of Mahometans in Yünnan who, so far
back as 1855, had begun to free themselves from Chinese rule. They chose
as their leader an able co-religionist named Tu Wên-hsiu, who was styled
Sultan Suleiman, and he sent agents to Burma to buy arms and munitions
of war; after which, secure in the natural fortress of Ta-li, he was
soon master of all western Yünnan. In 1863 he repulsed with heavy loss
two armies sent against him from the provincial capital; but the end
of the T`ai-p`ing rebellion set free the whole resources of the empire
against him, and he remained inactive while the Imperialists advanced
leisurely westwards. In 1871 he tried vainly to obtain aid from England,
sending over his son, Prince Hassan, for that purpose. The following
year saw the enemy at the gates of Ta-li, and by and by there was a
treacherous surrender of an important position. Then a promise of
an amnesty was obtained at the price of Tu's head, and an enormous
indemnity. On January 15, 1873, his family having all committed suicide,
the Sultan passed for the last time through the crowded streets of Ta-li
on his way to the camp of his victorious adversary. He arrived there
senseless, having taken poison before setting forth. His corpse was
beheaded and his head was forwarded to the provincial capital, and
thence in a jar of honey to Peking.

His conqueror, whose name is not worth recording, was one of those
comparatively rare Chinese monsters who served their Manchu masters only
too well. Eleven days after the Sultan's death, he invited the chief men
of the town to a feast, and after putting them all to death, gave the
signal for a general massacre, in which thirty thousand persons are said
to have been butchered.

In 1874 the Japanese appear on the scene, adding fresh troubles to those
with which the Manchus were already encompassed. Some sailors from the
Loo-choo Islands, over which Japanese sovereignty had been successfully
maintained, were murdered by the savages on the east coast of Formosa;
and failing to obtain redress, Japan sent a punitive expedition to
the island, and began operations on her own account, but withdrew on
promises of amendment and payment of all expenses incurred.


In 1875 the Emperor T`ung Chih died of smallpox, and with his death the
malign influence of his mother comes more freely into play. The young
Empress was about to become a mother; and had she borne a son, her
position as mother of the baby Emperor would have been of paramount
importance, while the grandmother, the older Empress Dowager, would have
been relegated to a subordinate status. Consequently,--it may now be
said, having regard to subsequent happenings,--the death of the Empress
followed that of her husband at an indecently short interval, for no
particular reason of health; and the old Empress Dowager became supreme.
In order to ensure her supremacy, she had previously, on the very day
of the Emperor's death, caused the succession to be allotted, in utter
violation of established custom, to a first cousin, making him heir to
the Emperor Hsien Fêng, instead of naming one of a lower generation who,
as heir to T`ung Chih, would have been qualified to sacrifice to the
spirit of his adopted father. Thus, the late Emperor was left without a
son, and his spirit without a ministrant at ancestral worship, the only
consolation being that when a son should be born to the new Emperor
(aged four), that child was to become son by adoption to his late
Majesty, T`ung Chih. Remonstrances, even from Manchus, were soon heard
on all sides; but to these the Empress Dowager paid no attention until
four years afterwards (1879), on the occasion of the deferred funeral of
the late Emperor, when a censor, named Wu K`o-tu, committed suicide
at the mausoleum, leaving behind him a memorial in which he strongly
condemned the action of the two Empresses Dowager, still regarded
officially as joint regents, and called for a re-arrangement of the
succession, under which the late Emperor would be duly provided with an
heir. Nothing, however, came of this sacrifice, except promises, until
1900. A son of Prince Tuan, within a few months to espouse the Boxer
cause, was then made heir to his late Majesty, as required; but at the
beginning of 1901, this appointment was cancelled and the spirit of the
Emperor T`ung Chih was left once more unprovided for in the ancestral
temple. The first cousin in question, who reigned as Kuang Hsü (=
brilliant succession), was not even the next heir in his own generation;
but he was a child of four, and that suited the plans of the Empress
Dowager, who, having appointed herself Regent, now entered openly upon
the career for which she will be remembered in history. What she would
have done if the Empress had escaped and given birth to a son, can only
be a matter of conjecture.

In 1876 the first resident Envoy ever sent by China to Great Britain,
or to any other nation, was accredited to the Court of St James's.
Kuo Sung-tao, who was chosen for the post, was a fine scholar; he made
several attempts on the score of health to avoid what then seemed to all
Chinese officials--no Manchu would have been sent--to be a dangerous and
unpleasant duty, but was ultimately obliged to succeed. It was he
who, on his departure in 1879, said to Lord Salisbury that he
liked everything about the English very much, except their shocking

The question of railways for China had long been simmering in the minds
of enterprising foreigners; but it was out of the question to think that
the Government would allow land to be sold for such a purpose; therefore
there would be no sellers. In 1876 a private company succeeded in
obtaining the necessary land by buying up connecting strips between
Shanghai and Woosung at the mouth of the river, about eight miles in
all. The company then proceeded to lay down a miniature railway, which
was an object of much interest to the native, whose amusement soon took
the form of a trip there and back. Political influence was then brought
to bear, and the whole thing was purchased by the Government; the rails
were torn up and sent to Formosa, where they were left to rot upon the

The suppression of rebellion in Turkestan and Yünnan has already been
mentioned; also the retrocession of Kuldja, which brings us down to the
year 1881, when the Eastern Empress died. Death must have been more
or less a relief to this colourless personage, who had been entirely
superseded on a stage on which by rights she should have played the
leading part, and who had been terrorized during her last years by her
more masterful colleague.

In 1882 there were difficulties with France over Tongking; these,
however, were adjusted, and in 1884 a convention was signed by Captain
Fournier and Li Hung-chang. A further dispute then arose as to a
breach of the convention by the Chinese, and an _état de représailles_
followed, during which the French destroyed the Chinese fleet. After
the peace which was arranged in 1885, a few years of comparative
tranquillity ensued; the Emperor was married (1889), and relieved his
aunt of her duties as Regent.

Japan, in earlier centuries contemptuously styled the Dwarf-nation, and
always despised as a mere imitator and brain-picker of Chinese wisdom,
now swims definitively into the ken of the Manchu court. The Formosan
imbroglio had been forgotten as soon as it was over, and the recent
rapid progress of Japan on Western lines towards national strength had
been ignored by all Manchu statesmen, each of whom lived in hope that
the deluge would not come in his own time. So far back as 1885, in
consequence of serious troubles involving much bloodshed, the two
countries had agreed that neither should send troops to Korea without
due notification to the other. Now, in 1894, China violated this
contract by dispatching troops, at the request of the king of Korea,
whose throne was threatened by a serious rebellion, without sufficient
warning to Japan, and further, by keeping a body of these troops at the
Korean capital even when the rebellion was at an end. A disastrous war
ensued. The Japanese were victorious on land and sea; the Chinese fleet
was destroyed; Port Arthur was taken; and finally, after surrendering
Wei-hai-wei (1895), to which he had retired with the remnant of
his fleet, Admiral Ting, well known as "a gallant sailor and true
gentleman," committed suicide together with four of his captains. Li
Hung-chang was then sent to Japan to sue for peace, and while there he
was shot in the cheek by a fanatical member of the Soshi class. This act
brought him much sympathy--he was then seventy-two years old; and in the
treaty of Shimonoseki, which he negotiated, better terms perhaps were
obtained than would otherwise have been the case. The terms granted
included the independence of Korea, for centuries a tribute-paying
vassal of China, and the cession of the island of Formosa. Japan had
occupied the peninsula on which stands the impregnable fortress of Port
Arthur, and had captured the latter in a few hours; but she was not
to be allowed to keep them. A coalition of European powers, Russia,
Germany, and France--England refused to join--decided that it would
never do to let Japan possess Port Arthur, and forced her to accept a
money payment instead. So it was restored to China--for the moment; and
at the same time a republic was declared in Formosa; but of this the
Japanese made short work.

[I once read the memoirs of a Japanese foreign minister from this
period. He didn't think much of most of the Chinese diplomats, whom he
considered completely untrustworthy.--JB.]

The following year was marked by an unusual display of initiative on the
part of the Emperor, who now ordered the introduction of railways; but
in 1897 complications with foreign powers rather gave a check to
these aspirations. Two German Catholic priests were murdered, and as
a punitive measure Germany seized Kiaochow in Shantung; while in 1898
Russia "leased" Port Arthur, and as a counterblast, England thought
it advisable to "lease" Wei-hai-wai. So soon as the Manchu court had
recovered from the shock of these events, and had resumed its normal
state of torpor, it was rudely shaken from within by a series of edicts
which peremptorily commanded certain reforms of a most far-reaching
description. For instance, the great public examinations, which had been
conducted on much the same system for seven or eight centuries past,
were to be modified by the introduction of subjects suggested by recent
intercourse with Western nations. There was to be a university in
Peking, and the temples, which cover the empire in all directions, were
to be closed to religious services and opened for educational purposes.
The Manchus, indeed, have never shown any signs of a religious
temperament. There had not been, under the dynasty in question, any
such wave of devotional fervour as was experienced under more than one
previous dynasty. Neither the dreams of Buddhism, nor the promises
of immortality held out by the Taoists, seem to have influenced in a
religious, as opposed to a superstitious sense, the rather Boeotian mind
of the Manchu. The learned emperors of the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries accepted Confucianism as sufficient for every-day humanity,
and did all in their power to preserve it as a quasi-State religion.
Thus, Buddhism was not favoured at the expense of Taoism, nor _vice
versa_; Mahometanism was tolerated so long as there was no suspicion of
disloyalty; Christianity, on the other hand, was bitterly opposed,
being genuinely regarded for a long time as a cloak for territorial

To return to the reforms. Young Manchus of noble family were to be sent
abroad for an education on wider lines than it was possible to obtain at
home. This last was in every way a desirable measure. No Manchu had ever
visited the West; all the officials previously sent to foreign countries
had been Chinese. But other proposed changes were not of equal value.

At the back of this reform movement was a small band of earnest men who
suffered from too much zeal, which led to premature action. A plot
was conceived, under which the Empress Dowager was to be arrested and
imprisoned; but this was betrayed by Yüan Shih-k`ai, and she turned the
tables by suddenly arresting and imprisoning the Emperor, and promptly
decapitating all the conspirators, with the exception of K`ang Yu-wei,
who succeeded in escaping. He had been the moving spirit of the abortive
revolution; he was a fine scholar, and had completely gained the ear
of the Emperor. The latter became henceforth to the end of his life a
person of no importance, while China, for the third time in history,
passed under the dominion of a woman. There was no secret about it; the
Empress Dowager, popularly known as the Old Buddha, had succeeded in
terrorizing every one who came in contact with her, and her word was
law. It was said of one of the Imperial princes that he was "horribly
afraid of her Majesty, and that when she spoke to him he was on
tenter-hooks, as though thorns pricked him, and the sweat ran down his

All promise of reform now disappeared from the Imperial programme, and
the recent edicts, which had raised premature hope in this direction,
were annulled; the old régime was to prevail once more. The weakness of
this policy was emphasized in the following year (1899), when England
removed from Japan the stigma of extra-territorial jurisdiction, by
which act British defendants, in civil and criminal cases alike, now
became amenable to Japanese tribunals. Japan had set herself to work to
frame a code, and had trained lawyers for the administration of justice;
China had done nothing, content that on her own territory foreigners
and their lawsuits, as above, should be tried by foreign Consuls. One
curious edict of this date had for its object the conferment of duly
graded civil rank, the right to salutes at official visits, and similar
ceremonial privileges, upon Roman Catholic archbishops, bishops, and
priests of the missionary body in China. The Catholic view was that the
missionaries would gain in the eyes of the people if treated with
more deference than the majority of Chinese officials cared to display
towards what was to them an objectionable class; in practice, however,
the system was found to be unworkable, and was ultimately given up.

The autumn of this year witnessed the beginning of the so-called Boxer
troubles. There was great unrest, especially in Shantung, due, it
was said, to ill-feeling between the people at large and converts to
Christianity, and at any rate aggravated by recent foreign acquisitions
of Chinese territory. It was thus that what was originally one of the
periodical anti-dynastic risings, with the usual scion of the Ming
dynasty as figure-head, lost sight of its objective and became a
bloodthirsty anti-foreign outbreak. The story of the siege of the
Legations has been written from many points of view; and most people
know all they want to know of the two summer months in 1900, the
merciless bombardment of a thousand foreigners, with their women and
children, cooped up in a narrow space, and also of the awful butchery
of missionaries, men, women, and children alike, which took place at the
capital of Shansi. Whatever may have been the origin of the movement,
there can be little doubt that it was taken over by the Manchus, with
the complicity of the Empress Dowager, as a means of getting rid of
all the foreigners in China. Considering the extraordinary position the
Empress Dowager had created for herself, it is impossible to believe
that she would not have been able to put an end to the siege by a word,
or even by a mere gesture. She did not do so; and on the relief of the
Legations, for a second time in her life--she had accompanied Hsien Fêng
to Jehol in 1860--she sought safety in an ignominious flight. Meanwhile,
in response to a memorial from the Governor of Shansi, she had sent him
a secret decree, saying, "Slay all foreigners wheresoever you find them;
even though they be prepared to leave your province, yet they must
be slain." A second and more urgent decree said, "I command that all
foreigners, men, women, and children, be summarily executed. Let not
one escape, so that my empire may be purged of this noisome source of
corruption, and that peace may be restored to my loyal subjects." The
first of these decrees had been circulated to all the high provincial
officials, and the result might well have been an indiscriminate
slaughter of foreigners all over China, but for the action of two
Chinese officials, who had already incurred the displeasure of the
Empress Dowager by memorializing against the Boxer policy. These men
secretly changed the word "slay" into "protect," and this is the sense
in which the decree was acted upon by provincial officials generally,
with the exception of the Governor of Shansi, who sent a second
memorial, eliciting the second decree as above. It is impossible to say
how many foreigners owe their lives to this alteration of a word, and
the Empress Dowager herself would scarcely have escaped so easily as she
did, had her cruel order been more fully executed. The trick was soon
discovered, and the two heroes, Yüan Ch`ang and Hsü Ching-ch`êng, were
both summarily beheaded, even though it was to the former that the
Empress Dowager was indebted for information which enabled her to
frustrate the plot against her life in 1898.

Now, at the very moment of departure, she perpetrated a most brutal
crime. A favourite concubine of the Emperor's, who had previously given
cause for offence, urged that his Majesty should not take part in the
flight, but should remain in Peking. For this suggestion the Empress
Dowager caused the miserable girl to be thrown down a well, in spite
of the supplications of the Emperor on her behalf. Then she fled,
ultimately to Hsi-an Fu, the capital of Shensi, and for a year and a
half Peking was rid of her presence. In 1902, she came back with the
Emperor, whose prerogative she still managed to usurp. She declared at
once for reform, and took up the cause with much show of enthusiasm; but
those who knew the Manchu best, decided to "wait and see." She began by
suggesting intermarriage between Manchus and Chinese, which had so far
been prohibited, and advised Chinese women to give up the practice of
footbinding, a custom which the ruling race had never adopted. It was
henceforth to be lawful for Manchus, even of the Imperial family, to
send their sons abroad to be educated,--a step which no Manchu would
be likely to take unless forcibly coerced into doing so. Any spirit
of enterprise which might have been possessed by the founders of the
dynasty had long since evaporated, and all that Manchu nobles asked was
to be allowed to batten in peace upon the Chinese people.

The direct issue of the emperors of the present dynasty and of their
descendants in the male line, dating from 1616, are popularly known as
Yellow Girdles, from a sash of that colour which they habitually wear.
Each generation becomes a degree lower in rank, until they are mere
members of the family with no rank whatever, although they still wear
the girdle and receive a trifling allowance from the government. Thus,
beggars and even thieves are occasionally seen with this badge of
relationship to the throne. Members of the collateral branches of the
Imperial family wear a red girdle, and are known as Gioros, Gioro being
part of the surname--Aisin Gioro = Golden Race--of an early progenitor
of the Manchu emperors.

As a next step in reform, the examination system was to be remodelled,
but not in the one sense in which it would have appealed most to
the Chinese people. Examinations for Manchus have always been held
separately, and the standard attained has always been very far below
that reached by Chinese candidates, so that the scholarship of the
Manchu became long ago a by-word and a joke. Now, in 1904, it was
settled that entry to an official career should be obtainable only
through the modern educational colleges; but this again applied only to
Chinese and not to Manchus. The Manchus have always had wisdom enough to
employ the best abilities they could discover by process of examination
among the Chinese, many of whom have risen from the lowest estate to
the highest positions in the empire, and have proved themselves valuable
servants and staunch upholders of the dynasty. Still, in addition to
numerous other posts, it may be said that all the fat sinecures have
always been the portion of Manchus. For instance, the office of Hoppo,
or superintendent of customs at Canton (abolished 1904), was a position
which was allowed to generate into a mere opportunity for piling a
large fortune in the shortest possible time, no particular ability being
required from the holder of the post, who was always a Manchu.

Then followed a mission to Europe, at the head of which we now find a
Manchu of high rank, an Imperial Duke, sent to study the mysteries of
constitutional government, which was henceforth promised to the people,
so soon as its introduction might be practicable. In the midst of these
attractive promises (1904-5) came the Russo-Japanese war, with all its
surprises. Among other causes to which the Manchu court ascribed the
success of the Japanese, freedom from the opium vice took high rank, and
this led to really serious enactments against the growth and consumption
of opium in China. Continuous and strenuous efforts of philanthropists
during the preceding half century had not produced any results at all;
but now it seemed as though this weakness had been all along the chief
reason for China's failures in her struggles with the barbarian, and it
was to be incontinently stamped out. Ten years' grace was allowed, at
the end of which period there was to be no more opium-smoking in the
empire. One awkward feature was that the Empress Dowager herself was an
opium-smoker; the difficulty, however, was got over by excluding from
the application of the edict of 1906 persons over sixty years of age.
Whatever may be thought of the wisdom of this policy, which so far has
chiefly resulted in the substitution of morphia, cocaine, and alcohol,
the thoroughness and rapidity with which it has been carried out, can
only command the admiration of all; of those most who know China best.


The health of the Emperor, never very good, now began to fail, and by
1908 he was seriously ill; in this same year, too, there were signs
that the Empress Dowager was breaking up. Her last political act of
any importance, except the nomination of the heir to the throne, was
to issue a decree confirming the previous promise of constitutional
government, which was to come into full force within nine years. Not
many weeks later the Emperor died (November 14), the Empress Dowager
having already, while he lay dying, appointed one of his nephews, a
child barely three years old, to succeed him, in the vain hope that she
would thus enjoy a further spell of power until the child should be of
age. But on the following day the Empress Dowager also died; a singular
coincidence which has been attributed to the determination of the
eunuchs and others that the Emperor should not outlive his aunt, for
some time past seen to be "drawing near the wood," lest his reforming
spirit should again jeopardize their nefarious interests.

The Regency devolved upon the Emperor's father, but was not of very long
duration. There was a show of introducing constitutional reform under
the guise of provincial and national assemblies intended to control the
government of the empire; but after all, the final power to accept
or reject their measures was vested in the Emperor, which really left
things very much as they had been. The new charter was not found to be
of much value, and there is little doubt that the Manchus regarded it in
the light of what is known in China as a "dummy document," a measure to
be extolled in theory, but not intended to appear in practice. Suddenly,
in September 1911, the great revolution broke out, and the end came more
rapidly than was expected.

It must not be imagined that this revolution was an inspiration of the
moment; on the contrary, it had been secretly brewing for quite a long
time beforehand. During that period a few persons familiar with China
may have felt that something was coming, but nobody knew exactly what.
Those who accept without reservation the common statement that there is
no concealment possible in a country where everybody is supposed to have
his price, and that due notice of anything important is sure to leak
out, must have been rather astonished when, without any warning, they
found China in the throes of a well-planned revolution, which was
over, with its object gained, almost as soon as the real gravity of
the situation was realized. It is true that under the Manchus access
to official papers of the most private description was always to be
obtained at a moderate outlay; it was thus, for instance, that we were
able to appreciate the inmost feelings of that grim old Manchu, Wo-jen,
who, in 1861, presented a secret memorial to the throne, and stated
therein that his loathing of all foreigners was so great that he longed
to eat their flesh and sleep on their skins.

The guiding spirit of the movement, Sun Yat-sen, is a native of
Kuangtung, where he was born, not very far from Canton, in 1866. After
some early education in Honolulu, he became a student at the College of
Medicine, Kongkong, where he took his diploma in 1892. But his chief aim
in life soon became a political one, and he determined to get rid of the
Manchus. He organized a Young China party in Canton, and in 1895 made
an attempt to seize the city. The plot failed, and fifteen out of the
sixteen conspirators were arrested and executed; Sun Yat-sen alone
escaped. A year later, he was in London, preparing himself for further
efforts by the study of Western forms of government, a very large reward
being offered by the Chinese Government for his body, dead or alive.
During his stay there he was decoyed into the Chinese Legation, and
imprisoned in an upper room, from which he would have been hurried
away to China, probably as a lunatic, to share the fate of his fifteen
fellow-conspirators, but for the assistance of a woman who had been told
off to wait upon him. To her he confided a note addressed to Dr Cantlie,
a personal friend of long standing, under whom he had studied medicine
in Hongkong; and she handed this to her husband, employed as waiter
in the Legation, by whom it was safely delivered. He thus managed to
communicate with the outer world; Lord Salisbury intervened, and he was
released after a fortnight's detention.

Well might Sun Yat-sen now say--

     "They little thought that day of pain
     That one day I should come again."

More a revolutionary than ever, he soon set to work to collect funds
which flowed in freely from Chinese sources in all quarters of the
world. At last, in September 1911, the train was fired, beginning with
the province of Ss{u}ch`uan, and within an incredibly short space of
time, half China was ablaze. By the middle of October the Manchus were
beginning to feel that a great crisis was at hand, and the Regent was
driven to recall Yüan Shih-k`ai, whom he had summarily dismissed
from office two years before, on the conventional plea that Yüan was
suffering from a bad leg, but really out of revenge for his treachery
to the late Emperor, which had brought about the latter's arrest and
practical deposition by the old Empress Dowager in 1898.

To this summons Yüan slily replied that he could not possibly leave
home just then, as his leg was not yet well enough for him to be able
to travel, meaning, of course, to gain time, and be in a position to
dictate his own terms. On the 30th October, when it was already too
late, the baby Emperor, reigning under the year-title Hsüan T`ung (wide
control), published the following edict:--

"I have reigned for three years, and have always acted conscientiously
in the interests of the people, but I have not employed men properly,
not having political skill. I have employed too many nobles in political
positions, which contravenes constitutionalism. On railway matters
someone whom I trusted fooled me, and thus public opinion was opposed.
When I urged reform, the officials and gentry seized the opportunity to
embezzle. When old laws are abolished, high officials serve their own
ends. Much of the people's money has been taken, but nothing to
benefit the people has been achieved. On several occasions edicts
have promulgated laws, but none of them have been obeyed. People are
grumbling, yet I do not know; disasters loom ahead, but I do not see.

"The Ss{u}ch`uan trouble first occurred; the Wu-ch`ang rebellion
followed; now alarming reports come from Shansi and Hunan. In Canton
and Kiangsi riots appear. The whole empire is seething. The minds of the
people are perturbed. The spirits of our nine late emperors are unable
properly to enjoy sacrifices, while it is feared the people will suffer

"All these are my own fault, and hereby I announce to the world that
I swear to reform, and, with our soldiers and people, to carry out the
constitution faithfully, modifying legislation, developing the interests
of the people, and abolishing their hardships--all in accordance with
the wishes and interests of the people. Old laws that are unsuitable
will be abolished."

Nowhere else in the world is the belief that Fortune has a wheel which
in the long run never fails to "turn and lower the proud," so prevalent
or so deeply-rooted as in China. "To prosperity," says the adage, "must
succeed decay,"--a favourite theme around which the novelist delights to
weave his romance. This may perhaps account for the tame resistance of
the Manchus to what they recognized as inevitable. They had enjoyed a
good span of power, quite as lengthy as that of any dynasty of modern
times, and now they felt that their hour had struck. To borrow another
phrase, "they had come in with the roar of a tiger, to disappear like
the tail of a snake."

On November 3, certain regulations were issued by the National Assembly
as the necessary basis upon which a constitution could be raised. The
absolute veto of the Emperor was now withdrawn, and it was expressly
stated that Imperial decrees were not to over-ride the law, though
even here we find the addition of "except in the event of immediate
necessity." The first clause of this document was confined to the
following prophetic statement: "The Ta Ch`ing dynasty shall reign for

On November 8, Yüan Shih-k`ai was appointed Prime Minister, and on
December 3, the new Empress Dowager issued an edict, in which she said:

"The Regent has verbally memorialized the Empress Dowager, saying that
he has held the Regency for three years, and his administration has been
unpopular, and that constitutional government has not been consummated.
Thus complications arose, and people's hearts were broken, and the
country thrown into a state of turmoil. Hence one man's mismanagement
has caused the nation to suffer miserably. He regrets his repentance is
already too late, and feels that if he continues in power his commands
will soon be disregarded. He wept and prayed to resign the regency,
expressing the earnest intention of abstaining in the future from
politics. I, the Empress Dowager, living within the palace, am ignorant
of the state of affairs but I know that rebellion exists and fighting is
continuing, causing disasters everywhere, while the commerce of friendly
nations suffers. I must enquire into the circumstances and find
a remedy. The Regent is honest, though ambitious and unskilled in
politics. Being misled, he has harmed the people, and therefore his
resignation is accepted. The Regents seal is cancelled. Let the Regent
receive fifty thousand _taels_ annually from the Imperial household
allowances, and hereafter the Premier and the Cabinet will control
appointments and administration. Edicts are to be sealed with the
Emperor's seal. I will lead the Emperor to conduct audiences. The
guardianship of the holy person of the Emperor, who is of tender age,
is a special responsibility. As the time is critical, the princes
and nobles must observe the Ministers, who have undertaken a great
responsibility, and be loyal and help the country and people, who now
must realize that the Court does not object to the surrender of the
power vested in the throne. Let the people preserve order and continue
business, and thus prevent the country's disruption and restore


On January 1, 1912, Sun Yat-sen entered the republican capital, Nanking,
and received a salute of twenty-one guns. He assumed the presidency of
the provisional government, swearing allegiance, and taking an oath to
dethrone the Manchus, restore peace, and establish a government based
upon the people's will. These objects accomplished, he was prepared to
resign his office, thus enabling the people to elect a president of
a united China. The first act of the provisional government was to
proclaim a new calendar forthwith, January 1 becoming the New Year's Day
of the republic.

On January 5 was issued the following republican manifesto:--

"To all friendly nations,--Greeting. Hitherto irremediable suppression
of the individual qualities and the national aspirations of the people
having arrested the intellectual, moral, and material development of
China, the aid of revolution was invoked to extirpate the primary cause.
We now proclaim the consequent overthrow of the despotic sway of the
Manchu dynasty, and the establishment of a republic. The substitution of
a republic for a monarchy is not the fruit of transient passion, but the
natural outcome of a long-cherished desire for freedom, contentment, and
advancement. We Chinese people, peaceful and law-abiding, have not waged
war except in self-defence. We have borne our grievance for two hundred
and sixty-seven years with patience and forbearance. We have endeavoured
by peaceful means to redress our wrongs, secure liberty, and ensure
progress; but we failed. Oppressed beyond human endurance, we deemed it
our inalienable right, as well as a sacred duty, to appeal to arms to
deliver ourselves and our posterity from the yoke to which we have for
so long been subjected. For the first time in history an inglorious
bondage is transformed into inspiring freedom. The policy of the Manchus
has been one of unequivocal seclusion and unyielding tyranny. Beneath
it we have bitterly suffered. Now we submit to the free peoples of the
world the reasons justifying the revolution and the inauguration of the
present government. Prior to the usurpation of the throne by the Manchus
the land was open to foreign intercourse, and religious tolerance
existed, as is shown by the writings of Marco Polo and the inscription
on the Nestorian tablet at Hsi-an Fu. Dominated by ignorance and
selfishness, the Manchus closed the land to the outer world, and plunged
the Chinese into a state of benighted mentality calculated to operate
inversely to their natural talents, thus committing a crime against
humanity and the civilized nations which it is almost impossible to
extirpate. Actuated by a desire for the perpetual subjugation of the
Chinese, and a vicious craving for aggrandizement and wealth, the
Manchus have governed the country to the lasting injury and detriment
of the people, creating privileges and monopolies, erecting about
themselves barriers of exclusion, national custom, and personal conduct,
which have been rigorously maintained for centuries. They have levied
irregular and hurtful taxes without the consent of the people, and have
restricted foreign trade to treaty ports. They have placed the _likin_
embargo on merchandise, obstructed internal commerce, retarded the
creation of industrial enterprises, rendered impossible the
development of natural resources, denied a regular system of impartial
administration of justice, and inflicted cruel punishment on persons
charged with offences, whether innocent or guilty. They have connived
at official corruption, sold offices to the highest bidder, subordinated
merit to influence, rejected the most reasonable demands for better
government, and reluctantly conceded so-called reforms under the most
urgent pressure, promising without any intention of fulfilling. They
have failed to appreciate the anguish-causing lessons taught them by
foreign Powers, and in process of years have brought themselves and our
people beneath the contempt of the world. A remedy of these evils will
render possible the entrance of China into the family of nations. We
have fought and have formed a government. Lest our good intentions
should be misunderstood, we publicly and unreservedly declare the
following to be our promises:--

"The treaties entered into by the Manchus before the date of the
revolution, will be continually effective to the time of their
termination. Any and all treaties entered into after the commencement
of the revolution will be repudiated. Foreign loans and indemnities
incurred by the Manchus before the revolution will be acknowledged.
Payments made by loans incurred by the Manchus after its commencement
will be repudiated. Concessions granted to nations and their nationals
before the revolution will be respected. Any and all granted after it
will be repudiated. The persons and property of foreign nationals within
the jurisdiction of the republic will be respected and protected. It
will be our constant aim and firm endeavour to build on a stable
and enduring foundation a national structure compatible with the
potentialities of our long-neglected country. We shall strive to elevate
the people to secure peace and to legislate for prosperity. Manchus
who abide peacefully in the limits of our jurisdiction will be accorded
equality, and given protection.

"We will remodel the laws, revise the civil, criminal, commercial, and
mining codes, reform the finances, abolish restrictions on trade and
commerce, and ensure religious toleration and the cultivation of better
relations with foreign peoples and governments than have ever been
maintained before. It is our earnest hope that those foreign nationals
who have been steadfast in their sympathy will bind more firmly the
bonds of friendship between us, and will bear in patience with us the
period of trial confronting us and our reconstruction work, and will
aid the consummation of the far-reaching plans, which we are about to
undertake, and which they have long vainly been urging upon our people
and our country.

"With this message of peace and good-will the republic cherishes the
hope of being admitted into the family of nations, not merely to share
its rights and privileges, but to co-operate in the great and noble task
of building up the civilization of the world.

"Sun Yat-sen, _President_."

The next step was to displace the three-cornered Dragon flag, itself
of quite modern origin, in favour of a new republican emblem. For this
purpose was designed a flag of five stripes,--yellow, red, blue, white,
black,--arranged at right angles to the flagstaff in the above order,
and intended to represent the five races--Chinese, Manchus, Mongols,
Tibetan, Mussulmans--gathered together under one rule.

On February 12, three important edicts were issued. In the first, the
baby-emperor renounces the throne, and approves the establishment of
a provisional republican government, under the direction of Yüan
Shih-k`ai, in conjunction with the existing provisional government at
Nanking. In the second, approval is given to the terms under which the
emperor retires, the chief item of which was an annual grant of
four million _taels_. Other more sentimental privileges included the
retention of a bodyguard, and the continuance of sacrifices to the
spirits of the departed Manchu emperors. In the third, the people are
exhorted to preserve order and abide by the Imperial will regarding the
new form of government.

Simultaneously with the publication of these edicts, the last scene
of the drama was enacted near Nanking, at the mausoleum of the first
sovereign of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Sun Yat-sen, as
provisional first president, accompanied by his Cabinet and a numerous
escort, proceeded thither, and after offering sacrifice as usual,
addressed, though a secretary, the following oration to the tablet
representing the names of that great hero:--

"Of old the Sung dynasty became effete, and the Kitan Tartars and Yüan
dynasty Mongols seized the occasion to throw this domain of China into
confusion, to the fierce indignation of gods and men. It was then that
your Majesty, our founder, arose in your wrath from obscurity, and
destroyed those monsters of iniquity, so that the ancient glory was
won again. In twelve years you consolidated the Imperial sway, and the
dominions of the Great Yü were purged of pollution and cleansed from
the noisome Tartar. Often in history has our noble Chinese race been
enslaved by petty frontier barbarians from the north. Never have such
glorious triumphs been won over them as your Majesty achieved. But
your descendants were degenerate, and failed to carry on your glorious
heritage; they entrusted the reins of government to bad men, and pursued
a short-sighted policy. In this way they encouraged the ambitions of
the eastern Tartar savages (Manchus), and fostered the growth of their
power. They were thus able to take advantage of the presence of rebels
to invade and possess themselves of your sacred capital. From a bad
eminence of glory basely won, they lorded it over this most holy
soil, and our beloved China's rivers and hills were defiled by their
corrupting touch, while the people fell victims to the headman's axe or
the avenging sword. Although worthy patriots and faithful subjects of
your dynasty crossed the mountain ranges into Canton and the far south,
in the hope of redeeming the glorious Ming tradition from utter ruin,
and of prolonging a thread of the old dynasty's life, although men
gladly perished one after the other in the forlorn attempt, heaven's
wrath remained unappeased, and mortal designs failed to achieve success.
A brief and melancholy page was added to the history of your dynasty,
and that was all.

"As time went on, the law became ever harsher, and the meshes of its
inexorable net grew closer. Alas for our Chinese people, who crouched in
corners and listened with startled ears, deprived of power of utterance,
and with tongues glued to their mouths, for their lives were past
saving. Those others usurped titles to fictitious clemency and justice,
while prostituting the sacred doctrines of the sages: whom they affected
to honour. They stifled public opinion in the empire in order to force
acquiescence in their tyranny. The Manchu despotism became so thorough
and so embracing that they were enabled to prolong their dynasty's
existence by cunning wiles. In Yung Chêng's reign the Hunanese Chang Hsi
and Tsêng Ching preached sedition against the dynasty in their native
province, while in Chia Ch`ing's reign the palace conspiracy of Lin
Ching dismayed that monarch in his capital. These events were followed
by rebellions in Ss{u}-ch`uan and Shensi; under Tao Kuang and his
successor the T`ai-p`ings started their campaign from a remote Kuangsi
village. Although these worthy causes were destined to ultimate defeat,
the gradual trend of the national will became manifest. At last our own
era dawned, the sun of freedom had risen, and a sense of the rights of
the race animated men's minds. In addition the Manchu bandits could not
even protect themselves. Powerful foes encroached upon the territory
of China, and the dynasty parted with our sacred soil to enrich
neighbouring nations. The Chinese race of to-day may be degenerate, but
it is descended from mighty men of old. How should it endure that
the spirits of the great dead should be insulted by the everlasting
visitation of this scourge?

"Then did patriots arise like a whirlwind, or like a cloud which
is suddenly manifested in the firmament. They began with the Canton
insurrection; then Peking was alarmed by Wu Yüeh's bomb (1905). A
year later Hsü Hsi-lin fired his bullet into the vitals of the Manchu
robber-chief, En Ming, Governor of Anhui. Hsiung Chêng-chi raised the
standard of liberty on the Yang-tsze's banks; rising followed rising
all over the empire, until the secret plot against the Regent was
discovered, and the abortive insurrection in Canton startled the
capital. One failure followed another, but other brave men took the
place of the heroes who died, and the empire was born again to life.
The bandit Manchu court was shaken with pallid terror, until the cicada
threw off its shell in a glorious regeneration, and the present crowning
triumph was achieved. The patriotic crusade started in Wu-ch`ang; the
four corners of the empire responded to the call. Coast regions nobly
followed in their wake, and the Yang-tsze was won back by our armies.
The region south of the Yellow River was lost to the Manchus, and the
north manifested its sympathy with our cause. An earthquake shook the
barbarian court of Peking, and it was smitten with a paralysis. To-day
it has at last restored the government to the Chinese people, and the
five races of China may dwell together in peace and mutual trust. Let us
joyfully give thanks. How could we have attained this measure of victory
had not your Majesty's soul in heaven bestowed upon us your protecting
influence? I have heard say that the triumphs of Tartar savages over our
China were destined never to last longer than a hundred years. But
the reign of these Manchus endured unto double, ay, unto treble, that
period. Yet Providence knows the appointed hour, and the moment comes at
last. We are initiating the example to Eastern Asia of a republican form
of government; success comes early or late to those who strive, but the
good are surely rewarded in the end. Why then should we repine to-day
that victory has tarried long?

"I have heard that in the past many would-be deliverers of their country
have ascended this lofty mound wherein is your sepulchre. It has served
to them as a holy inspiration. As they looked down upon the surrounding
rivers and upward to the hills, under an alien sway, they wept in the
bitterness of their hearts, but to-day their sorrow is turned into joy.
The spiritual influences of your grave at Nanking have come once more
into their own. The dragon crouches in majesty as of old, and the tiger
surveys his domain and his ancient capital. Everywhere a beautiful
repose doth reign. Your legions line the approaches to the sepulchre; a
noble host stands expectant. Your people have come here to-day to inform
your Majesty of the final victory. May this lofty shrine wherein you
rest gain fresh lustre from to-day's event, and may your example inspire
your descendants in the times which are to come. Spirit! Accept this

We are told by an eye-witness, Dr Lim Boon-keng, that when this ceremony
was over, Sun Yat-sen turned to address the assembly. "He was speechless
with emotion for a minute; then he briefly declared how, after two
hundred and sixty years, the nation had again recovered her freedom; and
now that the curse of Manchu domination was removed, the free peoples of
a united republic could pursue their rightful aspirations. Three cheers
for the president were now called for, and the appeal was responded
to vigorously. The cheering was taken up by the crowds below, and
then carried miles away by the thousands of troops, to mingle with the
booming of distant guns."


The _I yü kuo chi_ (costumes of strange nations). Circa 1380.

The _Tung hua lu_ (a history of the Manchus down to A.D. 1735). 1765.

The _Shêng wu chi_ (a history of the earlier wars under the Manchu
dynasty). 1822.

_A History of China_, by Rev. J. Macgowan, 1897.

_A History of the Manchus_, by Rev. J. Ross, 1880.

_The Chinese Repository_.

_The Chinese and their Rebellions_, by T. T. Meadows, 1856.

Pamphlets issued by the T`ai-p`ings, 1850-1864.

_The Times_, 1911-12.

_The London and China Telegraph_, 1911-12.

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