Imatges de pàgina



frontier, and that the occasion was afforded a Chinese commander to show resolution of no ordinary kind in defending the town entrusted to his charge against an overwhelming force of the Hiongnou. This satisfactory incident was the only exception to prove the rule. Changti, under the guidance of his adopted mother, Machi, the daughter of the great Mayuen, and one of the finest female characters in Chinese history, turned his attention to peaceful pursuits, and by reducing taxation and regulating the imposts, sought to advance the best interests of his people.

The only war in which China was concerned, even indirectly, during this reign, was one in the country west of Shensi. Panchow, reluctant to lose the fruits of previous success, solicited Changti's permission to continue his operations on his own resources, and his request was conceded. Panchow was joined in his enterprise by Siukan, a high official, who obtained permission to recruit an army for this service from pardoned criminals—a force for the first time used in these western wars, but to be frequently employed at later stages of history down to the present day. About this time the Hans were further afflicted by the growing power of the Sienpi, a people established in the western portion of Leaoutung. Between the Sienpi in the north, and Panchow in the south, it fared badly at this time with the Hiongnou ancestors of the Hun devastators of the Roman Empire. One of the last acts of Changti's short reign was to sanction the sending of the tribute from Cochin China by land instead of by sea, as had hitherto been the practice; and for this purpose one hundred thousand taels were expended in the construction of a road to that country. Changti died in the thirty-first year of his age, deeply lamented by a people whom he had governed with prudence and justice (A.D. 88).

Changti was followed by his son Hoti, a child of only ten years; and while his reign was on the whole peaceful, it witnessed one of the most remarkable campaigns ever engaged in by China, but which, occurring at a very great distance from the centre of her power, raised scarcely a ripple on the surface of Chinese affairs. Hoti's mother became Regent, but her brother attempted to wrest, and for a time succeeded in doing so, the governing power out of her hands. As soon as the Emperor reached an age when he was capable of ruling for himself, he evinced qualities of greatness and of virtue that won for him his subjects' hearts. During his reign the eunuchs, who afterwards proved a still greater source of trouble and difficulty, asserted themselves in the administration, and obtained some of the highest offices in the state through the ability of their chief, Ching Chong. Hoti died, A.D. IoS, after a reign of seventeen years, which would have been uneventful but for the deeds of Panchow, now to be described. During the previous reigns Panchow had warred with unvaried success in the region west of China Proper. Some small kingdoms and numerous tribes had been brought into subjection, and Panchow had spread the terror of his name far beyond the limits of his actual conquests. Several years before Hoti ascended the throne, Panchow is stated to have conquered the city of Kashgar, and to have extended the Chinese Empire to as far west as the Pamir; but when Changti died and the youthful Hoti became ruler, Panchow, the veteran general and foremost of Chinese subjects, was able to order things more after the fashion of his own heart. With a largely increased army he made his position in Eastern Turkestan, or Little Bokhara, the stepping-stone for greater triumphs in the kingdoms beyond that state. It is said that in the course of this later campaign, which doubtless covered several years, he reduced fifteen kingdoms, and reached the Caspian, or Northern Sea, as the Chinese called it. This barrier, which he meditated crossing, was represented to him by the inhabitants to be so formidable and of such extent that he abandoned the design he had conceived of carrying his master's dominions beyond its borders. The difficulties which he and his army had overcome in their long march across burning deserts, lofty mountain ranges, and mighty rivers, and through innumerable enemies, afforded every reason for supposing that the Caspian could not retard a host whose progress had up to that been irresistible. The peoples on its borders were fully cognizant of this, and they invested it accordingly with terrors that it did not possess. Panchow's


army remained for some time encamped in this quarter, when commercial relations are believed to have been established with the Roman Empire, or the great Thsin, as it was called by the Chinese. It is instructive to know that the Parthians and their neighbours placed obstacles in the way of this intercourse through their country because they found that their own trade suffered in consequence. Panchow has always been represented as having undertaken these wars from mere love of military ambition, and it would be significant to learn that his object was of so practical a character as the coercion of the peoples of Western Asia for purposes of trade. In most cases the desire to advance personal interests is found to be a more potent motive-power than the mere love of fame. After concluding this brilliant expedition Panchow returned to China, where the veteran died in his eightieth year, trusted by his sovereign, and, in no extravagant sense, the popular idol. Hoti was succeeded by his son Changti, only ten days old when his father died, but he expired within the sanie year. Ganti, son of the Prince of Tsingho, a brother of Hoti, then became the choice of the people, or rather of the Palace, and was proclaimed Emperor in the year A.D. Io9, when he was only thirteen years of age. Hoti's widow was named Regent during his minority, and wielded the executive power for almost the whole of his reign of nineteen years. Long after Ganti attained years of discretion the Empress-Regent evaded the representations made to her to surrender her position. No remarkable events occurred during this reign, which proved singularly barren of interest. The Regent, wisely recognizing that the borders of the Empire had been extended further than its strength could permanently sustain, contracted its limits, and relaxed the hold that had been obtained over numerous vassal princes. Internal peace was the better preserved, and the ravages of a pirate named Changpelou were checked and their perpetrator executed, after a career of successful impunity of more than five years. Famines and other grave visitations had brought suffering to the Chinese and anxiety to their rulers; but on the whole the Regent showed herself well able to provide for all the wants of the people; and when Ganti died, in A.D. 124, he left after him the name of an amiable and conscientious prince. His son Chunti, who succeeded him, soon became engaged in several small wars, out of which he emerged successfully. The later years of his reign witnessed the outbreak of several rebellions, of which that headed by Mamien was the most formidable. Mamien, aspiring to play a great part, caused himself to be proclaimed Emperor; but his career was speedily cut short, and, being taken prisoner, he suffered the extreme penalty of the law. The only other event of this reign of any importance was the passing of a law that no one should be raised to the magistracy who was less than forty years of age. The contests among men were matched by the conflicts of the elements. To famines there were added earthquakes and landslips on a large scale among the natural phenomena of the time, and Chunti died, it is said, of fright brought on by one of these catastrophes. Of the same age as his father, like him he reigned nineteen years. To Chunti succeeded his infant son Chongti, and to Chongti another child Cheti, a descendant of the Emperor Changti. The former was always sickly, and died in a few months after Chunti. The latter held nominal authority during one year, when he was poisoned by Leangki, a noble whose ambition forms one of the episodes of the period, and of whom during the next reign more will be heard. On Cheti's death, Houanti, the elder brother of that unhappy prince, was proclaimed Emperor by the exercise of unwarranted authority on the part of the murderer Leangki. Like most of the ambitious intriguers who have from time immemorial infested the palace of the Chinese ruler, Leangki was not a prince of the blood, but the brother of one of the Empresses. During the long minority which had followed among the Chinese sovereigns after the death of Hoti, the opportunity was afforded this personage of advancing his own interests at the expense of the state. In the palace his word became virtually supreme, and none ventured to question his commands. An incautious phrase on the part of the boy Cheti had cost him his life; and now, under the nominal THE HUN MIGRATION.


authority of Houanti, Leangki sought to carry everything before him with a high hand. His intrigues and crimes constituted the gravest danger in the path of the new ruler. Having removed by foul means several of the ministers of whose influence he was most apprehensive, Leangki grew so confident that he ventured on one occasion into the presence of the Emperor with a sword by his side—an act punishable with death. He was at once charged with the offence, and would have suffered the penalty of the law if Houanti had not intervened, and spared his life in consideration of his having placed him on the throne. Leangki, far from feeling grateful for this generous treatment, intrigued against the Emperor, and sought to form a party of his own. His plots were discovered, but, when on the point of capture, he accepted the inevitable, and evaded his just sentence by taking poison.

Troubles of various kinds and in different quarters beset the Chinese during this period. The tribes on their borders, constantly stirred up by their own irrepressible energy, and by the spasmodic ambition of their chiefs, again became troublesome, and the consequences of their hostile movements assumed increased gravity because of a growing disposition among them to combine against China. The Sienpi, in Leaoutung, at first carried on hostilities against the Hiongnou, but this quarrel was arranged (apparently by the subjugation of the Huns, part of whom migrated to the West, arriving in Europe at a critical moment, while the rest coalesced with the Sienpi) when they turned their united armies against China. Owing to the skill of the general Twan Keng, and, at a later stage of the contest, of Toanyng and Hoangfoukoue, these tribes were defeated, and the authority of the Emperor was re-established on a firm basis. In the final battle of the war the balance of victory hung in doubt, until Twan Keng, rushing to the front of his army, exhorted his men to charge once more, with the following heroic speech : “Recall to your minds how often before you have beaten these same opponents, and teach them again to-day that in you they have their masters." Houanti's reign was, therefore, one of brilliant military achievement; and when he died, in A.D. 167, there was no symptom that the long term of the Han rule was


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