Imatges de pàgina

which his fleet had been completely successful—destroying a large number of the Tartar vessels—produced great rejoicings in his army, full of confidence at the sight of the king in their midst. To Ticounai there came at the same time one piece of bad news after another. His fleet driven from the sea removed an auxiliary in which he had reposed great faith; but this was insignificant in comparison with the intelligence he received from his own state. His iniquities had resulted in an inevitable uprising of the people, and his half-brother, Oulo, had been proclaimed in his place, by the mass of his subjects and a portion of his army, Emperor of the Kins. Still Ticounai would not turn aside from the task he had in hand, and thought to crush all his enemies by winning some decisive success over the Chinese army.

Ticounai advanced to the banks of the Great river, driving the Chinese detachments across it. It then became a question of how he and his troops were to effect the passage. He sacrificed a black horse to Heaven, and he cast a sheep and a cock to the mercy of the waters ; but his religion, or credulity, brought him no good fortune. The Sung fleet stood in the path to dispute the passage, and when his war junks sought to engage them, they were repulsed with the loss of half their number. In a further engagement they were, practically speaking, annihilated. Ticounai persisted in his resolution to continue the war, although he was in reality helpless on the northern bank of the Yangtse. His army began to murmur in face of the impossible, and numerous petitions were presented to Ticounai by his officers, some suggesting a retreat, others that more time should be allotted to the preliminary preparations. These covert remonstrances excited Ticounai's ire, and roused all the savage in his nature. Executions and bastinadoings became of frequent occurrence in his camp; the soldiers were discontented, and the officers embittered against a tyrant whose reckless and undiscriminating temper constituted a danger to all who approached him. A plot was formed against him among his own guards, and his death removed one of those monsters of iniquity whose crimes blacken the age and country in which they happen to have lived.


Having thus summarily solved the difficulty of the passage of the Yangtse, the Kin army concluded a convention with the Chinese and returned northwards to its own country, well content to have escaped from so dangerous a predicament with little loss, and also to be freed from the tyranny of an unjust ruler. Prince Oulo was generally recognized after Ticounai's death, and proclaimed Emperor of the Kins. His first act was to come to an amicable understanding with Kaotsong, thus terminating the ambitious enterprise of his predecessor in an arrangement which seemed to promise better times for these neighbouring states.

The signing of this new peace was the last act of Kaotsong's reign, for he abdicated the throne the same] year in favour of his adopted heir Hiaotsong, a young prince, who was descended from Taitsou, the founder of the dynasty. During the long period of thirty-six years Kaotsong had been the nominal ruler of southern China, but his acts had not fulfilled the promise of his youth, when he was the foremost to press brave counsels on his father and elder brother. His natural timidity proved excessive, leaving him an easy tool in the hands of those who worked upon his fears. His reign was marked by many disasters, although it also witnessed a revival of Chinese military efficiency, and concluded with a peace which was more honourable in its terms than any concluded with the Kins. Kaotsong lived on for a quarter of a century after his abdication, dying in A.D. 1187 at the patriarchal age of eighty-four.

The Kin ruler Oulo did not obtain undisputed possession of his throne. Ticounai's army joined him to a man, but there was a fresh outbreak on the part of the Khitan tribes under the leadership of Ylawoua, a general of that race in the service of the Kins. Oulo had entrusted to him the task of keeping his own people in order, but Ylawoua became so intoxicated with his success, and the favourable reception accorded him by the Khitans, that he resolved to make himself independent, and caused himself to be proclaimed by the old title of Emperor of the Leaous. Oulo was compelled to send a considerable army against this rebel force before he could rest free from anxiety on its account. Ylawoua's capture and execution relieved Oulo's mind from further apprehension on the score of his Khitan subjects.

Although both Oulo and Hiaotsong desired to maintain the peace so lately concluded, there were those among the Kins who regarded with disfavour the inactivity to which they stood pledged. Shortly after the suppression of the rising under Ylawoua, a powerful faction, including the principal generals, had been formed within the dominions of Oulo for the purpose of provoking a renewal of the war with the Sungs. Their king was emphatically in favour of the preservation of peace, but they trusted to the irrepressible antipathies of two hostile peoples to goad him into war; and with this object in view they concentrated the garrisons of the frontier provinces, marched the troops victorious over the Khitans into the border districts, and spread abroad the rumour of a coming war. The Chinese on their side were not slow to meet this display of force with counter demonstrations.

The very year that was to have inaugurated an era of peace, beheld therefore the outbreak of a fresh war, in which justice was again on the side of the Chinese. The same generals who had led Kaotsong's armies to victory against Ticounai, again assumed the command, when Oulo's lieutenants threatened a renewal of hostilities, and their old fortune attended their efforts. In one of the battles the Kins were driven in confusion from the field, leaving eight thousand prisoners in the hands of the Chinese. Hiaotsong wrote with his own hand to Changtsiun, his victorious general, that "there had not been so complete a victory during the last ten years," and the whole nation was loud in its praises of the successful champion. The successful defence of Souchow, by a small corps under the command of an officer named Li Hien Chong against the main army of the Kins, was not less glorious as a feat of arms than the victory just recorded. These successes did not ensure all the results that might have been expected. Negotiations followed, but the interests of the government appear to have been sacrificed by a diplomatist who either did not understand the question or misinterpreted his instructions.


A fresh ambassador was sent to apprise the Tartars that no further territory would be surrendered, and no more presents sent in the form of subsidy by the Sung Emperor. Unfortunately Hiaotsong was not wholly convinced of the wisdom of this firm resolve, and losing the moral support of the veteran general, Changtsiun, he drifted back to the vacillations of previous years when, for the sake of peace, the Chinese ruler would promise to waive all his pretensions, and surrender his most cherished rights. The Tartars were not slow to perceive the irresolution of their opponent, and to turn it to their own advantage. They resumed their advance southwards in A.D. 1161, and, receiving valuable information from one of Hiaotsong's ministers, whom they had taken into their pay, succeeded in overwhelming a Chinese army. This rude blow made peace an absolute necessity; and Hiaotsong, bowing to the force of events, instructed his ministers to arrange terms without prevarication or delay. As Oulo was an honourable antagonist, and desired peace himself, the terms were more favourable to the Chinese than might have been supposed after their great defeat. It was more remarkable that they proved durable, and that the years following, until the close of Hiatsong's reign, were peaceful. The minister Weiki, who concluded this treaty, became as much an object of popular applause as his unfortunate predecessor, Lou Chong Hien, had been of public disapprobation. The necessities which beset both the Kins and the Sungs were conducive to the prolongation of this pacific understanding, and after the long wars and the desperate struggle for supremacy which had resulted in a divided control, the people had peace and were at rest.

The remaining years of Hiaotsong's reign were marked by no event of any importance. He showed in his conduct the possession of the virtues which men appreciate and commend, and, freed from the anxiety of war, led an ideal kind of existence in the midst of his courtiers and sages, delivering maxims that were noble in their conception, and endeavouring by example and by deed to remove some of the abuses which had revealed themselves during that long period of confusion and uncertainty when no one felt sure what the day might bring forth. When he had been on the throne for twenty-six years, Hiaotsong resolved to abdicate in favour of his third son. He was led to this act partly by his own inclination and partly because the death of the Kin ruler Oulo seemed to threaten fresh complications with the northern Power. Hiaotsong abdicated in the year A.D. 1189, and died five years afterwards. Of all the Sung Emperors after the change in the capital, Hiaotsong was probably the best and the most worthy of respect.

The last years of the Kin Emperor Oulo were scarcely more eventful than those of his contemporary. In A.D. 1170 his vassal, the King of Hia or Tangut, had been virtually set aside by an ambitious minister named Gintekin, who, aspiring to the supreme place, had concluded an agreement with his sovereign for the division of his states. It was necessary, however, to obtain Oulo's consent to this arrangement, and when the facts were placed before him he had the sagacity to see through the specious representations of Gintekin, and refused to ratify the convention, because "it must have been forced on the King of Hia." Not content with this, Oulo addressed a powerful remonstrance to the king on the character of his duty to his people, and his arguments opened that personage's eyes so clearly to the guile of Gintekin that he caused him to be arrested and executed.

He gave still more striking proof of the possession of great qualities by the manner in which he received the overtures of a Corean rebel who had repudiated the authority of his prince. This individual, having wrested the western districts of that kingdom from his liege lord, offered to become the vassal of the Kins ; but Oulo replied in the following dignified terms, which were creditable both to his judgment and disposition. "You and your master," he said to the envoy, "deceive yourselves if you believe me to be capable of approving an act of treason, whatever the personal advantage it might procure me. I love all peoples of whatever nation they may be, and I wish to see them at peace with one another. How have you imagined me capable of so mean an act as that you propose to me?" The remaining

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