Imatges de pàgina

took in hand, with a determination ominous for the Sungs, the completion of the conquest of China.

Mangu appointed Kublai his lieutenant, with supreme command of all the forces in China from the Corean border to the desert, and southwards as far as the great Kiang. This appointment was made in A.D. 1251, and proved the immediate precursor of the resumption of hostilities with Litsong. Some of the most important offices were given to Chinese, who devoted all their ability to promoting the interests of a government that neglected no opportunity of showing that it knew how to appreciate good and timely service. Kublai himself did still more than utilize in a general way those who had special experience in the country. He attached to his person a Chinese secretary named Yaochu, who became his constant companion and most attached minister. Yaochu had been for some years tutor to the young prince, and it cannot be doubted that many of the most important acts of Kublai's after-career were inspired by this enlightened political student . Yaochu may be justly compared with Yeliu Chutsai, the sage of the preceding generation.

Kublai very soon gave proof of the assiduity with which he intended to devote himself to his duties. The southern districts of Honan had suffered most in the campaigns which had witnessed the expiring effort of the Kins, and the subsequent brief struggle of the Sungs to retain the price of victory. They had, in truth, been turned into a barren solitude whence the people had fled. It became Kublai's first care to restore something of its lost prosperity to this region, and by the guarantee of protection to attract the inhabitants back to their homes. A board of inquiry into, and also for the redress of, grievances was formed, and Kublai's personal supervision prevented its functions being either neglected or becoming a mere form. The result of these measures was advantageous in a double sense. A base nearer the scene of war was obtained for a large army, at the same time that the new rulers secured a stronger hold on the affections of their subjects by advancing some claim to their gratitude. Kublai's popularity increased at a rapid pace; and his brother Mangu supported him with his cordial assistance.


By these prudent preliminaries Kublai paved the way for the invasion of the country south of the river Kiang. It was not until two years after he commenced his preparations that he was in readiness to commence active operations. The necessity which had arisen for sending an army against the Coreans contributed, no doubt, to increase the delay, but it had been turned to useful account . During this period the Sungs remained inactive behind their frontier, as if fascinated into a state of passiveness at the approach of a danger which, with a true presentiment, they felt they would be unable to resist . Their good behaviour, evinced too late, could retard neither the progress of fate nor the march of the Mongols.

The plan of campaign, which Kublai and his lieutenant Uriangkadai drew up, was marked by originality, and showed that the Mongols were fully resolved to conquer as much by skill and strategy, as by superiority in weapons, and the brute force of numbers. In the extreme south of China, with a people of different race to the rest of the country, lies the province of Yunnan. It has frequently been constituted as a separate kingdom, and at this period was divided into several principalities, independent of each other, and also of the Sung Kmperor. Kublai resolved to commence his enterprise by the conquest of Yunnan—a bold scheme, but one which, if it could be successfully carried out, would result in the isolation of the Sungs by the cutting-off of their communications with the west and the south.

From Shensi Kublai marched through Szchuen at the head of a large army, divided into three corps, and having rapidly traversed the latter province and crossed the upper course of the Yangtse on rafts, he found himself at his destination in front of the fortified city of Tali. The people of Yunnan were thunderstruck at this sudden invasion of their country by an army that seemed to reck nothing of a march of a thousand miles, and of the passage of great mountain ranges and broad rivers. They could discover no better chance of defence than to shut themselves up in their cities and see whether the tornado would not retire as suddenly as it had arisen. The Mongols hail never been deterred in their expeditions by walled cities, and the people of Yunnan soon discovered that their fortifications were of no avail against their assailants. Several of the principal towns, including the capital Tali, were captured; and when some Mongol officers were murdered, Kublai would have exacted a terrible revenge but for the exhortations of Yaochu to punish only the guilty and to spare the innocent. After this decisive success, further resistance on the part of the people of Yunnan stopped, and Kublai returned to Shensi, leaving Uriangkadai in chief command.

After Kublai's departure, Uriangkadai carried on operations with great vigour. Surrounded on all sides by independent tribes, and in the midst of a hostile population, he saw that his best chance of safety lay in unceasing activity. His first expedition was against the Toufan or Tibetan tribes, who had attained the zenith of their power some centuries before, and were now rapidly declining, but who had not yet forgotten all their martial prowess. Having inflicted several defeats upon these turbulent people, Uriangkadai turned his success to greater account by enlisting many of them in his service. He thus increased his small army by the addition of a valuable auxiliary corps, and, flushed with success, turned his arms in the direction of Burmah. The King of Ava and the numerous tribes that then held, and still hold, the fringe of country between China and the northern kingdoms of the IndoChinese peninsula, were next compelled to recognize the Mongol power, which had now made itself supreme to the south-west of the Sung territory. The bold enterprise conceived by Kublai was thus crowned with the most complete success.

Kublai's return to Shensi had been caused by the growing feeling of jealousy against him at his brother's court. Mangu himself had not been proof against the malign influences of his detractors, and, in A.D. 1257, took the extreme step of removing him from the high posts which he held in China. Kublai had none of the patience under personal injustice which moralists laud, and he gave some signs of an intention to resist with force the decree of the Great Khan. But his Mentor, Yaochu, was fortunately at hand to restrain his ardour, although it required a more than usual effort on the URIANGKADAI. 325

part of this experienced minister to induce him to repress the promptings of his indignation. The term of his disgrace was not to be lengthy, and the blunders of those appointed to his place speedily produced his full justification. They strove to undo everything he had done for the Chinese, but their precipitate and ill-judged action only entailed their complete condemnation.

Kublai went in person to Mangu, protesting his innocence of the ulterior designs with which he had been charged, while each day showed more and more how indispensable he was for the proper administration of affairs in China. Mangu, greatly affected at the sight of his brother, forgave him his imaginary crime and reinstated him in his offices. To give increased importance to the occasion, and at the same time to show that he was resolved to take a more active part in the war, Mangu collected a large army and announced his intention of leading it in person against the Sungs. Kublai was appointed to a command under him, and his next brother Arikbuka was left in charge of Mongolia.

In the meanwhile Uriangkadai's career of success in Yunnan continued. Tonquin had been added to those states already dependent upon his authority, and an outrage offered to his envoys had been amply avenged in the streets of Kiaochi, the capital. But while the Mongols had been thus successful in the far south, the Chinese had re-entered Szchuen in greater force, and their increased garrisons occupied positions severing the Mongol communications with the army in Yunnan. That army, although victorious over the local levies, could not hope to long resist on its own unaided strength any determined attack on the part of the Sungs. That the Sungs were meditating an attack on Uriangkadai's exposed rear was made sufficiently plain by their increasing activity in Szchuen. If a large Mongol army was not to be left in a dangerous dilemma it was therefore high time for Mangu and his generals to bestir themselves.'

Mangu began his march in the winter of A.D. 1257, when the ice still upon the Hoangho enabled his army to cross that barrier without delay. The Mongol army was then divided into three bodies, one to operate in each of the provinces, Shensi, Houkwang, and Kiangnan, while Uriangkadai was ordered to march northwards and, if possible, to join Kublai. The hostile forces were thus converging upon the last of the Chinese kingdoms from four sides. Although there were encounters at the other points, the details are only preserved of those which were fought in Szchuen, where Mangu commanded in person; and here the resistance was of a stubborn character. In the neighbourhood of Chentu in particular the struggle was carried on with great bitterness. At one time in the possession of the Mongols, and then retaken by the Sungs, its fate was not finally decided until Mangu's arrival with the main army, when the Sungs withdrew their forces. Several victories followed, but they were all gained at such heavy cost that the result of the campaign cannot be considered to have been anything more than very dubious. The Sungs fought throughout with bravery against their adverse fortune, and the Mongols progressed at a slow rate. An anxious consultation was held by their commanders at the end of the winter A.D. 1258-59, to decide whether they should return for the summer months to the north, or remain to prosecute the war. It was decided to remain, and active hostilities continued without intermission.

The new campaign began with the siege of Hochau, an important town in Szchuen, which had been entrusted to the charge of a brave and faithful officer named Wangkien. To the Mongol summons to surrender he replied by the arrest of the envoy, thus expressing his resolve to defend the place to the bitter death. The Mongol detachments marched from all quarters to the siege of this important place, and the garrison nerved itself to pass triumphantly through the coming ordeal. While Wangkien held bravely on to his post, another Chinese general, Luwenti, endeavoured by all the means in his power to harass the movements of the Mongols; so that Mangu very soon found that the capture of Hochau was a task of unusual difficulty. He might have succeeded in the end, when the garrison's stock of provisions had been exhausted, could he only have maintained his own position outside the walls long enough; but to the losses in the field were very soon added the ravages of dysentery, the plague of Eastern

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