Imatges de pàgina

In this hope he was not to be disappointed, for the ruler of Tonquin not only gave him a friendly reception, but assisted him to refit his fleet, to lay in stores, and to collect fresh troops. Having thus recovered to some extent from the effects of his recent defeat, Chang Chikia resolved to return without delay, expecting to seize Canton by a sudden attack and to renew the struggle with Kublai's forces. His followers endeavoured to dissuade him from the attempt, but he was determined to again tempt fortune ; and perhaps he felt assured that unless he resorted to some vigorous course, not only would the cause of the Sungs be utterly ruined, but his own chosen band would in all probability break up and desert him. In A.D. 1279, twelve months after the death of Tiping, a Chinese fleet, representing the expiring effort of the Sung family, was bearing down on the city of Canton with hostile intent, and under the command of a man whose resolution and valour alone would have made the cause he represented formidable. There is no information extant as to whether the Mongols were aware of the approaching enemy, or whether they were in sufficient strength to successfully resist a sudden attack. At the most favourable supposition, however, Chang Chikia could not have obtained more than a local and temporary success. The Mongol position was then too thoroughly assured-Kublai's power being at its apex-for this semi-piratical squadron to have achieved any durable success.

But the Fates willed that the blow, however forcible or feeble it might have proved, should not be struck. The approaching peril dissolved itself into a vain and empty menace before the wrathful elements of the China Sea. Chang Chikia's fleet had not turned the southern headland of the Kwantung coast when it encountered a terrific hurricane which destroyed the great majority, if not all, of Chang Chikia's ships. That gallant leader had refused to seek shelter under lee of the shore until the tempest had exhausted itself, and he paid the penalty of his temerity. He burnt incense to the deities of the waters, and expected that the observance of a few superstitious rites would allay the force of the waves, and still the blasts of the typhoon.


But on this occasion the simple faith of the Chinese hero produced no result, and when his vessel was overwhelmed and sank with all on board, the last champion of the Sungs disappeared. “I have done everything I could,” he exclaimed when entreated to seek a harbour of refuge, “to sustain on the throne the Sung dynasty. When one prince died I caused another to be proclaimed Emperor. He also has perished, and I still live! Oh, Heaven should I be acting against thy decrees, if I sought to place a new prince of this family on the throne 2 " His plans and hopes received a sudden and unexpected solution and response; but the valour and fidelity of the brave and faithful Chang Chikia will still remain as a striking and instructive example of the devotion sometimes shown by an adherent to the fallen fortunes of a royal family and a ruling House. The conquest of China was thus completed. The kingdom of the Sungs, after nearly half a century of warfare, had shared the fate of its old enemy and rival, the Kin; and Kublai Khan had consummated the design commenced seventy years before by his grandfather Genghis. The long and obstinate resistance of the Chinese, despite treachery and incapacity in high places, against the first soldiers in the world, led by great princes such as Genghis, Tuli and Kublai, and by the most accomplished of living generals, Subutai, Bayan and Artchu, is the clearest of proofs how vigorous must have been the latent strength of the Sung kingdom, strictly speaking the sole representative of ancient China.



Kublai Khan.

WHILE the war with the Sungs was in progress Kublai's authority had been steadily extending itself throughout Northern China, and acquiring a greater hold on both the affection and respect of the people. Several years before the death of Tiping and the last essay of Chang Chikia, Kublai had given his dynasty a distinctive name, and had assumed the title of Chitsou. Summoning to his court the most eminent of the Chinese ministers, and assisted by many skilful administrators from Western Asia and even from Europe, among whom was the Venetian traveller Marco Polo, Kublai's government had special elements of security, and was capable of attracting the sympathy and good-will of the indifferent as well as of crushing the opposition of its enemies. The skill and good fortune of his three principal generalsBayan, Alihaya and Artchu-enabled him to devote all his attention to the consolidation of Mongol supremacy north of the Kiang river, where, it will not be forgotten, it had been established ever since the fall of the Kins forty years before, and where, amongst a population of semi-Tartar origin, and long accustomed to Tartar domination, there was less difficulty in adapting the customs brought from the wilds of Mongolia to the institutions of an alien population. When Kublai

* In A.D. 1271 Kublai gave his dynasty the name of the Yuen or Original. The Mongols in China are henceforth to be known by that name.

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returned to his capital, Cambaluc or Pekin,* after his first war with his brother, Arikbuka, it was with the full intention of beginning a fresh era in Chinese history. Adopting all the advantages to be obtained from the ancient Chinese civilization, he only grafted upon it the greater vigour and military qualities of his northern race. Assisted by some of the most remarkable generals and ministers of the age, he soon succeeded in attaining his object and in making his court the most brilliant of the time. The final overthrow of the Sungs, the capture of their Emperor, the surrender of their capital, and, finally, the defeat of the last champions of their cause, all tended to facilitate the accomplishment of this task and to hasten its consummation.

From his earliest youth Kublai had given great promise of future valour and ability. His courage in a battle nearly fifty years before this time had been conspicuous, and his grandfather Genghis had predicted a more brilliant future for him than for any other of his children or grandchildren. The acts of his matured age amply confirmed any prophecies that may have been hazarded about his future career, and when the Sungs were vanquished he could boast that he had carved out in Eastern Asia an Empire not less

• Cambaluc or Khanbalig _“the city of the Khan ”- the name of Pekin, or the Northern Capital, was made for the first time capital of China by the Mongols. A city near, or on its site, had been the chief town of an independent kingdom on several occasions, e.g. of Yen, of the Khitans, and of the Kins. A long description is given in Marco Polo. There were, according to him, twelve gates, at each of which was stationed a guard of one thousand men ; and the streets were so straight and wide that you could see from one end to the other, or from gate to gate. The extent given of the walls varies : according to the highest estimate, they were twenty-seven miles round, according to the lowest eighteen. The Khan's palace at Chandu, or Kaipingfoo, north of Pekin, where he built a magnificent summer palace, kept his stud of horses, and carried out his love of the chase in the immense park and preserves attached, may be considered the Windsor of this Chinese monarch. The position of Pekin had, and still has, much to recommend it as the site of a capital. The Mings, after proclaiming Nankin the capital, made scarcely less use of Pekin, and Chuntche, the first of the Manchus, adopted it as his. It is scarcely necessary to add that it has since remained the sole metropolis of the Empire. See Marco Polo, passim; Amiot's "Memoires sur les Chinois," tom. ii. p. 553 ; Pauthier, pp. 353, 354.

splendid than that formed by Genghis in the North and the West. When Kublai permanently established himself at Pekin he drew up consistent lines of policy on all the great questions with which it was likely he would have to deal, and he always endeavoured to act upon these set principles. In framing this system of government he was greatly assisted by his old friend and tutor, Yaochu, as well as by other Chinese ministers. He was thus enabled to deal wisely and also vigorously with a society with which he was only imperfectly acquainted ; and the impartiality and insight into human character, which were his main characteristics, greatly simplified the difficult task that he had to accomplish. In nothing was his impartiality more clearly shown than in his attitude with regard to religion. Free from the prejudices and superstition of the Early Mongol faith, the family of Genghis had always been characterized by a marked indifference to matters of religion, and Kublai carried this indifference still further than any of his predecessors had done. His impartiality showed not the working of a well-balanced judgment towards the convictions of others, but rather the absence of all sentiment and the presence of a hard and unattractive materialism. He at first treated with equal consideration Buddhism and Mahomedanism, the creed of the Christian and that of the Jew. He is reported to have said that there were four Prophets revered by all the world, and that he worshipped and paid respect to them all in the hope that the greatest among them in heaven might aid him. Whether this statement may be accepted with implicit credence or not, there can be little doubt that it expresses with sufficient accuracy Kublai's views in matters of religion. He made a politic use of one and all; and he worked upon men by their fears and by humouring their predilections. Some have imagined that he sympathized with Christianity, but his measures in support of Buddhism and in favour of his friend the young Pakba Lama were much more pronounced than anything he ever undertook for the Nestorians or the Jews. Whatever his own secret convictions may have been, none

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