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too glaring to be passed over, their successors followed very much in their footsteps. Nor were the exactions confined to the civil authorities. The older Kublai became the more was he attached to Buddhism, and the lamas, or priests of that religion, acquired greater influence under his patronage. Encouraged by the royal favour, one of these ventured to plunder the tombs of the Sung Emperors, and when arrested at the instigation of a Chinese official the Emperor ordered his release and permitted him to retain possession of his ill-gotten plunder. This brutal and injudicious clemency added fuel to the flame of popular indignation.
The failure of his enterprise against Japan had not wholly cured Kublai of his desire to undertake expeditions beyond the sea. To avenge an insult offered to one of the envoys he was constantly sending into the Southern Archipelago, Kublai fitted out a large expedition against Kuava, a state identified with the island of Java. The Mongols as usual overcame the resistance openly offered them, but they were outmanoeuvred, and suffered heavy losses in several skirmishes. Their commander, seeing that there was not much prospect of speedily conquering the country of Kuava, at once withdrew his forces and returned to China with vast booty, but little glory. A smaller expedition to the islands of Loochoo, which in the seventh century had been subjected by the Soui Emperor, Yangti, was not more fortunate, being obliged, on the death of its commander, to return to Chinese harbours without having accomplished any tangible result.
While these causes of discontent were in operation there were other circumstances threatening the fabric of Mongol supremacy in the very foundations of its power. The quarrel between Kublai and his brother, Arikbuka, has already been described; but although terminating with the success of Kublai, it left behind it the seeds of future trouble. Kublai's cousin, Kaidu, of the family of Ogotai, had, at an earlier period, assumed an attitude of marked hostility towards his kinsman, and the lapse of time only seemed to intensify the bitterness of their rivalry. But although Kaidu never wanted the inclination to molest his more successful opponent, it was WAR OF MONGOLS. 373
long before he could collect sufficient strength to work him any harm. But about the period we have now reached he had been joined by Nayan, a member of the House of Genghis, who had gathered together a power of considerable dimensions in Tartary, and had formed a bond between all the tribes and chieftains of Northern Asia in their common antipathy to Kublai. By the year A.D. 1287 Kaidu's plans were in a fair way towards completion, and a general revolt throughout Mongolia had been arranged and was on the point of breaking out . Fortunately for him, Kublai received intelligence of this scheme, and he resolved to strike a blow against Nayan before Kaidu could come to his assistance.
He sent his great general Bayan to Karakoram to maintain his authority there and to retard the advance of Kaidu, while he himself marched to encounter Nayan in the region which is now Manchuria. Nayan had made strenuous preparations for the war, but he was taken by surprise when he found that the Emperor was marching to attack him in overwhelming strength. Nayan's army probably did not exceed forty thousand men, while Kublai's may be computed at about one hundred thousand, better armed and with more formidable engines of war. Kublai, at this time more than seventy years of age, inspected his army from a tower erected on the backs of four elephants fastened together, and, having been informed by the soothsayers that the auguries were favourable and that he was promised victory, no longer delayed the signal for attack. The collision between these representatives of the same race proved bitter and protracted, and the result long hung doubtful in the balance. Nayan's followers fought with great valour, but the more desperate their resistance the more complete did it make Kublai's victory. Those who escaped the carnage of that day were glad to find safety in the woods of Northern Manchuria; but Nayan himself, who is said to have been a Christian, fell a prisoner into the hands of the great Emperor. It was a custom among the Mongols not to shed the blood of their own princes, so Kublai ordered that Nayan should be sewn up in a sack and then beaten to death. The overthrow of Nayan enabled Kublai to return to Pekin, but it did not close the war. Kaidu remained unconquered, and resolved to tempt the decision of Fortune. He was advancing eastwards as rapidly as he could, receiving many reinforcements from the tribes and Mongol chiefs on his line of march, and not to be deterred from his undertaking by the overthrow of his ally Nayan, or by the power of Kublai, or by the reputation of the great general Bayan.
In this quarter Kublai's arms had met with a preliminarydisaster before Bayan had had time to reach Karakoram. Kanmala, prince of Tsin, and son of Kublai, endeavoured to arrest Kaidu's march at Hanghai, near the banks of the Selinga river; but being forced to engage in a general battle, he was signally defeated, and owed his life to the personal valour and devotion of Tutuka, a Kipchak officer. The consequences of this reverse were considered to be so grave that Kublai again took the field in person, and, although no fighting is reported to have occurred, it may be assumed from Kaidu's retreat that Kublai succeeded in fully restoring his authority in the north. Kublai's prompt return also signified that he, for his part, did not desire to push matters to an extremity with Kaidu. He thought it more prudent to leave him the proverbial golden bridge for retreat.
After Kublai's departure, the war still lingered on in this quarter, and, indeed, it continued until after his death. On the whole, Kublai's lieutenants succeeded in maintaining their positions and in repelling the frequent attacks made against them. But they did not attempt to carry on an offensive war against Kaidu. They were well content to rest upon their laurels. Bayan, who arrived late upon the scene, was alone not satisfied with doubtful success. Wherever he appeared, the result of the fighting was sure to be complete and unequivocal; and in the steppes of Mongolia his strategy and tactics were as conspicuous as they had been on the banks of the Great River and against the armies of the Sungs. On one occasion he was, with a portion of his army, entrapped into an ambuscade, but his presence of mind and cool courage extricated him from the dangerous predicament, and his assailants left two thousand of their number slain BAYAN. 375
upon the ground, and the rest prisoners in his hands. This was the last military achievement of the great Bayan, the most remarkable of Kublai's generals, perhaps of all the Mongol commanders, with, of course, the exception of Genghis himself.
Bayan was too great a man to escape the shafts of the envious. In A.D. 1293, Kublai was so far influenced by the representations of those at the court that he ordered him to return to Pekin; and having removed him from his high military command, gave him instead the post of a minister of state. On Kublai's death, a few months later, Bayan reappeared upon the scene to determine by his powerful voice the elevation of Prince Timour to the throne. That prince happened to be absent at the seat of war when his father died, and he owed his undisputed succession to the firmness shown by Bayan in his interests. Bayan did not long survive this change in the person of the ruler. A few months after the day when he drew his sword in support of the cause of the absent prince, he died at the comparatively early age of fifty-nine, leaving behind him a great reputation for skill as a general and highmindedness as a man. His character appeals to our sympathy with the irresistible claims of a magnanimous and courageous soldier, who endeavoured on all occasions to mitigate the horrors of war and to temper the rage of his fierce soldiery. If Kublai had possessed many supporters like Bayan, or perhaps known how to make use of their services, the Yuen dynasty would probably have occupied the throne of China for a longer period, and attained a greater amount of popularity in that country than it did.
After Kublai's last journey to the northern frontier, his bodily infirmities increased so much that it was generally perceived that the end could not be far distant. In A.D. 1294, after the appearance of a comet in the preceding year, which the Chinese took advantage of to warn him to reform his administration, Kublai fell ill and died. He was then in the eightieth year of his age, and had occupied the throne for thirty-five years. Twenty-three years had elapsed since he first gave his dynasty the Chinese name of Yuen, and during the last sixteen years he had been the acknowledged ruler of the whole of China.
With regard to the private character and domestic life of this prince, we owe most of the details to that vivacious gossip and remarkable traveller, Marco Polo. That Kublai was destitute of natural affection could not be sustained in face of his evidently unaffected grief at the loss of his wife Honkilachi, and his eldest son Chinkin; but there is much corroborative evidence of the charges brought against him by the Chinese historians, of having been too much addicted to such weaknesses as the love of money and a morbid inclination for superstitious practices; and he was also undoubtedly of a sensual nature. But admitting these faults and shortcomings, there remains a long list of virtues and high qualities in his favour. If he was not the greatest of Chinese Emperors, and that he certainly was not, his character is sufficiently vindicated by the events of his reign. They show him to have been well able to maintain a great Empire at its height, and to lead his people into the paths of peace and prosperity.
Kublai's long reign is not less remarkable if regarded from the standpoint of its being the climax of the triumph of a more vigorous race over a weaker. The greatest of the Mongol achievements, greater in its way than the march across Asia to the confines of Austria and the Persian Gulf, was undoubtedly the conquest of China. It had foiled the efforts of Genghis and his immediate successors, and all the credit of success was reserved for Kublai. The praise for having accomplished the most arduous of all the undertakings that formed part of the original Mongol programme belongs, therefore, to this prince. The Chinese were subdued and reduced by him to the condition of subjects of the Great Khan; but there can also be no question that they were throughout the most unwilling of subjects. Kublai showed that he knew how to conquer them; but it was above his capacity to reconcile them to his rule. Perhaps the task was impossible; but his later public acts were conspicuously deficient in the tact and judgment required for popularising his authority. The triumph of the Mongols was incon