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year. The Chinese historians praise Timour's character in the strongest terms. He had done much towards making the Mongol dynasty more Chinese in its views and mode of government; and its subjects could not harden their hearts to virtues which were incontestable, and in face of a manifest desire to propitiate their sympathy. Timour was, there is no reason to doubt, sincerely regretted, and when he died the position of the Mongols in China was certainly not weaker than when he ascended the throne.
Timour left no direct heirs, and his nephews, Haichan and Aiyuli Palipata, were held to share between them the right to the throne. An attempt was made to secure the position for Honanta, Prince of Gansi, and at one time it looked as if the plot would succeed, for Haichan was absent in Mongolia, where he had distinguished himself against Kaidu. Fortunately Aiyuli Palipata was on the spot, and able to take vigorous measures against the pretender, who, when on the point of proclaiming himself Emperor, was suddenly arrested, with his principal supporters, and banished to Tartary. In the moment of triumph there were some who wished Palipata to place himself on the throne, but he possessed the strength of mind to resist the tempting offer. He summoned Haichan from Mongolia to assume the functions of authority, and that prince came, with thirty thousand chosen troops, to take what was _his right. He was proclaimed as Haichan Khan or Woutsong, and the late conspirators were executed to give security to his new authority.
Haichan enjoyed his honours for only five years. During that short period he gave abundant proof of the excellence of his intentions and of his capacity for government. But, like all of his family, he was much addicted to the pleasures of the palace, and his uxoriousness was on a par with his inclination to gluttony and debauchery. He rather discouraged than promoted foreign trade, saying that it was a bad thing to permit the wealth of a country to leave it. With the Tibetans the relations were at this period of the most friendly character, in consequence of the influence of the lamas. The people of Papesifu and that region maintained their independence, and VICE OF GLUTTONY. 383
on one occasion inflicted a defeat on a Chinese officer; but, on the whole, Haichan's reign was one of continuous peace. His death occurred early in A.D. 1311, when his brother, Aiyuli Palipata, was proclaimed Emperor in his place. Haichan left two sons, who, temporarily set aside, eventually came to the throne.
Aiyuli Palipata began his reign with a formal announcement to his neighbours of his accession to the throne; and as the Mongols were, owing to the death of Kaidu and the surrender of his son Chapar, more united among themselves than they had been for years, these had the good sense to yield a ready compliance with his demands. All the southern states and kingdoms sent tribute, and expressed their desire to execute the behests of the Emperor. At a later period embassies came from the Kings of Hien and Mapor. This ruler devoted much of his attention to education, and indeed his reign presents few features of interest, because no events occurred of exceptional importance. An insurrection, headed by his nephew, Hochila, son of Haichan, at one moment threatened the Emperor's peace of mind, but it was promptly repressed. Hochila fled the country to find a place of refuge among his kinsmen in the west. Aiyuli Palipata reigned nine years. His death, which was probably caused by the predominant Mongol vice of over-eating, occurred in A.D. 1320, when his son, Chutepala, or Yngtsong, succeeded him.
Chutepala bitterly lamented the early death of his father, and while he gave himself up to the indulgence of grief, his minister Temudar tyrannized over the people, and caused all his enemies at court to be executed. Temudar was on the high-road to the attainment of supreme power when Baiju, the commander of the Imperial Guard, and a descendant of Genghis's great general Muhule, intervened and ousted Temudar from the ascendant position he coveted and was steadily acquiring. Chutepala was, fortunately, not blind to the faults of Temudar, and felt towards Baiju admiration for his personal courage, and the sympathy of an equal age; for, when Baiju was absent, Temudar, striving to regain his lost ground, presented himself at the palace. Chutepala refused to give him an audience, and Temudar died soon afterwards, either of chagrin or, more probably, of poison self-administered. After Temudar's death, Baiju's position became more assured, and he may be said to have exercised all the functions of authority.
Fresh conspiracies were formed against the young ruler and his adviser; and Tiechi, Temudar's son, anxious to avenge his father's death, and fearful of the consequences of that father's acts of tyranny, which were becoming better known every day, placed himself at the head of a plot for murdering the Emperor and giving the throne to Yesun Timour, another of the grandsons of Kublai Khan. The plot succeeded better than it deserved. Baiju was murdered in his tent, and Chutepala, after a short reign of three years, shared the fate of his brave companion and faithful minister.
Yesun Timour, who had taken no part in this plot, and who, the instant he received intelligence of the conspirators' plans, had sent messengers to warn Chutepala, was then placed on the throne. But his first measures showed how much he disapproved of the means which had been employed to bring him to the head of affairs. Tiechi and his principal confederates were arrested and executed. Their goods were confiscated to the state, and their families experienced all the suffering held to be their due for having produced such criminals.
The five years during which Yesun Timour occupied the throne were years of peace, and no event occurred of unusual importance. He was the first of the Mongols to set his face against the votaries of Buddhism, and passed several edicts tending to limit the numbers of the Mongol priests or lamas. These precautions against the innovations of an alien religion, and the terrible earthquakes and other dire visitations from which the country suffered, were the only notable events of the reign. His death occurred in A.D. 1328.
Yesun Timour's death proved the precursor of many troubles. His two sons were in turn proclaimed Emperor, but their tenure of power was so brief that they are not recognized. Hochila, the banished son of Haichan, was recalled, and, when Yesun Timour's sons had been got rid of, placed upon the throne. Hochila owed his elevation to the THE GRAND LAMA. 385
talents of his younger brother, Tou Timour, who gracefully made way for his elder; but he did not long enjoy the privileges of absolute power. Proclaimed in A.D. 1329, he suddenly died in the same year, and it is strongly suspected that his end was hastened by foul means. His brother, Tou Timour, had shown symptoms of regret at having surrendered the power he had acquired, and upon his brother's death hastened to seize the attributes of sovereignty. Tou Timour was the eighth prince of the Mongol dynasty.
The reign of the new ruler, although covering a rather longer space of time, presents as few features of interest as any of the preceding reigns. There is no evidence, unfortunately, throwing light upon the effect these repeated changes in the person of the ruler had upon the opinion of the great mass of the Chinese people. It cannot be doubted, however, that they strengthened the hostile feeling against a foreign domination, at the same time that they showed that the governing race was beginning to forget that the whole fabric of its power depended on the unity that might exist among themselves. These repeated changes in the person of the ruler boded ill for the long duration of Mongol power in China. They showed that the conqueror was becoming oblivious to the fact that the conquered still existed in their millions, and might easily acquire fresh courage.
The most noteworthy event that history has preserved of the reign of Tou Timour is his reception of the Grand Lama of Tibet, who visited his court in the year of his accession. Always a devoted Buddhist, Tou Timour was seized with a frenzy of religious zeal by what he regarded as so auspicious an event, and he issued an order to all his courtiers to bend the knee to the Lama whenever they addressed him. The disdain with which the haughty Mongol soldiers and barons received this order can be imagined. Nor were the Chinese themselves more pleased at the deference shown to the representative of a foreign and always muchhated religion. The President of the Hanlin College boldly refused to concede the mark of honour which the Emperor had wished to enforce.
During the greater portion of this reign an insurrection
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prevailed in the south-western provinces of the Empire. In Yunnan and the adjoining parts of Szchuen the rebels expelled the Mongol troops and subverted the existing administration. It required a great effort, and the direction of a large body of troops from other quarters of the Empire, before tranquillity and the authority of the Mongols were fairly re-established. But Tou Timour troubled himself little with this complication, although it threatened his power very nearly, and he preferred to devote his attention to court ceremonies and religious rites. He did not, however, permit his superstition to interfere with his worldly pleasures. His death in A.D. 1332 exercised no perceptible influence on the fortunes of the Mongols, which were now steadily on the decline.
A child was proclaimed Emperor, but dying within a fewmonths of his proclamation, a fresh arrangement had to be made. Tohan Timour, the eldest of the children of Hochila, and at this time a boy of thirteen years of age, was, after some delay caused by the intrigues of an ambitious minister, raised to the throne. Tohan Timour assumed the name of Chunti, and his reign, while being marked by a succession of misfortunes, witnessed the rapid decadence and fall of the Mongol power. At the very beginning of his reign Chunti showed himself a weak and vacillating prince, from whom little good could be expected. The difficulties by which he was surrounded were of the gravest character, for the people were being goaded into desperation by sufferings of no ordinary kind. The annals of the last fifty years of Mongol power contain one long list of terrible visitations, which reached their culmination in the second year of Chunti's reign in a famine, during which it is computed that no fewer than thirteen million persons died.
But the conflict of the elements was a matter of trivial importance in comparison with the storm gathering in the breasts of the Chinese. The people who had not refrained during the prime of Kublai's power, from showing their ineradicable antipathy to their alien rulers, were now, encouraged by the marked deterioration in the qualities of the governing race, to give unequivocal expression to their long-concealed hatred. In the prevailing troubles they saw