Imatges de pàgina

both the sympathy and the allegiance of the Chinese people in the person of a youthful member, pretended or real, of the Sung family. The Mongol Court had always feared the dormant affection to that native house more than the innate love of independence in the hearts of the people; and now it concentrated all its force upon the work of crushing this' particular movement. Its ends were attained. Army was sent after army to oppose this royal claimant and his general, Lieou Foutong; and, although the struggle proved stubborn, the Mongol authority was completely reasserted. In face of these successes, Chunti and his ministers conceived that they had every reason to congratulate themselves on a safe and satisfactory issue from the crisis. This hope was soon found to be delusive. They had in reality been wasting their strength and resources in grappling with what, in comparison with the increasing reputation and power of Choo, was a danger of very minor importance.

In A.D. 1356, Choo made himself master of the city of Nankin, and thus obtained a hold on some of the wealthiest provinces in the country. His policy continued to be marked by the same moderation that had characterized the acts which first brought him into notice. He proclaimed that his sole wish, for the realization of which he was prepared to spare neither his life nor any exertion whatever, was to restore to the people their lost independence, and to revive their ancient form of government. The success which attended his military operations attracted to his side the young and the daring; but the stability of his position was rendered the more assured because the more serious sections of the nation were won over to his party by a fertility of resource equal to every difficulty, and by the prudence with which the fruits of victory were turned to the attainment of noble and praiseworthy objects. Almost before the Mongol Court realized the danger likely to arise from the operations of this particular leader, Choo had gathered into his hands the power and influence which enabled him to become its destroyer.

From his post of vantage on the Yangtse, Choo succeeded in expelling the Mongol garrisons from most of the towns in Kiangsi, and, on their expulsion, in establishing an efficient HOSTAGES UNNECESSARY. 393

form of administration of his own. The overthrow of the Mongols did not cause the friends of peace and order those doubts as to what would thereafter ensue that nearly always suggest themselves at a time when the form of the existing institutions is undergoing a forcible change. But this confidence was only felt in those districts which were the scene of Choo's exploits. Elsewhere, Chinese patriots were only an euphemism for Chinese brigands. Ravaged regions, sacked towns, and the usual horrors of war proclaimed throughout the rest of China that the Chinese and their Tartar conquerors had met in a last death-struggle out of which the one or the other must issue finally vanquished. The question briefly put was, whether the natives would tolerate any longer a foreign and a much-hated race as rulers.

The growth of Choo's power proved slow but sure, and the districts subjected by him did not throw off his authority. In the north, particularly in the provinces of Honan and Shansi, other leaders made indeed more rapid progress. One of these had seized the city of Kaifong, and some had carried their raids through Leaoutung to the frontier of Corea; but they were all regarded with feelings more of apprehension than of love by the mass of the nation. Choo alone was considered to be working for the welfare of the people, and this reputation for sincerity and public spirit served to bring over to his side all those smaller leaders who could not hope to reach the highest place. Prominent among these was the pirate Fangkua Chin, whose naval exploits had exalted him to the rank of a national hero and made him a power for good or evil on the great river Kiang. In 1358 he sent an embassy to Choo, proposing an alliance for the emancipation of their country from the foreign yoke. He promised to place all his forces at the disposal of Choo, and in token of good faith sent one of his sons as hostage to Nankin.

Choo again showed himself well able to turn the opportunity to the best advantage. Having entertained this mission in a becoming manner, he returned the son to his father, saying that where expressions of friendship were sincere, hostages would be unnecessary. Fangkua Chin appeared greatly touched by this act of magnanimous confidence, and sent Choo a short time afterwards a steed magnificently caparisoned, with a saddle-cloth ornamented with pearls. But Choo refused to accept the gift. "I have no other passion," he said, " than to serve the Empire, and I ask only for skilful soldiers and ministers who may help me in my project. Corn, linen, and silk for the use of my soldiers are very necessary to me ; jewels have neither value nor use." After this expression of Choo's designs, the understanding between him and Fangkua Chin was drawn more closely together, and their alliance became more firm. It was well that it was so, as elsewhere dissension prevailed in the Chinese camp, and no two other leaders were found to advocate the same policy and course of action.

The penalty of this want of union soon arrived; for in 1359 the Mongol general, Chahan Timour, recaptured Kaifong, and the Sung claimant, who had established his court there, barely escaped with his life and the relics of his force. Had Chunti possessed in any degree the capacity of the race from which he sprang, a turn in his favour might, even at this eleventh hour, have been given to the contest, and the authority of the Mongols might have been preserved north of the Kiang river. But Chunti's debaucheries continued, and Pekin remained the scene of incessant intrigues. One plot in which the heir-apparent took a prominent part failed by the merest chance, and its failure proved only the forerunner of others. In the field the absence of union was not less conspicuous than it was at the capital. Chahan Timour, the best and most skilful of the Emperor's generals, whose recapture of Kaifong afforded some solid hope for believing in a retrieval of affairs, was the pronounced rival of Polo Timour; and where the principal commanders set so pernicious an example, their lieutenants were not slow to do likewise. At this critical moment, Alouhiya, a descendant of the Emperor Ogotai Khan, raised a considerable army in Mongolia for the purpose of, as he said, reviving the dignity of the Empire; but, however honourable his object, his pretensions constituted a grave peril to the Emperor Chunti, already sufficiently occupied and even embarrassed by the numerous hostile bands established within the heart of the XANADU. 395

realm. A body of troops hurriedly assembled and despatched to encounter Alouhiya, under a general named Toukien, was beaten with some loss, and compelled to find shelter in the ruined city of Changtu, the Xanadu of Coleridge, where Kublai was wont to pass the greater portion of the year. From this peril Chunti was fortunately relieved by the capture of Alouhiya, who found that the integrity of his intentions with regard to the State was no excuse for taking up arms against the Emperor. There were those who counselled a policy of generous forbearance towards this energetic Mongol chieftain, but Chunti refused to be guided in this matter except by his own views. Alouhiya may have been either a misguided enthusiast or a shrewd critic of Mongol decay; but he was undoubtedly a rebel in Chunti's eyes, and as such he was condemned to death.

The episode caused by Alouhiya's march out of Mongolia had hardly concluded, when the death of Chahan Timour caused fresh and serious embarrassment to the Emperor. In 1361, Chahan Timour had reduced the great province of Honan once more to its allegiance to the Emperor, and during the late winter of the same year he had employed his victorious soldiers in the reconquest of Shantung. He had almost completed the latter task, when two of the rebel leaders, to whom he had not only accorded their lives, but also assigned honourable posts of command, formed a plot to murder him. They succeeded only too well. Chahan Timour, with the confidence of a noble and fearless mind, trusted himself with a very small following into their power, when he was forthwith murdered in one of their tents. The loss of Chahan Timour proved irreparable. His adopted son Koukou exacted a fearful vengeance for this outrage; but, although he succeeded to his father's dignities, and, possessing some ability, took a not inconsiderable part in the later troubles, he could not hope, and was not able, to wield the same power as Chahan had exercised.

The year which beheld these events in Honan and Shantung, was also marked by a rebellion in Yunnan, where the shadow, if not the substance, of the authority established by Kublai and Uriangkadai a century before still existed. An officer named Mingyuchin had been sent thither by the Sung pretender for the purpose of stirring up the people; but although his efforts in this direction were far from having no result, he failed to maintain himself even against the weak garrison strengthened by reinforcements timely sent from Shensi. Baffled in Yunnan, Mingyuchin retired into Szchuen, where he met with better fortune, and for a short time maintained his authority in that province—in fact, until he was overthrown by Choo.

One of the natural consequences of these internal troubles was a falling-off in the respect shown by the neighbouring states to the Emperor's authority. The people and governing family of Corea, although loving their independence, had up to this obeyed without demur the edicts of the Mongol ruler; but in 1362 Chunti unwisely sanctioned an arbitrary interference in their home affairs. Some relations of his wife, the Empress Ki, who was of Corean birth, murdered in that year the reigning king; but, far from punishing the criminals, Chunti appointed a new king of their choice. Tasutumor— such was his name—left Pekin for his new kingdom, with a Mongol general and an army of 10,000 men, oblivious of the storm which his nomination had aroused. The Coreans resolved to repudiate this nominee of Pekin, and assembling in their thousands on the Yaloo river, under the leadership of Wang J wan, their popular chief, inflicted so severe a defeat there on the Emperor's army, that only seventeen men escaped to tell the tale of their disaster. Such was the closing act of the Mongol dynasty in regard to its relations with the kingdom of Corea and its brave, independent people.

It was not until the year 1366, when Chunti's incapacity had alienated the sympathy of his own followers, and when the dissensions in the ranks of the Mongols themselves had produced distrust and suspicion on all sides, that Choo resolved to commence the war for the expulsion of the foreign rulers. Up to this point he had maintained and extended his authority without coming into contact with the power of the Emperor, and chiefly by quietly substituting his administration in districts which had been lost to the Mongols. But the end before him was the same as with the most

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