Imatges de pàgina


the harbour of Fushan, where they were in direct communication with their fleet and their own country.

Both sides were now tired of the war which had brought no practical benefit to either, and which had entailed an immense amount of loss and suffering on both. The Japanese first gave signs of a desire for peace by releasing the Corean magnates who were prisoners in their hands; and Chesin, the Chinese President of War, at once despatched an order from Pekin for the suspension of hostilities. Alone among the members of the Imperial Council, Chesin was in favour of recognizing Fashiba as King of Japan, but his influence was so great that he carried his point . As soon as this important matter was settled in favour of Fashiba's pretensions, the negotiations progressed at a rapid pace. Gifts were exchanged. A Japanese envoy was honourably received at Pekin, and another Chinese official visited the Japanese camp. Fashiba expressed himself perfectly satisfied with the concessions of the Chinese, and returned the courtesy of their recognition of his sovereignty by the despatch of costly presents, which the recipients accepted out of vanity, or from deep motives of policy, as a form of tribute. But although the main current of these negotiations flowed on satisfactorily enough, the actual relations of the two armies and their commanders in Corea were far from being equally satisfactory; and they were further complicated by the wiles of the intriguer, Chin Weiking, who had again been entrusted with the task of personally conducting the progress of the negotiations.

All might yet have ended satisfactorily, for the selfseeking aims of Chin Weiking were beginning to be realized at Pekin, when an unfortunate step on the part of the Corean king undid everything that had been accomplished, and reopened the whole question. The envoy whom he sent as a messenger of peace to felicitate Fashiba on the assumption of the royal title of Tycoon of Japan, was discovered to be an official of very inferior rank, and Fashiba showed no hesitation in resenting this act as a personal affront, and as a slight cast upon his dignity. In 1597 he ordered a fresh fleet of two hundred sail to proceed to sea, and made other open preparations for the renewal of his enterprise against Corea. These measures arrested the progress of the negotiations, and roused the indignation of the Chinese cabinet. Both Chesin and Chin Weiking were disgraced and placed in confinement; and preparations were made for the prosecution of the war on an extensive scale.

Li Jusong was not, however, entrusted with the command, and, although a very large army was concentrated on the Yaloo river, nothing was effected. The Chinese and Japanese remained facing each other without being able to gain any advantage or willing to risk the consequences of a reverse. But if the balance of superiority remained doubtful on land, there was no uncertainty at sea; there the Japanese superiority was incontestable, and their navy swept the China seas and plundered the coasts of Fuhkien and Chekiang with impunity. The whole of the year 1597 was passed in desultory fighting, but the differences and jealousies of the Chinese commanders prevented their deriving any advantage from their greater numbers. Indeed, they suffered a distinct reverse at the siege of Weichan, a small town on the coast; but this untoward result was due to the sudden appearance of the redoubtable Japanese fleet. Although reinforcements were repeatedly sent from China, the incapacity of the commanders was so great that the Japanese were able to keep the field, and to all appearance possessed the advantage over the Chinese. The end of the struggle, which had continued during the winter of 1597-8, was apparently as far off as ever when the news came of the sudden death of Fashiba. This put a summary end to the contest, as the Japanese troops * were immediately withdrawn. The Chinese army also evacuated the country, and, with the restoration of the native dynasty, the kingdom of Corea returned to its primitive existence, and sank again into a state of semi-darkness.

One further act alone remained to mark the termination of a war which, so far as practical results went, had been literally barren of achievement to all concerned in it; and

* The Japanese returned with an enormous quantity of booty, and, Mr. Mounsey (" Satsuma Rebellion," 1880, pp. 56, 57) says, with the ears of 10,000 Coreans. They also retained their hold upon Fushan.


the closing scene reflects no credit on the Chinese. The fortune of war had placed two Japanese officers, near relatives of the King Fashiba, in their power. They were sent with other prisoners to Pekin, for their fate to be there decided. By some line of tortuous reasoning difficult to understand and impossible to approve, Wanleh's ministers decreed that Fashiba was a rebel, and that his kin must suffer death. With the murder of these unfortunate prisoners, the seven years' war in Corea closed. The motives of the Chinese in defending that state were alike prudent and honourable, and the commencement of the war promised them military success; but, as it continued, the incapacity of the commanders ruined all these favourable prospects. Its concluding stages were marked by lying bulletins of victories that were never won, and it was consummated with a disgraceful crime.

Misfortunes never come singly, and they descended rapidly on the devoted head of the unfortunate Wanleh, who was dearly paying for the faults of his predecessors. The revolt of Ninghia had been followed by the protracted war with Japan, and that contest had hardly concluded when a rising, destined to prove of a troublesome character, broke out among the tribes in the western mountains of Szchuen. A hereditary chieftain there, named Yang Inglong, had gathered a considerable military force together under his orders, and, knowing the embarrassment of the Imperial Government, thought the time was opportune for putting forward his claims to independence. He raised a number of troops, with which he harried the borders and captured several towns from the Chinese. Thirty or forty thousand men were reported to obey his orders, and the Government attached so much importance to the movement that several of the generals and most of the troops who had been employed in Corea were directed to cross China and march against this new enemy of the State. The rebels fought with great bravery, and the difficult nature of their country rendered the task of reducing them one of time. Thanks mainly to the courage and skill of Liuyen, the Imperial troops succeeded in forcing their way through the hills to the- fort where Yang had established his head-quarters. Terrified at the approach of the Chinese, Yang wished to surrender, but Liuyen refused to hold any communication with a rebel. With apparently no place to flee to, Yang resolved to commit suicide, but his son conceived it to be more honourable to be taken sword in hand. The execution of the latter, and the placing of a garrison in the captured hill fort, marked the close of this rebellion, which had been crushed with commendable promptitude. Its importance must not, however, be lightly judged because the victory was so easily attained. In estimating the significance of this and other similar insurrections, the effort necessary to restore order must be remembered. Here we see that a rising among a petty people in the South-West required the despatch of soldiers who had already borne the hardships of several campaigns in the North-East. The consequences of this inadequate military power became very perceptible when the Mings were assailed by a formidable foreign foe.

During these years of disturbance there had been a remarkable development in the intercourse between the Chinese and the nations of the West. The Portuguese had as early as the year 1560 obtained from the local mandarins the right to erect sheds for their goods at a place near the mouth of the Canton estuary, which became known as Macao. Some years later this place had attained so much importance, that between five and six hundred Portuguese merchants, it is stated on good authority, resorted thither annually for purposes of trade. This settlement continued to develop both in size and in the amount of its commerce, notwithstanding the precarious conditions under which it was held; and by the regular payment of their rent to the Government, as well as by a system of judicious bribing, the Portuguese long enjoyed the practical monopoly of the external trade of the great mart of Canton with the West.

About the same time that the Portuguese were thus establishing themselves on the mainland of China, the Spaniards had seized the Philippine * Islands, to which they gave the

* Manilla was declared the capital of .this new possession by the Governor Legaspi in the year 1571


name of their king. They were not long in possession of these fertile islands before they came into contact with the Chinese, who had been in the habit of resorting thither from Canton for purposes of trade from a time much anterior to the Spanish occupation. In the train of Canton merchants came Chinese settlers, and the prosperity of Manilla was due as much to the latter's thrift and capacity for labour of all kinds, as it was to the profits of the commercial dealings with the former. The number of the Chinese settlers increased with startling rapidity, and soon the Spanish officials and garrison began to see in these tillers of the soil, who so far outnumbered them,* a formidable foe and a possible source of peril. The southern imagination having once entertained the possibility of a rising on the part of the Chinese immigrants, did not suffer the fear to slumber, and magnified into an immediate danger what was only a conjectural contingency. The arrival of three mandarins in the year 1602, with some indefinite mission from the Emperor, seemed to confirm these suspicions, and, after they had been as summarily dismissed as circumstances allowed, the Spaniards formed their plans for achieving another St. Bartholomew at the expense of the helpless and unoffending Chinese. In this design their firearms enabled them to succeed, and after a butchery which lasted several months it was reported that most of the twenty thousand unarmed Chinese had been slaughtered. The Spaniards attributed the success of this first massacre of Manilla to the presence of their national saint, St. Francis; but, while they congratulated themselves on their triumph, they had nearly ruined their colony, which owed all its prosperity to Chinese labour.

The Chinese Government was then, as now, indifferent to the fate of those of its subjects who went away to foreign states, and the Spanish explanations were accepted without any difficulty being raised, or even without many inconvenient questions being asked. Fresh Chinese colonists again flocked to those pleasant islands undeterred by the fate of their countrymen, and their numbers soon increased to a greater extent than before. The Spaniards had recourse to • In 1602 there were 20,000 Chinese and only 800 Spaniards.

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