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soldier. The odds against him were apparently irresistible, for when he drew up his forces at the foot of Goolo hill he had but four thousand men with which to oppose the onset of thirty. Their superior discipline and the resolution of their commander supplied to some degree this deficiency of numbers; but the confederated princes had every reason to feel elate. The battle began with a furious charge against the front of Noorhachu's line. Although Yeho and the principal of the Mongol captains headed it, the charge miscarried. Yeho fell from his horse and was slain, while the Mongol captain, having experienced a similar mishap, remounted his horse and galloped away. Noorhachu's opportunity had come, and he delivered home his attack. The large force of the confederates broke into disorder, and in the pursuit 4000 of them were slain. Several chiefs were taken prisoners, and among the spoil several thousand horses and plaited suits of armour were counted, which came as an opportune help to Noorhachu in his schemes of army organization.

The victory of Goolo consolidated the position which Noorhachu had gained in the valley of Hootooala, and in 1599 he followed it up by the conquest and annexation of Hada, an extensive and fertile district on the northern border. These signal successes excited the alarm of the Chinese who were beginning to protest against the rapid progress of Noorhachu's power. Noorhachu took this grumbling in ill part, and discontinued paying a tribute which he had engaged a few years before to send to the Leaoutung governor. The adjoining state of Hwifa shared the fate of Hada in 1607, and the following years were employed in deciding the destinies of *he Woola district which skirted the banks of the Songari. The chief of this territory, Boojantai, made a resolute defence, but his forces were no match for the cotton-mailed warriors of Noorhachu. Several minor engagements were fought before the decisive action came off, and then Boojantai, who had incurred the extreme displeasure of Noorhachu for an insult offered to his daughter, fled away and disappeared, never more to be heard of, in the mists of the northern region. These campaigns were but preliminary to the main attack on

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Yeho, the most powerful of the late confederates ; and in 1613 Noorhachu began his operations against this territory, whose ruler had foolishly remained inactive while he was collecting in his hands the power to crush him.

His success on this, the first, occasion did not reach his expectations, for the people of Yeho retired into their towns, and, assisted by the Chinese with money and arms, they were able to hold out until Noorhachu's followers, disappointed at the slow progress made against their foe, were withdrawn. In two other districts, those of Hoorha and Doonghai, he fared better, for both either submitted to or recognized his authority. These successes resulted in the firm establishment of Noorhachu's power along the whole of the northern frontier of Leaoutung. The Chinese thus saw that central authority set up among the Niuche which they had always affected to desire, but it had been no part of their plan that the man to wield it should be one who owed nothing to their support, and who it was shrewdly suspected nursed a latent hostility towards themselves. The dispensation of authority, which seemed natural enough to the Chinese when vested in the person of a puppet ruler like Nikan, assumed quite a different aspect when exercised by the vigorous chief Noorhachu.

After the repulse of his first attack on Ycho, Noorhachu devoted more attention even than before to the improvement of his army. Not content with dividing his forces into companies, several of which were composed of picked men, he also collected engines of war, which showed that he meditated some more extensive and difficult enterprise than any he had yet undertaken. And such indeed was the case. For reasons which the geographical position of the states will not sufficiently explain, he came to the decision that he could not conquer Yeho until he had first overthrown the Chinese authority in Leaoutung. It was in 1617 that he came to this important resolution, and when his military arrangements had been completed he drew up a formal indictment against the Chinese Government . His army, which had originally consisted of no more than one hundred men, now mustered over forty thousand strong, and these troops had been drilled under his own eye, and were individually known to him. The Manchu archer and man-at-arms were both famed for their skill and intrepidity; and their equipment left nothing to be desired. The Manchu bow was a formidable weapon, and the cotton-plated mail of the horseman was proof to the shaft or the spear. Noorhachu's indictment of the Chinese took the form of a list of grievances, termed "the Seven Hates," against their border lieutenants, but the peculiarity of the proceeding was in the accompanying ceremony. Instead of forwarding this document to the Chinese Court, he burnt it in presence of his army, so that Heaven might judge the justice of the cause between himself and his enemy.

Thus were the slight power, insignificant resources, and scanty population of the Manchu districts raised to so high and vigorous a point by the thrift and ability of Noorhachu that the invasion of the great empire of China became a possibility. Notwithstanding the skill shown in husbanding and developing their strength, they could not have possessed any conceivable chance of victory had the Mings shown the smallest capacity; for the Manchus, unlike the Mongols, were very few in numbers, and their recruiting-ground was extremely limited. While this war-cloud was gathering portent on his northern frontier, the Ming Emperor Wanleh was congratulating himself at paltry successes over rebel hillmen in the remote south; and he remained indifferent to the pressing danger at his very door. Noorhachu's invasion of Leaoutung awoke him from his delusion, while it also revealed the most formidable of the enemies who threatened the Ming dynasty with overthrow, and the Chinese people with the horrors of invasion.

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CHAPTER XXXIV.

WARS BETWEEN THE MINGS AND MANCHUS.

THE Manchus, under their great leader Noorhachu, crossed the frontier into Chinese territory in the year 1618, and they first advanced against the border town of Fooshun, where an annual fair used to be held for the Tartar tribes. This open invasion of the Empire took.the local officials by surprise, and the slight preparations they had made to resist such raids as it was alone thought possible that the Manchus might organize appeared insignificant in face of Noorhachu's well-appointed army. The governor was slain while attempting to defend Fooshun, and the town surrendered to the Manchus. After this encounter, Noorhachu sent to Pckin, through the governor of Leaoutung, a list of his grievances, and it was said that he even promised to lay down his arms on his just demands being satisfied. The Pekin Government did not appreciate the situation, and turned a deaf ear to the protests and minatory language of a petty Tartar chieftain, of whose name even the Court chroniclers pretended to be ignorant. Far from showing the least disposition to comply with his terms, the Chinese despatched an army to retake Fooshun and to expel the invader. Its movements were marked by little prudence, and the over-confidence and want of skill of the commanders were justly punished by their complete overthrow on the field of battle. The charge of the Manchus proved irresistible, and carried everything before it.

Noorhachu passed a portion of the summer in inaction, to see whether the Celestial Government would make any move towards coming to a pacific arrangement with him, and while he remained in his quarters the report of his first successes over the Chinese brought him many fresh recruits to swell the numbers of his already elated soldiery. But when the autumn came without any sign of concession from Pekin, Noorhachu broke up his camp and resumed his advance into China. This time he marched in an opposite direction from that which he had taken on the first occasion, and laid siege to Tsingho, where some preparations had been made for a siege. The place was in fact resolutely defended, and the Manchu assaults were several times repulsed. But a traitor opened one of the gates to the foe, and the Manchus thus succeeded in capturing the town when they seemed on the point of failure. More than 6000 of the garrison and 10,000 of the townspeople fell by the edge of the sword. Other successes should have followed from this signal victory, but the clamour of his soldiers, who were anxious concerning the security of their homes, because of the presence in their rear of the hostile state of Yeho, obliged Noorhachu to return to Hingking for the purpose of dealing with this neighbour.

The invasion of Leaoutung had, therefore, little more than commenced when Noorhachu found himself compelled to turn aside from it, and to resume his operations against the last of the independent Niuche districts. The campaign against Yeho had only entered upon its first stage, when tidings reached Noorhachu that a large Chinese force threatened his own capital, and he had to hastily retrace his steps for its defence. The successes of the Tartars at Fooshun and Tsingho had at last roused the lieutenants of Wanleh to some idea of the formidable character of the chief with whom they had to deal, and of the military force which he had created. When they heard, therefore, that Yeho was about to feel the full weight of the Manchu attack, they resolved to hasten to its assistance, and to assail Noorhachu before he had crushed his last opponent among his own race

Yangkao, the viceroy of Leaoutung, realized the full significance of the situation at a glance, and placed in the field an army of more than 100,000 men according to the lowest computation, but it was unfortunate that he assumed the command in person, for his incapacity in the art of war

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