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at the least extremely troublesome. The murder, by order of the Empress, during a reception at the palace, of Hansin, to whose aid Kaotsou mainly owed his elevation to the throne, shook confidence still more in the ruler, and many of his followers were forced into open rebellion through dread of personal danger. What wonder that, as he has said, "the very name of revolt inspired Kaotsou with apprehension."

The southern provinces of China, which had been brought under the sway of Hwangti, were at this time welded into an independent state called Nanhai. The Hans had been unable to extend their authority over this region, and Kaotsou had no choice save to recognize the existence of an independent kingdom which it was extremely doubtful if he could overthrow. An envoy was sent by the Emperor to the capital of its prince, and his tact enabled him to obtain what the Chinese Emperor might flatter himself as being a recognition of his supreme authority. His ambassador on this occasion was a well-known man of letters named Loukia, and it was his representations which did most towards bringing his class into greater favour at court. Loukia, indeed, composed a work for the special purpose of bringing Kaotsou round to enlightened ideas, and Ihis undoubtedly exercised considerable influence on his views. In B.C. 195 we find him going out of his way to visit the tomb of Confucius, to whom he offered homage in an elaborate ceremony. This, it is expressly stated, was only an act of policy. He left it for his successors to perform the same office to the great philosopher as a tribute of belief.

During the last campaign in which he was engaged—that against Kingpou, one of his old companions and supporters —he revisited his natal spot, where he gave a grand banquet to his army. After the feast, he took a musical instrument and sang in praise of the love of one's country. No truer meed has been rendered by Western poet to the necessity of patriotism than that contained in the impromptu tribute of this Chinese ruler. "Oh, my friends! how delicious the feeling we experience when after long absence we revisit our native land! The joy of battle, the charm of glory and of earthly grandeur, nay, even the title of Emperor or of PATRIOTISM. 63

King, contains nothing so seductive; they cannot, in a wellregulated mind, stifle the love of country. The land which first nourished us has sacred claims to our gratitude. My dear fatherland! the cradle of my fortunes, it is my fondest wish that you shall possess me after my death, and that my tomb may attest how much I loved you."

Shortly after this event, it became evident that the Emperor, borne down by anxiety and disturbed at the feuds with his earlier friends, was approaching his end, and one of his favourite wives made great efforts and intrigued among the nobles in order that her son should be selected the heir. But fortunately for the Empire, Kaotsou was aware of the evils of a disputed succession, and turning a deaf ear to her entreaties, his eldest son Hiao Hoeiti was proclaimed heirapparent . A few months before his death, Kaotsou had his first and only quarrel with the faithful Siaoho, whom on this occasion he cast into prison. Promptly advised of the injustice of his suspicions and the harshness of his treatment, he released and restored him to his former dignities, giving expression to the noteworthy sentiment that "there was nothing humiliating in the rendering of a merited act of justice."

The Emperor's indisposition had before this act of reparation assumed a grave character. The man who boasted that he " had conquered the Empire from his saddle," was lying sick to death, because he refused all mortal aid, saying that "If Heaven wish me to die or live, it will inspire me what to do." His last act was to name the best officer for carrying on the government, and to instruct the Empress Liuchi what was to be done after his death, showing in those arrangements all the ability and knowledge of men which were his chief characteristics; while with his latest breath he revealed the weak side of his character by declaring that all remedies for himself were useless, and by forbidding any one to mention them to him. He died in the fifty-third year of his age, having reigned as Emperor during eight years.

The close of his reign did not bear out all the promise of its commencement; and the extent of his authority was greatly curtailed by the disastrous results of the war with the Tartars, and the subsequent revolts among his generals. Despite these reverses, there remains much in favour of his character, and, although his reign will not compare in its achievements with that of the greatest of the Tsins, it formed a not unfavourable commencement for the famous dynasty of the Hans. The following opinion expresses what seems to be a fair historical verdict upon his character :—

"Kaohwangti, the founder of the celebrated dynasty of the Hans, derived none of his knowledge from study; but he supplied the want by a quickness of intellect and a power of penetration far from common. Prompt, impressionable, and impetuous, his eagerness often led him into faults; but he generally knew how to repair them by deferring to the judgment of those better instructed than himself. Naturally of a good disposition, and affable in his bearing, he treated his soldiers with kindness. These manners gained him the affection of his subjects, whose happiness he always sought to promote. As soon as he found himself master of the Empire, he ordered Siaoho to draw up a code of laws for the better government of the country. To Hansin he deputed the task of writing a treatise on tactics," and to other officials he gave different tasks for the benefit of the nation.

Kaotsou had performed his part in the consolidation of the Hans; it remained for those who came after him to complete what he left half-finished.

CHAPTER VI.

THE HAN DYNASTY.

KAOTSOU was succeeded by his son Hiao Hoeiti, or Hoeiti, who, in face of formidable intrigues in the palace, made good his father's inheritance. There had been a plan on foot for securing for his half brother Chow Wang the proud position of Emperor, and that prince's mother, the Empress Tsi, had sought to make her influence with Kaotsou turn the scale in favour of the succession of her son. If there was at first some degree of uncertainty in Hoeiti's tenure of power it was joon removed by the energy and terrible measures of his mother, the Empress Liuchi. History has forgotten to mention the gravity of the dangers which may have threatened the position of the second ruler of the new dynasty, while it has presented in all their details the crimes or the stern preventive measures of Liuchi. We are told of the barbarous treatment which she meted out to the unfortunate Princess Tsi, and of how, having first murdered his faithful guardian, she sent the poisoned bowl to Chow Wang; but no similar light is shed on the ambitious schemes nursed by her victims, or on the consequences which would have attended a less resolute mode of dealing with persons who were rebels in thought if not yet in deed. The fact remains plain that, by Liuchi's vigour, Hoeiti was saved from danger, at the same time that the Han dynasty was again placed on a firm basis. The young Emperor, while profiting by her deeds, repudiated all complicity in them; but while he reproved his mother for acts which certainly were cruel, it does not appear that either her personal influence with him, or her position at VOL. I. F

court, suffered on that account. She remained the dominant influence round the young ruler, and when the great princes came to render personal homage to their Emperor they found the Empress-mother practically wielding the sceptre, and guiding the affairs of state. Among these was Tao Wang, Prince of Tsi, and when this potentate feasted with the Emperor, Liuchi not only insisted on being present, but also on being served first to wine—a double breach of etiquette unpardonable in the eyes of any well-educated citizen of China. The Prince of Tsi could not conceal the astonishment with which he beheld any one attempt to drink before the Emperor, and at once Liuchi marked him as her opponent and her prey. With a decision as terrible and relentless as that which characterized Lucretia Borgia, Liuchi dropped the ready poison into a goblet, and offered the Prince of Tsi to drink. Happily the Emperor perceived the act, and comprehended the situation at a glance. Taking the goblet, he was on the point of drinking the wine himself when his mother snatched it from him, thus at once confessing her crime, and revealing the danger from which the Prince of Tsi had so narrowly escaped.

Hoeiti did not long enjoy the possession of the throne, and the lustre of his brief reign was due rather to the ability and integrity of his minister Tsaotsan than to any action of his own. Tsaotsan showed his great qualities by endeavouring to restore order and a sense of public spirit among the official classes. In this he was fairly successful, and the remainder of this reign passed off in tranquil efforts at internal reform. The Tartar king Mehe sent an envoy to the capital; but either the form or the substance of his message enraged the Empress-mother, who ordered his execution. The two peoples were thus again brought to the brink of war, but eventually the difference was composed, and the Chinese chroniclers have represented that the satisfactory turn in the question was due to Mehe seeing the error of his ways. Four years after this episode, and two years after the death of the minister Tsaotsan, the throne of the Hans was again vacant.

The Empress Liuchi continued to exercise the supreme

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