Imatges de pàgina



in tactical knowledge might fairly be considered to hold their own with the best of them.

The campaigns between the years A.D. 1131 and 1134 were of a different character from those preceding them. The Chinese were in the main successful, and the Kin invasion was finally checked. The death of their great chief Oukimai in the latter year was also a serious blow to their power. While his generals, Walipou, Niyamoho, and Liuche, were winning battles he was engaged not less sedulously in the reform of the internal administration. He was steadily assimilating the customs of his Tartar people to the civilization of the Chinese, and figured as a patron of literature and art. His reign marks the pinnacle of the Kin power. After his death it began slowly but surely to decline. His successor was his cousin Hola, whose reign witnessed the first appearance and gradual growth of the Mongols ; and the encroachments of these northern tribes proved another inducement to the Kins to abstain from unnecessary wars in the south.

Negotiations for the conclusion of a peace were begun on several occasions, but only to be broken off. At one moment Hola offered to restore Honan and Shansi ; at the next he announced his intention of conquering Shensi. A treaty was concluded by which Honan was to be restored to the Empire, but the Kin generals refused to evacuate it. The Chinese were successful in the encounters that took place for the purpose of enforcing a settlement of the question, and on one occasion they slew eighty thousand men ; but either through the weakness of Kaotsong or the incapacity of his ministers, they obtained none of the fruits of success. Honan remained an appendage of the Kins. The character of the Emperor and the temper of the age may be inferred from the fact that at this crisis of his reign Kaotsong sanctioned the imprisonment, which of course ended in murder, of the general who had contributed most to the restoration of his authority. An ignominious peace with the Kins, in the year A.D. 1141, followed, and was a fit conclusion for a period marked by victories that were rendered barren of result and by crimes wrought on the persons of deserving public men. By its

terms not only did Kaotsong resign all claim to a vast extent of territory undoubtedly his by right, but he consented to pay annually a large subsidy in silk and money to the Kin ruler. Kaotsong completed the disgrace of this treaty by accepting the rest of his states as a gift at the hands of the Tartar ruler. The restoration of the body of the dead Emperor Hoeitsong was but a sorry equivalent for so ample a surrender of territory and so grave a loss of dignity.

A few years after this treaty, which was followed by a peace of some duration, the King Hola was murdered by a grandson of Akouta, named Ticounai, who also seized the governing power. He began his reign with a number of diabolical crimes, and when he had satisfied his passion and lust of blood, he thought it would be a great deed to break the treaty with the Sungs and renew the war with them. He drew up a plan of campaign for the conquest of China in the first place, and of Hia and Corea after that had been accomplished. Two or three years would, he said, suffice for this great enterprise. He forgot how long his predecessors had taken in securing what was nothing more than a partial, if considerable, success. In all his measures he showed equal indifference to the teaching of the past, and not less overconfidence in his own abilities.

Kaotsong's power had been steadily increasing during the long peace which Ticounai was now bent on breaking, and the lessons learnt during a protracted war had been taken to heart and enforced. Ticounai could not conceal his extensive preparations for war, and Kaotsong, while desiring the continuance of peace, felt bound to sanction counter precautions. Both sides continued, therefore, their active exertions, and Ticounai boasted that he would place half a million of armed men in the field. But more than half this number was required to actually guard the frontier against the Mongols, the Hias, and the Coreans. Kaotsong wished to the last to preserve peace and avoid further strife ; but Ticounai was resolved that there should be war, and, as he himself protested, he was only seeking a plausible pretext for declaring it.

His attention was in some degree distracted from his relations with the Sungs by a rising within his territory



caused by his own acts of tyranny. The chief of one of the clans of those Khitans, who had remained in the country after the fall of their dynasty, had found cause for complaint against this ruler, and his grievance not receiving the redress which he required, he broke out into revolt. Ticounai treated this occurrence as a matter of slight importance, but the defeat of one of his generals soon compelled him to see it in a different light. An end was put to his anxiety, however, by the murder of the Khitan chief by his own followers, who were discontented because he had begun his march to join their kinsmen in the west-the Kara Khitay of the kingdom of the Gurkhan. Ticounai did not suffer this episode to turn him from his main purpose, which was war with the Sungs. In A.D. 1161 he accordingly gave orders to his generals to cross the frontier, and the long-expected contest began, after a peace which had endured for twenty years.

The war does not appear to have been very popular with Ticounai's subjects, as many desertions are stated to have taken place before actual fighting commenced. It was no doubt felt to be an unjustifiable war, one commenced without any reasonable provocation, and having no legitimate object in view. If ever a war was criminal, that which Ticounai began in so reckless a manner with the Sung ruler must be held to have been so. The wrongful action of the Kin ruler was so palpable that even in that day there were men resolved to mark by some great sacrifice their disapproval of it. Wang Yeouchi, a private individual of Shantung, expended his fortune in fitting out a small corps which rendered valuable and opportune service early in the war; and the great force of public opinion in all the border provinces was strongly in favour of Kaotsong and against the false and aggressive conduct of the Kin prince.

Ticounai was not to be checked in his design by moral compunctions, and he placed himself at the head of his troops. At first Kaotsong thought of retiring to a place of safety, but a wise minister dissuaded him from this suicidal act. Instead of showing his subjects an example of pusillanimity he then threw aside further hesitation and repaired to the camp of his army. The news of a great sea-fight off the coast, in which his fleet had been completely successful—destroying a large number of the Tartar vessels-produced great rejoicings in his army, full of confidence at the sight of the king in their midst. To Ticounai there came at the same time one piece of bad news after another. His fleet driven from the sea removed an auxiliary in which he had reposed great faith ; but this was insignificant in comparison with the intelligence he received from his own state. His iniquities had resulted in an inevitable uprising of the people, and his half-brother, Oulo, had been proclaimed in his place, by the mass of his subjects and a portion of his army, Emperor of the Kins. Still Ticounai would not turn aside from the task he had in hand, and thought to crush all his enemies by winning some decisive success over the Chinese army.

Ticounai advanced to the banks of the Great river, driving the Chinese detachments across it. It then became a question of how he and his troops were to effect the passage.

He sacrificed a black horse to Heaven, and he cast a sheep and a cock to the mercy of the waters ; but his religion, or credulity, brought him no good fortune. The Sung fleet stood in the path to dispute the passage, and when his war junks sought to engage them, they were repulsed with the loss of half their number. In a further engagement they were, practically speaking, annihilated. Ticounai persisted in his resolution to continue the war, although he was in reality helpless on the northern bank of the Yangtse. His army began to murmur in face of the impossible, and numerous petitions were presented to Ticounai by his officers, some suggesting a retreat, others that more time should be allotted to the preliminary preparations. These covert remonstrances excited Ticounai's ire, and roused all the savage in his nature. Executions and bastinadoings became of frequent occurrence in his camp; the soldiers were discontented, and the officers embittered against a tyrant whose reckless and undiscriminating temper constituted a danger to all who approached him. A plot was formed against him among his own guards, and his death removed one of those monsters of iniquity whose crimes blacken the age and country in which they happen to have lived.



Having thus summarily solved the difficulty of the passage of the Yangtse, the Kin army concluded a convention with the Chinese and returned northwards to its own country, well content to have escaped from so dangerous a predicament with little loss, and also to be freed from the tyranny of an unjust ruler. Prince Oulo was generally recognized after Ticounai's death, and proclaimed Emperor of the Kins. His first act was to come to an amicable understanding with Kaotsong, thus terminating the ambitious enterprise of his predecessor in an arrangement which seemed to promise better times for these neighbouring states.

The signing of this new peace was the last act of Kaotsong's reign, for he abdicated the throne the same year in favour of his adopted heir hlaotsong, a young prince, who was descended from Taitsou, the founder of the dynasty. During the long period of thirty-six years Kaotsong had been the nominal ruler of southern China, but his acts had not fulfilled the promise of his youth, when he was the foremost to press brave counsels on his father and elder brother. His natural timidity proved excessive, leaving him an easy tool in the hands of those who worked upon his fears. His reign was marked by many disasters, although it also witnessed a revival of Chinese military efficiency, and concluded with a peace which was more honourable in its terms than any concluded with the Kins. Kaotsong lived on for a quarter of a century after his abdication, dying in A.D. 1187 at the patriarchal age of eighty-four.

The Kin ruler Oulo did not obtain undisputed possession of his throne. Ticounai's army joined him to a man, but there was a fresh outbreak on the part of the Khitan tribes under the leadership of Ylawoua, a general of that race in the service of the Kins. Oulo had entrusted to him the task of keeping his own people in order, but Ylawoua became so intoxicated with his success, and the favourable reception accorded him by the Khitans, that he resolved to make himself independent, and caused himself to be proclaimed by the old title of Emperor of the Leaous. Oulo was compelled to send a considerable army against this rebel force before he could rest free from anxiety on its account. Ylawoua's

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