Imatges de pàgina

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

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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. Tasutumorsuch 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 Jwan, 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



pronounced of their enemies; he alone knew how best it could be attained. The difficulties which he had to overcome before he felt ready to grapple with the forces of Pekin were far from being few or trivial. A rival leader in the southern provinces, Changsse Ching, who represented the hopes of a numerous and desperate band of adventurers, threatened his position in the rear, and the dispersion of this faction was the essential preliminary to any operations north of the Yangtsekiang. Having accomplished this task, Choo found himself brought face to face with a new and unexpected difficulty in the momentary defection of his ally, the piratical leader Fangkua Chin. This personage had not been as sincere in his protestations of friendship and zeal as had at the time appeared to be the case. Personal pique led him to break away from the alliance with Choo, and to enter into another arrangement with Koukou, the adopted son of Chahan Timour, who, after taking a certain part in the affairs of Pekin, had been dismissed by Chunti from all his employments, and was now a desperate and dangerous man, striving to make a second fortune out of the troubles of the time. The promptness of Choo's measures foiled the plans of his enemies. Before they could draw their strength to a head, Choo's generals were in possession of Fangkua Chin's cities, and that chief had been compelled to seek safety in an island of the sea. Seeing the hopelessness of the cause, Fangkua Chin threw himself on the generosity of his conqueror, and sank into obscurity at Choo's court. With the removal of these perils, Choo was left free to concentrate all his attention and strength on his forthcoming struggle with the Mongols.

In 1366, therefore, Choo gave orders to his troops to prepare for a general campaign, and at the same time issued a proclamation to the Chinese people telling them that the hour had arrived for casting off the foreign yoke which had pressed heavily upon them for almost a hundred years. The proclamation was calculated to inspire the people with courage, and the effect of Choo's eloquence was made complete by the sight of his well-drilled and well-led soldiers. Three armies left Nankin at the same time, each charged with a distinct mission. The two first were instructed to subdue the three provinces of Fuhkien, Kwangsi, and Kwantung. The notice of their approach, the mere sight of their banners, sufficed to attain their object. In the course of a few weeks the authority of the Mongols had been swept away for ever from three of the great provinces of the Empire. The people hailed the name of their deliverer with acclamations of joy, and many hastened to swell the ranks of the army to which had been entrusted the more difficult task of reconquering the northern provinces. Of the fate of the Mongol garrisons in the south history has left no record, a silence which by many will be considered more expressive than words.

Meanwhile, the third or great army, numbering 250,000 men, and consisting mostly of cavalry, was in full march for the northern capital. Choo did not at first place himself at the head of this force, as his own warlike disposition undoubtedly prompted him to do, but he entrusted it to his favourite general Suta, who showed a skill and an aptitude for command that fully justified his leader's selection. In the autumn of the year 1367 Suta crossed the Hoangho and advanced in the direction of Pekin. Very little resistance was offered ; and the Mongol garrisons, discouraged by a long succession of reverses, retreated on the approach of the national army. One officer, bolder than the rest, attempted to effect a diversion from the side of Tunkwan ; but his scheme, though ably conceived, failed in the execution. After this no further opposition was encountered until the province of Pechihli had been entered, and by that time the result of the campaign being more or less assured, Choo set out from Nankin to place himself at the head of his troops. At Tongchow, Pouyen Timour made a vigorous defence; but the town was forced to surrender, and the commandant either died of his wounds or committed suicide. A few days later Pekin, whence Chunti had fled, was carried by storm in face of the desperate resistance of a small portion of the Mongol army. These gallant defenders of the imperial city, headed by Timour Pouhoa and several of the civilian ministers, were cut down to the last man. The enterprise of Choo was virtually crowned with success by the capture of Pekin and

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