Imatges de pÓgina

gols and his elevation to the throne as the founder of the Ming Dynasty. He established his capital at Nanking and reigned thirty years. He named his grandson as his successor, but his son Yung-loh after five years seized the crown and moved the capital back to Peking in 1403. He promulgated a code of laws, framed under his direction, which is the basis of the existing system of today. In 1616 the Manchu Tartars invaded China and defeated the force sent against them. Rebellions followed in the provinces, by taking advantage of which and judiciously combining with one or other of the factions, the Manchus finally gained complete ascendency and in 1644 Shun-che was proclaimed emperor and founder of the Tsing dynasty, which continued in power till the revolution of 1912. The whole empire was not reduced at once, but by a policy combining vigor in war with humane treatment of those who submitted, all opposition to the new dynasty was gradually overcome.

A strange exhibition of power was that by which the people were required to adopt the Tartar mode of shaving the front of the head and braiding the hair in a long cue. To introduce and enforce a fashion by command even of a despot, is something rarely attempted and much more rarely enforced and maintained. This mode of wearing the hair, now a distinctive mark of the Chinaman, thus appears to be a Manchu fashion forcibly imposed on the Chinese. It is said that many preferred to lose their heads rather than submit to this badge of subjection.

Kang-hi, son and successor of Shun-che, ascended the imperial throne in 1661 when only eight years old. He was a contemporary of Louis XIV, who became sovereign of France the same year. The reign of Kang-hi was long and illustrious, lasting sixty-one years. He extended the boundaries of the empire and devoted his energies with indefatigable diligence to the improvement of the system of government. His son Yung-ching succeeded him in 1722 and ruled sixteen years with great satisfaction to his subjects. He was succeeded by Kien-hung his son who ruled mainly in peace for sixty years. In his reign intercourse with western nations was established

and embassies were received from Russia, England and Holland.

The first three Manchu sovereigns thus ruled the empire with prudence and vigor for one hundred and thirty-five years, with few wars either at home or abroad, and none seriously threatening the integrity of the empire. Subsequent reigns have been less fortunate and rebellions and foreign wars have become more frequent. The government during the last century has been, for the most part, without vigor, and the universal law which ultimately brings ruin on every hereditary dynasty has just brought this to the end. The decay of despotic power does not necessarily indicate retrogression on the part of the nation but is often, nay usually, the forerunner of distinct advancement. Weakness on the part of the government always induces disorders, but these are often prompted by a desire for better conditions. In spite of all the vices and imperfections of its rulers, the peculiar civilization of the Chinese has been preserved and the almost incredible number of its people has continued to increase. The accounts of the military operations of its rulers and of rebel leaders, are calculated to convey erroneous impressions as to the military qualities and army service of the people in general. In western countries great wars have usually called out a very large proportion of the whole number of males of military age. Not so in China. The greatest army ever raised in the whole empire probably never exceeded one out of a hundred of the whole population. During the greatest wars and the most serious rebellions, trade, agriculture and manufacture, except in the immediate locality of the strife, have gone on without very serious interruption. Thus the character of the Chinese people and of Chinese civilization has been essentially unmilitary ever since the consolidation of the vast empire.

All authorities agree that the fundamental idea of the Chinese government was patriarchal. The emperor was regarded on the one hand as the son of Heaven, deriving his power directly from the Supreme Being, and on the other, as the father and mother of the people, responsible for their

conduct as well as their welfare. He was the supreme legislative, judicial and executive power. The theory of the origin of his power is not essentially different from that of other monarchs who rule by right divine. The Chinese, however, ingrafted a very important qualification on the doctrine. So long as the emperor ruled well, he was under the immediate protection of Heaven, but when he did ill it was an indication that the favor of Heaven had been withdrawn from him. The attributes of the princely man, taught in the classics as the words of Confucius, are much more lofty than can often be found on a throne. In the "Invariable Centre" it is said:

"It is only the man supremely holy, who by the faculty of knowing thoroughly and comprehending perfectly the primitive laws of living beings, is worthy of possessing supreme authority and commanding men, who by possessing a soul grand, firm, constant and imperturbable is capable of making justice and equity reign-who by his faculty of being always honest, simple, upright, grave and just, is capable of attracting respect and veneration-who by his faculty of being clothed with the ornaments of the mind and talents procured by assiduous study and by the enlightenment that is given by an exact investigation of the most hidden things and the most subtle principles, is capable of discerning with accuracy the true from the false and good from evil.”

Mencius, who stands second only to Confucius in the estimation of the learned Chinese, said,

"When the prince is guilty of great errors the minister should reprove him: if after doing so again and again he does not listen, he ought to dethrone him and put another in his place."

In the Ta-hio or Grand Study the leading principles of government are thus stated by Confucius,

"The ancient princes who desired to develop in their states the luminous principle of reason that we have received from Heaven, endeavored first to govern well their kingdoms; those who desired to govern well their kingdoms, endeavored first to keep good order in their families; those who desired to keep good order in their families endeavored first to correct

themselves, those who desired to correct themselves endeavored first to give uprightness to their souls, those who desired to give uprightness to their souls endeavored first to render their intentions pure and sincere, those who desired to render their intentions pure and sincere endeavored to perfect as much as possible their moral knowledge and examine thoroughly their principles of action."

"All men the most elevated in rank as well as the most humble and obscure are equally bound to perform their duty. The correction and amelioration of one's self, or self-improvement is the basis of all progress, and of all moral development." Where is there anything better than this in any language? The Grand Study concludes,

"If those who govern states only think of amassing riches for their personal use, they will infallibly attract toward them depraved men. These depraved men will make the sovereign believe that they are good and virtuous, and these depraved men will govern the kingdom. But the administration of the unworthy ministers call down the chastisement of Heaven and excite the vengeance of the people. When matters have reached this point what ministers, were they ever so good and virtuous, could avert misfortune? Therefore those who govern kingdoms ought never to make their private fortune. out of the public revenues, but their only riches should be justice and equity."

As the teachings of Christ have failed to make all of his professed followers in the west live according to the golden rule, so also the teachings of Confucius, studied in every school in the empire, and a profound knowledge of which is a prerequisite to appointment to office, have yet failed to make ideal rulers of men corrupt by nature, yet that his doctrines have wielded a powerful influence for good cannot be doubted. The recognition of the classical books as authority on moral and political questions operated as a limitation. on the despotic powers of the emperor in much the same way that the unwritten British constitution limits the power of the king, lords and commons. The vast and complicated machinery of a government, ruling so many millions of peo

ple, also necessitated system and order, which could not be maintained under a government responding solely to the arbitrary will of a despot. The checks and balances of the system, though designed mainly to restrain subordinate officers within the legitimate bounds of their authority, operated also to limit the powers of the emperor, in whom theoretically all power was vested.

Under the Manchu dynasty the succession to the throne was hereditary in the male line. The particular person was designated by the sovereign, but kept concealed until after his death. The person designated ceased to be known by his personal name from the time of his accession to the throne and was given a new name which is rather the name of his reign than of himself. The deceased emperor was given a posthumous name by which he is known in history. When by revolutions a new dynasty was established, it received a name which is continued till a new family accedes to power.

The imperial clan consisted of two classes. First the Tsung-shih, lineal descendants of Tien-Mings' father, Hientsu who assumed the title of emperor in 1616. Second the collateral branches including the children of his uncles and brothers who were collectively called Gioro. In the Tsungshih there were twelve degrees of rank. They were for the most part shut out from useful employments and received small allowancs. The titular nobility of the empire were not a rich and powerful body, but without power, land, wealth, or influence. The near kinsmen of the emperor received liberal allowances, while the lowest orders were given mere pittances. The imperial clan governed Manchuria and individuals were given such appointments in the empire as the emperor saw fit. Besides these there were five ancient orders of nobility, the titles of which cannot be accurately translated. The descendants of Confucius received especial honor.

The government of the Imperial court was under the general supervision of a board styled the Nui-wu-fu composed of a president and six assessors under whom were seven subordinate departments. These officers attended the emperor and empress at sacrifice and oversaw the households of the em

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