Imatges de pàgina
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: A SHORT

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189

HISTORY OF CHINA

68 650

BEING AN ACCOUNT FOR THE GENERAL READER OF AN

ANCIENT EMPIRE AND PEOPLE

BY

DEMETRIUS CHARLES BOULGER

Cibon havanah

Author of the History of ChinaEngland and Russia in

Central Asia&C &c

p.1-2 missing

LONDON

W HALLEN & CO LIMITED

13 WATERLOO PLACE SW

Publishers to the India Office

1893

WYMAN AND SONS, LIMITED, PRINTERS, LONDON AND REDHILL. With them passed away the practice of letting the most capable and ex perienced minister rule the State. Such an impartial and reasonable mode of selecting the head of a community can never be perpetuated. The rulers themselves may see its advantages and may endeavour as honestly as these three Chinese princes to carry out the arrangement, but the day must come when the family of the able ruler will assert its rights to the succession, and take advantage of its opportunities from its close connection with the government to carry out its ends. The Emperor Yu, true to the practice of his predecessors, nominated the President of the Council as his successor, but his son Tiki seized the throne, and became the founder of the first Chinese dynasty which was called the Hia from the name of the province first ruled by his father. This event is supposed to have taken place in the year 2197 B.C. and the Hia dynasty, of which there were seventeen Emperors, ruled down to the year 1776 B.C. These Hia princes present no features of interest, and the last of them, named Kia, was deposed by one of his principal nobles, Ching Tang, Prince of Chang.

This prince was the founder of the second dynasty, known as Chang, which held possession of the throne for 654 years, or down to 1122 B.C. With the exception of the founder, who seems to have been an able man, this dynasty of twenty-eight Emperors did nothing very noteworthy. The public morality deteriorated very much under this family, and it is said that when one of the Emperors wanted an honest man as minister he could only find one in the person of a common labourer. At last, in the 12th century before our era, the enormities of the Chang rulers reached a climax in the person of Chousin, who was deposed by a popular rising headed by Wou Wang, Prince of Chow.

This successful soldier, whose name signifies the Warrior King, founded the third Chinese dynasty of Chow, which governed the Empire for the long space of 867 years down to 255 B.C. During that protracted period there were necessarily good and bad Emperors, and the Chow dynasty was rendered specially illustrious by the appearance of the great social and religious reformers, Laoutse, Confucius, and Mencius during the existence of its power. The founder of the dynasty instituted the necessary reforms to prove that he was a national benefactor, and one of his successors, known as the Magnificent King, extended the authority of his family over some of the States of Turkestan. But on the whole the rulers of the Chow dynasty were not particularly distinguished, and one of them in the eighth century B.C. was weak enough to resign a portion of his sovereign rights to a powerful vassal, Siangkong the Prince of Tsin, in consideration of his undertaking the defence of the frontier against the Tartars. At this period the authority of the central government passed under a cloud. The Emperor's prerogative became the shadow of a name, and the last three centuries of the rule of this family would not call for notice but for the genius of Laoutse and Confucius, who were both great moral teachers and religious reformers.

Laoutse, the founder of Taouism, was the first in point of time, and in some respects he was the greatest, of these reformers. He found his countrymen sunk in a low state of moral indifference and religious infidelity which corresponded with the corruption of the times and the disunion in the kingdom. Heat once set himself to work with energy and devotion to repair the evils of his day, and to raise before his countrymen a higher ideal of duty. He has been called the Chinese Pythagoras, the most erudite of

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