About Maximapedia

Chinese History


(From ancient times to 1910)

(A) - European Knowledge of China up to 1615.

China as known to the Ancients. - The spacious seat of ancient civilization which we call China has been distinguished by different appellations, according as it was reached by the southern sea-route or by the northern land-route traversing the longitude of Asia. In the former aspect the name has nearly always been some form of the name Sin, Chin, Sinoe, China. In the latter point of view the region in question was known to the ancients as the land of the Seres, to the middle ages as the empire of Cathay. The name of Chin has been supposed (doubtfully) to be derived from the dynasty of Ts'in, which a little more than two centuries before the Christian era enjoyed a vigorous existence, uniting all the Chinese provinces under its authority, and extending its conquests far beyond those limits to the south and the west. The mention of the Chinas in ancient Sanskrit literature, both in the laws of Manu and in the Mahabharata, has often been supposed to prove the application of the name long before the predominance of the Ts'in dynasty. But the coupling of that name with the Daradas, still surviving as the people of Dardistan, on the Indus, suggests it as more probable that those Chinas were a kindred race of mountaineers, whose name as Shinas in fact likewise remains applied to a branch of the Dard races. Whether the Sinim of the prophet Isaiah should be interpreted of the Chinese is probably not susceptible of any decision; by the context it appears certainly to indicate a people of the extreme east or south. The name probably came to Europe through the Arabs, who made the China of the farther east into SOøΩn, and perhaps sometimes into ThOøΩn. Hence the ThOøΩn of the author of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, who appears to be the first extant writer to employ the name in this form (i.e. assuming Max MOøΩller's view that he belongs to the 1st century); hence also the Sinae and Thinae of Ptolemy.

It has often indeed been denied that the Sinae of Ptolemy really represented the Chinese. But if we compare the statement of Marcianus of Heraclea (a mere condenser of Ptolemy), when he tells us that the "nations of the Sinae lie at the extremity of the habitable world, and adjoin the eastern Terra Incognita," with that of Cosmas, who says, in speaking of Tzinista, a name of which no one can question the application to China, that "beyond this there is neither habitation nor navigation" - we cannot doubt the same region to be meant by both. The fundamental error of Ptolemy's conception of the Indian Sea as a closed basin rendered it impossible but that he should misplace the Chinese coast. But considering that the name of Sin has come down among the Arabs from time immemorial as applied to the Chinese, considering that in the work of Ptolemy this name certainly represented the farthest known East, and considering how inaccurate are Ptolemy's configurations and longitudes much nearer home, it seems almost as reasonable to deny the identity of his India with ours as to deny that his Sinae were Chinese.

If we now turn to the Seres we find this name mentioned by classic authors much more frequently and at an earlier date, for the passages of Eratosthenes (in Strabo), formerly supposed to speak of a parallel passing through Thinae - - are now known to read correctly . The name Seres indeed is familiar to the Latin poets of the Augustan age, but always in a vague way, and usually with a general reference to Central Asia and the farther East. We find, however, that the first endeavours to assign more accurately the position of this people, which are those of Mela and Pliny, gravitate distinctly towards China in its northern aspect as the true ideal involved. Thus Mela describes the remotest east of Asia as occupied by the three races (proceeding from south to north), Indians, Seres and Scyths; just as in a general way we might still say that eastern Asia is occupied by the Indies, China and Tartary.

Ptolemy first uses the names of Sera and Serice, the former for the chief city, the latter for the country of the Seres, and as usual defines their position with a precision far beyond what his knowledge justified - the necessary result of his system. Yet even his definition of Serice is most consistent with the view that this name indicated the Chinese empire in its northern aspect, for he carries it eastward to the 180th degree of longitude, which is also, according to his calculation, in a lower latitude the eastern boundary of the Sinae.

Ammianus Marcellinus devotes some paragraphs to a description of the Seres and their country, one passage of which is startling at first sight in its seeming allusion to the Great Wall, and in this sense it has been rashly interpreted by Lassen and by Reinaud. But Ammianus is merely converting Ptolemy's dry tables into fine writing, and speaks only of an encircling rampart of mountains within which the spacious and happy valley of the Seres lies. It is true that Ptolemy makes his Serice extend westward to Imaus, i.e. to Pamir. But the Chinese empire did so extend at that epoch, and we find Lieut. John Wood in 1838 speaking of "China" as lying immediately beyond Pamir, just as the Arabs of the 8th century spoke of the country beyond the Jaxartes as "Sin," and as Ptolemy spoke of "Serice" as immediately beyond Imaus.

If we fuse into one the ancient notices of the Seres and their country, omitting anomalous statements and manifest fables, the result will be somewhat as follows: "The region of the Seres is a vast and populous country, touching on the east the ocean and the limits of the habitable world, and extending west to Imaus and the confines of Bactria. The people are civilized, mild, just and frugal, eschewing collisions with their neighbours, and even shy of close intercourse, but not averse to dispose of their own products, of which raw silk is the staple, but which included also silk-stuffs, fine furs, and iron of remarkable quality." That is manifestly a definition of the Chinese.

That Greek and Roman knowledge of the true position of so remote a nation should at best have been somewhat hazy is nothing wonderful. And it is worthy of note that the view entertained by the ancient Chinese of the Roman empire and its inhabitants, under the name of Ta-thsin, had some striking points of analogy to those views of the Chinese which are indicated in the classical descriptions of the Seres. There can be no mistaking the fact that in this case also the great object was within the horizon of vision, yet the details ascribed to it are often far from being true characteristics, being only the accidents of its outer borders.

The Medieval Cathay. - "Cathay" is the name by which the Chinese empire was known to medieval Europe, and it is in its original form (Kitai) that China is still known in Russia and to most of the nations of Central Asia. West of Russia this name has long ceased to be a geographical expression, but it is associated with a remarkable phase in the history of geography and commerce. The name first became known to Europe in the 13th century, when the vast conquests of Jenghiz Khan and his house drew a new and vivid attention to Asia. For some three centuries previously the northern provinces of China had been detached from indigenous rule, and subject to northern conquerors. The first of these foreign dynasties was of a race called KhitOøΩn issuing from the basin of the Sungari river, and supposed (but doubtfully) to have been of the blood of the modern Tunguses. The rule of this race endured for two centuries and originated the application of the name Khitai to northern China. The dynasty itself, known in Chinese history as Liao, or "Iron," disappeared from China 1123, but the name remained attached to the territory which they had ruled.

The Khitan were displaced by the Nuchih (Nyuche or Churche) race, akin to the modern Manchus. These reigned, under the title of Kin, or "Golden," till Jenghiz and his Mongols invaded them in turn. In 1234 the conquest of the Kin empire was completed, and the dynasty extinguished under Ogdai (Ogotai), the son and successor of Jenghiz Khan. Forty years later, in the reign of Kublai, grandson and ablest successor of Jenghiz, the Mongol rule was extended over southern China (1276), which till then had remained under a native dynasty, the Sung, holding its royal residence in a vast and splendid city, now known as Hang-chow, but then as Ling-nan, or more commonly as King-sze, i.e. the court. The southern empire was usually called by the conquerors Mantzi (or as some of the old travellers write, Mangi), a name which western Asiatics seem to have identified with Machin (from the Sanskrit Mahachin), one of the names by which China was known to the traders from Persian and Arabian ports.

The conquests of Jenghiz and his successors had spread not only over China and the adjoining East, but westward also over all northern Asia, Persia, Armenia, part of Asia Minor and Russia, threatening to deluge Christendom. Though the Mongol wave retired, as it seemed almost by an immediate act of Providence, when Europe lay at its feet, it had levelled or covered all political barriers from the frontier of Poland to the Yellow Sea, and when western Europe recovered from its alarm, Asia lay open, as never before or since, to the inspection of Christendom. Princes, envoys, priests - half-missionary, half-envoy - visited the court of the great khan in Mongolia; and besides these, the accidents of war, commerce or opportunity carried a variety of persons from various classes of human life into the depths of Asia. "'Tis worthy of the grateful remembrance of all Christian people," says an able missionary friar of the next age (Ricold of Monte Croce), "that just at the time when God sent forth into the Eastern parts of the world the Tatars to slay and to be slain, He also sent into the West his faithful and blessed servants, Dominic and Francis, to enlighten, instruct and build up in the faith." Whatever on the whole may be thought of the world's debt to Dominic, it is to the two mendicant orders, but especially to the Franciscans, that we owe a vast amount of information about medieval Asia, and, among other things, the first mention of Cathay. Among the many strangers who reached Mongolia were (1245-1247) John de Plano Carpini and (1253) William of Rubruk (Rubruquis) in French Flanders, both Franciscan friars of high intelligence, who happily have left behind them reports of their observations.

Carpini, after mentioning the wars of Jenghiz against the Kitai, goes on to speak of that people as follows: "Now these Kitai are heathen men, and have a written character of their own... They seem, indeed, to be kindly and polished folks enough. They have no beard, and in character of countenance have a considerable resemblance to the Mongols" [are Mongoloid, as our ethnologists would say], "but are not so broad in the face. They have a peculiar language. Their betters as craftsmen in every art practised by man are not to be found in the whole world. Their country is very rich in corn, in wine, in gold and silver, in silk, and in every kind of produce tending to the support of mankind." The notice of Rubruk, shrewder and more graphic, runs thus: "Farther on is Great Cathay, which I take to be the country which was anciently called the Land of the Seres. For the best silk stuffs are still got from them... The sea lies between it and India. Those Cathayans are little fellows, speaking much through the nose, and, as is general with all those eastern people, their eyes are very narrow. They are first-rate artists in every kind, and their physicians have a thorough knowledge of the virtues of herbs, and an admirable skill in diagnosis by the pulse... The common money of Cathay consists of pieces of cotton-paper, about a palm in length and breadth, upon which certain lines are printed, resembling the seal of Mangu Khan. They do their writing with a pencil, such as painters paint with, and a single character of theirs comprehends several letters, so as to form a whole word."

Here we have not only what is probably the first European notice of paper-money, but a partial recognition of the peculiarity of Chinese writing, and a perception that puts to shame the perverse boggling of later critics over the identity of these Cathayans with the Seres of classic fame.

But though these travellers saw Cathayans in the bazaars in the great khan's camps, the first actual visitors of Cathay itself were the Polo family, and it is to the book of Marco Polo's recollections mainly that Cathay owed the growing familiarity of its name in Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is, however, a great mistake to suppose, as has often been assumed, that the residence of the Polos in that country remained an isolated fact. They were but the pioneers of a very considerable intercourse, which endured till the decay of the Mongol dynasty in Cathay, i.e. for about half a century.

We have no evidence that either in the 13th or 14th century Cathayans, i.e. Chinese, ever reached Europe, but it is possible that some did, at least in the former century. For, during the campaigns of Hulagu in Persia (1256-1265), and the reigns of his successors, Chinese engineers were employed on the banks of the Tigris, and Chinese astrologers and physicians could be consulted at Tabriz. Many diplomatic communications passed between the Hulaguid Ilkhans and the princes of Christendom. The former, as the great khan's liegemen, still received from him their seals of state; and two of their letters which survive in the archives of France exhibit the vermilion impressions of those seals in Chinese characters - perhaps affording the earliest specimen of that character which reached western Europe.

Just as the Polos were reaching their native city (1295), after an absence of a quarter of a century, the forerunner of a new series of travellers was entering southern China by way of the Indian seas. This was John of Monte Corvino, another Franciscan who, already some fifty years of age, was plunging single-handed into that great ocean of paganism to preach the gospel according to his lights. After years of uphill and solitary toil converts began to multiply; coadjutors joined him. The Papal See became cognizant of the harvest that was being reaped in the far East. It made Friar John archbishop in Cambaluc (or Peking), with patriarchal authority, and sent him batches of suffragan bishops and preachers of his own order. The Roman Church spread; churches and Minorite houses were established at Cambaluc, at Zayton or Tsuan-chow in Fu-kien, at Yang-chow and elsewhere; and the missions flourished under the smile of the great khan, as the Jesuit missions did for a time under the Manchu emperors three centuries and a half later. Archbishop John was followed to the grave, about 1328, by mourning multitudes of pagans and Christians alike. Several of the bishops and friars who served under him have left letters or other memoranda of their experience, e.g. Andrew, bishop of Zayton, John of Cora, afterwards archbishop of Sultania in Persia, and Odoric of Pordenone, whose fame as a pious traveller won from the vox populi at his funeral a beatification which the church was fain to seal. The only ecclesiastical narrative regarding Cathay, of which we are aware, subsequent to the time of Archbishop John, is that which has been gathered from the recollections of Giovanni de' Marignolli, a Florentine Franciscan, who was sent by Pope Benedict XII. with a mission to the great khan, in return for one from that potentate which arrived at Avignon from Cathay in 1338, and who spent four years (1342-1346) at the court of Cambaluc as legate of the Holy See. These recollections are found dispersed incoherently over a chronicle of Bohemia which the traveller wrote by order of the emperor Charles IV., whose chaplain he was after his return.

But intercourse during the period in question was not confined to ecclesiastical channels. Commerce also grew up, and flourished for a time even along the vast line that stretches from Genoa and Florence to the marts of Cheh-kiang and Fu-kien. The record is very fragmentary and imperfect, but many circumstances and incidental notices show how frequently the remote East was reached by European traders in the first half of the 14th century - a state of things which it is very difficult to realize when we see how all those regions, when reopened to knowledge two centuries later, seemed to be discoveries as new as the empires which, about the same time, Cortes and Pizarro were conquering in the West.

This commercial intercourse probably began about 1310-1320. John of Monte Corvino, writing in 1305, says it was twelve years since he had heard any news from Europe; the only Western stranger who had arrived in all that time being a certain Lombard chirurgeon (probably one of the Patarini who got hard measure at home in those days), who had spread the most incredible blasphemies, about the Roman Curia and the order of St Francis. Yet even on his first entrance to Cathay Friar John had been accompanied by one Master Peter of Lucolongo, whom he describes as a faithful Christian man and a great merchant, and who seems to have remained many years at Peking. The letter of Andrew, bishop of Zayton (1326), quotes the opinion of Genoese merchants at that port regarding a question of exchanges. Odoric, who was in Cathay about 1323-1327, refers for confirmation of the wonders which he related of the great city of Cansay (i.e. King-sze, or Hang-chow) to the many persons whom he had met at Venice since his return, who had themselves been witnesses of those marvels. And Marignolli, some twenty years later, found attached to one of the convents at Zayton, in Fu-kien, a fondaco or factory for the accommodation of the Christian merchants.

But by far the most distinct and notable evidence of the importance and frequency of European trade with Cathay, of which silk and silk goods formed the staple, is to be found in the commercial hand-book (c. 1340) of Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, a clerk and factor of the great Florentine house of the Bardi, which was brought to the ground about that time by its dealings with Edward III. of England. This book, called by its author Libro di divisamenti di Paesi, is a sort of trade-guide, devoting successive chapters to the various ports and markets of his time, detailing the nature of imports and exports at each, the duties and exactions, the local customs of business, weights, measures and money. The first two chapters of this work contain instructions for the merchant proceeding to Cathay; and it is evident, from the terms used, that the road thither was not unfrequently travelled by European merchants, from whom Pegolotti had derived his information. The route which he describes lay by Azov, Astrakhan, Khiva, Otrar (on the Jaxartes), AlmOøΩlik (Gulja in Ili), Kan-chow (in Kan-suh), and so to Hang-chow and Peking. Particulars are given as to the silver ingots which formed the currency of Tatary, and the paper-money of Cathay. That the ventures on this trade were not insignificant is plain from the example taken by the author to illustrate the question of expenses on the journey, which is that of a merchant investing in goods there to the amount of some £12,000 (i.e. in actual gold value, not as calculated by any fanciful and fallacious equation of values).

Of the same remarkable phase of history that we are here considering we have also a number of notices by Mahommedan writers. The establishment of the Mongol dynasty in Persia, by which the great khan was acknowledged as lord paramount, led (as we have already noticed in part) to a good deal of intercourse. And some of the Persian historians, writing at Tabriz, under the patronage of the Mongol princes, have told us much about Cathay, especially Rashiduddin, the great minister and historian of the dynasty (died 1318). We have also in the book of the Moorish traveller Ibn Batuta, who visited China about 1347-1348, very many curious and in great part true notices, though it is not possible to give credence to the whole of this episode in his extensive travels.

About the time of the traveller first named the throne of the degenerate descendants of Jenghiz began to totter to its fall, and we have no knowledge of any Frank visitor to Cathay in that age later than Marignolli; missions and merchants alike disappear from the field. We hear, indeed, once and again of ecclesiastics despatched from Avignon, but they go forth into the darkness, and are heard of no more. Islam, with all its jealousy and exclusiveness, had recovered its grasp over Central Asia; the Nestorian Christianity which once had prevailed so widely was vanishing, and the new rulers of China reverted to the old national policy, and held the foreigner at arm's length. Night descended upon the farther East, covering Cathay with those cities of which the old travellers had told such marvels, Cambaluc and Cansay, Zayton and Chinkalan. And when the veil rose before the Portuguese and Spanish explorers of the 16th century, those names are heard no more. In their stead we have China, Peking, Hangchow, Chinchew, Canton. Not only were the old names forgotten, but the fact that those places had ever been known before was forgotten also. Gradually new missionaries went forth from Rome - Jesuits and Dominicans now; new converts were made, and new vicariates constituted; but the old Franciscan churches, and the Nestorianism with which they had battled, had alike been swallowed up in the ocean of pagan indifference. In time a wreck or two floated to the surface - a MS. Latin Bible or a piece of Catholic sculpture; and when the intelligent missionaries called Marco Polo to mind, and studied his story, one and another became convinced that Cathay and China were one.

But for a long time all but a sagacious few continued to regard Cathay as a region distinct from any of the new-found Indies; whilst map-makers, well on into the 17th century, continued to represent it as a great country lying entirely to the north of China, and stretching to the Arctic Sea.

It was Cathay, with its outlying island of Zipangu (Japan), that Columbus sought to reach by sailing westward, penetrated as he was by his intense conviction of the smallness of the earth, and of the vast extension of Asia eastward; and to the day of his death he was full of the imagination of the proximity of the domain of the great khan to the islands and coasts which he had discovered. And such imaginations are curiously embodied in some of the maps of the early 16th century, which intermingle on the same coast-line the new discoveries from Labrador to Brazil with the provinces and rivers of Marco Polo's Cathay.

Cathay had been the aim of the first voyage of the Cabots in 1496, and it continued to be the object of many adventurous voyages by English and Hollanders to the N.W. and N.E. till far on in the 16th century. At least one memorable land-journey also was made by Englishmen, of which the exploration of a trade-route to Cathay was a chief object - that in which Anthony Jenkinson and the two Johnsons reached Bokhara by way of Russia in 1558-1559. The country of which they collected notices at that city was still known to them only as Cathay, and its great capital only as Cambaluc.

Cathay as a supposed separate entity may be considered to come to an end with the journey of Benedict GoOøΩs, the lay-Jesuit. This admirable person was, in 1603, despatched through Central Asia by his superiors in India with the specific object of determining whether the Cathay of old European writers and of modern Mahommedans was or was not a distinct region from that China of which parallel marvels had now for some time been recounted. Benedict, as one of his brethren pronounced his epitaph, "seeking Cathay found Heaven." He died at Suchow, the frontier city of China, but not before he had ascertained that China and Cathay were the same. After the publication of the narrative of his journey (in the Expeditio Christiana apud Sinas of Trigault, 1615) inexcusable ignorance alone could continue to distinguish between them, but such ignorance lingered many years longer.

(H. Y.)

(B) - Chinese Origins.

Chinese literature contains no record of any kind which might justify us in assuming that the nucleus of the nation may have immigrated from some other part of the world; and the several ingenious theories pointing to Babylonia, Egypt, India, Khotan, and other seats of ancient civilization as the starting-points of ethnical wanderings must be dismissed as untenable. Whether the Chinese were seated in their later homes from times immemorial, as their own historians assume, or whether they arrived there from abroad, as some foreign scholars have pretended, cannot be proved to the satisfaction of historical critics. Indeed, anthropological arguments seem to contradict the idea of any connexion with Babylonians, Egyptians, Assyrians, or Indians. The earliest hieroglyphics of the Chinese, ascribed by them to the Shang dynasty (second millennium B.C.), betray the Mongol character of the nation that invented them by the decided obliquity of the human eye wherever it appears in an ideograph. In a pair of eyes as shown in the most ancient pictorial or sculptural representations in the west, the four corners may be connected by a horizontal straight line; whereas lines drawn through the eyes of one of the oldest Chinese hieroglyphics cross each other at a sharp angle, as shown in the accompanying diagrams: -

Chinese. Egyptian.

This does not seem to speak for racial consanguinity any more than the well-known curled heads and bearded faces of Assyrian sculptures as compared to the straight-haired and almost beardless Chinese. Similarities in the creation of cultural elements may, it is true, be shown to exist on either side, even at periods when mutual intercourse was probably out of the question; but this may be due to uniformity in the construction of the human brain, which leads man in different parts of the world to arrive at similar ideas under similar conditions, or to prehistoric connexions which it is as impossible for us to trace now as is the origin of mankind itself. Our standpoint as regards the origin of the Chinese race is, therefore, that of the agnostic. All we can do is to reproduce the tradition as it is found in Chinese literature. This tradition, as applying to the very earliest periods, may be nothing more than historical superstition, yet it has its historical importance. Supposing it were possible to prove that none of the persons mentioned in the Bible from Adam down to the Apostles ever lived, even the most sceptical critic would still have to admit that the history of a great portion of the human race has been materially affected by the belief in the examples of their alleged lives. Something similar may be said of the alleged earliest history of the Chinese with its model emperors and detestable tyrants, the accounts of which, whether based on reality or not, have exercised much influence on the development of the nation.

The Chinese have developed their theories of prehistoric life. Speculation as to the origin and gradual evolution of their civilization has resulted in the expression of views by authors who may have reconstructed their systems from remnants of ancestral life revealed by excavations, or from observation of neighbouring nations living in a state of barbarism. This may account for a good deal of the repetition found in the Chinese mythological and legendary narratives, the personal and chronological part of which may have been invented merely as a framework for illustrating social and cultural progress. The scene of action of all the prehistoric figures from P'an-ku, the first human being, down to the beginning of real history has been laid in a part of the world which has never been anything but Chinese territory. P'an-ku's epoch, millions of years ago, was followed by ten distinct periods of sovereigns, including the "Heavenly emperors," the "Terrestrial emperors," and the "Human emperors," the Yu-ch'au or "Nest-builders," and Sui-jOøΩn, the "Fire Producer," the Prometheus of the Chinese, who borrowed fire from the stars for the benefit of man. Several of the characteristic phases of cultural progress and social organization have been ascribed to this mythological period. Authors of less fertile imagination refer them to later times, when the heroes of their accounts appear in shapes somewhat resembling human beings rather than as gods and demigods.

The Chinese themselves look upon Fu-hi as their first historical emperor; and they place his lifetime in the years 2852-2738 B.C. Some accounts represent him as a supernatural being; and we see him depicted as a human figure with a fish tail something like a mermaid. He is credited with having established social order among his people, who, before him, had lived like animals in the wilds. The social chaos out of which Chinese society arose is described as being characterized by the absence of family life; for "children knew only their mothers and not their fathers." Fu-hi introduced matrimony; and in so doing he placed man as the husband at the head of the family and abolished the original matriarchate. This quite corresponds with his views on the dualism in natural philosophy, of which he is supposed to have laid the germs by the invention of the so-called pa-kua, eight symbols, each consisting of three parallel lines, broken or continuous. The continuous lines represented the male element in nature; the broken ones, the female. It is characteristic that the same ruler who assigned to man his position as the head of the family is also credited with the invention of that natural philosophy of the "male and female principles," according to which all good things and qualities were held to be male, while their less sympathetic opposites were female, such as heaven and earth, Sun and Moon, day and night, south and north. If these traditions really represent the oldest prehistoric creations of the popular mind, it would almost seem that the most ancient Chinese shared that naïve sentiment which caused our own forefathers to invent gender. The difference is that, with us, the conception survives merely in the language, where the article or suffixes mark gender, whereas with the Chinese, whose language does not express gender, it survives in their system of metaphysics. For all their attempts at fathoming the secrets of nature are based on the idea that male or female powers are inherent in all matter.

To the same Emperor Fu-hi are ascribed many of the elementary inventions which raise man from the life of a brute to that of a social being. He taught his people to hunt, to fish, and to keep flocks; he constructed musical instruments, and replaced a kind of knot-writing previously in use by a system of hieroglyphics. All this cannot of course be considered as history; but it shows that the authors of later centuries who credited Fu-hi with certain inventions were not quite illogical in starting from the matriarchal chaos, after which he is said to have organized society with occupations corresponding to those of a period of hunting, fishing and herding. This period was bound to be followed by a further step towards the final development of the nation's social condition; and we find it quite logically succeeded by a period of agricultural life, personified in the Emperor, Shon-nung, supposed to have lived in the twenty-eighth century B.C. His name may be freely translated as "Divine Labourer"; and to him the Chinese ascribe the invention of agricultural implements, and the discovery of the medicinal properties of numerous plants.

The third historical emperor was Huang-ti, the "Yellow emperor," according to the literal translation. Ssi-ma Ts'ien, the Herodotus of the Chinese, begins his history with him; but Fu-hi and Shon-nung are referred to in texts much older than this historian, though many details relating to their alleged reigns have been added in later times. Huang-ti extended the boundaries of the empire, described as being originally confined to a limited territory near the banks of the Yellow river and the present city of Si-an-fu. Here were the sites of cities used as capitals of the empire under various names during long periods since remote antiquity. To Huang-ti, whose reign is said to have commenced in 2704 according to one source and in 2491 according to another, are ascribed most of the cultural innovations which historians were not able otherwise to locate within historical times. Under Huang-ti we find the first mention of a nation called the Hun-yOøΩ, who occupied the north of his empire and with whom he is represented to have engaged in warfare. The Chinese identify this name with that of the Hiung-nu, their old hereditary enemy and the ancestors of Attila's Huns. Even though the details of these legendary accounts may deserve little confidence, there must have been an old tradition that a nation called the Hun-yOøΩ, occupying the northern confines of China, were the ancestors of the Hiung-nu tribes, well known in historical times, a scion of whose great khans settled in territory belonging to the king of Sogdiana during the first century B.C., levied tribute from his neighbours, the Alans, and with his small but warlike horde initiated that era of migrations which led to the overrunning of Europe with Central-Asiatic Tatars.

Fu-hi, Shon-nung and Huang-ti represent a group of rulers comprised by the Chinese under the name of San-huang, i.e. "The Three Emperors." Although we have no reason to deny their existence, the details recorded concerning them contain enough in the way of improbabilities to justify us in considering them as mythical creations. The chronology, too, is apparently quite fictitious; for the time allotted to their reigns is much too long as a term of government for a single human life, and, on the other hand, much too short, if we measure it by the cultural progress said to have been brought about in it. Fu-hi's period of hunting life must have lasted many generations before it led to the agricultural period represented by the name Shon-nung; and this period in turn could not possibly have led within a little more than one hundred years to the enormous progress ascribed to Huang-ti. Under the latter ruler a regular board of historians is said to have been organized with Ts'ang-kié as president, who is known also as Shi-huang, i.e. "the Emperor of Historians," the reputed inventor of hieroglyphic writing placed by some authors into the Fu-hi period and worshipped as Tz'OøΩ-shOøΩn, i.e. "God of writing," to the present day. Huang-ti is supposed to have been the first builder of temples, houses and cities; to have regulated the calendar, to which he added the intercalary month and to have devised means of traffic by cars drawn by oxen and by boats to ply on the lakes and rivers of his empire. His wife, known as "the lady of Si-ling," is credited with the invention of the several manipulations in the rearing of silkworms and the manufacture of silk. The invention of certain flutes, combined to form a kind of reed organ, led to a deeper study of music; and in order to construct these instruments with the necessary accuracy a system of weights and measures had to be devised. Huang-ti's successors, Shau-hau, Chuan-hOøΩ, and Ti-k'u, were less prominent, though each of them had their particular merits.

The Model Emperors. - Most of the stories regarding the "Three Emperors" are told in comparatively late records. The Shu-king, sometimes described as the "Canon of History," our oldest source of pre-Confucian history, supposed to have been edited by Confucius himself, knows nothing of Fu-hi, Shon-nung and Huang-ti; but it begins by extolling the virtues of the emperor Yau and his successor Shun. Yau and Shun are probably the most popular names in Chinese history as taught in China. Whatever good qualities may be imagined of the rulers of a great nation have been heaped upon their heads; and the example of their lives has at all times been held up by Confucianists as the height of perfection in a sovereign's character. Yau, whose reign has been placed by the fictitious standard chronology of the Chinese in the years 2357-2258, and about 200 years later by the less extravagant "Annals of the Bamboo Books," is represented as the patron of certain astronomers who had to watch the heavenly bodies; and much has been written about the reputed astronomical knowledge of the Chinese in this remote period. Names like Deguignes, Gaubil, Biot and Schlegel are among those of the investigators. On the other side are the sceptics, who maintain that later editors interpolated statements which could have been made only with the astronomical knowledge possessed by their own contemporaries. According to an old legend, Shun banished "the four wicked ones" to distant territories. One of these bore the name T'au-t'iOøΩ, i.e. "Glutton"; called also San-miau. T'au-t'iOøΩ is also the name of an ornament, very common on the surface of the most ancient bronze vessels, showing the distorted face of some ravenous animal. The San-miau as a tribe are said to have been the forefathers of the Tangutans, the Tibetans and the Miau-tz'OøΩ in the south-west of China. This legend may be interpreted as indicating that the non-Chinese races in the south-west have come to their present seats by migration from Central China in remote antiquity. During Yau's reign a catastrophe reminding one of the biblical deluge threatened the Chinese world. The emperor held his minister of works, Kun, responsible for this misfortune, probably an inundation of the Yellow river such as has been witnessed by the present generation. Its horrors are described with poetical exaggeration in the Shu-king. When the efforts to stop the floods had proved futile for nine years, Yau wished to abdicate, and he selected a virtuous young man of the name of Shun as his successor. Among the legends told about this second model emperor is the story that he had a board before his palace on which every subject was permitted to note whatever faults he had to find with his government, and that by means of a drum suspended at his palace gate attention might be drawn to any complaint that was to be made to him. Since Kun had not succeeded in stopping the floods, he was dismissed and his son Yu was appointed in his stead. Probably the waters began to subside of their own accord, but Yu has been praised up as the national hero who, by his engineering works, saved his people from utter destruction. His labours in this direction are described in a special section of the Confucian account known as Yü-kung, i.e. "Tribute of YOøΩ." YOøΩ's merit has in the sequel been exaggerated so as to credit him with more than human powers. He is supposed to have cut canals through the hills, in order to furnish outlets to the floods, and to have performed feats of engineering compared to which, according to Von Richthofen, the construction of the St Gotthard tunnel without blasting materials would be child's play, and all this within a few years.

The Hia Dynasty. - As a reward for his services Yu was selected to succeed Shun as emperor. He divided the empire into nine provinces, the description of which in the Yü-kung chapter of the "Canon of History" bears a suspicious resemblance to later accounts. YOøΩ's reign has been assigned to the years 2205-2198, and the Hia Dynasty, of which he became the head, has been made to extend to the overthrow in 1766 B.C. of KiOøΩ, its eighteenth and last emperor, a cruel tyrant of the most vicious and contemptible character. Among the Hia emperors we find Chung-k'ang (2159-2147), whose reign has attracted the attention of European scholars by the mention of an eclipse of the Sun, which his court astronomers had failed to predict. European astronomers and sinologues have brought much acumen to bear on the problem involved in the Shu-king account in trying to decide which of the several eclipses known to have occurred about that time was identical with the one observed in China under Chung-k'ang.

The Shang, or Yin, Dynasty. - This period, which preceded the classical Chóu dynasty, is made to extend from 1766 to 1122 B.C. We must now be prepared to see an energetic or virtuous ruler at the head of a dynasty and either a cruel tyrant or a contemptible weakling at the end of it. It seems natural that this should be so; but Chinese historians, like the writers of Roman history, have a tendency to exaggerate both good and bad qualities. Ch'OøΩng-tang, its first sovereign, is represented as a model of goodness and of humane feeling towards his subjects. Even the animal world benefited by his kindness, inasmuch as he abolished all useless torture in the chase. His great minister I Yin, who had greatly assisted him in securing the throne, served two of his successors. P'an-kOøΩng (1401) and Wu-ting (1324) are described as good rulers among a somewhat indifferent set of monarchs. The Shang dynasty, like the Hia, came to an end through the reckless vice and cruelty of a tyrant (Chóu-sin with his consort Ta-ki). China had even in those days to maintain her position as a civilized nation by keeping at bay the barbarous nations by which she was surrounded. Chief among these were the ancestors of the Hiung-nu tribes, or Huns, on the northern and western boundaries. To fight them, to make pacts and compromises with them, and to befriend them with gifts so as to keep them out of the Imperial territories, had been the rOøΩle of a palatinate on the western frontier, the duchy of Chóu, while the court of China with its vicious emperor gave itself up to effeminate luxury. Chóu-sin's evil practices had aroused the indignation of the palatine, subsequently known as WOøΩn-wang, who in vain remonstrated with the emperor's criminal treatment of his subjects. The strength and integrity of WOøΩn-wang's character had made him the corner-stone of that important epoch; and his name is one of the best known both in history and in literature. The courage with which he spoke his mind in rebuking his unworthy liege lord caused the emperor to imprison him, his great popularity alone saving his life. During his incarceration, extending over three years, he compiled the I-king, or "Canon of Changes," supposed to be the oldest book of Chinese literature, and certainly the one most extensively studied by the nation. WOøΩn-wang's son, known as Wu-wang, was destined to avenge his father and the many victims of Chóu-sin's cruelty. Under his leadership the people rose against the emperor and, with the assistance of his allies, "men of the west," possibly ancestors of the Huns, overthrew the Shang dynasty after a decisive battle, whereupon Chóu-sin committed suicide by setting fire to his palace.

Chóu Dynasty. - Wu-wang, the first emperor of the new dynasty, named after his duchy of Chóu on the western frontier, was greatly assisted in consolidating the empire by his brother, Chóu-kung, i.e. "Duke of Chóu." As the loyal prime-minister of Wu-wang and his successor the duke of Chóu laid the foundation of the government institutions of the dynasty, which became the prototype of most of the characteristic features in Chinese public and social life down to recent times. The brothers and adherents of the new sovereign were rewarded with fiefs which in the sequel grew into as many states. China thus developed into a confederation, resembling that of the German empire, inasmuch as a number of independent states, each having its own sovereign, were united under one liege lord, the emperor, styled "The Son of Heaven," who as high priest of the nation reigned in the name of Heaven. The emperor represented the nation in sacrificing and praying to God. His relations with his vassals and government officials, and those of the heads of the vassal states with their subjects as well as of the people among themselves were regulated by the most rigid ceremonial. The dress to be worn, the speeches to be made, and the postures to be assumed on all possible occasions, whether at court or in private life, were subject to regulations. The duke of Chóu, or whoever may have been the creator of this system, showed deep wisdom in his speculations, if he based that immutability of government which in the sequel became a Chinese characteristic, on the physical and moral immutability of individuals by depriving them of all spontaneous action in public and private life. Originally and nominally the emperor's power as the ruler over his vassals, who again ruled in his name, was unquestionable; and the first few generations of the dynasty saw no decline of the original strength of central power. A certain loyalty based on the traditional ancestral worship counteracted the desire to revolt. The rightful heir to the throne was responsible to his ancestors as his subjects were to theirs. "We have to do as our ancestors did," the people argued; "and since they obeyed the ancestors of our present sovereign, we have to be loyal to him." Interference with this time-honoured belief would have amounted to a rupture, as it were, in the nation's religious relations, and as long as the people looked upon the emperor as the Son of Heaven, his moral power would outweigh strong armies sent against him in rebellion. The time came soon enough when central power depended merely on this spontaneous loyalty.

Not all the successors of Wu-wang profited by the lessons given them by past history. Incapacity, excessive severity and undue weakness had created discontent and loosened the relations between the emperor and his vassals. Increase in the extent of the empire greatly added to this decline of central power. For the emperor's own dominion was centrally situated and surrounded by the several confederate states; its geographical position prevented it from participating in the general aggrandisement of China, and increase in territory, population and prestige had become the privilege of boundary states. Tatar tribes in the north and west and the aboriginal Man barbarians in the south were forced by warfare to yield land, or enticed to exchange it for goods, or induced to mingle with their Chinese neighbours, thus producing a mixed population combining the superior intelligence of the Chinese race with the energetic and warlike spirit of barbarians. These may be the main reasons which gradually undermined the Imperial authority and brought some of the confederate states to the front, so as to overshadow the authority of the Son of Heaven himself, whose military and financial resources were inferior to those of several of his vassals. A few out of the thirty-five sovereigns of the Chóu dynasty were distinguished by extraordinary qualities. Mu-wang of the 10th century performed journeys far beyond the western frontier of his empire, and was successful in warfare against the Dog Barbarians, described as the ancestors of the Hiung-nu, or Huns. The reign of SOøΩan-wang (827-782 B.C.) was filled with warfare against the Tangutans and the Huns, called HiOøΩn-yOøΩn in a contemporaneous poem of the "Book of Odes"; but the most noteworthy reign in this century is that of the lascivious Yu-wang, the oppressiveness of whose government had caused a bard represented in the "Book of Odes" to complain about the emperor's evil ways. The writer of this poem refers to certain signs showing that Heaven itself is indignant at Yu-wang's crimes. One of these signs was an eclipse of the Sun which had recently occurred, the date and month being clearly stated. This date corresponds exactly with August 29, 776 B.C.; and astronomers have calculated that on that precise date an eclipse of the Sun was visible in North China. This, of course, cannot be a mere accident; and since the date falls into the sixth year of Yu-wang's reign, the coincidence is bound to increase our confidence in that part of Chinese history. Our knowledge of it, however, is due to mere chance; for the record of the eclipse would probably not have been preserved until our days had it not been interpreted as a kind of tekel upharsin owing to the peculiarity of the political situation. It does not follow, therefore, as some foreign critics assume, that the historical period begins as late as Yu-wang's reign. China has no architectural witnesses to testify to her antiquity as Egypt has in her pyramids and temple ruins; but the sacrificial bronze vessels of the Shang and Chóu dynasties, with their characteristic ornaments and hieroglyphic inscriptions, seem to support the historical tradition inasmuch as natural development may be traced by the analysis of their artistic and paleographic phases. Counterfeiters, say a thousand years later, could not have resisted the temptation to introduce patterns and hieroglyphic shapes of later periods; and whatever bronzes have been assigned to the Shang dynasty, i.e. some time in the second millennium B.C., exhibit the Shang characteristics. The words occurring in their inscriptions, carefully collected, may be shown to be confined to ideas peculiar to primitive states of cultural life, not one of them pointing to an invention we may suspect to be of later origin. But, apart from this, it seems a matter of individual judgment how far back beyond that indisputable year 776 B.C. a student will date the beginning of real history.

In the 7th century central authority had declined to such an extent that the emperor was merely the nominal head of the confederation, the hegemony in the empire falling in turn to one of the five principal states, for which reason the Chinese speak of a period of the "Five Leaders." The state of Ts'i, corresponding to North Shan-tung, had begun to overshadow the other states by unprecedented success in economic enterprise, due to the prudent advice of its prime minister, the philosopher Kuan-tzOøΩ. Other states attained leadership by success in warfare. Among these leaders we see duke Mu of T'sin (659 B.C.), a state on the western boundary which was so much influenced by amalgamation with its Hunnic neighbours that the purely Chinese states regarded it as a barbarian country. The emperor was in those days a mere shadow; several of his vassals had grown strong enough to claim and be granted the title "king," and they all tried to annihilate their neighbours by ruse in diplomacy and by force of arms, without referring to their common ruler for arbitration, as they were in duty bound. In this bellum omnium contra omnes the state of Ts'in, in spite of repeated reverses, remained in possession of the field.

The period of this general struggle is spoken of by Chinese historians as that of "The Contending States." Like that of the "Five Leaders" it is full of romance; and the examples of heroism, cowardice, diplomatic skill and philosophical equanimity which fill the pages of its history have become the subject of elegant literature in prose and poetry. The political development of the Chóu dynasty is the exact counterpart of that of its spiritual life as shown in the contemporaneous literature. The orthodox conservative spirit which reflects the ethical views of the emperor and his royal partisans is represented by the name Confucius (551-479 B.C.). The great sage had collected old traditions and formulated the moral principles which had been dormant in the Chinese nation for centuries. His doctrines tended to support the maintenance of central power; so did those of other members of his school, especially Mencius. Filial love showed itself as obedience to the parents in the family and as loyalty to the emperor and his government in public life. It was the highest virtue, according to the Confucian school. The history of the nation as taught in the Shu-king was in its early part merely an illustration of Confucianist ideas about good and bad government. The perpetual advice to rulers was: "Be like Yau, Shun and YOøΩ, and you will be right." Confucianism was dominant during the earlier centuries of the Chóu dynasty, whose lucky star began to wane when doctrines opposed to it got the upper hand. The philosophical schools built up on the doctrines of Lau-tzï had in the course of generations become antagonistic, and found favour with those who did not endorse that loyalty to the emperor demanded by Mencius; so had other thinkers, some of whom had preached morals which were bound to break up all social relations, like the philosopher of egotism, Yang Chu, according to Mencius disloyalty personified and the very reverse of his ideal, the duke of Chóu. The egotism recommended by Yang Chu to the individual had begun to be practised on a large scale by the contending states, their governments and sovereigns, some of whom had long discarded Confucian rites under the influence of Tatar neighbours. It appears that the anti-Confucian spirit which paved the way towards the final extinction of Wu-wang's dynasty received its chief nourishment from the Tatar element in the population of the northern and western boundary states. Among these Ts'in was the most prominent. Having placed itself in the possession of the territories of nearly all of the remaining states, Ts'in made war against the last shadow emperor, Nan-wang who had attempted to form an alliance against the powerful usurper, with the result that the western part of the Chóu dominion was lost to the aggressor.

Nan-wang died soon after (256 B.C.), and a relative whom he had appointed regent was captured in 249 B.C., when the king of Ts'in put an end to this last remnant of the once glorious Chóu dynasty by annexing its territory. The king had already secured the possession of the Nine Tripods, huge bronze vases said to have been cast by the emperor Yu as representing the nine divisions of his empire and since preseryed in the treasuries of all the various emperors as a symbol of Imperial power. With the loss of these tripods Nan-wang had forfeited the right to call himself "Son of Heaven." Another prerogative was the offering of sacrifice to Shang-ti, the Supreme Ruler, or God, with whom only the emperor was supposed to communicate. The king of Ts'in had performed the ceremony as early as 253 B.C.

(F. H.*)

(C) - From the Ts'in Dynasty to 1875.

Ts'in dynasty 249-210 B.C

Shi Hwang-ti

After the fall of the Chóu dynasty a kind of interregnum followed during which China was practically without an emperor. This was the time when the state of Ts'in asserted itself as the leader and finally as the master of all the contending states. Its king, Chau-siang, who died in 251 B.C., though virtually emperor, abstained from adopting the imperial title. He was succeeded by his son, Hiao-wOøΩn Wang, who died after a three days' reign. Chwan-siang Wang, his son and successor, was a man of no mark. He died in 246 B.C. giving place to Shi Hwang-ti, "the first universal emperor." This sovereign was then only thirteen, but he speedily made his influence felt everywhere. He chose Hien-yang, the modern Si-gan Fu, as his capital, and built there a magnificent palace, which was the wonder and admiration of his contemporaries. He abolished the feudal system, and divided the country into provinces over whom he set officers directly responsible to himself. He constructed roads through the empire, he formed canals, and erected numerous and handsome public buildings.

Having settled the internal affairs of his kingdom, he turned his attention to the enemies beyond his frontier. Chief among these were the Hiung-nu Tatars, whose attacks had for years disquieted the Chinese and neighbouring principalities. Against these foes he marched with an army of 300,000 men, exterminating those in the neighbourhood of China, and driving the rest into Mongolia. On his return from this campaign he was called upon to face a formidable rebellion in Ho-nan, which had been set on foot by the adherents of the feudal princes whom he had dispossessed. Having crushed the rebellion, he marched southwards and subdued the tribes on the south of the Nan-shan ranges, i.e. the inhabitants of the modern provinces of Fu-kien, Kwang-tung and Kwang-si. The limits of his empire were thus as nearly as possible those of modern China proper. One monument remains to bear witness to his energy. Finding that the northern states of Ts'in, Chao and Yen were building lines of fortification along their northern frontier for protection against the Hiung-nu, he conceived the idea of building one gigantic wall, which was to stretch across the whole northern limit of the huge empire from the sea to the farthest western corner of the modern province of Kan-suh. This work was begun under his immediate supervision in 214 B.C. His reforming zeal made him unpopular with the upper classes. Schoolmen and pedants held up to the admiration of the people the heroes of the feudal times and the advantages of the system they administered. Seeing in this propaganda danger to the state Shi Hwang-ti determined to break once and for all with the past. To this end he ordered the destruction of all books having reference to the past history of the empire, and many scholars were put to death for failing in obedience to it. (See infra OøΩ Chinese Literature, OøΩOøΩ History.) The measure was unpopular and on his death (210 B.C.) rebellion broke out. His son and successor Erh-shi, a weak and debauched youth, was murdered after having offered a feeble resistance to his enemies. His son Tsze-yung surrendered to Liu Pang, the prince of Han, one of the two generals who were the leaders of the rebellion. He afterwards fell into the hands of Hiang Yu, the other chieftain, who put him and his family and associates to death. Hiang Yu aspiring to imperial honours, war broke out between him and Liu Pang. After five years' conflict Hiang Yu was killed in a decisive battle before Wu-kiang. Liu Pang was then proclaimed emperor (206 B.C.) under the title of Kao-ti, and the new line was styled the Han dynasty.

Han dynasty 206 B.C

Kao-ti established his capital at Lo-yang in Ho-nan, and afterwards removed it to Chang-an in Shen-si. Having founded his right to rebel on the oppressive nature of the laws promulgated by Shi Hwang-ti, he abolished the ordinances of Ts'in, except that referring to the destruction of the books - for, like his great predecessor, he dreaded the influence exercised by the literati - and he exchanged the worship of the gods of the soil of Ts'in for that of those of Han, his native state. His successor Hwei-ti (194-179 B.C.), however, gave every encouragement to literature, and appointed a commission to restore as far as possible the texts which had been destroyed by Shi Hwang-ti. In this the commission was very successful. It was discovered that in many cases the law had been evaded, while in numerous instances scholars were found to write down from memory the text of books of which all copies had been destroyed, though in some cases the purity of the text is doubtful and in other cases there were undoubted forgeries. A period of repose was now enjoyed by the empire. There was peace within its borders, and its frontiers remained unchallenged, except by the Hiung-nu, who suffered many severe defeats. Thwarted in their attacks on China, these marauders attacked the kingdom of the Yueh-chi, which had grown up in the western extremity of Kan-suh, and after much fighting drove their victims along the T'ien-shan-nan-lu to the territory between Turkestan and the Caspian Sea. This position of affairs suggested to the emperor the idea of forming an offensive and defensive alliance with the Yueh-chi against the Hiung-nu. With this object the general Chang K'ien was sent as an ambassador to western Tatary. After having been twice imprisoned by the Hiung-nu he returned to China. Chang K'ien had actually reached the court of the Yueh-chi, or Indo-Scythians as they were called owing to their having become masters of India later on, and paid a visit to the kingdom of Bactria, recently conquered by the Yueh-chi. His report on the several kingdoms of western Asia opened up a new world to the Chinese, and numerous elements of culture, plants and animals were then imported for the first time from the west into China. While in Bactria Chan K'ien's attention was first drawn to the existence of India, and attempts to send expeditions, though at first fruitless, finally led to its discovery. Under Wu-ti (140-86 B.C.) the power of the Hiung-nu was broken and eastern Turkestan changed into a Chinese colony, through which caravans could safely pass to bring back merchandise and art treasures from Persia and the Roman market. By the Hans the feudal system was restored in a modified form; 103 feudal principalities were created, but they were more or less under the jurisdiction of civil governors appointed to administer the thirteen chows (provinces) into which the country was divided. About the beginning of the Christian era Wang Mang rose in revolt against the infant successor of P'ing-ti (A.D. 1), and in A.D. 9 proclaimed himself emperor. He, however, only gained the suffrages of a portion of the nation, and before long his oppressive acts estranged his supporters. In A.D. 23 Liu Siu, one of the princes of Han, completely defeated him. His head was cut off, and his body was torn in pieces by his own soldiery.

Eastern Han dynasty, A.D. 23

Liu Siu, was proclaimed emperor under the title of Kwang-wu-ti, reigned from A.D. 58 to 76. Having fixed on Lo-yang in Ho-nan as his capital, the line of which he was the first emperor became known as the Eastern Han dynasty. It is also known as the Later Han dynasty. During the reign of his successor Ming-ti, A.D. 65, Buddhism was introduced from India into China (see ante OøΩ Religion). About the same time the celebrated general Pan Ch'ao was sent on an embassy to the king of Shen-shen, a small state of Turkestan, near the modern Pidjan. Before long he added the states of Shen-shen, Khotan, Kucha and Kashgar as apanages to the Chinese crown, and for a considerable period the country enjoyed prosperity. The Han dynasty (including in the term the Eastern Han dynasty) has been considered the first national dynasty and is one of the most famous in China; nor has any ruling family been more popular. The Chinese, especially the northern Chinese, still call themselves "the sons of Han." The wealth and trade as well as the culture of the country was greatly developed, and the competitive examinations for literary degrees instituted. The homogeneity of the nation was so firmly established that subsequent dissensions and conquests could not alter fundamentally the character of the nation.

Towards the end of the 2nd century the power of the Eastern Hans declined. In 173 a virulent pestilence, which continued for eleven years, broke out. A magical cure for this plague was said to have been discovered by a Taoist priest named Chang Chio, who in a single month won a sufficiently large following to enable him to gain possession of the northern provinces of the empire. He was, however, defeated by Ts'aou Ts'aou, another aspirant to imperial honours, whose son, Ts'aou P'ei, on the death of Hien-ti (A.D. 220), proclaimed himself emperor, adopting the title of Wei as the appellation of his dynasty. There were then, however, two other claimants to the throne, Liu Pei and Sun Ch'OøΩan, and the three adventurers agreed to divide the empire between them. Ts'aou P'ei, under the title of WOøΩn-ti, ruled over the kingdom of Wei (220), which occupied the whole of the central and northern portion of China. Liu Pei established the Shuh Han dynasty in the modern province of Sze-ch'uen (221), and called himself Chao-lieh-ti; and to Sun Ch'OøΩan fell the southern provinces of the empire, from the Yangtsze-kiang southwards, including the modern Tongking, which he formed into the kingdom of Wu with Nan-king for his capital, adopting for himself the imperial style of Ta-tOøΩ (A.D. 222).

"Three kingdom" period

Western Tsin dynasty

China during the period of the "Three Kingdoms" was a house divided against itself. Liu Pei, as a descendant of the house of Han, looked upon himself as the rightful sovereign of the whole empire, and he despatched an army under Chu-ko Liang to support his claims. This army was met by an Oppossing force under the Wei commander Sze-ma I, of whom Chinese historians say that "he led armies like a god," and who, by adopting a Fabian policy, completely discomfited his adversary. But the close of this campaign brought no peace to the country. Wars became chronic, and the reins of power slipped out of the hands of emperors into those of their generals. Foremost among these were the members of the Sze-ma family of Wei. Sze-ma I left a son, Sze-ma Chao, scarcely less distinguished than himself, and when Sze-ma Chao died his honours descended to Sze-ma Yen, who deposed the ruling sovereign of Wei, and proclaimed himself emperor of China (A.D. 265). His dynasty he styled the Western Tsin dynasty, and he adopted for himself the title of Wu-ti. The most noticeable event in this reign was the advent of the ambassadors of the emperor Diocletian in 284. For some years the neighbouring states appear to have transferred their allegiance from the house of Wei to that of Tsin. Wu-ti's successors proving, however, weak and incapable, the country soon fell again into disorder. The Hiung-nu renewed incursions into the empire at the beginning of the 4th century, and in the confusion which followed, an adventurer named Liu Yuen established himself (in 311) as emperor, first at P'ing-yang in Shan-si and afterwards in Lo-yang and Chang-an. The history of this period is very chaotic. Numerous states sprang into existence, some founded by the Hiung-nu and others by the Sien-pi tribe, a Tungusic clan, inhabiting a territory to the north of China, which afterwards established the Liao dynasty in China. In 419 the Eastern Tsin dynasty came to an end, and with it disappeared for nearly two hundred years all semblance of united authority. The country became divided into two parts, the north and the south. In the north four families reigned successively, two of which were of Sien-pi origin, viz. the Wei and the How Chow, the other two, the Pih Ts'i and the How Liang, being Chinese. In the south five different houses supplied rulers, who were all of Chinese descent.

Suy dynasty

This period of disorder was brought to a close by the establishment of the Suy dynasty (590). Among the officials of the ephemeral dynasty of Chow was one Yang Kien, who on his daughter becoming empress (578) was created duke of Suy. Two years later Yang Kien proclaimed himself emperor. The country, weary of contention, was glad to acknowledge his undivided authority; and during the sixteen years of his reign the internal affairs of China were comparatively peaceably administered. The emperor instituted an improved code of laws, and added 5000 volumes to the 10,000 which composed the imperial library. Abroad, his policy was equally successful. He defeated the Tatars and chastised the Koreans, who had for a long period recognized Chinese suzerainty, but were torn by civil wars and were disposed to reject her authority. After his death in 604 his second son forced the heir to the throne to strangle himself, and then seized the throne. This usurper, Yang-ti, sent expeditions against the Tatars, and himself headed an expedition against the Uighurs, while one of his generals annexed the Lu-chu Islands to the imperial crown. During his reign the volumes in the imperial library were increased to 54,000, and he spent vast sums in erecting a magnificent palace at Lo-yang, and in constructing unprofitable canals. These and other extravagances laid so heavy a burden on the country that discontent began again to prevail, and on the emperor's return from a successful expedition against the Koreans, he found the empire divided into rebellious factions. In the troubles which followed General Li Yuen became prominent. On the death of the emperor by assassination this man set Kung-ti, the rightful heir, on the throne (617) until such time as he should have matured his schemes.

Kung-ti was poisoned in the following year and Li Yuen proclaimed himself as Kao-tsu, the first emperor of the T'ang dynasty. At this time the Turks were at the height of their power in Asia (see Turks: History), and Kao-tsu was glad to purchase their alliance with money. But divisions weakened the power of the Turks, and T'ai-tsung (reigned 627-650), Kao-tsu's son and successor, regained much of the position in Central Asia which had formerly been held by China. In 640 Hami, Turfan and the rest of the Turkish territory were again included within the Chinese empire, and four military governorships were appointed in Central Asia, viz. at Kucha, Khotan, Kharastan and Kashgar. At the same time the frontier was extended as far as eastern Persia and the Caspian Sea. So great was now the fame of China, that ambassadors from Nepal, Magadha, Persia and Constantinople (643) came to pay their court to the emperor. Under T'ai-tsung there was national unity and peace, and in consequence agriculture and commerce as well as literature flourished. The emperor gave direct encouragements to the Nestorians, and gave a favourable reception to an embassy from Mahommed (see ante OøΩ Religion). On the accession of Kao-tsung (650) his wife, Wu How, gained supreme influence, and on the death of her husband in 683 she set aside his lawful successor, Chung-tsung, and took possession of the throne. This was the first occasion the country was ruled by a dowager empress. She governed with discretion, and her armies defeated the Khitan in the north-east and also the Tibetans, who had latterly gained possession of Kucha, Khotan and Kashgar. On her death, in 705, Chung-tsung partially left the obscurity in which he had lived during his mother's reign. But his wife, desiring to play a similar rOøΩle to that enjoyed by her mother-in-law, poisoned him and set his son, Jui-tsung (710), on the throne. This monarch, who was weak and vicious, was succeeded by Yuen-tsung (713), who introduced reform into the administration and encouraged literature and learning. The king of Khokand applied for aid against the Tibetans and Arabs, and Yuen-tsung sent an army to his succour, but his general was completely defeated. During the disorder which arose in consequence of the invasion of the northern provinces by the KhitOøΩn, General An Lu-shan, an officer of Turkish descent, placed himself at the head of a revolt, and having secured Tung-kwan on the Yellow river, advanced on Chang-an. Thereupon the emperor fled, and placed his son, Su-tsung (756-762), on the throne. This sovereign, with the help of the forces of Khotan, Khokand and Bokhara, of the Uighurs and of some 4000 Arabs sent by the caliph Mansur, completely defeated An Lu-shan. During the following reigns the Tibetans made constant incursions into the western provinces of the empire, and T'ai-tsung (763-780) purchased the assistance of the Turks against those intruders by giving a Chinese princess as wife to the khan.

At this epoch the eunuchs of the palace gained an unwonted degree of power, and several of the subsequent emperors fell victims to their plots. The T'ang dynasty, which for over a hundred years had governed firmly and for the good of the nation, began to decline. The history of the 8th and 9th centuries is for the most part a monotonous record of feeble governments, oppressions and rebellions. Almost the only event worth chronicling is the iconoclastic policy of the emperor Wu-tsung (841-847). Viewing the increase of monasteries and ecclesiastical establishments as an evil, he abolished all temples, closed the monasteries and nunneries, and sent the inmates back to their families. Foreign priests were subjected to the same repressive legislation, and Christians, Buddhists and Magi were bidden to return whence they came. Buddhism again revived during the reign of the emperor I-tsung (860-874), who, having discovered a bone of Buddha, brought it to the capital in great state. By internal dissensions the empire became so weakened that the prince of Liang found no difficulty in gaining possession of the throne (907). He took the title of T'ai-tsu, being the first emperor of the Later Liang dynasty. Thus ended the T'ang dynasty, which is regarded as being the golden age of Chinese literature.

Five dynasties, viz. the Later Liang, the Later T'ang, the Later Tsin, the Later Han and the Later Chow, followed each other between the years 907 and 960. Though the monarchs of these lines nominally held sway over the empire, their real power was confined to very narrow limits. The disorders which were rife during the time when the T'ang dynasty was tottering to its fall fostered the development of independent states, and so arose Liang in Ho-nan and Shan-tung, Ki in Shen-si, Hwai-nan in Kiang-nan, Chow in Sze-ch'uen and parts of Shen-si and Hu-kwang, Wu-yuĕ in Cheh-kiang, Tsu and King-nan in Hu-kwang, Ling-nan in Kwang-tung and the Uighurs in Tangut.

Sung dynasty

A partial end was made to this recognized disorganization when, in 960, General Chao Kw'ang-yin was proclaimed by the army emperor in succession to the youthful Kung-ti, who was compelled to abdicate. The circumstances of the time justified the change. It required a strong hand to weld the empire together again, and to resist the attacks of the Khitan Tatars, whose rule at this period extended over the whole of Manchuria and Liao-tung. Against these aggressive neighbours T'ai-tsu (nOøΩ Chao Kw'ang-yin) directed his efforts with varying success, and he died in 976, while the war was still being waged. His son T'ai-tsung (976-997) entered on the campaign with energy, but in the end was compelled to conclude a peace with the KhitOøΩn. His successor, ChOøΩn-tsung (997-1022), paid them tribute to abstain from further incursions. Probably this tribute was not sent regularly; at all events, under JOøΩn-tsung (1023-1064), the Khitan again threatened to invade the empire, and were only bought off by the promise of an annual tribute of taels 200,000 of silver, besides a great quantity of silken piece goods. Neither was this arrangement long binding, and so formidable were the advances made by the Tatars in the foilowing reigns, that Hwei-tsung (1101-1126) invited the Nuchih Tatars to expel the Khitan from Liao-tung. This they did, but having once possessed themselves of the country they declined to yield it to the Chinese, and the result was that a still more aggressive neighbour was established on the north-eastern frontier of China. The Nuchih or Kin, as they now styled themselves, overran the provinces of Chih-li, Shen-si, Shan-si and Ho-nan, and during the reign of Kao-tsung (1127-1163) they advanced their conquests to the line of the Yangtsze-kiang. From this time the Sung ruled only over southern China; while the Kin or "Golden" dynasty reignOøΩd in the north. The Kin made Chung-tu, which occupied in part the site of the modern Peking, their usual residence. The Sung fixed their capital at Nanking and afterwards at Hangchow. Between them and the Kin there was almost constant war.

During this period the Mongols began to acquire power in eastern Asia, and about the beginning of the 12th century the forces of Jenghiz Khan (q.v.) invaded the north-western frontier of China and the principality of Hia, which at that time consisted of the modern provinces of Shen-si and Kan-suh. To purchase the good-will of the Mongols the king of Hia agreed to pay them a tribute, and gave a princess in marriage to their ruler. In consequence of a dispute with the Kin emperor Wei-shao Wang, Jenghiz Khan determined to invade Liao-tung. He was aided by the followers of the Khitan leader Yeh-lOøΩ Ts'u-ts'ai, and in alliance with this general he captured Liao-yang, the capital city.

After an unsuccessful invasion of China in 1212, Jenghiz Khan renewed the attack in 1213. He divided his armies into four divisions, and made a general advance southwards. His soldiers swept over Ho-nan, Chih-li and Shan-tung, destroying upwards of ninety cities. It was their boast that a horseman might ride without stumbling over the sites where those cities had stood. Panic-stricken, the emperor moved his court from Chung-tu to K'ai-fOøΩng Fu, much against the advice of his ministers, who foresaw the disastrous effect this retreat would have on the fortunes of Kin. The state of Sung, which up to this time had paid tribute, now declined to recognize Kin as its feudal chief, and a short time afterwards declared war against its quondam ally. Meanwhile, in 1215, Yeh-lOøΩ Ts'u-ts'ai advanced into China by the Shan-hai Kwan, and made himself master of Peking, one of the few cities in Chih-li which remained to Kin. After this victory his nobles wished him to proclaim himself emperor, but he refused, being mindful of an oath which he had sworn to Jenghiz Khan. In 1216 Tung-kwan, a mountain pass on the frontiers of Ho-nan and Shen-si, and the scene of numerous dynastic battles (as it is the only gateway between north-eastern and north-western China), was taken by the invaders. As the war dragged on the resistance offered by the Kin grew weaker and weaker. In 1220 Chi-nan Fu, the capital of Shan-tung, was taken, and five years later Jenghiz Khan marched an army westward into Hia and conquered the forces of the king. Two years later (1227) Jenghiz Khan died.

With the view to the complete conquest of China by the Mongols, Jenghiz declined to nominate either of the eldest two sons who had been born to his Chinese wives as his heir, but chose his third son Ogdai, whose mother was a Tatar. On hearing of the death of Jenghiz Khan the Kin sent an embassy to his successor desiring peace, but Ogdai told them there would be no peace for them until their dynasty should be overthrown. Hitherto the Mongols had been without any code of laws. But the consolidation of the nation by the conquests of Jenghiz Khan made it necessary to establish a recognized code of laws, and one of the first acts of Ogdai was to form such a code. With the help also of Yeh-lOøΩ Ts'u-ts'ai, he established custom-houses in Chih-li, Shan-tung, Shan-si and Liao-tung; and for this purpose divided these provinces into ten departments. Meanwhile the war with the Kin was carried on with energy. In 1230 Si-gan Fu was taken, and sixty important posts were captured. Two years later, Tu-lOøΩ, brother of Ogdai, took FOøΩng-siang Fu and Han-chung Fu, in the flight from which last-named place 100,000 persons are said to have perished. Following the course of the river Han in his victorious career, this general destroyed 140 towns and fortresses, and defeated the army of Kin at Mount San-fOøΩng.

The Kin dynasty overthrown

In 1232 the Mongols made an alliance with the state of Sung, by which, on condition of Sung helping to destroy Kin, Ho-nan was to be the property of Sung for ever. The effect of this coalition soon became apparent. Barely had the Kin emperor retreated from K'ai-fOøΩng Fu to Ju-ning Fu in Ho-nan when the former place fell into the hands of the allies. Next fell Loyang, and the victorious generals then marched on to besiege Ju-ning Fu. The presence of the emperor gave energy to the defenders, and they held out until every animal in the city had been killed for food, until every old and useless person had suffered death to lessen the number of hungry mouths, until so many able-bodied men had fallen that the women manned the ramparts, and then the allies stormed the walls. The emperor burned himself to death in his palace, that his body might not fall into the hands of his enemies. For a few days the shadow of the imperial crown rested on the head of his heir Chang-lin, but in a tumult which broke out amongst his followers he lost his life, and with him ended the "Golden" dynasty.

Notwithstanding the treaty between Ogdai and Sung, no sooner were the spoils of Kin to be divided than war broke out again between them, in prosecuting which the Mongol armies swept over the provinces of Sze-ch'uen, Hu-kwang, Kiang-nan and Ho-nan, and were checked only when they reached the walls of Lu-chow Fu in Ngan-hui. Ogdai died in 1241, and was nominally succeeded by his grandson CheliemOøΩn. But one of his widows, Tolickona, took possession of the throne, and after exercising rule for four years, established her son Kwei-yew as great khan. In 1248 his life was cut short, and the nobles, disregarding the claims of CheliemOøΩn, proclaimed as emperor Mangu, the eldest son of Tu-lOøΩ. Under this monarch the war against Sung was carried on with energy, and Kublai, outstripping the bounds of Sung territory, made his way into the province of Yun-nan, at that time divided into a number of independent states, and having attached them to his brother's crown he passed on into Tibet, Tongking and Cochin-China, and thence striking northwards entered the province of Kwang-si.

On the death of Mangu in 1259 Kublai (q.v.) ascended the throne. Never in the history of China was the nation more illustrious, nor its power more widely felt, than under his sovereignty. During the first twenty years of his reign Sung kept up a resistance against his authority. Their last emperor Ping-ti, seeing his cause lost, drowned himself in the sea. The Sung dynasty, which had ruled southern China 320 years, despite its misfortunes is accounted one of the great dynasties of China. During its sway arts and literature were cultivated and many eminent writers flourished. His enemies subdued, Kublai Khan in 1280 assumed complete jurisdiction as emperor of China. He took the title of Shit-su and founded what is known as the Yuen dynasty. He built a new capital close to Chung-tu, which became known as Kaanbaligh (city of the khan), in medieval European chronicles, Cambaluc, and later as Peking. At this time his authority was acknowledged "from the Frozen Sea, almost to the Straits of Malacca. With the exception of Hindustan, Arabia and the westernmost parts of Asia, all the Mongol princes as far as the Dnieper declared themselves his vassals, and brought regularly their tribute." It was during this reign that Marco Polo visited China, and he describes in glowing colours the virtues and glories of the "great khan." His rule was characterized by discretion and munificence. He undertook public works, he patronized literature, and relieved the distress of the poor, but the Chinese never forgot that he was an alien and regarded him as a barbarian. He died unregretted in 1294. His son had died during his lifetime, and after some contention his grandson Timur ascended the throne under the title of Yuen-chOøΩng. This monarch died in 1307 after an uneventful reign, and, as he left no son, Wu-tsung, a Mongol prince, became emperor. To him succeeded JOøΩn-tsung in 1312, who made himself conspicuous by the honour he showed to the memory of Confucius, and by distributing offices more equally between Mongols and Chinese than had hitherto been done. This act of justice gave great satisfaction to the Chinese, and his death ended a peaceful and prosperous reign in 1320. At this time there appears to have been a considerable commercial intercourse between Europe and China. But after JOøΩn-tsung's death the dynasty fell on evil days. The Mongols in adopting Chinese civilization had lost much of their martial spirit. They were still regarded as alien by the Chinese and numerous secret societies were formed to achieve their overthrow. JOøΩn-tsung's successors were weak and incapable rulers, and in the person of Shun-ti (1333-1368) were summed up the vices and faults of his predecessors. Revolts broke out, and finally this descendant of Jenghiz Khan was compelled to fly before Chu YOøΩen-chang, the son of a Chinese labouring man. Deserted by his followers, he sought refuge in Ying-chang Fu, and there the last of the YOøΩen dynasty died. These Mongol emperors, whatever their faults, had shown tolerance to Christian missionaries and Papal legates (see ante OøΩ The Medieval Cathay).

Ming dynasty

Chu YOøΩen-chang met with little opposition, more especially as his first care on becoming possessed of a district was to suppress lawlessness and to establish a settled government. In 1355 he captured Nanking, and proclaimed himself duke of Wu, but carefully avoided adopting any of the insignia of royalty. Even when master of the empire, thirteen years later, he still professed to dislike the idea of assuming the imperial title. His scruples were overcome, and he declared himself emperor in 1368. He carried his arms into Tatary, where he subdued the last semblance of Mongol power in that direction, and then bent his steps towards Liao-tung. Here the Mongols defended themselves with the bravery of despair, but unavailingly, and the conquest of this province left Hung-wu, as the founder of the new or Ming ("Bright") dynasty styled himself, without a foe in the empire.

All intercourse with Europe seems now to have ceased until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century, but Hung-wu cultivated friendly relations with the neighbouring states. As a quondam Buddhist priest he lent his countenance to that religion to the exclusion of Taoism, whose priests had for centuries earned the contempt of all but the most ignorant by their pretended magical arts and their search after the philosopher's stone. Hung-wu died in 1398 and was succeeded by his grandson Kien-WOøΩn. Aware that the appointment of this youth - his father was dead - would give offence to the young emperor's uncles, Hung-wu had dismissed them to their respective governments. However, the prince of Yen, his eldest surviving son, rose in revolt as soon as the news reached him of his nephew's accession, and after gaining several victories over the armies of Kien-wOøΩn he presented himself before the gates of Nanking, the capital. Treachery opened the gates to him, and the emperor having fled in the disguise of a monk, the victorious prince became emperor and took the title of Yung-lo (1403). At home Yung-lo devoted himself to the encouragement of literature and the fine arts, and, possibly from a knowledge that Kien-wOøΩn was among the Buddhist priests, he renewed the law prohibiting Buddhism. Abroad he swept Cochin-China and Tongking within the folds of his empire and carried his arms into Tatary, where he made new conquests of waste regions, and erected a monument of his victories. He died in 1425, and was succeeded by his son Hung-hi.

Hung-hi's reign was short and uneventful. He strove to promote only such mandarins as had proved themselves to be able and honest, and to further the welfare of the people. During the reign of his successor, SOøΩen-tOøΩ (1426-1436), the empire suffered the first loss of territory since the commencement of the dynasty. Cochin-China rebelled and gained her independence. The next emperor, ChOøΩng-t'ung (1436), was taken prisoner by a Tatar chieftain, a descendant of the YOøΩen family named Yi-sien, who had invaded the northern Erovinces. Having been completely defeated by a Chinese force from Liao-tung, Yi-sien liberated his captive, who reoccupied the throne, which during his imprisonment (1450-1457) had been held by his brother King-ti. The two following reigns, those of ChOøΩng-hwa (1465-1488) and of Hung-chi (1488-1506), were quiet and peaceful.

Struggle with Japan for Korea

The most notable event in the reign of the next monarch, ChOøΩng-te (1506-1522), was the arrival of the Portuguese at Canton (1517). From this time dates modern European intercourse with China. ChOøΩng-te suppressed a formidable insurrection headed by the prince of Ning, but disorder caused by this civil war encouraged the foreign enemies of China. From the north came a Tatar army under Yen-ta in 1542, during the reign of Kia-tsing, which laid waste the province of Shen-si, and even threatened the capital, and a little later a Japanese fleet ravaged the littoral provinces. Ill-blood had arisen between the two peoples before this, and a Japanese colony had been driven out of Ningpo by force and not without bloodshed a few years previously. Kia-tsing (d. 1567) was not equal to such emergencies, and his son Lung-king (1567-1573)sought to placate the Tatar Yen-ta by making him a prince of the empire and giving him commercial privileges, which were supplemented by the succeeding emperor Wan-li (1573-1620) by the grant of land in Shen-si. During the reign of this sovereign, in the year 1592, the Japanese successfully invaded Korea, and Taikosarna, the regent of Japan, was on the point of proclaiming himself king of the peninsula, when a large Chinese force, answering to the invitation of the king, appeared and completely routed the Japanese army, at the same time that the Chinese fleet cut off their retreat by sea. In this extremity the Japanese sued for peace, and sent an embassy to Peking to arrange terms. But the peace was of short duration. In 1597 the Japanese again invaded Korea, defeated the Chinese army, destroyed the Chinese fleet and ravaged the coast. Suddenly, however, when in the full tide of conquest, they evacuated Korea, which again fell under the direction of China. Four years later the missionary Matteo Ricci (q.v.) arrived at the Chinese court; and though at first the emperor was inclined to send him out of the country, his abilities gradually won for him the esteem of the sovereign and his ministers, and he remained the scientific adviser of the court until his death in 1610.

About this time the Manchu Tatars, goaded into war by the injustice they were constantly receiving at the hands of the Chinese, led an army into China (in 1616) and completely defeated the force which was sent against them. Three years later they gained possession of the province of Liao-tung. These disasters overwhelmed the emperor, and he died of a broken heart in 1620.

Manchu invasion: 17th century

In the same year T'ien-ming, the Manchu sovereign, having declared himself independent, moved the court to San-ku, to the east of Mukden, which, five years later, he made his capital. In 1627 Ts'ung-chOøΩng, the last emperor of the Ming dynasty, ascended the Chinese throne. In his reign English merchants first made their appearance at Canton. The empire was now torn by internal dissensions. Rebel bands, enriched by plunder, and grown bold by success, began to assume the proportion of armies. Two rebels, Li Tsze-ch'OøΩng and Shang K'o-hi, decided to divide the empire between them. Li besieged K'ai-fOøΩng Fu, the capital of Ho-nan, and so long and closely did he beleaguer it that in the consequent famine human flesh was regularly sold in the markets. At length an imperial force came to raise the siege, but fearful of meeting Li's army, they cut through the dykes of the Yellow River, "China's Sorrow," and flooded the whole country, including the city. The rebels escaped to the mountains, but upwards of 200,000 inhabitants perished in the flood, and the city became a heap of ruins (1642). From K'ai-fOøΩng Fu Li marched against the other strongholds of Ho-nan and Shen-si, and was so completely successful that he determined to attack Peking. A treacherous eunuch opened the gates to him, on being informed of which the emperor committed suicide. When the news of this disaster reached the general-commanding on the frontier of Manchu Tatary, he, in an unguarded moment, concluded a peace with the Manchus, and invited them to dispossess Li Tsze-ch'OøΩng. The Manchus entered China, and after defeating a rebel army sent against them, they marched towards Peking. On hearing of the approach of the invaders, Li Tsze-ch'OøΩng, after having set fire to the imperial palace, evacuated the city, but was overtaken, and his force was completely routed.

Ta-ts'ing dynasty

The Chinese now wished the Manchus to retire, but, having taken possession of Peking, they proclaimed the ninth son of T'ien-ming emperor of China under the title of Shun-chi, and adopted the name of Ta-ts'ing, or "Great Pure," for the dynasty (1644). Meanwhile the mandarins at Nanking had chosen an imperial prince to ascend the throne. At this most inopportune moment "a claimant" to the throne, in the person of a pretended son of the last emperor, appeared at court. While this contention prevailed inside Nanking the Tatar army appeared at the walls. There was no need for them to use force. The gates were thrown open, and they took possession of the city without bloodshed. Following the conciliatory policy they had everywhere pursued, they confirmed the mandarins in their offices and granted a general amnesty to all who would lay down their arms. As the Tatars entered the city the emperor left it, and after wandering about for some days in great misery, he drowned himself in the Yangtsze-kiang. Thus ended the Ming dynasty, and the empire passed again under a foreign yoke. By the Mings, who partly revived the feudal system by making large territorial grants to members of the reigning house, China was divided into fifteen provinces; the existing division into eighteen provinces was made by the Manchus.

All accounts agree in stating that the Manchu conquerors are descendants of a branch of the family which gave the Kin dynasty to the north of China; and in lieu of any authentic account of their early history, native writers have thrown a cloud of fable over their origin (see Manchuria). In the 16th century they were strong enough to cope with their Chinese neighbours. Doubtless the Mings tried to check their ambition by cruel reprisals, but against this must be put numerous Manchu raids into Liao-tung.

The accession to the throne of the emperor Shun-chi did not restore peace to the country. In Kiang-si, Fu-kien, Kwang-tung and Kwang-si the adherents of the Ming dynasty defended themselves vigorously but unsuccessfully against the invaders, while the pirate ChOøΩng Chi-lung, the father of the celebrated Coxinga, kept up a predatory warfare against them on the coast. Eventually he was induced to visit Peking, where he was thrown into prison and died. Coxinga, warned by his father's example, determined to leave the mainland and to seek an empire elsewhere. His choice fell on Formosa, and having driven out the Dutch, who had established themselves in the island in 1624, he held possession until the reign of K'ang-hi, when (1682) he resigned in favour of the imperial government. Meanwhile a prince of the house of Ming was proclaimed emperor in Kwang-si, under the title of Yung-li. The Tatars having reduced Fu-kien and Kiang-si, and having taken Canton after a siege of eight months, completely routed his followers, and Yung-li was compelled to fly to Pegu. Some years later, with the help of adherents in Yun-nan and Kwei-chow, he tried to regain the throne, but his army was scattered, and he was taken prisoner and strangled. Gradually opposition to the new regime became weaker and weaker, and the shaved head with the pig-tail - the symbol of Tatar sovereignty - became more and more adopted. In 1651 died Ama Wang, the uncle of Shun-chi, who had acted as regent during his nephew's minority, and the emperor then assumed the government of the state. He appears to have taken a great interest in science, and to have patronized Adam Schaal, a German Jesuit, who was at that time resident at Peking. It was during his reign (1656) that the first Russian embassy arrived at the capital, but as the envoy declined to kowtow before the emperor he was sent back without having been admitted to an audience.

After an unquiet reign of seventeen years Shun-chi died (1661). and was succeeded by his son K'ang-hi. He came into collision with the Russians, who had reached the Amur regions about 1640 and had built a fort on the upper Amur; but by the Treaty of Nerchinsk, concluded in 1689 (the first treaty made between China and a European power), the dispute was settled, the Amur being taken as the frontier. K'ang-hi was indefatigable in administering the affairs of the empire, and he devoted much of his time to literary and scientific studies under the guidance of the Jesuits. The dictionary of the Chinese language, published under his superintendence, proves him to have been as great a scholar as his conquests over the Eleuths show him to have been famous as a general. During one of his hunting expeditions to Mongolia he caught a fatal cold, and he died in 1721. Under his rule Tibet was added to the empire, which extended from the Siberian frontier to Cochin-China, and from the China Sea to Turkestan. During his reign there was a great earthquake at Peking, in which 400,000 people are said to have perished.

K'ien-lung, who began to reign in 1735, was ambitious and warlike. He marched an army into Hi, which he converted into a Chinese province, and he afterwards added eastern Turkestan to the empire. Twice he invaded Burma, and once he penetrated into Cochin-China, but in neither country were his arms successful. He is accused of great cruelty towards his subjects, which they repaid by rebelling against him. During his reign the Mahommedan standard was first raised in Kan-suh. (Since the Mongol conquest in the 13th century there had been a considerable immigration of Moslems into western China; and numbers of Chinese had become converts). But the Mussulmans were unable to stand against the imperial troops; their armies were dispersed; ten thousand of them were exiled; and an order was issued that every Mahommedan in Kan-suh above the age of fifteen should be put to death (1784).

K'ien-lung wrote incessantly, both poetry and prose, collected libraries and republished works of value. His campaigns furnished him with themes for his verses, and in the Summer Palace was found a handsome manuscript copy of a laudatory poem he composed on the occasion of his war against the Gurkhas. This was one of the most successful of his military undertakings. His generals marched 70,000 men into Nepal to within 60 miles of the British frontiers, and having subjugated the Gurkhas they received the submission of the Nepalese, and acquired an additional hold over Tibet (1792). In other directions his arms were not so successful. There is no poem commemorating the campaign against the rebellious Formosans, nor lament over the loss of 100,000 men in that island, and the last few years of his reign were disturbed by outbreaks among the Miao-tsze, hill tribes living in the mountains in the provinces of Kwei-chow and Kwang-si. In 1795, after a reign of sixty years, K'ien-lung abdicated in favour of his fifteenth son, who adopted the title of Kia-k'ing as the style of his reign. K'ien-lung died at the age of eighty-eight in 1798.

Trade with Europe

During the reign of K'ien-lung commerce between Europe and Canton - the only Chinese port then open to foreign trade - had attained important dimensions. It was mainly in the hands of the Portuguese, the British and the Dutch. The British trade was then a monopoly of the East India Company. The trade, largely in opium, tea and silk, was subject to many exactions and restrictions, [49] and many acts of gross injustice were committed on the persons of Englishmen. To obtain some redress the British government at length sent an embassy to Peking (1793) and Lord Macartney was chosen to represent George III. on the occasion. The mission was treated as showing that Great Britain was a state tributary to China, and Lord Macartney was received with every courtesy. But the concessions he sought were not accorded, and in this sense his mission was a failure.

Kia-k'ing's reign was disturbed and disastrous. In the northern and western provinces, rebellion after rebellion broke out, due in a great measure to the carelessness, incompetency and obstinacy of the emperor, and the coasts were infested with pirates, whose number and organization enabled them for a long time to hold the imperial fleet in check. Meanwhile the condition of the foreign merchants at Canton had not improved, and to set matters on a better footing the British government despatched a second ambassador in the person of Lord Amherst to Peking in 1816. As he declined to kowtow before the emperor, he was not admitted to the imperial presence and the mission proved abortive. Destitute of all royal qualities, a slave to his passions, and the servant of caprice, Kia-k'ing died in 1820. The event fraught with the greatest consequences to China which occurred in his reign (though at the time it attracted little attention) was the arrival of the first Protestant missionary, Dr R. Morrison (q.v.), who reached Canton in 1807.

Tao-kwang (1820-1850), the new emperor, though possessed in his early years of considerable energy, had no sooner ascended the throne than he gave himself up to the pursuit of pleasure. The reforms which his first manifestoes foreshadowed never seriously occupied his attention. Insurrection occurred in Formosa, Kwang-si, Ho-nan and other parts of the empire, and the Triad Society, which had originated during the reign of K'ang-hi, again became formidable.

More important to the future of the country than the internal disturbances was the new attitude taken at this time towards China by the nations of Europe. Hitherto the European missionaries and traders in China had been dependent upon the goodwill of the Chinese. The Portuguese had been allowed to settle at Macao (q.v.) for some centuries; Roman Catholic missionaries since the time of Ricci had been alternately patronized and persecuted; Protestant missionaries had scarcely gained a foothold; the Europeans allowed to trade at Canton continued to suffer under vexatious regulations - the Chinese in general regarded Europeans as barbarians, "foreign devils." Of the armed strength of Europe they were ignorant. They were now to be undeceived, Great Britain being the first power to take action. The hardships inflicted on the British merchants at Canton became so unbearable that when, in 1834, the monopoly of the East India Company ceased, the British government sent Lord Napier as minister to superintend the foreign trade at that port. Lord Napier was inadequately supported, and the anxieties of his position brought on an attack of fever, from which he died at Macao after a few months' residence in China. The chief cause of complaint adduced by the mandarins was the introduction of opium by the merchants, and for years they attempted by every means in their power to put a stop to its importation. At length Captain (afterwards Admiral Sir Charles) Elliot, the superintendent of trade, in 1839 agreed that all the opium in the hands of Englishmen should be given up to the native authorities, and he exacted a pledge from the merchants that they would no longer deal in the drug. On the 3rd of April 20,283 chests of opium were handed over to the mandarins and were by them destroyed. The surrender of the opium led to further demands by Lin Tze-su, the Chinese imperial commissioner, demands which were considered by the British government to amount to a casus belli, and in 1840 war was declared. In the same year the fleet captured Chusan, and in the following year the Bogue Forts fell, in consequence of which operations the Chinese agreed to cede Hong-Kong to the victors and to pay them an indemnity of 6,000,000 dollars. As soon as this news reached Peking, Ki Shen, who had succeeded Commissioner Lin, was dismissed from his post and degraded, and Yi Shen, another Tatar, was appointed in his room. Before the new commissioner reached his post Canton had fallen into the hands of Sir Hugh Gough, and shortly afterwards Amoy, Ning-po, Tinghai in Chusan, Chapu, Shanghai and Chin-kiang Fu shared the same fate. Nanking would also have been captured had not the imperial government, dreading the loss of the "Southern Capital," proposed terms of peace. Sir Henry Pottinger, who had succeeded Captain Elliot, concluded, in 1842, a treaty with the imperial commissioners, by which the four additional ports of Amoy, Fu-chow, Ningpo and Shanghai were declared open to foreign trade, and an indemnity of 21,000,000 dollars was to be paid to the British.

Hien-fOøΩng emperor

On the accession of Hien-fOøΩng in 1850, a demand was raised for the reforms which had been hoped for under Tao-kwang, but Hien-fOøΩng possessed in an exaggerated form the selfish and tyrannical nature of his father, together with a voluptuary's craving for every kind of sensual pleasure. For some time Kwang-si had been in a very disturbed state, and when the people found that there was no hope of relief from the oppression they endured, they proclaimed a youth, who was said to be the representative of the last emperor of the Ming dynasty, as emperor, under the title of T'ien-tOøΩ or "Heavenly Virtue." From Kwang-si the revolt spread into Hu-peh and Hu-nan, and then languished from want of a leader and a definite political cry. When, however, there appeared to be a possibility that, by force of arms and the persuasive influence of money, the imperialists would re-establish their supremacy, a leader presented himself in Kwang-si, whose energy of character, combined with great political and religious enthusiasm, speedily gained for him the suffrages of the discontented. This was Hung Siu-ts'OøΩan. He proclaimed himself as sent by heaven to drive out the Tatars, and to restore in his own person the succession to China. At the same time, having been converted to Christianity and professing to abhor the vices and sins of the age, he called on all the virtuous of the land to extirpate rulers who were standing examples of all that was base and vile in human nature. Crowds soon flocked to his standard. T'ien-tOøΩ was deserted; and putting himself at the head of his followers (who abandoned the practice of shaving the head), Hung Siu-ts'OøΩan marched northwards and captured Wu-ch'ang on the Yangtsze-kiang, the capital of Hu-peh. Then, moving down the river, he proceeded to the attack of Nanking. Without much difficulty Hung Siu-ts'OøΩan in 1853 established himself within its walls, and proclaimed the inauguration of the T'ai-p'ing dynasty, of which he nominated himself the first emperor under the title of T'ien Wang or "Heavenly king." During the next few years his armies penetrated victoriously as far north as Tientsin and as far east as Chin-kiang and Su-chow, while bands of sympathizers with his cause appeared in the neighbourhood of Amoy. As if still further to aid him in his schemes, Great Britain declared war against the Tatar dynasty in 1857, in consequence of an outrage known as the "Arrow" affair (see Parkes, Sir Harry Smith). In December 1857 Canton was taken by the British, and a further blow was struck against the prestige of the Manchu dynasty by the determination of Lord Elgin, who had been sent as special ambassador, to go to Peking and communicate directly with the emperor. In May 1858 the Taku Forts were taken, and Lord Elgin went up the Peiho to Tientsin en route for the capital. At Tientsin, however, imperial commissioners persuaded him to conclude a treaty with them on the spot, which treaty it was agreed should be ratified at Peking in the following year. When, however, Sir Frederick Bruce, who had been appointed minister to the court of Peking, attempted to pass Taku to carry out this arrangement, the vessels escorting him were treacherously fired on from the forts and he was compelled to return. Thereupon Lord Elgin was again sent out with full powers, accompanied by a large force under the command of Sir Hope Grant. The French (to seek reparation for the murder of a missionary in Kwang-si) took part in the campaign, and on the 1st of August 1860 the allies landed without meeting with any opposition at Pei-tang, a village 12 m. north of Taku. A few days later the forts at that place were taken, and thence the allies marched to Peking. Finding further resistance to be hopeless, the Chinese opened negotiations, and as a guarantee of their good faith surrendered the An-ting gate of the capital to the allies. On the 24th of October 1860 the treaty of 1858 was ratified by Prince Kung and Lord Elgin, and a convention was signed under the terms of which the Chinese agreed to pay a war indemnity of 8,000,000 taels. The right of Europeans to travel in the interior was granted and freedom guaranteed to the preaching of Christianity. The customs tariff then agreed upon legalized the import of opium, though the treaty of 1858, like that of 1842, was silent on the subject.

Great Britain and France were not the only powers of Europe with whom Hien-fOøΩng was called to deal. On the northern border of the empire Russia began to exercise pressure. Russia had begun to colonize the lower Amur region, and was pressing towards the Pacific. This was a remote region, only part of the Chinese empire since the Manchu conquest, and by treaties of 1858 and 1860 China ceded to Russia all its territory north of the Amur and between the Ussuri and the Pacific (see Amur, province). The Russians in their newly acquired land founded the port of Vladivostok (q.v.).

T'ung-chi emperor; dowager empress regent

Hien-fOøΩng died in the summer of the year 1861, leaving the throne to his son T'ung-chi (1861-1875), a child of five years old, whose mother, Tsz'e Hsi (1834-1908), had been raised from the place of favourite concubine to that of Imperial Consort. The legitimate empress, Tsz'e An, was childless, and the two dowagers became joint regents. The conclusion of peace with the allies was the signal for a renewal of the campaign against the T'ai-p'ings, and, benefiting by the friendly feelings of the British authorities engendered by the return of amicable relations, the Chinese government succeeded in enlisting Major Charles George Gordon (q.v.) of the Royal Engineers in their service. In a suprisingly short space of time this officer formed the troops, which had formerly been under the command of an American named Ward, into a formidable army, and without delay took the field against the rebels. From that day the fortunes of the T'ai-p'ings declined. They lost city after city, and, finally in July 1864, the imperialists, after an interval of twelve years, once more gained possession of Nanking. T'ien Wang committed suicide on the capture of his capital, and with him fell his cause. Those of his followers who escaped the sword dispersed throughout the country, and the T'ai-p'ings ceased to be.

With the measure of peace which was then restored to the country trade rapidly revived, except in Yun-nan, where the Mahommedan rebels, known as Panthays, under Suleiman, still kept the imperial forces at bay. Against these foes the government was careless to take active measures, until in 1872 Prince Hassan, the adopted son of Suleiman, was sent to England to gain the recognition of the queen for his father's government. This step aroused the susceptibilities of the imperial government, and a large force was despatched to the scene of the rebellion. Before the year was out the Mahommedan capital Ta-li Fu fell into the hands of the imperialists, and the followers of Suleiman were mercilessly exterminated. In February 1873 the two dowager empresses resigned their powers as regents. This long-expected time was seized upon by the foreign ministers to urge their right of audience with the emperor, and on the 29th of June 1873 tne privilege of gazing on the "sacred countenance" was accorded them.

Accession of Kwang-su, 1875

The emperor T'ung-chi died without issue, and the succession to the throne, for the first time in the annals of the Ts'ing dynasty, passed out of the direct line. As already stated, the first emperor of the Ts'ing dynasty, Shih-tsu Hwangti, on gaining possession of the throne on the fall of the Ming, or "Great Bright" dynasty, adopted the title of Shun-chi for his reign, which began in the year 1644. The legendary progenitor of these Manchu rulers was Aisin Gioro, whose name is said to point to the fact of his having been related to the race of NOøΩ-chih, or Kin, i.e. Golden Tatars, who reigned in northern China during the 12th and 13th centuries. K'ang-hi (1661-1722) was the third son of Shun-chi; Yung-chOøΩng (1722-1735) was the fourth son of K'ang-hi; K'ien-lung (1736-1795) was the fourth son of Yung-chOøΩng; Kia-k'ing (1796-1820) was the fifteenth son of K'ien-lung; Tao-Kwang (1821-1850) was the second son of Kia-k'ing; Hien-fOøΩng (1851-1861) was the fourth of the nine sons who were born to the emperor Tao-kwang; and T'ung-chi (1862-1875) was the only son of Hien-fOøΩng. The choice now fell upon Tsai-t'ien (as he was called at birth), the infant son (born August 2, 1872) of Yi-huan, Prince Chun, the seventh son of the emperor Tao-kwang and brother of the emperor Hien-fOøΩng; his mother was a sister of the empress Tsz'e Hsi, who, with the aid of Li Hung-chang, obtained his adoption and proclamation as emperor, under the title of Kwang-su, "Succession of Glory."

In order to prevent the confusion which would arise among the princes of the imperial house were they each to adopt an arbitrary name, the emperor K'ang-hi decreed that each of his twenty-four sons should have a personal name consisting of two characters, the first of which should be Yung, and the second should be compounded with the determinative shih, "to manifest," an arrangement which would, as has been remarked, find an exact parallel in a system by which the sons in an English family might be called Louis Edward, Louis Edwin, Louis Edwy, Louis Edgar and so on. This device obtained also in the next generation, all the princes of which had Hung for their first name, and the emperor K'ien-lung (1736-1795) extended it into a system, and directed that the succeeding generations should take the four characters Yung, Mien, Yih and Tsai respectively, as the first part of their names. Eight other characters, namely, P'u, Yu, HOøΩng, K'i, Tao, K'ai, TsOøΩng, Ki, were subsequently added, thus providing generic names for twelve generations. With the generation represented by Kwang-su the first four characters were exhausted, and any sons of the emperor Kwang-su would therefore have been called P'u. By the ceremonial law of the "Great Pure" dynasty, twelve degrees of rank are distributed among the princes of the imperial house, and are as follows: (1) Ho-shih Tsin Wang, prince of the first order; (2) To-lo Keun Wang, prince of the second order; (3) To-lo Beileh, prince of the third order; (4) Ku-shan Beitsze, prince of the fourth order; 5 to 8, Kung, or duke (with distinctive designations); 9 to 12, Tsiang-keun, general (with distinctive designations). The sons of emperors usually receive patents of the first or second order on their reaching manhood, and on their sons is bestowed the title of Beileh. A Beileh's sons become Beitsze; a Beitsze's sons become Kung, and so on.

(R. K. D.; X.)

(D) - From 1875 to 1901.

The two dowager-empresses

The accession to the throne of Kwang-su in January 1875 attracted little notice outside China, as the supreme power continued to be vested in the two dowager-empresses - the empress Tsz'e An, principal wife of the emperor Hien-fOøΩng, and the empress Tsz'e Hsi, secondary wife of the same emperor, and mother of the emperor T'ung-chi. Yet there were circumstances connected with the emperor Kwang-su's accession which might well have arrested attention. The emperor T'ung-chi, who had himself succumbed to an ominously brief and mysterious illness, left a young widow in an advanced state of pregnancy, and had she given birth to a male child her son would have been the rightful heir to the throne. But even before she sickened and died - of grief, it was officially stated, at the loss of her imperial spouse - the dowager-empresses had solved the question of the succession by placing Kwang-su on the throne, a measure which was not only in itself arbitrary, but also in direct conflict with one of the most sacred of Chinese traditions. The solemn rites of ancestor-worship, incumbent on every Chinaman, and, above all, upon the emperor, can only be properly performed by a member of a younger generation than those whom it is his duty to honour. The emperor Kwang-su, being a first cousin to the emperor T'ung-chi, was not therefore qualified to offer up the customary sacrifices before the ancestral tablets of his predecessor. The accession of an infant in the place of T'ung-Tchi achieved, however, for the time being what was doubtless the paramount object of the policy of the two empresses, namely, their undisturbed tenure of the regency, in which the junior empress Tsz'e Hsi, a woman of unquestionable ability and boundless ambition, had gradually become the predominant partner.

Murder of Mr Margary

The first question that occupied the attention of the government under the new reign was one of the gravest importance, and nearly led to a war with Great Britain. The Indian government was desirous of seeing the old trade relations between Burma and the south-west provinces, which had been interrupted by the Yun-nan rebellion, re-established, and for that purpose proposed to send a mission across the frontier into China. The Peking government assented and issued passports for the party, which was under the command of Colonel Browne. Mr A.R. Margary, a young and promising member of the China consular service, who was told off to accompany the expedition as interpreter, was treacherously murdered by Chinese at the small town of Manwyne and almost simultaneously an attack was made on the expedition by armed forces wearing Chinese uniform (January 1875). Colonel Browne with difficulty made his way back to Bhamo and the expedition was abandoned.

Chifu convention 1876

Tedious negotiations followed, and, more than eighteen months after the outrage, an arrangement was come to on the basis of guarantees for the future, rather than vengeance for the past. The arrangement was embodied in the Chifu convention, dated 13th September 1876. The terms of the settlement comprised (1) a mission of apology from China to the British court; (2) the promulgation throughout the length and breadth of the empire of an imperial proclamation, setting out the right of foreigners to travel under passport, and the obligation of the authorities to protect them; and (3) the payment of indemnity. Additional articles were subsequently signed in London relative to the collection of likin on Indian opium and other matters.

Revolt in Central Asia

Imperial consolidation

Simultaneously with the outbreak of the Mahommedan rebellion in Yun-nan, a similar disturbance had arisen in the north-west provinces of Shen-si and Kan-suh. This was followed by a revolt of the whole of the Central Asian tribes, which for two thousand years had more or less acknowledged the imperial sway. In Kashgaria a nomad chief named Yakub Beg, otherwise known as the Atalik Ghazi, had made himself amir, and seemed likely to establish a strong rule. The fertile province of Kulja or Ili, lying to the north of the T'ianshan range, was taken possession of by Russia in 1871 in order to put a stop to the prevailing anarchy, but with a promise that when China should have succeeded in re-establishing order in her Central Asian dominions it should be given back. The interest which was taken in the rebellion in Central Asia by the European powers, notably by the sultan of Turkey and the British government, aroused the Chinese to renewed efforts to recover their lost territories, and, as in the case of the similar crisis in Yun-nan, they undertook the task with sturdy deliberation. They borrowed money - £1,600,000 - for the expenses of the expedition, this being the first appearance of China as a borrower in the foreign markets, and appointed the viceroy, Tso Tsung-t'ang, commander-in-chief. By degrees the emperor's authority was established from the confines of Kan-suh to Kashgar and Yarkand, and Chinese garrisons were stationed in touch with the Russian outpost in the region of the Pamirs (December 1877). Russia was now called upon to restore Kulja, China being in a position to maintain order. China despatched Chung-how, a Manchu of the highest rank, who had been notoriously concerned in the Tientsin massacre of 1870, to St Petersburg to negotiate a settlement. After some months of discussion a document was signed (September 1879), termed the treaty of Livadia, whereby China recovered, not indeed the whole, but a considerable portion of the territory, on her paying to Russia five million roubles as the cost of occupation. The treaty was, however, received with a storm of indignation in China. Memorials poured in from all sides denouncing the treaty and its author. Foremost among these was one by Chang Chih-tung, who afterwards became the most distinguished of the viceroys, and governor-general of Hu-peh and Hu-nan provinces. Prince Chun, the emperor's father, came into prominence at this juncture as an advocate for war, and under these combined influences the unfortunate Chung-how was tried and condemned to death (3rd of March 1880). For some months warlike preparations went on, and the outbreak of hostilities was imminent. In the end, however, calmer counsels prevailed. It was decided to send the Marquis Tseng, who in the meantime had become minister in London, to Russia to negotiate. A new treaty which still left Russia in possession of part of the Ili valley was ratified on the 19th of August 1881. The Chinese government could now contemplate the almost complete recovery of the whole extensive dominions which had at any time owned the imperial sway. The regions directly administered by the officers of the emperor extended from the borders of Siberia on the north to Annam and Burma on the south, and from the Pacific Ocean on the east to Kashgar and Yarkand on the west. There was also a fringe of tributary nations which still kept up the ancient forms of allegiance, and which more or less acknowledged the dominioi of the central kingdom. The principal tributary nations then were Korea, Lu-chu, Annam, Burma and Nepal.

Korea and Japan

Korea was the first of the dependencies to come into notice. In 1866 some Roman Catholic missionaries were murdered, and about the same time an American vessel was burnt in one of the rivers and her crew murdered. China refused satisfaction; both to France and America, and suffered reprisals to be made on Korea without protest. America and Japan both desired to conclude commercial treaties for the opening up of Korea, and proposed to negotiate with China. China refused and referred them to the Korean government direct, saying she was not wont to interfere in the affairs of her vassal states. As a result Japan concluded a treaty in 1876, in which the independence of Korea was expressly recognized. This was allowed to pass without protest, but as other nations proceeded to conclude treaties on the same terms China began to perceive her mistake, and endeavoured to tack on to each a declaration by the king that he was in fact a tributary - a declaration, however, which was quietly ignored. Japan, however, was the only power with which controversy immediately arose. In 1882 a faction fight, which had long been smouldering, broke out, headed by the king's father, the Tai Won Kun, in the course of which the Japanese legation was attacked and the whole Japanese colony had to flee for their lives. China sent troops, and by adroitly kidnapping the Tai Won Kun, order was for a time restored. The Japanese legation was replaced, but under the protection of a strong body of Japanese troops. Further revolutions and riots followed, in which the troops of the two countries took sides, and there was imminent danger of war. To obviate this risk, it was agreed in 1885 between Count Ito and Li Hung-Chang that both sides should withdraw their troops, the king being advised to engage officers of a third state to put his army on such a footing as would maintain order, and each undertook to give the other notice should it be found necessary to send troops again. In this way a modus vivendi was established which lasted till 1894.

We can only glance briefly at the domestic affairs of China during the period 1875-1882. The years 1877-1878 were marked by a famine in Shan-si and Shan-tung, which for duration and intensity has probably never been equalled. It was computed that 12 or 13 millions perished. It was vainly hoped that this loss of life, due mainly to defective commumcations, would induce the Chinese government to listen to proposals for railway construction. The Russian scare had, however, taught the Chinese the value of telegraphs, and in 1881 the first line was laid from Tientsin to Shanghai. Further construction was continued without intermission from this date. A beginning also was made in naval affairs. The arsenal at Fuchow was turning out small composite gunboats, a training ship was bought and put under the command of a British officer. Several armoured cruisers were ordered from England, and some progress was made with the fortifications of Port Arthur and Wei-hai-wei. Forts were also built and guns mounted at Fuchow, Shanghai, Canton and other vulnerable points. Money for these purposes was abundantly supplied by the customs duties on foreign trade, and China had learnt that at need she could borrow from the foreign banks on the security of this revenue.

In 1881 the senior regent, the empress Tsz'e An, was carried off by a sudden attack of heart disease, and the empress Tsz'e Hsi remained in undivided possession of the supreme power during the remainder of the emperor Kwang-su's minority. Li Hung-Chang, firmly established at Tientsin, within easy reach of the capital, as viceroy of the home province of Chih-li and superintendent of northern trade, enjoyed a larger share of his imperial mistress's favour than was often granted by the ruling Manchus to officials of Chinese birth, and in all the graver questions of foreign policy his advice was generally decisive.

Tongking and Hanoi

While the dispute with Japan was still going on regarding Korea, China found herself involved in a more serious quarrel in respect of another tributary state which lay on the southern frontier. By a treaty made between France and Annam in 1874, the Red river or Songkoi, which rising in-south-western China, flows through Tongking, was opened to trade, together with the cities of Haiphong and Hanoi situated on the delta. The object of the French was to find a trade route to Yun-nan and Sze-ch'uen from a base of their own, and it was hoped the Red river would furnish such a route. Tongking at this time, however, was infested with bands of pirates and cut-throats, many of whom were Chinese rebels or ex-rebels who had been driven across the frontier by the suppression of the Yun-nan and Taiping rebellions, conspicuous among them being an organization called the Black Flags. And when in 1882 France sent troops to Tongking to restore order (the Annamese government having failed to fulfil its promises in that respect) China began to protest, claiming that Annam was a vassal state and under her protection.

France took no notice of the protest, declaring that the claim had merely an archaeological interest, and that, in any case, China in military affairs was a quantitOøΩ nOøΩgligeable. France found, however, that she had undertaken a very serious task in trying to put down the forces of disorder (see Tongking). The Black Flags were, it was believed, being aided by money and arms from China, and as time went on, the French were more and more being confronted with regular Chinese soldiers. Several forts, well within the Tongking frontier, were known to be garrisoned by Chinese troops. Operations continued with more or less success during the winter and spring of 1883-1884. Both sides, however, were desirous of an arrangement, and in May 1884 a convention was signed between Li Hung-Chang and a Captain Fournier, who had been commissioned ad hoc, whereby China agreed to withdraw her garrisons and to open her frontiers to trade, France agreeing, on her part, to respect the fiction of Chinese suzerainty, and guarantee the frontier from attack by brigands. No date had been fixed in the convention for the evacuation of the Chinese garrisons, and Fournier endeavoured to supplement this by a memorandum to Li Hung-Chang, at the same time announcing the fact to his government. In pursuance of this arrangement the French troops proceeded to occupy Langson on the date fixed (21st June 1884). The Chinese commandant refused to evacuate, alleging, in a despatch which no one in the French camp was competent to translate, that he had received no orders, and begged for a short delay to enable him to communicate with his superiors. The French commandant ordered an attack, which was repulsed with severe loss. Mutual recriminations ensued. From Paris there came a demand for a huge indemnity as reparation for the insult. The Peking government offered to carry out the convention, and to pay a small indemnity for the lives lost through the misunderstanding. This was refused, and hostilities recommenced, or, as the French preferred to call them, reprisals, for the fiction was still kept up that the two countries were not at war. Under cover of this fiction the French fleet peaceably entered the harbour of Fuchow, having passed the forts at the entrance to the river without hindrance. Once inside, they attacked and destroyed the much inferior Chinese fleet which was then quietly at anchor, destroying at the same time a large part of the arsenal which adjoins the anchorage (23rd August 1884). Retracing its steps, the French fleet attacked and destroyed with impunity the forts which were built to guard the entrance to the Min river, and could offer no resistance to a force coming from the rear. After this exploit the French fleet left the mainland and continued its reprisals on the coast of Formosa. Kelung, a treaty port, was bombarded and taken, October 4th. A similar attempt, however, on the neighbouring port of Tamsui was unsuccessful, the landing party having been driven back to their ships with severe loss. The attempt was not renewed, and the fleet thereafter confined itself to a semi-blockade of the island, which was prolonged into 1885 but led to no practical results. Negotiations for peace, however, which had been for some time in progress through the mediation of Sir Robert Hart, were at this juncture happily concluded (April 1885). The terms were practically those of the Fournier convention of the year before, the demand for an indemnity having been quietly dropped.

Increased prestige of China

China, on the whole, came out of the struggle with greatly increased prestige. She had tried conclusions with a first-class European power and had held her own. Incorrect conclusions as to the military strength of China were consequently drawn, not merely by the Chinese themselves - which was excusable - but by European and even British authorities, who ought to have been better informed. War vessels were ordered by China both from England and Germany, and Admiral Lang, who had withdrawn his services while the war was going on, was re-engaged together with a number of British officers and instructors. The completion of the works at Port Arthur was taken in hand, and a beginning was made in the construction of forts at Wei-hai-wei as a second naval base. A new department was created for the control of naval affairs, at the head of which was placed Prince Chun, father of the emperor, who since the downfall of Prince Kung in 1884 had been taking a more and more prominent part in public affairs.


From 1885 to 1894 the political history of China does not call for extended notice. Two incidents, however, must be recorded, (1) the conclusion in 1886 of a convention with Great Britain, in which the Chinese government undertook to recognize British sovereignty in Burma, and (2) the temporary occupation of Port Hamilton by the British fleet (May 1885-February 1887). In 1890 Admiral Lang resigned his command of the Chinese fleet. During a temporary absence of Lang's colleague, Admiral Ting, the Chinese second in command, claimed the right to take charge - a claim which Admiral Lang naturally resented. The question was referred to Li Hung-Chang, who decided against Lang, whereupon the latter threw up his commission. From this point the fleet on which so much depended began to deteriorate. Superior officers again began to steal the men's pays, the ships were starved, shells filled with charcoal instead of powder were supplied, accounts were cooked, and all the corruption and malfeasance that were rampant in the army crept back into the navy.

War with Japan, 1894

The year 1894 witnessed the outbreak of the war with Japan. In the spring, complications again arose with Japan over Korea, and hostilities began in July. The story of the war is told elsewhere (see Chino-Japanese War), and it is unnecessary here to recount the details of the decisive victory of Japan. A new power had arisen in the Far East, and when peace was signed by Li Hung-Chang at Shimonoseki on the 17th of April 1895 it meant the beginning of a new epoch. The terms included the cession of Liao-tung peninsula, then in actual occupation by the Japanese troops, the cession of Formosa, an indemnity of H. taels 200,000,000 (about £30,000,000) and various commercial privileges.

European intervention

The signature of this treaty brought the European powers on the scene. It had been for some time the avowed ambition of Russia to obtain an ice-free port as an outlet to her Siberian possessions - an ambition which was considered by British statesmen as not unreasonable. It did not, therefore, at all suit her purposes to see the rising power of Japan commanding the whole of the coast-line of Korea. Accordingly in the interval between the signature and the ratification of the treaty, invitations were addressed by Russia to the great powers to intervene with a view to its modification on the ground of the disturbance of the balance of power, and the menace to China which the occupation of Port Arthur by the Japanese would involve. France and Germany accepted the invitation, Great Britain declined. In the end the three powers brought such pressure to bear on Japan that she gave up the whole of her continental acquisitions, retaining only the island of Formosa. The indemnity was on the other hand increased by H. taels 30,000,000. For the time the integrity of China seemed to be preserved, and Russia, France and Germany could pose as her friends. Evidence was, however, soon forthcoming that Russia and France had not been disinterested in rescuing Chinese territory from the Japanese grasp. Russia now obtained the right to carry the Siberian railway across Chinese territory from Stryetensk to Vladivostok, thus avoiding a long dOøΩtour, besides giving a grasp on northern Manchuria. France obtained, by a convention dated the 20th of June 1895, a rectification of frontier in the Mekong valley and certain railway and mining rights in Kiang-si and Yun-nan. Both powers obtained concessions of land at Hankow for the purposes of a settlement. Russia was also said to have negotiated a secret treaty, frequently described as the "Cassini Convention," but more probably signed by Li Hung-Chang at Moscow, giving her the right in certain contingencies to Port Arthur, which was to be refortified with Russian assistance. And by way of further securing her hold, Russia guaranteed a 4% loan of £15,000,000 issued in Paris to enable China to pay off the first instalment of the Japanese indemnity.

Mekong valley dispute, 1895

The convention between France and China of the 20th of June 1895 brought China into sharp conflict with Great Britain. China, having by the Burma convention of 1886 agreed to recognize British sovereignty over Burma, her quondam feudatory, also agreed to a delimitation of boundaries at the proper time. Effect was given to this last stipulation by a subsequent convention concluded in London (1st of March 1894), which traced the boundary line from the Shan states on the west as far as the Mekong river on the east. In the Mekong valley there were two semi-independent native territories over which suzerainty had been claimed in times gone by both by the kings of Ava and by the Chinese emperors. These territories were named Meng Lun and Kiang Hung - the latter lying partly on one side and partly on the other of the Mekong river, south of the point where it issues from Chinese territory. The boundary line was so drawn as to leave both these territories to China, but it was stipulated that China should not alienate any portion of these territories to any other power without the previous consent of Great Britain. Yielding to French pressure, and regardless of the undertaking she had entered into with Great Britain, China, in the convention with France in June 1895, so drew the boundary line as to cede to France that portion of the territory of Kiang Hung which lay on the left bank of the Mekong. Compensation was demanded by Great Britain from China for this breach of faith, and at the same time negotiations were entered into with France. These resulted in a joint declaration by the governments of France and Great Britain, dated the 15th of January 1896, by which it was agreed as regards boundary that the Mekong from the point of its confluence with the Nam Huk northwards as far as the Chinese frontier should be the dividing line between the possessions or spheres of influence of the two powers. It was also agreed that any commercial privileges obtained by either power in Yun-nan or Sze-ch'uen should be open to the subjects of the other. The negotiations with China resulted in a further agreement, dated the 4th of February 1897, whereby considerable modifications in favour of Great Britain were made in the Burma boundary drawn by the 1894 convention.

Kiaochow, Port Arthur, Wei-hai-wei

While Russia and France were profiting by what they were pleased to call the generosity of China, Germany alone had so far received no reward for her share in compelling the retrocession of Liao-tung; but, in November 1897, she proceeded to help herself by seizing the Bay of Kiaochow in the province of Shan-tung. The act was done ostensibly in order to compel satisfaction for the murder of two German missionaries. A cession was ultimately made by way of a lease for a term of ninety-nine years - Germany to have full territorial jurisdiction during the continuance of the lease, with liberty to erect fortifications, build docks, and exercise all the rights of sovereignty. In December the Russian fleet was sent to winter in Port Arthur, and though this was at first described as a temporary measure, its object was speedily disclosed by a request made, in January 1898, by the Russian ambassador in London that two British cruisers, then also anchored at Port Arthur, should be withdrawn "in order to avoid friction in the Russian Sphere of influence." They left shortly afterwards, and their departure in the circumstances was regarded as a blow to Great Britain's prestige in the Far East. In March the Russian government peremptorily demanded a lease of Port Arthur and the adjoining anchorage of Talienwan - a demand which China could not resist without foreign support. After an acrimonious correspondence with the Russian government Great Britain acquiesced in the fait accompli. The Russian occupation of Port Arthur was immediately followed by a concession to build a line of railway from that point northwards to connect with the Siberian trunk line in north Manchuria. As a counterpoise to the growth of Russian influence in the north, Great Britain obtained a lease of Wei-hai-wei, and formally took possession of it on its evacuation by the Japanese troops in May 1898.

After much hesitation the Chinese government had at last resolved to permit the construction of railways with foreign capital. An influential official named Sheng Hsuan-hwai was appointed director-general of railways, and empowered to enter into negotiations with foreign capitalists for that purpose. A keen competition thereupon ensued between syndicates of different nationalities, and their claims being espoused by their various governments, an equally keen international rivalry was set up. Great Britain, though intimating her preference for the "open door" policy, meaning equal opportunity for all, yet found herself compelled to fall in with the general movement towards what became known as the "spheres of influence" policy, and claimed the Yangtsze valley as her particular Sphere. This she did by the somewhat negative method of obtaining from the Chinese government a declaration that no part of the Yangtsze valley should be alienated to any foreign power. A more formal recognition of the claim, as far as railway enterprise was concerned, was embodied in an agreement (28th of April 1899) between Great Britain and Russia, and communicated to the Chinese government, whereby the Russian government agreed not to seek for any concessions within the Yangtsze valley, including all the provinces bordering on the great river, together with Cheh-kiang and Ho-nan, the British government entering into a similar undertaking in regard to the Chinese dominions north of the Great Wall. [50]

In 1899 Talienwan and Kiaochow were respectively thrown open by Russia and Germany to foreign trade, and, encouraged by these measures, the United States government initiated in September of the same year a correspondence with the great European powers and Japan, with a view to securing their definite adhesion to the "open door" policy. The British government gave an unqualified approval to the American proposal, and the replies of the other powers, though more guarded, were accepted at Washington as satisfactory. A further and more definite step towards securing the maintenance of the "open door" in China was the agreement concluded in October 1900 between the British and German governments. The signatories, by the first two articles, agreed to endeavour to keep the ports on the rivers and littoral free and open to international trade and economic activity, and to uphold this rule for all Chinese territory as far as (wo in the German counterpart) they could exercise influence; not to use the existing complications to obtain territorial advantages in Chinese dominions, and to seek to maintain undiminished the territorial condition of the Chinese empire. By a third article they reserved their right to come to a preliminary understanding for the protection of their interests in China, should any other power use those complications to obtain such territorial advantages under any form whatever. On the submission of the agreement to the powers interested, Austria, France, Italy and Japan accepted its principles without express reservation - Japan first obtaining assurances that she signed on the same footing as an original signatory. The United States accepted the first two articles, but expressed no opinion on the third. Russia construed the first as limited to ports actually open in regions where the two signatories exercise "their" influence, and favourably entertained it in that sense, ignoring the reference to other forms of economic activity. She fully accepted the second, and observed that in the contingency contemplated by the third, she would modify her attitude according to circumstances.

Meanwhile, negotiations carried on by the British minister at Peking during 1898 resulted in the grant of very important privileges to foreign commerce. The payment of the second instalment of the Japanese indemnity was becoming due, and it was much discussed how and on what terms China would be able to raise the amount. The Russian government, as has been stated, had made China a loan of the sum required for the first portion of the indemnity, viz. £15,000,000, taking a charge on the customs revenue as security. The British government was urged to make a like loan of £16,000,000 both as a matter of friendship to China and as a counterpoise to the Russian influence. An arrangement was come to accordingly, on very favourable terms financially to the Chinese, but at the last moment they drew back, being overawed, as they said, by the threatening attitude of Russia. Taking advantage of the position which this refusal gave him, the British minister obtained from the Tsung-Li-Yamen, besides the declaration as to the non-alienation of the Yangtsze valley above mentioned, an undertaking to throw the whole of the inland waterways open to steam traffic. The Chinese government at the same time undertook that the post of inspector-general of customs (then held by Sir Robert Hart) should always be held by an Englishman so long as the trade of Great Britain was greater than that of any other nation. Minor concessions were also made, but the opening of the waterways was by far the greatest advance that had been made since 1860.

Of still greater importance were the railway and mining concessions granted during the same year (1898). The Chinese government had been generally disposed to railway construction since the conclusion of the Japanese War, but hoped to be able to retain the control in their own hands. The masterful methods of Russia and Germany had obliged them to surrender this control so far as concerned Manchuria and Shan-tung. In the Yangtsze valley, Sheng, the director-general of railways, had been negotiating with several competing syndicates. One of these was a Franco-Belgian syndicate, which was endeavouring to obtain the trunk line from Hankow to Peking. A British company was tendering for the same work, and as the line lay mainly within the British Sphere it was considered not unreasonable to expect it should be given to the latter. At a critical moment, however, the French and Russian ministers intervened, and practically forced the Yamen to grant a contract in favour of the Franco-Belgian company. The Yamen had a few days before explicitly promised the British minister that the contract should not be ratified without his having an opportunity of seeing it. As a penalty for this breach of faith, and as a set-off to the Franco-Belgian line, the British minister required the immediate grant of all the railway concessions for which British syndicates were then negotiating, and on terms not inferior to those granted to the Belgian line. In this way all the lines in the lower Yangtsze, as also the Shan-si Mining Companies' lines, were secured. A contract for a trunk line from Canton to Hankow was negotiated in the latter part of 1898 by an American company.

The reform movement, 1898

There can be little doubt that the powers, engrossed in the diplomatic conflicts of which Peking was the centre, had entirely underrated the reactionary forces gradually mustering for a struggle against the aggressive spirit of Western civilization. The lamentable consequences of administrative corruption and incompetence, and the superiority of foreign methods which had been amply illustrated by the Japanese War, had at first produced a considerable impression, not only upon the more enlightened commercial classes, but even upon many of the younger members of the official classes in China. The dowager-empress, who, in spite of the emperor Kwang-su having nominally attained his majority, had retained practical control of the supreme power until the conflict with Japan, had been held, not unjustly, to blame for the disasters of the war, and even before its conclusion the young emperor was adjured by some of the most responsible among his own subjects to shake himself free from the baneful restraint of "petticoat government," and himself take the helm. In the following years a reform movement, undoubtedly genuine, though opinions differ as to the value of the popular support which it claimed, spread throughout the central and southern provinces of the empire. One of the most significant symptoms was the relatively large demand which suddenly arose for the translations of foreign works and similar publications in the Chinese language which philanthropic societies, such as that "for the Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge amongst the Chinese," had been trying for some time past to popularize, though hitherto with scant success. Chinese newspapers published in the treaty ports spread the ferment of new ideas far into the interior. Fifteen hundred young men of good family applied to enter the foreign university at Peking, and in some of the provincial towns the Chinese themselves subscribed towards the opening of foreign schools. Reform societies, which not infrequently enjoyed official countenance, sprang up in many of the large towns, and found numerous adherents amongst the younger literati. Early in 1898 the emperor, who had gradually emancipated himself from the dowager-empress's control, summoned several of the reform leaders to Peking, and requested their advice with regard to the progressive measures which should be introduced into the government of the empire. Chief amongst these reformers was Kang Yu-wei, a Cantonese, whose scholarly attainments, combined with novel teachings, earned for him from his followers the title of the "Modern Sage." Of his more or less active sympathizers who had subsequently to suffer with him in the cause of reform, the most prominent were Chang Yin-huan, a member of the grand council and of the Tsung-Li-Yamen, who had represented his sovereign at Queen Victoria's jubilee in 1897; Chin Pao-chen, governor of Hu-nan; Liang Chichao, the editor of the reformers' organ, Chinese Progress; Su Chiching, a reader of the Hanlin College, the educational stronghold of Chinese conservatism; and his son Su In-chi, also a Hanlin man, and provincial chancellor of public instruction in Hu-nan.

It soon became evident, that there was no more enthusiastic advocate of the new ideas than the emperor himself. Within a few months the vermilion pencil gave the imperial sanction to a succession of edicts which, had they been carried into effect, would have amounted to a revolution as far-reaching as that which had transformed Japan thirty years previously. The fossilized system of examinations for the public service was to be altogether superseded by a new schedule based on foreign learning, for the better promotion of which a number of temples were to be converted into schools for Western education; a state department was to be created for the translation and dissemination of the standard works of Western literature and science; even the scions of the ruling Manchu race were to be compelled to study foreign languages and travel abroad; and last, but not least, all useless offices both in Peking and in the provinces were to be abolished. A further edict was even reported to be in contemplation, doing away with the queue or pigtail, which, originally imposed upon the Chinese by their Manchu conquerors as a badge of subjection, had gradually become the most characteristic and most cherished feature of the national dress. But the bureaucracy of China, which had battened for centuries on corruption and ignorance, had no taste for self-sacrifice. Other vested interests felt themselves equally threatened, and behind them stood the whole latent force of popular superstition and unreasoning conservatism.

The Empress's coup d'OøΩtat

The dowager-empress saw her opportunity. The Summer Palace, to which she had retired, had been for some time the centre of resistance to the new movement, and in the middle of September 1898 a report became current that, in order to put an end to the obstruction which hampered his reform policy, the emperor intended to seize the person of the dowager-empress and have her deported into the interior. Some colour was given to this report by an official announcement that the emperor would hold a review of the foreign-drilled troops at Tientsin, and had summoned Yuan Shihkai, their general, to Peking in order to confer with him on the necessary arrangements. But the reformers had neglected to secure the goodwill of the army, which was still entirely in the hands of the reactionaries. During the night of the 20th of September the palace of the emperor was occupied by the soldiers, and on the following day Kwang-su, who was henceforth virtually a prisoner in the hands of the empress, was made to issue an edict restoring her regency. Kang Yu-wei, warned at the last moment by an urgent message from the emperor, succeeded in escaping, but many of the most prominent reformers were arrested, and six of them were promptly executed. The Peking Gazette announced a few days later that the emperor himself was dangerously ill, and his life might well have been despaired of had not the British minister represented in very emphatic terms the serious consequences which might ensue if anything happened to him. Drastic measures were, however, adopted to stamp out the reform movement in the provinces as well as in the capital. The reform edicts were cancelled, the reformers' associations were dissolved, their newspapers suppressed, and those who did not care to save themselves by a hasty recantation of their errors were imprisoned, proscribed or exiled. In October the reaction had already been accompanied by such a recrudescence of anti-foreign feeling that the foreign ministers at Peking had to bring up guards from the fleet for the protection of the legations, and to demand the removal from the capital of the disorderly Kan-suh soldiery which subsequently played so sinister a part in the troubles of June 1900. But the unpleasant impression produced by these incidents was in a great measure removed by the demonstrative reception which the empress Tsz'e Hsi gave on the 15th of October to the wives of the foreign representatives - an act of courtesy unprecedented in the annals of the Chinese court.

The Boxer movement, 1900

The reactionary tide continued to rise throughout the year 1899, but it did not appear materially to affect the foreign relations of China. Towards the end of the year the brutal murder of Mr Brooks, an English missionary, in Shan-tung, had compelled attention to a popular movement which had been spreading rapidly throughout that province and the adjoining one of Chih-li with the connivance of certain high officials, if not under their direct patronage. The origin of the "Boxer" movement is obscure. Its name is derived from a literal translation of the Chinese designation, "the fist of righteous harmony." Like the kindred "Big Sword" Society, it appears to have been in the first instance merely a secret association of malcontents chiefly drawn from the lower classes. Whether the empress Tsz'e Hsi and her Manchu advisers had deliberately set themselves from the beginning to avert the danger by deflecting what might have been a revolutionary movement into anti-foreign channels, or whether with Oriental heedlessness they had allowed it to grow until they were powerless to control it, they had unquestionably resolved to take it under their protection before the foreign representatives at Peking had realized its gravity. The outrages upon native Christians and the threats against foreigners generally went on increasing. The Boxers openly displayed on their banners the device: "Exterminate the foreigners and save the dynasty," yet the representatives of the powers were unable to obtain any effective measures against the so-called "rebels," or even a definite condemnation of their methods. [51]

Four months (January-April 1900) were spent in futile interviews with the Tsung-Li-Yamen. In May a number of Christian villages were destroyed and native converts massacred near the capital. On the 2nd of June two English missionaries, Mr Robinson and Mr Norman, were murdered at Yung Ching, 40 m. from Peking. The whole country was overrun with bands of Boxers, who tore up the railway and set fire to the stations at different points on the Peking-Tientsin line. Fortunately a mixed body of marines and bluejackets of various nationalities, numbering 18 officers and 389 men, had reached Peking on the 1st of June for the protection of the legations. The whole city was in a state of turmoil. Murder and pillage were of daily occurrence. The reactionary Prince Tuan (grandson of the emperor Tao-kwang) and the Manchus generally, together with the Kan-suh soldiery under the notorious Tung-fu-hsiang, openly sided with the Boxers. The European residents and a large number of native converts took refuge in the British legation, where preparations were hastily made in view of a threatened attack. On the 11th the chancellor of the Japanese legation, Mr Sugiyama, was murdered by Chinese soldiers. On the night of the 13th most of the foreign buildings, churches and mission houses in the eastern part of the Tatar city were pillaged and burnt, and hundreds of native Christians massacred. On the 20th of June the German minister, Baron von Ketteler, was murdered whilst on his way to the Tsung-Li-Yamen. At 4 P.M. on the afternoon of the 20th the Chinese troops opened fire upon the legations. The general direction of the defence was undertaken by Sir Claude Macdonald, the British minister.

International expedition

Meanwhile Peking had been completely cut off since the 14th from all communication with the outside world, and in view of the gravity of the situation, naval and military forces were being hurried up by all the powers to the Gulf of Chih-li. On the 10th of June Admiral Sir E. Seymour had already left Tientsin with a mixed force of 2000 British, Russian, French, Germans, Austrians, Italians, Americans and Japanese, to repair the railway and restore communications with Peking. But his expedition met with unexpectedly severe resistance, and it had great difficulty in making good its retreat after suffering heavy losses. When it reached Tientsin again on the 26th of June, the British contingent of 915 men had alone lost 124 killed and wounded out of a total casualty list of 62 killed and 218 wounded. The Chinese had in the meantime made a determined attack upon the foreign settlements at Tientsin, and communication between the city and the sea being also threatened, the Taku forts at the mouth of the Pei-ho were captured by the allied admirals on the 17th. The situation at Tientsin nevertheless continued precarious, and it was not till the arrival of considerable reinforcements that the troops of the allied powers were able to assume the offensive, taking the native city by storm on July 14th, at a cost, however, of over 700 killed and wounded. Even in this emergency international jealousy had grievously delayed the necessary concentration of forces. No power was so favourably situated to take immediate action as Japan, and the British government, who had strongly urged her to act speedily and energetically, undertook at her request to sound the other powers with regard to her intervention. No definite objection was raised, but the replies of Germany and Russia barely disguised their ill-humour. Great Britain herself went so far as to offer Japan the assistance of the British treasury, in case financial difficulties stood in the way, but on the same day on which this proposal was telegraphed to Tokyo (6th of July), the Japanese government had decided to embark forthwith the two divisions which it had already mobilized. By the beginning of August one of the Indian brigades had also reached Tientsin together with smaller reinforcements sent by the other powers, and thanks chiefly to the energetic counsels of the British commander, General Sir Alfred Gaselee, a relief column, numbering 20,000 men, at last set out for Peking on the 4th of August, a British naval brigade having started up river the previous afternoon. After a series of small engagements and very trying marches it arrived within striking distance of Peking on the evening of the 13th. The Russians tried to steal a march upon the allies during the night, but were checked at the walls and suffered heavy losses. The Japanese attacked another point of the walls the next morning, but met with fierce opposition, whilst the Americans were delayed by getting entangled in the Russian line of advance. The British contingent was more fortunate, and skilfully guided to an unguarded water-gate, General Gaselee and a party of Sikhs were the first to force their way through to the British legation. About 2 p.m. on the afternoon of the 14th of August, the long siege was raised.

Siege of the Peking legations

For nearly six weeks after the first interruption of communications, no news reached the outside world from Peking except a few belated messages, smuggled through the Chinese lines by native runners, urging the imperative necessity of prompt relief. During the greater part of that period the foreign quarter was subjected to heavy rifle and artillery fire, and the continuous fighting at close quarters with the hordes of Chinese regulars, as well as Boxers, decimated the scanty ranks of the defenders. The supply of both ammunition and food was slender. But the heroism displayed by civilians and professional combatants alike was inexhaustible. In their anxiety to burn out the British legation, the Chinese did not hesitate to set fire to the adjoining buildings of the Hanlin, the ancient seat of Chinese classical learning, and the storehouse of priceless literary treasures and state archives. The Fu, or palace, of Prince Su, separated only by a canal from the British legation, formed the centre of the international position, and was held with indomitable valour by a small Japanese force under Colonel Sheba, assisted by a few Italian marines and volunteers of other nationalities and a number of Christian Chinese. The French legation on the extreme right, and the section of the city wall held chiefly by Germans and Americans, were also points of vital importance which had to bear the brunt of the Chinese attack.

Little is known as to what passed in the councils of the Chinese court during the siege. [52] But there is reason to believe that throughout that period grave divergences of opinion existed amongst the highest officials. The attack upon the legations appears to have received the sanction of the dowager-empress, acting upon the advice of Prince Tuan and the extreme Manchu party, at a grand council held during the night of the 18th/19th June, upon receipt of the news of the capture of the Taku forts by the international forces. The emperor himself, as well as Prince Ching and a few other influential mandarins, strongly protested against the empress's decision, but it was acclaimed by the vast majority of those present. Three members of the Tsung-Li-Yamen were publicly executed for attempting to modify the terms of an imperial edict ordering the massacre of all foreigners throughout the provinces, and most of the Manchu nobles and high officials, and the eunuchs of the palace, who played an important part in Chinese politics throughout the dowager-empress's tenure of power, were heart and soul with the Boxers. But it was noted by the defenders of the legations that Prince Ching's troops seldom took part, or only in a half-hearted way, in the fighting, which was chiefly conducted by Tung-fu-hsiang's soldiery and the Boxer levies. The modern artillery which the Chinese possessed was only spasmodically brought into play. Nor did any of the attacking parties ever show the fearlessness and determination which the Chinese had somewhat unexpectedly displayed on several occasions during the fighting at and around Tientsin. Nevertheless, the position of the defenders at the end of the first four weeks of the siege had grown well-nigh desperate. Mining and incendiarism proved far greater dangers than shot and shell. Suddenly, just when things were looking blackest, on the 17th of July the Chinese ceased firing, and a sort of informal armistice secured a period of respite for the beleaguered Europeans. The capture of the native city of Tientsin by the allied forces had shaken the self-confidence of the Chinese authorities, who had hitherto not only countenanced, but themselves directed the hostilities. [53] Desultory fighting, nevertheless, continued, and grave fears were entertained that the approach of the relief column would prove the signal for a desperate attempt to rush the legations. The attempt was made, but failed. The relief, however, came not a day too soon. Of the small band of defenders which, including civilian volunteers, had never mustered 500, 65 had been killed and 131 wounded. Ammunition and provisions were almost at an end. Even more desperate was the situation at the Pei-tang, the Roman Catholic northern cathedral and mission house, where, with the help of a small body of French and Italian marines, Mgr Favier had organized an independent centre of resistance for his community of over 3000 souls. Their rations were absolutely exhausted when, on the 15th of August, a relief party was despatched to their assistance from the legations.

Looting of Peking

The ruin wrought in Peking during the two months' fighting was appalling. Apart from the wholesale destruction of foreign property in the Tatar city, and of Chinese as well as European buildings in the vicinity of the legations, the wealthiest part of the Chinese city had been laid in ashes. The flames from a foreign drug store fired by the Boxers had spread to the adjoining buildings, and finally consumed the whole of the business quarter with all its invaluable stores of silks, curiosities, furs, etc. The retribution which overtook Peking after its capture by the international forces was scarcely less terrible. Looting was for some days almost universal. Order was, however, gradually restored, first in the Japanese and then in the British and American quarters, though several months elapsed before there was any real revival of native confidence.

Flight of the Chinese court

So unexpected had been the rapid and victorious advance of the allies, that the dowager-empress with the emperor and the rest of the court did not actually leave Peking until the day after the legations had been relieved. But the northern and western portions of the Tatar city had not yet been occupied, and the fugitives made good their escape on the 15th. When the allies some days later marched through the Forbidden City, they only found a few eunuchs and subordinate officials in charge of the imperial apartments. At the end of September, Field Marshal Count von Waldersee, with a German expeditionary force of over 20,000 men, arrived to assume the supreme command conferred upon him with the more or less willing assent of the other powers.

Restoration of order

The political task which confronted the powers after the occupation of Peking was far more arduous than the military one. The action of the Russians in Manchuria, even in a treaty port like Niu-chwang, the seizure of the railway line not only to the north of the Great Wall, but also from Shan-hai-kwan to Peking, by the Russian military authorities, and the appropriation of an extensive line of river frontage at Tientsin as a Russian "settlement," were difficult to reconcile with the pacific assurances of disinterestedness which Russia, like the rest of the powers, had officially given. Great anxiety prevailed as to the effect of the flight of the Chinese court in other parts of the empire. The anti-foreign movement had not spread much beyond the northern provinces, in which it had had the open support of the throne and of the highest provincial officials. But among British and Americans alone, over 200 defenceless foreigners, men, women and children, chiefly missionaries, had fallen victims to the treachery of high-placed mandarins like Yu Hsien, and hundreds of others had had to fly for their lives, many of them owing their escape to the courageous protection of petty officials and of the local gentry and peasantry. In the Yangtsze valley order had been maintained by the energy of the viceroys of Nanking and Wu-chang, who had acted throughout the critical period in loyal co-operation with the British consuls and naval commanders, and had courageously disregarded the imperial edicts issued during the ascendancy of the Boxers. After some hesitation, an Indian brigade, followed by French, German and Japanese contingents, had been landed at Shanghai for the protection of the settlements, and though the viceroy, Liu Kun-yi, had welcomed British support, and even invited the joint occupation of the Yangtsze forts by British and Chinese troops, the appearance of other European forces in the Yangtsze valley was viewed with great suspicion. In the south there were serious symptoms of unrest, especially after Li Hung-Chang had left Canton for the north, in obedience, as he alleged at the time, to an imperial edict which, there is reason to believe, he invented for the occasion. The Chinese court, after one or two intermediate halts, had retired to Si-gan-fu, one of the ancient capitals of the empire, situated in the inaccessible province of Shen-si, over 600 m. S.W. of Peking. The influence of the ultra-reactionaries, headed by Prince Tuan and General Tung-fu-hsiang, still dominated its councils, although credentials were sent to Prince Ching and to Li Hung-Chang, who, after waiting upon events at Shanghai, had proceeded to Peking, authorizing them to treat with the powers for the re-establishment of friendly relations.

Measures of reparation

The harmony of the powers, which had been maintained with some difficulty up to the relief of the legations, was subjected to a severe strain as soon as the basis of negotiations with the Chinese government came to be discussed. While for various reasons Russia, Japan and the United States were inclined to treat China with great indulgence, Germany insisted upon the signal punishment of the guilty officials as a conditio sine qua non, and in this she had the support not only of the other members of the Triple Alliance, but also of Great Britain, and to some extent even of France, who, as protector of the Roman Catholic Church in Eastern countries, could not allow the authors of the atrocities committed upon its followers to escape effectual punishment. It was not until after months of laborious negotiations that the demands to be formally made upon the Chinese government were embodied in a joint note signed by all the foreign ministers on the 20th and 21st of December 1900. The demands were substantially as follows:

Honourable reparation for the murder of von Ketteler and of Mr Sugiyama, to be made in a specified form, and expiatory monuments to be erected in cemeteries where foreign tombs had been desecrated. "The most severe punishment befitting their crimes" was to be inflicted on the personages designated by the decree of the 21st of September, and also upon others to be designated later by the foreign ministers, and the official examinations were to be suspended in the cities where foreigners had been murdered or ill-treated. An equitable indemnity, guaranteed by financial measures acceptable to the powers, was to be paid to states, societies and individuals, including Chinese who had suffered because of their employment by foreigners, but not including Chinese Christians who had suffered only on account of their faith. The importation or manufacture of arms or matOøΩriel was to be forbidden; permanent legation guards were to be maintained at Peking, and the diplomatic quarter was to be fortified, while communication with the sea was to be secured by a foreign military occupation of the strategic points and by the demolition of the Chinese forts, including the Taku forts, between the capital and the coast. Proclamations were to be posted throughout China for two years, threatening death to the members of anti-foreign societies, and recording the punishment of the ringleaders in the late outrages: and the viceroys, governors and provincial officials were to be declared by imperial edict responsible, on pain of immediate dismissal and perpetual disability to hold office, for anti-foreign outbreaks or violations of treaty within their jurisdictions. China was to facilitate commercial relations by negotiating a revision of the commercial treaties. The Tsung-Li-Yamen was to be reformed and the ceremonial for the reception of foreign ministers modified as the powers should demand. Compliance with these terms was declared to be a condition precedent to the arrangement of a time limit to the occupation of Peking and of the provinces by foreign troops.

Under instructions from the court, the Chinese plenipotentiaries affixed their signatures on the 14th of January 1901 to a protocol, by which China pledged herself to accept these terms in principle, and the conference of ministers then proceeded to discuss the definite form in which compliance with them was to be exacted. This further stage of the negotiations proved even more laborious and protracted than the preliminary proceedings. No attempt was made to raise the question of the dowager-empress's responsibility for the anti-foreign movement, as Russia had from the first set her face against the introduction of what she euphemistically termed "the dynastic question." But even with regard to the punishment of officials whose guilt was beyond dispute, grave divergences arose between the powers. The death penalty was ultimately waived in the case even of such conspicuous offenders as Prince Tuan and Tung-fu-hsiang, but the notorious Yu Hsien and two others were decapitated by the Chinese, and three other metropolitan officials were ordered to commit suicide, whilst upon others sentences of banishment, imprisonment and degradation were passed, in accordance with a list drawn up by the foreign representatives. The question of the punishment of provincial officials responsible for the massacre of scores of defenceless men, women and children was unfortunately reserved for separate treatment, and when it came up for discussion it became impossible to preserve even the semblance of unanimity, the Russian minister at once taking issue with his colleagues, although he had originally pledged himself as formally as the others to the principle. Count Lamsdorff frankly told the British ambassador at St Petersburg that Russia took no interest in missionaries, and as the foreigners massacred in the provinces belonged mostly to that class, she declined to join in the action of the other powers.

Russia and Manchuria

The real explanation of Russia's cynical secession from the concert of powers on this important issue must be sought in her anxiety to conciliate the Chinese in view of the separate negotiations in which she was at the same time engaged with China in respect of Manchuria. When the Boxer movement was at its height at the end of June 1900, the Chinese authorities in Manchuria had wantonly "declared war" against Russia, and for a moment a great wave of panic seems to have swept over the Russian administration, civil and military, in the adjoining provinces. The reprisals exercised by the Russians were proportionately fierce. The massacre at Blagovyeshchensk, where 5000 Chinese - men, women and children - were flung into the Amur by the Cossacks, was only one incident in the reign of terror by which the Russians sought to restore their power and their prestige. The resistance of the Chinese troops was soon overcome, and Russian forces overran the whole province, occupying even the treaty port of Niu-chwang. The Russian government officially repudiated all responsibility for the proclamations issued by General Gribsky and others, foreshadowing, if not actually proclaiming, the annexation of Chinese territory to the Russian empire. But Russia was clearly bent on seizing the opportunity for securing a permanent hold upon Manchuria. In December 1900 a preliminary agreement was made between M. Korostovetz, the Russian administrator-general, and Tseng, the Tatar general at Mukden, by which the civil and military administration of the whole province was virtually placed under Russian control. In February 1901 negotiations were opened between the Russian government and the Chinese minister at St Petersburg for the conclusion of a formal convention of a still more comprehensive character. In return for the restoration to China of a certain measure of civil authority in Manchuria, Russia was to be confirmed in the possession of exclusive military, civil and commercial rights, constituting in all but name a protectorate, and she was also to acquire preferential rights over all the outlying provinces of the Chinese empire bordering on the Russian dominions in Asia. The clauses relating to Chinese Turkestan, Kashgar, Yarkand, Khotan and Mongolia were subsequently stated to have been dropped, but the convention nevertheless provoked considerable opposition both in foreign countries and amongst the Chinese themselves. Most of the powers, including Germany, who, however, denied that the Anglo-German agreement of the 16th of October 1900 applied to Manchuria, [54] advised the Chinese government not to pursue separate negotiations with one power whilst collective negotiations were in progress at Peking, and both Japan and Great Britain pressed for definite information at St Petersburg with regard to the precise tenor of the proposed convention. At the same time the two viceroys of the lower Yangtsze memorialized the throne in the strongest terms against the convention, and these protests were endorsed not only by the great majority of Chinese officials of high rank throughout the provinces, but by popular meetings and influential guilds and associations. Ultimately the two viceroys, Chang Chih-tung and Liu Kun-yi, [55] took the extreme step of warning the throne that they would be unable to recognize the convention, even if it were ratified, and notwithstanding the pressure exercised in favour of Russia by Li Hung-Chang, the court finally instructed the Chinese minister at St Petersburg to decline his signature. The attitude of Japan, where public feeling ran high, was equally significant, and on the 3rd of April the Russian government issued a circular note to the powers, stating that, as the generous intentions of Russia had been misconstrued, she withdrew the proposed convention.

The peace protocol, 1901

The work of the conference at Peking, which had been temporarily disturbed by these complications, was then resumed. Friction between European troops of different nationalities and an Anglo-Russian dispute over the construction of certain roads and railway sidings at Tientsin showed that an international occupation was fraught with manifold dangers. The question of indemnities, however, gave rise to renewed friction. Each power drew up its own claim, and whilst Great Britain, the United States and Japan displayed great moderation, other powers, especially Germany and Italy, put in claims which were strangely out of proportion to the services rendered by their military and naval forces. It was at last settled that China should pay altogether an indemnity of 450 million taels, to be secured (1) on the unhypothecated balance of the customs revenue administered by the imperial maritime customs, the import duties being raised forthwith to an effective 5% basis; (2) on the revenues of the "native" customs in the treaty ports; (3) on the total revenues of the salt gabelle. Finally the peace protocol was drawn up in a form which satisfied all the powers as well as the Chinese court. The formal signature was, however, delayed at the last moment by a fresh difficulty concerning Prince Chun's penitential mission to Berlin. This prince, an amiable and enlightened youth, [56] son of the Prince Chun who was the emperor Hien-fOøΩng's brother, and thus himself half-brother to the emperor Kwang-su, had reached Basel towards the end of August on his way to Germany, when he was suddenly informed that he and his suite would be expected to perform kowtow before the German emperor. The prince resented this unexpected demand, and referred home for instructions. The Chinese court appear to have remained obdurate, and the German government perceived the mistake that had been made in exacting from the Chinese prince a form of homage which Western diplomacy had for more than a century refused to yield to the Son of Heaven, on the ground that it was barbarous and degrading. The point was waived, and Prince Chun was received in solemn audience by the emperor William at Potsdam on the 4th of September. Three days later, on the 7th of September, the peace protocol was signed at Peking.

The articles recorded the steps to be taken to satisfy the demands of the powers as to commerce. Article 11 provided for the amendment of existing treaties of commerce and navigation, and for river conservancy measures at Tientsin and Shanghai. The British government appointed a special commission, with Sir J. Mackay, member of the council of India, as chief commissioner, to proceed to Shanghai to carry on the negotiations, and a commercial treaty was signed at Shanghai on the 6th of September 1902, by which existing obstacles to foreign trade, such as likin, etc., were removed, regulations were made for facilitating steamer navigation on inland waters, and several new ports were opened to foreign commerce.

In accordance with the terms of the protocol, all the foreign troops, except the legation guards, were withdrawn from Peking on the 17th of September, and from the rest of Chih-li, except the garrisons at the different points specified along the line of communications, by the 22nd of September. On the 7th of October it was announced that the Chinese court had left Si-gan-fu on its way back to the northern capital. A month later (7th of November) the death of Li Hung-Chang at Peking removed, if not the greatest of Chinese statesmen, at any rate the one who had enjoyed the largest share of the empress-dowager's confidence.

(V. C.)

(E) - From 1901 to 1910.

"Awakening of China."

The events connected with the Boxer rising and its suppression demonstrated even more forcibly than had the war with Japan in 1894-1895 the necessity for the adoption of Western methods in many departments of life and administration if China was to maintain the position of a great power. The necessity for a thorough reform of the administration was widely recognized in 1901, and among the progressive classes of the community much disappointment was manifested because the powers had failed to insist, in the conditions of peace, on a reorganization of the machinery of government. The Yangtsze viceroys, the viceroy at Canton, Yuan Shih-kai and other high mandarins repeatedly memorialized the throne to grant effective reforms. While at Si-gan-fu the court did in fact issue several reform decrees, but at the same time all authority remained in the hands of reactionaries. There had been an awakening in China, but another lesson - afforded a few years later by the Russo-Japanese War - was needed before the reform party was able to gain real power.

For three or four years following the signing of the peace protocol of 1901 it seemed indeed that there would be little change in the system of government, though in some directions a return to the old state of affairs was neither possible nor desired. On the 7th of January 1902 the court returned to Peking - a step which marked the restoration, more or less, of normal conditions. The failure of the Boxer movement, in which, as has been shown, she was deeply implicated, had impressed upon the dowager empress the need for living on better terms with foreign powers, but the reform edicts issued from Si-gan-fu remained largely inoperative, though some steps were taken to promote education on Western lines, to readjust the land tax, and especially to reorganize the military forces (though on provincial rather than on a national basis). The building of railways was also pushed on, but the dowager empress was probably at heart as reactionary as she had proved in 1898. The emperor himself from his return to Peking until the day of his death appeared to have little influence on public affairs. The most disquieting feature of the situation in the years immediately following the return of the court to Peking was the continued efforts of Russia to obtain full control of Manchuria and a predominant influence in north China. The Chinese government was powerless to stem the advance of Russia, and the dowager empress herself was credited with indifference to the fate of Manchuria. It was the menace to other powers, notably Japan, involved in Russia's action which precipitated an issue in which the destinies of China were involved. Before considering the results of that struggle (the Russo-Japanese War) the chief events of the years 1902-1905 may be outlined.

Relations with Europeans

The dowager empress from the day of her return from Si-gan-fu set herself to conciliate the foreign residents in Peking. Many foreign onlookers were gathered on the wall of the Tatar city to witness the return of the court, and to these the dowager empress made a deep bow twice, an apparently trivial incident which made a lasting impression. On the 1st of February following the dowager empress received the ladies of the various embassies, when she bewailed the attack on the legations, entertained her guests to tea and presented each with articles of jewelry, and from that time onward, as occasion offered, Tsz'e Hsi exchanged compliments and civilities with the foreign ladies in Peking. Moreover, Sir Robert Hart - after having been nearly forty years in China - was now presented at court, as well as Bishop Favier and others. Henceforth attacks on foreigners received no direct encouragement at court. Tung Fu-hsiang, [57] who had been banished to the remote province of Kan-suh, had at his command there his old Boxer troops, and his attitude caused anxiety at the end of 1902. He was said to have received support from Prince Tuan - who had been obliged to retire to Mongolia - but events proved that the power or the intention of these reactionaries to create trouble had been miscalculated. There were indeed serious Boxer disturbances in Sze-ch'uen in 1902, but they were put down by a new viceroy sent from Peking. Notwithstanding the murder of fifteen missionaries during 1902-1905, there was in general a marked improvement in the relations between the missionaries, the official classes and the bulk of the people, and an eagerness was shown in several provinces to take advantage of their educational work. This was specially marked in Hu-nan, a province which had been for long hostile to missionary endeavours. Illustrative of the attitude of numbers of high officials was the attendance of the viceroy of Sze-ch'uen, with the whole of his staff, at the opening in 1905 at Cheng-tu of new buildings of the Canadian Methodist Mission. This friendly attitude towards the missions was due in part to the influence of Chinese educated abroad and also, to a large extent, to the desire to take advantage of Western culture. The spread of this new spirit was coincident with an agitation for independence of foreign control and the determination of the Chinese to use modern methods to attain their ends. Thus in 1905 there was an extensive boycott of American goods throughout China, as a retaliatory measure for the exclusion of Chinese from the United States. Regarding China as a whole the attitude of the people towards Europeans was held to indicate that the general view was, not that the Boxer teaching was false, but that the spirits behind Western religion were more powerful than those behind Boxer-dom. The spiritual prestige of Christianity and respect for the power of the foreigner were direct outcomes of the failure of the Boxers. [58] The British expedition to Tibet in 1904, the occupation of Lhassa in August of that year, the flight of the Dalai Lama to Mongolia, gave grave concern to the Chinese government - which showed much persistence in enforcing its suzerain rights in Tibet - but did not, apparently, cause any ill-feeling towards Great Britain among the Chinese people - who viewed with seeming equanimity the flight of the head of the Buddhist religion from the headquarters of that faith. The country generally was peaceful, a rebellion in Kwang-si - where a terrible famine occurred in 1903 - being suppressed in 1904 by the forces of the viceroy at Canton.

Commercial and railway progress

The expiatory measures required of China in connexion with the Boxer rising were carried through. China during 1902 recovered possession of the Peking-Tientsin railway and of the city of Tientsin, which was evacuated by the foreign troops in August of that year. The foreign troops were also all withdrawn from Shanghai by January 1903. The conclusion of a new commercial treaty between Great Britain and China in September 1902 has already been recorded. The payment of the indemnity instalments occasioned some dispute owing to the fall in silver in 1902, but the rise in the value of the tael in subsequent years led China to agree to the payment of the indemnity on a gold basis. The increase in revenue was a notable feature of the maritime customs in 1903-1905. This result was in part due to the new arrangements under the commercial treaty of 1902, and in part to the opening up of the country by railways. In especial the great trunk line from Peking to Hankow was pushed on. The line, including a bridge nearly 2 m. long over the Yellow river was completed and opened for traffic in 1905. The first section of the Shanghai-Nanking railway was opened in the same year. At this time the Chinese showed a strong desire to obtain the control of the various lines. During 1905, for instance, the Canton-Hankow railway concession was repurchased by the Chinese government from an American company, while the Pekin Syndicate, a British concern, also sold their railway in Ho-nan to the Chinese government.

Russia's action regarding Manchuria overshadowed, however, all other concerns during this period. The withdrawal of the proposed Russo-Chinese agreement of 1901 has been chronicled. The Russian government had, however, no intention of abandoning its hold on Manchuria. It aimed not only at effective military control but the reservation to Russian subjects of mining, railway and commercial rights. Both the sovereignty of China and the commercial interests of other nations were menaced. This led to action by various powers. The preamble of the Anglo-Japanese treaty of the 30th of January 1902 declared the main motives of the contracting parties to be the maintenance of the independence and territorial integrity of China and Korea, and the securing of equal opportunities in those countries for the commerce and industry of all nations, i.e. the policy of the "open door." Protests were lodged by Great Britain, Japan and the United States against the grant of exclusive rights to Russian subjects in Manchuria. Russia asserted her intention to respect the commercial rights of other nations, and on the 8th of April 1902 an agreement was signed at Peking which appeared to show the good faith of the Russian government, as it provided for the withdrawal of the Russian troops in Manchuria within eighteen months from that date. In accordance with this agreement the Shan-hai-kwan-Niu-chwang railway was transferred to China in October 1902 and the district between Shan-hai-kwan and the Liao river evacuated by Russia. But it soon appeared that Russia's hold on the country had not relaxed. Advantage was taken of the terms of concession granted in August 1896 to the Russo-Chinese Bank [59] to erect towns for Russian colonists and to plant garrisons along the line of railway, and to exclude Chinese jurisdiction altogether from the railway zone. The so-called evacuation became in fact the concentration of the Russian forces along the line of railway. Moreover, the maritime customs at Niu-chwang were retained by the Russo-Chinese Bank despite protests from the Chinese imperial authorities, and a Russian civil administration was established at that port. The evacuation of southern Manchuria should have taken place in April 1903, but in that month instead of fulfilling the conditions of the 1902 agreement, the Russian chargOøΩ d'affaires in Peking made a series of further demands upon China, including the virtual reservation of the commerce of Manchuria for Russian subjects. Though Russia officially denied to the British and American governments that she had made these demands, it was demonstrated that they had been made. The United States and Japan thereupon insisted that China should conclude with them commercial treaties throwing open Mukden and two ports on the Yalu river to foreign trade. The American treaty was signed on the 8th of October 1903 - the day fixed for the complete evacuation of Manchuria by Russia - and the Japanese treaty on the day following. Both treaties provided that the ports should be opened after ratifications had been exchanged. From fear of Russia China, however, delayed the ratification of the treaties. Meantime, in August 1903, a regular through railway service between Moscow and Port Arthur was established. In the same month a Russian Viceroyalty of the Far East was created which in effect claimed Manchuria as a Russian province. In September Russia withdrew some of the demands she had made in April, but her concessions proved illusory. When the 8th of October passed and it was seen that the Russians had not withdrawn their troops [60] there issued for a time threats of war from Peking. Yuan Shih-kai, the viceroy of Chih-li, who had at his command some 65,000 troops trained by Japanese officers, pressed on the government the necessity of action. At this point Japan intervened. Her interests were vitally affected by Russia's action not only in Manchuria, but in Korea, and seeing that China was powerless the Japanese government negotiated directly with St Petersburg. In these negotiations Russia showed that she would not yield her position in either country except to force. Japan chose the issue of war and proved successful.

Lessons of the Russo-Japanese War

The Russo-Japanese War did not very greatly alter China's position in Manchuria. In the southern part of that country Japan succeeded to the special privileges Russia had wrung from China (including the lease of Port Arthur); in the north Russia remained in possession of the railway zone. For Japan's position as at once the legatee of special privileges and the champion of China's territorial integrity and "the open door" see Japan, OøΩ History. However, the attitude of Japan was more conciliatory than that of Russia had been; Mukden and other places were thrown open to foreign trade and Chinese civil administration was re-established. The important results of the war, so far as China was concerned, were not to be looked for in Manchuria, but in the new spirit generated in the Chinese. They had been deeply humiliated by the fact that in the struggle between Russia and Japan China had been treated as a negligible quantity, and that the war had been fought on Chinese territory. The lesson which the loot of Peking and the fall of the Boxers in 1900 had half taught was now thoroughly mastered; the awakening of China was complete. The war had shown that when an Eastern race adopted Western methods it was capable of defeating a European nation.

It was fortunate that among the influential advisers of the throne at this time (1905-1908) were Prince Chun (the prince who had visited Germany in 1901), Yuan Shih-kai, the viceroy of Chih-li, and Chang Chih-tung, the viceroy of Hu-kwang (i.e. the provinces of Hu-peh and Hu-nan), all men of enlightened and strong character. In 1907 both the viceroys named were summoned to Peking and made members of the grand council, of which Prince Ching, a man of moderate views, was president. Yuan Shih-kai was an open advocate of a reform of the civil service, of the abolition of Manchu privileges, of education and other matters. He had specially advocated the reconstitution of the military forces of the empire, and in Chih-li in 1905 he demonstrated before a number of foreign military attachOøΩs the high efficiency attained by the forces of the metropolitan province. The success achieved by Yuan Shih-kai in this direction incited Chang Chih-tung to follow his example, while a decree from the throne called upon the princes and nobles of China to give their sons a military education. The formerly despised military profession was thus made honourable, and with salutary effects. The imperial princes sought high commands, officers were awarded ranks and dignities comparable with those of civil servants, and the pay of the troops was increased. The new foreign drilled northern army was called upon to furnish a large proportion of a force sent under Prince Su into Mongolia - a country which had been on the point of falling into the hands of Russia, but over which, as one result of the Russo-Japanese War, China recovered control. In 1906 a step was taken towards the formation of a national army by withdrawing portions of the troops from provincial control and placing them under officers responsible to the central government, which also took over the charge of the provincial arsenals. In the years which followed further evidence was given of the earnestness and success with which the military forces were being reorganized. Less attention was given to naval affairs, but in the autumn of 1909 a naval commission under Tsai HsOøΩn, a brother of the emperor Kwang-su, was sent to Europe to report on the steps necessary for the re-establishment of a fleet. Previously (in 1907) societies had been started in several provinces to collect funds for naval purposes.

The most striking evidence of the change which had occurred was, however, the appointment (in 1905) of an Imperial Commission, headed by Prince Tsai Tse, to study the administrative systems of foreign countries with a view to the possible establishment of a representative government in China. The revolutionary nature of this proposal excited indignation among the adherents to the old order, and a bomb was thrown among the commissioners as they were preparing to leave Peking. [61] After visiting Japan, America and Europe the commission returned to Peking in July 1906. [62] A committee over which Prince Ching presided was appointed to study the commission's report, and on the 1st of September following an edict was issued in which the establishment of a parliamentary form of government was announced, at a date not fixed. To fit the country for this new form of government (the edict went on to declare) the administration must be reformed, the laws revised, education promoted and the finances regulated. This edict, moreover, was but one of many edicts issued in 1906 and following years which showed how great a break with the past was contemplated. In November 1906 two edicts were issued with the object of reorganizing the central administrative offices. Their effect was to simplify the conduct of business, many useless posts being abolished, while an audit board was created to examine the national accounts. In November 1907 another edict was promulgated stating that for the present the formation of Houses of Lords and of Commons to determine all public questions was not practicable, but that it was proposed, as a preliminary measure, to create an Imperial Assembly. At the same time a scheme of provincial councils was ordered to be prepared. A more definite step followed in 1908 when a decree (dated the 27th of August) announced the convocation of a parliament in the ninth year from that date.

One of the changes made in the public offices brought China into conflict with Great Britain. On the 9th of May 1906 a decree appointed Chinese commissioners to control the Imperial Maritime Customs. [63] This was the only department of the government under European (British) control, and the only department also against which no charge of inefficiency or corruption could be brought. The change decreed by China was in accord with the new national sentiment, but by all the foreign powers interested it was felt that it would be a retrograde step if the customs were taken out of the control of Sir Robert Hart (q.v.), who had been since 1863 inspector-general of the customs. The British secretary of state for foreign affairs (Sir Edward Grey) at once protested against the decree of the 6th of May, pointing out that the continuation of the established system had been stipulated for in the loan agreements of 1896 and 1898. As a result of this and other representations the Board of Control of the Customs was late in 1906 made a department of the Board of Finance. The Chinese controllers-general continued in office, and despite the assurances given to Great Britain by China (in a note of the 6th of June 1906) that the appointment of the controllers-general was not intended to interfere with the established system of administration, the absolute authority of Sir Robert Hart was weakened. [64] Sir Robert Hart returned to England in 1908 "on leave of absence," Sir Robert Bredon, the deputy inspector-general, being placed in charge of the service under the authority of the Board of Control, of which on the 5th of April 1910 it was announced that he had been appointed a member. This step was viewed with disfavour by the British government, for, unless Sir Robert Bredon's post was to be merely a sinecure, it imposed two masters on the maritime customs. On the 20th of April Sir Robert Bredon severed his connexion with the Board of Control. At the same time Mr F.A. Aglen (the Commissioner of Customs at Hankow) became acting Inspector General (Sir Robert Hart being still nominally head of the service). The attempt on the part of the Chinese to control the customs was evidence of the strength of the "young China" or Recovery of Rights party - the party which aspired to break all the chains, such as extra-territoriality, which stamped the country as not the equal of the other great nations. [65]

The anti-opium agitation

In the steps taken to suppress opium smoking evidence was forthcoming of the earnestness with which the governing body in China sought to better the condition of the people. Opium smoking followed, in China, the introduction of tobacco smoking, and is stated to have been introduced from Java and Formosa in the early part of the 17th century. The first edict against the habit was issued in 1729. At that time the only foreign opium introduced was by the Portuguese from Goa, who exported about 200 chests [66] a year. In 1773 English merchants in India entered into the trade, which in 1781 was taken over by the East India Company - the import in 1790 being over 4000 chests. In 1796 the importation of foreign opium was declared contraband, and between 1839 and 1860 the central government attempted, without success, to suppress the trade. It was legalized in 1858 after the second "opium war" with Great Britain. At that time the poppy was extensively grown in China, and the bulk of the opium smoked was, and continued to be, of home manufacture. But after 1860 the importation of opium from India greatly increased. Opium was also imported from Persia (chiefly to Formosa, which in 1895 passed into the possession of Japan). The total foreign import in 1863 was some 70,000 piculs, [67] in 1879 it was 102,000 piculs, but in 1905 had fallen to 56,000 piculs. The number of opium smokers in China in the early years of the 20th century was estimated at from 25 to 30 millions. The evil effects of opium smoking were fully recognized, and Chang Chih-tung, one of the most powerful of the opponents of the habit, was high in the councils of the dowager-empress. On the 20th of September 1906 an edict was issued directing that the growth, sale and consumption of opium should cease in China within ten years, and ordering the officials to take measures to execute the imperial will. The measures promulgated, in November following, made the following provisions: -

(1) The cultivation of the poppy to be restricted annually by one-tenth of its existing area; (2) all persons using opium to be registered; (3) all shops selling opium to be gradually closed, and all places where opium is smoked to discontinue the practice within six months; (4) anti-opium societies to be officially encouraged, and medicines distributed to cure the opium-smoking habit; (5) all officials were requested to set an example to the people, and all officials under sixty were required to abandon opium smoking within six months or to withdraw from the service of the state.

It was estimated that the suppression of opium smoking would entail a yearly loss of revenue of over £1,600,000, a loss about equally divided between the central and provincial governments. The first step taken to enforce the edict was the closing of the opium dens in Peking on the last day of 1906.

During 1907 the opium dens in Shanghai, Canton, Fu-chow and many other large cities were closed, and restrictions on the issue of licences were introduced in the foreign settlements; even the eunuchs of the palace were prohibited from smoking opium under severe penalties. The central government continued during 1908 and 1909 to display considerable energy in the suppression of the use of opium, but the provincial authorities were not all equally energetic. It was noted in 1908 that while in some provinces - even in Yun-nan, where its importance tc trade and commerce and its use as currency seemed to render it very difficult to do anything effective - the governor and officials were whole-hearted in carrying out the imperial regulations, in other provinces - notably in Kwei-chow and in the provinces of the lower Yangtsze valley - great supineness was exhibited in dealing with the subject. Lord William Cecil, however, stated that travelling in 1909 between Peking and Hankow, through country which in 1907 he had seen covered with the poppy, he could not then see a single poppy flower, and that going up the Yangtsze he found only one small patch of poppy cultivation. [68] The Peking correspondent of The Times, in a journey to Turkestan in the early part of 1910, found that in Shen-si province the people's desire to suppress the opium trade was in advance of the views of the government. Every day trains of opium carts were passed travelling under official protection. But in the adjoining province of Shan-si there had been complete suppression of poppy cultivation and in Kan-suh the officials were conducting a very vigorous campaign against the growth of the poppy. [69]

In their endeavours to suppress opium smoking the Chinese government appealed to the Indian government for help, and in 1907 received a promise that India would decrease the production of opium annually by one-tenth for four years and subsequently if China did likewise. The Indian government also assented to Indian opium being taxed equally with Chinese opium, but China did not raise the duty on foreign opium. In 1908 the Indian government undertook to reduce the amount of opium exported by 5100 chests yearly. In the same year the opium dens in Hong-Kong were closed. In February 1909, on the initiative of the United States, an international conference was held at Shanghai to consider the opium trade and habit. At this conference the Chinese representative claimed that the consumption of opium had already been reduced by one-half - a claim not borne out by the ascertained facts. The conference was unable to suggest any heroic measures, but a number of proposals were agreed to (including the closing of opium dens in the foreign settlements), tending to the restriction of the opium trade. The conference also dealt with another and growing habit in China - the use of morphia. [70] Japan agreed to prohibit the export of morphia to China, a prohibition to which the other powers had previously agreed.


The attempts to reform the educational system of China on a comprehensive scale date from the year of the return of the court to Peking after the Boxer troubles. In 1902 regulations were sanctioned by the emperor which aimed at remodelling the methods of public instruction. These regulations provided among other things for the establishment at Peking of a university giving instruction in Western learning, a technical college, and a special department for training officials and teachers. A much more revolutionary step was taken in September 1905 when a decree appeared announcing as from the beginning of 1906 the abolition of the existing method of examinations. The new system was to include the study of modern sciences, history, geography and foreign languages, and in the higher grades political economy and civil and international law. Thousands of temples were converted to educational purposes. In Canton, in 1907, the old examination hall was demolished to make way for a college with every appliance on Western lines. Equal zeal was noticeable in such conservative cities as Si-gan-fu, and in remote provinces like Kan-suh. By May 1906 fifteen so-called universities had been founded. Moreover, many young Chinese went abroad to acquire education - in Japan alone in 1906 there were 13,000 students. In the same year primary schools for girls were established. [71] Perhaps the most striking evidence of the new spirit regarding education was the tenour of a communication to the throne from the head of the Confucian family. On the 31st of December 1906 an imperial edict had appeared raising Confucius to the same rank as Heaven and Earth - an action taken to indicate the desire of the government to emphasize the value of ethical training. In thanking the throne for the honour conferred on his ancestor the head of the family urged that at the new college founded at the birth-place of Confucius the teaching should include foreign languages, physical culture, political science and military drill. [72]

While China, with the consent of the emperor and the empress-dowager, and under the guidance of Prince Ching, Yuan Shih-kai and Chang Chih-tung, was endeavouring to bring about internal reforms, her attitude to foreign powers was one of reserve and distrust. This was especially marked in the negotiations with Japan and with Russia concerning Manchuria, and was seen also in the negotiations with Great Britain concerning Tibet. It was not until April 1908, after four years' negotiations, that a convention with Great Britain respecting Tibet was signed, Chinese suzerain rights being respected. In September the Dalai Lama arrived in Peking from Mongolia and was received by the emperor, who also gave audience to a Nepalese mission. [73]

Death of the emperor and of the dowager empress

The emperor Kwang-su had witnessed, without being able to guide, the new reform movement. In August 1908 an edict was issued in his name announcing the convocation of a parliament in nine years' time. In November he died. His death occasioned no surprise, as disquieting reports about his health had been current since July, but the announcement that the dowager empress died on the 15th of November (the day after that on which the emperor was officially stated to have died) was totally unexpected. She had celebrated her birthday on the 3rd of November and appeared then to be in good health. The empress dowager had taken part in the choice of a successor to the throne, Kwang-su's valedictory edict had been drawn up under her supervision, and it is believed that the emperor died some days previous to the date officially given for his death. Kwang-su died childless and was succeeded by his infant nephew Pu-Yi (born on the 8th of February 1906), a son of Prince Chun, who was appointed regent. Prince Chun - himself then only twenty-six years old - had exercised considerable influence at court since his mission to Germany in 1901, and was one of the most enlightened of the Manchu princes. The death of the dowager empress removed a powerful obstacle to a reformed regime, and with her passed away the last prominent representative of the old era in China.

Accession of Hsuan Tung

The accession to the throne of Pu-Yi, who was given as reigning title Hsuan Tung ("promulgating universally"), was unaccompanied by disturbances, save for an outbreak at Ngan-king, easily suppressed. Prince Chun had the support of Yuan Shih-kai and Chang Chih-tung, [74] the two most prominent Chinese members of the government at Peking - and thus a division between the Manchus and Chinese was avoided. On the 2nd of December 1908 the young emperor was enthroned with the usual rites. On the day following another edict, which, it was stated, had had the approval of the late dowager empress, was issued, reaffirming that of the 27th of August regarding the grant of a parliamentary constitution in nine years' time, and urging the people to prepare themselves for the change. Other edicts sought to strengthen the position of the regent as de facto emperor. Yuan Shih-kai and Chang Chih-tung received the title of Grand Guardians of the Heir, and the year 1908 closed with the chief Chinese members of the government working, apparently, in complete harmony with the regent.

Dismissal of Yuan Shih-kai

On the 1st of January 1909, however, the political situation was rudely disturbed by the dismissal from office of Yuan Shih-kai. This step led to representations by the British and American ministers to Prince Ching, the head of the foreign office, by whom assurances were given that no change of policy was contemplated by China, while the regent in a letter to President Taft reiterated the determination of his government to carry through its reform policy. The dismissal of Yuan Shih-kai was believed by the Chinese to be due to his "betrayal" of the emperor Kwang-su in the 1898 reform movement. He had nevertheless refused to go to extremes on the reactionary side, and in 1900, as governor of Shan-tung, he preserved a neutrality which greatly facilitated the relief of the Peking legations. During the last years of the life of the dowager empress it was his influence which largely reconciled her to the new reform movement. Yet Kwang-su had not forgotten the coup d'OøΩtat of 1898, and it is alleged that he left a testament calling upon his brother the prince regent to avenge the wrongs he had suffered. [75] During the greater part of the year there was serious estrangement between China and Japan, but on the 4th of September a convention was signed which settled most of the points in dispute respecting Manchuria and Korea. In Korea the boundary was adjusted so that Chientao, a mountainous district in eastern Manchuria regarded as the ancestral home of the reigning families of China and Korea, was definitely assigned to China; while in Manchuria, both as to railways and mines, a policy of co-operation was substituted for one of opposition. [76] Although Japan had made substantial concessions, those made by China in return provoked loud complaints from the southern provinces - the self-government society calling for the dismissal of Prince Ching. In northern Manchuria the Russian authorities had assumed territorial jurisdiction at Harbin, but on the 4th of May an agreement was signed recognizing Chinese jurisdiction. [77]

The control of railways

The spirit typified by the cry of "China for the Chinese" was seen actively at work in the determined efforts made to exclude foreign capital from railway affairs. The completion in October 1909 of the Peking-Kalgan railway was the cause of much patriotic rejoicing. The railway, a purely Chinese undertaking, is 122 m. long and took four years to build. It traversed difficult country, piercing the Nan K'ow Pass by four tunnels, one under the Great Wall being 3580 ft. long. There was much controversy between foreign financiers, generally backed by their respective governments, as to the construction of other lines. In March 1909 the Deutschasiatische Bank secured a loan of £3,000,000 for the construction of the Canton-Hankow railway. This concession was contrary to an undertaking given in 1905 to British firms and was withdrawn, but only in return for the admittance of German capital in the Sze-ch'uen railway. After prolonged negotiations an agreement was signed in Paris on the 24th of May 1910 for a loan of £6,000,000 for the construction of the railway from Hankow to Sze-ch'uen, in which British, French, German and American interests were equally represented. In January 1910 the French line from Hanoi to Yunnan-fu was opened; [78] the railway from Shanghai to Nanking was opened for through traffic in 1909.

Provincial Assemblies constituted. A senate formed

The progress of the anti-opium movement and the dispute over the control of the Imperial Maritime Customs have already been chronicled. A notable step was taken in 1909 by the institution of elected assemblies in each of the provinces. The franchise on which the members were elected was very limited, and the assemblies were given consultative powers only. They were opened on the 14th of October (the 1st day of the 9th moon). The businesslike manner in which these assemblies conducted their work was a matter of general comment among foreign observers in China. [79] In February 1910 decrees appeared approving schemes drawn up by the Commission for Constitutional Reforms, providing for local government in prefectures and departments and for the reform of the judiciary. This was followed on the 9th of May by another decree summoning the senate to meet for the first time on the 1st day of the 9th Moon (the 3rd of October 1910). All the members of the senate were nominated, and the majority were Manchus. Neither to the provincial assemblies nor to the senate was any power of the purse given, and the drawing up of a budget was postponed until 1915. [80]

The efforts of the central government to increase the efficiency of the army and to re-create a navy were continued in 1910. China was credited with the intention of spending £40,000,000 on the rehabilitation of its naval and military forces. It was estimated in March 1910 that there were about 200,000 foreign-trained men, but their independent spirit and disaffection constituted a danger to internal peace. The danger was accentuated by the mutual jealousy of the central and provincial governments. The anti-dynastic agitation, moreover, again seemed to be growing in strength. In April 1910 there was serious rioting at Changsha, Hu-nan, a town whence a few years previously had issued a quantity of anti-foreign literature of a vile kind. The immediate causes of the riots seem to have been many: rumours of the intention of the foreign powers to dismember China, the establishment of foreign firms at Changsha competing with native firms and exporting rice and salt at a time when the province was suffering from famine, and the approach of Halley's comet. Probably famine precipitated the outbreak, which was easily crushed, as was also a rising in May at Yung chow, a town in the south of Hu-nan. Much mission and mercantile property was wrecked at Changsha, but the only loss of life was the accidental drowning of three Roman Catholic priests.

The regent's policy

An edict of the 17th of August 1910 effected considerable and unexpected changes in the personnel of the central government. Tang Shao-yi, a former lieutenant of Yuan Shih-kai, was appointed president of the Board of Communications, and to him fell the difficult task of reconciling Chinese and foreign interests in the development of the railway system. Sheng Kung-pao regarded as the chief Chinese authority on currency questions, and an advocate of the adoption of a gold standard, was attached to the Board of Finance to help in the reforms decreed by an edict of May of the same year (see ante, Currency). The issue of the edict was attributed to the influence with the regent of Prince Tsai-tao, who had recently returned from a tour in Europe, where he had specially studied questions of national defence. The changes made among the high officials tended greatly to strengthen the central administration. The government had viewed with some disquiet the Russo-Japanese agreement of the 4th of July concerning Manchuria (which was generally interpreted as in fact lessening the authority of China in that country); it had become involved in another dispute with Great Britain, which regarded some of the measures taken to suppress opium smoking as a violation of the terms of the Chifu convention, and its action in Tibet had caused alarm in India. Thus the appointment to high office of men of enlightenment, pledged to a reform policy, was calculated to restore confidence in the policy of the Peking authorities. This confidence would have been greater had not the changes indicated a struggle for supreme power between the regent and the dowager empress Lung Yu, widow of Kwang-su.

The strength of the various movements at work throughout China was at this time extremely difficult to gauge; the intensity of the desire for the acquisition of Western knowledge was equalled by the desire to secure the independence of the country from foreign control. The second of these desires gave the force it possessed to the anti-dynastic movement. At the same time some of the firmest supporters of reform were found among the Manchus, nor did there seem to be any reason to doubt the intention of the regent - if he retained power - to guide the nation through the troubled period of transition into an era of constitutional government and the full development of the resources of the empire.


Bibliographical Note. - Knowledge of the ancient history of China is necessarily derived from the native writers on the subject. Fortunately, the Chinese have always regarded the preservation of the national records as a matter of supreme importance. Confucius set an example in this respect, and has preserved for us in the Spring and Autumn Annals and the Shu-king, or Book of History, records of his country's progress during the past and then present centuries. The celebrated emperor Shih Hwang-ti, in establishing the empire, attempted to strengthen his cause by destroying all works on the national history. But so strongly was the historical sense inculcated in the people that immediately on the death of the tyrant the nation's records were again brought to light, and have been carefully preserved and edited since that time. Prof. Legge's translation of the Spring and Autumn Annals and the Shu-king, or Book of History, in the "Sacred Books of the East" series, have opened for students the stores of historical knowledge which were at the command of Confucius, and European writers on Chinese history have found in the dynastic annals a never-failing source of valuable information. It was from these works and epitomes of these that de Maillac gathered the facts for his celebrated Histoire gOøΩnOøΩrale de la Chine, and it is from similar sources that all other writers on Chinese history have drawn their inspiration.

The following works on ancient and modern Chinese history may be specially mentioned: J.A. de Moyria de Maillac, Histoire gOøΩnOøΩrale de la Chine (1777), etc.; J B. du Halde, General History of China (4 vols., 1736); M. de Guignes, Voyages OøΩ POøΩking ... (3 vols., 1808); D. Boulger, A History of China (3 vols., 1881); Valentine Chirol, The Far Eastern Question (1896); E.R. Huc, The Chinese Empire (2 vols., 1855); T.T. Meadows, The Chinese and their Rebellions (1856); G. Pauthier, Histoire des relations politiques de la Chine avec les puissances occidentales depuis les temps les plus anciens jusqu'OøΩ nos jours ... (1859); Sir George Staunton, Notes of Proceedings and Occurrences during the British Embassy to Peking in 1816 (1824); Chinese Expansion historically reviewed, a paper read before the Central Asian Society by Baron Suyematsu on January 11, 1905; F. Hirth, Ancient History of China (New York, 1908); Prof. Herbert A. Giles's Chinese Biographical Dictionary (1897) is a storehouse of biographical detail and anecdote.

For Chinese relations with foreign powers see H. Cordier, Histoire des relations de la Chine avec les puissances occidentales, 1860-1902 (3 vols., Paris, 1901-1902); Hertslet's China Treaties. Treaties, etc., between Great Britain and China, and between China and Foreign Powers, and Orders in Council, etc., affecting British Interests in China (3rd ed., revised by G.G.P. Hertslet and E. Parkes, London, 1908); J.O. Bland and E. Backhouse, China under the Empress Dowager (London, 1910). More general works are Sir R.K. Douglas, China, history since the time of Marco Polo (London, 1899); E.H. Parker, China; Her History, Diplomacy and Commerce (London, 1901); China, Past and Present (London, 1903); A.J. Sargent, Anglo-Chinese Commerce and Diplomacy - mainly in the 19th century (Oxford, 1907). For current affairs see the authorities cited in the footnotes.

[49] See Morse's Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire, chap. ix.

[50] A supplementary exchange of notes of the same date excepted from the scope of this agreement the Shan-hai-kwan-Niu-chwang extension which had already been conceded to the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank.

[51] The religious aspect of the Boxer movement gave it strength. Its disciples believed that the spirits which defended China were incensed by the introduction of Western methods and ideals. Many of them believed themselves to be invulnerable to any Western weapon. (See Lord W. Cecil, Changing China, 1910, ch. i.)

[52] The diary of a Manchu noble printed in China under the Empress Dowager (1910) by J.O. Bland and E. Backhouse throws light on the subject. It was to Jung-Lu, father-in-law of Prince Chin, that the legations owed their escape from extermination.

[53] It was at this time (July 17th) that the intense anxiety of the civilized world with regard to the fate of the besieged reached its culminating point. Circumstantial accounts of the fall of the legations and the massacre of their inmates were circulated in Shanghai and found general credence. It was not till near the end of the month that an authentic message from the American minister proved these fears to be premature.

[54] In negotiating this agreement Lord Salisbury appears to have been largely influenced by the aggressive features of Russia's action in North China, while Germany appears to have been actuated by a desire to forestall isolated action by Great Britain in the Yangtsze basin. In Germany the agreement was known as the Yangtsze Agreement. Great Britain held, however, that it applied equally to Manchuria.

[55] Liu Kun-yi died in 1902. In the same year died Tao-mu, the viceroy of Canton. In these men China lost two of her most capable and enlightened officials.

[56] Prince Chun was born in 1882. He was the first member of the imperial family to be sent on a foreign mission.

[57] Tung Fu-hsiang died in 1908. A sum of some £80,000 belonging to him, and left in the provincial treasury, was appropriated for works of public utility (see The Times, April 9th, 1910).

[58] Lord W. Cecil, op. cit. p. 9.

[59] This institution was nominally a private concern which financed the Manchurian railway, but it acted as part of the Russian government machinery. The existence of the contract of the 27th of August 1896 was frequently denied until expressly admitted by the Russo-Chinese agreement of the 8th of April 1902.

[60] On the 8th of October the Russian troops had been withdrawn from Mukden, but they reoccupied the town on the 28th of the same month Admiral Alexeiev, the viceroy of the Far East, alleging that the inertia of the Chinese officials seriously hindered the work of extending civilization in Manchuria.

[61] The form of outrage, probably the first of its kind in China, was itself a symptom of the changed times. The bomb injured Prince Tsai Tse and another commissioner, and the departure of the commission was consequently delayed some months.

[62] In 1907 further commissions were appointed, on the initiative of Yuan Shih-kai, to study specifically the constitutions of Great Britain, Germany and Japan.

[63] This department was organized at Shanghai in 1854. The Taiping rebels being in possession of the native city, the collection of customs dues, especially on foreign ships, was placed in the hands of foreigners. This developed into a permanent institution, the European staff being mainly British.

[64] The British official view, as stated in parliament on the 27th of April 1910, was that the changes resulting from the creation of the Board of Control had, so far, been purely departmental changes of form, and that the position of the inspector-general remained unaltered.

[65] See The Times of the 21st of April and 11th of May 1910.

[66] A chest contained from 135 lb to 160 lb.

[67] A picul = 133½ lb.

[68] Changing China, p. 118.

[69] See The Times of 7th and 8th of March and 8th of April 1910.

[70] The first recorded importation of morphia into China was in 1892, and it is suggested that it was first used as an anti-opium medicine. Morphia-taking, however, speedily became a vice, and in 1902 over 195,000 oz. of morphia were imported (enough for some 300,000,000 injections). To check the evil the Chinese government during 1903 imposed a tax of about 200% ad valorem, with the result that the imports declared to the customs fell in 1905 to 54 oz. only. The falling off was explained "not by a diminished demand, but by smuggling" (Morse's Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire, p. 351).

[71] A regulation by the ministry of education, dated the 14th of January 1910, ordered that no girl should be admitted to school dressed in foreign clothes or with unnatural (i.e. bound) feet.

[72] For the growth of the education movement see The Times, 4th of September 1909.

[73] The Dalai Lama left Peking in December 1908 on his return to Lhassa, which he reached in November 1909. Differences had arisen between him and the Chinese government, which sought to make the spiritual as well as the temporal power of the Dalai Lama dependent on his recognition by the emperor of China. Early in 1910 the Dalai Lama, in consequence of the action of the Chinese amban in Lhassa, fled from that city and sought refuge in India.

[74] Chang Chih-tung died in October 1909. He was a man of considerable ability, and one whose honesty and loyalty had never been doubted. He was noted as an opponent of opium smoking, and for over thirty years had addressed memorials to the throne against the use of the drug.

[75] See The Times of the 7th of September 1909.

[76] Proposals made early in 1910 by the American secretary of state for the neutralization of the Manchurian railway received no support.

[77] By a convention signed on July 4th, 1910, Russia and Japan agreed to "maintain and respect" the status quo in Manchuria.

[78] See the Quinzaine coloniale of the 10th of December 1909.

[79] See The Times of the 20th of January 1910.

[80] See for the prospects of reform The Times of 30th May 1910.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | GDPR