China and the Manchus
Herbert A. Giles

Part 1 out of 2

Etext prepared by John Bickers,
and Dagny,




Professor of Chinese in the University of Cambridge,
and sometime H.B.M. Consul at Ningpo.


It is impossible to give here a complete key to the pronunciation of
Chinese words. For those who wish to pronounce with approximate
correctness the proper names in this volume, the following may be a
rough guide:--

a as in alms.
as u in fun.
i as ie in thief.
o as aw in saw.
u as oo in soon.
as u in French, or in German.
{u} as e in her.
ai as aye (yes).
ao as ow in cow.
ei as ey in prey.
ow as o (not as ow in cow).
ch as ch in church.
chih as chu in church.
hs as sh (hsiu = sheeoo).
j as in French.
ua and uo as wa and wo.

The insertion of a rough breathing ` calls for a strong aspirate.




The Manchus are descended from a branch of certain wild Tungusic
nomads, who were known in the ninth century as the N-chns, a name
which has been said to mean "west of the sea." The cradle of their
race lay at the base of the Ever-White Mountains, due north of Korea,
and was fertilised by the head waters of the Yalu River.

In an illustrated Chinese work of the fourteenth century, of which the
Cambridge University Library possesses the only known copy, we read
that they reached this spot, originally the home of the Su-shn tribe,
as fugitives from Korea; further, that careless of death and prizing
valour only, they carried naked knives about their persons, never
parting from them by day or night, and that they were as "poisonous"
as wolves or tigers. They also tattooed their faces, and at marriage
their mouths. By the close of the ninth century the N-chns had
become subject to the neighbouring Kitans, then under the rule of the
vigorous Kitan chieftain, Opaochi, who, in 907, proclaimed himself
Emperor of an independent kingdom with the dynastic title of Liao,
said to mean "iron," and who at once entered upon that long course of
aggression against China and encroachment upon her territory which was
to result in the practical division of the empire between the two
powers, with the Yellow River as boundary, K`ai-fng as the Chinese
capital, and Peking, now for the first time raised to the status of a
metropolis, as the Kitan capital. Hitherto, the Kitans had recognised
China as their suzerain; they are first mentioned in Chinese history
in A.D. 468, when they sent ambassadors to court, with tribute.

Turning now to China, the famous House of Sung, the early years of
which were so full of promise of national prosperity, and which is
deservedly associated with one of the two most brilliant periods in
Chinese literature, was founded in 960. Korea was then forced, in
order to protect herself from the encroachments of China, to accept
the hated supremacy of the Kitans; but being promptly called upon to
surrender large tracts of territory, she suddenly entered into an
alliance with the N-chns, who were also ready to revolt, and who
sent an army to the assistance of their new friends. The N-chn and
Korean armies, acting in concert, inflicted a severe defeat on the
Kitans, and from this victory may be dated the beginning of the N-
chn power. China had indeed already sent an embassy to the N-chns,
suggesting an alliance and also a combination with Korea, by which
means the aggression of the Kitans might easily be checked; but during
the eleventh century Korea became alienated from the N-chns, and
even went so far as to advise China to join with the Kitans in
crushing the N-chns. China, no doubt, would have been glad to get
rid of both these troublesome neighbours, especially the Kitans, who
were gradually filching territory from the empire, and driving the
Chinese out of the southern portion of the province of Chihli.

For a long period China weakly allowed herself to be blackmailed by
the Kitans, who, in return for a large money subsidy and valuable
supplies of silk, forwarded a quite insignificant amount of local
produce, which was called "tribute" by the Chinese court.

Early in the twelfth century, the Kitan monarch paid a visit to the
Sungari River, for the purpose of fishing, and was duly received by
the chiefs of the N-chn tribes in that district. On this occasion
the Kitan Emperor, who had taken perhaps more liquor than was good for
him, ordered the younger men of the company to get up and dance before
him. This command was ignored by the son of one of the chiefs, named
Akutng (sometimes, but wrongly, written /Akuta/), and it was
suggested to the Emperor that he should devise means for putting out
of the way so uncompromising a spirit. No notice, however, was taken
of the affair at the moment; and that night Akutng, with a band of
followers, disappeared from the scene. Making his way eastward, across
the Sungari, he started a movement which may be said to have
culminated five hundred years later in the conquest of China by the
Manchus. In 1114 he began to act on the offensive, and succeeded in
inflicting a severe defeat on the Kitans. By 1115 he had so far
advanced towards the foundation of an independent kingdom that he
actually assumed the title of Emperor. Thus was presented the rare
spectacle of three contemporary rulers, each of whom claimed a title
which, according to the Chinese theory, could only belong to one. The
style he chose for his dynasty was Chin (also read /Kin/), which means
"gold," and which some say was intended to mark a superiority over
Liao (= iron), that of the Kitans, on the ground that gold is not,
like iron, a prey to rust. Others, however, trace the origin of the
term to the fact that gold was found in the N-chn territory.

A small point which has given rise to some confusion, may fitly be
mentioned here. The tribe of Tartars hitherto spoken of as N-chns,
and henceforth known in history as the "Golden Dynasty," in 1035
changed the word /chn/ for /chih/, and were called N-chih Tartars.
They did this because at that date the word /chn/ was part of the
personal name of the reigning Kitan Emperor, and therefore taboo. The
necessity for such change would of course cease with their
emancipation from Kitan rule, and the old name would be revived; it
will accordingly be continued in the following pages.

The victories of Akutng over the Kitans were most welcome to the
Chinese Emperor, who saw his late oppressors humbled to the dust by
the victorious N-chns; and in 1120 a treaty of alliance was signed
by the two powers against the common enemy. The upshot of this move
was that the Kitans were severely defeated in all directions, and
their chief cities fell into the hands of the N-chns, who finally
succeeded, in 1122, in taking Peking by assault, the Kitan Emperor
having already sought safety in flight. When, however, the time came
for an equitable settlement of territory between China and the
victorious N-chns, the Chinese Emperor discovered that the N-chns,
inasmuch as they had done most of the fighting, were determined to
have the lion's share of the reward; in fact, the yoke imposed by the
latter proved if anything more burdensome than that of the dreaded
Kitans. More territory was taken by the N-chns, and even larger
levies of money were exacted, while the same old farce of worthless
tribute was carried on as before.

In 1123, Akutng died, and was canonised as the first Emperor of the
Chin, or Golden Dynasty. He was succeeded by a brother; and two years
later, the last Emperor of the Kitans was captured and relegated to
private life, thus bringing the dynasty to an end.

The new Emperor of the N-chns spent the rest of his life in one long
struggle with China. In 1126, the Sung capital, the modern K`ai-fng
Fu in Honan, was twice besieged: on the first occasion for thirty-
three days, when a heavy ransom was exacted and some territory was
ceded; on the second occasion for forty days, when it fell, and was
given up to pillage. In 1127, the feeble Chinese Emperor was seized
and carried off, and by 1129 the whole of China north of the Yang-tsze
was in the hands of the N-chns. The younger brother of the banished
Emperor was proclaimed by the Chinese at Nanking, and managed to set
up what is known as the southern Sung dynasty; but the N-chns gave
him no rest, driving him first out of Nanking, and then out of
Hangchow, where he had once more established a capital. Ultimately,
there was peace of a more or less permanent character, chiefly due to
the genius of a notable Chinese general of the day; and the N-chns
had to accept the Yang-tsze as the dividing line between the two

The next seventy years were freely marked by raids, first of one side
and then of the other; but by the close of the twelfth century the
Mongols were pressing the N-chns from the north, and the southern
Sungs were seizing the opportunity to attack their old enemies from
the south. Finally, in 1234, the independence of the Golden Dynasty of
N-chns was extinguished by Ogotai, third son of the great Genghis
Khan, with the aid of the southern Sungs, who were themselves in turn
wiped out by Kublai Khan, the first Mongol Emperor to rule over a
united China.

The name of this wandering people, whose territory covers such a huge
space on the map, has been variously derived from (1) /moengel/,
celestial, (2) /mong/, brave, and (3) /munku/, silver, the last
mentioned being favoured by some because of its relation to the iron
and golden dynasties of the Kitans and N-chns respectively.

Three centuries and a half must now pass away before entering upon the
next act of the Manchu drama. The N-chns had been scotched, but not
killed, by their Mongol conquerors, who, one hundred and thirty-four
years later (1368), were themselves driven out of China, a pure native
dynasty being re-established under the style of Ming, "Bright." During
the ensuing two hundred years the N-chns were scarcely heard of, the
House of Ming being busily occupied in other directions. Their warlike
spirit, however, found scope and nourishment in the expeditions
organised against Japan and Tan-lo, or Quelpart, as named by the
Dutch, a large island to the south of the Korean peninsula; while on
the other hand the various tribes scattered over a portion of the
territory known to Europeans as Manchuria, availed themselves of long
immunity from attack by the Chinese to advance in civilization and
prosperity. It may be noted here that "Manchuria" is unknown to the
Chinese or to the Manchus themselves as a geographical expression. The
present extensive home of the Manchus is usually spoken of as the
Three Eastern Provinces, namely, (1) Shng-king, or Liao-tung, or
Kuan-tung, (2) Kirin, and (3) Heilungchiang or Tsitsihar.

Among the numerous small independent communities above mentioned,
which traced their ancestry to the N-chns of old, one of the
smallest, the members of which inhabited a tract of territory due east
of what is now the city of Mukden, and were shortly to call themselves
Manchus,--the origin of the name is not known,--produced, in 1559, a
young hero who altered the course of Chinese history to such an extent
that for nearly three hundred years his descendants sat on the throne
of China, and ruled over what was for a great portion of the time the
largest empire on earth. Nurhachu, the real founder of the Manchu
power, was born in 1559, from a virile stock, and was soon recognised
to be an extraordinary child. We need not linger over his dragon face,
his phnix eye, or even over his large, drooping ears, which have
always been associated by the Chinese with intellectual ability. He
first came into prominence in 1583, when, at twenty-four years of age,
he took up arms, at the head of only one hundred and thirty men, in
connection with the treacherous murder by a rival chieftain of his
father and grandfather, who had ruled over a petty principality of
almost infinitesimal extent; and he finally succeeded three years
later in securing from the Chinese, who had been arrayed against him,
not only the surrender of the murderer, but also a sum of money and
some robes of honour. He was further successful in negotiating a
treaty, under the terms of which Manchu furs could be exchanged at
certain points for such Chinese commodities as cotton, sugar, and

In 1587, Nurhachu built a walled city, and established an
administration in his tiny principality, the even-handed justice and
purity of which soon attracted a large number of settlers, and before
very long he had succeeded in amalgamating five Manchu States under
his personal rule. Extension of territory by annexation after
victories over neighbouring States followed as a matter of course, the
result being that his growing power came to be regarded with
suspicion, and even dread. At length, a joint attempt on the part of
seven States, aided by two Mongol chieftains, was made to crush him;
but, although numerical superiority was overpoweringly against him, he
managed to turn the enemy's attack into a rout, killed four thousand
men, and captured three thousand horses, besides other booty.
Following up this victory by further annexations, he now began to
present a bold front to the Chinese, declaring himself independent,
and refusing any longer to pay tribute. In 1604, he built himself a
new capital, Hingking, which he placed not very far east of the modern
Mukden, and there he received envoys from the Mongolian chieftains,
sent to congratulate him on his triumph.

At this period the Manchus, whose spoken words were polysyllabic, and
not monosyllabic like Chinese, had no written language beyond certain
rude attempts at alphabetic writing, formed from Chinese characters,
and found to be of little practical value. The necessity for something
more convenient soon appealed to the prescient and active mind of
Nurhachu; accordingly, in 1599, he gave orders to two learned scholars
to prepare a suitable script for his rapidly increasing subjects. This
they accomplished by basing the new script upon Mongol, which had been
invented in 1269, by Baschpa, or 'Phagspa, a Tibetan lama, acting
under the direction of Kublai Khan. Baschpa had based his script upon
the written language of the Ouigours, who were descendants of the
Hsiung-nu, or Huns. The Ouigours, known by that name since the year
629, were once the ruling race in the regions which now form the
khanates of Khiva and Bokhara, and had been the first of the tribes of
Central Asia to have a script of their own. This they formed from the
Estrangelo Syraic of the Nestorians, who appeared in China in the
early part of the seventh century. The Manchu written language,
therefore, is lineally descended from Syraic; indeed, the family
likeness of both Manchu and Mongol to the parent stem is quite
obvious, except that these two scripts, evidently influenced by
Chinese, are written vertically, though, unlike Chinese, they are read
from left to right. Thirty-three years later various improvements were
introduced, leaving the Manchu script precisely as we find it at the
present day.

In 1613, Nurhachu had gathered about him an army of some forty
thousand men; and by a series of raids in various directions, he
further gradually succeeded in extending considerably the boundaries
of his kingdom. There now remained but one large and important State,
towards the annexation of which he directed all his efforts. After
elaborate preparations which extended over more than two years, at the
beginning of which (1616) the term Manchu (etymology unknown) was
definitively adopted as a national title, Nurhachu, in 1618, drew up a
list of grievances against the Chinese, under which he declared that
his people had been and were still suffering, and solemnly committed
it to the flames,--a recognised method of communication with the
spirits of heaven and earth. This document consisted of seven clauses,
and was addressed to the Emperor of China; it was, in fact, a
declaration of war. The Chinese, who were fast becoming aware that a
dangerous enemy had arisen, and that their own territory would be the
next to be threatened, at length decided to oppose any further
progress on the part of Narhachu; and with this view dispatched an
army of two hundred thousand men against him. These troops, many of
whom were physically unfit, were divided on arrival at Mukden into
four bodies, each with some separate aim, the achievement of which was
to conduce to the speedy disruption of Nurhachu's power. The issue of
this move was certainly not expected on either side. In a word,
Nurhachu defeated his Chinese antagonists in detail, finally
inflicting such a crushing blow that he was left completely master of
the situation, and before very long had realised the chief object of
his ambition, namely, the reunion under one rule of those states into
which the Golden Dynasty had been broken up when it collapsed before
the Mongols in 1234.



It is almost a conventionalism to attribute the fall of a Chinese
dynasty to the malign influence of eunuchs. The Imperial court was
undoubtedly at this date entirely in the hands of eunuchs, who
occupied all kinds of lucrative posts for which they were quite
unfitted, and even accompanied the army, nominally as officials, but
really as spies upon the generals in command. One of the most
notorious of these was Wei Chung-hsien, whose career may be taken as
typical of his class. He was a native of Sun-ning in Chihli, of
profligate character, who made himself a eunuch, and changed his name
to Li Chin-chung. Entering the palace, he managed to get into the
service of the mother of the future Emperor, posthumously canonised as
Hsi Tsung, and became the paramour of that weak monarch's wet-nurse.
The pair gained the Emperor's affection to an extraordinary degree,
and Wei, an ignorant brute, was the real ruler of China during the
reign of Hsi Tsung. He always took care to present memorials and other
State papers when his Majesty was engrossed in carpentry, and the
Emperor would pretend to know all about the question, and tell Wei to
deal with it. Aided by unworthy censors, a body of officials who are
supposed to be the "eyes and ears" of the monarch, and privileged to
censure him for misgovernment, he gradually drove all loyal men from
office, and put his opponents to cruel and ignominious deaths. He
persuaded Hsi Tsung to enrol a division of eunuch troops, ten thousand
strong, armed with muskets; while, by causing the Empress to have a
miscarriage, his paramour cleared his way to the throne. Many
officials espoused his cause, and the infatuated sovereign never
wearied of loading him with favours. In 1626, temples were erected to
him in all the provinces except Fuhkien, his image received Imperial
honours, and he was styled Nine Thousand Years, i.e. only one thousand
less than the Emperor himself, the Chinese term in the latter case
being /wan sui/, which has been adopted by the Japanese as /banzai/.
All successes were ascribed to his influence, a Grand Secretary
declaring that his virtue had actually caused the appearance of a
"unicorn" in Shantung. In 1627, he was likened in a memorial to
Confucius, and it was decreed that he should be worshipped with the
Sage in the Imperial Academy. His hopes were overthrown by the death
of Hsi Tsung, whose successor promptly dismissed him. He hanged
himself to escape trial, and his corpse was disembowelled. His
paramour was executed, and in 1629, nearly three hundred persons were
convicted and sentenced to varying penalties for being connected with
his schemes.

Jobbery and corruption were rife; and at the present juncture these
agencies were successfully employed to effect the recall of a really
able general who had been sent from Peking to recover lost ground, and
prevent further encroachments by the Manchus. For a time, Nurhachu had
been held in check by his skilful dispositions of troops, Mukden was
strongly fortified, and confidence generally was restored; but the
fatal policy of the new general rapidly alienated the Chinese
inhabitants, and caused them to enter secretly into communication with
the Manchus. It was thus that in 1621 Nurhachu was in a position to
advance upon Mukden. Encamping within a mile or two of the city, he
sent forward a reconnoitring party, which was immediately attacked by
the Chinese commandant at the head of a large force. The former fled,
and the latter pursued, only to fall into the inevitable ambush; and
the Chinese troops, on retiring in their turn, found that the bridge
across the moat had been destroyed by traitors in their own camp, so
that they were unable to re-enter the city. Thus Mukden fell, the
prelude to a series of further victories, one of which was the rout of
an army sent to retake Mukden, and the chief of which was the capture
of Liao-yang, now remembered in connection with the Russo-Japanese
war. In many of these engagements the Manchus, whose chief weapon was
the long bow, which they used with deadly effect, found themselves
opposed by artillery, the use of which had been taught to the Chinese
by Adam Schaal, the Jesuit father. The supply of powder, however, had
a way of running short, and at once the pronounced superiority of the
Manchu archers prevailed.

Other cities now began to tender a voluntary submission, and many
Chinese took to shaving the head and wearing the queue, in
acknowledgment of their allegiance to the Manchus. All, however, was
not yet over, for the growing Manchu power was still subjected to
frequent attacks from Chinese arms in directions as far as possible
removed from points where Manchu troops were concentrated. Meanwhile
Nurhachu gradually extended his borders eastward, until in 1625, the
year in which he placed his capital at Mukden, his frontiers reached
to the sea on the east and to the river Amur on the north, the
important city of Ning-yan being almost the only possession remaining
to the Chinese beyond the Great Wall. The explanation of this is as

An incompetent general, as above mentioned, had been sent at the
instance of the eunuchs to supersede an officer who had been holding
his own with considerable success, but who was not a /persona grata/
at court. The new general at once decided that no territory outside
the Great Wall was to be held against the Manchus, and gave orders for
the immediate retirement of all troops and Chinese residents
generally. To this command the civil governor of Ning-yan, and the
military commandant, sent an indignant protest, writing out an oath
with their blood that they would never surrender the city. Nurhachu
seized the opportunity, and delivered a violent attack, with which he
seemed to be making some progress, until at length artillery was
brought into play. The havoc caused by the guns at close quarters was
terrific, and the Manchus fled. This defeat was a blow from which
Nurhachu never recovered; his chagrin brought on a serious illness,
and he died in 1626, aged sixty-eight. Later on, when his descendants
were sitting upon the throne of China, he was canonised as T`ai Tsu,
the Great Ancestor, the representatives of the four preceding
generations of his family being canonised as Princes.

Nurhachu was succeeded by his fourth son, Abkhai, then thirty-four
years of age, and a tried warrior. His reign began with a
correspondence between himself and the governor who had been the
successful defender of Ning-yan, in which some attempt was made to
conclude a treaty of peace. The Chinese on their side demanded the
return of all captured cities and territory; while the Manchus, who
refused to consider any such terms, suggested that China should pay
them a huge subsidy in money, silk, etc., in return for which they
offered but a moderate supply of furs, and something over half a ton
of ginseng (/Panax repens/), the famous forked root said to resemble
the human body, and much valued by the Chinese as a strengthening
medicine. This, of course, was a case of "giving too little and asking
too much," and the negotiations came to nothing. In 1629, Abkhai, who
by this time was master of Korea, marched upon Peking, at the head of
a large army, and encamped within a few miles from its walls; but he
was unable to capture the city, and had finally to retire. The next
few years were devoted by the Manchus, who now began to possess
artillery of their own casting, to the conquest of Mongolia, in the
hope of thus securing an easy passage for their armies into China. An
offer of peace was now made by the Chinese Emperor, for reasons
shortly to be stated; but the Manchu terms were too severe, and
hostilities were resumed, the Manchus chiefly occupying themselves in
devastating the country round Peking, their numbers being constantly
swelled by a stream of deserters from the Chinese ranks. In 1643,
Abkhai died; he was succeeded by his ninth son, a boy of five, and was
later on canonised as T`ai Tsung, the Great Forefather. By 1635, he
had already begun to style himself Emperor of China, and had
established a system of public examinations. The name of the dynasty
had been "Manchu" ever since 1616; twenty years later he translated
this term into the Chinese word /Ch`ing/ (or Ts`ing), which means
"pure"; and as the Great Pure Dynasty it will be remembered in
history. Other important enactments of his reign were prohibitions
against the use of tobacco, which had been recently introduced into
Manchuria from Japan, through Korea; against the Chinese fashion of
dress and of wearing the hair; and against the practice of binding the
feet of girls. All except the first of these were directed towards the
complete denationalisation of the Chinese who had accepted his rule,
and whose numbers were increasing daily.

So far, the Manchus seem to have been little influenced by religious
beliefs or scruples, except of a very primitive kind; but when they
came into closer contact with the Chinese, Buddhism began to spread
its charms, and not in vain, though strongly opposed by Abkhai

In 1635 the Manchus had effected the conquest of Mongolia, aided to a
great extent by frequent defections of large bodies of Mongols who had
been exasperated by their own ill-treatment at the hands of the
Chinese. Among some ancient Mongolian archives there has recently been
discovered a document, dated 1636, under which the Mongol chiefs
recognised the suzerainty of the Manchu Emperor. It was, however,
stipulated that, in the event of the fall of the dynasty, all the laws
existing previously to this date should again come into force.

A brief review of Chinese history during the later years of Manchu
progress, as described above, discloses a state of things such as will
always be found to prevail towards the close of an outworn dynasty.
Almost from the day when, in 1628, the last Emperor of the Ming
Dynasty ascended the throne, national grievances began to pass from a
simmering and more or less latent condition to a state of open and
acute hostility. The exactions and tyranny of the eunuchs had led to
increased taxation and general discontent; and the horrors of famine
now enhanced the gravity of the situation. Local outbreaks were
common, and were with difficulty suppressed. The most capable among
Chinese generals of the period, Wu San-kuei, shortly to play a leading
part in the dynastic drama, was far away, employed in resisting the
invasions of the Manchus, when a very serious rebellion, which had
been in preparation for some years, at length burst violently forth.

Li Tz{u}-ch`ng was a native of Shensi, who, before he was twenty
years old, had succeeded his father as village beadle. The famine of
1627 had brought him into trouble over the land-tax, and in 1629 he
turned brigand, but without conspicuous success during the following
ten years. In 1640, he headed a small gang of desperadoes, and
overrunning parts of Hupeh and Honan, was soon in command of a large
army. He was joined by a female bandit, formerly a courtesan, who
advised him to avoid slaughter and to try to win the hearts of the
people. In 1642, after several attempts to capture the city of K`ai-
fng, during one of which his left eye was destroyed by an arrow, he
at length succeeded, chiefly in consequence of a sudden rise of the
Yellow River, the waters of which rushed through a canal originally
intended to fill the city moat and flood out the rebels. The rise of
the river, however, was so rapid and so unusually high that the city
itself was flooded, and an enormous number of the inhabitants
perished, the rest seeking safety in flight to higher ground.

By 1744, Li Tz{u}-ch`ng had reduced the whole of the province of
Shensi; whereupon he began to advance on Peking, proclaiming himself
first Emperor of the Great Shun Dynasty, the term /shun/ implying
harmony between rulers and ruled. Terror reigned at the Chinese court,
especially as meteorological and other portents appeared in unusually
large numbers, as though to justify the panic. The Emperor was in
despair; the exchequer was empty, and there was no money to pay the
troops, who, in any case, were too few to man the city walls. Each of
the Ministers of State was anxious only to secure his own safety. Li
Tz{u}-ch`ng's advance was scarcely opposed, the eunuch commanders of
cities and passes hastening to surrender them and save their own
lives. For, in case of immediate surrender, no injury was done by Li
to life or property, and even after a short resistance only a few
lives were exacted as penalty; but a more obstinate defence was
punished by burning and looting and universal slaughter.

The Emperor was now advised to send for Wu San-kuei; but that step
meant the end of further resistance to the invading Manchus on the
east, and for some time he would not consent. Meanwhile, he issued an
Imperial proclamation, such as is usual on these occasions, announcing
that all the troubles which had come upon the empire were due to his
own incompetence and unworthiness, as confirmed by the droughts,
famines, and other signs of divine wrath, of recent occurrence; that
the administration was to be reformed, and only virtuous and capable
officials would be employed. The near approach, however, of Li's army
at length caused the Emperor to realise that it was Wu San-kuei or
nothing, and belated messengers were dispatched to summon him to the
defence of the capital. Long before he could possibly arrive, a gate
of the southern city of Peking was treacherously opened by the eunuch
in charge of it, and the next thing the Emperor saw was his capital in
flames. He then summoned the Empress and the court ladies, and bade
them each provide for her own safety. He sent his three sons into
hiding, and actually killed with his own hand several of his
favourites, rather than let them fall into the hands of the One-Eyed
Rebel. He attempted the same by his daughter, a young girl, covering
his face with the sleeve of his robe; but in his agony of mind he
failed in his blow, and only succeeded in cutting off an arm, leaving
the unfortunate princess to be dispatched later on by the Empress.
After this, in concert with a trusted eunuch and a few attendants, he
disguised himself, and made an attempt to escape from the city by
night; but they found the gates closed, and the guard refused to allow
them to pass. Returning to the palace in the early morning, the
Emperor caused the great bell to be rung as usual to summon the
officers of government to audience; but no one came. He then retired,
with his faithful eunuch, to a kiosque, on what is known as the Coal
Hill, in the palace grounds, and there wrote a last decree on the
lapel of his coat:--"I, poor in virtue and of contemptible
personality, have incurred the wrath of God on high. My Ministers have
deceived me. I am ashamed to meet my ancestors; and therefore I myself
take off my crown, and with my hair covering my face, await
dismemberment at the hands of the rebels. Do not hurt a single one of
my people!" Emperor and eunuch then committed suicide by hanging
themselves, and the Great Ming Dynasty was brought to an end.

Li Tz{u}-ch`ng made a grand official entry into Peking, upon which
many of the palace ladies committed suicide. The bodies of the two
Empresses were discovered, and the late Emperor's sons were captured
and kindly treated; but of the Emperor himself there was for some time
no trace. At length his body was found, and was encoffined, together
with those of the Empresses, by order of Li Tz{u}-ch`ng, by-and-by to
receive fit and proper burial at the hands of the Manchus.

Li Tz{u}-ch`ng further possessed himself of the persons of Wu San-
kuei's father and affianced bride, the latter of whom, a very
beautiful girl, he intended to keep for himself. He next sent off a
letter to Wu San-kuei, offering an alliance against the Manchus, which
was fortified by another letter from Wu San-kuei's father, urging his
son to fall in which Li's wishes, especially as his own life would be
dependent upon the success of the missions. Wu San-kuei had already
started on his way to relieve the capital when he heard of the events
above recorded; and it seems probable that he would have yielded to
circumstances and persuasion but for the fact that Li had seized the
girl he intended to marry. This decided him; he retraced his steps,
shaved his head after the required style, and joined the Manchus.

It was not very long before Li Tz{u}-ch`ng's army was in full
pursuit, with the twofold object of destroying Wu San-kuei and
recovering Chinese territory already occupied by the Manchus. In the
battle which ensued, all these hopes were dashed; Li sustained a
crushing defeat, and fled to Peking. There he put to death the Ming
princes who were in his hands, and completely exterminated Wu San-
kuei's family, with the exception of the girl above mentioned, whom he
carried off after having looted and burnt the palace and other public
buildings. Now was the opportunity of the Manchus; and with the
connivance and loyal aid of Wu San-kuei, the Great Ch`ing Dynasty was

Li Tz{u}-ch`ng, who had officially mounted the Dragon Throne as
Emperor of China nine days after his capture of Peking, was now hotly
pursued by Wu San-kuei, who had the good fortune to recover from the
rebels the girl, who had been taken with them in their flight, and
whom he then married. Li Tz{u}-ch`ng retreated westwards; and after
two vain attempts to check his pursuers, his army began to melt away.
Driven south, he held Wu-ch`ang for a time; but ultimately he fled
down the Yang-tsze, and was slain by local militia in Hupeh.

Li was a born soldier. Even hostile writers admit that his army was
wonderfully well disciplined, and that he put a stop to the hideous
atrocities which had made his name a terror in the empire, just so
soon as he found that he could accomplish his ends by milder means.
His men were obliged to march light, very little baggage being
allowed; his horses were most carefully looked after. He himself was
by nature calm and cold, and his manner of life was frugal and



The back of the rebellion was now broken; but an alien race, called in
to drive out the rebels, found themselves in command of the situation.
Wu San-kuei had therefore no alternative but to acknowledge the
Manchus definitely as the new rulers of China, and to obtain the best
possible terms for his country. Ever since the defeat of Li by the
combined forces of Chinese and Manchus, it had been perfectly well
understood that the latter were to be supported in their bid for
Imperial power, and the conditions under which the throne was to be
transferred were as follows:--(1) No Chinese women were to be taken
into the Imperial seraglio; (2) the Senior Classic at the great
triennial examination, on the results of which successful candidates
were drafted into the public service, was never to be a Manchu; (3)
Chinese men were to adopt the Manchu dress, shaving the front part of
the head and plaiting the back hair into a queue, but they were to be
allowed burial in the costume of the Mings; (4) Chinese women were not
to adopt the Manchu dress, nor to cease to compress their feet, in
accordance with ancient custom.

Wu San-kuei was loaded with honours, among others with a triple-eyed
peacock's feather, a decoration introduced, together with the "button"
at the top of the hat, by the Manchus, and classed as single-,
double-, and triple-eyed, according to merit. A few years later, his
son married the sister of the Emperor; and a few years later still, he
was appointed one of three feudatory princes, his rule extending over
the huge provinces of Ynnan and Ss{u}ch`uan. There we shall meet him

The new Emperor, the ninth son of Abkhai, best known by his year-title
as Shun Chih (favourable sway), was a child of seven when he was
placed upon the throne in 1644, under the regency of an uncle; and by
the time he was twelve years old, the uncle had died, leaving him to
his own resources. Before his early death, the regent had already done
some excellent work on behalf of his nephew. He had curtailed the
privileges of the eunuchs to such an extent that for a hundred and
fifty years to come,--so long, in fact, as the empire was in the hands
of wise rulers,--their malign influence was inappreciable in court
circles and politics generally. He left Chinese officials in control
of the civil administration, keeping closely to the lines of the
system which had obtained under the previous dynasty; he did not
hastily press for the universal adoption of Manchu costume; and he
even caused sacrificial ceremonies to be performed at the mausolea of
the Ming Emperors. One new rule of considerable importance seems to
have been introduced by the Manchus, namely, that no official should
be allowed to hold office within the boundaries of his own province.
Ostensibly a check on corrupt practices, it is probable that this rule
had a more far-reaching political purport. The members of the Han-lin
College presented an address praying him (1) to prepare a list of all
worthy men; (2) to search out such of these as might be in hiding; (3)
to exterminate all rebels; (4) to proclaim an amnesty; (5) to
establish peace; (6) to disband the army, and (7) to punish corrupt

The advice conveyed in the second clause of the above was speedily
acted upon, and a number of capable men were secured for the
government service. At the same time, with a view to the full
technical establishment of the dynasty, the Imperial ancestors were
canonised, and an ancestral shrine was duly constituted. The general
outlook would now appear to have been satisfactory from the point of
view of Manchu interests; but from lack of means of communication,
China had in those days almost the connotation of space infinite, and
events of the highest importance, involving nothing less than the
change of a dynasty, could be carried through in one portion of the
empire before their imminence had been more than whispered in another.
No sooner was Peking taken by the One-Eyed Rebel, than a number of
officials fled southwards and took refuge in Nanking, where they set
up a grandson of the last Emperor but one of the Ming Dynasty, who was
now the rightful heir to the throne. The rapidly growing power of the
Manchus had been lost sight of, if indeed it had ever been thoroughly
realised, and it seemed quite natural that the representative of the
House of Ming should be put forward to resist the rebels.

This monarch, however, was quite unequal to the fate which had
befallen him; and, before long, both he himself and his capital were
in the hands of the Manchus. Other claimants to the throne appeared in
various places; notably, one at Hangchow and another at Foochow, each
of whom looked upon the other as a usurper. The former was soon
disposed of, but the latter gradually established his rule over a wide
area, and for a long time kept the Manchus at bay, so hateful was the
thought of an alien domination to the people of the province in
question. Towards the close of 1646, he too had been captured, and the
work of pacification went on, the penalty of death now being exacted
in the case of officials who refused to shave the head and wear the
queue. Two more Emperors, both of Imperial Ming blood, were next
proclaimed in Canton, one of whom strangled himself on the advance of
the Manchus, while the other disappeared. A large number of loyal
officials, rather than shave the front part of the head and wear the
Manchu queue, voluntarily shaved the whole head, and sought sanctuary
in monasteries, where they joined the Buddhist priesthood.

One more early attempt to re-establish the Mings must be noticed. The
fourth son of a grandson of the Ming Emperor Wan Li (died 1620) was in
1646 proclaimed Emperor at Nan-yang in Honan. For a number of years of
bloody warfare he managed to hold out; but gradually he was forced to
retire, first to Fuhkien and Kuangtung, and then into Kueichou and
Ynnan, from which he was finally expelled by Wu San-kuei. He next
fled to Burma, where in 1661 he was handed over to Wu San-kuei, who
had followed in pursuit; and he finally strangled himself in the
capital of Ynnan. He is said to have been a Christian, as also many
of his adherents, in consequence of which, the Jesuit father, A.
Koffler, bestowed upon him the title of the Constantine of China. In
view of the general character for ferocity with which the Manchus are
usually credited, it is pleasant to be able to record that when the
official history of the Ming Dynasty came to be written, a Chinese
scholar of the day, sitting on the historical commission, pleaded that
three of the princes above mentioned, who were veritable scions of the
Imperial stock, should be entered as "brave men" and not as "rebels,"
and that the Emperor, to whose reign we are now coming, graciously
granted his request.

In the year 1661 Shun Chih, the first actual Emperor of the Ch`ing
dynasty, "became a guest on high." He does not rank as one of China's
great monarchs, but his kindly character as a man, and his magnanimity
as a ruler, were extolled by his contemporaries. He treated the
Catholic missionaries with favour. The Dutch and Russian embassies to
his court in 1656 found there envoys from the Great Mogul, from the
Western Tartars, and from the Dalai Lama. China, in the days when her
civilization towered above that of most countries on the globe, and
when her strength commanded the respect of all nations, great and
small, was quite accustomed to receive embassies from foreign parts;
the first recorded instance being that of "An-tun" = Marcus Aurelius
/Anton/inus, which reached China in A.D. 166. But because the tribute
offered in this case contained no jewels, consisting merely of ivory,
rhinoceros-horn, tortoise-shell, etc., which had been picked up in
Annam, some have regarded it merely as a trading enterprise, and not
really an embassy from the Roman Emperor; Chinese writers, on the
other hand, suggest that the envoys sold the valuable jewels and
bought a trumpery collection of tribute articles on the journey.

By the end of Shun Chih's reign, the Manchus, once a petty tribe of
hardy bowmen, far beyond the outskirts of the empire, were in
undoubted possession of all China, of Manchuria, of Korea, of most of
Mongolia, and even of the island of Formosa. How this island,
discovered by the Chinese only in 1430, became Manchu property, is a
story not altogether without romance.

The leader of a large fleet of junks, traders or pirates as occasion
served, known to the Portuguese of the day as Iquon, was compelled to
place his services at the command of the last sovereign of the Ming
dynasty, in whose cause he fought against the Manchu invaders along
the coasts of Fuhkien and Kuangtung. In 1628 he tendered his
submission to the Manchus, and for a time was well treated, and
cleared the seas of other pirates. Gradually, however, he became too
powerful, and it was deemed necessary to restrain him by force. He was
finally induced to surrender to the Manchu general in Fuhkien; and
having been made a prisoner, was sent to Peking, with two of his sons
by a Japanese wife, together with other of his adherents, all of whom
were executed upon arrival. Another son, familiar to foreigners under
the name of Koxinga, a Portuguese corruption of his title, had
remained behind with the fleet when his father surrendered, and he,
determined to avenge his father's treacherous death, declared an
implacable war against the Manchus. His piratical attacks on the coast
of China had long been a terror to the inhabitants; to such an extent,
indeed, that the populations of no fewer than eighty townships had
been forced to remove inland. Then Formosa, upon which the Dutch had
begun to form colonies in 1634, and where substantial portions of
their forts are still to be seen, attracted his piratical eye. He
attacked the Dutch, and succeeded in driving them out with great
slaughter, thus possessing himself of the island; but gradually his
followers began to drop off, in submission to the new dynasty, and at
length he himself was reported to Peking as dead. In 1874, partly on
the ground that he was really a supporter of the Ming dynasty and not
a rebel, and partly on the ground that "he had founded in the midst of
the waters a dominion which he had transmitted to his descendants, and
which was by them surrendered to the Imperial sway,"--a memorial was
presented to the throne, asking that his spirit might be canonized as
the guardian angel of Formosa, and that a shrine might be built in his
honour. The request was granted.

Consolidation of the empire thus won by the sword was carried out as
follows. In addition to the large Manchu garrison at Peking, smaller
garrisons were established at nine of the provincial capitals, and at
ten other important points in the provinces. The Manchu commandant of
each of the nine garrisons above mentioned, familiar to foreigners as
the Tartar General, was so placed in order to act as a check upon the
civil Governor or Viceroy, of whom he, strictly speaking, took
precedence, though in practice their ranks have always been regarded
as equal. With the empire at peace, the post of Tartar General has
always been a sinecure, and altogether out of comparison with that of
the Viceroy and his responsibilities; but in the case of a Viceroy
suspected of disloyalty and collusion with rebels, the swift
opportunity of the Tartar General was the great safeguard of the
dynasty, further strengthened as he was by the regulation which gave
to him the custody of the keys to the city gates. Those garrisons, the
soldiers of which were accompanied by their wives and families, were
from the first intended to be permanent institutions; and there until
quite recently were to be found the descendants of the original
drafts, not allowed to intermarry with their Chinese neighbours, but
otherwise influenced to such an extent that their Manchu
characteristics had almost entirely disappeared. In one direction the
Manchus made a curious concession which, though entirely sentimental,
was nevertheless well calculated to appeal to a proud though
unconquered people. A rule was established under which every Manchu
high official, when memorializing the throne, was to speak of himself
to the Emperor as "your Majesty's slave," whereas the term accepted
from every Chinese high official was simply "your Majesty's servant."
During the early years of Manchu rule, proficiency in archery was as
much insisted on as in the days of Edward III with us; and even down
to a few years ago Manchu Bannermen, as they came to be called, might
be seen everywhere diligently practising the art--actually one of the
six fine arts of China--by the aid of which their ancestors had passed
from the state of a petty tribal community to possession of the
greatest empire in the world.

The term Bannerman, it may here be explained, is applied to all
Manchus in reference to their organization under one or other of eight
banners of different colour and design; besides which, there are also
eight banners for Mongolians, and eight more for the descendants of
those Chinese who sided with the Manchus against the Mings, and thus
helped to establish the Great Pure dynasty.

One of the first cares to the authorities of a newly-established
dynasty in China is to provide the country with a properly authorized
Penal Code, and this has usually been accomplished by accepting as
basis the code of the preceding rulers, and making such changes or
modifications as may be demanded by the spirit of the times. It is
generally understood that such was the method adopted under the first
Manchu Emperor. The code of the Mings was carefully examined, its
severities were softened, and various additions and alterations were
made; the result being a legal instrument which has received almost
unqualified admiration from eminent Western lawyers. It has, however,
been stated that the true source of the Manchu code must be looked for
in the code of the T`ang dynasty (A.D. 618-905); possibly both codes
were used. Within the compass of historical times, the country has
never been without one, the first code having been drawn up by a
distinguished statesman so far back as 525 B.C. In any case, at the
beginning of the reign of Shun Chih a code was issued, which contained
only certain fundamental and unalterable laws for the empire, with an
Imperial preface, nominally from the hand of the Emperor himself. The
next step was to supply any necessary additions and modifications; and
as time went on these were further amended or enlarged by Imperial
decrees, founded upon current events,--a process which has been going
on down to the present day. The code therefore consists of two parts:
(1) immutable laws more or less embodying great principles beyond the
reach of revisions, and (2) a body of case-law which, since 1746, has
been subject to revision every five years. With the publication of the
Penal Code, the legal responsibilities of the new Emperor began and
ended. There is not, and never has been, anything in China of the
nature of civil law, beyond local custom and the application of common

Towards the close of this reign, intercourse with China brought about
an economic revolution in the West, especially in England, the
importance of which it is difficult to realize sufficiently at this
distant date. A new drink was put on the breakfast-table, destined to
displace completely the quart of ale with which even Lady Jane Grey is
said to have washed down her morning bacon. It is mentioned by Pepys,
under the year 1660, as "tee (a China drink)," which he says he had
never tasted before. Two centuries later, the export of tea from China
had reached huge proportions, no less an amount than one hundred
million /lb./ having been exported in one season from Foochow alone.



The Emperor Shun Chih was succeeded by his third son, known by his
year-title as K`ang Hsi (lasting prosperity), who was only eight years
old at the time of his accession. Twelve years later the new monarch
took up the reins of government, and soon began to make his influence
felt. Fairly tall and well proportioned, he loved all manly exercises,
and devoted three months annually to hunting. Large bright eyes
lighted up his face, which was pitted with smallpox. Contemporary
observers vie with one another in praising his wit, understanding, and
liberality of mind. He was not twenty when the three feudatory princes
broke into open rebellion. Of these, Wu San-kuei, the virtual founder
of the dynasty, who had been appointed in 1659, was the chief; and it
was at his instigation that his colleagues who ruled in Kuangtung and
Fuhkien determined to throw off their allegiance and set up
independent sovereignties. Within a few months, K`ang Hsi found vast
portions of the empire slipping from his grasp; but though at one
moment only the provinces of Chihli, Honan, and Shantung were left to
him in peaceable possession, he never lost heart. The resources of Wu
San-kuei were ultimately found to be insufficient for the struggle,
the issue of which was determined partly by his death in 1678, and
partly by the powerful artillery manufactured for the Imperial forces
by the Jesuit missionaries, who were then in high favour at court. The
capital city of Ynnan was taken by assault in 1681, upon which Wu
San-kuei's son committed suicide, and the rebellion collapsed. From
that date the Manchus decided that there should be no more "princes"
among their Chinese subjects, and the rule has been observed until the
present day.

Under the Emperor K`ang Hsi a re-arrangement of the empire was planned
and carried out; that is to say, whereas during the Mongol dynasty
there had only been thirteen provinces, increased to fifteen by the
Mings, there was now a further increase of three, thus constituting
what is known as the Eighteen Provinces, or China Proper. To effect
this, the old province of Kiangsan was divided into the modern Anhui
and Kiangsu; Kansuh was carved out of Shensi; and Hukuang was
separated into Hupeh and Hunan. Formosa, which was finally reconquered
in 1683, was made part of the province of Fuhkien, and so remained for
some two hundred years, when it was erected into an independent
province. Thus, for a time China Proper consisted of nineteen
provinces, until the more familiar "eighteen" was recently restored by
the transfer of Formosa to Japan. In addition to the above, the
eastern territory, originally inhabited by the Manchus, was divided
into the three provinces already mentioned, all of which were at first
organized upon a purely military basis; but of late years the
administration of the southernmost province, in which stands Mukden,
the Manchu capital, has been brought more into line with that of China

In 1677 the East India Company established an agency at Amoy, which,
though withdrawn in 1681, was re-established in 1685. The first treaty
with Russia was negotiated in 1679, but less than ten years later a
further treaty was found necessary, under which it was agreed that the
river Amur was to be the boundary-line between the two dominions, the
Russians giving up possession of both banks. Thus Ya-k`o-sa, or
Albazin, was ceded by Russia to China, and some of the inhabitants,
who appear to have been either pure Russians or half-castes, were sent
as prisoners to Peking, where religious instruction was provided for
them according to the rules of the orthodox church. All the
descendants of these Albazins probably perished in the destruction of
the Russian college during the siege of the Legations in 1900.
Punitive expeditions against Galdan and Arabtan carried the frontiers
of the empire to the borders of Khokand and Badakshan, and to the
confines of Tibet.

Galdan was a khan of the Kalmucks, who succeeded in establishing his
rule through nearly the whole of Turkestan, after attaining his
position by the murder of a brother. He attacked the Khalkas, and thus
incurred the resentment of K`ang Hsi, whose subjects they were; and in
order to strengthen his power, he applied to the Dalai Lama for
ordination, but was refused. He then feigned conversion to
Mahometanism, though without attracting Mahometan sympathies. In 1689
the Emperor in person led an army against him, crossing the deadly
desert of Gobi for this purpose. Finally, after a further expedition
and a decisive defeat in 1693, Galdan became a fugitive, and died
three years afterwards. He was succeeded as khan by his nephew,
Arabtan, who soon took up the offensive against China. He invaded
Tibet, and pillaged the monasteries as far as Lhasa; but was
ultimately driven back by a Manchu army to Sungaria, where he was
murdered in 1727.

The question of the calendar early attracted attention under the reign
of K`ang Hsi. After the capture of Peking in 1644, the Manchus had
employed the Jesuit Father, Schaal, upon the Astronomical Board, an
appointment which, owing to the jealousies aroused, very nearly cost
him his life. What he taught was hardly superior to the astronomy then
in vogue, which had been inherited from the Mongols, being nothing
more than the old Ptolemaic system, already discarded in Europe. In
1669, a Flemish Jesuit Father from Courtrai, named Verbiest, was
placed upon the Board, and was entrusted with the correction of the
calendar according to more recent investigations.

Christianity was officially recognized in 1692, and an Imperial edict
was issued ordering its toleration throughout the empire. The
discovery of the Nestorian tablet in 1625 had given a considerable
impulse, in spite of its heretical associations, to Christian
propagandism; and it was estimated that in 1627 there were no fewer
than thirteen thousand converts, many of whom were highly placed
officials, and even members of the Imperial family. An important
question, however, now came to a head, and completely put an end to
the hope that China under the Manchus might embrace the Roman Catholic
faith. The question was this: May converts to Christianity continue
the worship of ancestors? Ricci, the famous Jesuit, who died in 1610,
and who is the only foreigner mentioned by name in the dynastic
histories of China, was inclined to regard worship of ancestors more
as a civil than a religious rite. He probably foresaw, as indeed time
has shown, that ancestral worship would prove to be an insuperable
obstacle to many inquirers, if they were called upon to discard it
once and for all; at the same time, he must have known that an
invocation to spirits, coupled with the hope of obtaining some benefit
therefrom, is /worship/ pure and simple, and cannot be explained away
as an unmeaning ceremony.

Against the Jesuits in this matter were arrayed the Dominicans and
Franciscans; and the two parties fought the question before several
Popes, sometimes one side carrying its point, and sometimes the other.
At length, in 1698, a fresh petition was forwarded by the Jesuit order
in China, asking the Pope to sanction the practice of this rite by
native Christians, and also praying that the Chinese language might be
used in the celebration of mass. K`ang Hsi supported the Jesuits in
the view that ancestral worship was a harmless ceremony; but after
much wrangling, and the dispatch of a Legate to the Manchu court, the
Pope decided against the Jesuits and their Imperial ally. This was too
much for the pride of K`ang Hsi, and he forthwith declared that in
future he would only allow facilities for preaching to those priests
who shared his view. In 1716, an edict was issued, banishing all
missionaries unless excepted as above. The Emperor had indeed been
annoyed by another ecclesiastical squabble, on a minor scale of
importance, which had been raging almost simultaneously round the
choice of an appropriate Chinese term for God. The term approved, if
not suggested, by K`ang Hsi, and indisputably the right one, as shown
by recent research, was set aside by the Pope in 1704 in favour of one
which was supposed for a long time to have been coined for the
purpose, but which had really been applied for many centuries
previously to one of the eight spirits of ancient mythology.

In addition to his military campaigns, K`ang Hsi carried out several
journeys of considerable length, and managed to see something of the
empire beyond the walls of Peking. He climbed the famous mountain,
T`ai-shan, in Shantung, the summit of which had been reached in 219
B.C. by the famous First Emperor, burner of the books and part builder
of the Great Wall, and where a century later another Emperor had
instituted the mysterious worship of Heaven and Earth. The ascent of
T`ai-shan had been previously accomplished by only six Emperors in
all, the last of whom went up in the year 1008; since K`ang Hsi no
further Imperial attempts have been made, so that his will close the
list in connexion with the Manchu dynasty. It was on this occasion too
that he visited the tomb of Confucius, also in Shantung.

The vagaries of the Yellow River, named "China's Sorrow" by a later
Emperor, were always a source of great anxiety to K`ang Hsi; so much
so that he paid a personal visit to the scene, and went carefully into
the various plans for keeping the waters to a given course. Besides
causing frequently recurring floods, with immense loss of life and
property, this river has a way of changing unexpectedly its bed; so
lately as 1856, it turned off at right angles near the city of K`ai-
fng, in Honan, and instead of emptying itself into the Yellow Sea
about latitude 34, found a new outlet in the Gulf of Peichili,
latitude 38.

K`ang Hsi several times visited Hangchow, returning to Tientsin by the
Grand Canal, a distance of six hundred and ninety miles. This canal,
it will be remembered, was designed and executed under Kublai Khan in
the thirteenth century, and helped to form an almost unbroken line of
water communication between Peking and Canton. At Hangchow, during one
visit, he held an examination of all the (so-called) B.A.'s and
M.A.'s, especially to test their poetical skill; and he also did the
same at Soochow and Nanking, taking the opportunity, while at Nanking,
to visit the mausoleum of the founder of the Ming dynasty, who lies
buried near by, and whose descendants had been displaced by the
Manchus. Happily for K`ang Hsi's complacency, the book of fate is
hidden from Emperors, as well as from subjects,--

All but the page prescribed, their present state

and he was unable to foresee another visit paid to that mausoleum two
hundred and seven years later, under very different conditions, to
which we shall come in due course.

The census has always been an important institution in China. Without
going back so far as the legendary golden age, the statistics of which
have been invented by enthusiasts, we may accept unhesitatingly such
records as we find subsequent to the Christian era, on the
understanding that these returns are merely approximate. They could
hardly be otherwise, inasmuch as the Chinese count families and not
heads, roughly allowing five souls to each household. This plan yields
a total of rather over fifty millions for the year A.D. 156, and one
hundred and five millions for the fortieth year of the reign of K`ang
Hsi, 1701.

No record of this Emperor, however brief, could fail to notice the
literary side of his character, and his extraordinary achievements in
this direction. It is almost paradoxical, though absolutely true, that
two Manchu Emperors, sprung from a race which but a few decades before
had little thought for anything beyond war and the chase, and which
had not even a written language of its own, should have conferred more
benefits upon the student of literature than all the rest of China's
Emperors put together. The literature in question is, of course,
Chinese literature. Manchu was the court language, spoken as well as
written, for many years after 1644, and down to quite recent times all
official documents were in duplicate, one copy in Chinese and one in
Manchu; but a Manchu literature can hardly be said to exist, beyond
translations of all the most important Chinese works. The Manchu
dynasty is an admirable illustration of the old story: conquerors
taken captive by the conquered.

At this moment, the term "K`ang Tsi" is daily on the lips of every
student of the Chinese language, native or foreign, throughout the
empire. This is due to the fact that the Emperor caused to be produced
under his own personal superintendence, on a more extensive scale and
a more systematic plan than any previous work of the kind, a lexicon
of the Chinese language, containing over forty thousand characters,
with numerous illustrative phrases chronologically arranged, the
spelling of each character according to the method introduced by
Buddhist teachers and first used in the third century, the tones,
various readings, etc., etc., altogether a great work and still
without a rival at the present day.

It would be tedious even to enumerate all the various literary
undertakings conceived and carried out under the direction of K`ang
Hsi; but there are two works in particular which cannot be passed
over. One of these is the huge illustrated encyclopdia in which
everything which has ever been said upon each of a vast array of
subjects is brought into a systematized book of reference, running to
many hundred volumes, and being almost a complete library in itself.
It was printed, after the death of K`ang Hsi, from movable copper
types. The other is, if anything, a still more extraordinary though
not such a voluminous work. It is a concordance to all literature; not
of words, but of phrases. A student meeting with an unfamiliar
combination of characters can turn to its pages and find every passage
given, in sufficient fullness, where the phrase in question has been
used by poet, historian, or essayist.

The last years of K`ang Hsi were beclouded by family troubles. For
some kind of intrigue, in which magic played a prominent part, he had
been compelled to degrade the Heir Apparent, and to appoint another
son to the vacant post; but a year or two later, this son was found to
be mentally deranged, and was placed under restraint. So things went
on for several more years, the Emperor apparently unable to make up
his mind as to the choice of a successor; and it was not until the
last day of his life that he finally decided in favour of his fourth
son. Dying in 1723, his reign had already extended beyond the Chinese
cycle of sixty years, a feat which no Emperor of China, in historical
times, had ever before achieved, but which was again to be
accomplished, before the century was out, by his grandson.



The fourth son of K`ang Hsi came to the throne under the year-title of
Yung Chng (harmonious rectitude). He was confronted with serious
difficulties from the very first. Dissatisfaction prevailed among his
numerous brothers, at least one of whom may have felt that he had a
better claim to rule than his junior in the family. This feeling
culminated in a plot to dethrone Yung Chng, which was, however,
discovered in time, and resulted only in the degradation of the guilty
brothers. The fact that among his opponents were native Christians--
some say that the Jesuits were at the bottom of all the mischief--
naturally influenced the Emperor against Christianity; no fewer than
three hundred churches were destroyed, and all Catholic missionaries
were thenceforward obliged to live either at Peking or at Macao. In
1732 he thought of expelling them altogether; but finding that they
were enthusiastic teachers of filial piety, he left them alone, merely
prohibiting fresh recruits from coming to China.

These domestic troubles were followed by a serious rebellion in
Kokonor, which was not fully suppressed until the next reign; also by
an outbreak among the aborigines of Kueichow and Ynnan, which lasted
until three years later, when the tribesmen were brought under
Imperial rule.

A Portuguese envoy, named Magalhaens (or Magaillans), visited Peking
in 1727, bearing presents for the Emperor; but nothing very much
resulted from his mission. In 1730, in addition to terrible floods,
there was a severe earthquake, which lasted ten days, and in which one
hundred thousand persons are said to have lost their lives. In 1735,
Yung Chng's reign came to an end amid sounds of a further outbreak of
the aborigines in Kueichow. Before his death, he named his fourth son,
then only fifteen, as his successor, under the regency of two of the
boy's uncles and two Grand Secretaries, one of the latter being a
distinguished scholar, who was entrusted with the preparation of the
history of the Ming dynasty. Yung Chng's name has always been
somewhat unfairly associated by foreigners with a bitter hostility to
the Catholic priests of his day, simply because he refused to allow
them a free hand in matters outside their proper sphere. Altogether,
it may be said that he was a just and public-spirited ruler, anxious
for his people's welfare. He hated war, and failed to carry on his
father's vigorous policy in Central Asia; nevertheless, by 1730,
Chinese rule extended to the Laos border, and the Shan States paid
tribute. He was a man of letters, and completed some of his father's

Yung Chng's successor was twenty-five years of age when he came to
the throne with the year-title of Ch`ien Lung (or Kien Long = enduring
glory), and one of his earliest acts was to forbid the propagation of
Christian doctrine, a prohibition which developed between 1746 and
1785 into active persecution of its adherents. The first ten years of
this reign were spent chiefly in internal reorganization; the
remainder, which covered half a century, was almost a continuous
succession of wars. The aborigines of Kueichow, known as the Miao-
Tz{u}, offered a determined resistance to all attempts to bring them
under the regular administration; and although they were ultimately
conquered, it was deemed advisable not to insist upon the adoption of
the queue, and also to leave them a considerable measure of self-
government. Acting under Manchu guidance, chiefs and leading tribesmen
were entrusted with important executive offices; they had to keep the
peace among their people, and to collect the revenue of local produce
to be forwarded to Peking. These posts were hereditary. On the death
of the father, the eldest son proceeded to Peking and received his
appointment in person, together with his seal of office. Failing sons
or their children, brothers had the right of succession.

In 1741 the population was estimated by Pre Amiot, S.J., at over one
hundred and fifty millions, as against twenty-one million households
in 1701.

In 1753 there was trouble in Ili. After the death of Galdan II., son
of Arabtan, an attempt was made by one, Amursana, to usurp the
principality. He was, however, driven out, and fled to Peking, where
he was favourably received by Ch`ien Lung, and an army was sent to
reinstate him. With the subsequent settlement, under which he was to
have only one quarter of Ili, Amursana was profoundly dissatisfied,
and took the earliest opportunity of turning on his benefactors. He
murdered the Manchu-Chinese garrison and all the other Chinese he
could find, and proclaimed himself khan of the Eleuths. His triumph
was short-lived; another army was sent from Peking, this time against
him, and he fled into Russian territory, dying there soon afterwards
of smallpox. This campaign was lavishly illustrated by Chinese
artists, who produced a series of realistic pictures of the battles
and skirmishes fought by Ch`ien Lung's victorious troops. How far
these were prepared under the guidance of the Jesuit Fathers does not
seem to be known. About sixty years previously, under the reign of
K`ang Hsi, the Jesuits had carried out extensive surveys, and had
drawn fairly accurate maps of Chinese territory, which had been sent
to Paris and there engraved on copper by order of Louis XIV. In like
manner, the pictures now in question were forwarded to Paris and
engraved, between 1769 and 1774, by skilled draughtsmen, as may be
gathered from the lettering at the foot of each; for instance--/Grav
par J. P. Le Bas, graveur du cabinet du roi/ (Cambridge University

Kuldja and Kashgaria were next added to the empire, and Manchu
supremacy was established in Tibet. Burma and Nepal were forced to pay
tribute, after a disastrous war (1766-1770) with the former country,
in which a Chinese army had been almost exterminated; rebellions in
Ss{u}ch`uan (1770), Shantung (1777), and Formosa (1786) were

Early in the eighteenth century, the Turguts, a branch of the Kalmuck
Tartars, unable to endure the oppressive tyranny of their rulers,
trekked into Russia, and settled on the banks of the Volga. Some
seventy years later, once more finding the burden of taxation too
heavy, they again organized a trek upon a colossal scale. Turning
their faces eastward, they spent a whole year of fearful suffering and
privation in reaching the confines of Ili, a terribly diminished host.
There they received a district, and were placed under the jurisdiction
of a khan. This journey has been dramatically described by De Quincey
in an essay entitled "Revolt of the Tartars, or Flight of the Kalmuck
Khan and his people from the Russian territories to the Frontiers of
China." Of this contribution to literature it is only necessary to
remark that the scenes described, and especially the numbers
mentioned, must be credited chiefly to the perfervid imagination of
the essayist, and also to certain not very trustworthy documents sent
home by Pre Amiot. It is probable that about one hundred and sixty
thousand Turguts set out on that long march, of whom only some seventy
thousand reached their goal.

In 1781, the Dungans (or Tungans) of Shensi broke into open rebellion,
which was suppressed only after huge losses to the Imperialists. These
Dungans were Mahometan subjects of China, who in very early times had
colonized, under the name of Gao-tchan, in Kansuh and Shensi, and
subsequently spread westward into Turkestan. Some say that they were a
distinct race, who, in the fifth and sixth centuries, occupied the
Tian Shan range, with their capital at Harashar. The name, however,
means, in the dialect of Chinese Tartary, "converts," that is, to
Mahometanism, to which they were converted in the days of Timour by an
Arabian adventurer. We shall hear of them again in a still more
serious connexion.

Eight years later there was a revolution in Cochin-China. The king
fled to China, and Ch`ien Lung promptly espoused his cause, sending an
army to effect his restoration. This was no sooner accomplished than
the chief Minister rebelled, and, rapidly attracting large numbers to
his standard, succeeded in cutting off the retreat of the Chinese
force. Ch`ien Lung then sent another army, whereupon the rebel
Minister submitted, and humbled himself so completely that the Emperor
appointed him to be king instead of the other. After this, the
Annamese continued to forward tribute, but it was deemed advisable to
cease from further interference with their government.

The next trouble was initiated by the Gurkhas, who, in 1790, raided
Tibet. On being defeated and pursued by a Chinese army, they gave up
all the booty taken, and entered into an agreement to pay tribute once
every five years.

The year 1793 was remarkable for the arrival of an English embassy
under Lord Macartney, who was received in audience by the Emperor at
Jehol (= hot river), an Imperial summer residence lying about a
hundred miles north of Peking, beyond the Great Wall. It had been
built in 1780 after the model of the palace of the Panshen Erdeni at
Tashilumbo, in Tibet, when that functionary, the spiritual ruler of
Tibet, as opposed to the Dalai Lama, who is the secular ruler,
proceeded to Peking to be present on the seventieth anniversary of
Ch`ien Lung's birthday. Two years later, the aged Emperor, who had,
like his grandfather, completed his cycle of sixty years on the
throne, abdicated in favour of his son, dying in retirement some four
years after. These two monarchs, K`ang Hsi and Ch`ien Lung, were among
the ablest, not only of Manchu rulers, but of any whose lot it has
been to shape the destinies of China. Ch`ien Lung was an indefatigable
administrator, a little too ready perhaps to plunge into costly
military expeditions, and somewhat narrow in the policy he adopted
towards the "outside barbarians" who came to trade at Canton and
elsewhere, but otherwise a worthy rival of his grandfather's fame as a
sovereign and patron of letters. From the long list of works, mostly
on a very extensive scale, produced under his supervision, may be
mentioned the new and revised editions of the Thirteen Classics of
Confucianism and of the Twenty-Four Dynastic Histories. In 1772 a
search was instituted under Imperial orders for all literary works
worthy of preservation, and high provincial officials vied with one
another in forwarding rare and important works to Peking. The result
was the great descriptive Catalogue of the Imperial Library, arranged
under the four heads of Classics (Confucianism), History, Philosophy,
and General Literature, in which all the facts known about each work
are set forth, coupled with judicious critical remarks,--an
achievement which has hardly a parallel in any literature in the



Ch`ien Lung's son, who reigned as Chia Ch`ing (high felicity--not to
be confounded with Chia Ching of the Ming dynasty, 1522-1567), found
himself in difficulties from the very start. The year of his accession
was marked by a rising of the White Lily Society, one of the dreaded
secret associations with which China is, and always has been,
honeycombed. The exact origin of this particular society is not known.
A White Lily Society was formed in the second century A.D. by a
certain Taoist patriarch, and eighteen members were accustomed to
assemble at a temple in modern Kiangsi for purposes of meditation. But
this seems to have no connexion with the later sect, of which we first
hear in 1308, when its existence was prohibited, its shrines
destroyed, and its votaries forced to return to ordinary life. Members
of the fraternity were then believed to possess a knowledge of the
black art; and later on, in 1622, the society was confounded by
Chinese officials in Shantung with Christianity. In the present
instance, it is said that no fewer than thirty thousand adherents were
executed before the trouble was finally suppressed; from which
statement it is easy to gather that under whatever form the White Lily
Society may have been originally initiated, its activities were now of
a much more serious character, and were, in fact, plainly directed
against the power and authority of the Manchus.

Almost from this very date may be said to have begun that turn of the
tide which was to reach its flood a hundred years afterwards. The
Manchus came into power, as conquerors by force of arms, at a time
when the mandate of the previous dynasty had been frittered away in
corruption and misrule; and although to the Chinese eye they were
nothing more than "stinking Tartars," there were not wanting many glad
enough to see a change of rule at any price. Under the first Emperor,
Shun Chih, there was barely time to find out what the new dynasty was
going to do; then came the long and glorious reign of K`ang Hsi,
followed, after the thirteen harmless years of Yung Chng, by the
equally long and equally glorious reign of Ch`ien Lung. The Chinese
people, who, strictly speaking, govern themselves in the most
democratic of all republics, have not the slightest objection to the
Imperial tradition, which has indeed been their continuous heritage
from remotest antiquity, provided that public liberties are duly
safeguarded, chiefly in the sense that there shall always be equal
opportunities for all. They are quick to discover the character of
their rulers, and discovery in an unfavourable direction leads to an
early alteration of popular thought and demeanour. At the beginning of
the seventeenth century, they had tired of eunuch oppression and
unjust taxation, and they naturally hailed the genuine attempt in 1662
to get rid of eunuchs altogether, coupled with the persistent attempts
of K`ang Hsi, and later of Ch`ien Lung, to lighten the burdens of
revenue which weighed down the energies of all. But towards the end of
his reign Ch`ien Lung had become a very old man; and the gradual decay
of his powers of personal supervision opened a way for the old abuses
to creep in, bringing in their train the usual accompaniment of
popular discontent.

The Emperor Chia Ch`ing, a worthless and dissolute ruler, never
commanded the confidence of his people as his great predecessors had
done, nor had he the same confidence in them. This want of mutual
trust was not confined to his Chinese subjects only. In 1799, Ho-shn,
a high Manchu official who had been raised by Ch`ien Lung from an
obscure position to be a Minister of State and Grand Secretary, was
suspected, probably without a shadow of evidence, of harbouring
designs upon the throne. He was seized and tried, nominally for
corruption and undue familiarity, and was condemned to death, being
allowed as an act of grace to commit suicide.

In 1803 the Emperor was attacked in the streets of Peking; and ten
years later there was a serious outbreak organised by a secret society
in Honan, known as the Society of Divine Justice, and alternatively as
the White Feather Society, from the badge worn by those members who
took part in the actual movement, which happened as follows. An attack
upon the palace during the Emperor's absence on a visit to the
Imperial tombs was arranged by the leaders, who represented a
considerable body of malcontents, roused by the wrongs which their
countrymen were suffering all over the empire at the hands of their
Manchu rulers. By promises of large rewards and appointments to
lucrative offices when the Manchus should be got rid of, the collusion
of a number of the eunuchs was secured; and on a given day some four
hundred rebels, disguised as villagers carrying baskets of fruit in
which arms were concealed, collected about the gates of the palace.
Some say that one of the leaders was betrayed, others that the eunuchs
made a mistake in the date; at any rate there was a sudden rush on the
part of the conspirators, the guards at the gates were overpowered,
every one who was not wearing a white feather was cut down, and the
palace seemed to be at the mercy of the rebels. The latter, however,
were met by a desperate resistance from the young princes, who shot
down several of them, and thus alarmed the soldiers. Assistance was
promptly at hand, and the rebels were all killed or captured.
Immediate measures were taken to suppress the Society, of which it is
said that over twenty thousand members were executed, and as many more
sent in exile to Ili.

Not one, however, of the numerous secret societies, which from time to
time have flourished in China, can compare for a moment either in
numbers or organization with the formidable association known as the
Heaven and Earth Society, and also as the Triad Society, or Hung
League, which dates from the reign of Yung Chng, and from first to
last has had one definite aim,--the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty.

The term "Triad" signifies the harmonious union of heaven (q.d. God),
earth, and man; and members of the fraternity communicate to one
another the fact of membership by pointing first up to the sky, then
down to the ground, and last to their own hearts. The Society was
called the Hung League, because all the members adopted Hung as a
surname, a word which suggests the idea of a cataclysm. By a series of
lucky chances the inner working of this Society became known about
fifty years ago, when a mass of manuscripts containing the history of
the Society, its ritual, oaths, and secret signs, together with an
elaborate set of drawings of flags and other regalia, fell into the
hands of the Dutch Government at Batavia. These documents, translated
by Dr. G. Schlegel, disclose an extraordinary similarity in many
respects between the working of Chinese lodges and the working of
those which are more familiar to us as temples of the Ancient Order of
Free and Accepted Masons. Such points of contact, however, as may be
discoverable, are most probably mere coincidences; if not, and if, as
is generally understood, the ritual of the European craft was
concocted by Cagliostro, then it follows that he must have borrowed
from the Chinese, and not the Chinese from him. The use of the square
and compasses as symbols of moral rectitude, which forms such a
striking feature of European masonry, finds no place in the ceremonial
of the Triad Society, although recognized as such in Chinese
literature from the days of Confucius, and still so employed in the
every-day colloquial of China.

In 1816 Lord Amherst's embassy reached Peking. Its object was to
secure some sort of arrangement under which British merchants might
carry on trade after a more satisfactory manner than had been the case
hitherto. The old Co-hong, a system first established in 1720, under
which certain Chinese merchants at Canton became responsible to the
local authorities for the behaviour of the English merchants, and to
the latter for all debts due to them, had been so complicated by
various oppressive laws, that at one time the East India Company had
threatened to stop all business. Lord Amherst, however, accomplished
nothing in the direction of reform. From the date of his landing at
Tientsin, he was persistently told that unless he agreed to perform
the /kotow/, he could not possibly be permitted to an audience. It was
probably his equally persistent refusal to do so--a ceremonial which
had been excused by Ch`ien Lung in the case of Lord Macartney--that
caused the Ministers to change their tactics, and to declare, on Lord
Amherst's arrival at the Summer Palace, tired and wayworn, that the
Emperor wished to see him immediately. Not only had the presents, of
which he was the bearer, not arrived at the palace, but he and his
suite, among whom were Sir George Stanton, Dr Morrison, and Sir John
Davids, had not received the trunks containing their uniforms. It was
therefore impossible for the ambassador to present himself before the
Emperor, and he flatly refused to do so; whereupon he received orders
to proceed at once to the sea-coast, and take himself off to his own
country. A curious comment on this fiasco was made by Napoleon, who
thought that the English Government had acted wrongly in not having
ordered Lord Amherst to comply with the custom of the place he was
sent to; otherwise, he should not have been sent at all. "It is my
opinion that whatever is the custom of a nation, and is practised by
the first characters of that nation towards their chief, cannot
degrade strangers who perform the same."

In 1820 Chia Ch`ing died, after a reign of twenty-five years, notable,
if for nothing else, as marking the beginning of Manchu decadence,
evidence of which is to be found in the unusually restless temper of
the people, and even in such apparent trifles as the abandonment of
the annual hunting excursions, always before carried out on an
extensive scale, and presenting, as it were, a surviving indication of
former Manchu hardihood and personal courage. He was succeeded by his
second son, who was already forty years of age, and whose hitherto
secluded life had ill-prepared him for the difficult problems he was
shortly called upon to face.



Tao Kuang (glory of right principle), as he is called, from the style
chosen for his reign, gave promise of being a useful and enlightened
ruler; at the least a great improvement on his father. He did his best
at first to purify the court, but his natural indolence stood in the
way of any real reform, and with the best intentions in the world he
managed to leave the empire in a still more critical condition than
that in which he had found it. Five years after his accession, his
troubles began in real earnest. There was a rising of the people in
Kashgaria, due to criminal injustice practised over a long spell of
time on the part of the Chinese authorities. The rebels found a leader
in the person of Jehangir, who claimed descent from one of the old
native chiefs, formerly recognized by the Manchu Emperors, but now
abolished as such. Thousands flocked to his standard; and by the time
an avenging army could arrive on the scene, he was already master of
the country. During the campaign which followed, his men were defeated
in battle after battle; and at length he himself was taken prisoner
and forwarded to Peking, where he failed to defend his conduct, and
was put to death.

The next serious difficulty which confronted the Emperor was a rising,
in 1832, of the wild Miao tribes of Kuangsi and Hunan, led by a man
who either received or adopted the title of the Golden Dragon. At the
bottom of all the trouble we find, as usually to be expected
henceforward, the secret activities of the far-reaching Triad Society,
which seized the occasion to foment into open rebellion the
dissatisfaction of the tribesmen with the glaring injustice they were
suffering at the hands of the local authorities. After some initial
massacres and reprisals, a general was sent to put an end to the
outbreak; but so far from doing this, he seems to have come off second
best in most of the battles which ensued, and was finally driven into
Kuang-tung. For this he was superseded, and two Commissioners
dispatched to take charge of further operations. It occurred to these
officials that possibly persuasion might succeed where violence had
failed; and accordingly a proclamation was widely circulated,
promising pardon and redress of wrongs to all who would at once return
to their allegiance, and pointing out at the same time the futility of
further resistance. The effect of this move was magical; within a few
days the rebellion was over.

We are now reaching a period at which European complications began to
be added to the more legitimate worries of a Manchu Emperor. Trade
with the Portuguese, the Spaniards, the Dutch, and the English, had
been carried on since the early years of the sixteenth century, but in
a very haphazard kind of way, and under many vexatious restrictions,
bribery being the only effectual means of bringing commercial ventures
to a successful issue. So far back as 1680, the East India Company had
received its charter, and commercial relations with Chinese merchants
could be entered into by British subjects only through this channel.
Such machinery answered its purpose very well for a long period; but a
monopoly of the kind became out of date as time went on, and in 1834
it ceased altogether. The Company was there for the sake of trade, and
for nothing else; and one of its guiding principles was avoidance of
any acts which might wound Chinese susceptibilities, and tend to
defeat the object of its own existence. Consequently, the directors
would not allow opium to be imported in their vessels; neither were
they inclined to patronize missionary efforts. It is true that
Morrison's dictionary was printed at the expense of the Company, when
the punishment for a native teaching a foreigner the Chinese language
was death; but no pecuniary assistance was forthcoming when the same
distinguished missionary attempted to translate the Bible for
distribution in China.

The Manchus, who had themselves entered the country as robbers of the
soil and spoliators of the people, were determined to do their best to
keep out all future intruders; and it was for this reason that,
suspicious of the aims of the barbarian, every possible obstacle was
placed in the way of those who wished to learn to speak and read
Chinese. This suspicion was very much increased in the case of
missionaries, whose real object the Manchus failed to appreciate, and
behind whose plea of religious propagandism they thought they detected
a deep-laid scheme for territorial aggression, to culminate of course
in their own overthrow; and already in 1805 an edict had been issued,
strictly forbidding anyone to teach even Manchu to any foreigner.

From this date (1834), any British subject was free to engage in the
trade, and the Home Government sent out Lord Napier to act as Chief
Superintendent, and to enter into regular diplomatic relations with
the Chinese authorities. Lord Napier, however, even though backed by a
couple of frigates, was unable to gain admission to the city of
Canton, and after a demonstration, the only result of which was to
bring all business to a standstill, he was finally obliged in the
general interest to retire. He went to Macao, a small peninsula to the
extreme south-west of the Kuangtung province, famous as the residence
of the poet Camoens, and there he died a month later. Macao was first
occupied by the Portuguese trading with China in 1557; though there is
a story that in 1517 certain Portuguese landed there under pretence of
drying some tribute presents to the Emperor, which had been damaged in
a storm, and proceeded to fortify their encampment, whereupon the
local officials built a wall across the peninsula, shutting off
further access to the mainland. It also appears that, in 1566, Macao
was actually ceded to the Portuguese on condition of payment of an
annual sum to China, which payment ceased after trouble between the
two countries in 1849.

The next few years were employed by the successors of Lord Napier in
endeavours, often wrongly directed, to establish working, if not
harmonious, relations with the Chinese authorities; but no
satisfactory point was reached, for the simple reason that recent
events had completely confirmed the officials and the people in their
old views as to the relative status of the barbarians and themselves.

It is worth noticing here that Russia, with her conterminous and ever-
advancing frontier, has always been regarded somewhat differently from
the oversea barbarian. She has continually during the past three
centuries been the dreaded foreign bogy of the Manchus; and a few
years back, when Manchus and Chinese alike fancied that their country
was going to be "chopped up like a melon" and divided among western
nations, a warning geographical cartoon was widely circulated in
China, showing Russia in the shape of a huge bear stretching down from
the north and clawing the vast areas of Mongolia and Manchuria to

Now, to aggravate the already difficult situation, the opium question
came suddenly to the front in an acute form. For a long time the
import of opium had been strictly forbidden by the Government, and for
an equally long time smuggling the drug in increasing quantities had
been carried on in a most determined manner until, finally, swift
vessels with armed crews, sailing under foreign flags, succeeded in
terrorizing the native revenue cruisers, and so delivering their
cargoes as they pleased. It appears that the Emperor Tao Kuang, who
had sounded the various high authorities on the subject, was genuinely
desirous of putting an end to the import of opium, and so checking the
practice of opium-smoking, which was already assuming dangerous
proportions; and in this he was backed up by Captain Elliot
(afterwards Sir Charles Elliot), now Superintendent of Trade, an
official whose vacillating policy towards the Chinese authorities did
much to precipitate the disasters about to follow. After a serious
riot had been provoked, in which the foreign merchants of Canton
narrowly escaped with their lives, and to quell which it was necessary
to call out the soldiery, the Emperor decided to put a definite stop
to the opium traffic; and for this purpose he appointed one of his
most distinguished servants, at that time Viceroy of Hukuang, and
afterwards generally known as Commissioner Lin, a name much reverenced
by the Chinese as that of a true patriot, and never mentioned even by
foreigners without respect. Early in 1839, Lin took up the post of
Viceroy of Kuangtung, and immediately initiated an attack which, to
say the least of it, deserved a better fate.

Within a few days a peremptory order was made for the delivery of all
opium in the possession of foreign merchants at Canton. This demand
was resisted, but for a short time only. All the foreign merchants,
together with Captain Elliot, who had gone up to Canton specially to
meet the crisis, found themselves prisoners in their own houses,
deprived of servants and even of food. Then Captain Elliot undertook,
on behalf of his Government, to indemnify British subjects for their
losses; whereupon no fewer than twenty thousand two hundred and
ninety-one chests of opium were surrendered to Commissioner Lin, and
the incident was regarded by the Chinese as closed. On receipt of the
Emperor's instructions, the whole of this opium, for which the owners
received orders on the Treasury at the rate of 120 per chest, was
mixed with lime and salt water, and was entirely destroyed.

Lin's subsequent demands were so arbitrary that at length the English
mercantile community retired altogether from Canton, and after a
futile attempt to settle at Macao, where their presence, owing to
Chinese influence with the Portuguese occupiers, was made unwelcome,
they finally found a refuge at Hongkong, then occupied only by a few
fishermen's huts. Further negotiations as to the renewal of trade
having fallen through, Lin gave orders for all British ships to leave
China within three days, which resulted in a fight between two men-of-
war and twenty-nine war-junks, in which the latter were either sunk or
driven off with great loss. In June, 1840, a British fleet of
seventeen men-of-war and twenty-seven troopships arrived at Hongkong;
Canton was blockaded; a port on the island of Chusan was subsequently
occupied; and Lord Palmerston's letter to the Emperor was carried to
Tientsin, and delivered there to the Viceroy of Chihli. Commissioner
Lin was now cashiered for incompetency; but was afterwards instructed
to act with the Viceroy of Chihli, who was sent down to supersede him.
Further vexatious action, or rather inaction, on the part of these two
at length drove Captain Elliot to an ultimatum; and as no attention
was paid to this, the Bogue forts near the mouth of the Canton river
were taken by the British fleet, after great slaughter of the Chinese.
In January, 1841, a treaty of peace was arranged, under which the
island of Hongkong was to be ceded to England, a sum of over a million
pounds was to be paid for the opium destroyed, and satisfactory
concessions were to be made in the matter of official intercourse
between the two nations. The Emperor refused ratification, and ordered
the extermination of the barbarians to be at once proceeded with.
Again the Bogue forts were captured, and Canton would have been
occupied but for another promised treaty, the terms of which were
accepted by Sir Henry Pottinger, who now superseded Elliot. At this
juncture the British fleet sailed northwards, capturing Amoy and
Ningpo, and occupying the island of Chusan. The further capture of
Chapu, where munitions of war in huge quantities were destroyed, was
followed by similar successes at Shanghai and Chinkiang. At the last-
mentioned, a desperate resistance was offered by the Manchu garrison,
who fought heroically against certain defeat, and who, when all hope
was gone, committed suicide in large numbers rather than fall into the
hands of the enemy, from whom, in accordance with prevailing ideas and
with what would have been their own practice, they expected no
quarter. The Chinese troops, as distinguished from the Manchus,
behaved differently; they took to their heels before a shot had been
fired. This behaviour, which seems to be nothing more than arrant
cowardice, is nevertheless open to a more favourable interpretation.
The yoke of the Manchu dynasty was already beginning to press heavily,
and these men felt that they had no particular cause to fight for,
certainly not such a personal cause as then stared the Manchus in the
face. The Manchu soldiers were fighting for their all: their very
supremacy was at stake; while many of the Chinese troops were members
of the Triad Society, the chief object of which was to get rid of the
alien dynasty. It is thus, too, that we can readily explain the
assistance afforded to the enemy by numerous Cantonese, and the
presence of many as servants on board the vessels of our fleet; they
did not help us or accompany us from any lack of patriotism, of which
virtue Chinese annals have many striking examples to show, but because
they were entirely out of sympathy with their rulers, and would have
been glad to see them overthrown, coupled of course with the tempting
pay and good treatment offered by the barbarian.

It now remained to take Nanking, and thither the fleet proceeded in
August, 1842, with that purpose in view. This move the Chinese
authorities promptly anticipated by offering to come to terms in a
friendly way; and in a short time conditions of peace were arranged
under an important instrument, known as the Treaty of Nanking. Its
chief clauses provided for the opening to British trade of Canton,
Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai, at which all British subjects
were to enjoy the rights of extraterritoriality, being subject to the
jurisdiction of their own officials only; also, for the cession to
England of the island of Hongkong, and for the payment of a lump sum
of about five million pounds as compensation for loss of opium,
expenses of the war, etc. All prisoners were to be released, and there
was a special amnesty for such Chinese as had given their services to
the British during the war. An equality of status between the
officials of both nations was further conceded, and suitable rules
were to be drawn up for the regulation of trade. The above treaty
having been duly ratified by Tao Kuang and by Queen Victoria, it must
then have seemed to British merchants that a new and prosperous era
had really dawned. But they counted without the ever-present desire of
the great bulk of the Chinese people to see the last of the Manchus;
and the Triad Society, stimulated no doubt by the recent British
successes, had already shown signs of unusual activity when, in 1850,
the Emperor died, and was succeeded by his fourth son, who reigned
under the title of Hsien Fng (or Hien Fong = universal plenty).



Hsien Fng came to the throne at the age of nineteen, and found
himself in possession of a heritage which showed evident signs of
going rapidly to pieces. His father, in the opinion of many competent
Chinese, had been sincerely anxious for the welfare of his country; on
the other hand, he had failed to learn anything from the lessons he
had received at the hands of foreigners, towards whom his attitude to
the last was of the bow-wow order. On one occasion, indeed, he
borrowed a classical phrase, and referring to the intrusions of the
barbarian, declared roundly that he would allow no man to snore
alongside of his bed. Brought up in this spirit, Hsien Fng had
already begun to exhibit an anti-foreign bias, when he found himself
in the throes of a struggle which speedily reduced the European
question to quite insignificant proportions.

A clever young Cantonese, named Hung Hsiu-ch`an, from whom great
things were expected, failed, in 1833, to secure the first degree at
the usual public examination. Four years later, when twenty-four years
of age, he made another attempt, only, however, to be once more
rejected. Chagrin at this second failure brought on melancholia, and
he began to see visions; and later on, while still in this depressed
state of mind, he turned his attention to some Christian tracts which
had been given to him on his first appearance at the examination, but
which he had so far allowed to remain unread. In these he discovered
what he thought were interpretations of his earlier dreams, and soon
managed to persuade himself that he had been divinely chosen to bring
to his countrymen a knowledge of the true God.

In one sense this would only have been reversion to a former
condition, for in ancient times a simple monotheism formed the whole
creed of the Chinese people; but Hung went much further, and after
having become head of a Society of God, he started a sect of
professing Christians, and set to work to collect followers, styling
himself the Brother of Christ. Gradually, the authorities became aware
of his existence, and also of the fact that he was drawing together a
following on a scale which might prove dangerous to the public peace.
It was then that force of circumstances changed his status from that
of a religious reformer to that of a political adventurer; and almost
simultaneously with the advent of Hsien Fng to the Imperial power,
the long-smouldering discontent with Manchu rule, carefully fostered
by the organization of the Triad society, broke into open rebellion. A
sort of holy war was proclaimed against the Manchus, stigmatized as
usurpers and idolaters, who were to be displaced by a native
administration, called the T`ai P`ing (great peace) Heavenly Dynasty,
at the head of which Hung placed himself, with the title of "Heavenly
King," in allusion to the Christian principles on which this new
departure was founded.

"Our Heavenly King," so ran the rebel proclamations, "has received a
divine commission to exterminate the Manchus utterly, men, women, and
children, with all idolaters, and to possess the empire as its true
sovereign. For the empire and everything in it is his; its mountains
and rivers, its broad lands and public treasuries; you and all that
you have, your family, males and females alike, from yourself to your
youngest child, and your property, from your patrimonial estates to
the bracelet on your infant's arm. We command the services of all, and
we take everything. All who resist us are rebels and idolatrous
demons, and we kill them without sparing; but whoever acknowledges our
Heavenly King and exerts himself in our service shall have full
reward,--due honour and station in the armies and court of the
Heavenly Dynasty."

The T`ai-p`ings now got rid of the chief outward sign of allegiance to
the Manchus, by ceasing to shave the forepart of the head, and
allowing all their hair to grow long, from which they were often
spoken of at the time--and the name still survives--as the long-haired
rebels. Their early successes were phenomenal; they captured city
after city, moving northwards through Kuangsi into Hunan, whence,
after a severe check at Ch`ang-sha, the provincial capital, the siege
of which they were forced to raise, they reached and captured, among
others, the important cities of Wu-ch`ang, Kiukiang, and An-ch`ing, on
the Yangtsze. The next stage was to Nanking, a city occupying an
important strategic position, and famous as the capital of the empire
in the fourth and fourteenth centuries. Here the Manchu garrison
offered but a feeble resistance, the only troops who fought at all
being Chinese; within ten days (March, 1853) the city was in the hands
of the T`ai-p`ings; all Manchus,--men, women, and children, said to
number no fewer than twenty thousand,--were put to the sword; and in
the same month, Hung was formally proclaimed first Emperor of the T`ai
P`ing Heavenly Dynasty, Nanking from this date receiving the name of
the Heavenly City. So far, the generals who had been sent to oppose
his progress had effected nothing. One of these was Commissioner Lin,
of opium fame, who had been banished and recalled, and was then living
in retirement after having successfully held several high offices. His
health was not equal to the effort, and he died on his way to take up
his post.

After the further capture of Chinkiang, a feat which created a
considerable panic at Shanghai, a force was detached from the main
body of the T`ai-p`ings, and dispatched north for no less a purpose
than the capture of Peking. Apparently a fool-hardy project, it was
one that came nearer to realization than the most sanguine outsider
could possibly have expected. The army reached Tientsin, which is only
eighty miles from the capital; but when there, a slight reverse,
together with other unexplained reasons, resulted in a return (1855)
of the troops without having accomplished their object. Meanwhile, the
comparative ease with which the T`ai-p`ings had set the Manchus at
defiance, and continued to hold their own, encouraged various
outbreaks in other parts of the empire; until at length more
systematic efforts were made to put a stop to the present impossible
condition of affairs.

Opportunity just now was rather on the side of the Imperialists, as
the futile expedition to Peking had left the rebels in a somewhat
aimless state, not quite knowing what to do next. It is true that they
were busy spreading the T`ai-p`ing conception of Christianity, in
establishing schools, and preparing an educational literature to meet
the exigencies of the time. They achieved the latter object by
building anew on the lines, but not in the spirit, of the old. Thus
the Trimetrical Classic, the famous schoolboy's handbook, a veritable
guide to knowledge in which a variety of subjects are lightly touched
upon, was entirely rewritten. The form, rhyming stanzas with three
words to each line, was preserved; but instead of beginning with the
familiar Confucian dogma that man's nature is entirely good at his
birth and only becomes depraved by later environment, we find the
story of the Creation, taken from the first chapter of Genesis.

By 1857, Imperialist troops were drawing close lines around the
rebels, who had begun to lose rather than to gain ground. An-ch`ing
and Nanking, the only two cities which remained to them, were
blockaded, and the Manchu plan was simply to starve the enemy out.
During this period we hear little of the Emperor, Hsien Fng; and what
we do hear is not to his advantage. He had become a confirmed
debauchee, in the hands of a degraded clique, whose only contribution
to the crisis was a suggested issue of paper money and debasement of
the popular coinage. Among his generals, however, there was now one,
whose name is still a household word all over the empire, and who
initiated the first checks which led to the ultimate suppression of
the rebellion. Tsng Kuo-fan had been already employed in high
offices, when, in 1853, he was first ordered to take up arms against
the T`ai-p`ings. After some reverses, he entered upon a long course of
victories by which the rebels were driven from most of their
strongholds; and in 1859, he submitted a plan for an advance on
Nanking, which was approved and ultimately carried out. Meanwhile, the
plight of the besieged rebels in Nanking had become so unbearable that
something had to be done. A sortie on a large scale was accordingly
organized, and so successful was it that the T`ai-p`ings not only
routed the besieging army, but were able to regain large tracts of
territory, capturing at the same time huge stores of arms and
munitions of war. These victories were in reality the death-blow to
the rebel cause, for the brutal cruelty then displayed to the people
at large was of such a character as to alienate completely the
sympathy of thousands who might otherwise have been glad to see the
end of the Manchus. Among other acts of desolation, the large and
beautiful city of Soochow was burnt and looted, an outrage for which
the T`ai-p`ings were held responsible, and regarding which there is a
pathetic tale told by an eye-witness of the ruins; in this instance,
however, if indeed in no others, the acts of vandalism in question
were committed by Imperialist soldiers.

It is with the T`ai-p`ing rebellion that we associate /likin/, a tax
which has for years past been the bugbear of the foreign merchant in
China. The term means "thousandth-part money," that is, the thousandth
part of a /tael/ or Chinese ounce of silver, say one /cash/; and it
was originally applied to a tax of one /cash/ per tael on all sales,
said to have been voluntarily imposed on themselves by the people, as
a temporary measure, with a view to make up the deficiency in the
land-tax caused by the rebellion. It was to be set apart for military
purposes only--hence its common name, "war-tax"; but it soon drifted
into the general body of taxation, and became a serious impost on
foreign trade. We first hear of it in 1852, as collected by the
Governor of Shantung; to hear the last of it has long been the dream
of those who wish to see the expansion of trade with China.

Tsng Kuo-fan was now (1860) appointed Imperial War Commissioner as
well as Viceroy of the Two Kiang (= provinces of Kiangsi and Kiangsu +
Anhui). He had already been made a /bataru/, a kind of order
instituted by the first Manchu Emperor Shun Chih, as a reward for
military prowess; and had also received the Yellow Riding Jacket from
the Emperor Hsien Fng, who drew off the jacket he was himself wearing
at the time, and placed it on the shoulders of the loyal and
successful general. In 1861 he succeeded in recapturing An-ch`ing and
other places; and with this city as his headquarters, siege was
forthwith laid to Nanking.

The Imperialist forces were at this juncture greatly strengthened by
the appointments, on Tsng's recommendation, of two notable men, Tso
Tsung-t`ang and Li Hung-chang, as Governors of Chehkiang and Kiangsu
respectively. Assistance, too, came from another and most unexpected
quarter. An American adventurer, named Ward, a man of considerable
military ability, organized a small force of foreigners, which he led
to such purpose against the T`ai-p`ings, that he rapidly gathered into
its ranks a large if motley crowd of foreigners and Chinese, all
equally bent on plunder, and with that end in view submitting to the
discipline necessary to success. A long run of victories gained for
this force the title of the Ever Victorious Army; until at length Ward
was killed in battle. He was buried at Sungkiang, near Shanghai, a
city which he had retaken from the T`ai-p`ings, and there a shrine was
erected to his memory, and for a long time--perhaps even now--
offerings were made to his departed spirit. An attempt was made to
replace him by another American named Burgevine, who had been Ward's
second in command. This man, however, was found to be incapable and
was superceded; and in 1863 Major Gordon, R.E., was allowed by the
British authorities to take over command of what was then an army of
about five thousand men, and to act in co-operation with Tsng Kuo-fan
and Li Hung-chang. Burgevine shortly afterwards went over to the
rebels with about three hundred men, and finally came to a tragic end.

Gordon's appointment to the work which will always be associated with
his name, was speedily followed by disastrous results to the T`ai-
p`ings. The Ever Victorious troops, who had recently been worsted in
more than one encounter with their now desperate enemies, began to
retrieve their reputation, greatly stimulated by the regular pay which
Gordon always insisted upon. Towards the close of the year, the siege
of Soochow ended in a capitulation on terms which Gordon understood to
include a pardon for the eight T`ai-p`ing "princes" engaged in its
defence. These eight were hurriedly decapitated by order of Li Hung-
chang, and Gordon immediately resigned, after having searched that
same night, so the story goes, revolver in hand, for Li Hung-chang,
whose brains he had determined to blow out on the spot. The Emperor
sent him a medal and a present of about 3,000, both of which he
declined; and Imperial affairs would again have been in a bad way, but
that Gordon, yielding to a sense of duty, agreed to resume command.
Foreign interests had begun to suffer badly; trade was paralysed; and
something had to be done. Further successes under Gordon's leadership
reduced the T`ai-p`ings to their last extremity. Only Nanking remained
to be captured, and that was already fully invested by Tsng Kuo-fan.
Gordon therefore laid down his command, and was rewarded with the
title of Provincial Commander-in-Chief, and also with the bestowal of
the Yellow Riding Jacket. A month or so later (July, 1864), Nanking
was carried by storm, defended bravely to the last by the only
remaining "prince," the Heavenly King himself having taken poison
three weeks beforehand. This prince escaped with the new king, a boy
of sixteen, who had just succeeded his father; but he was soon caught
and executed, having first been allowed time to write a short history
of the movement from the T`ai-p`ing point of view. The boy shared his
fate. The Imperial edicts of this date show clearly what a sense of
relief came over the Manchu court when once it could be said
definitively that the great rebellion was over. On the other hand,
there were not wanting some foreigners who would have liked to see the
Manchus overthrown, and who severely blamed the British Government for
helping to bolster up a dynasty already in the last stage of decay;
for it seems to be an indubitable fact that but for British
intervention, the rebellion would ultimately have succeeded in that
particular direction.

During a great part of the last eight years described above, an
ordinary observer would have said that the Manchus had already
sufficient troubles on hand, and would be slow to provoke further
causes of anxiety. It is none the less true, however, that at one of
the most critical periods of the rebellion, China was actually at war
with the very power which ultimately came to the rescue. In 1856 the
Viceroy of Canton, known to foreigners as Governor Yeh, a man who had
gained favour at the Manchu court by his wholesale butchery of real
and suspected rebels, arrested twelve Chinese sailors on board the
"Arrow," a Chinese-owned vessel lying at Canton, which had been
licensed at Hongkong to sail under the British flag, and at the same
time the flag was hauled down by Yeh's men. Had this been an isolated
act, it is difficult to see why very grave circumstances need have
followed, and perhaps Justin McCarthy's condemnation of our Consul, Mr
(afterwards Sir Harry) Parkes, as "fussy," because he sent at once to
Hongkong for armed assistance, might in such case be allowed to stand
unchallenged; but it must be remembered that Yeh was all the time
refusing to foreigners rights which had been already conceded under
treaty, and that action such as Parkes took, against an adversary such
as Yeh, was absolutely necessary either to mend or end the situation.
Accordingly, his action led to what was at first an awkward state of
reprisals, in which some American men-of-war joined for grievances of
their own; forts being attacked and occupied, the foreign houses of
business at Canton being burned down, and rewards offered for
foreigners' heads. In January, 1857, an attempt was actually made in
Hongkong to get rid of all foreigners at one fell stroke, in which
plot there is no doubt that the local officials at Canton were deeply
implicated. The bread was one day found to be poisoned with arsenic,
but so heavily that little mischief was done. The only possible end to
this tension was war; and by the end of the year a joint British and
French force, with Lord Elgin and Baron Gros as plenipotentiaries, was
on the spot. Canton was captured after a poor resistance; and Governor
Yeh, whose enormous bulk made escape difficult, was captured and
banished to Calcutta, where he died. On the voyage he sank into a kind
of stupor, taking no interest whatever in his new surroundings; and
when asked by Alabaster, who accompanied him as interpreter, why he
did not read, he pointed to his stomach, the Chinese receptacle for
learning, and said that there was nothing worth reading except the
Confucian Canon, and that he had already got all that inside him.
After his departure the government of the city was successfully
directed by British and French authorities, acting in concert with two
high Manchu officials.

Lord Elgin then decided to proceed forth, in the hope of being able to


Back to Full Books