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difficulty is not removed; for it is not the question if the Mongols at that time had fire-arms, but if they had explosive powder, i. e. gunpowder.
Now, notwithstanding all what has been alleged by different european authors against the use of gunpowder and fire-arms in China, I maintain that not only the Mongols in 1293 had cannon, but that they were already acquainted with them in 1232.
We read in the Pai Pien (published in 1581) that on the walls of the city of Si-ngan (in Shen-si) was preserved a long time an iron cannon, called "Heaven-shaking Thunder". It had the form of a closed roller, on the top of which was a hole (vent) scarcely wide enough to admit a finger, and which cannon was for a long time not employed in warfare. It was an engine belonging to the Kin Tatars when they held Pien (modern Khai-fung fu in Honan). In the Annals it is described as an iron canister, in which powder was put and kindled by fire, when the cannon went off, and the fire burst forth of it with a crashing sound as of thunder, which was audible at a distance of more than a hundred miles (about 33 engl. miles) and seared more than half a Chinese acre (about one twelfth of one english acre).
When the fire was lighted and it hit the iron cuirasses, they were all pierced 3).
The Kin Tatars occupied the city of Khai-fung in A.D. 1232, where they were besieged by the Mongols; and in the History of
3) 西安城上舊貯鐵砲、日震天雷。狀如合 硿(read 砣)。頂一孔、僅容指。軍中久不用。此 金人守汴之物也。史載鐵鑵(read礶)、盛藥、 以火點之。砲舉火發。其聲如雷、聞百里外。 所爇圍半畝以上。火點著鐵甲皆透。Vide稗編;
apud Encyclop., Chap. 42, Article p'ao or guns.
the Sung-dynasty, translated by de Mailla, Vol. IX, p. 166, the passage translated by us, is equally given, though only in transcription.
His translation runs: "Il y avait alors à Cai-fong-fou des Ho"pao ou Pao à feu, appelés Tchin-tien-lei, dans lesquels on mettait "de la poudre, qui prenant feu éclatait comme un coup de tonnerre "et se faisait entendre à plus de cent ly; son effet s'étendait à un "demi arpent de terre tout autour du lieu où il éclatait, et il n'y "avait aucune cuirasse de quelque bon fer qu'elle fût qu'il ne brisât "(read perçât)".
Mailla adds: "Outre cette terrible machine, les Kin avaient encore
“une espèce de javelot qu'ils appelaient Fei-ho-tsiang (KM), "c'est-à-dire javelot de feu qui vole; dès que la poudre qu'ils y met"taient prenait feu, il était poussé à plus de dix pas et faisait des "blessures mortelles. Ces deux machines étaient ce que les Mongous "craignaient le plus."
The Chinese text of the above is to be found in the * 本末(Wylie, p.22) and runs: 時有火礅名震天雷者。 用鐵罐盛藥、以火點之。礮響、火發。其聲如 雷、聞百里外。所爇圍半畝以上。火點着鐵 甲皆透。
又有飛火鎗。注藥、以火發之、輒前燒十餘 步。人亦不敢近.蒙古惟此二物。Chapt. 90,
fol. 4 verso.
The late W. F. MAYERS has also given a translation of these passages; but, as it seems, only after an excerpt in the Wu-pi-chi () in which the most important particulars are omitted, as will be easily seen by comparing his translation with mine and that of father De Mailla ).
4) See Journal of the China Branch Royal Asiatic Society, Shanghai 1871, Art. V,
I lay particularly stress upon the meaning of the character
, to pierce, to penetrate, the cuirasses, which Mayers translates by "no armour could withstand their shock" and De Mailla by "il n'y avait aucune cuirasse ... qu'il ne brisât." Evidently both authors shrinked from accepting the fact that the cannon of the Kin Tatars were loaded with bullets. only means to pierce, not to shock or to break. Examples taken at random from my DutchChinese Dictionary; the arrow pierced his head; 箭透過甲,the arrow went through his cuirass;透入骨 , it penetrates through marrow and bones;, it penetrates till the bottom;透心凉 cold piercing the heart;參透, to penetrate into, to fathom; R, with
an equal mood and quiet spirit one is able to penetrate into the affairs of the world;釘透, to pierce with nails: 雨從瓦間 A, the rain penetrated through the interstices of the tiles; , the moon-light penetrated through the window; 我看不透, I am not able to look through it; 放銃子打 , he fired a bullet through his head, etc.
If the missiles of these engines only smashed or broke the cuirasses, the historian would have written or, and not. As for the use of or, for balistas, we remark that the proper character for them is, "hurling Engine". I quote the following example from the history of Li Tsih (A.D. 594-669; Mayers, Chinese Reader's Manual N°. 372): Æ ★ ̄‚††¶*, Li Tsih put up balistas, which hurled big stones, and all what was hit by them was immediately crushed 3). The imperial dictionary of K'ang-hi defines the expression as 軍中以機發石日拋車, that wherewith in the army stones are thrown by a spring, is called a Balista (pʻao).
5) Vide, History of Corea in the Books of the T'ang-dynasty.
This character was also written and pronounced p'ao, and is defined in K'ang-hi as , machine for throwing stones. It is only when these stones were thrown out of a tube, that the character, commonly written, "enveloped stones", replaced the old term, "hurling engine". The character is onomatopoic and interchanged with the character, to crackle, to sputter, as fire ").
We have no need to remind the reader that, till very late, in Europe, stone bullets were used instead of iron ones for loading cannon. In Leyden these stone bullets, shot by the Spaniards during the siege of this town in 1574, are still to be seen, half embedded, at the foot of the gates of the town.
The mortars wherewith these stone bullets were shot, were called in French Pierriers, defined in Boiste and Nodier's "Dictionnaire universel de la langue française" as: "Mortier de 15 pouces de "diamètre, destiné à lancer des pierres; petite pièce de canon de "2 à 3 livres de balle".
It is evident that this name was made in imitation of the old french perrieres (for pierrières), engines for hurling large stones; exactly as, in Chinese, the name of the balista p'ao was later applied to the gun-powder-cannons.
Neither Pauthier nor Yule have taken note of the above mentioned important passage in which it is impossible not to recognize the use of regular cannons, lighted by a vent (F).
In the, a book not noted by Wylie, it is said, that in the third year of the eponyme Hien-ping of the Sung-dynasty
6) The characters 礮 and 爆 are pronounced as well pao as p'ok; with the
latter pronunciation they mean to crackle, to sputter as fire.
(A.D. 1000), a certaiu T'ang-fuh presented (to the Emperor) a newly invented "Fire-ball-gun" 7).
Somewhat later, in A.D. 1287, Kubilai Khan, during his war with Nayan, employed in a nocturual expedition 10 soldiers, armed with guns (), whose sound so frightened the enemy that he fled on all sides 8).
We have thus no reason to doubt that the Mongols employed fire-arms in their expedition to Java, and the Javanese probably learnt from them to employ them also.
Ma Hoan, who accompanied, in A.D. 1413, the Eunuch Ching Ho to Java, says distinctly that the Javanese fired guns (K at their weddings.
This is still done to the present day. Raffles (History of Java, Vol. II, p. 350) says of the javanese weddings: "The procession moves on to the sound of national music and the occasional firing of cannon".
Mayers concluded from the statement in Ma Hoan, that the Javanese must have had fire-arms at that time 9).
Marsden (History of Sumatra, 3d Edit., p. 347) equally says that fire-arms were known in Sumatra before the arrival of the Portuguese.
They were known in the 14th century in the state of Padjadjâran in West-Java.
According to the javanese history translated by Raffles and Hageman, this state, was divided, after the death of its sovereign Chiong Wanára in A.D. 1390, into several principalities, under about six different chiefs.
The principal regalia came into the hands of the king of Ma
8) See Pauthier's Marc Pol, Vol. I, p. 239 in the note.