Page images

Empire also demanded compensation for the Nüchen conquests in the shape of the Peking and Ta-t'ung Fu regions; they received the Peking plain, but in a year or two lost it again.

Akuta died in 1123, at the age of fifty-six, and was succeeded by his younger brother Ukimai. This Emperor reduced to subjection the Tungusic coast tribes in the modern Southern Ussuri province of Russia; moved large numbers of people from the modern Shan-hai Kwan coast region to populate the modern Mukden; built a new "upper capital" either at or near the old one on the Altchuk, and instituted an efficient courier service between it and the south. I am inclined to think that at this date the upper capital was moved from the head-waters of the Altchuk to a point on the same river corresponding with the present city of A-jê Ho or Altchuk, which is a Manchu military command at this moment. At first a certain amount of compensation was (as stated above) given to the Sung Empire in return for their alliance; but soon the allies got to squabbling over their prey; war was declared, the Yellow River crossed, the capital (modern K'ai-fung Fu) occupied, and the Chinese Emperor taken prisoner and transported, with several sons and many women, to the Hurka. Ukimai's first idea was to create a buffer State, and to set up first one, then another, creature of his own as puppet Emperor of the region between the Yellow River and the Yangtsze Kiang; and this "Tsi" Empire, as the second edition of it was called, together with Corea, Tangut (the Ordos region), and the Ouigours became vassals of the now firmly established "Golden," or Kin, dynasty. Ukimai died in 1135, at the age of sixty-one.

He was succeeded by his nephew Hala, or Khara, who seems to have definitely moved from the old "upper capital" to another apparently lower down the Altchuk, and most probably the newly-built one just mentioned, and the only one officially visited by Chinese envoys in 1125, when they specially mention that all was in disorder and

rebuilding. Khara first drew up a calendar, which, in accordance with precedent, was imposed upon Corea as a vassal state. The capacity of the Nüchens to reform the calendar was derived from their having carried off with the Chinese Emperor all his observatory and instruments. The Ts'i Empire was soon abolished, and Ho Nan (i.e., the land "south of the Yellow River") appropriated. China south of the Yangtsze was given to a scion of the Sung Dynasty released from captivity, who now for the first time began to rule at Hangchow; that is to say, he was officially recognised as Emperor of a region the Nüchens had never entered. This Hangchow is Marco Polo's "Kinsai," i.e., King-sze, or "metropolis "; and the reason why he calls the empire "Manzi" is because the Southern Chinese probably did then what they certainly do at this day, i.e., scoffingly call all Tartars (and by extension sometimes even Northern Chinese) by the name ta-tsz, whilst the latter in turn call the southerners man-tsz; very much as the Americans in a rough popular way divide Northern and Southern Europeans into "Dutchman and Dago," accordingly as they say "ja" or "si" for "yes." From this moment almost to the close of the dynasty, Corea, Tangut, and Sung (after some years of war) were obedient vassals of the Golden Dynasty, which (barring a few visits from the Ouigours) never had foreign relations with any other Power. other Power. Even Japan is only once casually mentioned, and that merely in connection with some shipwrecked mariners. Khara, in 1140, found it expedient to confirm in his title the forty-ninth Duke of Confucius, but the Manzi Empire also "ran" a Duke of its own in the south. (See Asiatic Quarterly Review, April, 1897.) Khara unfortunately took to violence and drink, which led to his murder by Tikunai in 1149, at the early age of thirty-one.

Tikunai was grandson of Akuta by the eldest son, and no doubt the murder of his cousin Khara was partly prompted by jealous considerations of seniority. He was

of all Emperors in China "the biggest blackguard on record," according to his own history as compiled by Tucta the Mongol. His whole reign is a sickening story of murder, cruelty, and debauchery. He also was murdered

in the end; this was in 1161, and at the age of forty. Some important things took place in his reign, notwithstanding : the upper capital was razed to the ground, and modern Peking, or a place slightly to the south-west of it (then the southern capital) was made the chief centre of imperial government. There was a Cathayan revolt, apparently in consequence of a natural objection to assist Tikunai in his unjust wars with the Sung Empire. Extensive naval operations were also experimentally undertaken against pirates of the sea-coast.

Ulu was yet another grandson of Akuta, and one of the best rulers China ever had. But some of his measures were too drastic; for instance, he had a thousand Chinese beggars massacred at Ta-t'ung Fu on the ground of their being a public nuisance. The Cathayan revolt was suppressed, and the Sung Emperor had in future to use his personal name in official communications, call Ulu his uncle, and pay an annual subsidy. In the matter of Corea and Tangut, Ulu behaved very honourably, declining in the case of each country the offer of local traitors to betray those states into his hands. He, like most of the Nüchen Emperors, seems to have heartily despised Buddhism; and it is remarkable to notice a very large amount of legislation in favour of slaves, whose rights seem to have been steadily defended, not only now, but throughout the Nüchen Dynasty. In spite of his many virtues, Ulu had a decided vein of the old savage Tartar still left in him. Towards the end of his reign he gratified his wish to visit the old capital on the Anch'uhu, which (it is here distinctly stated) he reached four days after fishing in the Hun-t'ung River—that is, either the stretch of the Sungari running from Petuna past Sansing into the Amur, or the stretch between Kirin and Petuna. Corea

and Tangut were dispensed from the laborious duty of paying their respects to him up there; but, fortunately for our knowledge, an earlier envoy from the Chinese Sung Government has left it on record that he travelled 110 li from the (Upper) Sungari to the Larin, and 140 li from the Larin to the upper capital, which enables us to be pretty certain where it was one mile is three li. Ulu was so pleased with the air and simplicity of the place that he expressed a strong desire to "get drunk and sing native songs," which he accordingly did before an admiring crowd for several days in succession. His son, His son, the regent during his absence, died before he got back to Peking, where Ulu himself died shortly afterwards, at the age of sixty-seven ; this was in the year 1189. He had just then finished building one of the temples on the hills to the west of Peking, where in our days the European Ministers and their legations habitually passed the summer, until the very recent discovery of Peitaiho near the Shan-hai Kwan opened out better amenities for them.

Ulu was succeeded by his grandson Matako (called after a mountain of that name where he was born), who is said to have been very learned both in Chinese and Nüchen: he and his grandfather both did a great deal in the way of translating Chinese standard works into their own tongue. His reign was remarkably active, in legislation especially, and he made many wise, economical, social, and sumptuary ordinances, upon which, however, we have not space to dwell here. There was a long war with the Sung Empire, which was brought on entirely by the latter's ambition, and ended in well-merited discomfiture and having to pay an increased subsidy. This Emperor was fond of visiting a picturesque temple at a place twelve miles west of Peking, called then, as now, Yü-ch'üan Shan, and where I spent several months during the summer of 1869. He died in I 208, at the age of forty-one.

The next Emperor, son of Ulu, is usually known as the "Prince Successor of Wei," but hardly counts as a proper

ancestral monarch at all; nor has he, so far as my researches go, any ascertainable Nüchen name. He managed to struggle to the throne through an orgy of murders, frauds, and forced abortions. He was no sooner there than he found himself confronted by simultaneous invasions from Tangut and Genghis Khan. The history of the latter important event is shortly this: Yün-tsi (for that is the Chinese name of the Prince of Wei) had been sent by Matako to collect the annual tribute due from Genghis, who at that time, in common with the Tatars (as the Mongol history calls them), Keraits (Marco Polo's Prester John), Merkits, and other kindred tribes, were vassals of the Golden Dynasty, as they once had been of the Cathayans. Genghis declined to perform the kotow to Matako's envoy, who, on shortly afterwards becoming Emperor himself, lost no time in sending word to Genghis that he must in future kneel before the imperial mandate. Genghis asked: "Who is your new Emperor?" The envoy replied: "The Prince of Wei." Genghis then faced south, and, spitting in that direction, said: "I thought the Emperors of China were always men from heaven; can an imbecile like that fellow be one of them? Why should I kneel to him?" And he rode off, leaving the envoy where he was. Of course war immediately followed, and the Mongols, who were now in turn as fresh compared with the degenerate Nüchens as the latter had been a century earlier compared with the degenerate Kitans, soon had possession of Ta-t'ung Fu, Peking, and Liao-yang (the east capital). Matters were made worse for the Nüchens by the rebellion of Tangut and the Cathayans; and, finally, Yün-tsi was assassinated by a eunuch (1213).

Matako's son Utupu was the next Emperor; but the records from this date all perished during the bloody wars of Genghis' and Ogdai's conquests; it was only in 1262 that Kublai Khan had recourse for purposes of history to the memory of an old man, supplemented by such disjointed facts as could be gleaned from various odd docu

« PreviousContinue »