Chapter V - The Mongol Conquest Of China
While the Kins were absorbed in their contest with the Southern Chinese, they were oblivious of the growth of a new and formidable power on their own borders. The strength of the Mongols had acquired serious dimensions before the Kins realized that they would have to fight, not only for supremacy, but for their very existence. Before describing the long wars that resulted in the subjection of China by this northern race, we must consider the origin and the growth of the power of the Mongols, who were certainly the most remarkable race of conquerors Asia, or perhaps the whole world, ever produced.
The home of the Mongols, whose name signifies "brave men," was in the strip of territory between the Onon and Kerulon rivers, which are both tributaries or upper courses of the Amour. They first appeared as a separate clan or tribe in the ninth century, when they attracted special attention for their physical strength and courage during one of China's many wars with the children of the desert, and it was on that occasion they gained the appellation under which they became famous. The earlier history of the Mongol tribe is obscure, and baffles investigation, but there seems no reason to doubt their affinity to the Hiongnou, with whose royal house Genghis himself claimed blood relationship. If this claim be admitted, Genghis and Attila, who were the two specially typical Scourges of God, must be considered members of the same race, and the probability is certainly strengthened by the close resemblance in their methods of carrying on war. Budantsar is the first chief of the House of Genghis whose person and achievements are more than mythical. He selected as the abode of his race the territory between the Onon and the Kerulon, a region fertile in itself, and well protected by those rivers against attack. It was also so well placed as to be beyond the extreme limit of any triumphant progress of the armies of the Chinese emperor. If Budantsar had accomplished nothing more than this, he would still have done much to justify his memory being preserved among a free and independent people. But he seems to have incited his followers to pursue an active and temperate life, to remain warriors rather than to become rich and lazy citizens. He wrapped up this counsel in the exhortation, "What is the use of embarrassing ourselves with wealth? Is not the fate of man decreed by heaven?" He sowed the seed of future Mongol greatness, and the headship of his clan remained vested in his family.
In due order of succession the chief ship passed to Kabul Khan, who in the year 1135 began to encroach on the dominion of Hola, the Kin emperor. He seems to have been induced to commit this act of hostility by a prophecy, to the effect that his children should be emperors, and also by discourteous treatment received on the occasion of his visit to the court of Oukimai. Whatever the cause of umbrage, Kabul Khan made the Kins pay dearly for their arrogance or short-sighted policy. Hola sent an army under one of his best generals, Hushahu, to bring the Mongol chief to reason, but the inaccessibility of his home stood him in good stead. The Kin army suffered greatly in its futile attempt to cross the desert, and during its retreat it was harassed by the pursuing Mongols. When the Kin army endeavored to make a stand against its pursuers, it suffered a crushing overthrow in a battle at Hailing, and on the Kins sending a larger force against the Mongols in 1139, it had no better fortune. Kabul Khan, after this second success, caused himself to be proclaimed Great Emperor of the Mongols. His success in war, and his ambition, which rested satisfied with no secondary position, indicated the path on which the Mongols proceeded to the acquisition of supreme power and a paramount military influence whithersoever they carried their name and standards. The work begun by Kabul was well continued by his son Kutula, or Kublai. He, too, was a great warrior, whose deeds of prowess aroused as much enthusiasm among the Mongols as those of Coeur de Lion evoked in the days of the Plantagenets. The struggle with the Kins was rendered more bitter by the execution of several Mongols of importance, who happened to fall into the hands of the Kins. When Kutula died the chiefship passed to his nephew, Yissugei, who greatly extended the influence and power of his family among the tribes neighboring to the Mongol home. Many of these, and even some Chinese, joined the military organization of the dominant tribe, so that what was originally a small force of strictly limited numbers became a vast and ever-increasing confederacy of the most warlike and aggressive races of the Chinese northern frontier. Important as Yissugei's work in the development of Mongol power undoubtedly was, his chief historical interest is derived from the fact that he was the father of Genghis Khan.
There are several interesting fables in connection with the birth of Genghis, which event may be safely assigned to the year 1162. One of these reads as follows: "One day Yissugei was hunting in company with his brothers, and was following the tracks of a white hare in the snow. They struck upon the track of a wagon, and following it up came to a spot where a woman's yart was pitched. Then said Yissugei, 'This woman will bear a valiant son.' He discovered that she was the damsel Ogelen Eke (i.e., the mother of nations), and that she was the wife of Yeke Yilatu, chief of a Tartar tribe. Yissugei carried her off and made her his wife." Immediately after his overthrow of Temujin, chief of one of the principal Tartar tribes, Yissugei learned that the promised "valiant son" was about to be born, and in honor of his victory he gave him the name of Temujin, which was the proper name of the great Genghis. The village or encampment in which the future conqueror first saw the light of day still bears the old Mongol name, Dilun Boldak, on the banks of the Onon. When Yissugei died, Temujin, or Genghis, was only thirteen, and his clan of forty thousand families refused to recognize him as their leader. At a meeting of the tribe Genghis entreated them with tears in his eyes to stand by the son of their former chief, but the majority of them mocked at him, exclaiming, "The deepest wells are sometimes dry, and the hardest stone is sometimes broken, why should we cling to thee?" Genghis owed to the heroic attitude of his mother, who flung abroad the cow-tailed banner of his race, the acceptance of his authority by about half the warriors who had obeyed his father. The great advantage of this step was that it gave Genghis time to grow up to be a warrior as famous as any of his predecessors, and it certainly averted what might have easily become the irretrievable disintegration of the Mongol alliance.
The youth of Genghis was passed in one ceaseless struggle to regain the whole of his birthright. His most formidable enemy was Chamuka, chief of the Juriats, and for a long time he had all the worst of the struggle, being taken prisoner on one occasion, and undergoing the indignity of the cangue. On making his escape he rallied his remaining followers round him for a final effort, and on the advice of his mother, Ogelen Eke, who was his principal adviser and stanchest supporter, he divided his forces into thirteen regiments of one thousand men each, and confined his attention to the defense of his own territory. Chamuka, led away by what he deemed the weakness of his adversary, attacked him on the Onon with as he considered the overwhelming force of thirty thousand men; but the result dispelled his hopes of conquest, for Genghis gained a decisive victory. Then was furnished a striking instance of the truth of the saying that "nothing succeeds like success." The despised Temujin, who was thought to be unworthy of the post of ruling the Mongols, was lauded to the skies, and the tribes declared with one voice, "Temujin alone is generous and worthy of ruling a great people." At this time also he began to show the qualities of a statesman and diplomatist. He formed in 1194 a temporary alliance with the Kin emperor, Madacou, and the richness of his reward seems to have excited his cupidity, while his experience of the Kin army went to prove that they were not so formidable as had been imagined. The discomfiture of Chamuka has been referred to, but he had not abandoned the hope of success, and when he succeeded in detaching the Kerait chief, Wang Khan, from the Mongols, to whom he was bound by ties of gratitude, he fancied that he again held victory in his grasp. But the intrigue did not realize his expectations. Wang Khan deserted Genghis while engaged in a joint campaign against the Naimans, but he was the principal sufferer by his treachery, for the enemy pursued his force, and inflicted a heavy defeat upon it. In fact, he was only rescued from destruction by the timely aid of the man he had betrayed.
But far from inspiring gratitude, this incident inflamed the resentment of Wang Khan, who, throwing off the cloak of simulated friendship, declared publicly that either the Kerait or the Mongol must be supreme on the great steppe, as there was not room for both. Such was the superiority in numbers of the Kerait, that in the first battle of this long and keenly- contested struggle, Wang Khan defeated Temujin near Ourga, where the mounds that cover the slain are still shown to the curious or skeptical visitor. After this serious, and in some degree unexpected reverse, the fortunes of Genghis sank to the lowest ebb. He was reduced to terrible straits, and had to move his camp rapidly from one spot to another. A small section of his followers, mindful of his past success and prowess, still clung to him, and by a sudden and daring coup he changed the whole aspect of the contest. He surprised Wang Khan in his camp at night, and overwhelmed him and his forces. Wang Khan escaped to his old foes, the Naimans, who, disregarding the laws of hospitality, put him to death. The death of Wang Khan signified nothing less than the wholesale defection of the Kerait tribe, which joined Genghis to the last man. Then Genghis turned westward to settle the question of supremacy with the Naimans, who were both hostile and defiant. The Naiman chief shared the opinion of Wang Khan, that there could not be two masters on the Tian Shan, and with that vigorous illustration which has never been wanting to these illiterate tribes, he wrote, "There cannot be two suns in the sky, two swords in one sheath, two eyes in one eyepit, or two kings in one empire." Both sides made strenuous efforts for the fray, and brought every fighting man they could into the field. The decisive battle of the war was fought in the heart of Jungaria, and the star of Genghis rose in the ascendant. The Naimans fought long and well, but they were borne down by the heavier armed Mongols, and their desperate resistance only added to their loss. Their chief died of his wounds, and the triumph of Genghis was rendered complete by the capture of his old enemy, Chamuka. As Genghis had sworn the oath of friendship with Chamuka, he would not slay him, but he handed him over to a relative, who promptly exacted the rough revenge his past hostility and treachery seemed to call for. On his way back from this campaign the Mongol chief attacked the Prince of Hia, who reigned over Kansuh and Tangut, and thus began the third war he waged for the extension of his power. Before this assumed serious proportions he summoned a Grand Council or Kuriltai, at his camp on the Onon, and then erected outside his tent the royal Mongol banner of the nine white yak-tails. It was on this occasion that Temujin took, and was proclaimed among the Mongol chiefs by, the highly exalted name of Genghis Khan, which means Very Mighty Khan. The Chinese character for the name signifies "Perfect Warrior," and the earlier European writers affirm that it is supposed to represent the sound of "the bird of heaven." At this assemblage, which was the first of a long succession of Mongol councils summoned at the same place on critical occasions, it was proposed and agreed that the war should be carried on with the richer and less warlike races of the south. Among soldiers it is necessary to preserve the spirit of pre-eminence and warlike zeal by granting rewards and decorations. Genghis realized the importance of this matter, and instituted the order of Baturu or Bahadur, meaning warrior. He also made his two leading generals Muhula and Porshu princes, one to sit on his right hand and the other on his left. He addressed them before the council in the following words: "It is to you that I owe my empire. You are and have been to me as the shafts of a carriage or the arms to a man's body." Seals of office were also granted to all the officials, so that their authority might be the more evident and the more honored.
In 1207 Genghis began his war with the state of Hia, which he had determined to crush as the preliminary to an invasion of China. In that year he contented himself with the capture of Wuhlahai, one of the border fortresses of that principality, and in the following year he established his control over the tribes of the desert more fully, thus gaining many Kirghiz and Naiman auxiliaries. In 1209 he resumed the war with Hia in a determined spirit, and placed himself in person at the head of all his forces. Although the Hia ruler prepared as well as he could for the struggle, he was really unnerved by the magnitude of the danger he had to face. His army was overthrown, his best generals were taken prisoners, and he himself had no resource left but to throw himself on the consideration of Genghis. For good reasons the Mongol conqueror was lenient. He married one of the daughters of the king, and he took him into subsidiary alliance with himself. Thus did Genghis absorb the Hia power, which was very considerable, and prepared to enroll it with all his own resources against the Kin empire. If the causes of Mongol success on this occasion and afterward are inquired for, I cannot do better than repeat what I previously wrote on this subject: "The Mongols owed their military success to their admirable discipline and to their close study of the art of war. Their military supremacy arose from their superiority in all essentials as a fighting power to their neighbors. Much of their knowledge was borrowed from China, where the art of disciplining a large army and maneuvering it in the field had been brought to a high state of perfection many centuries before the time of Genghis. But the Mongols carried the teaching of the past to a further point than any of the former or contemporary Chinese commanders, indeed, than any in the whole world, had done; and the revolution which they effected in tactics was not less remarkable in itself, and did not leave a smaller impression upon the age, than the improvements made in military science by Frederick the Great and Napoleon in their day. The Mongol played in a large way in Asia the part which the Normans on a smaller scale played in Europe. Although the landmarks of their triumph have now almost wholly vanished, they were for two centuries the dominant caste in most of the states of Asia."
Having thus prepared the way for the larger enterprise, it only remained to find a plausible pretext for attacking the Kins. With or without a pretext Genghis would no doubt have made war, but even the ruthless Mongol sometimes showed a regard for appearances. Many years before the Kins had sent as envoy to the Mongul encampment Chonghei, a member of their ruling house, and his mission had been not only unsuccessful, but had led to a personal antipathy between the two men. In the course of time Chonghei succeeded Madacou as emperor of the Kins, and when a Kin messenger brought intelligence of this event to Genghis, the Mongol ruler turned toward the south, spat upon the ground, and said, "I thought that your sovereigns were of the race of the gods, but do you suppose that I am going to do homage to such an imbecile as that?" The affront rankled in the mind of Chonghei, and while Genghis was engaged with Hia, he sent troops to attack the Mongol outposts. Chonghei thus placed himself in the wrong, and gave Genghis justification for declaring that the Kins and not he began the war. The reputation of the Golden dynasty, although not as great as it once was, still stood sufficiently high to make the most adventurous of desert chiefs wary in attacking it. Genghis had already secured the co- operation of the ruler of Hia in his enterprise, and he next concluded an alliance with Yeliu Liuko, chief of the Khitans, who were again manifesting discontent with the Kins. Genghis finally circulated a proclamation among all the desert tribes, calling upon them to join him in his attack on the common enemy. This appeal was heartily and generally responded to, and it was at the head of an enormous force that Genghis set out in March, 1211, to effect the conquest of China. The Mongol army was led by Genghis in person, and under him his four sons and his most famous general, Chepe Noyan, held commands.
The plan of campaign of the Mongol ruler was as simple as it was bold. From his camp at Karakoram, on the Kerulon, he marched in a straight line through Kuku Khoten and the Ongut country to Taitong, securing an unopposed passage through the Great Wall by the defection of the Ongut tribe. The Kins were unprepared for this sudden and vigorous assault directed on their weakest spot, and successfully executed before their army could reach the scene. During the two years that the forces of Genghis kept the field on this occasion, they devastated the greater portion of the three northern provinces of Shensi, Shansi, and Pechihli. But the border fortress of Taitong and the Kin capital, Tungking, successfully resisted all the assaults of the Mongols, and when Genghis received a serious wound at the former place, he reluctantly ordered the retreat of his army, laden with an immense quantity of spoil, but still little advanced in its main task of conquering China. The success of the Khitan Yeliu Liuko had not been less considerable, and he was proclaimed King of Leaou as a vassal of the Mongols. The planting of this ally on the very threshold of Chinese power facilitated the subsequent enterprises of the Mongols against the Kins, and represented the most important result of this war.
In 1213 Genghis again invaded the Kin dominions, but his success was not very striking, and in several engagements of no very great importance the Kin arms met with some success. The most important events of the year were, however, the deposition and murder of Chonghei, the murder of a Kin general, Hushahu, who had won a battle against the Mongols, and the proclamation of Utubu as emperor. The change of sovereign brought no change of fortune to the unlucky Kins. Utubu was only able to find safety behind the walls of his capital, and he was delighted when Genghis wrote him the following letter: "Seeing your wretched condition and my exalted fortune, what may your opinion be now of the will of heaven with regard to myself? At this moment I am desirous to return to Tartary, but could you allow my soldiers to take their departure without appeasing their anger with presents?" In reply Utubu sent Genghis a princess of his family as a wife, and also "five hundred youths, the same number of girls, three thousand horses, and a vast quantity of precious articles." Then Genghis retired once more to Karakoram, but on his march he stained his reputation by massacring all his prisoners--the first gross act of inhumanity he committed during his Chinese wars.
When Utubu saw the Mongols retreating, he thought to provide against the most serious consequences of their return by removing his capital to a greater distance from the frontier, and with this object he transferred his residence to Kaifong. The majority of his advisers were against this change, as a retirement could not but shake public confidence. It had another consequence, which they may not have contemplated, and that was its providing Genghis with an excuse for renewing his attack on China. The Mongol at once complained that the action of the Kin emperor implied an unwarrantable suspicion of his intentions, and he sent his army across the frontier to recommence his humiliation. On this occasion a Kin general deserted to them, and thenceforward large bodies of the Chinese of the north attached themselves to the Mongols, who were steadily acquiring a unique reputation for power as well as military prowess. The great event of this war was the siege of Yenking--on the site of which now stands the capital Pekin--the defense of which had been intrusted to the Prince Imperial; but Utubu, more anxious for his son's safety than the interests of the state, ordered him to return to Kaifong. The governor of Yenking offered a stout resistance to the Mongols, and when he found that he could not hold out, he retired to the temple of the city and poisoned himself. His last act was to write a letter to Utubu begging him to listen no more to the pernicious advice of the man who had induced him to murder Hushahu.
The capture of Yenking, where Genghis obtained a large supply of war materials, as well as vast booty, opened the road to Central China. The Mongols advanced as far as the celebrated Tunkwan Pass, which connects Shensi and Honan, but when their general, Samuka, saw how formidable it was, and how strong were the Kin defenses and garrison, he declined to attack it, and, making a detour through very difficult country, he marched on Kaifong, where Utubu little expected him. The Mongols had to make their own road, and they crossed several ravines by improvised "bridges made of spears and the branches of trees bound together by strong chains." But the Mongol force was too small to accomplish any great result, and the impetuosity of Samuka nearly led to his destruction. A prompt retreat, and the fact that the Hoangho was frozen over, enabled him to extricate his army, after much fatigue and reduced in numbers, from its awkward position. The retreat of the Mongols inspired Utubu with sufficient confidence to induce him to attack Yeliu Liuko in Leaoutung, and the success of this enterprise imparted a gleam of sunshine and credit to the expiring cause of the Kins. Yeliu Liuko was driven from his newly-created kingdom, but Genghis hastened to the assistance of his ally by sending Muhula, the greatest of all his generals, at the head of a large army to recover Leaoutung. His success was rapid and remarkable. The Kins were speedily overthrown, Yeliu Liuko was restored to his authority, and the neighboring King of Corea, impressed by the magnitude of the Mongol success, hastened to acknowledge himself the vassal of Genghis. The most important result of this campaign was that Genghis intrusted to Muhula the control of all military arrangements for the conquest of China. He is reported to have said to his lieutenant: "North of the Taihing Mountains I am supreme, but all the regions to the south I commend to the care of Muhula," and he "also presented him with a chariot and a banner with nine scalops. As he handed him this last emblem of authority, he spoke to his generals, saying, 'Let this banner be an emblem of sovereignty, and let the orders issued from under it be obeyed as my own.'" The principal reason for intrusting the conquest of China to a special force and commander was that Genghis wished to devote the whole of his personal attention to the prosecution of his new war with the King of Khwaresm and the other great rulers of Western Asia.
Muhula more than justified the selection and confidence of his sovereign. In the year 1218-19 he invaded Honan, defeated the best of the Kin commanders, and not merely overran, but retained possession of the places he occupied in the Kin dominions. The difficulties of Utubu were aggravated by an attack from Ningtsong, the Sung emperor, who refused any longer to pay tribute to the Kins, as they were evidently unable to enforce the claim, and the Kin armies were as equally unfortunate against their southern opponents as their northern. Then Utubu endeavored to negotiate terms with Muhula for the retreat of his army, but the only conditions the Mongol general would accept were the surrender of the Kin ruler and his resignation of the imperial title in exchange for the principality of Honan. Utubu, low as he had sunk, declined to abase himself further and to purchase life at the loss of his dignity. The sudden death of Muhula gained a brief respite for the distressed Chinese potentate, but the advantage was not of any permanent significance; first of all because the Kins were too exhausted by their long struggle, and, secondly, because Genghis hastened to place himself at the head of his army. The news of the death of Muhula reached him when he was encamped on the frontier of India and preparing to add the conquest of that country to his many other triumphs in Central and Western Asia. He at once came to the conclusion that he must return to set his house in order at home, and to prevent all the results of Muhula's remarkable triumphs being lost. What was a disadvantage for China proved a benefit for India, and possibly for Europe, as there is no saying how much further the Mongol encroachment might have extended westward, if the direction of Genghis had not been withdrawn. While Genghis was hastening from the Cabul River to the Kerulon, across the Hindoo Koosh and Tian Shan ranges, Utubu died and Ninkiassu reigned in his stead.
One of the first consequences of the death of Muhula was that the young king of Hia, believing that the fortunes of the Mongols would then wane, and that he might obtain a position of greater power and independence, threw off his allegiance, and adopted hostile measures against them. The prompt return of Genghis nipped this plan in the bud, but it was made quite evident that the conquest of Hia was essential to the success of any permanent annexation of Chinese territory, and as its prince could dispose of an army which he boasted numbered half a million of men, it is not surprising to find that he took a whole year in perfecting his arrangements for so grave a contest. The war began in 1225 and continued for two years. The success of the Mongol army was decisive and unqualified. The Hias were defeated in several battles, and in one of them fought upon the frozen waters of the Hoangho. Genghis broke the ice by means of his engines, and the Hia army was almost annihilated. The king Leseen was deposed, and Hia became a Mongol province.
[Illustration: HONG KONG China]
It was immediately after this successful war that Genghis was seized with his fatal illness. Signs had been seen in the heavens which the Mongol astrologers said indicated the near approach of his death. The five planets had appeared together in the southwest, and so much impressed was Genghis by this phenomenon that on his death-bed he expressed "the earnest desire that henceforth the lives of our enemies shall not be unnecessarily sacrificed." The expression of this wish undoubtedly tended to mitigate the terrors of war as carried on by the Mongols. The immediate successors of Genghis conducted their campaigns after a more humane fashion, and it was not until Timour revived the early Mongol massacres that their opponents felt there was no chance in appealing to the humanity of the Mongols. Various accounts have been published of the cause of his death; some authorities ascribing it to violence, either by an arrow, lightning, or drowning, and others to natural causes. The event seems to have unquestionably happened in his camp on the borders of Shansi, August 27, 1227, when he was about sixty-five years of age, during more than fifty of which he had enjoyed supreme command of his own tribe.
The area of the undertakings conducted under his eye was more vast and included a greater number of countries than was the case with any other conqueror. Not a country from the Euxine to the China Sea escaped the tramp of the Mongol horsemen, and if we include the achievements of his immediate successors, the conquest of Russia, Poland, and Hungary, the plundering of Bulgaria, Roumania, and Bosnia, the final subjection of China and its southern tributaries must be added to complete the tale of Mongol triumph. The sphere of Mongol influence extended beyond this large portion of the earth's surface, just as the consequence of an explosion cannot be restricted to the immediate scene of the disaster. If we may include the remarkable achievements of his descendant Baber, and of that prince's grandson Akbar, in India three centuries later, not a country in Asia enjoyed immunity from the effect of their successes. Perhaps the most important result of their great outpouring into Western Asia--which certainly was the arrest of the Mohammedan career in Central Asia, and the diversion of the current of the fanatical propagators of the Prophet's creed against Europe--is not yet as fully recognized as it should be. The doubt has been already expressed whether the Mongols would ever have risen to higher rank than that of a nomad tribe but for the appearance of Genghis. Leaving that supposition in the category of other interesting but problematical conjectures, it may be asserted that Genghis represented in their highest forms all the qualities which entitled his race to exercise governing authority. He was, moreover, a military genius of the very first order, and it may be questioned whether either Caesar or Napoleon can as commanders be placed on a par with him. Even the Chinese said that he led his armies like a god. The manner in which he moved large bodies of men over vast distances without an apparent effort, the judgment he showed in the conduct of several wars in countries far apart from each other, his strategy in unknown regions, always on the alert, yet never allowing hesitation or overcaution to interfere with his enterprise, the sieges which he brought to a successful termination, his brilliant victories, a succession of "suns of Austerlitz," all combined make up the picture of a career to which Europe can offer nothing that will surpass, if indeed she has anything to bear comparison with it. After the lapse of centuries, and in spite of the indifference with which the great figures of Asiatic history have been treated, the name of Genghis preserves its magic spell. It is still a name to conjure with when recording the great revolutions of a period which beheld the death of the old system in China, and the advent in that country of a newer and more vigorous government which, slowly acquiring shape in the hands of Kublai and a more national form under the Mings, has attained the pinnacle of its utility and strength under the influence of the great emperors of the Manchu dynasty. But great as is the reputation Genghis has acquired it is probably short of his merits. He is remembered as a relentless and irresistible conqueror, a human scourge; but he was much more. He was one of the greatest instruments of destiny, one of the most remarkable molders of the fate of nations to be met with in the history of the world. His name still overshadows Asia with its fame, and the tribute of our admiration cannot be denied.
The death of Genghis did not seriously retard the progress of the war against the Kins. He expressed the wish that war should be carried on in a more humane and less vindictive manner, but he did not advocate there being no war or the abandonment of any of his enterprises. His son and successor Ogotai was indeed specially charged to bring the conquest of China to a speedy and victorious conclusion. The weakness of the Mongol confederacy was the delay connected with the proclamation of a new Khan and the necessity of summoning to a Grand Council all the princes and generals of the race, although it entailed the suspension and often the abandonment of great enterprises. The death of Genghis saved India but not China. Almost his last instructions were to draw up the plan for attacking and turning the great fortress of Tunkwan, which had provided such an efficient defense for Honan on the north, and in 1230, Ogotai, who had already partitioned the territory taken from the Kins into ten departments, took the field in person, giving a joint command to his brother Tuli, under whom served the experienced generals Yeliu Chutsia, Antchar, and Subutai. At first the Mongols met with no great success, and the Kins, encouraged by a momentary gleam of victory, ventured to reject the terms offered by Ogotai and to insult his envoy. The only important fighting during the years 1230-31 occurred round Fongsian, which after a long siege surrendered to Antchar, and when the campaign closed the Kins presented a bold front to the Mongols and still hoped to retain their power and dominions.
In 1232 the Mongols increased their armies in the field, and attacked the Kins from two sides. Ogotai led the main force against Honan, while Tuli, marching through Shensi into Szchuen, assailed them on their western flank. The difficulties encountered by Tuli on this march, when he had to make his own roads, were such that he entered the Kin territories with a much reduced and exhausted army. The Kin forces gained some advantage over it, but by either a feigned or a forced retreat, Tuli succeeded in baffling their pursuit, and in effecting a junction with his brother Ogotai, who had met with better fortune. Tuli destroyed everything along his line of march, and his massacres and sacks revived the worst traditions of Mongol ferocity. In these straits the Kins endeavored to flood the country round their capital, to which the Mongols had now advanced, but the Mongols fell upon the workmen while engaged in the task, and slew ten thousand of them. When the main Kin army accepted battle before the town of Yuchow, it was signally defeated, with the loss of three of its principal generals, and Ninkiassu fled from Kaifong to a place more removed from the scene of war. The garrison and townspeople of Kaifong--an immense city with walls thirty-six miles in circumference, and a population during the siege, it is said, of one million four hundred thousand families, or nearly seven million people--offered a stubborn resistance to the Mongols, who intrusted the conduct of the attack to Subutai, the most daring of all their commanders. The Mongols employed their most formidable engines, catapults hurling immense stones, and mortars ejecting explosives and combustibles, but twelve months elapsed before the walls were shattered and the courage and provisions of the defenders exhausted. Then Kaifong surrendered at discretion, and Subutai wished to massacre the whole of the population. But fortunately for the Chinese, Yeliu Chutsai was a more humane and a more influential general, and under his advice Ogotai rejected the cruel proposal.
At this moment, when it seemed impossible for fate to have any worse experience in store for the unfortunate Kins, their old enemies, the Sungs, wishing to give them the coup de grace, declared war upon them, and placed a large army in the field under their best general, Mongkong, of whom more will be heard. The relics of the Kin army, under their sovereign Ninkiassu, took shelter in Tsaichau, where they were closely besieged by the Mongols on one side and the Sungs on the other. Driven thus into a corner, the Kins fought with the courage of despair and long held out against the combined efforts of their enemies. At last Ninkiassu saw that the struggle could not be prolonged, and he prepared himself to end his life and career in a manner worthy of the race from which he sprang. When the enemy broke into the city, and he heard the stormers at the gate of his palace, he retired to an upper chamber and set fire to the building. Many of his generals, and even of his soldiers, followed his example, preferring to end their existence rather than to add to the triumph of their Mongol and Sung opponents. Thus came to an end in 1234 the famous dynasty of the Kins, who under nine emperors had ruled Northern China for one hundred and eighteen years, and whose power and military capacity may best be gauged by the fact that without a single ally they held out against the all-powerful Mongols for more than a quarter of a century. Ninkiassu, the last of their rulers, was not able to sustain the burden of their authority, but he at least showed himself equal to ending it in a worthy and appropriately dramatic manner.
The folly of the Sungs had completed the discomfiture of the Kins, and had brought to their own borders the terrible peril which had beset every other state in Asia, and which had in almost every case entailed destruction. How could the Sungs expect to avoid the same fate, or to propitiate the most implacable and insatiable of conquering races? They had done this to a large extent with their eyes open. More than once in the early stages of the struggle the Kin rulers had sent envoys to beg their alliance, and to warn them that if they did not help in keeping out the Mongols, their time would come to be assailed and to share in the common ruin. But Ningtsong did not pay heed to the warning, and scarcely concealed his gratification at the misfortunes of his old opponents. The nearer the Mongols came, and the worse the plight to which the Kins were reduced, the more did he rejoice. He forgave Tuli the violation of Sung territory, necessary for his flank attack on Honan, and when the knell of the Kins sounded at the fall of Kaifong, he hastened to help in striking the final blow at them, and to participate, as he hoped, in the distribution of the plunder. By this time Litsong had succeeded his cousin Ningtsong as ruler of the Sungs, and it is said that he received from Tsaichau the armor and personal spoils of Ninkiassu, which he had the satisfaction of offering up in the temple of his ancestors. But when he requested the Mongols to comply with the more important part of the convention, by which the Sung forces had joined the Mongols before Tsaichau, and to evacuate the province of Honan, he experienced a rude awakening from his dream that the overthrow of the Kins would redound to his advantage, and he soon realized what value the Mongols attached to his alliance. The military capacity of Mongkong inspired the Sung ruler with confidence, and he called upon the Mongols to execute their promises, or to prepare for war. The Mongol garrisons made no movement of retreat, and the utmost that Litsong was offered was a portion of Honan, if it could be practically divided. The proposition was probably meant ironically, but at all events Litsong rejected it, and sent Mongkong to take by force possession of the disputed province. The Mongol forces on the spot were fewer than the Chinese, and they met with some reverses. But the hope of the Sungs that the fortune of war would declare in their favor was soon destroyed by the vast preparations of the Mongols, who, at a special kuriltai, held at Karakoram, declared that the conquest of China was to be completed. Then Litsong's confidence left him, and he sent an appeal for peace to the Mongols, giving up all claim to Honan, and only asking to be left in undisturbed possession of his original dominions. It was too late. The Mongols had passed their decree that the Sungs were to be treated like the Kins, and that the last Chinese government was to be destroyed.
In 1235, the year following the immolation of Ninkiassu, the Mongols placed half a million men in the field for the purpose of destroying the Sung power, and Ogotai divided them into three armies, which were to attack Litsong's kingdom from as many sides. The Mongol ruler intrusted the most difficult task to his son Kutan, who invaded the inaccessible and vast province of Szchuen, at the head of one of these armies. Notwithstanding its natural capacity for offering an advantageous defense, the Chinese turned their opportunities to poor account, and the Mongols succeeded in capturing all its frontier fortresses, with little or no resistance. The shortcomings of the defense can be inferred from the circumstances of the Chinese annalists making special mention of one governor having had the courage to die at his post. For some reason not clearly stated the Mongols did not attempt to retain possession of Szchuen on this occasion. They withdrew when they were in successful occupation of the northern half of the province, and when it seemed as if the other lay at their mercy. In the two dual provinces of Kiangnan and Houkwang, the other Mongol armies met with considerable success, which was dimmed, however, by the death of Kuchu, the son and proclaimed heir of Ogotai. This event, entailing no inconsiderable doubt and long-continued disputes as to the succession, was followed by the withdrawal of the Mongol forces from Sung territory, and during the last six years of his life Ogotai abstained from war, and gave himself up to the indulgence of his gluttony. He built a great palace at Karakoram, where his ancestors had been content to live in a tent, and he intrusted the government of the old Kin dominions to Yeliu Chutsai, who acquired great popularity among the Chinese for his clemency and regard for their customs. Yeliu Chutsai adopted the Chinese mode of taxation, and when Ogotai's widow, Turakina, who acted as regent after her husband's death, ordered him to alter his system and to farm out the revenues, he sent in his resignation, and, it is said, died of grief shortly afterward. Ogotai was one of the most humane and amiable of all the Mongol rulers, and Yeliu Chutsai imitated his master. Of the latter the Chinese contemporary writers said "he was distinguished by a rare disinterestedness. Of a very broad intellect, he was able, without injustice and without wronging a single person, to amass vast treasures (D'Ohsson says only of books, maps, and pictures), and to enrich his family, but all his care and labors had for their sole object the advantage and glory of his masters. Wise and calculating in his plans, he did little of which he had any reason to repent."
During the five years following the death of Ogotai, the Mongols were absorbed in the question who should be their next Great Khan, and it was only after a warm and protracted discussion, which threatened to entail the disruption of Mongol power, and the revelation of many rivalries among the descendants of Genghis, that Kuyuk, the eldest son of Ogotai, was proclaimed emperor. At the kuriltai held for this purpose, all the great Mongol leaders were present, including Batu, the conqueror of Hungary, and after the Mongol chiefs had agreed as to their chief, the captive kings, Yaroslaf of Russia and David of Georgia, paid homage to their conqueror. We owe to the monk Carpino, who was sent by the Pope to convert the Mongol, a graphic account of one of the most brilliant ceremonies to be met with in the whole course of Mongol history. The delay in selecting Kuyuk, whose principal act of sovereignty was to issue a seal having this inscription: "God in Heaven and Kuyuk on earth; by the power of God the ruler of all men," had given the Sungs one respite, and his early death procured them another. Kuyuk died in 1248, and his cousin, Mangu, the son of Tuli, was appointed his successor. By this time the Mongol chiefs of the family of Genghis in Western Asia were practically independent of the nominal Great Khan, and governed their states in complete sovereignty, and waged war without reference to Karakoram. This change left the Mongols in their original home of the Amour absolutely free to devote all their attention to the final overthrow of the Sungs, and Mangu declared that he would know no rest until he had finally subjected the last of the Chinese ruling families. In this resolution Mangu received the hearty support of his younger but more able brother, Kublai, to whom was intrusted the direction in the field of the armies sent to complete the conquest of China.
Kublai received this charge in 1251, so that the Sungs had enjoyed, first through the pacific disposition of Ogotai, and, secondly, from the family disputes following his death, peace for more than fifteen years. The advantage of this tranquillity was almost nullified by the death of Mongkong, a general whose reputation may have been easily gained, but who certainly enjoyed the confidence of his soldiers, and who was thought by his countrymen to be the best commander of his day. When the Chinese emperor, Litsong, saw the storm again approaching his northern frontier, he found that he had lost the main support of his power, and that his military resources were inferior to those of his enemy. He had allowed himself to be lulled into a false sense of security by the long inaction of the Mongols, and although he seems to have been an amiable prince, and a typical Chinese ruler, honoring the descendants of Confucius with the hereditary title of duke, which still remains in that family, and is the only title of its kind in China, and encouraging the literary classes of his country, he was a bad sovereign to be intrusted with the task of defending his realm and people against a bold and determined enemy.
Kublai prepared the way for his campaigns in Southern China by following a very wise and moderate policy in Northern China similar to that begun by Muhula, and carried out with greater effect by Yeliu Chutsai. He had enjoyed the advantage of a Chinese education, imparted by an able tutor named Yaochu, who became the prince's private secretary and mentor in all Chinese matters. At his instigation, or, at least, with his co-operation, Kublai took in hand the restoration of the southern portion of Honan, which had been devastated during the wars, and he succeeded in bringing back its population and prosperity to that great province of Central China. He thus secured a base for his operations close to the Sung frontier, while he attached to his person a large section of the Chinese nation. There never was any concealment that this patronage of Chinese officials, and these measures for the amelioration of many millions of Chinese subjects, were the well calculated preliminaries to the invasion of Southern China and the extinction of the Sung dynasty.
If Kublai had succeeded in obtaining a wise adviser in Yaochu, he was not less fortunate in procuring a great general in the person of Uriangkadai, the son of Subutai, and his remarkable and unvarying successes were largely due to the efforts of those two men in the cabinet and the field. The plan of campaign, drawn up with great care and forethought by the prince and his lieutenant, had the double merit of being both bold and original. Its main purpose was not one that the Sung generals would be likely to divine. It was determined to make a flank march round the Sung dominions, and to occupy what is now the province of Yunnan; and, by placing an army in the rear of their kingdom, to attack them eventually from two sides. At this time Yunnan formed an independent state, and its ruler, from his position behind the Sung territory, must have fancied himself secure against any attack by the Mongols. He was destined to a rude awakening. Kublai and Uriangkadai, marching across Szchuen and crossing the Kinchakiang, or "river of golden sand," which forms the upper course of the Great River, on rafts, burst into Yunnan, speedily vanquished the frontier garrisons, and laid siege to the capital, Talifoo. That town did not hold out long, and soon Kublai was in a position to return to his own state, leaving Uriangkadai with a considerable garrison in charge of Yunnan. That general, believing that his position would be improved by his resorting to an active offensive, carried the standard of his race against the many turbulent tribes in his neighborhood, and invaded Burma whose king, after one campaign, was glad to recognize the supremacy of the Mongols. The success and the boldness, which may have been considered temerity, of this campaign, raised up enemies to Kublai at the court of Karakoram, and the mind of his brother Mangu was poisoned against him by many who declared that Kublai aspired to complete independence. These designs so far succeeded, that in 1257 Mangu finally deprived Kublai of all his commands, and ordered him to proceed to Karakoram. At this harsh and unmerited treatment Kublai showed himself inclined to rebel and dispute his brother's authority. If he had done this, although the provocation was great, he would have confirmed the charges of his accusers, and a war would have broken out among the Mongols which would probably have rent their power in twain in Eastern Asia. But fortunately Yaochu was at hand to give prudent advice, and after much hesitation Kublai yielded to the impressive exhortations of his experienced and sagacious minister. He is reported to have addressed Kublai in the following terms: "Prince! You are the brother of the emperor, but you are not the less his subject. You cannot, without committing a crime, question his decisions, and, moreover, if you were to do so, it would only result in placing you in a more dangerous predicament, out of which you could hardly succeed in extricating yourself, as you are so far distant from the capital where your enemies seek to injure you. My advice is that you should send your family to Mangu, and by this step you will justify yourself and remove any suspicions there may be."
Kublai adopted this wise course, and proceeded in person to Karakoram, where he succeeded in proving his innocence and in discomfiting his enemies. It is said that Mangu was so affected at the mere sight of his brother that he at once forgave him without waiting for an explanation and reinstated him in all his offices. To ratify this reconciliation Mangu proclaimed that he would take the field in person, and that Kublai should hold joint command with himself. When he formed this resolution to proceed to China in person, he appointed his next brother, Arikbuka, to act as his lieutenant in Mongolia. It is necessary to recollect this arrangement, as Mangu died during the campaign, and it led to the separation of the Chinese empire and the Mongolian, which were divided after that event between Kublai and Arikbuka.
Mangu did not come to his resolution to prosecute the war with the Sungs any too soon, for Uriangkadai was beginning to find his isolated position not free from danger. Large as the army of that general was, and skillfully as he had endeavored to improve his position by strengthening the fortresses and recruiting from the warlike tribes of Yunnan, Uriangkadai found himself threatened by the collected armies of the Sungs, who occupied Szchuen with a large garrison and menaced the daring Mongol general with the whole of their power. There seems every reason to believe that if the Sungs had acted with only ordinary promptitude they might have destroyed this Mongol army long before any aid could have reached it from the north. Once Mangu had formed his resolution the rapidity of his movements left the Sungs little or no chance of attacking Uriangkadai. This campaign began in the winter of 1257, when the troops were able to cross the frozen waters of the Hoangho, and the immense Mongol army was divided into three bodies, while Uriangkadai was ordered to march north and effect a junction with his old chief Kublai in Szchuen. The principal fighting of the first year occurred in this part of China, and Mangu hastened there with another of his armies. The Sung garrison was large, and showed great courage and fortitude. The difficulty of the country and the strength of several of their fortresses seconded their efforts, and after two years' fighting the Mongols felt so doubtful of success that they held a council of war to decide whether they should retreat or continue to prosecute the struggle. It has been said that councils of war do not come to bold resolutions, but this must have been an exception, as it decided not to retreat, and to make one more determined effort to overcome the Chinese. The campaign of 1259 began with the siege of Hochau, a strong fortress, held by a valiant garrison and commander, and to whose aid a Chinese army under Luwenti was hastening. The governor, Wangkien, offered a stout resistance, and Luwenti succeeded in harassing the besiegers; but the fall of the fortress appeared assured, when a new and more formidable defender arrived in the form of dysentery. The Mongol camp was ravaged by this foe, Mangu himself died of the disease, and those of the Mongols who escaped beat a hasty and disorderly retreat back to the north. Once more the Sungs obtained a brief respite.
The death of Mangu threatened fresh disputes and strife among the Mongol royal family. Kublai was his brother's lawful heir, but Arikbuka, the youngest of the brothers was in possession of Karakoram, and supreme throughout Mongolia. He was hostile to Kublai, and disposed to assert all his rights and to make the most of his opportunities. No Great Khan could be proclaimed anywhere save at Karakoram, and Arikbuka would not allow his brother to gain that place, the cradle of their race and dynasty, unless he could do so by force of arms. Kublai attempted to solve the difficulty by holding a grand council near his favorite city of Cambaluc, the modern Pekin, and he sent forth his proclamation to the Mongols as their Khan. But they refused to recognize one who was not elected in the orthodox fashion at Karakoram; and Arikbuka not merely defied Kublai, but summoned his own kuriltai at Karakoram, where he was proclaimed Khakhan in the most formal manner and with all the accustomed ceremonies. Arikbuka was undoubtedly popular among the Mongols, while Kublai, who was regarded as half a Chinese on account of his education, had a far greater reputation south of the wall than north of it. Kublai could not tolerate the open defiance of his authority, and the contempt shown for what was his birthright, by Arikbuka; and in 1261 he advanced upon Karakoram at the head of a large army. A single battle sufficed to dispose of Arikbuka's pretensions, and that prince was glad to find a place of refuge among the Kirghiz. Kublai proved himself a generous enemy. He sent Arikbuka his full pardon, he reinstated him in his rank of prince, and he left him virtually supreme among the Mongol tribes. He retraced his steps to Pekin, fully resolved to become Chinese emperor in reality, but prepared to waive his rights as Mongol Khan. Mangu Khan was the last of the Mongol rulers whose authority was recognized in both the east and the west, and his successor, Kublai, seeing that its old significance had departed, was fain to establish his on a new basis in the fertile, ancient and wide-stretching dominions of China.
Before Kublai composed the difficulty with Arikbuka he had resumed his operations against the Sungs, and even before Mangu's death he had succeeded in establishing some posts south of the Yangtsekiang, in the impassability of which the Chinese fondly believed. During the year 1260 he laid siege to Wochow, the modern Wouchang, but he failed to make any impression on the fortress on this occasion, and he agreed to the truce which Litsong proposed. By the terms of this agreement Litsong acknowledged himself a Mongol vassal, just as his ancestors had subjected themselves to the Kins, paid a large tribute, and forbade his generals anywhere to attack the Mongols. The last stipulation was partly broken by an attack on the rear of Uriangkadai's corps, but no serious results followed, for Kublai was well satisfied with the manner in which the campaign terminated, as there is no doubt that his advance across the Yangtsekiang had been precipitate, and he may have thought himself lucky to escape with the appearance of success and the conclusion of a gratifying treaty. It was with the reputation gained by this nominal success, and by having made the Sungs his tributaries, that Kublai hastened northward to settle his rivalry with Arikbuka. Having accomplished that object with complete success, he decided to put an end to the Sung dynasty. The Chinese emperor, acting with strange fatuity, had given fresh cause of umbrage, and had provoked a war by many petty acts of discourtesy, culminating in the murder of the envoys of Kublai, sent to notify him of his proclamation as Great Khan of the Mongols. Probably the Sung ruler could not have averted war if he had shown the greatest forbearance and humility, but this cruel and inexcusable act precipitated the crisis and the extinction of his attenuated authority. If there was any delay in the movements of Kublai for the purpose of exacting reparation for this outrage, it was due to his first having to arrange a difficulty that had arisen in his relations with the King of Corea. That potentate had long preserved the peace with his Mongol neighbors, and perhaps he would have remained a friend without any interruption, had not the Mongols done something which was construed as an infraction of Corean liberty. The Corean love of independence took fire at the threatened diminution of their rights, they rose en masse in defense of their country, and even the king, Wangtien, who had been, well disposed to the Mongol rulers, declared that he could not continue the alliance, and placed himself at the head of his people. Seeing himself thus menaced with a costly war in a difficult country on the eve of a more necessary and hopeful contest, Kublai resorted to diplomacy. He addressed Wangtien in complimentary terms and disclaimed all intention of injuring the Coreans, with whom he wished to maintain friendly relations, but at the same time he pointed out the magnitude of his power and dilated on the extent of the Mongol conquests. Half by flattery and half by menace Kublai brought the Corean court to reason, and Wangtien again entered into bonds of alliance with Cambaluc and renewed his old oaths of friendship.
At this point of the long struggle with the Sungs it will be appropriate to consider what was the exact position of Kublai with regard to his own Chinese subjects, who now formed the backbone of his power. By this time Kublai had become to all practical intents and purposes a Chinese emperor. He had accepted all the traditional functions of the typical Hwangti, and the etiquette and splendor of his court rivaled that of the Sungs. He had not merely adopted the Chinese system of taxation and the form of administration to which the larger portion of his officials, being of Chinese race, had been accustomed, but he declared himself the patron of learning and of Buddhism, which had gained a hold on the minds of the Mongols that it has not lost to the present day. One of the most popular of his early measures had been the order to liberate all the literate class among his Chinese prisoners, and they had formed the nucleus of the civil service Kublai attached to his interests and utilized as his empire expanded. In his relations with Buddhism Kublai showed not less astuteness, and in realizing that to attain durable success he must appeal to the religious side of human character, he showed that he had the true instincts of a statesman.
At this time two facts were clearly apparent. The Chinese were sunk in a low state of religious disbelief, and the Sung rulers were not disposed to play the part of regenerators of their country. The second fact was that the only vigorous religion in China, or, indeed, in Eastern Asia, was Buddhism, which, since the establishment of Brahmanism in India, had taken up its headquarters in Tibet, where, however, the supreme authority was still secular--that is to say, it was invested in the hands of a prince or king, and not in those of a priest or Grand Lama. It so happened that there was resident at Kublai's court a Tibetan priest, of the family which had always supplied the Sanpou with his minister, who gained the ear of Kublai, and convinced him how politic and advantageous to him personally it would be if he were to secure the co-operation and sympathy of his priestly order. Kublai fell in with his plans, and proclaimed his friend Pakba Lama, and sent him back to Tibet, there to establish the ecclesiastical authority, which still exists in that country, in intimate alliance and sympathy with the Chinese rulers. By this and other similar proceedings Kublai gained over to his side several influential classes among the Chinese people, and many reflecting persons thought they saw in him a true regenerator of the empire, and a worthy successor of their greatest rulers. It was, therefore, with a thoroughly pacified country, and to a great extent a contented people, that Kublai began his last war with the rulers of Southern China.
In 1263 Kublai issued his proclamation of war, calling on his generals "to assemble their troops, to sharpen their swords and their pikes, and to prepare their bows and arrows," for he intended to attack the Sungs by land and sea. The treason of a Chinese general in his service named Litan served to delay the opening of the campaign for a few weeks, but this incident was of no importance, as Litan was soon overthrown and executed. Brief as was the interval, it was marked by one striking and important event--the death of Litsong, who was succeeded by his nephew, Chowki, called the Emperor Toutsong. Litsong was not a wise ruler, but, compared with many of his successors, he might be more accurately styled unfortunate than incompetent. Toutsong, and his weak and arrogant minister, Kiassetao, hastened to show that there were greater heights of folly than any to which he had attained. Acting on the advice of a renegade Sung general, well acquainted with the defenses of Southern China, Kublai altered his proposed attack, and prepared for crossing the Yangtsekiang by first making himself supreme on its tributary, the Han River. His earlier attack on Wouchang has been described, and his compulsory retirement from that place had taught him the evil of making a premature attack. His object remained the same, but instead of marching direct to it across the Yangtsekiang he took the advice of the Sung general, arid attacked the fortress of Sianyang on the Han River, with the object of making himself supreme on that stream, and wresting from the Sungs the last first-class fortress they possessed in the northwest. By the time all these preliminaries were completed and the Mongol army had fairly taken the field it was 1268, and Kublai sent sixty thousand of his best troops, with a large number of auxiliaries, to lay siege to Sianyang, which was held by a large garrison and a resolute governor. The Mongol lines were drawn up round the town, and also its neighbor of Fanching, situated on the opposite bank of the river, with which communication was maintained by several bridges, and the Mongols built a large fleet of fifty war junks, with which they closed the Han River and effectually prevented any aid being sent up it from Hankow or Wouchang. Liuwen Hoan, the commandant of Sianyang, was a brave man, and he commanded a numerous garrison and possessed supplies, as he said, to stand a ten years' siege. He repulsed all the assaults of the enemy, and, undaunted by his isolation, replied to the threats of the Mongols, to give him no quarter if he persisted in holding out, by boasting that he would hang their traitor general in chains before his sovereign. The threats and vaunts of the combatants did not bring the siege any nearer to an end. The utmost that the Mongols could achieve was to prevent any provisions or re- enforcements being thrown into the town. But on the fortress itself they made no impression. Things had gone on like this for three years, and the interest in the siege had begun to languish, when Kublai determined to make a supreme effort to carry the place, and at the same moment the Sung minister came to the conclusion to relieve it at all hazards.
The campaign of 1270 began with a heroic episode--the successful dispatch of provisions into the besieged town, under the direction of two Chinese officers named Changkoua and Changchun, whose names deserve to be long remembered for their heroism. The flotilla was divided into two bodies, one composed of the fighting, the other of the store-ships. The Mongols had made every preparation to blockade the river, but the suddenness and vigor of the Chinese attack surprised them, and, at first, the Chinese had the best of the day. But soon the Mongols recovered, and from their superior position threatened to overwhelm the assailing Chinese squadron. In this perilous moment Changchun, devoting himself to death in the interest of his country collected all his war-junks, and making a desperate attack on the Mongols, succeeded in obtaining sufficient time to enable the storeships under Changkoua to pass safely up to Sianyang. The life of so great a hero as Changchun was, however, a heavy price to pay for the temporary relief of Sianyang, which was more closely besieged than ever after the arrival of Kublai in person.
After this affair the Mongols pushed the siege with greater vigor, and instead of concentrating their efforts on Sianyang they attacked both that fortress and Fanching from all sides. The Mongol commander, Alihaya, sent to Persia, where the Mongols were also supreme, for engineers trained in the working of mangonels or catapults, engines capable of throwing stones of 160-pounds' weight with precision for a considerable distance. By their aid the bridges across the river were first destroyed, and then the walls of Sianyang were so severely damaged that an assault appeared to be feasible. But Fanching had suffered still more from the Mongol bombardment, and Alihaya therefore attacked it first. The garrison offered a determined resistance, and the fighting was continued in the streets. Not a man of the garrison escaped, and when the slaughter was over the Mongols found that they had only acquired possession of a mass of ruins. But they had obtained the key to Sianyang, the weakest flank of which had been protected by Fanching, and the Chinese garrison was so discouraged that Liuwen Hoan, despairing of relief, agreed to accept the terms offered by Kublai. Those terms were expressed in the following noble letter from the Mongol emperor: "The generous defense you have made during five years covers you with glory. It is the duty of every faithful subject to serve his prince at the expense of his life, but in the straits to which you are reduced, your strength exhausted, deprived of succor and without hope of receiving any, would it be reasonable to sacrifice the lives of so many brave men out of sheer obstinacy? Submit in good faith to us and no harm shall come to you. We promise you still more; and that is to provide each and all of you with honorable employment. You shall have no grounds of discontent, for that we pledge you our imperial word."
It will not excite surprise that Liuwen Hoan, who had been, practically speaking, deserted by his own sovereign, should have accepted the magnanimous terms of his conqueror, and become as loyal a lieutenant of Kublai as he had shown himself to be of the Sung Toutsong. The death of that ruler followed soon afterward, but as the real power had been in the hands of the Minister Kiassetao, no change took place in the policy or fortunes of the Sung kingdom. At this moment Kublai succeeded in obtaining the services of Bay an, a Mongol general who had acquired a great reputation under Khulagu in Persia. Bayan, whose name signifies the noble or the brave, and who was popularly known as Bayan of the Hundred Eyes, because he was supposed to see everything, was one of the greatest military leaders of his age and race. He was intrusted with the command of the main army, and under him served, it is interesting to state, Liuwen Hoan. Several towns were captured after more or less resistance, and Bayan bore down with all his force on the triple cities of Hankow, Wouchang, and Hanyang. Bayan concentrated all his efforts on the capture of Hanyang, while the Mongol navy under Artchu compelled the Chinese fleet to take refuge under the walls of Wouchang. None of these towns offered a very stubborn resistance, and Bayan had the satisfaction of receiving their surrender one after another. Leaving Alihaya with 40,000 men to guard these places, Bayan marched with the rest of his forces on the Sung capital, Lingan or Hangchow, the celebrated Kincsay of medieval travelers. The retreating fleet and army of the Sungs carried with them fear of the Mongols, and the ever-increasing representation of their extraordinary power and irresistible arms. In this juncture public opinion compelled Kiassetao to take the lead, and he called upon all the subjects of the Sung to contribute arms and money for the purpose of national defense. But his own incompetence in directing this national movement deprived it of half its force and of its natural chances of success. Bayan's advance was rapid. Many towns opened their gates in terror or admiration of his name, and Liuwen Hoan was frequently present to assure them that Kublai was the most generous of masters, and that there was no wiser course than to surrender to his generals.
The Mongol forces at last reached the neighborhood of the Sung capital, where Kiassetao had succeeded in collecting an army of 130,000 men; but many of them were ill-trained, and the splendor of the camp provided a poor equivalent for the want of arms and discipline among the men. Kiassetao seems to have been ignorant of the danger of his position, for he sent an arrogant summons to the Mongols to retire, stating also that he would grant a peace based on the Yangtsekiang as a boundary. Bayan's simple reply to this notice was, "If you had really aimed at peace you would have made this proposition before we crossed the Kiang. Now that we are the masters of it, it is a little too late. Still if you sincerely desire it, come and see me in person, and we will discuss the necessary conditions." Very few of the Sung lieutenants offered a protracted resistance, and even the isolated cases of devotion were confined to the official class, who were more loyal than the mass of the people. Chao Maofa and his wife Yongchi put an end to their existence sooner than give up their charge at Chichow, but the garrison accepted the terms of the Mongols without compunction, and without thinking of their duty. Kiassetao attempted to resist the Mongol advance at Kien Kang, the modern Nankin, but after an engagement on land and water the Sungs were driven back, and their fleet only escaped destruction by retiring precipitately to the sea. After this success Nankin, surrendered without resistance, although its governor was a valiant and apparently a capable man. He committed suicide sooner than surrender, and among his papers was found a plan of campaign, after perusing which Bay an exclaimed, "Is it possible that the Sungs possessed a man capable of giving such prudent counsel? If they had paid heed to it, should we ever have reached this spot?" After this success Bayan pressed on with increased rather than diminished energy, and the Sung emperor and his court fled from the capital. Kublai showed an inclination to temporize and to negotiate, but Bayan would not brook any delay. "To relax your grip even for a moment on an enemy whom you have held by the throat for a hundred years would only be to give him time to recover his breath, to restore his forces, and in the end to cause us an infinity of trouble."
The Sung fortunes showed some slight symptoms of improving when Kiassetao was disgraced, and a more competent general was found in the person of Chang Chikia. But the Mongols never abated the vigor of their attack or relaxed in their efforts to cut off all possibility of succor from the Sung capital. When Chang Chikia hoped to improve the position of his side by resuming the offensive he was destined to rude disappointment. Making an attack on the strong position of the Mongols at Nankin he was repulsed with heavy loss. The Sung fleet was almost annihilated and 700 war-junks were taken by the victors. After this the Chinese never dared to face the Mongols again on the water. This victory was due to the courage and capacity of Artchu. Bayan now returned from a campaign in Mongolia to resume the chief conduct of the war, and he signalized his return by the capture of Changchow. At this town he is said to have sanctioned a massacre of the Chinese troops, but the facts are enwrapped in uncertainty; and Marco Polo declares that this was only done after the Chinese had treacherously cut up the Mongol garrison. Alarmed by the fall of Changchow, the Sung ministers again sued for peace, sending an imploring letter to this effect: "Our ruler is young and cannot be held responsible for the differences that have arisen between the peoples. Kiassetao the guilty one has been punished; give us peace and we shall be better friends in the future." Bayan's reply was severe and uncompromising. "The age of your prince has nothing to do with the question between us. The war must go on to its legitimate end. Further argument is useless." The defenses of the Sung capital were by this time removed, and the unfortunate upholders of that dynasty had no option save to come to terms with the Mongols. Marco Polo describes Kincsay as the most opulent city of the world, but it was in no position to stand a siege. The empress-regent, acting for her son, sent in her submission to Bayan, and agreed to proceed to the court of the conqueror. She abdicated for herself and family all the pretensions of their rank, and she accepted the favors of the Mongol with due humility, saying, "The Son of Heaven (thus giving Kublai the correct imperial style) grants you the favor of sparing your life; it is just to thank him for it and to pay him homage." Bayan made a triumphal entry into the city, while the Emperor Kongtsong was sent off to Pekin. The majority of the Sung courtiers and soldiers came to terms with Bayan, but a few of the more desperate or faithful endeavored to uphold the Sung cause in Southern China under the general, Chang Chikia. Two of the Sung princes were supported by this commander, and one was proclaimed by the empty title of emperor. Capricious fortune rallied to their side for a brief space, and some of the Mongol detachments which had advanced too far or with undue precipitancy were cut up and destroyed.
The Mongols seem to have thought that the war was over, and the success of Chang Chikia's efforts may have been due to their negligence rather than to his vigor. As soon as they realized that there remained a flickering flame of opposition among the supporters of the Sungs they sent two armies, one into Kwantung and the other into Fuhkien, and their fleet against Chang Chikia. Desperate as was his position, that officer still exclaimed, "If heaven has not resolved to overthrow the Sungs, do you think that even now it cannot restore their ruined throne?" but his hopes were dashed to the ground by the capture of Canton, and the expulsion of all his forces from the mainland. One puppet emperor died, and then Chang proclaimed another as Tiping. The last supporters of the cause took refuge on the island of Tai in the Canton estuary, where they hoped to maintain their position. The position was strong and the garrison was numerous; but the Mongols were not to be frightened by appearances. Their fleet bore down on the last Sung stronghold with absolute confidence, and, although the Chinese resisted for three days and showed great gallantry, they were overwhelmed by the superior engines as well as the numbers of the Mongols. Chang Chikia with a few ships succeeded in escaping from the fray, but the emperor's vessel was less fortunate, and finding that escape was impossible, Lousionfoo, one of the last Sung ministers, seized the emperor in his arms and jumped overboard with him. Thus died Tiping, the last Chinese emperor of the Sungs, and with him expired that ill-fated dynasty. Chang Chikia renewed the struggle with aid received from Tonquin, but when he was leading a forlorn hope against Canton he was caught in a typhoon and he and his ships were wrecked. His invocation to heaven, "I have done everything I could to sustain on the throne the Sung dynasty. When one prince died I caused another to be proclaimed emperor. He also has perished, and I still live! Oh, heaven, shall I be acting against thy desires if I sought to place a new prince of this family on the throne?" sounded the dirge of the race he had served so well.
Thus was the conquest of China by the Mongols completed. After half a century of warfare the kingdom of the Sungs shared the same fate as its old rival the Kin, and Kublai had the personal satisfaction of completing the work begun by his grandfather Genghis seventy years before. Of all the Mongol triumphs it was the longest in being attained. The Chinese of the north and of the south resisted with extraordinary powers of endurance the whole force of the greatest conquering race Asia had ever seen. They were not skilled in war and their generals were generally incompetent, but they held out with desperate courage and obstinacy long after other races would have given in. The student of history will not fail to see in these facts striking testimony of the extraordinary resources of China, and of the capacity of resistance to even a vigorous conqueror possessed by its inert masses. Even the Mongols did not conquer until they had obtained the aid of a large section of the Chinese nation, or before Kublai had shown that he intended to prove himself a worthy Emperor of China and not merely a great Khan of the Mongol Hordes.