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institutions. The Mongols had done so, and before the Mongols every northern conqueror in China since China began to be.
But what the Mongols learned of Chinese methods during a half century of conflict, the Manchu acquired in pursuing Nurhachu's sensible policy of providing several millions of Chinese settlers in the Liao Valley with the government to which they were accustomed, and habituating their own clansmen to the language and order of a finer culture than their own. It was this policy and their consistent recognition of a superior system that enabled the Manchus to retain their hold upon China after they had effected their conquest. The conquest itself, it will be observed, was a long struggle carried on chiefly through the agency of Chinese against Chinese until the country was too exhausted to offer further resistance to the forces that stood for order. At no time did the conquerors show superior generalship or valor; in numbers their own fighting men were always vastly inferior to the Chinese; in intellectual power they were never their equals. Yet they succeeded through sheer force of character, as the Ottomans have succeeded during a much longer period in western Asia, in dominating a people that were superior to them in every important quality except that of leadership.
Nurhachu met his first and only serious check in attempting the capture of Ningyuen, which was defended by a good general and by cannon cast by Jesuit missionaries. He died soon after this, in September, 1626, and was buried in the great tomb outside of Mukden, which is still shown to travelers. In accordance with Chinese custom his personal name had been replaced by the reign title of Tienming in 1616, when he assumed the dignity of emperor. After the accession of his grandson to the throne in Peking he was given the title of Taitsu, or Great Ancestor, by which he is known in imperial histories.
His successor, a fourth son known as Taitsung, appears to have been loyally supported by numerous brothers in taking up the arduous work of carving out a kingdom and pressing down upon China. The defense of the lower Liao
was, however, maintained with much persistence by the Chinese, despite the corruption and divided councils of the Ming government, that his way to the capital remained closed, owing chiefly to the obstinate resistance of the two strong fortresses of Ningyuen and Shanhai kwan. While he cannot be granted the supreme place in the fortunes of his family that belongs to Nurhachu, the task bequeathed to him of advancing those fortunes beyond the ancestral domain was hardly less difficult than that of winning its independence. His first achievement, the conquest of northern Korea, whose loyalty to the Ming suzerain necessitated its punishment to secure his southern frontier, was completed in 1627. His other neighbors, the Mongols, presented a far more serious problem, but within ten years, between 1626 and 1636, by a series of expeditions and negotiations, he had succeeded in practically incorporating Kortsin into his own domain and obtaining the suzerainty and tribute of all inner Mongolia. Besides the obvious strategic necessity of thus solidifying his own boundaries the control of Mongolia permitted him to raid the whole northern tier of Chinese provinces across that vast border which has ever been a source of their apprehension since the beginning of recorded history. A great excursion in force was made in 1629 to the city of Peking itself, where the terrified court was besieged for some weeks and the country around laid waste, but the Chinese general with his army brought down from Shanhai kwan was able to prevent an assault and the capital was saved.
Taitsung died at the age of fifty-two in September, 1643, and was succeeded by his ninth son, a child of five, while the control of the Manchu dynasty passed into the hands of the boy's uncle Dorgun. It was a critical moment in the career of that dynasty, for dissension amongst the many able and aspiring sons of Nurhachu would have involved its ruin had a struggle amongst them for the succession begun. By continuing the line in accordance with prescribed Chinese custom, in the person of a heir of the next generation, the internal peace of the warlike band was preserved while their activity found ample scope in the sudden
and enormous expansion of their emprise in the conquest of China.
Meanwhile the internal condition of the Chinese empire had become desperate under a long series of famines and rebellions which had utterly paralyzed its economic resources and brought about a general anarchy. It is impossible to decide whether under such loosely organized agencies as that of China the general prevalence of distress is a cause or a consequence of political disturbance. When thickly populous agricultural communities are reduced to starvation the people will inevitably break up into robber bands and prey upon each other to the confusion of all civil administration. No government can reduce the disorder unless provisions can be obtained to satisfy the needs of those made desperate by want; but a bad government may by its inefficiency aggravate the starving people and succumb to the forces of disruption thus let loose. It is notable that in the history of China no great upheaval has occurred without its concomitant of famine. In the third decade of the seventeenth century the northern provinces were visited by an unusually severe drought which was so badly met by venal officials that multitudes took to the mountains and attacked the roads and villages. In addition to these natural causes weakening authority in an imperfectly articulated domain, increased taxation and recurring levies of troops to meet the Manchus began in 1621 to arouse angry opposition in the western provinces. Revolts broke out which were painfully and only partly subdued. By 1631 the robber bands throughout all the inland provinces had swelled to great armies under redoubtable captains, whose successes encouraged the able-bodied to enlist under their banners and live upon the spoil of captured cities. At the end of another decade Li Tsu-cheng, a Shansi leader, after many vicissitudes, had become the greatest of them all, and with an army composed of nearly a million needy adventurers he was swarming, in 1641, over the famine-stricken province of Honan toward Peking. Despite the impotence of the imperial government in this score of years of carnage it is remarkable that the various rebel armies
met with obstinate resistance in many cities. There was no systematic opposition, yet owing to the indomitable spirit in defending their own which characterizes the Chinese people, as well as to the lack of organization among the rebels, the agony was long continued. The contrast between the Chinese rebel Li and the Manchu Nurhachu is suggestive as typical of the differing genius of the two races. It has often been said that the Chinese were conquered because they were unwarlike. They showed, on the contrary, a persistent fighting eagerness both before and after the Manchu irruption that ranks them among the martial people of the world. They failed both in rebellion and in defense because they could produce no leader capable of consolidating and fixing an orderly system of control. The Manchus succeeded, though they had to borrow and adapt the system of their enemy, because they know how to make themselves obeyed.
Peking was surrounded by the rebel host in February, 1644, and fell through sheer cowardice on the part of its defenders, lost to all sense of loyalty and shame through generations of eunuch control. The last of the Ming emperors, incapable to the end of any resolute action, committed suicide as the rebels poured over the deserted walls, and the city and palace-perhaps the richest storehouse of valuables at that time in the world-was given over to slaughter and pillage. Li put on the imperial yellow and reigned for one day in the palace, when he was called away to the north by a sudden and unexpected danger. Wu San-kwei, the ablest Chinese general that the herculean struggle against the Tartars had produced, preferring a Manchu Hwangti to a rebel upstart, called upon Dorgun to join him in avenging his dead sovereign. The Manchu army was hurried down to Shanhai kwan, Wu and his army were constrained to shave the forehead and adopt the Tartar queue, and preparations made for an advance upon the capital. But Li, who knew the value of keeping the aggressive, was upon them with his great host ere their forces had left the Wall. His defeat in the terrific battle that ensued before Shanhai kwan was due, it would appear, to
his carelessness in scouting, for, unaware of the Manchus drawn up among the hills on his flank, the rebels were disconcerted by their sudden advance just as they were wearing out Wu's troops by mere weight of numbers. Their route was followed up by Wu, while Dorgun and his soldiers hurried on to the dismantled capital. He placed his nephew the Emperor Shunchih upon the Dragon Throne, removing the seat of his government from Mukden as soon as the devastation of the rebel Li could be repaired.
But possession of the capital was far from giving the new dynasty control of the empire. China continued for nearly a score of years in armed revolt against her foreign conquerors, whose unity and steadfast policy, rather than any proficiency in arms, at length brought them victory. At the outset of this obstinate struggle the odds were enormously against them. The resources of the natives in men and materials were greatly superior to their own; their base, the Yellow River basin and the Great Plain, had been ravaged by years of famine and rebellion from which the southern provinces had suffered but little; loyalty to the Ming dynasty, despite its abuses, still inspired the educated class everywhere; and finally, the elements of disorder long since set loose under the robber rebellion gave free vent to that centrifugal tendency within the vast empire which has ever disposed its various provinces to fall apart, when opportunities offered, into separate governments under local adventur
Had the fallen dynasty produced one resolute master of men capable of choosing and controlling his ministers it could at least have held the land south of the Yangtse and divided China into two kingdoms as in the days of the Sung. But China seemed to be impotent in begetting a single administrator worthy of the name; she fell at last under the domination of an inferior race because the genius of her people was unable to meet the first requirement of a true national life. Whether this failure was due to deterioration of moral fiber, the result of a civilization grown too old to revive, the future alone will show.
The Manchu regent found his first great work at hand in setting up the machinery of government in Peking and
THE JOURNAL OF RACE DEVELOPMENT, VOL. 4, No. 2, 1913