Ancient China Simplified by Edward Harper Parker

Produced by Steve Schulze, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. Page images courtesy of Case Western Reserve University Library – Preservation Department ANCIENT CHINA SIMPLIFIED ANCIENT CHINA SIMPLIFIED BY EDWARD HARPER PARKER, M.A., (Manc.) PROFESSOR OF CHINESE AT THE VICTORIA UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER LONDON PREFACE Boswell once remarked to Dr. Johnson that “the
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Produced by Steve Schulze, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
Page images courtesy of Case Western Reserve University Library – Preservation Department


[Illustration: Tripod of the Chou dynasty, date 812 B.C. In 1565 A.D. it was placed by the owner for safety in a temple on Silver Island (near Chinkiang), where it may be seen now. Taken (by kind permission of the author) from Dr. S. W. Bushell’s “Chinese Art,” vol. i. p. 82.]





Boswell once remarked to Dr. Johnson that “the history of England is so strange that, if it were not well vouched as it is, it would be hardly credible.” To which Johnson replied in his usual style: “Sir, if it were told as shortly, and with as little preparation for introducing the different events, as the history of the Jewish kings, it would be equally liable to objections of improbability.” Dr. Johnson went on to illustrate what he meant, by specific allusion to the concessions to Parliament made by Charles I. “If,” he said, “these had been related nakedly, without any detail of the circumstances which generally led to them, they would not have been believed.”

This is exactly the position of ancient Chinese history, which may be roughly said to coincide in time with the history of the Jewish kings. The Chinese Annals are mere diaries of events, isolated facts being tumbled together in order of date, without any regard for proportion. Epoch-making invasions, defeats, and cessions of territory are laconically noted down on a level with the prince’s indiscretion in weeping for a concubine as he would weep for a wife; or the Emperor’s bounty in sending a dish of sacrificial meat to a vassal power by express messenger. In one way there is a distinct advantage in this method, for, the historian being seldom tempted to obtrude his own opinion or comments, we are left a clear course for the formation of our own judgments upon the facts given. On the other hand, it is unfortunate that what may be called the philosophy of history has never been seized by the Chinese mind: the annalists do not trouble themselves with the rights and aspirations of the masses; the results to general policy that naturally follow upon increase of population, perfecting of arms and munitions of war, admixture of foreign blood with the body politic, and such like matters. The heads of events being noted, it seems to be left to the reader to fill in the details from his imagination, and from his knowledge of contemporary affairs. For instance, suppose the reign of Queen Victoria were to begin after this fashion:–“1837, 5th moon, Kalends, Victoria succeeded: 9th moon, Ides, Napoleon paid a visit: 28th day, London flooded; 10th moon, 29th day, eclipse of the sun”; and so on. At the time, and for many years–possibly centuries–afterwards, there would be accurate general traditional, or even written, information as to who Victoria was; why Napoleon paid a visit; in what particular way the flood affected England generally; from what parts the eclipse was best visible, etc. These details would fade in distinctness with each successive generation; commentators would come to the rescue; then commentators upon commentators; and discussions as to which man was the most trustworthy of them all.

Under these circumstances it is difficult enough for the Chinese themselves to construct a series of historical lessons, adequate to guide them in the conduct of modern affairs, out of so heterogeneous a mass of material. This difficulty is, in the case of Westerners, more than doubled by the strange, and to us inharmonious, sounds of Chinese proper names: moreover, as they are monosyllabical, and many of them exactly similar when expressed in our letters, it is almost impossible to remember them, and to distinguish one from the other. Thus most persons who make an honest endeavour by means of translations to master the leading events in ancient Chinese history soon throw down the book in despair; while even specialists, who may wish to shorten their labours by availing themselves of others’ work, can only get a firm grip of translations by comparing them with the originals: it is thus really impossible to acquire anything at all approaching an accurate understanding of Chinese antiquity without possessing in some degree the controlling power of a knowledge of the pictographs.

It is in view of all these difficulties that an attempt has been made in this book to extract principles from isolated facts; to avoid, so far as is possible, the use of Chinese proper names; to introduce these as sparingly and gradually as is practicable when they must be used at all; to describe the general trend of events and life of the people rather than the personal acts of rulers and great officers; and, generally, to put it into the power of any one who can only read English, to gain an intelligible notion of what Chinese antiquity really was; and what principles and motives, declared or tacit, underlay it. It is with this object before me that I have ventured to call my humble work “Ancient China Simplified,” and I can only express a hope that it will really be found intelligible.




There is much repetition in the book, the same facts being presented, for instance, under the heads of Army, Religion, Confucius, and Marriages. This is intentional, and the object is to keep in the mind impressions which in a strange, ancient, and obscure subject are apt to disappear after perusal of only one or two casual statements.

The Index has been carefully prepared so that any allusion or statement vaguely retained in the mind may at once be confirmed. The chapter headings, or contents list, which itself contains nearly five per cent of the whole letterpress, is so arranged that it omits no feature treated of in the main text.

In the earlier chapters uncouth proper names are reduced to a minimum, but the Index refers by name to specific places and persons only generally mentioned in the earlier pages. For instance, the states of Lu and CHÊNG on pages 22 and 29: it is hard enough to differentiate Ts’i, Tsin, Ts’in, and Ts’u at the outstart, without crowding the memory with fresh names until the necessity for it absolutely arises.

The nine maps are inserted where they are most likely to be useful: it is a good plan to refer to a map each time a place is mentioned, unless the memory suffices to suggest exactly where that place is. After two or three patient references, situations of places will take better root in the mind.

The chapters are split up into short discussions and descriptions, because longer divisions are apt to be tedious where ancient history is concerned. And the narrative of political movement is frequently interrupted by the introduction of new matter, in order to provide novelty and stimulate the imagination. Moreover, all chapters and all subjects converge on one general focus.

On page 15 of “China, her Diplomacy, etc.” (John Murray, 1901), I have confessed how tedious I myself had found ancient Chinese history, and how its human interest only begins with foreign relations. I have, however, gone systematically through the mill once more, and my present object is to present general results only obtainable at the cost of laboriously picking out and resetting isolated and often apparently unconnected records of fact.


CHOU: at first a principality in South Shen Si and part of Kan Suh, subject to Shang dynasty; afterwards the imperial dynasty itself.

TS’lN: principality west of the above. When the Chou dynasty moved its capital east into Ho Nan, Ts’in took possession of the old Chou principality.

TSIN: principality (same family as Chou) in South Shan Si (and in part of Shen Si at times).

TS’I: principality, separated by the Yellow River from Tsin and Yen; it lay in North Shan Tung, and in the coast part of Chih Li.

TS’U: semi-barbarous principality alone preponderant on the Yang- tsz River.

WU: still more barbarous principality (ruling caste of the same family as Chou, but senior to Chou) on the Yang-tsz _embouchure_ and Shanghai coasts.

YÜEH: equally barbarous principality commanding another _embouchure_ in the Hangchow-Ningpo region. Wu and Yüeh were at first subordinate to Ts’u.

YEN: principality (same family as Chou) in the Peking plain, north of the Yellow River mouth,

SHUH and PA: in no way Chinese or federal; equivalent to Central and Eastern Sz Ch’wan province.

CHÊNG: principality in Ho Nan (same family as Chou).

SUNG: principality taking in the four corners of Ho Nan, Shan Tung, An Hwei, and Kiang Su (Shang dynasty family).

CH’ÊN: principality in Ho Nan, south of Sung (family of the Ploughman Emperor, 2250 B.C., preceding even the Hia dynasty).

WEI: principality taking in corners of Ho Nan, Chih Li, and Shan Tung (family of the Chou emperors).

TS’AO: principality in South-west Shan Tung; neighbour of Lu, Wei, and Sung (same family as Chou).

TS’AI: principality in Ho Nan, south of CH’ÊN (same family as Chou).

LU: principality in South-west Shan Tung, between Ts’ao and Ts’i (its founder was the brother of the Chou founder).

HÜ: very small principality in Ho Nan, south of Cheng (same obscure eastern ancestry as Ts’i),

K’I: Shan Tung promontory and German sphere (of Hia dynasty descent); it is often confused with, or is quite the same as, another principality called _Ki_ (without the aspirate).

The above are practically all the states whose participation in Chinese development has been historically of importance,


CONFUCIUS: after 500 B.C. premier of Lu; traced his descent back through the Chou dynasty vassal ruling family of Sung to the Shang dynasty family.

TSZ-CH’AN: elder contemporary of Confucius; premier of Cheng; traced his descent through the vassal ruling family of Cheng to the Chou dynasty family: date of death variously stated.

KWAN-TSE: died between 648 and 643 B.C., variously stated; premier of Ts’i; traced his descent to the same clan as the ruling dynasty of Chou.

YEN-TSZ: died 500 B.C.; premier of Ts’i; traced his descent to a local clan, apparently eastern barbarian by origin.

WEI YANG: died 338 B.C.; premier of Ts’in; was a concubine-born prince of the vassal state of Wei, and was thus of the imperial Chou dynasty clan.

SHUH HIANG: lawyer and minister of Tsin; belonged to one of the “great families” of Tsin; was contemporary with Tsz-ch’an. HIANG SÜH: diplomat of the state of Sung; pedigree not ascertained,

KI-CHAH: son, brother, and uncle of successive barbarian kings of Wu, whose ancestors, however, were the same ancestors as the orthodox imperial rulers of the Chou dynasty; contemporary of Tsz- ch’an.



1. MARQUESS OF Ts’i (not of imperial Chou clan, perhaps of “Eastern Barbarian” origin).

2. MARQUESS OF TSIN (imperial Chou clan).

3. DUKE OF SUNG (imperial Shang dynasty descent),

4. “KING” OF T’SU (semi-barbarian, but with remote imperial Chinese legendary descent).

5. EARL OF TS’IN (semi-Tartar, with legendary descent from remote imperial Chinese).

6. “KING” OF Wu (semi-barbarian, but of imperial Chou family descent).

7. “KING” OF YÜEH (barbarian, but with legendary descent from ultra-remote imperial Chinese).




Beginning of dated history–Size of ancient China–Parcelled out into fiefs–Fiefs correspond to modern _hien_ districts– Mesne lords and sub-vassals–Method of migration and colonizing– Course of the Yellow River in 842 B.C.–Distant fiefs in Shan Tung and Chih Li provinces of to-day–A river which subsequently became part of the Grand Canal–The Hwai River system of waters– Europeans always regard China from the sea inwards–Corea, Japan, and Liao Tung unknown in 842 B.C. except, perhaps, to the vassal state in Peking plain–Orthodox Chinese adopting barbarian usages in Shan Tung–Eastern barbarians on the coast to Shanghai–No knowledge of South or West Asia–Left bank of Yellow River was mostly Tartar, except in South Shan Si–Ancient capital in Shan Si–Ancient colonization of the Wei River valleys in Shen Si– Possibilities of Western ideas having been carried by Tartar horsemen from Persia and Turkestan–Traditions of western, eastern, and southern intercourse previous to 842 B.C.–Early knowledge of the River Yang-tsz and its three mouths–Explorations by ancient emperors–Development of China followed much the same normal course as that of Greece or England.



Character of the early colonizing Chinese satraps–Revolt of the western satrap and flight of the Emperor in 842 B.C.–Daughter of a later satrap marries the Emperor–Tartars mix up with questions of imperial succession and kill the Emperor–Transfer of the imperial metropolis from Shen Si to Ho Nan–The Chou dynasty, dating from 1122 B.C.–Before its conquest, the vassal house of Chou occupied the same relation to the imperial dynasty of Shang that the Wardens of the Western Marches, or Princes of Ts’in, did in turn to the imperial dynasty of Chou–The Shang dynasty had in 1766 B.C., for like reasons, supplanted the Hia dynasty-No events of great interest recorded in limited area of China before 771 B.C.–Decline of the imperial power until its extinction in 250 B.C.–The Five Tyrant or Protector period–Natural movement to keep pace with political development–Easier system of writing– Development of trade and industry–Living interests clash with extinct aspirations–From 722 B.C. to 480 B.C. is the period of change covered by Confucius’ history



The state of Tsin in Shan Si–In 771 B.C.: its ruler escorts the Emperor to his new capital–Only in 671 B.C. does Confucius mention Tsin–Divided from Ts’in by the Yellow River–Important difference between the sounds Tsin and Ts’in–Importance of the whole Yellow River as a natural boundary–The state of Ts’i also engaged in buffer work against Tartar inroads–Remote origin of Ts’i-Ts’in, Tsin, and Ts’i grow powerful as the Emperor grows weaker–The state of Yen in the Peking plain–The founder of Yen immortalized in song–Complete absence of tradition concerning Yen’s origin–Its possible relations with Corea and Japan–Centre of political gravity transferred for ever to the north–Tartar movements in Asia generally 800-600 B.C.–Never was a Tarter empire–Reason for using the loose word “Tartars”–Race divisions then probably very much as now–Attempt to classify the Tartars in definite groups–Ch’wan unknown by any name–Nothing at all was known in China of the north and west: _á fortiori_ of Central Asia



The collapse of the Emperor led to restlessness in the south too– The Jungle country south of the River Han–Ancient origin of its kings–Claim to equality–Buffer state to the south–Ruling caste consisted of educated Chinese–Extension of the Ts’u empire– Annamese connections–Claims repeated 704 B.C.–Capital moved to King-thou Fu near Sha-shï–First Ts’u conquests of China–Five hundred years of struggle with Ts’in for the possession of all China



How far is history true?–Confucius and eclipses–Evidence notwithstanding the destruction of literature in 213 B.C.– Retrospective calculations of eclipses and complications of calendars–Eclipse of 776 B.C.–Errors in Confucian history owing to rival calendars



Paraphernalia of warfare–Ten thousand and one thousand chariot states–Use of war-chariots, leather or wood–Chariots allotted according to rank–Seventy-five men to one cart–War-chariots date back to 1800 B.C.–Tartar house-carts–Rivers mostly unnavigable in north–Introduction of canals and boat traffic–Population and armies–Vague descriptions–Early armies never exceeded 75,000 men–The use of flags–Used in hunting as well as in war–Victims sacrificed to drums–A modern instance of this in 1900 A.D.



The coast states in possession of the Yang-tsz delta–The state of Wu really of the same origin as the imperial dynasty of Chou– Comparison with Phoenician colonists–Wu induced by Tsin to attack Ts’a-Ancient name was _Keugu_–Wu falls into the whirl of Chinese politics–Confucius and his contemptuous treatment of barbarians-Lu, in South Shan Tung, the place where Confucius held official posts–Great Britain and Duke Confucius–Five ranks for rulers of vassal states–Sacking of the Ts’u capital by Wu in 506 B.C.–Wu’s vassal Yüeh turns against Wu–_Uviet_ the native name of Yüeh–Bloody wars between Wu and Yiieh–Extinction of Wu in 483 B.C.–Yüeh was always a coast power–Reasons for Confucius’ endeavours to re-establish the old feudal system



The first Hegemon or Protector of China and his own vassal kingdom of Ts’i–Limits of Ts’i and ancient course of the Yellow River– Absence of ancient records–Shiftings of capital in the ninth century B.C.–Emperor’s collapse of 842 and its effect upon Ts’i– Aid rendered by Ts’i in suppressing the Tartars–Inconsiderable size of Ts’i–Revenges a judicial murder two centuries old–Rapid rise of Ts’i and services of the statesman–philosopher Kwan-tsz– The governing caste in China–Declares self Protector of China 679 B.C.–Tartar raids down to the Yellow River in Ho Nan-Chinese durbars and the duties of a Protector–Ts’in and Ts’u too far off or too busy for orthodox durbars–Little is now known of the puppet Emperor’s dominions–Effeminate character of all the Central Chinese orthodox stales–Fighting instincts all with semi- Chinese states–Struggle for life becoming keener throughout China



Sanctity of envoys–Rivalry of Tsin north and Ts’u south for influence over orthodox centre–The state of CHÊNG (imperial clan)–The state of Sung (Shang dynasty clan)–Family sacrifices– Instances of envoy treatment–The philosopher Yen-tsz: his irony– The statesman Tsz-ch’an of CHÊNG–Ts’u’s barbarous and callous conduct to envoys–Greed for valuables among high officers– squabble for precedence at Peace Conference–Confucius manipulates history–Yen-& and Confucius together at attempted assassination



Death of First Protector and his henchman Kwan-tsz, 648-643 B.C.– Ts’i succession and Sung’s claim to Protectorate–Tartar influence in Ts’i–Ts’u’s claim to the hegemony–Ridiculous orthodox chivalry–Great development of Tsin–A much-married ruler– Marriage complications–Interesting story of the political wanderings of the Second Protector–Tries to replace Kwan-tsz deceased–Pleasures of Ts’i life–Mean behaviour of orthodox princes to the Wanderer–Frank attitude of Ts’u–Successive Tartar-born rulers of Tsin, and war with T&n–Second Protector gains his own Tsin throne–Puppet Emperor at a durbar–Tsin obtains cession of territory–Triangular war between the Powers– Description of the political situation–China 2500 years ago beginning to move as she is now doing again



I’Jo religion except natural religion–Religion not separate from administrative ritual–The titles of “King” and “Emperor”–Prayer common, but most other of our own religious notions absent–Local religion in barbarous states–Distinction between loss and annihilation of power–Ducal rank and marquesses–Distinction between grantee sacrifices and personal sacrifices–Prayer and the ancient Emperor Shun, whose grave is in Hu Nan–Chou Emperor’s sickness and brother’s written prayer–Offers to sacrifice self– Messages from the dead–Lao-tsz’s book–Ts’in and conquered Tsin Sacrifices–Further instances of prayer



Ancestral tablets carried in war-Shrines graduated according to rank–Description of shrines–Specific case of the King of Ts’u– Instance of the First August Emperor much later–Temple of Heaven, Peking, and the British occupation of it–Modern Japanese instance of reporting to Heaven and ancestors–Tsin and Ts’i instances of it–Sacrificial tablets–Writing materials–Lu’s special spiritual status–Desecration of tombs and flogging of corpses–Destruction of ancestral temples–Imperial presents of sacrificial meat– Fasting and purification–Intricate mourning rules. So-65



History of Tsin and the Bamboo Annals discovered after 600 years’ burial–Confirmatory of Confucius’ history–Obsolete and modern script–Ancient calendars–Their evidence in rendering dates precise–The Ts’in calendar imposed on China–Rise of the Ts’in power–Position as Protector–Vast Tartar annexations by Ts’in– Duke Muh of Ts’in and Emperor Muh of China–Posthumous names– Discovery of ancient books–Supposed travels of Emperor Muh to Tartary–Possibility of the Duke Muh having made the journeys– Ts’in and Tsin force Tartars to migrate–Surreptitious vassal “emperors”–Instances of Annam and Japan–Tsin against Ts’in and Ts’u after Second Protector’s death–Ts’i never again Protector– Ts’in’s Chinese and Tartar advisers–Foundations for Ts’in’s future empire.



The Five Protectors of China more exactly defined–No such period as the “Five Tyrant period” can be logically accepted as accurate– Chinese never understand the principles of history as distinct from the detailed facts–International situation defined–Flank movements–Appearance of barbarous Wu in the Chinese arena– Phonetic barbarian names–The State of Wei–Enlightened prince envoy to China from Wu–Wu rapidly acquires the status of Protector–Confucius tampers with history–Risky position of the King of Wu–Yüeh conquers Wu, and poses as Protector–The River Sz (Grand Canal).



Further explanations regarding the grouping of states, and the size of the smallest states–Statesmen of all orthodox states acquainted with one another–No dialect difficulties in ancient times–Records exist for everything–Absence of caste, but persistence of the hereditary idea–The great political economist Kwan-tsz–Tsz-ch’an, the prince-statesman of Cheng–Shuh Hiang, statesman of Tsin–Reference to Appendix No. r–The statesman Yen- tsz of Ts’i–Confucius’ origin as a member of the royal Sung family–Confucius’ wanderings not so very extensive–Confucius no mere pedant, but a statesman and a humorist–Hiang Suh of Sung, inventor of “Hague” Conferences–Ki-chah, prince-envoy of Wu–K’u- peh-yuh, an authority in Wei–Ts’in had no literary men–Lao-% of Ts’u–Reasons why Confucius does not mention him



Ancient land and land-tax-Combination of military service with land cultivation–Studious class had to study _tao_ (in its pre-Lao-tsz sense)–Next the trading classes–Next the cultivators– Last the handicraftsmen–Another division of the people–Responsibility of rulers to God–Classification of rulers and ruling ranks–Eunuchs and slaves–Cadastral survey in Ts’u state–Reserves for sporting– Cemeteries–Salt-flats Another land and military service system in Ts’u–Kwan-tsz’s system in Ts’i–Poor relief–Shrewd diplomacy–His master becomes First Protector–commerce and fairs–“The people” ignored in history–Tsin reforms and administration–The “great family” nuisance–Roads, supplies, post-stages–Ts’i had developed even before Kwan-tsz–Restlessness of active minds under the yoke of ritual.



Very little mention of ancient writing or education–Baked inscribed bricks unknown to the _loess_ region–Cession of land inscribed upon metal–The Nine Tripods–Ts’u claims them– Instances of written grants and prayers–Proof of teaching–A written public notice–Probable use of wood–Conventions upon stone–Books in sixth century B.C.–Maps, cadastre, and census records–A doubtful instance–A closed letter–Indentures–A military map–Treaties–Ancient theory _of_ juvenile education for office–Invention of new-written script 827 B.C.–Patriarchal rule inconsistent with enlightenment–Unification of script, weights, measures, and axle-breadths by the First August Emperor Further invention of script and first dictionary–Facility of Chinese writing for reading purposes– Chinese now in a state of flux.



Treaties and imprecations–Smearing with blood of victims– Squabble _re_ precedence in the treaty-making–Shuh Niang’s philosophy–Confucius’ tampering with history condoned–Care of Chinese in preserving first-hand evidence–Emperor ignored by treaty-makers–Form of a treaty, with imprecation–Mesne lords and their vassals–Negotiations and references for instructions– Ts’u’s first protectorate in 538–Ts’u’s difficulty with Wu–The Six Families of Tsin–Sacrificing cocks as sanction to vows– Drawing human blood as sanction–Pigs for the same purpose–Kwan- tsz’s honourable behaviour in keeping treaty–Confucius not so honourable: instances given–Casuistry backed up by a proverb.



Life-time of Confucius–Secret of his influence–Visit of the Wu prince to Confucius’ state–Lu’s “powerful” family plague–Lu’s position between Tsin and Ts’u influences–Ts’i studies the ritual in Lu: Yen-tsz goes thither–Sketch of Lu history in its connection with Confucius–What were his practical objects?– Authorities in support of what Confucius’ Annals tell us–Original conception of natural religion–Spread of the earliest patriarchal Chinese state–No other people near them possessed letters–The way in which the Chinese spread–Lines of least resistance–The spiritual emperor compared with some of the Popes–Lu’s spiritual position–Confucius of Sung descent, and at first not an influential official in Lu–Lu’s humiliation–Ts’i’s intrigues to counteract Confucius’ genius–Travels of Confucius and his history–His edited works.



Original notion of law–War and punishment on a level–Secondary punishments–Judgment given as each breach occurs–No distinction between legislative and judicial–Private rights ignored by the State–Public weal is Nature’s law–First law reform for the Hundred Families–Dr. Legge’s translation of the Code– Proclamation of the Emperor’s laws–Themistes or decisions– Capricious instances: boiling alive by Emperor–Interference of Emperor in Lu succession–Tsang Wen-chung’s coat–Barbarity of the Ts’u laws–Lu’s influence with the Emperor–Tsin’s engraved laws–Tsz-ch’an’s laws on metal in Cheng–Confucius disapproves of published law–English judge-made law–All rulers accepted Chou law–Reading law over sacrificial victim–Laconic ancient laws– Command emanates from the north–Definition of imperial power–The laws of Li K’wei in Ngwei state (part of old Tsin)–Direct influence on modern law.



Engineering works of old Emperors–Marvellous chiselled gorge above Tch’ang–Pa and Shuh kingdoms (= Sz Ch’wan)–The engineer Li Ping in Sz Ch’wan: his sluices still in working order after 2200 years of use–Chinese ideas about the sources of the Yang-tsz–The Lolo country and its independence–The Yellow River and its vagaries–Substitution of the Chou dynasty for the Shang dynasty– First rulers of Wu make a canal–Origin of the Grand Canal– Explanation of the old riverine system of Shan Tung–Extension of the Canal by the First August Emperor–Kublai Khan’s share in it– The old Wu capital–Soochow and its ancient arsenals–No bridges in old clays: fords used–Instances–Limited navigability of northern rivers–Various Great Walls–Enormous waste of human life–New Ts’in metropolis–Forced labour and eunuchs.



Ancient cities mere hovels–Soul, the capital of modern Corea– Modern cities still poor affairs–Want of unity causes downfall of Ts’in and China–Magnificence of Ts’i capital–Ts’u’s palaces imitated in Lu–The capital of Wu–Modern Soochow–Nothing known of early Ts’in towns–Reforms of Wei Yang in Ts’in–Probable population–Magnificent buildings at new Ts’in metropolis– Facility with which vassal states shifted their capitals– Insignificant size of ancient principalities–Walled cities.



Collapse of Wu, flight in boats to Japan–Ground to believe that the ruling caste of Japan was influenced by Chinese colonists in the fifth century B.C.–Rise of Yueh, and action in China as Protector–Changes in the Hwai River system–Last days of the Chou dynasty–The year 403 B.C. is the second great pivot point in history–Undermining of Ts’i state by the T’ien or Ch’en family– Confucius shocked at the murder of a Ts’i prince–Sudden rise of Ts’in after two centuries of stagnation–The reforms of Wei Yang lead to the conquest of China–Orthodox China compared with Greece–The “Fighting State” Period.



Titles of the Emperors of the Chou dynasty–The word “King” in modern times–Posthumous names–The title “Emperor” and the word “Imperial”–“God” confused with “Emperor”–Lao-tsz’s view– Comparison with Babylonia, Egypt, etc.–No feudal prince was recognized by the Emperor as possessing the same title as the Emperor–The Roman Emperors–The five ranks of nobles–The Emperor’s private “dukes” compared with cardinals–The state of Lu–The state of Ts’i–The state of Tsin–No race hatreds in China–The state of Wei–Clanship between dynasties–Sacrificial rights–The state of Cheng: a fighting ground for all–The state of Ch’en–Explanation of the term “duke” as applied to all sovereign princes.



The vassal princes of the Chou and previous dynasties–Vassal princes and their relations with the Emperors–Protectors make great show of defending the Emperors rights–The Emperor’s sacrifices to God–Rules and rights concerning fees–All China belongs to the Emperor–Peculiar notions about the Emperor’s territory–Respect due to imperial envoys–Direct and indirect vassals–Ts’u’s group of vassals–Ts’u compared with Macedon– Never subject to the Emperors–Right of passage for armies– Special complimentary use of the term “viscount”–Titles not inherited during mourning–Forms of address–Rival Protectors and their respective subordinate states–Tribute from the states to the Emperor, and presents from the Emperor to the vassal states– The Emperor accepts _faits accomplis_, and takes what he can get.



Period of fighting states–Tsin divided into Han, Ngwei, and Chao- Ts’in developing herself in Tartary and in Sz Ch’wan–Want of orderly method in Chinese history–How the statesmen of each vassal state developed resources–Ts’in’s military development compared with that of Prussia from 1815 to 1870–“Perpendicular and Horizontal” period–Object to crush Ts’in–Rival claimants for universal empire–First appearance of the Huns or Turks-Helpless position of Old China–Bloody battles in Ts’in’s final career of conquest–A million men decapitated–Immense cavalry fights- Ts’in’s supreme effort for conquest of China.



_Resume_ of Chinese historical development–General lines of Chinese advance–Methods of Chinese colonization–Equal pedigree claims of half-Chinese states–Tsin and Ts’i were even more ancient than orthodox China–Degree of foreignness in Ts’u-Ts’u native words and music–Ts’u peculiarities-Succession laws in Ts’u and Lu compared–Further evidence of Ts’u’s foreign ways–Beards– Titles, posthumous and other–Ts’u admits her own savagery–Ts’u’s claim to the Nine Tripods–Ts’u and the Chou rites–Ts’u’s gradual civilization–Confucius’ admiration of Ts’u–Confucius’ style in speaking of barbarians–Distinction between “beat” and “battle”– German distinctions of rank compared with Chinese–The historical honour of “naming”–Vagueness of testimony and the way to test evidence.



The state of Wu–First Chinese princely emigrants adopted barbarian usages–The Jungle country and Wu–Wu’s way of doing the hair and Wu’s confession of barbarism–Federal China uses Wu against Ts’u–Wu the same language and manners as Yueh–Native Wu words–Wu’s ignorance of war–Wu’s early isolation–Ts’i enters into marriage relations with Wu–Mencius objects retrospectively– Wu ruling caste–The Wu language–Succession laws of Wu–A Wu prince’s views on the soul–Confucius’ views on ghosts–Ki-chah’s intimacy with orthodox statesmen–Rumours of Early Japan–Japan and Wu tattooing customs alike–Japanese traditions of a connection with Wu–Dangers of etymological guess-work–Doubts about racial matters in Wu–Small value of Japanese history and tradition–General conclusions.



Small size of ancient China–Description of ancient nucleus and surrounding barbarians–Amount of foreign element in each vassal state–Policy of the Ts’i and Lu administrations–The savage tribes of the eastern coasts–Persistency of some down to 970 A.D.–Ts’in’s unliterary quality–Her human sacrifices–Her Turkish blood–Late influence of the Emperors over Ts’in–Ts’in’s gradual civilization–Ki-chah on Ts’in music–Ts’u treats Ts’in as barbarian still in 361 B.C.–Ts’in’s isolation previous to 326 B.C.–Tartar rule of succession at one time in Ts’in–Yiieh’s barbarism–Its able king–Native name–Mushroom existence as a power–The various branches of the Yiieh race in Foochow, W&chow, and Tonquin–Wu and Yiieh spoke the same language–Ruling caste of Wu–Stern military discipline in Wu and Yiieh–Neither state proved to have had human sacrifices–Crawling customs–Ancient Chinese descent of rulers–Yiieh’s later capital in the German sphere–Her power always marine.



Literary relations between vassal states–Confucius set the ball of philosophy a-rolling–The fourfold “Bible” of China–Odes were generally known by heart–Comparison with President Kruger and his texts–Quotations from Odes and Book enable us to fix dates–Books were heavy weights in those days–People trusted to memory–The Rites more exclusively understood by the ruling classes– Comparison with Johnsonian wits–Instances cited, with side proofs–History and Classics corroborate each other-Evidences– Confucius’ ancestor composes odes–Political song by the children of Tsin–Another still-existing ode in reference to the Second Protector–Ts’u’s early literary knowledge–General knowledge of Odes and History–Ignorance of Ts’in-Ts’in ancient documents the only ones now remaining–First definite notion of abolishing the feudal system–The pivot point 403 B.C.–Ts’in’s conquests in north, south, east, and west–The First August Emperor’s travels– Lao-tsz’s Taoist philosophy becomes fashionable–Ts’in’s hatred of orthodox literature, and of the Odes and Book in particular–The Book of Changes escapes his hatred–Revolutionary decree of the First August Emperor-Lost annals of all feudal states but Ts’in– Learned Tartars of Tsin-Confucius used Tsin annals too–Origin of the name _Shi-ki,_ or “Historical Annals”–Further evidence of lost histories–Curious name for Ts’u Annals–Ts’u poetry- Ts’u’s knowledge of past history–The term “Springs and Autumns”– Baldness of early Chinese annals.



Whence did the Chinese come?–All men of equal age and ancestry– Records make civilization and nobility–Evidences of antiquity– China and the West totally unknown to each other in ancient times– Tartars the connecting link–Though tamed by religion they are not much changed now–Traders then, as now, but no through travellers–Chinese probably in China for myriads of years before their records began–Tonic peculiarities of all tribes near China except the Tartars–Chinese followed lines of least resistance– Tartars driven back, but difficult to absorb–So with Coreans and Japanese-Indo-China not so favourable for Chinese absorption– Records decided the direction taken by culture–Southern half- Chinese have equal claims with orthodox Chinese–Traditions of ancient emperors in north, coast, and south parts–Suggestions as to how the most ancient Chinese spread themselves–No hint of immigration from anywhere–The old suggestion of immigration from the Tarim Valley and Babylonia–Suggested compromise with Western religious views–Creation and Nature–Compromise with the supernatural and imaginative–Summing up.



The Chinese calendar–Confucius and eclipses–Proclaiming the new moon–Celestial observations in different states–Chinese year is luni-Solar–Difficulty with the exact length of a moon–Ingenious devices for bringing the solar and lunar years, the seasons, solstices, and equinoxes into harmony with agricultural needs–The sixty-year cycle–Various reforms of the calendar, and various changes in the month beginning the year–Effect of calendar changes on Confucius’ birthday–All is evidence in favour of accuracy of the Chinese records.



The difficulty of proper names–Instances-Clans and detached families–Surnames and personal names–Strange personal appellations–Interchange of names by all states–Eunuchs and priests-Minute rules about “naming” individuals–Confucius conveys praise or censure by “naming” persons–The principles upon which several names are applied to one person–Tabu-Instances, and Roman parallel–The Duke of Chou virtual founder of posthumous name system–Dying king and posthumous choice of name–Incestuous marriages in own clan–Hushing up incest in high places– Complication of names connected–Bearing of names upon the political events connected therewith.



Eunuchs and their origin–criminals with feet chopped off as keepers–Noseless criminals for isolated picket duty–The branded were gate-keepers–Eunuchs for the harem–“Purified men”– Comparative antiquity of Persia and China–Eunuchs in Tsin–Ts’i eunuchs and Confucius–Eunuchs in Wu–Ts’u’s uses for eunuchs– Eunuch intrigues in connection with the First August Emperor–The First Emperor’s putative father–His works–Eunuch witnesses assassination of Second August Emperor–General employ of eunuchs in China–Human sacrifices in Ts’in and Ts’u: also in Ts’i–Doubts as to its existence in orthodox China–Han Emperor’s prohibition– No fruit wine in ancient China–Spirits universal–Vice around ancient China rather than in it–Instances of heavy drinking in Ts’i and Ts’u–Tsin drinking–Confucius and liquor–Drinking in Ts’in–Ancient Chinese were meat-eaters–Horse-flesh and Tartars– Horse-liver in Prussia–Anecdote of Duke Muh and the hippophagi– Bears’ paws as food–Elephants in Ts’u–Dogs as food.



The Emperor Muh’s voyages to the West in 984 B.C.–The question of destroyed state annals-Exaggerated importance of the expedition, even if facts true–King Muh’s father was killed in a similar expedition–Discovery of the Bamboo Books of 299 B.C. in 281 A.D.– Imaginary interpretations put upon King Muh’s expedition by European critics–The Queen of Sheba–Professor Chavannes attributes the travels of Duke Muh of Ts’in 650 B.C.–Description of first journey–Along the great road to Lob Nor-Modern evidence that he got as far as Urumtsi–Six hundred days, or 12,000 miles– Specific evidence as to distance travelled each day–Various Tartar incidents of the journey–The Emperor’s infatuation on the second journey–Lieh-tsz, the Taoist philosopher, on the Emperor Muh’s travels–Arguments qualifying M. Chavannes’ view that Duke Muh, and not the Emperor Muh, undertook the journeys.



Wu kingdom–Name begins 585 B.C.–This is the year Japanese “history” begins–The first king and his four sons–Prince Ki- chah–War with Ts’u and sacking of its capital–King Fu-ch’ai and his wars against Yiieh–Offered an asylum in Chusan–Suicide of Fu-ch’ai–Escape of his family across the seas to Japan–China knew nothing of Japan, even if Wu did–Story reduced to its true proportions–Traces of prehistoric men in Japan–Possible movements of original inhabitants–Existing evidence better than none at all–East from Ningpo must be Japan–Like early Greeks and Egyptian colonists–Natural impulses to emigration–Refugees from China compared to Will Adams–Natural desire to improve pedigrees– No shame to Japan’s ruling caste to hail from China–European comparisons–How the Japanese manufactured their past history– Imagination must be kept separate from evidence.



Peculiar customs–Formalities of surrender–A number of instances of succession rules–Status of wives-Cases where the Emperor himself breaks the rules–Instances of irregular succession in various states–Customs of war–Cutting off the left ear as trophy–Rewards for heads–Principles of facing north and south– Turning towards Mecca–Left and Right princes–Modern instances of official seating–North and south facing houses–Chivalrous rules about mourning–Funeral missions–The feudal yearnings of Confucius explained–Respect even of barbarians for mourning–Many other quaint instances of funeral and mourning rules–Promises made to a dying _non compos_ of no avail–Mencius and the diplomatists.



Rights of women in ancient China–The legal rule and the actual fact–Instances of irregularity in female status, both in ancient and modern China–Instances of incest and irregular marriage even in orthodox states-Women, once married, not to come back–The much-married Second Protector–Hun and Turk customs about taking over Wives–Clan marriages of doubtful legality–Succession rules– Ts’u irregularities and caprice–Elder brothers by inferior wives–Paranymphs, or under-studies of the wife–Women always under some man’s power–Incestuous fathers–_Lex Julia_ introduced into Yiieh by its vengeful King–The evil morals of the Shanghai-Ningpo region of ancient Yiieh–No prostitution in ancient China, except perhaps in Ts’i–No infanticide–Incest and names.



Orthodox China compared with orthodox Greece–Our persistent “traditions” about the Tower of Babel and the Tarim Valley-Wu, Yiieh, and ancient traditions–The “Tribute of Yii” says nothing of Western origin of Chinese–No ancient knowledge of the West, nor of South China–The Blackwater River and the Emperor Muh–The “Tribute of Yii” says nothing of the supposed Western emigration of the Chinese–Some traditions of Chinese migrations from the south–Traditions of enfeoffment of vassals in Corea, about 1122 B.C.–Knowledge of China as defined by the First Protector, and as visited by the Second in the seventh century B.C.–Evidence of the Emperor’s limited knowledge of China in 670 B.C.–Yiieh first appears in 536 B.C.–Tsin never saw the sea till 589 B.C.–Ts’i’s ignorance of the south-u, Yiieh, and Ts’u all purely Yang-tsz riverine states–Ts’u alone knew the south–CHÊNG’s ignorance of the south–Ts’u and orthodox China of the same ancient stock– Tsin’s ignorance of Central China–Tsin defines Chinese limits for Ts’u–Ancient orthodox nucleus was the “Central State,” a name still employed to mean “China” as a whole.



Evidences still remaining in the shape of the tombs of great historical personages–Elephants used to work at the Wu tombs– Royal Ts’u tomb desecrated–Relics of 1122 B.C. found in Lu–Ts’in destitute of relics–Confucius and the Duke of Chou’s relics–Each generation of Chinese sees and doubts not of its own antiquities– No reason for European scepticism–Native critics know much more than we do.



From ancient times Tartars intimately connected with the Chinese– How the Chou state had to migrate to avoid the Tartars–Chou ancestors had originally fled from China to the Tartars–Chou family’s subsequent dealings with the Tartars–How Ts’in replaced Chou as the semi-Tartar or westernmost state of China–Tartars for many centuries in possession of Yellow River north bank–Once extended to Kiang Su province–Confucius’ knowledge of the Tartars–Tartar attacks in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.– Causes of the Protector system–Incompetence of Emperors to stave off Tartar attacks–Ts’i’s extensive relations with the Tartars– The Second Protector and his adviser–Rude treatment of the Second Protector by the orthodox Chinese states–Ts’u’s bluff hospitality– Second Protector had to check Chinese instead of Tartar ambitions– Tsin’s Tartar admixture–Comparison with Roman adventurers–How Tartars have in modern times ruled China and Asia.



Music in Chinese life–Confucius’ present dwelling and the ancient instruments therein–Comparison with Wagner’s Ring–Musicians as corrupters of simplicity–Tsin and Ts’in dialects–Music as an adjunct to government–Confucius’ views on music–Ts’u music–The effect of music on the mind–Rewards in the shape of right to play certain tunes–The Emperor Muh’s music–Music coupled with soothsaying–Lao-tsz on benevolence and justice-Playing the banjo– Music at sacrifice or worship–Modern abstinence from music– First August Emperor compared with Saul and his music.



Ancient and modern ideas of wealth–Ts’in and Ts’u valuables– Furniture–Mats and divans–Tea and wine–Tartar couches–Inlaid ivory sofas–State treasure–Wealth in horses-Silks and furs in Tsin and Ts’u–Women as property–Pearls and jade as portable property–A Chinese Crocesus–Escape by sea to Shan Tung–Gold as money–Bribery with “metal”–Iron and gold mines in Wu–Fine Wu swords–“Cash” as coins–Ts’u money–Weight of a gold piece–Cooks important personages–“Meat-eaters” meant the ruling classes– Silk universal–Poor wore hemp–No cotton–Ts’in custom of wearing swords–Jade marks of rank–Sports–Egret fights-war hunts–Horses in Peking plain–Hunting chariots and “shaft-gates”–_Yamen, ya_, and Turkish encampments–Cockfighting-Lifting heavy weights–Ball games–Women at looms–Little said of family life– No homely pastimes–No squeezed feet–Helplessness of the people under their taskmasters.



Confucius–His merits–His imperial and ducal origin–Migration of his family from Sung to Lu–His warrior father–His quaint childish fancies–Lu officer foretells his greatness–His first pupils–His appointment as steward–His visit to Laos–No reason for mentioning this visit in history–Neither philosopher yet “great”–Lu in a quandary–Helplessness of the Emperor under Tsin, Ts’i, and Ts’u pressure–Yen-tsz sees Confucius, and discusses Ts’in’s greatness–Studying the Rites at Lu-Date of Confucius’ visit to Lao-tsz–Struggle of great families for popular rights– Confucius offers services to Ts’i–Examines Rites of Hia–Yen- tsz’s jealousy of Confucius–Confucius back in Lu–His literary labours–His official posts and his views on law–Ts’i overborne by Wu–Ts’i’s attempt at assassination defeated by Confucius’ diplomacy–Treaty between Lu and Ts’i–Civil war in Lu–Confucius Premier–Successful administration–Confucius leaves Lu in disgust–His treatment in Wei state–Leaves Wei, but returns to old friend there–Confucius’ suspicious visit to a lady–Leaves disgusted _via_ Sung for Ts’ao–Visits to Cheng (mistaken for Tsz-ch’an) and Ch’en–A prey to rival ambitions–Episode of the Manchurian bustard–Revisits Wei–Arrested; solemn promise broken– Base behaviour–Starts to visit Tsin–Confucius’ enemy repents– Arrangements to get Confucius back to Lu–He first visits Ts’ai- Excursion to Ts’u–Three years more in Ts’ai–T-s’u’s literary status–Competition amongst princes for Confucius’ services– Confucius and war–Reaches Lu after fourteen years of wandering– Confucius’ travels the same as the Second Protector’s–Consoles himself with literature–Popularizes history-Edits the Changes and the Odes–His history–The Tso Chwan.



Historians had to be careful–Reverence for rulers–Confucius’ feelings–His failings–All on the surface–His concealments–His artful censures–Sanctity of the classes–Confucius’ meannesses and indiscretions–Allowances must be made for time and place– Tsz-ch’an quite as good a man–Reasons for permanency of Confucian system–Reasons for Lao-tsz not being mentioned–All Chinese statesman-philosophers were, or tried to be, practical–First mention of Lao-tsz’s new Taoism–Lao-tsz well known 400 B.C.– State intercourse before Confucius’ time–Philosophy taught by word of mouth–Cheapening of books accounts for spread of knowledge–Description of ancient books–Confucius was young when he visited Lao-tsz–Lao-t&s book in ancient character–Meagreness of details evidence of rigid truth–Obscurity of the Emperor– Difficult questions of fact answered–How Lao-tsz was visited– Proofs of genuineness–Originals must be studied by foreign critics.



Consulting the oracles–The Changes, or Book of Diagrams–Ts’u and Ts’i as instructors of Chou–Tortoise augury–Consulting ancestors–Heaven’s decree–Heaven’s spontaneous, manifestations of favour–Astrology–Prognostication–Text of the Changes survives unmutilated–Ts’in consults oracles about moving capital– Ts’in’s greatness foretold–Omens–_Dies_ n&s–Oracles in the battlefield–Prophecy in Tsin, Ts’u, and Lu–Shuh Hiang’s scepticism–Tsz-ch’an and the omen of fighting snakes–Children sing prophetic songs–“Passing on” threatened evil–Tortoise oracles in Ts’o and Wu–High status of diviners-“-Transferring” evil in Ts’u–Rivers as gods–Our own prophecies–Good faith and truth.



Personal character of wars–People’s interests ignored–Instances– Comparisons with the Golden Fleece and Naboth’s vineyard–Second Protector avenges scurvy treatment–The halt, the maim, and the blind–Jephthah’s rash vow-Divinity of kings–Ts’u more tyrannical than China–Responsibility of Chinese before Heaven–The King can do no wrong–Emperors reign under Heaven–Heaven in the confidence of rulers–Sacred person of kings–Distinction between official and private death–Double chivalry of a Tsin general–The gods and Tsz-ch’an’s scepticism.




[For the illustration of the Wuchuan vase, and the inscription thereon, I am indebted to Dr. S. W. Bushell M.D., from whose work on “Chinese Art” (vol. i. p. 82) the plates (kindly lent by H.M. Stationery Office) are taken. For the photograph of the Duke of “Propagating Holiness” (i.e. Confucius) I am indebted to the Jesuit Fathers of Shanghai, and to Father Tschepe, who obtained it from his Grace.]

1. Tripod of the Chou dynasty, date 8l2 B.C. In 1565 A.D. it was placed by the owner for safety in a temple on Silver Island (near Chinkiang), where it may be seen now.

Taken (by kind permission of the author) from Dr. S. W. Bushell’s “Chinese Art,” vol. i. p. 82. _Frontispiece_

2. K’ung Ling-i, the hereditary Yen-shêng Kung, or “Propagating Holiness Duke”; 76th in descent from K’ung K’iu, alias K’ung Chung-ni, the original philosopher, 551-479 B.C.

This portrait was presented to “the priest P’êng” (Father Tschepe, S.J.), on the occasion of his visit last autumn (7th moon, 33rd year). To _face page 81_

3. Original inscription on the Sacrificial Tripod, together with (1) transcription in modern Chinese character (to the right), and (2) an account of its history (to the left). Taken from Dr. Bushell’s “Chinese Art”.

[Illustration: MAP]


1. The other small maps will explain each section more in detail.

2. This map is intended to give a general idea of the extremely limited area of the empire in the sixth century B.C.

3. Like the modern Sultan, the Chow Emperor was gradually driven into a corner, surrounded by Bulgarias, Servias, Egypts, and other countries once under his effective rule; and, like the Sultan, the Chou Emperor remained spiritual head for many centuries after the practical dismemberment of his empire.

4. Until quite recent times, the true source of the Yang-tsz had been unknown to the Chinese, and the River Min has been, and even still is, considered to be the chief head-water. It flows through the rich country of ancient Shuh, now the administrative centre of Sz Ch’wan province.

5. Even now the Yang-tsz River is practically the only great route from China into Sz Ch’wan, and in ancient times the rapids were probably not negotiable by large craft.

6. The land routes into Sz Ch’wan from the head-waters of the Wei and Ilan Rivers are all extremely precipitous. It was not until 200 B.C. that any military road was attempted.

7. Ancient China meant the Yellow River. Then the Han and the Hwai. Next the Yang-tsz. Last the Sz Ch’wan tributaries of the Yang-tsz. It was through the lakes and rivers south of the Yang- tsz that China at last colonized the south.



The year 842 B.C. may be considered the first accurate date in Chinese history, and in this year the Emperor had to flee from his capital on account of popular dissatisfaction with his tyrannical ways: he betook himself northward to an outlying settlement on the Tartar frontier, and the charge of imperial affairs was taken over by a regency or duumvirate.

At this time the confederation of cultured princes called China– or, to use their own term, the Central Kingdom–was a very different region from the huge mass of territory familiar to us under those names at the present day. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that civilized China, even at that comparatively advanced period, consisted of little more than the modern province of Ho Nan. All outside this flat and comparatively riverless region inhabited by the “orthodox” was more or less barbaric, and such civilization as it possessed was entirely the work of Chinese colonists, adventurers, or grantees of fiefs _in partibus infidelium_ (so to speak). Into matters of still earlier ancient history we may enter more deeply in another chapter, but for the present we simply take China as it was when definite chronology begins.

The third of the great dynasties which had ruled over this limited China had, in 842 B.C., already been on the imperial throne for practically three hundred years, and, following the custom of its predecessors, it had parcelled out all the land under its sway to vassal princes who were, subject to the general imperial law and custom, or ritual, together with the homage and tribute duty prescribed thereunder, all practically absolute in their own domains. Roughly speaking, those smaller fiefs may be said to have corresponded in size with the walled-city and surrounding district of our own times, so well known under the name of _hien_. About a dozen of the larger fiefs had been originally granted to the blood relations of the dynastic founder in or after 1122 B.C.; but not exclusively so, for it seems to have been a point of honour, or of religious scruple, not to “cut off the sacrifices” from ruined or disgraced reigning families, unless the attendant circumstances were very gross; and so it came to pass that successive dynasties would strain a point in order to keep up the spiritual memory of decayed or rival houses.

Thus, at the time of which we speak (842 B.C.), about ten of the dozen or so of larger vassal princes were either of the same clan as the Emperor himself, or were descended from remoter branches of that clan before it secured the imperial throne; or, again, were descended from ministers and statesmen who had assisted the founder to obtain empire; whilst the two or three remaining great vassals were lineal representatives of previous dynasties, or of their great ministers, keeping up the honour and the sacrifices of bygone historical personages. As for the minor fiefs, numbering somewhere between a thousand and fifteen hundred, these play no part in political history, except as this or that one of them may have been thrust prominently forward for a moment as a pawn in the game of ambition played by the greater vassals. Nominally the Emperor was direct suzerain lord of all vassals, great or small; but in practice the greater vassal princes seem to have been what in the Norman feudal system were called “mesne lords”; that is, each one was surrounded by his own group of minor ruling lords, who, in turn, naturally clung for protection to that powerful magnate who was most immediately accessible in case of need; thus vassal rulers might be indefinitely multiplied, and there is some vagueness as to their numbers.

Just as the oldest civilizations of the West concentrated themselves along the banks of the Euphrates and the Nile, so the most ancient Chinese civilization is found concentrated along the south bank of the Yellow River. The configuration of the land as shown on a modern map assists us to understand how the industrious cultivators and weavers, finding the flat and so-called _loess_ territory too confined for their ever-increasing numbers, threw out colonies wherever attraction offered, and wherever the riverine systems gave them easy access; whether by boat and raft; or whether–as seems more probable, owing to the scanty mention of boat-travel–by simply following the low levels sought by the streams, and tilling on their way such pasturages as they found by the river-sides. When it is said that the earliest Chinese we know of clung to the Yellow River bed, it must be remembered that “the River” (as they call it simply) turned sharp to the north at a point in Ho Nan province very far to the west of its present northerly course, near a city marked in the modern maps as Jung-t&h, in lat. 35 degrees N., long, 114 degrees E., or thereabouts; moreover, its course further north lay considerably to the westward of the present Grand Canal, taking possession now of the bed of the Wei River, now of that of the Chang River, according to whether we regard it before or after the year 602 B.C.; but always entering the Gulf near modern Tientsin. Hence we need not be surprised to find that the Conqueror or Assertor of the dynasty had conferred upon a staunch adviser, of alien origin, and upon two of his most trusty relatives, the three distant fiefs which commanded both sides of the Yellow River mouth, at that time near the modern Tientsin. There was no Canal in those days, and the river which runs past Confucius’ birth-place, and now goes towards feeding the Grand Canal, had then a free course south-east towards the lakes in Kiang Su province to the north of Nanking. It will be noticed that quite a network of tributary rivers take their rise in Ho Nan province, and trend in an easterly direction towards the intricate Hwai River system. The River Hwai, which has a great history in the course of Chinese development, was in quite recent times taken possession of by the Yellow River for some years, and since then the Grand Canal and the lakes between them have so impeded its natural course that it may be said to have no natural delta at all; to be dissipated in a dedalus of salt flats, irrigation channels, and marshes: hence it is not so obvious to us now why the whole coast-line was at the period we are now describing, when there was no Grand Canal, quite beyond the reach of Chinese colonization from the Yellow River valley: this was only possible in two directions–firstly to the south, by way of the numerous ramifications of the Han River, which now, as then, joins the Yang-tsz Kiang at Hankow; and secondly to the south- east, by way of the equally numerous ramifications of the Hwai River, which entered the sea in lat. 34ø N. No easy emigration to the westward or south-westward was possible in those comparatively roadless days, for not a single river pointed out the obvious way to would-be colonists.

Accustomed as we now are to regard China as one vast homogeneous whole, approachable to us easily from the sea, it is not easy for us to understand the historical lines of expansion without these preliminary explanations. Corea and Japan were totally unknown even by name, and even Liao Tung, or “East of the River Liao,” which was then inhabited by Corean tribes, was, if known by tradition at all, certainly only in communication with the remote Chinese colony, or vassal state, in possession of the Peking plain: on the other hand, this vassal state itself (if it had records of its own at all), for the three centuries previous to 842 B.C., had no political relations with the federated Chinese princes, and nothing is known of its internal doings, or of its immediate relations (if any) with Manchus and Coreans. The whole coast-line of Shan Tung was in the hands of various tribes of “Eastern Barbarians.” True, a number of Chinese vassal rulers held petty fiefs to the south and the east of the two highly civilized principalities already described as being in possession of the Lower Yellow River; but the originally orthodox rulers of these petty colonies are distinctly stated to have partly followed barbarian usage, even despite their own imperial clan origin, and to have paid court to these two greater vassals as mesne lords, instead of direct to the Emperor. South of these, again, came the Hwai group of Eastern barbarians in possession of the Lower Hwai valley, and the various quite unknown tribes of Eastern barbarians occupying the marshy salt flats and shore accretions on the Kiang Su coast right down to the River Yang-tsz mouth.

As we shall see, a century or two later than 842 B.C. powerful semi-Chinese states began to assert themselves against the federated orthodox Chinese princes lying to their north; but, when dated history first opens, Central China knew nothing whatever of any part of the vast region lying to the south of the Yang-tsz; nothing whatever of what we now call Yiin Nan and Sz Ch’wan, not to say of the Indian and Tibetan dominions lying beyond them; _ fortiori_ nothing of Formosa, Hainan, Cochin-China, Tonquin, Burma, Siam, or the various Hindoo trading colonies advancing from the South Sea Islands northwards along the Indo-Chinese coasts; nothing whatever of Tsaidam, the Tarim Valley, the Desert, the Persian civilization, Turkestan, Kashgaria, Tartary, or Siberia.

It is, and will here be made, quite clear that the whole of the left bank of the Yellow River was in possession of various Turkish and Tartar-Tibetan tribes. The only exception is that the south- west corner of Shan Si province, notably the territory enclosed between the Yellow River and the River F&n (which, running from the north, bisects Shan Si province and enters the Yellow River about lat. 35″ 30′ N., long. 110 degrees 30′ E.) was colonized by a branch of the imperial family quite capable of holding its own against the Tartars; in fact, the valley of this river as far north as P’ing-yang Fu had been in semi-mythical times (2300 B.C.) the imperial residence. It will be noticed that the River Wei joins the Yellow River on its right bank, just opposite the point where this latter, flowing from the north, bends eastwards, the Wei itself flowing from the west. This Wei Valley (including the sub- valleys of its north-bank tributaries) was also in 842 B.C. colonized by an ancient Chinese family–not of imperial extraction so far as the reigning house was concerned–which, by adopting Tartar, or perhaps Tartar–Tibetan, manners, had for many generations succeeded in acquiring a predominant influence in that region. Assuming that–which is not at all improbable–the nomad horsemen in unchallenged possession of the whole desert and Tartar expanse had at any time, as a consequence of their raids in directions away from China westward, brought to China any new ideas, new commercial objects, or new religious notions, these novelties must almost necessarily have filtered through this semi- Chinese half-barbarous state in possession of the Wei Valley, or through other of their Tartar kinsmen periodically engaged in raiding the settled Chinese cultivators farther east, along the line of what is now the Great Wall, and the northern parts of Shan Si and Chih Li provinces.

We shall allude in a more convenient place and chapter to specific traditions touching the supposed journeys about 990 B.C. of a Chinese Emperor to Turkestan; the alleged missions from Tonquin to a still earlier Chinese Emperor or Regent; and the pretended colonization of Corea by an aggrieved Chinese noble-all three events some centuries earlier than the opening period of dated history of which we now specially speak. For the present we ignore them, as, even if true, these events have had, and have now, no specific or definite influence whatever on the question of Chinese political development as expounded here. It seems certain that for many centuries previous to 842 B.C. the ruling and the literary Chinese had known of the existence of at least the Lower Yang-tsz and its three mouths (the Shanghai mouth and the Hangchow mouth have ceased long ago to exist at all): they also seem to have heard in a vague way of “moving sands” beyond the great northerly bend of the Yellow River in Tartarland. It is not even impossible that the persistent traditions of two of their very ancient Emperors having been buried south of the Yang-tsz–one near the modern coast treaty-port of Ningpo, the other near the modern riverine treaty-port of Ch’ang-sha–may be true; for nothing is more likely than that they both met their death whilst exploring the tributaries of the mysterious Yang-tsz Kiang lying to their south; because the father of the adventurous Emperor who is supposed to have explored Tartary in ggo B.C. certainly lost his life in attempting to explore the region of Hankow, as will be explained in due course.

All this, however, is matter of side issue. The main point we wish to insist upon, by way of introduction, in endeavouring to give our readers an intelligible notion of early Chinese development, is that Chinese beginnings were like any other great nation’s beginnings–like, for instance, the Greek beginnings; these were centred at first round an extremely petty area, which, gradually expanding, threw out its tentacles and branches, and led to the final inclusion of the mysterious Danube, the gloomy Russian plain, the Tin Islands, Ultima Thule, and the Atlantic coasts into one fairly harmonious Graeco-Roman civilization. Or it may be compared to the development of the petty Anglo-Saxon settlements and kingdoms and sub-kingdoms, and their gradual political absorption of the surrounding Celts. In any case it may be said that there is nothing startlingly new about it; it followed a normal course.



Having now seen how the Chinese people, taking advantage of the material and moral growth naturally following upon a settled industrial existence, and above all upon the exclusive possession of a written character, gradually imposed themselves as rulers upon the ignorant tribes around them, let us see to what families these Chinese emigrant adventurers or colonial satraps belonged. To begin with the semi-Tartar power in the River Wei Valley– destined six hundred years later to conquer the whole of China as we know it to-day–the ruling caste claimed descent from the most ancient (and of course partly mythological) Emperors of China; but for over a thousand years previous to 842 B.C. this remote branch of the Chinese race had become scattered and almost lost amongst the Tartars. However, a generation or two before our opening period, one of these princes had served the then ruling imperial dynasty as a sort of guardian to the western frontier, as a rearer of horses for the metropolitan stud, and perhaps even as a guide on the occasion of imperial expeditions into Tartarland. The successor of the Emperor who was driven from his capital in 842 B.C. about twenty years later employed this western satrap to chastise the Tartar nomads whose revolt had in part led to the imperial flight. After suffering some disasters, the conductors of this series of expeditions were at last successful, and in 815 B.C. the title of “Warden of the Western Marches” was officially conferred on the ruler for the time being of this western state, who in 777 B.C. had the further honour of seeing one of his daughters married to the Emperor himself. This political move on the part of the Emperor was unwise, for it led indirectly to the Tartars, who were frequently engaged in war with the Warden, interfering in the quarrels about the imperial succession, in which question the Tartars naturally thought they had a right to interfere in the interests of their own people. The upshot of it was that in 771 B.C. the Emperor was killed by the Tartars in battle, and it was only by securing the military assistance of the semi-Tartar Warden of the Marches that the imperial dynasty was saved. As it was, the Emperor’s capital was permanently moved east from the immediate neighbourhood of what we call Si-ngan Fu in Shen Si province to the immediate neighbourhood of Ho-nan Fu in the modern Ho Nan province; and as a reward for his services the Warden was granted nearly the whole of the original imperial patrimony west of the Yellow River bend and on both sides of the Wei Valley. This was also in the year 771 B.C., and this is really one of the great pivot-points in Chinese history, of equal weight with the almost contemporaneous founding of Rome, and the gradual substitution of a Roman centre for a Greek centre in the development and civilization of the Far West. The new capital was not, however, a new city. Shortly after the imperial dynasty gained the possession of China in 1122 B.C., it had been surveyed, and some of the regalia had been taken thither; this, with a view of making it one of the capitals at least, if not the sole capital.

As Chinese names sound uncouth to our Western ears, and will, therefore, in these introductory chapters only be used sparingly and gradually, it becomes correspondingly difficult to explain historical phenomena adequately whilst endeavouring to avoid as far as possible the use of such unintelligible names: it will be well, then, to sum up the situation, and even repeat a little, so that the reader may assimilate the main points without fatigue or repulsion. The reigning dynasty of Chou had secured the adhesion of the thousand or more of Chinese vassal princes in 1122 B.C., and had in other words “conquered” China by invitation, much in the same way, and for very much the same general reasons, that William III. had’ accepted the conquest of the British Isles; that is to say, because the people were dissatisfied with their legitimate ruler and his house. But, before this conquest, the vassal princes of Chou had occupied practically the same territory, and had stood in the same relation to the imperial dynasty subsequently ousted by them in 1122, that the Wardens of the Marches occupied and stood in when the imperial house of Chou in turn fled east in 771 B.C. The Shang dynasty thus ousted by the Chou princes in 1122, had for like misgovernment driven out the Hia dynasty in 1766 B.C. Thus, at the time when the Wardens of the Marches (whose real territorial title was Princes of Ts’in) practically put the imperial power into commission in 771 B.C., the two old-fashioned dynasties of Shang and Chou had already ruled patriarchally for almost exactly one thousand years, and nothing of either a very startling, or a very definite, character had taken place at all within the comparatively narrow area described in our first chapter.

From this date of 771 B.C., and for five hundred years more down to 250 B.C., when the Chou dynasty was extinguished, the rule of the feudal Emperors of China was almost purely nominal, and except in so far as this or that powerful vassal made use of the moral, and even occasionally of the military power of the metropolitan district when it suited his purpose, the imperial ruler was chiefly exercised in matters of form and ritual; for under all three patriarchal dynasties it was on form and ritual that the idea of government had always been based. Of course the other powerful satraps–especially the more distant ones, those not bearing the imperial clan-name, and those more or less tinged with barbarian usages–learning by degrees what a helpless and powerless personage the Emperor had now become, lost no time in turning the novel situation to their own advantage: it is consequently now that begins the “tyrant period,” or the period of the “Five Dictators,” as the Chinese historians loosely term it: that is to say, the period during which each satrap who had the power to do so took the lead of the satrap body in general, and gave out that he was restoring the imperial prestige, representing the Emperor’s majesty, carrying out the behests of reason, compelling the other vassals to do their duty, keeping up the legitimist sacrifices, and so on. In other words, the population of China had grown so enormously, both by peaceful in-breeding and by imperceptible absorption of kindred races, that more elbow-room was needed; more freedom from the shackles of ritual, rank, and feudal caste; more independence, and more liberty to take advantage of local or changed traditions. Besides all this, the art of writing, though still clumsy, expensive, and confined in its higher and literary aspects to the governing classes, had recently become simplified and improved; the salt trade, iron trade, fish industry, silk industry, grain trade, and art of usury had spread from one state to the other, and had developed: though the land roads were bad or non-existent, there were great numbers of itinerant dealers in cattle and army provisions. In a word, material civilization had made great strides during the thousand years of patriarchal rule immediately preceding the critical period comprised between the year 842 B.C. and the year 771 B.C. The voices of the advocates and the preachers of ancient patriarchal virtues were as of men crying in a wilderness of substantial prosperity and manly ambition. Thus political and natural forces combined with each other to prepare the way for a radical change, and this period of incipient revolution is precisely the period (722-480) treated of in Confucius’ history, the first history of China–meagre though it be–which deals with definite human facts, instead of “beating the air” (as the Chinese say) with sermons and ritualistic exhortations.



We have already alluded to a princely family, of the same clan- name as the Chou Emperor, which had settled in the southern part of modern Shan Si province, and had thus acted as a sort of buffer state to the imperial domain by keeping off from it the Tartar- Turk tribes in the north. This family was enfeoffed by the new Chou dynasty in 1106 B.C. to replace the extremely ancient princely house which had reigned there ever since the earliest Emperors ruled from that region (2300 B.C.), but which had resisted the Chou conquest, and had been exterminated. Nothing definite is known of what transpired in this principality subsequently to the infeoffment of 1106 B.C., and prior to the events of 771 B.C., at which latter date the ruling prince, hearing of the disaster to his kinsman the Emperor, went to meet that monarch’s fugitive successor, and escorted him eastwards to his new capital. This metropolis had, as we have explained already, been marked out some 340 years before this, and had continued to be one of the chief spiritual and political centres in the imperial domain; but for some reason it had never before 771 B.C. been officially declared a capital, or at all events _the_ capital. Confucius, in his history, does not mention at all the petty semi-Tartar state of which we are now speaking before 671 B.C., and all that we know of its doings during this century of time is that rival factions, family intrigues, and petty annexations at the cost of various Tartar tribes, and of small, but ancient, Chinese principalities, occupied most of its time. It must be repeated here, however, that, notwithstanding Tartar neighbours, the valley of the River Fen had been the seat of several of China’s oldest semi-mythical emperors-possibly even of dynasties,-and at no time do the Tartars seem to have ever succeeded in ousting the Chinese from South Shan Si. The official name of the region after the Chou infeoffment of 1106 B.C. was the State of Tsin, and it was roughly divided off to the west from its less civilized colleague Ts’in by the Yellow River, on the right bank of which Tsin still possessed a number of towns. It is particularly difficult for Europeans to realize the sharp distinction in sound between these two names, the more especially because we have in the West no conception whatever of the effect of tone upon a syllable It may be explained, however, that the sonant initial and even-voiced tone in the one case, contrasted with the surd initial and the scaled tone in the other, involves to the Chinese mind a distinction quite as clear in all dialects as the European distinction in all languages between the two states of Prussia and Russia, or between the two peoples Swedes and Swiss: it is entirely the imperfection of our Western alphabet, not at all that of the spoken sounds or the ideographs, that is at fault.

The Yellow River, running from north to south, not only roughly separated from each other these two Tartar-Chinese buffer states in the north-west, but the same Yellow River, flowing east, and its tributary, the River Wei, also formed a rough boundary between the two states of Tsin and Ts’in (together) to the north, and the innumerable petty but ancient Chinese principalities surrounding the imperial domain to the south. These principalities or settlements were scattered about among the head-waters of the Han River and the Hwai River systems, and their manifest destiny, if they needed expansion, clearly drove them further southwards, following the courses of all these head-waters, towards the Yang- tsz Kiang. But, more than that, the Yellow River, after thus flowing east for several hundred miles, turned sharp north in long. 114ø E., as already explained, and thence to the north-east formed a second rough boundary between Tsin and nearly all the remaining orthodox Chinese states. Tsin’s chief task was thus to absorb into its administrative system all the Tartar raiders that ventured south to the Yellow River.

But there was a third northern state engaged in the task of keeping back the Tartar tribes, and in developing a civilization of its own-based largely, of course, upon Chinese principles, but modified so as to meet local exigencies. This was the state of Ts’i, enclosed between the Yellow River to the west and the sea to the east, but extending much farther north than the boundaries of modern Shan Tung province, if, indeed, the embouchure of the Yellow River, near modern Tientsin, did not form its northern boundary; but the promontory or peninsula, as well as all the coast, was still in the hands of “barbarian” tribes (now long since civilized and assimilated), of which for many centuries past no separate trace has remained. We have no means of judging now whether these “barbarians” were uncultured, close kinsmen of the orthodox Chinese; or remote kinsmen; or quite foreign. When the Chou principality received an invitation by acclamation to conquer and administer China in 1122, an obscure political worthy from these eastern parts placed his services as adviser and organizer at the command of the new Chou Emperor, in return for which important help he received the fief of Ts’i. Although obscure, this man traced his descent back to the times when (2300 B.C.) his ancestors received fiefs from the most ancient Emperors. From that time down to the year 1122 B.C., and onwards to the events of 771 B.C., nothing much beyond the fact of the Chou infeoffment is recorded; but after the Emperor had been killed by the Tartar- Tibetans, this state of Ts’i also began to grow restive; and the seventh century before Christ opens with the significant statement that “Ts’in, Tsin, and Ts’i, now begin to be powerful states.” Of the three, Tsin alone bore the imperial Chou clan-name of _Ki_.

[Illustration: Map.

1. In 2200 B.C. the Yellow River was divided at the point where our map begins, and the main waters were conducted to the River Chang, which thus formed one river with it. But a secondary branch was conducted eastwards to the Rivers T’ah and Tsi (now, 1908, the Yellow River).

2. In 602 B.C. this secondary branch suddenly turned north, followed the line of the present (1908) Grand Canal, and joined the main branch, i.e. the River Chang.

3. The capitals of Ts’i and Lu are shown. The Yellow River divided Tsin from Ts’i, but Tartars harried the whole dividing line.]

North of the Yellow River, where it then entered the sea near the modern treaty-port of Tientsin, there was yet another great vassal state, called Yen, which had been given by the founders of the Chou dynasty to a very distinguished blood relative and faithful supporter: this noble prince has been immortalized in beautiful language on account of the rigid justice of his decisions given under the shade of an apple-tree: it was the practice in those days to render into popular song the chief events of the times, and it is not improbable, indeed, that this Saga literature was the only popular record of the past, until, as already hinted, after 827 B.C., writing became simplified and thus more diffused, instead of being confined to solemn manifestoes and commandments cast or carved on bronze or stone.

“Oh! woodman, spare that tree,
Touch not a single bough,
His wisdom lingers now.”

The words, singularly like those of our own well-known song, are known to every Chinese school-boy, and with hundreds, even thousands, of other similar songs, which used to be daily quoted as precedents by the statesmen of that primitive period in their political intercourse with each other, were later pruned, purified, and collated by Confucius, until at last they received classical rank in the “Book of Odes” or the “Classic of Poetry,” containing a mere tenth part of the old “Odes” as they used to be passed from mouth to ear.

Even less is known of the early days of Yen than is known of Ts’in, Tsin, and Ts’i; there is not even a vague tradition to suggest who ruled it, or what sort of a place it was, before the Chou prince was sent there; all that is anywhere recorded is that it was a very small, poor, and feeble region, dovetailed in between Tsin and Ts’i, and exposed north to the harassing attacks of savages and Coreans (_i.e._ tribes afterwards enumerated as forming part of Corea when the name of Corea became known). The mysterious region is only mentioned here at all on account of its distinguished origin, in order to show that the Chinese cultivators had from the very earliest times apparently succeeded in keeping the bulk of the Tartars to the left bank of the Yellow River all the way from the Desert to the sea; because later on (350 B.C.) Yen actually did become a powerful state; and finally, because if any very early notions concerning Corea and Japanese islands had ever crept vaguely into China at all, it must have been through this state of Yen, which was coterminous with Liao Tung and Manchuria. The great point to remember is, the extensive territory between the Great Wall and the Yellow River then lay almost entirely beyond the pale of ancient China, and it was only when Ts’in, Tsin, Ts’i, and Yen had to look elsewhere than to the Emperor for protection from Tartar inroads that the centre of political gravity was changed once and for ever from the centre of China to the north.

We know nothing of the precise causes which conduced to unusual Tartar activity at the dawn of Chinese true history: in the absence of any Tartar knowledge of writing, it seems impossible now that we ever can know it. Still less are we in a position to speculate profitably how far the movements on the Chinese frontier, in 800-600 B.C., may be connected with similar restlessness on the Persian and Greek frontiers, of which, again, we know nothing very illuminating or specific. It is certain that the Chinese had no conception of a Tartar empire, or of a coherent monarchy, under the vigorous dominion of a great military genius, until at least five centuries after the Tartars, killed a Chinese Emperor in battle as related (771 B.C.). It is even uncertain what were the main race distinctions of the nomad aggregations, loosely styled by us “Tartars,” for the simple reason that the ambiguous Chinese terminology does not enable us to select a more specific word. Nevertheless, the Chinese do make certain distinctions; and, as what remains of aboriginal populations in the north, south, east, and west of China points strongly to the probability of populations in the main occupying the same sites that they did 3000 years ago (unless where specific facts point to a contrary conclusion), we may fairly assume that the distribution was then very much as now-beginning from the east, (1) Japanese, (2) Corean, (3) Tungusic, (4) Mongol-Turkish, (5) Turkish, (6) Turkish-Tibetan, and Mongol-Tibetan (or Mongol-Turkoid Tibetan), (7) Tibetan. The Chinese use four terms to express these relative quantities, which may be called X, Y, Z, and A. The term “X,” pure and simple, never under any circumstances refers to any but Tibetans (of whom at this time the Chinese had no recorded knowledge whatever except by name); but “X + Y” also refers to tribes in Tibetan regions. The term “West Y” seems to mean Tibetan-Tartars, and the term “North Y” seems to mean Mongoloid- Tunguses. There is a third Y term, “Dog Y,” evidently meaning Tartars of some kind, and not Tibetans of any sort. The term “Z” never refers to Tibetans, pure or mixed, but “Y + Z” loosely refers to Turks, Mongols, and Tunguses. The terms “Red Z”, “White Z,” and “North Z” seem to indicate Turks; and what is more, these colour distinctions–probably of clothing or head-gear-continue to quite modern times, and always in connection with Turks or Mongol- Turks. The fourth term “A” never occurs before the third century before Christ, and refers to all Tartars, Coreans, etc.; but not to Tibetans: it need not, therefore, be discussed at present. The modern province of Sz Ch’wan was absolutely unknown even by name; but several centuries later, as we shall shortly see, it turned out to be a state of considerable magnitude, with quite a little imperial history of its own: probably it was with this unknown state that the bulk of the Tibetans tried conclusions, if they tried them with China at all.

Be that as it may, the present wish is to make clear that at the first great turning-point in genuine Chinese history the whole of north and west China was in the hands of totally unknown powers, who completely shut in the Middle Kingdom; who only manifested themselves at all in the shape of occasional bodies of raiders; and who, if they had any knowledge, direct or indirect, of India, Tibet, Turkestan, Siberia, Persia, etc., kept it strictly to themselves, and in any case were incapable of communicating it in writing to the frontier Chinese populations of the four buffer states above enumerated.



But the collapse of the imperial power in 771 B.C. led to restlessness in the south as well as in the north, north-western, and north-eastern regions: except for a few Chinese adventurers and colonists, these were exclusively inhabited by nomad Tartars, and perhaps some Tibetans, destitute of fixed residences, cities, and towns; ignorant of cultivation, agriculture, and letters; and roving about from pasture to pasture with their flocks and herds, finding excitement and diversion chiefly in periodical raids upon their more settled southern and western neighbours.

The only country south of the federated Chinese princes in Ho Nan province (as we now call it) was the “Jungle” or “Thicket,” a term which vaguely designated the lower waters of the Han River system, much as, with ourselves, the “Lowlands” or the “Netherlands” did, and still does, designate the outlying marches of the English and German communities. “Jungle” is still the elegant literary name for Hu Peh, just as Ts’in, Tsin, and Ts’i are for Shen Si, Shan Si, and Shan Tung. The King of the Jungle, like the Warden of the Western Marches, traced his descent far back to the same ancient monarchs whose blood ran also in the veins of the imperial house of Chou; and moreover this Jungle King’s ancestors had served the founders of the Chou dynasty in 1150 B.C., whilst they were still hesitating whether to accept the call to empire: hence in later times (530 B.C.) the King made it a grievance that his family had not received from the founder of the Chou dynasty presents symbolical of equality of birth, as had the Tsin and Lu (South Shan Tung) houses. If any tribes, south, south-east, or south-west of this vague Jungle, whose administrative centre at first lay within a hundred miles’ radius of the modern treaty-port of Ich’ang, were in any way known to Central China, or were affected by orthodox Chinese civilization, it was and must have been entirely through this kingdom of the Jungle, and in a second-hand or indirect way. The Jungle was as much a buffer to the south as Ts’in was to the north-west, Tsin to the north, and Ts’i to the north-east. The bulk of the population was in one sense non- Chinese; that is, it was probably a mixture of the many uncivilized mountain tribes (all speaking monosyllabic and tonic dialects like the Chinese) who still survive in every one of the provinces south of the Yang-tsz Kiang; but the ruling caste, whose administrative centre lay to the north of these tribes, though affected by the grossness of their barbarous surroundings, were manifestly more or less orthodox Chinese in origin and sympathy, and, even at this early period (771 B.C.), possessed a considerable culture, a knowledge of Chinese script, and a general capacity to live a settled economical existence. As far back as 880 B.C. the King of the Jungle is recorded to have governed or conciliated the populations between the Han and the Yang-tsz Rivers; but, though he arrogated to himself for a time the title of “Emperor” or “King” in his own dominions, he confessed himself to be a barbarian, and disclaimed any share in the honorific system of titles, living or posthumous, having vogue in China, reserving it for his successors to assert higher rights when they should feel strong enough. Like an eastern Charlemagne, he divided his empire between his three sons; and this empire, which gradually extended all along the Yang-tsz down to its mouths, may have included in one of its three subdivisions a part at least of the Annamese race, as will be suggested more in detail anon.

The first really historical king, who once more arrogated the supreme title in 704 B.C., took advantage of imperial weakness to extend his conquests not only to the south but to the north of the River Han, attacking petty Chinese principalities, and boldly claiming recognition by the Emperor of equality in title. “I am a barbarian,” said he, “and I will avail myself of the dissensions among the federal princes to inspect Chinese ways for myself.” The Emperor displayed some irritation at this claim of equal rank, but the King retorted by referring to the services rendered by his (the King’s) ancestor, some five hundred years earlier, to the Emperor’s ancestor, virtual founder of the Chou dynasty. In 689 B.C. the next king moved his capital from its old site above the Ich’ang gorges to the commanding central situation now known as King-thou Fu, just above the treaty-port of Sha-shi’: this place historically continues the use of the old word Jungle (_King_), and has been all through the present Manchu dynasty (1644-1908) the military residence of a Tartar-General with a Banner garrison; that is, a garrison of privileged Tartar soldiers living in cantonments, and exempt from the ordinary laws, or, at least, the application of them. It is only in 684 B.C. that the Jungle state is first honoured with mention in Confucius’ history: it was, indeed, impossible then to ignore its existence, because, for the first time in the annals of China, Chinese federal princes between the Han River and the westernmost head-waters of the Hwai River had been deliberately annexed by these Jungle “barbarians.” History for the next 450 years from this date consists mainly of the intricate narration how Ts’in, Tsin, Ts’i, and the Jungle struggled, first for hegemony, and finally for the possession of all China, The Jungle was now called Ts’u.



Having now shown, as shortly and as intelligibly as we can, how the germs of Chinese development were sown at the dawn of true history, let us proceed to examine how far that history, as it has come down to us, contains within it testimony to its own truth. We shall revert to the description of wars and ambitions in due course; but, as so obscure a subject as early Chinese civilization is only palatable to most Western readers in small, varied, and sugared doses, we shall for the moment vary the nourishment offered, and say a few words upon eclipses.

Confucius, whose bald “Spring and Autumn” annals, as expanded by three separate commentators (one a junior contemporary of himself), is really the chief authority for the period 722-468 B.C., was born on the 20th day after the eclipse of the sun which took place in the 10th month of 552 B.C., or the 27th of the 8th moon as worked out to-day (for 1908 this means the 22nd September). Confucius himself records thirty-seven eclipses of the sun between 720 and 481, those of 709, 601, and 549 being total. Of course, as Confucius primarily recorded the eclipses as seen from his own petty vassal state of Lu in Shan Tung province (lat. 35″ 40′ N., long, 117″ E.), any one endeavouring to identify these eclipses, and to compare them with Julian or Gregorian dates, must, in making the necessary calculations, bear this important fact in mind. It so happens that nearly one-third of Confucius’ thirty-seven eclipses are recorded as having taken place between the two total eclipses of 601 and 549. This being so, I referred the list to an obliging officer attached to the Royal Observatory, who has kindly furnished me with the following comparative list:-

CONFUCIUS’ DATE. OPPOLZER’S JULIAN DATE. B.C. 601, 7th moon.—600, September 20. ” 599, 4th ” —598, March 5.
” 592, 6th ” —591, April 17.
” 575, 6th ” —574, May 9.
” 574, 12th ” —573, October 22. ” 559, 2nd ” —558, January 14.
” 558, 8th ” —557, June 29.
” 553, 10th ” —552, August 31.
” 552, 9th “
” 552, 10th ” —551, August 20.
” 550, 2nd ” —549, January 5.
” 549, 7th ” —548, April 19.

It will be observed that there is no Oppolzer’s date to compare with the first of the two eclipses of 552; this is because I omitted to notice that there had been recorded in the “Springs and Autumns” two so close together, and therefore I did not include it in the list sent to the Observatory; but with the exception of the total eclipse of 601, all the other eclipses, so far as days of the moon and month go, are as consistent with each other as are modern Chinese dates with European (Julian) dates. As regards the year, Oppolzer’s dates are the “astronomical” dates, that is, the astronomical year–x is the same as the year (x + 1) B.C.; or, in other words, the year _of_ Christ’s birth is, for certain astronomical exactitude purposes, interpolated between the years 1 B.C. and A.D. 1, as we vulgarly compute them: that is to say, the eclipses of the sun recorded 2,400 years ago by Confucius, from notes and annals preserved in his native state’s archives as far back as 700 B.C., are found to be almost without exception fairly correct, with a uniform “error” of about one month, despite the fact that attempts were made by the First August Emperor to destroy all historical literature in 213 B.C. This being so in the matter of a dozen eclipses, there still remain two dozen for specialists to experiment upon, not to mention comets and other celestial phenomena. From this collateral evidence, imperfect though it be, we are reasonably entitled to assume that the three expanded versions of Confucius’ history are trustworthy, or at the very least written in the best of faith.

Just as our mathematicians find no difficulty either in foretelling or retrospecting eclipses to a minute, so does the ancient “sixty” cycle, which the Chinese have from time immemorial used for computing or noting days and years, enable them, or for the matter of that ourselves, to calculate back unerringly any desired day. Thus, suppose the 1st January, 1908, is the 37th day of the perpetual cycle of sixty days; then, if the Chinese historians say that an eclipse took place on the first day of the new moon, which began the 9th Chinese month of the year corresponding in the main to our 800 B.C., and that the 1st day of the moon was also the 37th day of the sixty-day perpetual cycle, all we have to do is to take roughly six cycles for each year, six thousand cycles for each thousand years, allowing at the same time two extra cycles every third year for intercalary moons, and then dealing with the fractions or balance of days. If our calculation does not bring the two 37th cyclic days together accurately, we must of course go into the question of how and when the Chinese calendars were altered, a subject that will be treated of in a