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Ancient China Simplified by Edward Harper Parker

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In 584 a Ts'u refugee in Tsin sends a writing to the leading
general of Ts'u, threatening to be a thorn in his side. It is
presumed that in all these cases the writing was on wood. The text
of a declaration of war against Ts'u by Ts'in in 313 B.C., at a
time when these two powers had ceased to be allies, and were
competing for empire, refers to an agreement made three centuries
earlier between the King of Ts'u and the Earl of Ts'in; this
declaration was carved upon several stone tablets; but it does not
appear upon what material the older agreement was carved. In 538,
at a durbar held by Ts'u, Hiang Suh, the learned man of Sung, who
has already been mentioned in Chapter XV. as the inventor of Peace
Conferences in 546, and as one of the Confucian group of friends,
remarked: "What I know of the diplomatic forms to be observed is
only obtained from books." A few years later, when the population
of one of the small orthodox Chinese states was moved for
political convenience by Ts'u away to another district, they were
allowed to take with them "their maps, cadastral survey, and
census records."

There is an interesting statement in the _Kwoh Y_, an
ancillary history of these times, but touching more upon personal
matters, usually considered to have been written by the same man
that first expanded Confucius' annals, to the effect that in 489
B.C. (when Confucius was wandering about on his travels, a
disappointed and disgusted man) the King of Wu inflicted a
crushing defeat upon Ts'i at a spot not far from the Lu frontier,
and that he captured "the national books, 800 leather chariots,
and 3000 cuirasses and shields." If this translation be perfectly
accurate, it is interesting as showing that Ts'i did possess
_Kwoh-shu_, or "a State library," or archives. But unfortunately
two other histories mention the capture of a Ts'i general named Kwoh
Hia, _alias_ Kwoh Hwei-tsz, so that there seems to be a doubt
whether, in transcribing ancient texts, one character (_shu_) may
not have been substituted for the other (_hia_). Two years later
the barbarian king in question entered Lu, and made a treaty with that
state upon equal terms.

Shortly after this date, the Chinese adviser who brought about the
conquest of Wu by the equally barbarous Yiieh, had occasion to
send a "closed letter" to a man living in Ts'u. When we come to
later times, subsequent to the death of Confucius, we find written
communications more commonly spoken of. Thus, in 313, Ts'i,
enraged at the supposed faithlessness of Ts'u, "broke in two the
Ts'u tally" and attached herself to Ts'in instead. This can only
refer to a wooden "indenture" of which each party preserved a
copy, each fitting 'in, "dog's teeth like," as the Chinese still
say, closely to the other. A few years later we find letters from
Ts'i to Ts'u, holding forth the tempting project of a joint attack
upon Ts'in; and also a letter from Ts'in to Ts'u, alluding to the
escape of a hostage and the cause of a war. In the year 227, when
Ts'in was rapidly conquering the whole empire, the northernmost
state of Yen (Peking plain), dreading annexation, conceived the
plan of assassinating the King of Ts'in; and, in order to give the
assassin a plausible ground for gaining admittance to the tyrant's
presence, sent a map of Yen, so that the roads available for
troops might be explained to the ambitious conqueror, who would
fall into the trap. He barely escaped.

All these matters put together point to the clear conclusion that
such states as Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, Yen, and Ts'u (none of which
belonged, so far as the bulk of their population was concerned, to
the purely Chinese group concentrated in the limited area
described in the first chapter) were able to communicate by letter
freely with each other: _ fortiori_, therefore, must the
orthodox states, whose civilization they had all borrowed or
shared, have been able to communicate with them, and with each
other. Besides, there is the question of the innumerable treaties
made at the durbars, and evidently equally legible by all the
dozen or so of representatives present; and the written prayers,
already instanced, which were probably offered to the gods at most
sacrifices. A special chapter will be devoted to treaties.

In the year 523 the following passage occurs, or rather it occurs
in one of the expanded Confucian histories having retrospective
reference to matters of 523 B.C:--"It is the father's fault if, at
the binding up of the hair (eight years of age), boys do not go to
the teacher, though it may be the mother's fault if, before that
age, they do not escape the dangers of fire and water: it is their
own fault if, having gone to the teacher, they make no progress:
it is their friends' fault if they make progress but get no repute
for it: it is the executive's fault if they obtain repute but no
recommendation to office: it is the prince's fault if they are
recommended for office but not appointed." Here we have in effect
the nucleus at least of the examination system as it was until a
year or two ago, together with an inferential statement that
education was only meant for the governing classes.

It is rather remarkable that the invention of the "greater seal"
character in 827 B.C. practically coincides with the first signs
of imperial decadence; this is only another piece of evidence in
favour of the proposition that enlightenment and patriarchal rule
could not exist comfortably together. When Ts'in conquered the
whole of modern China 600 years later, unified weights and
measures, the breadth of axles, and written script, and remedied
other irregularities that had hitherto prevailed in the rival
states, it is evident that the need of a more intelligible script
was then found quite as urgent as the need of roads suitable for
all carts, and of measures by which those carts could bring
definite quantities of metal and grain tribute to the capital.
Accordingly the First August Emperor's prime minister did at once
set to work to invent the "lesser seal" character, in which (so
late as A.D. 200) the first Chinese dictionary was written; this
"lesser seal" is still fairly readable after a little practice,
but for daily use it has long been and is impracticable and
obsolete. If we reflect how difficult it is for us to decipher the
old engrossed charters and written letters of the English kings,
we may all the more easily imagine how even a slight change in the
form of "letters," or strokes, will make easy reading of Chinese
impossible. It is a mistake to suppose that the Chinese have to
"spell their way" laboriously through the written character so
familiar to them: it is just as easy to "skim over" a Chinese
newspaper in a few minutes as it is to "take in" the leading
features of the _Times_ in the same limited time; and volumes
of Chinese history or literature in general can be "gutted" quite
easily, owing to the facility with which the so-called pictographs,
once familiar, lend themselves to "skipping."

The Bamboo Books, dug up in A.D. 281, the copies of the classics
concealed in the walls of Confucius' house, the copy of Lao-tsz's
philosophical work recorded to have been in the possession of a
Chinese empress in 150 B.C.--all these were written in the
"greater seal," and the painstaking industry of Chinese
specialists was already necessary when the Christian era began, in
order to reduce the ancient characters to more modern forms. Since
then the written character has been much clarified and simplified,
and it is just as easy to express sentiments in written Chinese as
in any other language; but, of course, when totally new ideas are
introduced, totally new characters must be invented; and
inventions, both of individual characters and of expressions, are
going on now.



Treaties were always very solemn functions, invariably accompanied
by the sacrifice of a victim. A part of the victim, or of its
blood, was thrown into a ditch, in order that the Spirit of the
Earth might bear witness to the deed; the rest of the blood was
rubbed upon the lips of the parties concerned, and also scattered
upon the documents, by way of imprecation; sometimes, however, the
imprecations, instead of being uttered, were specially written at
the end of the treaty. Just as we now say "the ink was scarcely
dry before, etc., etc.," the Chinese used to say "the blood of the
victim was scarcely dry on their lips, before, etc., etc." When
the barbarian King of Wu succeeded for a short period in
"durbaring" the federal Chinese princes, a dispute took place (as
narrated in Chapter XIV.) between Tsin and Wu as to who should rub
the lips with blood first--in other words, have precedence. In
the year 541 B.C., sixty years before the above event, Tsin and
Ts'u had agreed to waive the ceremony of smearing the lips with
blood, to choose a victim in common, and to lay the text of the
treaty upon the victim after a solemn reading of its contents.
This modification was evidently made in consequence of the
disagreement between Tsin and Ts'u at the Peace Conference of 546,
when a dispute had arisen (page 47), as to which should smear the
lips first. This was the occasion on which the famous Tsin
statesman, Shuh Hiang, in the face of seventeen states'
representatives, all present, had the courage to ignore Ts'u's
treachery in concealing cuirasses under the soldiers' clothes. He
said: "Tsin holds her pre-eminent position as Protector by her
innate good qualities, which will always command the adhesion of
other states; why need we care if Ts'u smears first, or if she
injures herself by being detected in treachery?" It has already
been mentioned that Confucius glosses over or falsifies both the
above cases, and gives the victory in each instance to Tsin.
Though these little historical peccadilloes on the part of the
saint _homme_ are considered even by orthodox critics to be
objectionable, it must be remembered that it was very risky work
writing history at all in those despotic times: even in
comparatively democratic days (100 B.C.), the "father of Chinese
history" was castrated for criticizing the reigning Emperor in the
course of issuing his great work; and so late as the fifth century
A.D. an almost equally great historian was put to death "with his
three generations" for composing a "true history" of the Tartars
then ruling as Emperors of North China; i.e. for disclosing their
obscure and barbarous origin, Moreover, foreigners who fix upon
these trifling specific and admitted discrepancies, in order to
discredit the general truth of all Chinese history, must remember
that the Chinese critics, from the very beginning, have always,
even when manifestly biased, been careful to expose errors; the
very discrepancies themselves, indeed, tend to prove the
substantial truth of the events recorded; and the fact that
admittedly erroneous texts still stand unaltered proves the
reverent care of the Chinese as a nation to preserve their
defective annals, with all faults, in their original condition.

At this treaty conference of 546 B.C., held at the Sung capital,
the host alone had no vote, being held superior (as host) to all;
and, further, out of respect for his independence, the treaty had
to be signed outside his gates: the existence of the Emperor was
totally ignored.

A generation before this (579) another important treaty between
the two great rivals, Tsin and Ts'u, had been signed by the high
contracting parties outside the walls of Sung. The articles
provided for community of interest in success or failure; mutual
aid in every thing, more especially in war; free use of roads so
long as relations remained peaceful; joint action in face of
menace from other powers; punishment of those neglecting to come
to court. The imprecation ran: "Of him who breaks this, let the
armies be dispersed and the kingdom be lost; moreover, let the
spirits chastise him." Although both orthodox powers professed
their anxiety to "protect" the imperial throne, yet, seeing that
the Emperor was quietly shelved in all these conventions, the
reference to "court duty" probably refers to the duty of Cheng and
the other small orthodox states to render homage to Tsin or Ts'u
(as the case might be) as settled by this and previous treaties.
In fact, at the Peace Conference of 546, it was agreed between the
two mesne lords that the vassals of Ts'u should pay their respects
to Tsin, and _vice versa_. But, during the negotiations, a
zealous Tsin representative went on to propose that the informal
allies of the chief contracting powers should also be dragged in:
"If Ts'in will pay us a visit, I will try and induce Ts'i to visit
T'su." These two powers had _ententes_, Ts'i with Tsin, and
Ts'u with Ts'in, but recognized no one's hegemony over them. It
was this surprise sprung upon the Ts'u delegates that necessitated
an express messenger to the king, as recounted at the end of
Chapter XVI. The King of Ts'u sent word: "Let Ts'in and Ts'i
alone; let the others visit our respective capitals." Accordingly
it was understood that Tsin and Ts'u should both be Protectors,
but that neither Ts'in nor Ts'i should recognize their status to
the point of subordinating themselves to the joint hegemons. This
was Ts'u's first appearance as effective hegemon, but her official
_debut_ alone did not take place till 538. Ts'i and Ts'in had
both approved, in principle, the terms of peace, but Ts'in sent no
representative, whilst Ts'i sent two. It is very remarkable that
Sz-ma Ts'ien (the great historian of 100 B.C., who was castrated)
does not mention this important meeting in his great work, either
under the heading of Ts'i, or of Tsin, or under the headings of
Sung and Ts'u. It seems, however, really to have had good effect
for several generations; but there was some thing behind it which
shows that love for humanity was not the leading motive of the
chief parties. Two years later it was that the philosophical
brother of the King of Wu went his rounds among the Chinese
princes, and it is evident that Ts'u only desired peace with North
China whilst she tackled this formidable new enemy on the coast.
Tsin, on the other hand, was in trouble with the "six great
families" (the survivors of the "eleven great families"
conciliated by the Second Protector), who were gradually
undermining the princely authority in Tsin to their own private
aggrandisement. In 572 B.C., when the legitimate ruler of Tsin,
who had been superseded by irregular successors, was fetched back
from the Emperor's court, to which he had gone for a quiet asylum,
he drew up a treaty of conditions with his own ministers, and
immolated a chicken as sanction; this idea is still occasionally
perpetuated in British courts of justice, where Chinese, probably
without knowing it, draw upon ancient history when asked by the
court how they are accustomed to sanction an oath; cocks are often
also carried about by modern Chinese boatmen for purposes of
sacrifice. In the year 504, after Wu had captured the Ts'u
capital, one of the petty orthodox Chinese states taken by Ts'u--
the first to be so taken by barbarians--in 684, but left by Ts'u
internally independent, declined to render any assistance to Wu,
unless she could prove her competence to hold permanently the Ts'u
territory thus conquered. The King of Ts'u was so grateful for
this that he drew some blood from the breast of his own half-
brother, and on the spot made a treaty with the vassal prince. It
662, even in a love vow, the ruler of Lu cut his own arm and
exchanged drops of blood with his lady-love. In 481 the people of
Wei (the small orthodox state on the middle Yellow River between
Tsin and Lu) forced one of their politicians to swear allegiance
to the desired successor under the sanction of a sacrificial pig.

The great Kwan-tsz insisted on his prince carrying out a treaty
which had been extorted in times of stress; but, as a rule, the
most opportunistic principles were laid down, even by Confucius
himself when he was placed under personal stress: "Treaties
obtained by force are of no value, as the spirits could not then
have really been present." In 589 Ts'u invaded the state of Wei,
just mentioned, and menaced the adjoining state of Lu, compelling
the execution of a treaty. Confucius, who once broke a treaty
himself, naturally retrospectively considered this ducal treaty of
no effect, and he even goes so far as to avoid mentioning in his
annals some of the important persons who were present; he
especially "burkes" two Chinese ruling princes, who were shameless
enough to ride in the same chariot with the King of Ts'u, under
whose predominancy they were, and who were therefore themselves
under a kind of stress. In 482 one of Confucius' pupils made the
following casuistical reply to the government of Wu on their
application for renewal of a treaty with her: "It is only fidelity
that gives solidity to treaties; they are determined by mutual
consent, and it is with sacrifices that they are laid before our
ancestors; the written words give expression to them, and the
spirits guarantee them. A treaty once concluded cannot be changed:
otherwise it were vain to make a new one. Remember the proverb:
"What needs warming up more may just as well be eaten cold." The
ordinary rough-and-ready form of oath or vow between individuals
was: "If I break this, may I be as this river"; or, "may the river
god be witness." There were many other similar forms, and it was
often customary to throw something valuable into the river as a



Let us return for a moment to the history of China's development.
Confucius was born in the autumn of 551, B.C., and he died in 479.
If we survey the condition of the empire during these seventy
years, we may begin to understand better the secret of his
teachings, and of his influence in later times. When he was a boy
of seven or eight years, the presence in Lu of Ki-chah, the
learned and virtuous brother of the barbarian King of Wu, must
have opened his eyes widely to the ominous rise, of a democratic
and mixed China. Lu, like Tsin, was now beginning to suffer from
the "powerful family" plague; in other words, the story of King
John and his barons was being rehearsed in China. Tsin and Ts'u
had patched up ancient enmities at the Peace Conference; Tsin
during the next twenty years administered snub after snub to the
obsequious ruler of Lu, who was always turned back at the Yellow
River whenever he started west to pay his respects. Lu, on the
other hand, declined to attend the Ts'u durbar of 538, held by
Ts'u alone only after the approval of Tsin had been obtained. In
522 the philosopher Yen-tsz, of Ts'i, accompanied his own marquess
to Lu in order to study the rites there: this fact alone proves
that Ts'i, though orthodox and advanced, had not the same lofty
spiritual status that was the pride of Lu. In 517 the Marquess of
Lu was driven from his throne, and Ts'i took the opportunity to
invade Lu under pretext of assisting him; however, the fugitive
preferred Tsin as a refuge, and for many years was quartered at a
town near the common frontier. But the powerful families (all
branches of the same family as the duke himself) proved too strong
for him; they bribed the Tsin statesmen, and the Lu ruler died in
exile in the year 510. In the year 500 Confucius became chief
counsellor to the new marquess, and by his energetic action drove
into exile in Tsin a very formidable agitator belonging to one of
the powerful family cliques. In 488 the King of Wu, after marching
on Ts'i, summoned Lu to furnish "one hundred sets of victims" as a
mark of compliancy; the king and the marquess had an interview;
the next year the king came in person, and a treaty was made with
him under the very walls of K'h-fu, the Lu capital (this shameful
fact is concealed by Confucius, who simply says: "Wu made war on
us"). In 486 Lu somewhat basely joined Wu in an attack upon
orthodox Ts'i. In 484-483 Confucius, who had meanwhile been
travelling abroad for some years in disgust, was urgently sent
for; four years later he died, a broken and disappointed man.

Now, it is one thing to be told in general terms that Confucius
represented conservative forces, disapproved of the quarrelsome
wars of his day, and wished in theory to restore the good old
"rules of propriety"; but quite another thing to understand in a
human, matter-of-fact sort of way what he really did in definite
sets of circumstances, and what practical objects he had in view.
The average European reader, not having specific facts and places
under his eye, can only conceive from this rough generalization,
and from the usual anecdotal tit-bits told about him, that
Confucius was an exceedingly timid, prudent, benevolent, and
obsequious old gentleman who, as indeed his rival Lao-tsz hinted
to him, was something like a superior dancing-master or court
usher, But when the disjointed apothegms of his "Analects" (put
together, not by himself, but by his disciples) are placed
alongside the real human actions baldly touched upon in his own
"Springs and Autumns," and as expanded by his three commentators,
one of them, at least, being a contemporary of his own, things
assume quite a different complexion, Moreover, this last-mentioned
or earliest in date of the expanders (see p. 91) also composed a
chatty, anecdotal, and intimately descriptive account of Lu, Ts'i,
Tsin, CHNG, Ts'u, Wu, and Yiieh (of no other states except quite
incidentally); and we have also the Bamboo Books dug up in 281
A.D., being the Annals of Tsin and a sketch of general history
down to 299 B.C. Finally, the "father of history," in about go
B.C., published, or issued ready for publication, a _resum_
of all the above (except what was in the Bamboo Books, which were
then, of course, unknown to him); so that we are able to compare
dates, errors, misprints, concealments, and so on; not to mention
the advantage of reading all that the successive generations of
commentators have had to say.

The matter may be compendiously stated as follows. Without
attempting to go backward beyond the conquest by the Chou
principality and the founding of a Chou dynasty in 122 B.C.
(though there is really no reason to doubt the substantial
accuracy of the vague "history" of patriarchal times, at least so
far back beyond that as to cover the 1000 years or more of the two
previous dynasties' reigns), we may state that, whilst in general
the principles and ritual of the two previous dynasties were
maintained, a good many new ideas were introduced at this Chou
conquest, and amongst other things, a compendious and all-
pervading practical ritual government, which not only marked off
the distinctions between classes, and laid down ceremonious rules
for ancestral sacrifice, social deportment, family duties,
cultivation, finance, punishment, and so on, but endeavoured to
bring all human actions whatsoever into practical harmony with
supposed natural laws; that is to say, to make them as regular, as
comprehensible, as beneficent, and as workable, as the perfectly
manifest but totally unexplained celestial movements were; as were
the rotation of seasons, the balancing of forces, the growth and
waning of matter, male and female reproduction, light and
darkness; and, in short, to make human actions as harmonious as
were all the forces of nature, which never fail or go wrong except
under (presumed) provocation, human or other. The Emperor, as
Vicar of God, was the ultimate judge of what was _tao_, or
the "right way."

Now this simple faith, when the whole of the Chinese Empire
consisted of about 50,000 square miles of level plain, inhabited
probably by not more than 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 homogeneous
people, was admirably suited for the patriarchal rule of a central
chief (the King or Emperor), receiving simple tribute of metals,
hemp, cattle, sacrificial supplies, etc.; entertaining his
relatives and princely friends when they came to do annual homage
and to share in periodical sacrifice; declaring the penal laws
(there were no other laws) for all his vassals; compassionating
and conciliating the border tribes living beyond those vassals.
But this peaceful bucolic life, in the course of time and nature,
naturally produced a gradual increase in the population; the
Chinese cultivators spread themselves over the expanse of
_loess_ formed by the Yellow River and Desert deposits and by
aeons of decayed vegetation in the low-lying lands; no other
nation or tribe within their ken having the faintest notion of
written character, there was consequently no political cohesion of
any sort amongst the non-Chinese tribes; the position was akin to
that of the European powers grafting themselves for centuries upon
the still primitive African tribes, comparatively few of which
have seen fit to turn the art of writing to the practical purpose
of keeping records and cementing their own power. Wherever a
Chinese adventurer went, there he became founder of a state; to
this day we see enterprising Chinamen founding petty "dynasties"
in the Siamese Malay Peninsula; or, for instance, an Englishman
like Rajah Brooke founding a private dynasty in Borneo.

Some of these frontier tribes, notably the Tartars, were of
altogether too tough a material to be assimilated. They even
endeavoured to check the Chinese advance beyond the Yellow River,
and carried fire and sword themselves into the federal conclave.
Where resistance was _nil_ or slight, as, for instance, among
some of the barbarians to the east, there the Chinese adventurers,
either adopting native ways, or persuading the autochthones to
adopt their ways, by levelling up or levelling down, developed
strong cohesive power; besides (owing to the difficulties of
inter-communication) creating a feeling of independence and a
disinclination to obey the central power. The emperors who used in
the good old days to summon the vassals--a matter of a week or two
in that small area--to chastise the wicked tribes on their
frontiers, gradually found themselves unable to cope with the more
distant Tartar hordes, the eastern barbarians of the coast, the
Annamese, Shans, and other unidentified tribes south of the Yang-
tsz, as they had so easily done with nearer tribes when the
Chinese had not pushed out so far. Moreover, new-Chinese, Chinese-
veneered, and half-Chinese states, recognizing their own
responsibilities, now interposed themselves as "buffers" or
barriers between the Emperor and the unadulterated barbarians;
these hybrid states themselves were quite as formidable to the
imperial power as the displaced barbarians had formerly been.
Hence, as we have seen, the pitiful flight from his metropolis of
one Emperor after the other; the rise of great and wealthy persons
outside the former limited sacred circle; the pretence of
protecting the Emperor, advanced by these rising powers, partly in
order to gain prestige by using his imperial name in support of
their local ambitions, and partly because--as during the Middle
Ages in the case of the Papacy--no one cared to brave the moral
odium of annihilating a venerable spiritual power, even though
gradually shorn of its temporal rights and influence.

Lu was almost on a par with the imperial capital in all that
concerns learning, ritual, music, sacrifice, deportment, and
spiritual prestige. Confucius, in his zeal for the recovery of
imperial rights, was really no more of a stickler for mere form
than were Tsz-ch'an of Cheng, Ki-chah of Wu, Hiang Suh of Sung,
Shuh Hiang of Tsin, and others already enumerated; the only
distinguishing feature in his case was that he was not a high or
influential official in his earlier days; besides, he was a Sung
man by descent, and all the great families were of the Lu princely
caste. Thus, for want of better means to assert his own views, he
took to teaching and reading, to collecting historical facts, to
pointing morals and adorning tales. As a youth he was so clever,
that one of the Lu grandees, on his death-bed, foretold his
greatness. It was a great bitterness for him to see his successive
princely masters first the humble servants of Ts'i, then buffeted
between Tsin and Ts'u, finally invaded and humiliated by barbarian
Wu, only to receive the final touches of charity at the hands of
savage Yiieh. His first act, when he at last obtained high office,
was to checkmate Ts'i, the man behind the ruler of which jealous
state feared that Lu might, under Confucius' able rule, succeed in
obtaining the Protectorate, and thus defeat his own insidious
design to dethrone the legitimate Ts'i house. The wily Marquess of
Ts'i thereupon--of course at the instigation of the intriguing
"great families"--tried another tack, and succeeded at last in
corrupting the vacillating Lu prince with presents of horses,
racing chariots, and dancing women. Then it was (497) that
Confucius set out disheartened on his travels. Recalled thirteen
years later, he soon afterwards began to devote his remaining
powers to the Annals so frequently referred to above, and it was
whilst engaged in finishing this task that he had presentiments of
his coming end; he does not appear to have been able to exercise
much political or advisory power after his return to Lu.

During his thirteen years of travel (a more detailed account of
which will be given in a subsequent chapter), he found time to
revise and edit the books which appear to have formed the common
stock-in-trade for all China; one of his ideas was to eliminate
from these all sentiments of an anti-imperial nature. They were
not then called "classics," but simply "The Book" (of History),
"The Poems" (still known by heart all over China), "The Rites" (as
improved by the Chou family), "The Changes" (a sort of cosmogony
combined with soothsaying), and "Music."



Let us now consider the notions of law as they existed in the
primitive Chinese mind. As all government was supposed to be based
on the natural laws of the universe, of which universal law or
order of things, the Emperor, as "Son of Heaven," was (subject to
his own obedience to it) the supreme mouthpiece or expression,
there lay upon him no duty to define that manifest law; when it
was broken, it was for him to say that it was broken, and to
punish the breach. Nature's bounty is the spring, and therefore
rewards are conferred in spring; nature's fall is in the autumn,
which is the time for decreeing punishments; these are carried out
in winter, when death steals over nature. A generous table
accompanies the dispensing of rewards, a frugal table and no music
accompanies the allotment of punishments; hence the imperial
feasts and fasts. Thus punishment rather than command is what was
first understood by Law, and it is interesting to observe that
"making war" and "putting to death" head the list of imperial
chastisements, war being thus regarded as the Emperor's rod in the
shape of a posse of punitory police, rather than as an expression
of statecraft, ambitious greed, or vainglorious self-assertion.
Then followed, in order of severity, castration, cutting off the
feet or the knee-cap, branding, and flogging. The Emperor, or his
vassals, or the executive officers of each in the ruler's name,
declared the law, _i.e._ they declared the punishment in each
case of breach as it occurred. Thus from the very beginning the
legislative, judicial, and executive functions have never been
clearly separated in the Chinese system of thought; new words have
had to be coined within the last two years in order to express
this distinction for purposes of law reform. Mercantile Law,
Family Law, Fishery Laws--in a word, all the mass of what we call
Commercial and Civil Jurisprudence,--no more concerned the
Government, so far as individual rights were concerned, than
Agricultural Custom, Bankers' Custom, Butchers' Weights, and such
like petty matters; whenever these, or analogous matters, were
touched by the State, it was for commonwealth purposes, and not
for the maintenance of private rights. Each paterfamilias was
absolutely master of his own family; merchants managed their own
business freely; and so on with the rest. It was only when public
safety, Government interests, or the general weal was involved
that punishment-law stepped in and said,--always with _tao_,
"propriety," or nature's law in ultimate view: "you merchants may
not wear silk clothes"; "you usurers must not ruin the agriculturalists";
"you butchers must not irritate the gods of grain by killing cattle":--
these are mere examples taken at random from much later times.

The Emperor Muh, whose energies we have already seen displayed in
Tartar conquests and exploring excursions nearly a millennium
before our era, was the first of the Chou dynasty to decide that
law reform was necessary in order to maintain order among the
"hundred families" (still one of the expressions meaning "the
Chinese people"). A full translation of this code is given in Dr.
Legge's Chinese classics, where a special chapter of The Book is
devoted to it: in charging his officer to prepare it, the Emperor
only uses the words "revise the punishments," and the code itself
is only known as the "Punishments" (of the marquess who drew it
up); although it also prescribes many judicial forms, and lays
down precepts which are by no means all castigatory. The mere fact
of its doing so is illustrative of reformed ideas in the embryo.
There is good ground to suppose that the Chinese Emperor's "laws,"
such as they were at any given time, were solemnly and periodically
proclaimed, in each vassal kingdom; but, subject to these general imperial
directions, the _themis_, _dik_ or inspired decision of the
magistrate, was the sole deciding factor; and, of course, the ruler's
arbitrary pleasure, whether that ruler were supreme or vassal, often
ran riot when he found himself strong enough to be unjust. For instance,
in 894 B.C., the Emperor boiled alive one of the Ts'i rulers, an act that
was revenged by Ts'i 200 years later, as has been mentioned in previous

In 796 B.C. a ruler of Lu was selected, or rather recommended to
the Emperor for selection, in preference to his elder brother,
because "when he inflicted chastisement he never failed to
ascertain the exact instructions left by the ancient emperors."
This same Emperor had already, in 817, nominated one younger
brother to the throne of Lu, because he was considered the most
attractive in appearance on an occasion when the brethren did
homage at the imperial court. For this caprice the Emperor's
counsellor had censured him, saying: "If orders be not executed,
there is no government; if they be executed, but contrary to
established rule, the people begin to despise their superiors."

In 746 B.C. the state of Ts'in, which had just then recently
emerged from Tartar barbarism, and had settled down permanently in
the old imperial domain, first introduced the "three stock" law,
under which the three generations, or the three family connections
of a criminal were executed for his crime as well as himself. In
596 and 550 Tsin (which thus seems to have taken the hint from
Ts'in) exterminated the families of two political refugees who had
fled to the Tartars and to Ts'i respectively. Even in Ts'u the
relatives of the man who first taught war to Wu were massacred in
585, and any one succouring the fugitive King of Ts'u was
threatened with "three clan penalties"; this last case was in the
year 529. The laws of Ts'u seem to have been particularly harsh;
in 55 the premier was cut into four for corruption, and one
quarter was sent in each direction, as a warning to the local
districts. About 650 B.C. a distinguished Lu statesman, named
Tsang Wen-chung, seems to have drawn up a special code, for one of
Confucius' pupils (two centuries later) denounced it as being too
severe when compared with Tsz-ch'an's mild laws--to be soon
mentioned. Confucius himself also described the man as being "too
showy." This Lu statesman, about twenty years later, made some
significant and informing observations to the ruler of Lu when
report came that Tsin (the Second Protector) was endeavouring to
get the Emperor to poison a federal refugee from Wei, about whose
succession the powers were at the moment quarrelling. He said:
"There are only five recognized punishments: warlike arms, the
axe, the knife or the saw, the branding instruments, the whip or
the bastinado; there are no surreptitious ones like this now
proposed." The result was that Lu, being of the same clan as the
Emperor, easily succeeded in bribing the imperial officials to let
the refugee prince go. The grateful prince eagerly offered Tsang
W&n-chung a reward; but the statesman declined to receive it, on
the ground that "a subject's sayings are not supposed to be known
beyond his own master's frontier." About, a century later a
distinguished Tsin statesman, asking what "immortality" meant, was
told: "When a man dies, but when his words live; like the words of
this distinguished man, Tsang W&n-chung, of Lu state." This same
Tsin statesman is said to have engraved some laws on iron (513),
an act highly disapproved by Confucius. It is only by thus piecing
together fragmentary allusions that we can arrive at the
conclusion that "there were judges in those days." Mention has
been several times made in previous chapters of Tsz-ch'an, whose
consummate diplomacy maintained the independence and even the
federal influence of the otherwise obscure state of Cheng during a
whole generation. In the year 536 B.C. he decided to cast the laws
in metal for the information of the people: this course was
bitterly distasteful to his colleague, Shuh Hiang of Tsin (see
Appendix I.), and possibly the Tsin "laws on iron" just mentioned
were suggested by this experiment, for it must be remembered that
Tsin, Lu, Wei, and Cheng were all of the same imperial clan.
Confucius, who had otherwise a genuine admiration for Tsz-ch'an,
disapproved of this particular feature in his career. In a minor
degree the same question of definition and publication has also
caused differences of opinion between English lawyers, so far as
the so-called "judge-made law" is concerned; it is still
considered to be better practice to have it declared as
circumstances arise, than to have it set forth beforehand in a
code. The arguments are the same; in both cases the judges profess
to "interpret" the law as it already exists; that is, the Chinese
judge interprets the law of nature, and the English judge the
common and statute laws; but neither wishes to hamper himself by
trying to publish in advance a scheme contrived to fit all future
hypothetical cases.

About 680 B.C. the King of Ts'u is recorded to have passed a law
against harbouring criminals, under which the harbourer was liable
to the same penalty as the thief; and at the same time reference
is made by his advisers to an ancient law or command of the
imperial dynasty, made before it came to power in 1122 B.C.-"If
any of your men takes to flight, let every effort be made to find
him." Thus it would seem that other ruling classes, besides those
of the Chou clan, accepted the general imperial laws, Chou-
ordained or otherwise. Although it is thus manifest that the
vassal states, at least after imperial decadence set in, in 771
B.C., drew up and published laws of their own, yet, at the great
durbar of princes held by the First Protector in 651 B.C., it is
recorded that the "Son of Heaven's Prohibitions" were read over
the sacrificial victim. They are quite patriarchal in their
laconic style, and for that reason recall that of the Roman Twelve
Tables. They run: "Do not block springs!" "Do not hoard grain!"
"Do not displace legitimate heirs!" "Do not make wives of your
concubines!" "Do not let women meddle with State affairs!" From
the Chinese point of view, all these are merely assertions of what
is Nature's law. In the year 640, the state of Lu applied the term
"Law Gate" to the South Gate, "because both Emperor and vassal
princes face south when they rule, and because that is,
accordingly, the gate through which all commands and laws do
pass." It is always possible, however, that this "facing south" of
the ancient ruler points to the direction whence some of his
people came, and towards which, as their guide and leader, he had
to look in order to govern them.

In the year 594 there is an instance cited where two dignitaries
were killed by direct specific order of the Emperor. In explaining
this exceptional case, the commentator says: "The lord of all
below Heaven is Heaven, and Heaven's continuer or successor is the
Prince; whilst that which the Prince holds fast is the Sanction,
which no subject can resist."

Not very long after Confucius' death in 479 B.C., the powerful and
orthodox state of Tsin, which had so long held its own against
Ts'in, Ts'i, and Ts'u, tottered visibly under the disintegrating
effects of the "great family" intrigues: of the six great families
which had, as representatives of the earlier eleven, latterly
monopolized power, three only survived internecine conflicts, and
at last the surviving three split up into the independent states
of Han, Wei, and Chao, those names being eponymous, as being their
sub-fiefs, and, therefore, their "surnames," or family names. In
the year 403 the Emperor formally recognized them as separate,
independent vassaldoms. Wei is otherwise known as Liang, owing to
the capital city having borne that name, and the kings of Liang
are celebrated for their conversations with the peripatetic
philosopher, Mencius, in the fourth century B.C. In order to
distinguish this state from that of Wei (imperial clan) adjoining
Lu and Sung, we shall henceforth call it Ngwei, as, in fact, it
originally was pronounced, and as it still is in some modern
dialects. The first of the Ngwei sovereigns had in his employ a
statesman named Li K'wei, who introduced, for taxation purposes, a
new system of land laws, and also new penal laws. These last were
in six books, or main heads, and, it is said, represented all that
was best in the laws of the different feudal states, mostly in
reference to robbery: the minor offences were roguery, getting
over city walls, gambling, borrowing, dishonesty, lewdness,
extravagance, and transgressing the ruler's commands--their exact
terms are now unknown. This code was afterwards styled the "Law
Classic," and its influence can be plainly traced, dynasty by
dynasty, down to modern times; in fact, until a year or two ago,
the principles of Chinese law have never radically changed; each
successive ruling family has simply taken what it found; modifying
what existed, in its own supposed interest, according to time,
place, and circumstance. Li K'wei's land laws singularly resembled
those recommended to the Manchu Government by Sir Robert Hart four
years ago.



It is difficult to guess how much truth there is in the ancient
traditions that the water-courses of the empire were improved
through gigantic engineering works undertaken by the ancient
Emperors of China. There is one gorge, well known to travellers,
above Ich'ang, on the River Yang-tsz, on the way to Ch'ung-k'ing,
where the precipitous rocks on each side have the appearance and
hardness of iron, and for a mile or more--perhaps several miles--
stand perpendicularly like walls on both sides of the rapid Yang-
tsz River: the most curious feature about them is that from below
the water-level, right up to the top, or as far as the eye can
reach, the stone looks as though it had been chipped away with
powerful cheese-scoops: it seems almost impossible that any
operation of nature can have fashioned rocks in this way; on the
other hand, what tools of sufficient hardness, driven by what
great force, could hollow out a passage of such length, at such a
depth, and such a height? It is certain that after Ts'in conquered
the hitherto almost unknown kingdoms of Pa and Shuh (Eastern and
Western Sz Ch'wan) a Chinese engineer named Li Ping worked wonders
in the canalization of the so-called CH'Ng-tu plain, or the rich
level region lying around the capital city of Sz Ch'wan province,
which was so long as Shuh endured also the metropolis of Shuh. The
consular officers of his Britannic Majesty have made a special
study of these sluices, which are still in full working order, and
they seem almost unchanged in principle from the period (280 B.C.)
when Li Ping lived. The Chinese still regard this branch of the
Great River as the source; or at least they did so until the
Jesuit surveys of two centuries ago proved otherwise; it was quite
natural that they should do so in ancient times, for the true
upper course, and also Yiin Nan and Tibet through which that
course runs, were totally unknown to them, and unheard of by name;
even now the so-called Lolo country of Sz Ch'wan and Yiin Nan is
mostly unexplored, and the mountain Lolos are quite independent of
China. The fact that they have whitish skins and a written script
of their own (manifestly inspired by the form of Chinese
characters) makes them a specially interesting people. Li Ping's
engineering feats also included the region around Ya-thou and Kia-
ting, as marked on the modern maps.

The founder of the Hia dynasty (2205 B.C.) is supposed to have
liberated the stagnant waters of the Yellow River and sent them to
the sea; as this is precisely what all succeeding dynasties have
tried to do, and have been obliged to try, and what in our own
times the late Li Hung-chang was ordered to do just before his
death, there seems no good reason for suspecting the accuracy of
the tradition; the more especially as we see that the founder of
the Chou dynasty sent his chief political adviser and his two most
distinguished relatives to settle along this troublesome river's
lower course, as rulers of Ts'i, Yen, and Lu; the other
considerable vassals were all ranged along the middle course.

The original Chinese founder of the barbarian colony of Wu
belonged, as already explained, to the same clan or family as the
founder of the Chou dynasty, and in one respect even took
ancestral or spiritual precedence of him, because the emigrant had
voluntarily retired into obscurity with his brother in order to
make way for a third and more brilliant younger brother, whose
grandson it was that afterwards, in 1122 B.C., conquered China,
and turned the Chou principality, hitherto vassal to the Shang
dynasty, into the Chou dynasty, to which the surviving Shang
princes then became vassals in the Sung state and elsewhere. Even
though the founder of Wu may have adopted barbarian ways, such as
tattooing, hair-cutting, and the like, he must have possessed
considerable administrative power, for he made a canal (running
past his capital) for a distance of thirty English miles along the
new "British" railway from Wu-sih to Ch'ang-shuh, as marked on
present maps; his idea was to facilitate boat-travelling, and to
assist cultivators with water supplies for irrigation.

In the year 485 B.C. the King of Wu, who was then in the hey-day
of his success, and by way of becoming Protector of China, erected
a wall and fortifications round the well-known modern city of
Yangchow (where Marco Polo 1700 years later acted as governor); he
next proceeded for the first time in history to establish water
communication between the Yang-tsz River and the River Hwai; this
canal was then (483-481) continued farther north, so as to give
communication with the southern and central parts of modern Shan
Tung province.

His object was to facilitate the conveyance of stores for his
armies, then engaged in bringing pressure upon Ts'i (North Shan
Tung) and Lu (South Shan Tung). He succeeded in getting his boats
to the River Tsi, running past Tsi-nan Fu, and to the River I,
running past I-thou Fu, thus dominating the whole Shan Tung
region; for these two were then the only navigable rivers in Shan
Tung besides the Sz. The River Tsi is now taken possession of by
the Yellow River, which, as we have shown, then ran a parallel
course much to the westward of it; and the River I then ran south
into the River Sz, which, as already explained, has in its lower
course, in comparatively modern times, been taken possession of
permanently by the Grand Canal; but the upper course of the Sz,
now, as then, ran past Confucius' town, the Lu metropolis, of
K'h-fu. In 483 B.C. the same king cast his faithful adviser (of
Ts'u origin) into the canal by which the waters of lake T'ai Hu
now run to modern Soochow, and thence to Hangchow. Ever since that
date the unfortunate man in question has been a popular "god of
the waters" in those parts. It follows, therefore, that the Wu
founder's modest canal must have been from time to time extended,
at least in an easterly direction. It was only after the conquest
of China by Ts'in, 250 years later, that the First August Emperor
extended this system of canals northwards and westwards, from
Ch'ang-thou Fu to Tan-yang and Chinkiang, as marked on the modern
maps. Thus the barbarian kings of Wu have found the true alignment
of our "British", railway for us; and, so far as the northern
canal is concerned, have really achieved the task for which credit
is usually given to Kublai Khan, the Mongol patron of Marco Polo.
Kublai merely improved the old work. The ancient Wu capital was 10
English miles south-east of Wu-sih, and 17 miles north of Soochow,
to which place the capital was transferred in the year 513 B.C.,
as it was more suitable than the old capital for the arsenals and
ship-building yards then, for the first time, being built on an
extensive scale by the King of Wu.

The first bridge over the Yellow River was constructed by the
kingdom of Ts'in in 257 B.C., on what is still the high-road
between T'ung-thou Fu and P'u-chou Fu. Previous to that date
armies had to cross the Yellow River at the fords; and, as an
instance of this, it may be stated that the founder of the Chou
dynasty in 1122 B.C. summoned his vassals to meet him at the Ford
of Mng, a place still so marked on the maps, and lying on the
high-road between the two modern cities of Ho-nan Fu and Hwai-
k'ing Fu; thus there was no excuse for the feudal princes failing
to arrive at the rendezvous. It was not far from the same place,
but on the north bank of the river, that Tsin in 632 B.C. held the
great durbar as Second Protector, on the notorious occasion when
the puppet Emperor was "sent for" by the Tsin dictator. To conceal
this outrage on "the rites," Confucius says: "The Son of Heaven
went in camp north of the river." To go on hunt, or in camp, is
still a vague historical expression for "go on fief inspection,"
and it was so used in 1858, when the Manchu Emperor Hien-fng took
refuge from the allied troops at Jhol in Tartary.

The first thing Ts'in did when it united the empire in 221 B.C.
was to occupy all the fords and narrow passes, and to put them in
working order for the passage of armies. As even now the lower
Yellow River is only navigable for large craft for 20 miles from
its mouth (now in Shan Tung), it is easy to imagine how many fords
there must have been in its shallow waters, and also how it came
to pass that boats were so little used to convey large bodies of
troops with their stores.

The great wall of China of 217 B.C. was by no means the first of
its kind. A century before that date Ts'in built a long wall to
keep off the Tartars; and, half a century before that again, Ngwei
(one of the three powerful families of Tsin, all made independent
princes in 403) had built a wall to keep off its western neighbour
Ts'in; both these walls seem to have been in the north part of the
modern Shen Si region, and they were possibly portions of the
later continuous great wall of the August Emperor, which occupied
the forced energies of 700,000 men. There is a statement that the
same Emperor set 700,000 eunuchs to work on the palaces and the
tomb he was constructing for himself at his new metropolis (moved
since 350 B.C. to the city of Hien-yang, north of the river Wei,
opposite the present Si-ngan Fu). This probably means, not that
eunuchs were common in those times as palace _employs_, but
that castration still was the usual punishment inflicted
throughout China for grave offences not calling for the penalty of
death, or for the more serious forms of maiming, such as foot-
chopping or knee-slicing; and that all the prisoners of that
degree were told off to do productive work: although humiliatingly
deformed, they were still available for the common purposes of
native life, and their defenceless and forlorn plight would
probably make it an easier matter to handle them in gangs than to
handle sound males; and if they died off under the rough treatment
of task-masters, they would have no families to mourn or avenge
them in accordance with family duty; for a eunuch has no name and
no family. The palaces in question were joined by a magnificent
bridge on the high-road between Hien-yang and Si-ngan. This very
year a German firm has contracted to build an iron bridge over the
Yellow River at Lan-thou Fu, where crossed by Major Bruce.



There are singularly few descriptions of cities in ancient Chinese
history, but here again we may safely assume that most of them
were in principle, if only on a small scale, very much what they
are now, mere inartistic, badly built collections of hovels. Sul,
the quaint capital of Corea, as it appeared in its virgin
condition to its European discoverers twenty-five years ago,
probably then closely resembled an ancient vassal Chinese prince's
capital of the very best kind. Modern trade is responsible for the
wealthy commercial streets now to be found in all large Chinese
cities; but a small _hien_ city in the interior--and it must
be remembered that a _hien_ circuit or district corresponds
to an old marquisate or feudal principality of the vassal unit
type--is often a poor, dusty, dirty, depressing, ramshackle
agglomeration of villages or hamlets, surrounded by a disproportionately
pretentious wall, the cubic contents of which wall alone would more
than suffice to build in superior style the whole mud city within; for half
the area of the interior is apt to be waste land or stagnant puddles: it
was so even in Peking forty years ago, and possibly is so still except
in the "Legation quarter."

In 745 B.C., when the Tsin marquess foolishly divided his
patrimony with a collateral branch, the capital town of this
subdivided state is stated to have been a greater place than the
old capital. They are both of them still in existence as
insignificant towns, situated quite close together on the same
branch of the River Fn (the only navigable river) in South Shan
Si; marked with their old names, too; that is to say, K'iih-wuh
and Yih-CH'Ng. It was only after the younger branch annexed the
elder in 679 that Tsin became powerful and began to expand; and it
was only when a policy of "home rule" and disintegration set in,
involving the splitting up of Tsin's orthodox power into three
royal states of doubtful orthodoxy, that China fell a prey to
Ts'in ambition. _Absit_ omen to us.

In 560, when the deformed philosopher Yen-tsz visited Ts'u, and
entertained that semi-barbarous court with his witticisms, he took
the opportunity boastfully to enlarge upon the magnificence of
Lin-tsz (still so marked), the capital of Ts'i. "It is," said he,
"surrounded by a hundred villages; the parasols of the walkers
obscure the sky, whose perspiration runs in such streams as to
cause rain; their shoulders and heels touch together, so closely
are they packed." The assembled Ts'u court, with mouths open, but
inclined for sport at the cost of their visitor, said: "If it is
such a grand place, why do they select you?" Yen-tsz played a
trump card when he replied: "Because I am such a mean-looking
fellow,"--meaning, as explained in Chapter IX., that "any pitiful
rascal is good enough to send to Ts'u." Exaggerations apart,
however, there is every reason to believe that the statesman-
philosopher Kwan-tsz, a century before that date, had really
organized a magnificent city. A full description of how he
reconstructed the economic life of both city and people is given
in the _Kwoh-y_ (see Chapter XVII.), the authenticity of
which work, though not free from question, is, after all, only
subject to the same class of criticism as Rnan lavishes upon one
or two of the Gospels, the general tenor of which, be says, must
none the less be accepted, with all faults, as the _bonfide_
attempt of some one, more or less contemporary, to represent what
was then generally supposed to be the truth.

Ts'u itself must have had something considerable to show in the
way of public buildings, for in the year 542 B.C. after paying a
visit to that country in accordance with the provisions of the
Peace Conference of 546, the ruler of Lu built himself a palace in
imitation of one he saw there. The original capital of Wu (see
Chapter VII.) was a poor place, and is described as having
consisted of low houses in narrow streets, with a vulgar palace;
this was in 523. In 513 a new king moved to the site now occupied
by Soochow, and he seems to have made of it the magnificent city
it has remained ever since--the place, of course it will be
remembered, where General Gordon and Li Hung-chang had their
celebrated quarrel about decapitating surrendered rebels. There
were eight gates, besides eight water-gates for boats; it was
eight English miles in circuit, and contained the palace, several
towers (pagodas, being Buddhist, were then naturally unknown),
kiosks, ponds, and duck preserves. The extensive arsenal and ship-
yard was quite separate from the main town. No city in the
orthodox part of China is so closely described as this one, nor is
it likely that there were many of them so vast in extent.

Judging by the frequency with which Ts'in moved its capitals (but
always within a limited area in the Wei valley, between that river
and its tributary the K'ien), they cannot have been very important
or substantial places; in fact, there are no descriptions of early
Ts'in economic life at all; and, for all we know to the contrary,
the headquarters of Duke Muh, when he entered upon his reforms in
the seventh century B.C., may have resembled a Tartar encampment.
The _Kwoh-y_ has no chapter devoted to Ts'in, which (as indeed
stated) for 500 years lived a quite isolated life of its own. In later
times, especially after the reforms introduced by the celebrated
Chinese princely adventurer, Wei Yang, during the period 360--340,
the land administration was reconstituted, the capital was finally moved
to Hien-yang, and every effort was made to develop all the resources
of the country. Ts'in then possessed 41 _hien,_ those with a
population of under 10,000 having a governor with a lower title than
the governors of the larger towns, Probably the total population of
Ts'in by this time reached 3,000,000. A century later, when the First
August Emperor was conquering China, armies of half a million men
on each side were not at all uncommon. When his conquests were
complete, he set about building palaces on both banks of the Wei in
most lavish style, as narrated in the last chapter. It is said of him that,
"as he conquered each vassal prince, he had a sketch made of his
palace buildings," and, with these before him as models, he lined
the river with rows of beautiful edifices,--evidently, from the
description given, much resembling those lying along the Golden
Horn at Constantinople; if not in quality, at least in general
spectacular arrangement.

As to the minor orthodox states grouped along the Yellow River,
they seem to have shifted their capitals on very slight
provocation; scarcely one of them remained from first to last in
the same place. To take one as an instance, the state of Hu, an
orthodox state belonging to the same clan name as Ts'i. The
history of this petty principality or barony is only exactly known
from the time when Confucius' history begins, and it was
continually being oppressed by Cheng and Ts'u, its more powerful
neighbours; in 576, 533, 524 and onwards from that, there were
incessant removals, so that even the native commentators say: "it
was just like shifting a village, so superficial an affair was
it." The accepted belles _lettres_ style (see p. 78) of saying
"my country" is still the ancient _pi-yih_ or "unworthy village":
the Empress of China once (about 190 B.C.) used this expression,
even after the whole of China had been united, in order to reject
politely the offer of marriage conveyed to her by a powerful Tartar
king. The expression is particularly interesting, inasmuch as it recalls,
as we have already pointed out, a time when the "country" of each
feudal chief was simply his mud village and the few square miles of
fields around it, which were naturally divided off from the next chief's
territory by hills and streams. On the Burmo-Chinese frontier there are
at this moment many Kakhyen "kings" of this kind, each of them ruling
over his mountain or valley, and supreme in his own domain.

That there were walled cities in China (apart from the Emperor's,
which, of course, would be "the city" par _excellence_) is
plain from the language used at durbars, which were always held
"outside the walls." In the _loess_ plains there could not
have been any stone whatever for building purposes, and there is
little, if any, specific mention of brick. Probably the walls were
of adobe, i.e. of mud, beaten down between two rigid planks,
removed higher as the wall dries below. This is the way most of
the houses are still built in modern Peking, and perhaps also in
most parts of China, at least where stone (or brick) is not
cheaper; the "barbarian" parts of China are still the best built;
for instance, CH'Ng-tu in Sz Ch'wan, Canton in the south. Hankow
(Ts'u) is a comparatively poor place; Peking the dingiest of all.
Chinkiang is a purely _loess_ country.

At the time of the unification of China, during the middle of the
third century B.C., the Ts'in armies found it necessary to flood
Ta-liang or "Great Liang," the capital of Ngwei (otherwise called
Liang), corresponding to the modern K'ai-fng Fu, the Jewish
centre in Ho Nan province: the waters of the Yellow River were
allowed to flood the country (this was again done by the Tai-p'ing
rebels fifty years ago, when the Jews suffered like other people,
and lost their synagogue), the walls of which collapsed. It is
evident that the ancient city walls could not have been such
solid, brick-faced walls as we now see round Peking and Nanking,
but simply mud ramparts.



We must turn to unorthodox China once more, and see how it fared
after Confucius' death. After only a short century of international
existence, the vigorous state of Wu perished once for all in the
year 473 B.C., and the remains of the ruling caste escaped
eastwards in boats. When for the first time embassies between
the Japanese and the Chinese became fairly regular, in the
second and third centuries of our era, there began to be
persistent statements made in standard Chinese history that the
then ruling powers in Japan considered themselves in some way
lineally connected with a Chinese Emperor of 2100 B.C., and with
his descendants, their ancestors, who, it was said, escaped from
Wu to China. This is the reason why, in Chapter VII., we have
suggested, not that the population of Japan came from China, but
that some of the semi-barbarous descendants of those ancient
Chinese princes who first colonized the then purely barbarous Wu,
finding their power destroyed in 473 B.C. by the neighbouring
barbarous power of Yeh, settled in Japan, and continued their
civilizing mission in quite a new sphere. Many years ago I
endeavoured, in various papers published in China and Japan, to
show that, apart from Chinese words adopted into Japanese ever
since A.D. 1 from the two separate sources of North China by land
and Central China by sea, there is clear reason to detect, in the
supposed pure Japanese language, as it was anterior to those
importations, an admixture of Chinese words adopted much earlier
than A.D. 1, and incorporated into the current tongue at a time
when there was no means or thought of "nailing the sounds down" by
any phonetic system of writing. There is much other very sound
Chinese historical evidence in favour of the migration view, and
it has been best summarized in an excellent little work in German,
by Rev. A. Tschepe, S.J., published in the interior of Shan Tung
province only last year.

The ancient native names for Wu and Yiieh, according to the clumsy
Confucian way of writing them, were something like _Keu-ngu_
and _O-viet_ (see Chapter VII.); but it is quite hopeless to
attempt reconstruction of the exact sounds intended then to be
expressed by syllables which, in Chinese itself, have quite
changed in power. The power of Yeh was supreme after 473; its
king was voted Protector by the federal princes, and in 472 he
held a grand durbar at the "Lang-ya Terrace," which place is no
longer exactly identifiable, but is probably nothing more than the
German settlement at Kiao Chou; in 468 he transferred his capital
thither, and it remained there for over a century, till 379: but
his power, it seems, was almost purely maritime, and he never
succeeded in obtaining a sure footing north of or even in the Hwai
valley, the greater part of which he subsequently returned to
Ts'u. It must be remembered that the Hwai then had a free course
to the sea, and of a part of it, the now extinct Sui valley, the
Yellow River took possession for several centuries up to 1851 A.D.
He also returned to Sung the territory Wu had taken from her, and
made over to Lu 100 _li_ square (30 miles) to the east of the
River Sz; to understand this it must be remembered, at the cost of
a little iteration, that Sung and Lu were the two chief powers of
the middle and lower Sz valley, which is now entirely monopolized
by the Grand Canal.

[Illustration: MAP

1. The dotted lines mark the boundaries of modern Shen Si, Shan
Si, Chih Li, Ho Nan, Shan Tung, An Hwei, and Kiang Su.

2. The names Chao, Ngwei, and Han show how Tsin was split up into
three in 403 B.C.

3. The crosses (in the line of each name) show the successive
capitals as Ts'in encroached from the west, the _last_ capital in
each case having a circle round the cross.]

The imperial dynasty went from bad to worse; in 440 there were
family intrigues, assassinations, and divisions. The imperial
metropolis, which was towards the end about all the Emperors had
left to them, was divided into two, each half ruled by an Eastern
and a Western Emperor respectively; unfortunately, no literature
has survived which might depict for us the life of the inhabitants
during those wretched days. Meanwhile, the ambitious great
families of Tsin very nearly fell under the dictatorship of one of
their number; in 452 he was himself annihilated by a combination
of the others, and the upshot of it was that next year the three
families that had crushed the dictator and, emerged victorious,
divided up the realm of Tsin into three separate and practically
independent states, called respectively Wei or Ngwei (the Shan Si
parts), Han (the Ho Nan parts), and Chao (the Chih Li parts). The
other ancient and more orthodox state of Wei, occupying the Yellow
River valley to the west of Sung and Lu, was now a mere vassal to
these three Tsin powers, which had not quite yet declared
themselves independent, and which had for the present left the old
Tsin capital to the direct administration of the legitimate
prince. It was only in the year 403 that the Emperor's administration
formally declared them to be feudal princes. This year is really the
next great turning-point in Chinese history, in order of date, after the
flight of the Emperors from their old capital in 771 B.C.; and it is, in
fact, with this year that the great modern historical work of Sz-ma
Kwang begins; it was published A.D. 1084, and brings Chinese
events down to a century previous to that date.

As to the state of Ts'i, it also had fallen into evil ways. So
early as 539 B.C., when the two philosophers Yen-tsz and Shuh
Hiang had confided to each other their mutual sorrows (see
Appendix No. 2), the former had predicted that the powerful local
family of T'ien or Ch'en was slowly but surely undermining the
legitimate princely house, and would certainly end by seizing the
throne; one of the methods adopted by the supplanting family was
to lend money to the people on very favourable terms, and so to
manipulate the grain measures that the taxes due to the prince
were made lighter to bear; in this ingenious and indirect way, all
the odium of taxation was thrown upon the extravagant princes who
habitually squandered their resources, whilst the credit for
generosity was turned towards this powerful tax-farming family,
which thus took care of its own financial interests, and at the
same time secured the affections of the people. In 481 the
ambitious T'ien Hng, _alias_ CH'N Ch'ang, then acting as
hereditary _maire du palais_ to the legitimate house, assassinated
the ruling prince, an act so shocking from the orthodox point of view that
Confucius was quite heartbroken on learning of it, notwithstanding that his
own prince had narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of the
murdered man's grandfather. It was not until the year 391, however, that
the T'ien, or CH'N, family, after setting up and deposing princes at
their pleasure for nearly a century, at last openly threw off the
mask and usurped the Ts'i throne: their title was officially
recognized by the Son of Heaven in the year 378.

As to Ts'in ambitions, for a couple of centuries past there had
been no further advance of conquest, at least in China. The
hitherto almost unheard of state of Shuh (Sz Ch'wan) now begins to
come prominently forward, and to contest with Ts'in mastery of the
upper course of the Yang-tsz River. After being for 260 years in
unchallenged possession of all territory west of the Yellow River,
Ts'in once more lost this to Tsin (_i.e._ to Ngwei) in 385.
It was not until the other state of Wei, lower down the Yellow
River, lost its individuality as an independent country that the
celebrated Prince Wei Yang (see Chapter XXII.), having no career
at home, offered his services to Ts'in, and that this latter
state, availing itself to the full of his knowledge, suddenly shot
forth in the light of real progress. We have seen in Chapter XX.
that an eminent lawyer and statesman of Ngwei, Ts'in's immediate
rival on the east, had inaugurated a new legal code and an
economic land system. This man's work had fallen under the
cognizance of Wei Yang, who carried it with him to Ts'in, where it
was immediately utilized to such advantage that Ts'in a century
later was enabled to organize her resources thoroughly, and thus
conquered the whole empire,

We have now arrived at what is usually called the Six Kingdom
Period, or, if we include Ts'in, against whose menacing power the
six states were often in alliance, the period of the Seven
Kingdoms. These were the three equally powerful states of Ngwei,
Han, and Chao (this last very Tartar in spirit, owing to its
having absorbed nearly all the Turko-Tartar tribes west of the
Yellow River mouth); the northernmost state of Yen, which seems in
the same way to have absorbed or to have exercised a strong
controlling influence over the Manchu-Corean group of tribes
extending from the Liao River to the Chao frontier; Ts'u, which
now had the whole south of China entirely to itself, and managed
even to amalgamate the coast states of Yiich in 334; and finally Ts'i.
In other words, the orthodox Chinese princes, whose comparatively
petty principalities in modern Ho Nan province had for several centuries
formed a sort of cock-pit in which Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, and Ts'u fought out
their rivalries, had totally disappeared as independent and even as
influential powers, and had been either absorbed by those four great
powers (of which Tsin and Ts'i were in reconstituted form), or had
become mere obedient vassals to one or the other of them. In former
times Tsin had been kinsman and defender; but now Tsin, broken up
into three of strange clans, herself afforded an easy prey to Ts'in
ambition; the orthodox states were in the defenceless position of the
Greek states after Alexander had exhausted Macedon in his Persian
wars, and when their last hope, Pyrrhus, had taught the Romans the art
of war: they had only escaped Persia to fall into the jaws of

In the middle of the fourth century B.C. all six powers began to
style themselves _wang_, or "king," which, as explained before,
was the title borne by the Emperors of the Chou dynasty. Military,
political, and literary activities were very great after this at the
different emulous royal courts, and, however much the literary
pedants of the day may have bewailed the decay of the good
old times, there can be no doubt that life was now much more
varied, more occupied, and more interesting than in the sleepy,
respectable, patriarchal days of old. The "Fighting State" Period,
as expounded in the _Chan-Kwoh Ts'eh,_ or "Fighting State
Records," is the true period of Chinese chivalry, or knight-



The emperors of the dynasty of Chou, which came formally into
power in 1122 B.C., we have seen took no other title than that of
wang, which is usually considered by Europeans to mean "king"; in
modern times it is applied to the rulers of (what until recently
were) tributary states, such as Loochoo, Annam, and Corea; to
foreign rulers (unless they insist on a higher title); and to
Manchu and Mongol princes of the blood, and mediatized princes.
Confucius in his history at first always alludes to the Emperor
whilst living as _t'ien-wang_, or "the heavenly king"; it is
not until in speaking of the year 583 that he uses the old term
_t'ien-tsz_, or "Son of Heaven," in alluding to the reigning
Emperor. After an emperor's death he is spoken of by his
posthumous name; as, for instance, Wu Wang, the "Warrior King,"
and so on: these posthumous names were only introduced (as a
regular system) by the Chou dynasty.

The monarchs of the two dynasties Hia (2205-1767) and Shang (1766-
1123) which preceded that of Chou, and also the somewhat mythical
rulers who preceded those two dynasties, were called _Ti_, a
word commonly translated by Western nations as "Emperor." For many
generations past the Japanese, in order better to assert _vis--
vis_ of China their international rank, have accordingly made
use of the hybrid expression "_Ti_-state," by which they seek
to convey the European idea of an "empire," or a state ruled over
by a monarch in some way superior to a mere king, which is the
highest title China has ever willingly accorded to a foreign
prince; this royal functionary in her eyes is, or was, almost
synonymous with "tributary prince." Curiously enough, this "dog-
Chinese" (Japanese) expression is now being reimported into
Chinese political literature, together with many other excruciating
combinations, a few of European, but mostly of Japanese manufacture,
intended to represent such Western ideas as "executive and legislative,"
"constitutional," "ministerial responsibility," "party," "political view,"
and so on. But we ourselves must not forget, in dealing with the particular
word "imperial," that the Romans first extended the military title of
imperator to the permanent holder of the "command," simply because
the ancient and haughty word of "king" was, after the expulsion of
the kings, viewed with such jealousy by the people of Rome that
even of Caesar it is said that he did thrice refuse the title, So
the ancient Chinese Ti, standing alone, was at first applied both
to Shang Ti or "God" and to his Vicar on Earth, the Ti or Supreme
Ruler of the Chinese world. Even Lao-tsz (sixth century B.C.), in
his revolutionary philosophy, considers the "king" or "emperor" as
one of the moral forces of nature, on a par with "heaven,"
"earth," and "Tao (or Providence)." When we reflect what petty
"worlds" the Assyrian, Egyptian, and Greek worlds were, we can
hardly blame the Chinese, who had probably been settled in Ho Nan
just as long as the Western ruling races had been in Assyria and
Egypt respectively, for imagining that they, the sole recorders of
events amongst surrounding inferiors, were the world; and that the
incoherent tribes rushing aimlessly from all sides to attack them,
were the unreclaimed fringe of the world.

It does not appear clearly why the Chou dynasty took the new title
of wang, which does not seem to occur in any titular sense
previous to their accession: the Chinese attempts to furnish
etymological explanation are too crude to be worth discussing. No
feudal Chinese prince presumed to use it during the Chou
_rgime_ and if the semi-barbarous rulers of Ts'u, Wu, and
Yiieh did so in their own dominions (as the Hwang Ti, or "august
emperor," of Annam was in recent times tacitly allowed to do),
their federal title in orthodox China never went beyond that of
viscount. When in the fourth century B.C. all the powers styled
themselves _wang_, and were recognized as such by the insignificant
emperors, the situation was very much the same as that produced in
Europe when first local Caesars, who, to begin with, had been
"associates" of the Augustus (or two rival Augusti), asserted their
independence of the feeble central Augustus, and then set themselves
up as Augusti pure and simple, until at last the only "Roman Emperor"
left in Rome was the Emperor of Germany.

It is not explained precisely on what grounds, when the first Chou
emperors distributed their fiefs, some of the feudal rulers, as
explained in Chapter VII., were made dukes; others marquesses,
earls, viscounts, and barons. Of course these translated terms are
mere makeshifts, simply because the Chinese had five ranks, and so
have we. In creating their new nobility, the Japanese have again
made use of the five old Chinese titles, except that for some
reason they call Duke Ito and Duke Yamagata "Prince" in English.
The size of the fiefs had something to do with it in China; the
pedigree of the feoffees probably more; imperial clandom perhaps
most of all. The sole state ruled by a duke in his own intrinsic
right from the first was Sung, a small principality on the
northernmost head-waters of the River Hwai, corresponding to the
modern Kwei-t&h Fu: probably it was because this duke fulfilled
the sacrificial and continuity duties of the destroyed dynasty of
Shang that he received extraordinary rank; just as, in very much
later days, the Confucius family was the only non-Manchu to
possess "ducal" rank, or, as the Japanese seem to hold in German
style, "princely" rank. But it must be remembered that the Chou
emperors had imperial dukes within their own appanage, precisely
as cardinals, or "princes of the Church," are as common around
Rome as they are scarce among the spiritually "feudal" princes of
Europe; for feudal they once practically were.

Confucius' petty state of Lu was founded by the Duke of Chou,
brother of the founder posthumously called the Wu Wang, or the
"Warrior King": for many generations those Dukes of Lu seem to
have resided at or near the metropolis, and to have assisted the
Emperors with their advice as counsellors on the spot, as well as
to have visited at intervals and ruled their own distant state,
which was separated from Sung by the River Sz and by the marsh or
lakes through which that river ran. Yet Lu as a state had only the
rank of a marquisate ruled by a marquess.

Another close and influential relative of the founder or "Warrior
King" was the Duke of Shao, who was infeoffed in Yen (the Peking
plain), and whose descendants, like those of the Duke of Chou,
seem to have done double duty at the metropolis and in their own
feudal appanage. Confucius' history scarcely records anything of
an international kind about Yen, which was a petty, feeble region,
dovetailed in between Tsin and Ts'i, quite isolated, and occupied
in civilizing some of the various Tartar and Corean barbarians;
but it must have gradually increased in wealth and resources like
all the other Chinese states; for, as we have seen in the last
chapter, the Earls of Yen blossomed out into Kings at the
beginning of the fourth century B.C., and the philosopher Mencius,
when advising the King of Ts'i, even strongly recommended him to
make war on the rising Yen power. The founder of Ts'i was the
chief adviser of the Chou founder, but was not of his family name;
his ancestors--also the ancestors later on claimed by certain
Tartar rulers of China--go back to one of the ultra-mythical
Emperors of China; his descendants bore, under the Chou dynasty,
the dignity of marquess, and reigned without a break until, as
already related, the T'ien or Ch'en family, emanating from the
orthodox state of Ch'en, usurped the throne. Ts'i was always a
powerful and highly civilized state; on one occasion, in 589 B.C.,
as mentioned in Chapter VI., its capital was desecrated by Tsin;
and on another, a century later, the overbearing King of Wu
invaded the country. After the title of king was taken in 378
B.C., the court of Ts'i became quite a fashionable centre, and the
gay resort of literary men, scientists, and philosophers of all
kinds, Taoists included.

Tsin, like Ts'i, was of marquess rank, and though its ruling
family was occasionally largely impregnated with Tartar blood by
marriage, it was not much more so than the imperial family itself
had sometimes been, The Chinese have never objected to Tartars
_qu_ Tartars, except as persons who "let their hair fly,"
"button their coats on the wrong side," and do not practise the
orthodox rites; so soon as these defects are remedied, they are
eligible for citizenship on equal terms. There has never been any
race question or colour question in China, perhaps because the
skin is yellow in whichever direction you turn; but it is
difficult to conceive of the African races being clothed with
Chinese citizenship.

Wei was a small state lying between the Yellow River as it now is
and the same river as it then was: it was given to a brother of
the founder of the Chou dynasty, and his subjects, like those of
the Sung duke, consisted largely of the remains of the Shang
dynasty; from which circumstance we may conclude that the so-
called "dynasties," including that of Chou, were simply different
ruling clans of one and the same people, very much like the
different Jewish tribes, of which the tribe of Levi was the most
"spiritual": that peculiarity may account for the universal
unreadiness to cut off sacrifices and destroy tombs, an outrage we
only hear of between barbarians, as, for instance, when Wu sacked
the capital of Ts'u. We have seen in Chapter XII. that a reigning
duke even respected at least some of the sacrificial rights of a
traitor subject.

The important state of CHNG, lying to the eastward of the
imperial reserve, was only founded in the ninth century B.C. by
one of the then Emperor's sons; to get across to each other, the
great states north and south of the orthodox nucleus had usually
to "beg road" of CHNG, which territory, therefore, became a
favourite fighting-ground; the rulers were earls. Ts'ao (earls)
and Ts'ai (marquesses) were small states to the north and south of
CHNG, both of the imperial family name. The state of CH'N was
ruled by the descendants of the Emperor Shun, the monarch who
preceded the Hia dynasty, and who, as stated before, is supposed
to have been buried in the (modern) province of Hu Nan, south of
the Yang-tsz River: they were marquesses. These three last-named
states were always bones of contention between Tsin and Ts'u, on
the one hand, and between Ts'i and Ts'u on the other. The
remaining feudal states are scarcely worth special mention as
active participators in the story of how China fought her way from
feudalism to centralization; most of their rulers were viscounts
or barons in status, and seem to have owed, or at least been
obliged to pay, more duty to the nearest great feudatory than
direct to the Emperor.

No matter what the rank of the ruler, so soon as he had been
supplied with a posthumous name (expressing, in guarded style, his
personal character) he was known to history as "the Duke So-and-
So." Even one of the Rings of Ts'u, is courteously called "the
Duke Chwang" after his death, because as a federal prince he had
done honour to the courtesy title of viscount. Princes or rulers
not enjoying any of the five ranks were, if orthodox sovereign
princes over never so small a tract, still called posthumously,
"the Duke X."

Hence Western writers, in describing Confucius' master and the
rulers of other feudal states, often speak of "the Duke of Lu," or
"of Tsin"; but this is only an accurate form of speech when taken
subject to the above reserves.



The relations which existed between Emperor and feudal princes are
best seen and understood from specific cases involving mutual
relations. The Chou dynasty had about 1800 nominal vassals in all,
of whom 400 were already waiting at the ford of the Yellow River
for the rendezvous appointed by the conquering "Warrior King";
thus the great majority must already have existed as such before
the Chou family took power; in other words, they were the vassals
of the Shang dynasty, and perhaps, of the distant Hia dynasty too.
The new Emperor enfeoffed fifteen "brother" states, and forty more
having the same clan-name as himself: these fifty-five were
presumably all new states, enjoying mesne-lord or semi-suzerain
privileges over the host of insignificant principalities; and it
might as well be mentioned here that this imperial clan name of
_Ki_ was that of all the ultra-ancient emperors, from 2700
B.C. down to the beginning of the Hia dynasty in 2205 B.C. Fiefs
were conferred by the Chou conqueror upon all deserving ministers
and advisers as well as upon kinsmen. The more distant princes
they enfeoffed possessed, in addition to their distant satrapies,
a village in the neighbourhood of the imperial court, where they
resided, as at an hotel or town house, during court functions;
more especially in the spring, when, if the world was at peace,
they were supposed to pay their formal respects to the Emperor.
The tribute brought by the different feudal states was, perhaps
euphemistically, associated with offerings due to the gods,
apparently on the same ground that the Emperor was vaguely
associated with God. The Protectors, when the Emperors degenerated,
made a great show always of chastising or threatening the other
vassals on account of their neglect to honour the Emperor.
Thus in 656 the First Protector (Ts'i) made war upon Ts'u for not
sending the usual tribute of sedge to the Emperor, for use in
clarifying the sacrificial wine. Previously, in 663, after assisting the
state of Yen against the Tartars, Ts'i had requested Yen "to go
on paying tribute, as was done during the reigns of the two first
Chou Emperors, and to continue the wise government of the
Duke of Shao." In 581, when Wu's pretensions were rising in a
menacing degree, the King of Wu said: "The Emperor complains to me
that not a single _Ki_ (_i.e._ not a single closely-related
state) will come to his assistance or send him tribute, and thus
his Majesty has nothing to offer to the Emperor Above, or to the
Ghosts and Spirits."

Land thus received in vassalage from the Emperor could not, or
ought not to, be alienated without imperial sanction. Thus in 711
B.C. two states (both of the _Ki_ surname, and thus both such
as ought to have known better) effected an exchange of territory;
one giving away his accommodation village, or hotel, at the
capital; and the other giving in exchange a place where the
Emperor used to stop on his way to Ts'i when he visited Mount
T'ai-shan, then, as now, the sacred resort of pilgrims in Shan
Tung. Even the Emperor could not give away a fief in joke. This,
indeed, was how the second Chou Emperor conferred the (extinct or
forfeited) fief of Tsin upon a relative. But just as

_Une reine d'Espagne ne regarde pas par la fentre,_

so an Emperor of China cannot jest in vain. An attentive scribe
standing by said: "When the Son of Heaven speaks, the clerk takes
down his words in writing; they are sung to music, and the rites
are fulfilled." When, in 665 B.C., Ts'i had driven back the
Tartars on behalf of Yen, the Prince of Yen accompanied the Prince
of Ts'i back into Ts'i territory. The Prince of Ts'i at once ceded
to Yen the territory trodden by the Prince of Yen, on the ground
that "only the Emperor can, when accompanying a ruling prince,
advance beyond the limits of his own domain." This rule probably
refers only to war, for feudal princes frequently visited each
other. The rule was that "the Emperor can never go out," i.e. he
can never leave or quit any part of China, for all China belongs
to him. It is like our "the King can do no wrong."

The Emperor could thus neither leave nor enter his own particular
territory, as all his vassals' territory is equally his. Hence his
"mere motion" or pleasure makes an Empress, who needs no formal
reception into his separate appanage by him. If the Emperor gives
a daughter or a sister in marriage, he deputes a ruling prince of
the Ki surname to "manage" the affair; hence to this day the only
name for an imperial princess is "a publicly managed one." A
feudal prince must go and welcome his wife, but the Emperor simply
deputes one of his appanage dukes to do it for him. In the same
way, these dukes are sent on mission to convey the Emperor's
pleasure to vassals. Thus, in 651 B.C., a duke was sent by the
Emperor to assist Ts'in and Ts'i in setting one of the four
Tartar-begotten brethren on the Tsin throne (see Chapter X.). In
649 two dukes (one being the hereditary Duke of Shao, supposed to
be descended from the same ancestor as the Earl reigning in the
distant state of Yen) were sent to confer the formal patent and
sceptre of investiture on Tsin. The rule was that imperial envoys
passing through the vassal territory should be welcomed on the
frontier, fed, and housed; but in 716 the fact that Wei attacked
an imperial envoy on his way to Lu proves how low the imperial
power had already sunk.

The greater powers undoubtedly had, nearly all of them, clusters
of vassals and clients, and it is presumed that the total of 1800,
belonging, at least nominally, to the Emperor, covered all these
indirect vassals. Possibly, before the dawn of truly historical
times, they all went in person to the imperial court; but after
the _dbcle_ of 771 B.C., the Emperor seems to have been
left severely alone by all the vassals who dared do so. So early
as 704 B.C. a reunion of princelets vassal to Ts'u is mentioned;
and in the year 622 Ts'u annexed a region styled "the six states,"
admittedly descended from the most ancient ministerial stock,
because they had presumed to ally themselves with the eastern
barbarians; this was when Ts'u was working her way eastwards, down
from the southernmost headwaters of the Hwai River, in the extreme
south of Ho Nan. It was in 684 that Ts'u first began to annex the
petty orthodox states in (modern) Hu Ph province, and very soon
nearly all those lying between the River Han and the River Yang-
tsz were swallowed up by the semi-barbarian power. Ts'u's relation
to China was very much like that of Macedon to Greece. Both of the
latter were more or less equally descended from the ancient and
somewhat nebulous Pelasgi; but Macedon, though imbued with a
portion of Greek civilization, was more rude and warlike, with a
strong barbarian strain in addition. Ts'u was never in any way
"subject" to the Chou dynasty, except in so far as it may have
suited her to be so for some interested purpose of her own. In the
year 595 Ts'u even treated Sung and Cheng (two federal states of
the highest possible orthodox imperial rank) as her own vassals,
by marching armies through without asking their permission. As an
illustration of what was the correct course to follow may be taken
the case of Tsin in 632, when a Tsin army was marching on a
punitory expedition against the imperial clan state of Ts'ao; the
most direct way ran through Wei, but this latter state declined to
allow the Tsin army to pass; it was therefore obliged to cross the
Yellow River at a point south of Wei-hwei Fu (as marked on modern
maps), near the capital of Wei, past which the Yellow River then

Lu, though itself a small state, had, in 697, and again in 615,
quite a large number of vassals of its own; several are plainly
styled "subordinate countries," with viscounts and even earls to
rule them. Some of these sub-vassals to the feudal states seem
from the first never to have had the right of direct communication
with the Emperor at all; in such cases they were called fu-yung,
or "adjunct-functions," like the client colonies attached to the
colonial _municipia_ of the Romans. A fu-yung was only about
fifteen English miles in extent (according to Mencius); and from
850 B.C. to 771 BC. even the great future state of Ts'in had only
been a _fu-yung_,--it is not said to what mesne lord. Sung is
distinctly stated to have had a number of these _fu-yung_.
CH'N is also credited with suzerainty over at least two sub-
vassal states. In 661 Tsin annexed a number of orthodox petty
states, evidently with the view of ultimately seizing that part of
the Emperor's appanage which lay north of the Yellow River (west
Ho Nan); it was afterwards obtained by "voluntary cession." The
word "viscount," besides being applied complimentarily to
barbarian "kings" when they showed themselves in China, had
another special use. When an orthodox successor was in mourning,
he was not entitled forthwith to use the hereditary rank allotted
to his state; thus, until the funeral obsequies of their
predecessors were over, the new rulers of Ch'en and Ts'ai were
called "the viscount," or "son" (same word).

The Emperor used to call himself "I, the one Man," like the
Spanish "Yo, el Rey." Feudal princes styled themselves to each
other, or to the ministers of each other, "The Scanty Man."
Ministers, speaking (to foreign ministers or princes) of their own
prince said, "The Scanty Prince"; of the prince's wife, "The
Scanty Lesser Prince"; of their own ministers, "The Scanty
Minister." It was polite to avoid the second person in addressing
a foreign prince, who was consequently often styled "your
government" by foreign envoys particularly anxious not to offend.
The diplomatic forms were all obsequiously polite; but the stock
phrases, such as, "our vile village" (our country), "your
condescending to instruct" (your words), "I dare not obey your
commands" (we will not do what you ask), probably involved nothing
more in the way of humility than the terms of our own gingerly
worded diplomatic notes, each term of which may, nevertheless,
offend if it be coarsely or carelessly expressed.

In some cases a petty vassal was neither a sub-kingdom nor an
adjunct-function to another greater vassal, but was simply a
political hanger-on; like, for instance, Hawaii was to the United
States, or Cuba now is; or like Monaco is to France, Nepaul to
India. Thus Lu, through assiduously cultivating the good graces of
Ts'i, became in 591 a sort of henchman to Ts'i; and, as we have
seen, at the Peace Conference of 546, the henchmen of the two
rival Protectors agreed to pay "cross respects" to each other's
Protector. It seems to have been the rule that the offerings of
feudal states to the Emperor should be voluntary, at least in
form: for instance, in the year 697, the Emperor or his agents
begged a gift of chariots from Lu, and in 618 again applied for
some supplies of gold; both these cases are censured by the
historians as being undignified. On the other hand, the Emperor's
complimentary presents to the vassals were highly valued. Thus in
the year 530, when Ts'u began to realize its own capacity for
empire, a claim was put in for the Nine Tripods, and for a share
of the same honorific gifts that were bestowed by the founders
upon Ts'i, Tsin, Lu, and Wei at the beginning of the Chou dynasty.
In the year 606 Ts'u had already "inquired" at the imperial court
about these same Tripods, and 300 years later (281 B.C.), when
struggling with Ts'in for the mastery of China, Ts'u endeavoured
to get the state of Han to support her demand for the Tripods,
which eventually fell to Ts'in; it will be remembered that the
Duke of Chou had taken them to the branch capital laid out by him,
but which was not really occupied by the Emperor until 771 B.C.

In 632, after the great Tsin victory over Ts'u, the Emperor
"accepted some Ts'u prisoners," conferred upon Tsin the
Protectorate, ceded to Tsin that part of the imperial territory
referred to on page 53, and presented to the Tsin ruler a chariot,
a red bow with 1000 arrows, a black bow with 1000 arrows, a jar of
scented wine, a jade cup with handle, and 300 "tiger" body-guards.
In 679, when Old Tsin had been amalgamated by New Tsin (both of
them then tiny principalities), the Emperor had already accepted
valuable loot from the capture of Old Tsin. In a word, the Emperor
nearly always sided with the strongest, accepted _faits accomplis_,
and took what he could get. This has also been China's usual policy
in later times.



The period of political development covered by Confucius' history--
the object of which history, it must be remembered, was to read
to the restless age a series of solemn warnings--was immediately
succeeded by the most active and bloodthirsty period in the
Chinese annals, that of the Fighting States, or the Six Countries;
sometimes they (including Ts'in) were called the "Seven Males,"
i.e. the Seven Great Masculine Powers. Tsin had been already
practically divided up between the three surviving great families
of the original eleven in 424 B.C.; but these three families of
Ngwei, Han, and Chao were not recognized by the Emperor until 403;
nor did they extinguish the legitimate ruler until 376, about
three years after the sacrifices of the legitimate Ts'i kings were
stopped. Accordingly we hear the original name Tsin, or "the three
Tsin," still used concurrently with the names Han, Ngwei, and
Chao, as that of Ts'u's chief enemy in the north for some time
after the division into three had taken place.

Tsin's great rival to the west, Ts'in, now found occupation in
extending her territory to the south-west at the expense of Shuh,
a vast dominion corresponding to the modern Sz Ch'wan, up to then
almost unheard of by orthodox China, but which, it then first
transpired, had had three kings and ten "emperors" of its own,
nine of these latter bearing the same appellation. Even now, the
rapids and gorges of the Yang-tsz River form the only great
commercial avenue from China into Sz Ch'wan, and it is therefore
not hard to understand how in ancient times, the tribes of "cave
barbarians" (whose dwellings are still observable all over that
huge province) effectively blocked traffic along such subsidiary
mountain-roads as may have existed then, as they exist now, for
the use of enterprising hawkers.

The Chinese historians have no statistics, indulge in fen (few?)
remarks about economic or popular development, describe no popular
life, and make no general reflections upon history; they confine
themselves to narrating the bald and usually unconnected facts
which took place on fixed dates, occasionally describing some
particularly heroic or daring individual act, or even sketching
the personal appearance and striking conduct of an exceptionally
remarkable king, general, or other leading personality: hence
there is little to guide us to an intelligent survey of causes and
effects, of motives and consequences; it is only by carefully
piecing together and collating a jumble of isolated events that it
is possible to obtain any general coup d'oeil at all: the wood is
often invisible on account of the trees.

But there can be no doubt that populations had been rapidly
increasing; that improved means had been found to convey
accumulated stores and equipments; that generals had learnt how to
hurl bodies of troops rapidly from one point to the other; and
that rulers knew the way either to interest large populations in
war, or to force them to take an active part in it. The marches,
durbars, and gigantic canal works, undertaken by the barbarous
King of Wu, as described in Chapter XXI., prove this in the case
of one country. Chinese states always became great in the same
way: first Kwan-tsz developed, on behalf of his master the First
Protector, the commerce, the army, and the agriculture of Ts'i. He
was imitated at the same time by Duke Muh of Ts'in and King Chwang
of Ts'u, both of which rulers (seventh century B.C.) set to work
vigorously in developing their resources. Then Tsz-ch'an raised
Cheng to a great pitch of diplomatic influence, if not also of
military power. His friend Shuh Hiang did the same thing for Tsin;
and both of them were models for Confucius in Lu, who had,
moreover, to defend his own master's interests against the policy
of the philosopher Yen-tsz of Ts'i. After his first defeat by the
King of Wu, the barbarian King of Yueh devoted himself for some
years to the most strenuous life, with the ultimate object of
amassing resources for the annihilation of Wu; the interesting
steps he took to increase the population will be described at
length in a later chapter. In 361, as we have explained in Chapter
XXII., a scion of Wei went as adviser to Ts'in, and within a
generation of his arrival the whole face of affairs was changed in
that western state hitherto so isolated; the new position, from a
military point of view, was almost exactly that of Prussia during
the period between the tyranny of the first Napoleon, together
with the humiliation experienced at his hands, and the patient
gathering of force for the final explosion of 1870, involving the
crushing of the second (reigning) Napoleon.

Very often the term "perpendicular and horizontal" period is
applied to the fourth century B.C. That is, Ts'u's object was to
weld together a chain of north and south alliances, so as to bring
the power of Ts'i and Tsin to bear together with her own upon
Ts'in; and Ts'in's great object was, on the other hand, to make a
similar string of east and west alliances, so as to bring the same
two powers to bear upon Ts'u. The object of both Ts'in and Ts'u
was to dictate terms to each unit of; and ultimately to possess,
the whole Empire, merely utilizing the other powers as catspaws to
hook the chestnuts out of the furnace. No other state had any
rival pretensions, for, by this time, Ts'in and Ts'u each really
did possess one-third part of China as we now understand it,
whilst the other third was divided between Ts'i and the three
Tsin. In 343 B.C. the Chou Emperor declared Ts'in Protector, and
from 292 to 288 B.C., Tsin and Ts'i took for a few years the
ancient title of _Ti_ or "Emperor" of the West and East respectively:
in the year 240 the Chou Emperor even proceeded to Ts'in to do
homage there. Tsin might have been in the running for universal
empire had she held together instead of dividing herself into
three. Yen was altogether too far away north,--though, curiously
enough, Yen (Peking) has been the political centre of North
China for 900 years past,--and Ts'i was too far away east.
Moreover, Ts'i was discredited for having cut off the sacrifices
of the legitimate house. Ts'u was now master of not only her old
vassals, Wu and Yiieh, but also of most of the totally unknown
territory down to the south sea, of which no one except the Ts'u
people at that time knew so much as the bare local names; it bore
the same relation to Ts'u that the Scandinavian tribes did to the
Romanized Germans. Ts'in had become not only owner of Sz Ch'wan--
at first as suzerain protector, not as direct administrator--but
had extended her power down to the south-west towards Yiin Nan and
Tibet, and also far away to the north-west in Tartarland, but not
farther than to where the Great Wall now extends. It is in the
year 318 B.C. that we first hear the name Hiung-nu (ancestors of
the Huns and Turks), a body of whom allied themselves in that year
with the five other Chinese powers then in arms against the
menacing attitude of Ts'in; something remarkable must have taken
place in Tartarland to account for this sudden change of name, The
only remains of old federal China consisted of about ten petty
states such as Sung, Lu, etc., all situated between the Rivers Sz
and Hwai, and all waiting, hands folded, to be swallowed up at
leisure by this or that universal conqueror.

Ts'in _s'en va t'en guerre_ seriously in the year 364, and
began her slashing career by cutting off 60,000 "Tsin" heads; (the
legitimate Tsin sacrifices had been cut off in 376, so this "Tsin"
must mean "Ngwei," or that part of old Tsin which was coterminous
with Ts'in); in 331, in a battle with Ngwei, 80,000 more heads
were taken off. 'In 318 the Hiung-nu combination just mentioned
lost 82,000 heads between them; in 314 Han lost 10,000; in 312
Ts'u lost 80,000; in 307 Han lost 60,000; and in 304 Ts'u lost
80,000. In the year 293 the celebrated Ts'in general, Ph K'i, who
has left behind him a reputation as one of the greatest
manipulators of vast armies in Eastern history, cut off 240,000
Han heads in one single battle; in 275, 40,000 Ngwei heads; and in
264, 50,000 Han heads. "_Enfin je vais me mesurer avec ce
Vilainton_" said the King of Chao, when his two western friends
of Han and Ngwei had been hammered out of existence. In the year
260 the Chao forces came to terrible grief; General Ph K'i
managed completely to surround their army of 400,000 men he
accepted their surrender, guaranteed their safety, and then
proceeded methodically to massacre the whole of them to a man. In
257 "Tsin" (presumably Han or Ngwei) lost 6,000 killed and 20,000
drowned; in 256 Han lost 40,000 heads, and in 247 her last 30,000,
whilst also in 256 Chao her last 90,000. These terrible details
have been put together from the isolated statements; but there can
be no mistake about them, for the historian Sz-ma Ts'ien, writing
in 100 B.C., says: "The allies with territory ten times the extent
of the Ts'in dominions dashed a million men against her in vain;
she always had her reserves in hand ready, and from first to last
a million corpses bit the dust."

No such battles as these are even hinted at in more ancient times;
nor, strange to say, are the ancient chariots now mentioned any
more. Ts'in had evidently been practising herself in fighting with
the Turks and Tartars for some generations, and had begun to
perceive what was still only half understood in China, the
advantage of manoeuvring large bodies of horsemen; but, curiously
enough, nothing is said of horses either; yet all these battles
seem to have been fought on the flat lands of old federal China,
suitable for either chariots or horses. The first specific mention
of cavalry manoeuvres on a large scale was in the year 198 B.C.
when the new Han Emperor of China in person, with a straggling
army of 320,000 men, mostly infantry, was surrounded by four
bodies of horsemen led by the Supreme Khan, in white, grey, black,
and chestnut divisions, numbering 300,000 cavalry in all: his name
was Megh-dun (? the Turkish Baghatur).

Whilst all this was going on, Mencius, the Confucian philosopher,
and the two celebrated diplomatists (of Taoist principles), Su
Ts'in and Chang I, were flying to and fro all over orthodox China
with a view of offering sage political advice; this was the time
_par excellence_ when the rival Taoist and Confucian prophets
were howling in the wilderness of war and greed: but Ts'in cared
not much for talkers: generals did her practical business better:
in 308 she began to cast covetous eyes on the Emperor's poor
remaining appanage. In 301 she was called upon to quell a revolt
in Shuh; then she materially reduced the pretensions of her great
rival Ts'u; and finally rested a while, whilst gathering more
strength for the supreme effort-the conquest of China.



The history of China may be for our present purposes accordingly
summed up as follows. The pure Chinese race from time immemorial
had been confined to the flat lands of the Yellow River, and its
one tributary on the south, the River Loh, the Tartars possessing
most of the left bank from the Desert to the sea. However, from
the beginning of really historical times the Chinese had been in
unmistakable part-possession of the valleys of the Yellow River's
two great tributaries towards the west and north, the Wei (in Shen
Si) and the Fen (in Shan Si). Little, if any, Chinese colonizing
was done much before the Ts'in conquests in any other parts of
Tartarland; none in Sz Ch'wan that we know of; little, if any,
along the coasts, except perhaps from Ts'i and Lu (in Shan Tung),
both of which states seem to have always been open to the sea,
though many barbarian coast tribes still required gathering into
the Chinese fold. The advance of Chinese civilization had been
first down the Yellow River; then down the River Han towards the
Middle Yang-tsz; and lastly, down the canals and the Hwai network
of streams to the Shanghai coast. Old colonies of Chinese had,
many centuries before the conquest of China by the Chou dynasty,
evidently set out to subdue or to conciliate the southern tribes:
these adventurous leaders had naturally taken Chinese ideas with
them, but had usually found it easier for their _own_ safety
and success to adopt barbarian customs in whole or in part. These
mixed or semi-Chinese states of the navigable Yang-tsz Valley,
from the Ich'ang gorges to the sea, had generally developed in
isolation and obscurity, and only appeared in force as formidable
competitors with orthodox Chinese when the imperial power began to
collapse after 771 B.C. The isolation of half-Roman Britain for
several centuries after the first Roman conquest, and the
departure of the last Roman legions, may be fitly compared with
the position of the half-Chinese states. Ts'u, Wu, and Yeh all
had pedigrees, more or less genuine, vying in antiquity with the
pedigree of the imperial Chou family; and therefore they did not
see why they also should not aspire to the overlordship when it
appeared to be going a-begging. Even orthodox Tsin and Ts'i in
the north and north-east were in a sense colonial extensions,
inasmuch as they were governed by new families appointed thereto
by the Chou dynasty in 1122 B.C., in place of the old races of
rulers, presumably more or less barbarian, who had previously to
1122 B.C. been vassal--in name at least--to the earlier imperial
Hia and Shang dynasties: but these two great states were never
considered barbarian under Chou sway; and, indeed, some of the
most ancient mythological Chinese emperors anterior to the Hia
dynasty had their capitals in Tsin and Lu, on the River Fn and
the River Sz.

It is not easy to define the exact amount of "foreignness" in
Ts'u. One unmistakable non-Chinese expression is given; that is
_kou-u-du_, or "suckled by a tigress." Then, again, the syllable
_ngao_ occurs phonetically in many titles and in native personal
names, such as _jo-ngao_, _tu-ngao_, _kia-ngao_, _mo-ngao_.
There are no Ts'u songs in the Odes as edited by Confucius, and
the Ts'u music is historically spoken of as being "in the southern
sound"; which may refer, it is true, to the accent, but also possibly
to a strange language. The Ts'u name for "Annals," or history, was
quite different from the terms used in Tsin and Lu, respectively;
and the Ts'u word for a peculiar form of lameness, or locomotor
ataxy, is said to differ from the expressions used in either Wei and
Ts'i. So far aspossible, all Ts'u dignities were kept in the royal family,
and the king's uncle was usually premier. The premier of Ts'u was
called _Zing-yin,_ a term unknown to federal China; and Ts'u
considered the left-hand side more honourable than the right,
which at that time was not the case in China proper, though it is
now. The "Borough-English" rule of succession in Ts'u was to give
it to one of the younger sons; this statement is repeated in
positive terms by Shuh Hiang, the luminous statesman of Tsin, and
will be further illustrated when we come to treat of that subject
specially. The Lu rule was "son after father; or, if none, then
younger after eldest brother; if the legitimate heir dies, then
next son by the same mother; failing which, the eldest son by any
mother; if equal claims, then the wisest; if equally wise, cast
lots": Lu rules would probably hold good for all federal China,
because the Duke of Chou, founder of Lu, was the chief moral force
in the original Chou administration. In the year 587 Lu, when
coquetting between Tsin and Ts'u, was at last persuaded not to
abandon Tsin for Ts'u, "who is not of our family, and can never
have any real affection." Once in Tsin it was asked, about a
prisoner: "Who is that southernhatted fellow?" It was explained
that he was a Ts'u man. They then handed him a guitar, and made
him sing some "national songs." In 597 a Ts'u envoy to the Tsin
military durbar said: "My prince is not formed for the fine and
delicate manners of the Chinese": here is distinct evidence of
social if not ethnological cleaving. The Ts'u men had beards,
whilst those of Wu were not hirsute: this statement proves that
the two barbarian populations differed between themselves. In 635
the King of Ts'u spoke of himself as "the unvirtuous" and the
"royal old man"--designations both appropriate only to barbarians
under Chinese ritual. In 880 B.C., when the imperial power was
already waning, and the first really historical King of Ts'u was
beginning to bring under his authority the people between the Han
and the Yang-tsz, he said: "I am a barbarian savage, and do not
concern myself with Chinese titles, living or posthumous." In 706,
when the reigning king made his first conquest of a petty Chinese
principality (North Hu Ph), he said again: "I am a barbarian
savage; all the vassals are in rebellion and attacking each other;
I want with my poor armaments to see for myself how Chou governs,
and to get a higher title." On being refused, he said: "Do you
forget my ancestor's services to the father of the Chou founder?"
Later on, as has already been mentioned, he put in a claim for the
Nine Tripods because of the services his ancestor, "living in rags
in the Jungle, exposed to the weather," had rendered to the
founder himself. In 637, when the future Second Protector and
ruler of Tsin visited Ts'u as a wanderer, the King of Ts'u
received him with all the hospitalities "under the Chou rites,"
which fact shows at least an effort to adopt Chinese civilization.
In 634 Lu asked Ts'u's aid against Ts'i, a proceeding condemned by
the historical critics on the ground that Ts'u was a "barbarian
savage" state. On the other hand, by the year 560 the dying King
of Ts'u was eulogized as a man who had successfully subdued the
barbarian savages. But against this, again, in 544 the ruler of Lu
expressed his content at having got safely back from his visit to
Ts'u, i.e. his visit to such an uncouth and distant court. Thus
Ts'u's emancipation from "savagery" was gradual and of uncertain
date. In 489 the King of Ts'u declined to sacrifice to the Yellow
River, on the ground that his ancestors had never presumed to
concern themselves with anything beyond the Han and Yang-tsz
valleys. Even Confucius, (then on his wanderings in the petty
state of CH'N) declared his admiration at this, and said: "The
King of Ts'u is a sage, and understands the Great Way (_tao_)."
On the other hand, only fifty years before this, when in 538 Ts'u,
with Tsin's approval, first tried her hand at durbar work, the king
was horrified to hear from a fussy chamberlain (evidently orthodox)
that there were six different ways of receiving visitors according to
their rank; so that Ts'u's ritual decorum could not have been of
very long standing. The following year (537) a Tsin princess is
given in marriage to Ts'u-- a decidedly orthodox feather in Ts'u's
cap. Confucius affects a particular style in his history when he speaks
of barbarians; thus an orthodox prince "beats" a barbarian, but "battles"
with an orthodox equal. However, in 525, Ts'u and Wu "battle" together,
the commentator explaining that Ts'u is now "promoted" to battle
rank, though the strict rule is that two barbarians, or China and

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