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not long after he himself seized the reins of government, and founded the Tang dynasty, A.D. 619.
THE TANG DYNASTY.
Le-yuen ascended the throne of China under the name of Tang-kaou-tsoo. At that time, the western provinces were exposed to the ravages of the Turks, who, together with other tribes, threatened to overrun China. The state was in great danger, but Tang-kaou-tsoo averted it by policy. Instead of meeting them in the field, he employed the arms of the barbarians for their own destruction, and China thereby remained unharmed.
Tang-kaou-tsoo was a patron of literature, and he established many schools. At the same time, he persecuted the priests both of the Taou and Budhu sects. He reigned nine years, and then abdicated the throne in favour of his son Taetsung.
Tae-tsung followed the line of policy his father had adopted with regard to his barbarian invad
He used all his art to set them against each other; and he proved so successful, that he overawed them all. He extended the frontiers of the empire to the borders of Persia, and subjected the Coreans to his sway, while peace reigned throughout his dominions.
Of the immediate successors of Tae-tsung little is known. Many of them were weak princes, and all seem to have been ruled by eunuchs and the females of the harem. Still, though the govern ment was degraded and effeminate, the nation was vigorous at this period. Literature, and especially poetry, flourished even more than it
did under the auspices of the Han dynasty. Unaided by its princes, the country obtained a freedom of mind unknown before in the annals of Chinese history.
The Tang dynasty was subverted by Choo-wan, the captain of a band of robbers. He was called on by Chaou-tsung to assist him in gaining freedom from the yoke of the eunuchs, who had long swayed the empire ; and after he had executed the imperial commands, and had been created prince of Leang on account of his exploits, he deposed the emperor. Afterwards he raised Chaou-seuen-te to the imperial throne, but he soon deposed him likewise, and founded the Howleang dynasty, A.D. 907.
It is worthy of remark, that Christianity is said to have been first made known to a few of the natives of China, during the reign of Tae-tsung, one of the emperors of the Tang dynasty, about A.D. 640. It appears to have been introduced by certain Christians of the Nestorian church; but it does not seem to have been adopted by any great number of the people. The multitude still bowed the knee to idols. Tae-tsung, the emperor, and his successors, were all weak princes, and ruled by their eunuchs; and they disregarding the voice of truth, their subjects followed their example. Darkness still covered the whole land, and gross darkness the people.
THE HOW-LEANG DYNASTY. On ascending the throne, Choo-wan, the robber, assumed the name of Leang-tae-tsoo.
His reign was characterized by anarchy and rebellion ; but it did not last long. Leang-tae-tsoo was murdered
by his own son, who was in his turn slain by his brother Leang-choo-teën, which emperor was deposed by Chwang-too, a descendant of a Tang general, A.D. 924.
THE HOW-TANG DYNASTY. Chwang-too was a licentious, cruel, and avari. cious character. He was succeeded by Mingtsung, a Tartar, who exhibited much practical wisdom in the government.
He successively humbled his own countrymen and the insolent mandarins, while he assiduously promoted the prosperity of the nation. His son succeeded to the throne ; but he was hurled from it by Sheking-tang, his son-in-law, through fear of whom the last scion of this dynasty, who was named Te-te, burned himself with all the treasures of the imperial palace, A.D. 935.
THE HOW-TSIN DYNASTY.
She-king-tang obtained the empire by the aid of Tartars in Leaou-tung. He changed his name for Tsin-kaou-tsoo, under which title he ruled in peace not only over the Chinese, but the Tartars. His son Chuh-te, however, was killed in fighting against the barbarians; and his general, Leu-cheyuen, assumed the name of Kaou-tsoo, and founded the How-han dynasty, A.D. 947.
THE HOW-HAN DYNASTY.
This dynasty only comprehended the reign of Kaou-tsoo, and his son Yin-te, who was slain in a rebellion in the western provinces. After this, Kwo-wei, one of the generals, ascended the throne, A.D. 951.
THE HOW-CHOW DYNASTY.
This dynasty could only boast of one excellent prince, namely, She-tsung, the successor of Kwowei. She-tsung was a father to his people, and the dread of barbarians. He displayed his wisdom by throwing down the idols of the land; by the establishment of schools ; and by placing sage counsellors at the head of the administration. He was succeeded by his son Kung-te, who was in his minority, and who was dethroned by the regent Chaou-kwang-yin, A.D. 960.
THE SUNG DYNASTY. Chaou-kwang-yin reigned under the title of Sung-kaou-tsoo. He was a man of great talent, but he perverted it to the destruction of his species. His whole life was spent in an endeavour to humble his Tartar vassals, who had long been refractory; and to accomplish this he shed the blood of millions. Some states submitted to him, but Sung-kaou-tsoo died before he could complete the subjection of the whole.
The policy which Sung-kaou-tsoo had adopted was followed by his son and successor. Tae-tsung carried on the war, but his efforts to subdue the refractory Tartars proved vain, and he relinquished the contest. The next emperor, Chin-tsung, possessed a peaceable disposition. He purchased a peace of the Tartars by paying an annual tribute, and he employed that peace in the improvement of agriculture. In the reign of Chin-tsung a census was taken of the number of people who could pay taxes. The number was 9,955,729, from which some idea may be formed of the amount of population of China at that period.
The immediate successor of this peace-loving ruler, Fin-tsung, followed the same line of conduct. So also did Ying-tsung, Shin-tsung, and Che-tsung. But not so did Hwuy-tsung; determined upon driving the barbarians from Leaou-tung, he entered into a treaty with the Kin Tartars, who, after they had defeated his enemies, proved faithless, and carried him prisoner into the Shamo desert, where he died.
During the reign of Kin-tsung, the capital of Pekin was plundered by the Tartars, who resolved to subject part of China ; but the empire was saved by the prudence of a woman, who placed Kaou-tsung, à son of Hwuy-tsung, upon the throne, and removed the capital from Honăn to Hang-choo. The Tartars, however, took possession of nearly all the country north of the river Hwang-ho, and established an independent dynasty, known under the name of Kin, and which existed for upwards of a century.
While the empire was thus divided, the ruling dynasty was called Nan-sung, or Southern Sung, their dominions being confined to Southern China. It was re-united, A.D. 1225, by Le-tsung, who completely subverted the Kin dynasty. In his struggle with them, however, he called in the aid of Genghis, the leader of the Mongols, who proved a treacherous ally. During the remainder of the reign of Le-tsung, as well as that of his son Tootsung, the Mongols sought to overthrow the Chinese government. Too-tsung left three sons, all minors; and before the eldest, Kung-tsung, ascended the throne, the Mongols had overrun several provinces. Nor did they then rest satisfied. They still warred against Kung-tsung, and they cap