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generally have been attached to the cause of the emperor, yet their descendants, possessed of power, exhibited a spirit of insubordination.
The successor of Woo-wong was named Chingwang. In his first years of government, this prince was assisted by one of his uncles ; but the others leagued with the son of Chow-sin, the last of the Shang dynasty, to subvert the government. This rebellion, however, was suppressed, and the malcontents were removed to a distant province, where they built the city of Lo-yang, and afterwards proved faithful subjects.
Ching-wang appears to have been an energetic prince, and to have obtained considerable celebrity. At the close of his reign, he even had the gratification of receiving tributaries from some southern barbarians, who ascribed to him all the honour and glory of a long course of peace and tranquillity. In the true spirit of oriental hyperbole, they also ascribed to his influence the good harvest and the abundant fruits of the earth ; not knowing that from the hand of Jehovah alone, mankind receives these blessings.
During the reign of Ching-wang, coins were first issued in China, in order to prevent the inconvenience of bartering commodities.* He was succeeded by his son, Kang-wang, who, though a good man, did nothing worthy of note. His
* Such is the testimony of Confucius ; and if correct, the Chinese must claim the honour of this invention, for Chingwang lived about 1,100 years B.C., whereas the Æginetans, to whom the “ Parian Chronicle” ascribes the origin of coined money, did not issue it till B.C. 895. About the same time, however, the Lydians introduced the art of coining money, and Herodotus gives them the precedence.
successor, Chaou-wang, is represented as ploying himself in hunting, whilst numerous rebellious and intestine wars desolated the empire. Chaou-wang was drowned, and his successor perished in an attempt to punish the Tartars who had ravaged the western provinces. After him a number of princes reigned, who were only remarkable for their folly and tyranny. At length, in the reign of Seuen-wang, the government acted with vigour. For the first time the Tartars were routed and attacked in their steppes ; but they rallied, and the emperor, leading a new army against them, was defeated, and finally died with grief.
The death of Seuen-wang was followed by years of strife. The tributary princes of Loo, Tse, Chin, Tsoo, Tsaou, Yen, and Sung, with other states, usurped the sovereignty, and waged war alike with their equals and the emperor. Whole provinces were laid waste by the Tartars, or rival princes, and the government had not power sufficient to check their ravages.
During the reign of Ting-wang, and about the time when the Grecian olympiads were instituted, Chinese chronology seems to have become more accurate,
Ting-wang commenced his rule about B.c. 770; and while he swayed the sceptre, twenty-one princes raised their principalities into kingdoms, and thereby renounced all allegiance to him. After this, nothing worthy of note is recorded till the reign of Ling-wang, which is rendered famous by the birth of Confucius, in 552 B. c. During the life of Confucius, the various princes aimed fiercely at each other's destruction ; and after his
death the strife was prolonged, till the emperors were rendered mere shadows, and the people either lived by war, or died of starvation. At length, the Tsin state having been ruled by a succession of warlike princes, gradually overpowered the others, and a new dynasty was commenced. Chaou-seang, prince of Tsin, stripped the last emperor of the Chow race of his imperial dignity, and usurped the throne, B.c. 249.
THE TSIN DYNASTY.
When the Tsin state became supreme
in a reign of terror commenced in China. Chaouseang and his successors, Chwang-siang-wang and Ching-wang, all ruled with an iron rod. The latter monarch, puffed up with inordinate vanity, abolished the humble title of Wang, or “ king," which the preceding dynasty had adopted, and called himself Ta-che-hwang-te, or “ The first great emperor.” He also proclaimed himself a compeer of Yaou, Shun, and Yu. It
this emperor whom the Chinese annals have extolled as a counterpart to Alexander. According to them, during his reign the renown of Chinese valour became as terrible in Asia as that of the Romans in the western world. This is, doubtless, hyperbole ; yet it would appear that he made some foreign conquests or incursions, since most of the Asiatic tribes date their knowledge of China from his era. The Huns and Tartar tribes also appear to have been completely subdued by him. He chased them into their deserts, and to protect the country against their future inroads, erected, or at least completed, the famous
great wall of China, which has now stood for 2,000 years.
Ching-wang died s.c. 207, and was succeeded by his son, Urh-she-hwang-te, who, intrusting the empire to eunuchs, was deposed by Lewpang, the captain of a band of robbers, who usurped the throne, and founded a new dynasty, about B.c. 201.
THE HAN DYNASTY.
One of the most celebrated periods of Chinese history commenced with the race of Han. Its founder, Lew-pang, ascended the throne under the name of Kaou-tsoo, and he kept the empire in complete subjection. He died when his son and heir was still a child, whence his wife became regent. Finally, indeed, she became ruler, for the young prince died before the period of his accession to the throne, and she usurped the empire, and reigned under the name of Leu-how. Her reign was one of terror; but her successor, Wan-te, redressed the grievances of his subjects, so that he gained great celebrity.
Wan-te was the first who gave a distinctive name to his reign, which custom has been followed by all succeeding dynasties. His successors were considered great scholars, and munificent patrons of literature. The empire seems to have been swayed by philosophy, but it proved vain to defend it from its old enemies. at this period that the Tartars, by their predatory warfare, became the source of endless disquiet to the nation, and neither alliances nor tribute could make them lay down their arms. Even the gift of the emperor's daughters in marriage
with the ruthless chiefs, could not stop their ravages. They came onward still, like a devastating flood. Among the earlier princes of this race were Woo-te, Seun-te, and Gae-te. All of these appear to have been celebrated for their abilities; and Seun-te was conspicuous for his love of literature. The last year of the reign of Gae-te is described as coeval with our Saviour's birth; yet, unhappily for that multitudinous people, he still remains unknown. The sound of the glad tidings of salvation has yet scarce been heard in that vast empire; but hope points to the day when it will go forth throughout every part. The chain by which the empire has been bound for ages is broken, and, ere long, the disciples of Confucius, Taou, and Budhu, may become the disciples of Christ. The fields of China are opening, and labourers, we trust, will enter them, and gather an abundant harvest. After the death of Gae-te, his successor, being a minor, Wang-mang, an ambitious and cruel grandee, dethroned the Han family. Various leaders collected forces to assert the rights of that race, and they were successful. Wang-mang was slain, but one of the victorious generals was raised to the throne, under the name of Kwang-woo, A.D. 25, and the line of the Han princes remained still uninterrupted. The emperors from Kwang-woo downward are called Tung-han. It is said of Ming-te, his successor, that he was prompted, by a dream, to search for the Holy One in the west, as pointed out by Confucius. An embassy was instantly despatched to Hindoostan, and some priests of Budhu accom