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The Death Of Yemuka

Battles And Sieges

The Story Of Hujaku

Pastoral Life In Asia

Establishment Of The Empire

Grand Celebrations

Death Of The Sultan

Yezonkai Khan

The Fall Of Bokhara

Victorious Campaigns

Vang Khan

The Death Of Vang Khan

Dominions Of Genghis Khan

The War With The Sultan

Progress Of The Quarrel

The Monguls

Conquests In China

Rupture With Vang Khan

Temujin In Exile

The Sultan Mohammed


Conquests In China





1211-1216

War continued.--Rich and fertile country.--Grand invasion.--Simultaneous
attack by four armies.--Enthusiasm of the troops.--Captives.--Immense
plunder.--Dreadful ravages.--Base use made of the captives.--Extent
of Mongul conquests.--The siege of Yen-king.--Proposed terms of
arrangement.--Difference of opinion.--Consultation on the subject.--The
conditions accepted.--Terms of peace agreed upon.--Consultations.--The
emperor's uneasiness.--Abandonment of the capital.--Revolt of the
guards.--The siege of the capital renewed.--Wan-yen and Mon-yen.--Their
perplexity.--Suicide proposed.--Wan-yen in despair.--His
suicide.--Mon-yen's plan.--Petition of the wives.--Sacking of the city
by Mingan.--Massacres.--Fate of Mon-yen.--Treasures.--Conquests
extended.--Governors appointed.


After the death of Hujaku, the Emperor of China endeavored to defend
his dominions against Genghis Khan by means of his other generals, and
the war was continued for several years, during which time Genghis
Khan made himself master of all the northern part of China, and
ravaged the whole country in the most reckless and cruel manner. The
country was very populous and very rich. The people, unlike the
Monguls and Tartars, lived by tilling the ground, and they practiced,
in great perfection, many manufacturing and mechanic arts. The country
was very fertile, and, in the place of the boundless pasturages of the
Mongul territories, it was covered in all directions with cultivated
fields, gardens, orchards, and mulberry-groves, while thriving
villages and busy towns were scattered over the whole face of it. It
was to protect this busy hive of wealth and industry that the great
wall had been built ages before; for the Chinese had always been
stationary, industrious, and peaceful, while the territories of
Central Asia, lying to the north of them, had been filled from time
immemorial with wild, roaming, and unscrupulous troops of marauders,
like those who were now united under the banner of Genghis Khan. The
wall had afforded for some hundreds of years an adequate protection,
for no commander had appeared of sufficient power to organize and
combine the various hordes on a scale great enough to enable them to
force so strong a barrier. But, now that Genghis Khan had come upon
the stage, the barrier was broken through, and the terrible and
reckless hordes poured in with all the force and fury of an
inundation. In the year 1214, which was the year following that in
which Hujaku was killed, Genghis Khan organized a force so large, for
the invasion of China, that he divided it into four different
battalions, which were to enter by different roads, and ravage
different portions of the country. Each of these divisions was by
itself a great and powerful army, and the simultaneous invasion of
four such masses of reckless and merciless enemies filled the whole
land with terror and dismay.

The Chinese emperor sent the best bodies of troops under his command
to guard the passes in the mountains, and the bridges and
fording-places on the rivers, hoping in this way to do something
toward stemming the tide of these torrents of invasion. But it was all
in vain. Genghis Khan had raised and equipped his forces by means, in
a great measure, of the plunder which he had obtained in China the
year before, and he had made great promises and glowing
representations to his men in respect to the booty to be obtained in
this new campaign. The troops were consequently full of ardor and
enthusiasm, and they pressed on with such impetuosity as to carry all
before them.

The Emperor of China, in pursuing his measures of defense, had ordered
all the men capable of bearing arms in the villages and in the open
country to repair to the nearest large city or fortress, there to be
enrolled and equipped for service. The consequence was that the
Monguls found in many places, as they advanced through the country,
nobody but infirm old men, and women and children in the hamlets and
villages. A great many of these, especially such as seemed to be of
most consequence, the handsomest and best of the women, and the oldest
children, they seized and took with them in continuing their march,
intending to make slaves of them. They also took possession of all
the gold and silver, and also of all the silks and other rich and
valuable merchandise which they found, and distributed it as plunder.
The spoil which they obtained, too, in sheep and cattle, was enormous.
From it they made up immense flocks and herds, which were driven off
into the Mongul country. The rest were slaughtered, and used to supply
the army with food.

It was the custom of the invaders, after having pillaged a town and
its environs, and taken away all which they could convert to any
useful purpose for themselves, to burn the town itself, and then to
march on, leaving in the place only a smoking heap of ruins, with the
miserable remnant of the population which they had spared wandering
about the scene of desolation in misery and despair.

They made a most cowardly and atrocious use, too, of the prisoners
whom they conveyed away. When they arrived at a fortified town where
there was a garrison or any other armed force prepared to resist them,
they would bring forward these helpless captives, and put them in the
fore-front of the battle in such a manner that the men on the walls
could not shoot their arrows at their savage assailants without
killing their own wives and children. The officers commanded the men
to fire notwithstanding. But they were so moved by the piteous cries
which the women and children made that they could not bear to do it,
and so they refused to obey, and in the excitement and confusion thus
produced the Monguls easily obtained possession of the town.

There are two great rivers in China, both of which flow from west
to east, and they are at such a distance from each other and from
the frontiers that they divide the territory into three nearly equal
parts. The northernmost of these rivers is the Hoang Ho. The Monguls
in the course of two years overran and made themselves masters of
almost the whole country lying north of this river, that is, of
about one third of China proper. There were, however, some
strongly-fortified towns which they found it very difficult to
conquer.

Among other places, there was the imperial city of Yen-king, where the
emperor himself resided, which was so strongly defended that for some
time the Monguls did not venture to attack it. At length, however,
Genghis Khan came himself to the place, and concentrated there a very
large force. The emperor and his court were very much alarmed,
expecting an immediate assault. Still Genghis Khan hesitated. Some of
his generals urged him to scale the walls, and so force his way into
the city. But he thought it more politic to adopt a different plan.

So he sent an officer into the town with proposals of peace to be
communicated to the emperor. In these proposals Genghis Khan said that
he himself was inclined to spare the town, but that to appease his
soldiers, who were furious to attack and pillage the city, it would be
necessary to make them considerable presents, and that, if the emperor
would agree to such terms with him as should enable him to satisfy his
men in this respect, he would spare the city and would retire.

The emperor and his advisers were much perplexed at the receipt of
this proposal. There was great difference of opinion among the
counselors in respect to the reply which was to be made to it. Some
were in favor of rejecting it at once. One general, not content with a
simple rejection of it, proposed that, to show the indignation and
resentment which they felt in receiving it, the garrison should march
out of the gates and attack the Monguls in their camp.

There were other ministers, however, who urged the emperor to submit
to the necessity of the case, and make peace with the conqueror. They
said that the idea of going out to attack the enemy in their camp was
too desperate to be entertained for a moment, and if they waited
within the walls and attempted to defend themselves there, they
exposed themselves to a terrible danger, without any countervailing
hope of advantage at all commensurate with it; for if they failed to
save the city they were all utterly and irretrievably ruined; and if,
on the other hand, they succeeded in repelling the assault, it was
only a brief respite that they could hope to gain, for the Monguls
would soon return in greater numbers and in a higher state of
excitement and fury than ever. Besides, they said, the garrison was
discontented and depressed in spirit, and would make but a feeble
resistance. It was composed mainly of troops brought in from the
country, away from their families and homes, and all that they desired
was to be released from duty, in order that they might go and see what
had become of their wives and children.

The emperor, in the end, adopted this counsel, and he sent a
commissioner to the camp of Genghis Khan to ask on what terms peace
could be made. Genghis Khan stated the conditions. They were very
hard, but the emperor was compelled to submit to them. One of the
stipulations was that Genghis Khan was to receive one of the Chinese
princesses, a daughter of the late emperor Yong-tsi, to add to the
number of his wives. There were also to be delivered to him for slaves
five hundred young boys and as many girls, three thousand horses, a
large quantity of silk, and an immense sum of money. As soon as these
conditions were fulfilled, after dividing the slaves and the booty
among the officers and soldiers of his army, Genghis Khan raised the
siege and moved off to the northward.

In respect to the captives that his soldiers had taken in the towns
and villages--the women and children spoken of above--the army carried
off with them all that were old enough to be of any value as slaves.
The little children, who would only, they thought, be in the way, they
massacred.

The emperor was by no means easy after the Mongul army had gone. A
marauding enemy like that, bought off by the payment of a ransom, is
exceedingly apt to find some pretext for returning, and the emperor
did not feel that he was safe. Very soon after the Monguls had
withdrawn, he proposed to his council the plan of removing his court
southward to the other side of the Hoang Ho, to a large city in the
province of Henan. Some of his counselors made great objections to
this proposal. They said that if the emperor withdrew in that manner
from the northern provinces that portion of his empire would be
irretrievably lost. Genghis Khan would soon obtain complete and
undisputed possession of the whole of it. The proper course to be
adopted, they said, was to remain and make a firm stand in defense of
the capital and of the country. They must levy new troops, repair the
fortifications, recruit the garrison, and lay in supplies of food and
of other military stores, and thus prepare themselves for a vigorous
and efficient resistance in case the enemy should return.

But the emperor could not be persuaded. He said that the treasury was
exhausted, the troops were discouraged, the cities around the capital
were destroyed, and the whole country was so depopulated by the
devastations of the Monguls that no considerable number of fresh
levies could be obtained; and that, consequently, the only safe course
for the government to pursue was to retire to the southward, beyond
the river. He would, however, he added, leave his son, with a strong
garrison, to defend the capital.

He accordingly took with him a few favorites of his immediate family
and a small body of troops, and commenced his journey--a journey
which was considered by all the people as a base and ignoble flight.
He involved himself in endless troubles by this step. A revolt broke
out on the way among the guards who accompanied him. One of the
generals who headed the revolt sent a messenger to Genghis Khan
informing him of the emperor's abandonment of his capital, and
offering to go over, with all the troops under his command, to the
service of Genghis Khan if Genghis Khan would receive him.

When Genghis Khan heard thus of the retreat of the emperor from his
capital, he was, or pretended to be, much incensed. He considered the
proceeding as in some sense an act of hostility against himself, and,
as such, an infraction of the treaty and a renewal of the war. So he
immediately ordered one of his leading generals--a certain chieftain
named Mingan--to proceed southward at the head of a large army and lay
siege to Yen-king again.

The old emperor, who seems now to have lost all spirit, and to have
given himself up entirely to despondency and fear, was greatly alarmed
for the safety of his son the prince, whom he had left in command at
Yen-king. He immediately sent orders to his son to leave the city and
come to him. The departure of the prince, in obedience to these
orders, of course threw an additional gloom over the city, and excited
still more the general discontent which the emperor's conduct had
awakened.

The prince, on his departure, left two generals in command of the
garrison. Their names were Wan-yen and Mon-yen. They were left to
defend the city as well as they could from the army of Monguls under
Mingan, which was now rapidly drawing near. The generals were greatly
embarrassed and perplexed with the difficulties of their situation.
The means of defense at their disposal were wholly inadequate, and
they knew not what to do.

At length one of them, Wan-yen, proposed to the other that they should
kill themselves. This Mon-yen refused to do. Mon-yen was the commander
on whom the troops chiefly relied, and he considered suicide a mode of
deserting one's post scarcely less dishonorable than any other. He
said that his duty was to stand by his troops, and, if he could not
defend them where they were, to endeavor to draw them away, while
there was an opportunity, to a place of safety.

So Wan-yen, finding his proposal rejected, went away in a rage. He
retired to his apartment, and wrote a dispatch to the emperor, in
which he explained the desperate condition of affairs, and the
impossibility of saving the city, and in the end declared himself
deserving of death for not being able to accomplish the work which his
majesty had assigned to him.

He enveloped and sealed this dispatch, and then, calling his domestics
together, he divided among them, in a very calm and composed manner,
all his personal effects, and then took leave of them and dismissed
them.

A single officer only now remained with him. In the presence of this
officer he wrote a few words, and then sent him away. As soon as the
officer had gone, he drank a cup of poison which he had previously
ordered to be prepared for him, and in a few minutes was a lifeless
corpse.

In the mean time, the other general, Mon-yen, had been making
preparations to leave the city. His plan was to take with him such
troops as might be serviceable to the emperor, but to leave all the
inmates of the palace, as well as the inhabitants of the city, to
their fate. Among the people of the palace were, it seems, a number of
the emperor's wives, whom he had left behind at the time of his own
flight, he having taken with him at that time only a few of the more
favored ones. These women who were left, when they heard that Mon-yen
was intending to abandon the city with a view of joining the emperor
in the south, came to him in a body, and begged him to take them with
him.

In order to relieve himself of their solicitations, he said that he
would do so, but he added that he must leave the city himself with the
guards to prepare the way, and that he would return immediately for
them. They were satisfied with this promise, and returned to the
palace to prepare for the journey. Mon-yen at once left the city, and
very soon after he had gone, Mingan, the Mongul general, arrived at
the gates, and, meeting with no effectual resistance, he easily forced
his way in, and a scene of universal terror and confusion ensued. The
soldiers spread themselves over the city in search of plunder, and
killed all who came in their way. They plundered the palace and then
set it on fire. So extensive was the edifice, and so vast were the
stores of clothing and other valuables which it contained, even after
all the treasures which could be made available to the conquerors had
been taken away, that the fire continued to burn among the ruins for a
month or more.

What became of the unhappy women who were so cruelly deceived by
Mon-yen in respect to their hopes of escape does not directly appear.
They doubtless perished with the other inhabitants of the city in the
general massacre. Soldiers at such a time, while engaged in the sack
and plunder of a city, are always excited to a species of insane fury,
and take a savage delight in thrusting their pikes into all that come
in their way.

Mon-yen excused himself, when he arrived at the quarters of the
emperor, for having thus abandoned the women to their fate by the
alleged impossibility of saving them. He could not have succeeded, he
said, in effecting his own retreat and that of the troops who went
with him if he had been encumbered in his movements by such a company
of women. The emperor accepted this excuse, and seemed to be satisfied
with it, though, not long afterward, Mon-yen was accused of conspiracy
against the emperor and was put to death.

Mingan took possession of the imperial treasury, where he found great
stores of silk, and also of gold and silver plate. All these things he
sent to Genghis Khan, who remained still at the north at a grand
encampment which he had made in Tartary.

After this, other campaigns were fought by Genghis Khan in China, in
the course of which he extended his conquests still farther to the
southward, and made himself master of a very great extent of country.
After confirming these conquests, he selected from among such Chinese
officers as were disposed to enter into his service suitable persons
to be appointed governors of the provinces, and in this way annexed
them to his dominions; these officers thus transferring their
allegiance from the emperor to him, and covenanting to send to him the
tribute which they should annually collect from their respective
dominions. Every thing being thus settled in this quarter, Genghis
Khan next turned his attention to the western frontiers of his empire,
where the Tartar and Mongul territory bordered on Turkestan and the
dominions of the Mohammedans.





Next: The Sultan Mohammed

Previous: The Story Of Hujaku



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