Page images

populous countries of Transoxiana, Carizme, and Chorazan.* The destructive 'hostilities of Attila and the Huns have long since been elucidated by the example of Zingis and the Moguls; and in this more proper place I shall be content to observe, that, from the Caspian to the Indus, they ruined a tract of many hundred miles, which was adorned with the habitations and labours of mankind, and that five centuries have not been sufficient to repair the ravages of four years. The Mogul emperor encouraged or indulged the fury of his troops: the hope of future possession was lost in the ardour of rapine and slaughter; and the cause of the war exasperated their native fierceness by the pretence of justice and revenge. The downfal and death of the sultan Mohammed, who expired, unpitied and alone, in a desert island of the Caspian Sea, is a poor atonement for the calamities of which he was the author. Could the Carizmian empire have been saved by a single hero, it would have been saved by his son Gelaleddin, whose active valour repeatedly checked the Moguls in the career of victory. Retreating, as he fought, to the banks of the Indus, he was oppressed by their innumerable host, till, in the last moment of despair, Gelaleddin spurred his horse into the waves, swam one of the broadest and inost rapid rivers of Asia, and extorted the admiration and applause of Zingis himself. It was in this camp that the Mogul conqueror yielded with reluctance to the murmurs of his weary and wealthy troops, who sighed for the enjoyment of their native land. Incumbered with the spoils of Asia, he slowly measured back his footsteps, betrayed some pity for the misery of the vanquished, and declared his intention of rebuilding the cities which had been swept away by the tempest of his arms. After he had repassed the Oxus and Jaxartes, he was joined by two generals, whom he had detached with thirty thousand horse, to subdue the western provinces of Persia. They had trampled on the nations which opposed their passage, penetrated through the gates of Derbent, traversed the Volga and the desert, and accomplished the circuit of the Caspian Sea, by an expedition which had never been attempted, and has never been repeated. The return of Zingis was signalised by the overthrow of the rebellious or independent kingdoms of His death. Tartary; and he died in the fulness of years and glory, A. D. 1227. with his last breath exhorting and instructing his sons to achieve the conquest of the Chinese empire.f

Every where they massacred all coute and all the inhabitants of Ninhia, the classes, except the artisans, whom they surrender of the city being already agreed made slaves. Hist. des Mongols. — M. upon, Hist des Mongols, vol. i. p. 286. –

+ Their first duty, which he bequeathed M. to them, was to massacre the king of Tang


A.D. 1227_1295

The haram of Zingis was composed of five hundred Conquests wives and concubines; and of his numerous progeny, guls under four sons, illustrious by their birth and merit, exercised sors of under their father the principal offices of peace and war. Toushi was his great huntsman, Zagatai 21 his judge, Octai his minister, and Tuli his general; and their names and actions are often conspicuous in the history of his conquests. Firmly united for their own and the public interest, the three brothers and their families were content with dependent sceptres; and Octai, by general consent, was proclaimed great khan, or emperor .

of the Moguls and Tartars. He was succeeded by his son Gayuk, after whose death the empire devolved to his cousins Mangou and Cublai, the sons of Tuli, and the grandsons of Zingis. In the sixty-eight years of his four first successors, the Mogul subdued almost all Asia, and a large portion of Europe. Without confining myself to the order of time, without expatiating on the detail of events, I shall present a general picture of the progress of their arms; I. In the East; II. In the South ; III. In the West; and IV. In the North.

I. Before the invasion of Zingis, China was divided of the into two empires or dynasties of the North and South 22; empire of and the difference of origin and interest was smoothed by A. D. 1234. a general conformity of laws, language, and national manners. The Northern empire, which had been dismembered by Zingis, was finally subdued seven years after his death. After the loss of Pekin, the emperor had fixed his residence at Kaifong, a city many leagues in circumference, and which contained, according to the Chinese annals, fourteen hundred thousand families of inhabitants and fugitives. He escaped from thence with only seven horsemen, and made his last stand in a third capital, till at length the hopeless monarch, protesting his innocence and accusing his fortune, ascended a funeral pile, and gave orders, that, as soon as he had stabbed himself, the fire should be kindled by his attendants. The dynasty of the Song, the native and ancient sovereigns of the

* Zagatai gave his name to his dominions of Maurenahar, or Transoxiana ; and the Moguls of Hindostan, who emigrated from that country, are styled Zagatais by the Persians. This certain etymology, and the similar example of Uzbek, Nogai, &c. may warn us not absolutely to reject the derivations of a national, from a personal, name.

* In Marco Polo, and the Oriental geographers, the names of Cathay and Mangi distinguish the northern and southern empires, which, from A. D. 1234 to 1279, were those of the great khan, and of the Chinese. The search of Cathay, after China had been found, excited and misled our navigators of the sixteenth century, in their attempts to discover the north-east passage.

* See a curious anecdote of Tschagatai, Hist. des Mongols, p. 370. — M. VOL. VI.


whole empire, survived about forty-five years the fall of the Northern usurpers; and the perfect conquest was reserved for the arms of Cublai. During this interval, the Moguls were often diverted by foreign wars; and, if the Chinese seldom dared to meet their victors in the field, their passive courage presented an endless succession of cities to storm and of millions to slaughter. In the attack and defence of places, the engines of antiquity and the Greek fire were alternately employed: the use of gunpowder in cannon and bombs appears as a familiar practice 23 ; and the sieges were conducted by the Mahometans and Franks, who had been liberally invited into the service of Cublai. After passing the great river, the troops and artillery were conveyed along a series of canals, till they invested the royal residence of Hamcheu, or Quinsay, in the country of silk, the most delicious climate of China. The emperor, a defenceless youth, surrendered his person and sceptre; and before he was sent in exile into Tartary, he struck nine times the ground with his forehead, to adore in prayer

or thanksgiving the mercy of the great khan. Yet the A. D. 1279. war (it was now styled a rebellion) was still maintained in the southern provinces from Hamcheu to Canton; and the obstinate remnant of independence and hostility was transported from the land to the sea. But when the fleet of the Song was surrounded and oppressed by a superior armament, their last champion leaped into the waves with his infant emperor in his

“ It is more glorious," he cried, “ to die a prince, than to live a slave.” An hundred thousand Chinese imitated his example ; and the whole empire, from Tonkin to the great wall, submitted to the dominion of Cublai. His boundless ambition aspired to to the conquest of Japan: his fleet was twice shipwrecked; and

Of the southern,


23 I depend on the knowledge and fidelity of the Père Gaubil, who translates the Chinese text of the annals of the Moguls or Yuen (p. 71. 93. 153.); but I am ignorant at what time these annals were composed and published. The two uncles of Marco Polo, who served as engineers at the siege of Siengyangfou* (l. ii, c. 61. in Ramusio, tom. ii. See Gaubil, p. 155. 157.), must have felt and related the effects of this destructive powder, and their silence is a weighty, and almost decisive, objection. I entertain a suspicion, that the recent discovery was carried from Europe to China by the caravans of the xvth century, and falsely adopted as an old national discovery before the arrival of the Portuguese and Jesuits in the xvith. Yet the Père Gaubil affirms, that the use of gunpowder has been known to the Chinese above 1600 years. †



Sou-houng-kian-lou. Abel Remu- enseigné l'usage aux Tartares, ont pu M.

donner Europe l'idée d'artillerie, † La poudre à canon et d'autres com- quoique la forme des fusils et des canons positions inflammantes, dont ils se servent dont ils se servent actuellement, leur ait pour construire des pièces d'artifice d'un été apportée par les Francs, ainsi que l'atefTet suprenant, leur étaient connues depuis testent les noms mêmes qu'ils donnent à très long-temps, et l'on croit que des bom. ces sortes d'armes. Abel Remusat, Mé. bardes et des pierricrs, dont ils avaient langes Asiat. 2d ser. tom. i. p. 23. — M.

the lives of an hundred thousand Moguls and Chinese were sacrificed in the fruitless expedition.

But the circumjacent kingdoms, Corea, Tonkin, Cochinchina, Pegu, Bengal, and Thibet, were reduced in different degrees of tribute and obedience by the effort or terror of his arms. He explored the Indian Ocean with a fleet of a thousand ships: they sailed in sixty-eight days, most probably to the Isle of Borneo, under the equinoctial line; and though they returned not without spoil or glory, the emperor was dissatisfied that the savage king had escaped from their hands.

II. The conquest of Hindostan by the Moguls was re- Of Persia, served in a later period for the house of Timour; but that empire of of Iran, or Persia, was achieved by Holagou Khan*, the A.D. 1258. grandson of Zingis, the brother and lieutenant of the two successive emperors, Mangou and Cublai. I shall not enumerate the crowd of sultans, emirs, and atabeks, whom he trampled into dust ; but the extirpation of the Assassins, or Ismaelians 24 of Persia, may be considered as a service to mankind. Among the hills to the south of the Caspian, these odious sectaries had reigned with impunity above an hundred and sixty years; and their prince, or Imam, established his lieutenant to lead and govern the colony of Mount Libanus, so famous and formidable in the history of the crusades.25 With the fanaticism of the Koran the Ismaelians had blended the Indian transmigration, and the visions of their own prophets; and it was their first duty to devote their souls and bodies in blind obedience to the vicar of God. The daggers of his missionaries were felt both in the East and West : the Christians and the Moslems enumerate, and perhaps multiply, the illustrious victims that were sacrificed to the zeal, avarice, or resentment of the old man (as he was corruptly styled) of the mountain. But these daggers, his only arms, were broken by the sword of Holagou, and not a vestige is left of the enemies of mankind, except the word assassin, which, in the most odious sense, has been adopted in the languages of Europe. The extinction of the Abbassides cannot be indifferent to the spectators of their greatness and decline. Since the fall of their Seljukian tyrants, the caliphs had recovered their lawful dominion of Bagdad and the Arabian Irak; but the city was distracted by theological factions, and the commander of the faithful was lost in a haram of seven hundred concubines. The invasion of the Moguls he encountered with feeble arms and haughty embassies. “On the divine decree,” said the caliph Mostasem,“ is “ founded the throne of the sons of Abbas: and their foes shall

24 All that can be known of the Assassins of Persia and Syria is poured from the copious, and even profuse, erudition of M. Falconet, in two Mémoires read before the Academy of Inscriptions (tom. xvii. p. 127–170.). +

45 The Ismaelians of Syria, 40,000 Assassins, had acquired or founded ten castles in the hills above Tortosa. About the year 1280, they were extirpated by the Mamalukes.

See the curious account of the expe- † Von Hammer's History of the Assasdition of Holagou, translated from the sins has now thrown Falconet's DissertaChinese, by M. Abel Remusat, Mélanges tion into the shade. — M. Asiat. 2d ser. tom. i. p. 171.- M.

surely be destroyed in this world and in the next. Who is this Holagou that dares to rise against them? If he be desirous of

peace, let him instantly depart from the sacred territory; and. “perhaps he may obtain from our clemency the pardon of his fault.” This presumption was cherished by a perfidious vizir, who assured his master, that, even if the Barbarians had entered the city, the women and children, from the terraces, would be sufficient to overwhelm them with stones. But when Holagou touched the phantom, it instantly vanished into smoke. After a siege of two months, Bagdad was stormed and sacked by the Moguls*; and their savage commander pronounced the death of the caliph Mostasem, the last of the temporal successors of Mahomet; whose noble kinsmen, of the race of Abbas, had reigned in Asia above five hundred years.

Whatever might be the designs of the conqueror, the holy cities of Mecca and Medina 26 were protected by the Arabian desert; but the Moguls spread beyond the Tigris and Euphrates, pillaged Aleppo and Damascus, and threatened to join the Franks in the deliverance of Jerusalem. Egypt was lost, had she been defended only by her feeble offspring; but the Mamalukes had breathed in their infancy the keenness of a Scythian air : equal in valour, superior in discipline, they met the Moguls in many a wellfought field; and drove back the stream of hostility to the eastward

of the Euphrates. But it overflowed with resistless vio

lence the kingdoms of Armenia † and Anatolia, of which 1242–1272. the former was possessed by the Christians, and the latter by the Turks. The sult

The sultans of Iconium opposed some resistance to the Mogul arms, till Azzadin sought a refuge among the Greeks of Constantinople, and his feeble successors, the last of the Seljukian dynasty, were finally extirpated by the khans of Persia.

26 As a proof of the ignorance of the Chinese in foreign transactions, I must observe, that some of their historians extend the conquest of Zingis himself to Medina, the country of Mahomet (Gaubil, p. 42.).

* Compare Von Hammer, Geschichte menians with the Mongols, see Wilken, der Assassinen, p. 283. 307. Wilken, Geschichte der Kreuzzüge, vol. vii. p. 402. Geschichte der Kreuzziige, vol. vii. p. 406. They eagerly desired an alliance against Price, Chronological Retrospect, vol. ii. the Mahometan powers. p. 217-223,- M.

$ Trebizond escaped, apparently by the † Compare Wilken, vol. vii. p. 410. dexterous politics of the sovereign, but it

acknowledged the Mogul supremacy. FalOn the friendly relations of the Ar. merayer, p. 127. — M.

Of Anatolia,


- M.



« PreviousContinue »