« PreviousContinue »
III. No sooner had Octai subverted the northern empire of China, than he resolved to visit with his arms Russian Pothe most remote countries of the West. Fifteen hundred gary, &c. thousand Moguls and Tartars were inscribed on the military roll: of these the great khan selected a third, which he entrusted to the command of his nephew Batou, the son of Tuli; who reigned over his father's conquests to the north of the Caspian Sea.* After a festival of forty days, Batou set forwards on this great expedition; and such was the speed and ardour of his innumerable squadrons, that in less than six years they had measured a line of ninety degrees of longitude, a fourth part of the circumference of the globe. The great rivers of Asia and Europe, the Volga and Kama, the Don and Borysthenes, the Vistula and Danube, they either swam with their horses or passed on the ice, or traversed in leathern boats, which followed the camp, and transported their waggons and artillery. By the first victories of Batou, the remains of national freedom were eradicated in the immense plains of Turkestan and Kipzak.27 In his rapid progress, he over-ran the kingdoms, as they are now styled, of Astracan and Cazan; and the troops which he detached towards Mount Caucasus explored the most secret recesses of Georgia and Circassia. The civil discord of the great dukes, or princes, of Russia, betrayed their country to the Tartars. They spread from Livonia to the Black Sea, and both Moscow and Kiow, the modern and the ancient capitals, were reduced to ashes; a temporary ruin, less fatal than the deep, and perhaps indelible, mark, which a servitude of two hundred years has imprinted on the character of the Russians. The Tartars ravaged with equal fury the countries which they hoped to possess, and those which they were hastening to leave. From the permanent conquest of Russia, they made a deadly, though transient, inroad into the heart of Poland, and as far as the borders of Germany. The cities of Lublin and Cracow were obliterated † : they approached the shores of the Baltic; and in the battle of Lignitz they defeated the dukes of Silesia, the Polish palatines, and the great master of the Teutonic order, and filled nine sacks with the right ears of the slain. From Lignitz, the extreme point of their western march,
* The Dashté Kipzak, or plain of Kipzak, extends on either side of the Volga, in a boundless space towards the Jaik and Borysthenes, and is supposed to contain the primitive name and nation of the Cosacks.
See the curious extracts from the † Olmutz was gallantly and successMahometan writers, Hist. des Mongols, fully defended by Stenberg, Hist. des p. 707.-M.
Mongols, p. 396. -- M.
they turned aside to the invasion of Hungary; and the presence or spirit of Batou inspired the host of five hundred thousand men : the Carpathian hills could not be long impervious to their divided columns; and their approach had been fondly disbelieved till it was irresistibly felt. The king, Bela the Fourth, assembled the military force of his counts and bishops; but he had alienated the nation by adopting a vagrant horde of forty thousand families of Comans, and these savage guests were provoked to revolt by the suspicion of treachery and the murder of their prince. The whole country north of the Danube was lost in a day, and depopulated in a summer; and the ruins of cities and churches were overspread with the bones of the natives, who expiated the sins of their Turkish ancestors. An ecclesiastic, who fled from the sack of Waradin, describes the calamities which he had seen, or suffered; and the sanguinary rage of sieges and battles is far less atrocious than the treatment of the fugitives, who had been allured from the woods under a promise of peace and pardon, and who were coolly slaughtered as soon as they had performed the labours of the harvest and vintage. In the winter, the Tartars passed the Danube on the ice, and advanced to Gran or Strigonium, a German colony, and the metropolis of the kingdom. Thirty engines were planted against the walls; the ditches were filled with sacks of earth and dead bodies; and after a promiscuous massacre, three hundred noble matrons were slain in the presence of the khan. Of all the cities and fortresses of Hungary, three alone survived the Tartar invasion, and the unfortunate Bata hid his head among the islands of the Adriatic.
The Latin world was darkened by this cloud of savage hostility : a Russian fugitive carried the alarm to Sweden; and the remote nations of the Baltic and the ocean trembled at the approach of the Tartars 28, whom their fear and ignorance were inclined to separate from the human species. Since the invasion of the Arabs in the eighth century, Europe had never been exposed to a similar calamity : and if the disciples of Mahomet would have oppressed her religion and liberty, it might be apprehended that the shepherds of Scythia would extinguish her cities, her arts, and all the institutions of civil society. The Roman pontiff attempted to appease and convert these invincible Pagans by a mission of Franciscan and Dominican friars; but he was astonished by the reply of the hkan, that the sons of God and of Zingis were invested with a divine power to subdue or extirpate the nations ; and that the pope would be involved in the universal destruction, unless he visited in person, and as a suppliant, the royal horde. The emperor Frederic the Second embraced a more generous mode of defence; and his letters to the kings of France and England, and the princes of Germany, represented the common danger, and urged them to arm their vassals in this just and rational crusade. 29 The Tartars themselves were awed by the fame and valour of the Franks : the town of Newstadt in Austria was bravely defended against them by fifty knights and twenty cross-bows; and they raised the siege on the appearance of a German army. After wasting the adjacent kingdoms of Servia, Bosnia, and Bulgaria, Batou slowly retreated from the Danube to the Volga to enjoy the rewards of victory in the city and palace of Serai, which started at his command from the midst of the desert. *
28 In the year 1238, the inhabitants of Gothia ( Sweden) and Frise were prevented, by their fear of the Tartars, from sending, as usual, their ships to the herring-fishery on the coast of England; and as there was no exportation, forty or fifty of these fish were sold for a shilling (Matthew Paris, p. 396.). It is whimsical enough, that the orders of a Mogul khan, who reigned on the borders of China, should have lowered the price of herrings in the Englisla market.
IV. Even the poor and frozen regions of the north of Siberia, attracted the arms of the Moguls : Sheibani khan, the &c. brother of the great Batou, led an horde of fifteen thousand families into the wilds of Siberia ; and his descendants reigned at Tobolskoi above three centuries, till the Russian conquest. The spirit of enterprise which pursued the course of the Oby and Yenisei must have led to the discovery of the icy sea. After brushing away the monstrous fables, of men with dogs' heads and cloven feet, we shall find, that, fifteen years after the death of Zingis, the Moguls were informed of the name and manners of the Samoyedès in the neighbourhood of the polar circle, who dwelt in subterraneous huts, and derived their furs and their food from the sole occupation of hunting. 30
» I shall copy bis characteristic or flattering epithets of the different countries of Europe: Furens ac fervens ad arma Germania, strenuæ militiæ genitrix et alumna Francia, bellicosa et audax Hispania, virtuosa viris et classe munita fertilis Anglia, impetuosis bellatoribus referta Alemannia, navalis Dacia, indomita Italia, pacis ignara Burgundia, inquieta Apulia, cum maris Græci, Adriatici et Tyrrheni insulis pyraticis et invictis, Creta, Cypro, Siciliâ, cum Oceano conterminis insulis, et regionibus, cruenta Hybernia, cum agili Wallia, palustris Scotia, glacialis Norwegia, suam electam militiam sub vexillo Crucis destinabunt, &c. (Matthew Paris, p. 498.)
* See Carpin's relation in Hackluyt, vol. i. p. 30. The pedigree of the khans of Siberia is given by Abulghazi (part viii. p. 485495.). Have the Russians found no Tartar chronicles at Tobolskoi? t
He was recalled by the death of Oc- vol. iii. p. 185. 205., and Remusat, Hist. tai. - M.
des Langues Tartares, p. 227., and pre+ See the account of the Mongol library face to Schmidt, Geschichte der Ost-Monin Bergman, Nomadische Streifereyen, golen. — M.
The successors of Zingis,
While China, Syria, and Poland, were invaded at the
same time by the Moguls and Tartars, the authors of the 1227–1 259. mighty mischief were content with the knowledge and declaration, that their word was the sword of death. Like the first caliphs, the first successors of Zingis seldom appeared in person at the head of their victorious armies. On the banks of the Onon and Selinga, the royal or golden horde exhibited the contrast of simplicity and greatness; of the roasted sheep and mare's milk which composed their banquets; and of a distribution in one day of five hundred waggons of gold and silver. The ambassadors and princes of Europe and Asia were compelled to undertake this distant and laborious pilgrimage ; and the life and reign of the great dukes of Russia, the kings of Georgia and Armenia, the sultans of Iconium, and the emirs of Persia, were decided by the frown or smile of the great khan. The sons and grandsons of Zingis had been accustomed to the pastoral life ; but the village of Caracorum 31 was gradually ennobled by their election and residence. A change of manners is implied in the removal of Octai and Mangou from a tent to an house ; and their example was imitated by the princes of their family and the great officers of the empire. Instead of the boundless forest, the inclosure of a park afforded the more indolent pleasures of the chase; their new habitations were decorated with painting and sculpture; their superfluous treasures were cast in fountains, and basins, and statues of massy silver; and the artists of China and Paris yied with each other in the service of the great khan. 32 Caracorum contained two streets, the one of Chinese mechanics, the other of Mahometan traders; and the places of religious worship, one Nestorian church, two mosques, and twelve temples of various idols, may represent in some degree the number and division of inhabitants. Yet a French missionary declares, that the town of St. Denys, near Paris, was more considerable than the Tartar capital ; and that the whole palace of Mangou was scarcely equal to a tenth part of that Benedictine abbey. The conquests of Russia and Syria might amuse the vanity of the great khans; but they were seated on the borders of China ; the acquisition of that empire was the nearest and most interesting object; and they
31 The Map of D'Anville, and the Chinese Itineraries (de Guignes, tom. i. part ii. p. 57.), seem to mark the position of Holin, or Caracorum, about six hundred miles to
The distance between Selinginsky and Pekin is near 2000 Russian versts, between 1300 and 1400 English miles (Bell's Travels, vol. ii. p. 67.).
32 Rubruquis found at Caracorum his countryman Guillaume Boucher, orfevre de Puris, who had executed for the khan a silver tree, supported by four lions, and ejecting four different liquors. Abulghazi (part iv. p. 366.) mentions the painters of Kitay or China,
the north-west of Pekin.
might learn from their pastoral economy, that it is for the advantage of the shepherd to protect and propagate his flock. I have already celebrated the wisdom and virtue of a Mandarin adopt the who prevented the desolation of five populous and China cultivated provinces. In a spotless administration of 1259_1368. thirty years, this friend of his country and of mankind continually laboured to mitigate, or suspend, the havoc of war; to save the monuments, and to rekindle the flame, of science; to restrain the military commander by the restoration of civil magistrates; and to instil the love of peace and justice into the minds of the Moguls. He struggled with the barbarism of the first conquerors; but his salutary lessons produced a rich harvest in the second generation. * The northern, and by degrees the southern, empire, acquiesced in the government of Cublai, the lieutenant, and afterwards the successor, of Mangou ; and the nation was loyal to a prince who had been educated in the manners of China. He restored the forms of her venerable constitution; and the victors submitted to the laws, the fashions, and even the prejudices, of the vanquished people. This peaceful triumph, which has been more than once repeated, may be ascribed, in a great measure, to the numbers and servitude of the Chinese. The Mogul army was dissolved in a vast and populous country; and their emperors adopted with pleasure a political system, which gives to the prince the solid substance of despotism, and leaves to the subject the empty names of philosophy, freedom, and filial obedience. Under the reign of Cublai, letters and commerce, peace and justice, were restored; the great canal, of five hundred miles, was opened from Nankin to the capital: he fixed his residence at Pekin; and displayed in his court the magnificence of the greatest monarch of Asia. Yet this learned prince declined from the pure and simple religion of his great ancestor: he sacrificed to the idol Fo; and his blind attachment to the lamas of Thibet and the bonzes of China 33 provoked the censure of the disciples of Confucius. His successors polluted the palace with a crowd of eunuchs, physicians, and astrologers, while
* The attachment of the khans, and the hatred of the mandarins, to the bonzes and lamas (Duhalde, Hist. de la Chine, tom. i. p. 502, 503.) seems to represent them as the priests of the same god, of the Indian Fo, whose worship prevails among the sects of Hindostan, Siam, Thibet, China, and Japan. But this mysterious subject is still lost in a cloud, which the researches of our Asiatic Society may gradually dispel.
† Coinpare Hist. des Mongols, p. 616. - M.
* See the interesting sketch of the life of this minister ( Yelin-Thsou-thsai, in the second volume of the second series of Recherches Asiatiques, par A. Remusat, p. 64. — M.