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case with the despatches submit- thence, it proceeded to the different ted by his own subjects—were re- ports in the Indian seas, the voyage plete with interesting particulars lasting about two years, and thus of the countries and peoples he enabling our Venetians to give visited. Not the least interes- most interesting accounts of their ting of his adventures was when, novel experiences, as well as an with his father Niccolo and his idea of the extent of Chinese inuncle Maffeo, he was commissioned Auence at that time. Suffice it to by the Great Khan to return with say, the envoys arrived at their three barons sent to his Court as destination in due course, and ambassadors from Argon, Lord of handed over the ladies to Casan, the Levant, to fetch as his bride who, owing to the death of his father a lady belonging to the family of Argon, had not only become Lord Queen Bologna, his late consort. of the Levant, but in accordance It appears that the Khan called the with the custom of the country, Italians into his presence, and in- had also inherited his father's right trusted them with golden tablets to the young lady in Marco's of authority, which gave them the charge. right of passage through all his This incident in Kublai Khan's dominions, and secured them remarkable career shows that the facilities for procuring all that Chinese naval heroes of that period they might require. Thirteen were animated with the same spirit ships were commissioned for the of enterprise that stimulated Drake, use of the embassy, escorting Queen Frobisher, and other English worCoachin, Lord Argon's bride-elect, thies. Like them, the Great Khan and her companion, the daughter was not a little aggressive, for he of the King of Manu. The capa- sent numerous expeditions against city of these vessels may be ima- Japan and Java, which, though gined when they are described as not always successful, prove that having had four masts, and often he had vast resources at his dishoisting as many as twelve sails, posal, in the shape of ships, marwith some sixty or seventy private iners, troops of various kinds, as cabins, provided with closets and well as abundance of war matériel. other conveniences, as well as No wonder, then, that he insisted public rooms for the use of mer- on all intercourse with the Flowery chants and other first-class passen- Land resolving itself into the form gers, besides ample accommodation of homage ; for he had learned from for two hundred or more sailors, the annals of his country that, for who sometimes had their families several centuries previously, the with them, and also managed to kings of India and the Golden find space for small kitchen-gardens Chersonese had been in the habit in spare ship's buckets. These arks of sending embassies to China for though larger than any ships afloat the payment of tribute. At the in Europe, were, according to time of Marco Polo's voyage, the Marco, smaller than the Chinese prestige of China as a maritime possessed before that period. The Power seems to have arrived at feet put forth to sea with the envoys its zenith.. It subsequently waned; and a goodly company, and first and in the beginning of the fifteenth touched at Java, and loosing century the Emperor felt himself It ap
1 Yule's Marco Polo. 1871.
2 Yule's Cathay, and the Way Thither. 1866.
constrained to send a large fleet successfully resisted the invaders, with a military force to India and but was then obliged to retreat to the Golden Chersonese, to coerce Malè, where they made a creditthose that wavered in their alle- able stand, but were eventually giance, and encourage the loyal by routed, and forced to retreat on the bestowal of honours and im- the capital, which they found had perial gifts.
already been abandoned. The Great Khan was as enter- pears that preparations had been prising by land as by sea. Far begun for the defence of the city, from being content with his own in the shape of a huge wall comenormous territory, he had an in- posed of the débris of numerous veterate craze to be acknowledged pagodas which had been destroyed suzerain of all the States on his for the purpose, but were arrested borders; hence arose endless dif- owing to the verification of an ficulties with Burma, which may ominous prediction, setting forth conveniently be referred to now. that the city would be captured With the political sagacity which by the Chinese, which was found used to distinguish Chinese states- inscribed on a copper plate dismen in connection with the ad- covered in the process of dilapidaministration of the south-western tion. The superstitious king lost provinces of the empire, he deter- all heart when he read the inscripmined first to conquer Yunnan; tion, and, collecting his valuables, for, holding it, he knew he could filled in all haste to Bassein. The dominate the trade as well as Mongol army pursued the king political affairs pertaining to the and his retinue as far as a place peoples who have their habitat on some thirty miles below Prome, and near the rivers flowing to the known to this day as Taruk-hmaw south. Kublai first made his Turk or Chinese point. Straitreputation as lieutenant of his ened by want of provisions, they brother Mangu, who reigned at here abandoned the pursuit, and Karakoram as the Great Khan in after returning again to the capithe thirteenth century.
He had tal, plundered it, and went back command of the Mongol armies, to their own country. The Burwhich for thirty years had been mese, thoroughly disgusted with fighting to subdue the Chinese the cowardice of their king, nickempire, and in person directed named him Taruk-pyè-men-the the preliminary arrangements for king who fled from the Chinese the conquest of Yunnan, leaving -a title which has stuck to him them to be carried out by his ever since. second in command. According There is no allusion in Burmese to Burmese history, this officer, history to collisions on the frontier adopting his master's policy, sent at this time; and their improbaa deputation to Mien or Burma, bility is evidenced by the pusillaniand demanded recognition of the mous disposition of the Burmese Khan's suzerainty in the shape of monarch, who was very unlikely tribute. The Burmese king scouted to have attacked a more powerful the notion, and caused the envoys country than his own.
Yet, acto be decapitated for alleged in- cording to Marco Polo, the Great solence.
Kublai Khan was not Khan sent an army into the king, slow to avenge this outrage, and doms of Carajan (Yunnan) and sent a vast army to attack Mien. Vochan (Yung Chang), to protect A Burmese force for three months his subjects from the attacks of
unruly people. The King of Mien, an end ! and then, too, they “a very puissant prince, with much plunged into the wood and rushed territory, treasure, and people,” this way and that, dashing their taking umbrage, it is said, at this castles against the trees, bursting mancuvre, considered it incumbent their harness, and smashing and on him to give the Khan such a destroying everything that was on lesson, that he would never again them.” 2 Suffice it to add, the dare to molest his frontier. He Burmese, in spite of a gallant reaccordingly prepared a force con- sistance, were routed with great sisting of 2000 elephants, each slaughter. carrying 12 to 16 well-armed The fame and glories of Mien, warriors, besides cavalry and in with its gold and silver towers, fantry amounting to 60,000 men, or Pugan, as it was subsequently and caused it to march against known, extended far beyond the the Tartars. The commander of limits of the Golden Chersonese, the Tartar host naturally " waxed and even reached Karakoram, the uneasy ” when he considered he Court of Kublai Khan. The Great had only 12,000 horsemen to en- Khan, foiled in his ambitious atcounter this vast army. “Nathe- tempts to conquer the comparaless he was a most valiant and tively warlike Japanese on the able soldier, of great experience in east of his dominions, was fain to arms, and an excellent captain ;” turn his attention to his western and having troops on which he neighbours, on hearing marvellous could implicitly rely, as well as accounts of the richness of their confidence in himself, he felt equal country, and the probabilities of to the occasion, and made his dis- its easy conquest. The splendours positions accordingly. To this of Mien or Pugan have departed, end he advanced his troops to and yet it is one of the most intemeet the enemy, and halted them resting places in Burma, though in the plain of Vochan, hard by a now it does not contain more than forest. The Burmese king made a dozen inhabited houses. a counter-demonstration with skill, “ A jolly place,” he said, in times of and advanced to the attack. The old, Tartar horses could not be got to But something ails it now: the spot is face the elephants, to the dismay
cursed."" of their riders. Their commander Its magnificent ruins excite the had, however, foreseen this dilem- wonder of all beholders, as far ma, and ordered his men to dis- more elaborate than anything of mount, fasten their horses to the the kind the Burmese have attrees of the forest to which they tempted before or since, baffling had retreated, and ply their bows archæologists to this day. Preand arrows. This they did so facing a description of the most deftly and strenuously as to cause notable of these temples, which, as the elephants to turn tail and fly, he truly remarks, suggest strange with the fighting men on their memories of southern Catholic backs. “They sped with a noise Europe, Colonel Yule 3 says: “ The and uproar that you would have impression on us as we again and trowed the world was coming to again paced the dim and losty corridors of the Ananda, was that of with levying taxes from the people traversing some sombre and gigan- of that province, attempted to do tic pile appropriated to the cabals likewise with tribes subject to Burand tortures of the Inquisition.” mese suzerainty. The Burmese
1 Yule's Marco Polo. 1871.
3 Mission to Ava.
The fall of the Pugan monarchy resented this assumption by force inevitably followed the Mongol of arms; but sundry awful portents, invasion; yet it appears Burma such as earthquakes, storms, and stubbornly refused to acknowledge the appearance of two suns in the Celestial suzerainty, though many sky, caused the superstitious monattempts were made to make her arch, in abject terror, to fancy bow her neck to the yoke. One that he had no alternative exceptof these, in 1416, might have been ing to acquiesce in Yunhli's precritical to her destiny, as the time tensions. Accordingly, in complichosen for attacking her was when ance with an ancient custom, he her hands were full with Pegu. built a temporary palace, wherein It appears some Shan chiefs re- he placed his eldest marriageable volted, and a few of them were daughter, in the hope of appeasing sent as prisoners to Ava. The the wrath of the conqueror. It so others invoked the aid of China, fell out, however, that the pseudowhich responded willingly by send- Emperor was driven out of Yunnan ing an army, and demanding the by the Tartars, and took refuge in release of the prisoners. The point Burma, where he became a natuas to whether they were to be sur- ralised subject. To the lasting rendered or not was left to be de- disgrace of the Burmese, this adcided by the result of single com- venturer was surrendered on the bat between champions. Suffice it demand of a Manchu general. so say, the Burmese representative Leaving collateral, though doubttlew his antagonist, and, according less important, issues aside,—such to agreement, the Chinese army re- as anarchy, which paralysed our tired. The Celestials could not, trade and injuriously affected our however, remain quiescent very administration-French intrigues, long, and in 1444, backed by an the shoe question, and other matarmy, revived the demand for ters of high politics,—the final distribute from Taruk-pyè-men in memberment of the Burmese empire 1281. The Burmese refused to was primarly due to the impractiacknowledge the claim, which was cability of King Theebaw, in the not pressed; but later on, in lieu matter of complaints on the part thereof, the Chinese insisted on of an English commercial comthe surrender of the chief of Mo- pany. So; just twelve decades ago, ganny, who had taken refuge at the inevitable would have been the Burmese capital. The Bur- precipitated by similar perversity mans accepted battle rather than on the part of one of his Majesty's give up the man, and completely predecessors, in connection with defeated the invaders. They were the remonstrances of a Chinese again threatened with serious trou- trader, were it not for the infible in the seventeenth century, nite resource, strategic knowledge, when a certain Yunhli, who had and determined spirit evinced by assumed the title of the Emperor the Burmese generals, confronted of China, when driven from his though they were by apparently capital, Nankin, established him- overwhelming numbers. self in Yunnan, and not content In consequence of a series of misunderstandings in matters con- fore it was more politic to arrive nected with the frontier between at a friendly settlement, rather Burma and China, the Empe- than exasperate a very powerful ror Kienlung, in 1766-69, invad- nation. Accordingly, it was ared Burma four times. Though ranged that peace and friendship a competent civil administrator, should be established between the he was no warrior, and owing to two great countries as of yore; and his selection of incompetent com- that the “gold and silver road " manders, who grossly mismanaged of commerce should remain open. the campaigns, his army was twice Presents were exchanged between obliged to retreat to China. In the parties to the settlement, no way discouraged, the Emperor and it was agreed that envoys was determined not to allow what bearing friendly letters and gifts he considered a petty barbarian should be sent every ten years by power to successfully defy the Sun each sovereign to the other. The of Heaven, and in 1767 despatched Chinese claim for decennial tribute a stronger force, which also had to is based apparently on what took retire precipitately from Burmese place at the end of this war. territory. Notwithstanding all Logically, it would tell against the these reverses, he determined on suppliant Celestials; but as a matagain invading the country, with ter of fact, owing to the tact of the even a more powerful army than Burmese general, both sides were before, selecting a time when the satisfied, and marched off, as it Burmese monarch was distracted were, with drums beating and colby omens in the shape of earth- ours flying. quakes, which rent the great na- In the recent controversy retional temples, and seemed to por- garding the alleged suzerain rights tend coming disaster. His Majesty of China in Burma, this incident, was, however, quite equal to the as related in Sir Arthur Phayre's occasion, for he despatched an army carefully authenticated · History of commanded by capable officers to Burma, was relied on by those encounter the invaders, whose suc- opposed to the Chinese claims, cess so discouraged the Chinese their opponents ridiculing it as the general that he was constrained fond imaginings of the Burmese to solicit permission to return un- Court historiographer, differing molested to his own country, when from the account given by Crawhe found his forces surrounded furd and by Chinese historians. “ like cows in a pond,” and en- Crawfurd's version is certainly not tirely at the mercy of the Burmese. in accord with most of the recogThe Burmese commander sum- nised authorities on Burmese afmoned a council of war, the mem- fairs; but it was admittedly founded bers of which unanimously gave it on Court gossip, while the dicta of as their opinion that no quarter Celestial historians is not quoted. should be given to the Celestials. The truth probably is, as Sir Arthur He overruled this advice, on the Phayre suggests, the campaigns of ground that undue severity would Chinese armies in Burma from only perpetuate ill feelings, to the 1765 to 1769 are noticed very mutual and lasting disadvantage briefly in the histories of China, of both countries ; and that there- Gutzlaff alone telling the truth