Page:A Chinese Biographical Dictionary.djvu/205

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186 A Chinese Biographical Dictionary

the Emperor allowed his son but a trifling force with which to venture on his northern raid; at any rate the son proved himself fully equal to the emergency. Upon the whole journey from Nanking to Peking, he found only one place, 3E Mao-chou in Shantung, which succeeded in holding out against him; and on the return of the victorious army this city was captured, and taken to pieces brick by brick. This march is one of the most memorable events in modern Chinese history. The great plain north of the Yang-tsze was depopulated, “swept by the besom of Prince Yen.” Immediately after the installation of his nephew upon the throne, the Prince of Yen threw ofi’ his allegiance. At the head of a large army he marched southwards, defeating the forces which loyally endeavoured to support the legitimate sovereign. Notwithstanding several early reverses in Shantung, where he was twice defeated by the Imperialist commanders, he advanced to the Yang-tsze which he crossed in the summer of 1403; and having been joined by EL: Li Ching-lung and others of the chief Imperial leaders, he entered Nanking in triumph. The young Emperor disappeared in the confusion which followed upon the entry of the troops into his palace, and was never seen again; although in after years pretenders started up on more than one occasion and obtained the support of many in their efforts to recover the throne. This victory was signalised on the part of the Prince of Yen by the immediate assumption of the Imperial dignity, under the now famous year-title of 3]? fiié Yuug L0. The new Emperor showed that he could govern as well as he could fight. He brought immigrants from Shantung and Shansi to repeople the districts which had been laid waste. Peking was built; a Penal Code was drawn up; and missions under the charge of eunuchs were sent to Java, Sumatra, Siam, and even to Ceylon. Various military expeditions were dispatched against the Tartars, costing vast sums