Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/124

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Emperor Yü, the "Great Yü" as he is called, the Chinese Noah, who is said to have subdued the deluge which inundated China in his time, 2205 B.C. The man who attempted to recreate China and make its history begin with his rule, Shih Hwang-ti, 259-210 B.C. (the constructor of the Great Wall, 1250 miles long, and of the Grand Canal, 650 miles from north (Tientsin) to south (Hangchow in Chekiang), and the destroyer of the Confucian books and ancient classics), visited Hangchow, Shaohing, and Ningpo.

In religious legend and antiquities also this province has treasures of singular interest to Buddhist and Taoist devotees. Chang Tao-ling, the Pope or Grand Lama of the Taoists, was born, A.D. 34, near T'ien-moh-san (the "Hill of the Eye of Heaven"), a fine mountain 5000 feet high within the borders of Chekiang. The island of P'u-t'o (the most sacred place to Buddhists in the east of Asia, where Kwan-yin, the "Goddess of Mercy" and patroness of sailors, is said to have lived) lies 50 miles east of Ningpo, and belongs to Chekiang. The great temples beyond the West Lake at Hangchow founded by Indian monks, the one A.D. 306, the other A.D. 581, attract vast crowds of pilgrims from Central China.

Chekiang suffered greatly during the Taiping Rebellion, that great chapter in China's more recent history. In 1861 the Taipings invaded Chekiang, and after storming Hangchow and Shaohing, they captured Ningpo, December 9, 1861. They were driven out of Ningpo in May 1862, and after ravaging the country round for some months, and beleaguering the city a second time, they were eventually driven back on Shaohing and Hangchow; and finally evacuated the latter city and the province of Chekiang in 1864. The idol temples with scarcely any exceptions were destroyed and the idols abolished throughout the province. The Christian element in the aims of the first leaders of the Taipings was early obliterated by the lust of conquest and the adhesion of a vast number of irreligious followers.