CHAPTER XLI. THE TARTARS

It is important to insist on the very close relations that existed between the Chinese and the Tartars from the very earliest times. All that we are told for certain is that they were north and west of the older dynasties, and especially in occupation of the Upper Wei River, on the lower part of which the old metropolis of Si- ngan Fu lies; which means that they were exactly where we find them in Confucian times, and where we find them now, except that they have been pushed a little further back, and that Chinese colonists have appropriated most of the oases. The Chou ancestor who died in 1231, i.e. the father of the founders of Wu, and the great-grandfather of the founder of the Chou dynasty (1122), had to abandon to the encroaching Tartars his appanage on the Upper King River (a northern tributary of the Wei, which runs almost parallel with it, and joins it at Si-ngan Fu), and was obliged to move southwards to the Upper Wei River. For nearly 1000 years previous to this, his ancestors, who had originally been forced to fly to the Tartars in order to avoid the misgovernment of the third Hia emperor, had lived among and had, whilst continuing the Chinese art of cultivating, partly become Tartars; for in 1231 B.C. the migrating host is said to have renounced Tartar manners, and to have devoted themselves seriously to building and cultivating; from which it necessarily follows that Tartar manners must for some time have been definitely adopted by the Chou family. The grandson of the migrator, the father of the Chou founder, had various little wars with a tribe called the Dog Tartars. Over 1000 years after that first flight to Tartardom, we have seen that the Emperor Muh, great-grandson of the Chou founder, not only had brushes with the Tartars, but extended his tours amongst them to the Lower Tarim Valley, Turfan, Harashar, and possibly even as far as Urumtsi and Kuche; but certainly no farther. Two hundred years later, again, the then ruling Emperor was defeated by the Tartars in (modern) Central Shan Si province, and the descendant in the sixth generation of the Ts'in Jehu who had conducted the Emperor Muh's chariot into Tartarland, only just succeeded in saving the Emperor's life; but this family of Chao, which was thus (cf.p. 206) of one and the same descent with the Ts'in family, subsequently found its account in abandoning the imperial interest altogether, and in serving the rising principality of Tsin (Shan Si), where it became one of the "six families," three of which six in 403 B.C. were ultimately recognized by the Emperor as independent rulers. As we have said over and over again, in 772 B.C. the Chou Emperor, through female intrigues, got into trouble with the Tartars, and was killed: his successor had to move the metropolis east to (modern) Ho-nan Fu, thus abandoning the western part of his patrimony - the semi-Tartar half - to Ts'in. Thus Ts'in in 771 B.C. was to the Chou Emperors what Chou, previous to 1200 B.C., had been to the Shang Emperors.

We now come to strictly historical times, and we shall have no difficulty in showing that even then - h fortiori in times not strictly historical - the various Tartar tribes were still in practical possession of the whole north bank of the Yellow River, all the way from the Desert to the sea. In fact, in 494 B.C., when the King of Wu sent a giant's bone to Lu for further explanation, Confucius said that the "Long Tartars" (who had frequent fights with Lu in the seventh century B.C.) used to extend south-east into (modern) Kiang Su, almost as far as the mouth of the Yang-tsz River: he also says that, had it not been for the energy of the First Protector and his statesman adviser, the philosopher Kwan- tsz of Ts'i, orthodox China would certainly have become Tartarized. It was Confucius also whose learning enabled him to recognize a (Manchu) arrow found in the body of a migrating goose. In the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. the Tartars made repeated and obstinate attacks upon Yen (Peking plain), Ts'i (coast Chih Li and north Shan Tung), Wei (south Chih Li and north Ho Nan), Sung (extreme east Ho Nan), Ts'ao (central Ho Nan), and the Emperor's territory (west Ho Nan). This situation explains to us why the Protector system arose in China, in competition with the waning imperial power. Ts'in and Tsin, being already half Tartar themselves, were always well able to cope with and even to annex the Tartar tribes in their immediate vicinity; but orthodox China was ever a prey to the more easterly Tartar attacks; and thus the Emperors, threatened by Ts'u to their south, and in a measure also by Ts'in and Tsin to their north and west, not only could not any longer protect their orthodox vassals lying towards the east from Tartar attacks, but could not even protect themselves.