CHAPTER V. THE MONGOL CONQUEST OF CHINA
In 1213 Genghis again invaded the Kin dominions, but his success was not very striking, and in several engagements of no very great importance the Kin arms met with some success. The most important events of the year were, however, the deposition and murder of Chonghei, the murder of a Kin general, Hushahu, who had won a battle against the Mongols, and the proclamation of Utubu as emperor. The change of sovereign brought no change of fortune to the unlucky Kins. Utubu was only able to find safety behind the walls of his capital, and he was delighted when Genghis wrote him the following letter: "Seeing your wretched condition and my exalted fortune, what may your opinion be now of the will of heaven with regard to myself? At this moment I am desirous to return to Tartary, but could you allow my soldiers to take their departure without appeasing their anger with presents?" In reply Utubu sent Genghis a princess of his family as a wife, and also "five hundred youths, the same number of girls, three thousand horses, and a vast quantity of precious articles." Then Genghis retired once more to Karakoram, but on his march he stained his reputation by massacring all his prisoners - the first gross act of inhumanity he committed during his Chinese wars.
When Utubu saw the Mongols retreating, he thought to provide against the most serious consequences of their return by removing his capital to a greater distance from the frontier, and with this object he transferred his residence to Kaifong. The majority of his advisers were against this change, as a retirement could not but shake public confidence. It had another consequence, which they may not have contemplated, and that was its providing Genghis with an excuse for renewing his attack on China. The Mongol at once complained that the action of the Kin emperor implied an unwarrantable suspicion of his intentions, and he sent his army across the frontier to recommence his humiliation. On this occasion a Kin general deserted to them, and thenceforward large bodies of the Chinese of the north attached themselves to the Mongols, who were steadily acquiring a unique reputation for power as well as military prowess. The great event of this war was the siege of Yenking - on the site of which now stands the capital Pekin - the defense of which had been intrusted to the Prince Imperial; but Utubu, more anxious for his son's safety than the interests of the state, ordered him to return to Kaifong. The governor of Yenking offered a stout resistance to the Mongols, and when he found that he could not hold out, he retired to the temple of the city and poisoned himself. His last act was to write a letter to Utubu begging him to listen no more to the pernicious advice of the man who had induced him to murder Hushahu.
The capture of Yenking, where Genghis obtained a large supply of war materials, as well as vast booty, opened the road to Central China. The Mongols advanced as far as the celebrated Tunkwan Pass, which connects Shensi and Honan, but when their general, Samuka, saw how formidable it was, and how strong were the Kin defenses and garrison, he declined to attack it, and, making a detour through very difficult country, he marched on Kaifong, where Utubu little expected him. The Mongols had to make their own road, and they crossed several ravines by improvised "bridges made of spears and the branches of trees bound together by strong chains." But the Mongol force was too small to accomplish any great result, and the impetuosity of Samuka nearly led to his destruction. A prompt retreat, and the fact that the Hoangho was frozen over, enabled him to extricate his army, after much fatigue and reduced in numbers, from its awkward position. The retreat of the Mongols inspired Utubu with sufficient confidence to induce him to attack Yeliu Liuko in Leaoutung, and the success of this enterprise imparted a gleam of sunshine and credit to the expiring cause of the Kins. Yeliu Liuko was driven from his newly-created kingdom, but Genghis hastened to the assistance of his ally by sending Muhula, the greatest of all his generals, at the head of a large army to recover Leaoutung. His success was rapid and remarkable. The Kins were speedily overthrown, Yeliu Liuko was restored to his authority, and the neighboring King of Corea, impressed by the magnitude of the Mongol success, hastened to acknowledge himself the vassal of Genghis. The most important result of this campaign was that Genghis intrusted to Muhula the control of all military arrangements for the conquest of China. He is reported to have said to his lieutenant: "North of the Taihing Mountains I am supreme, but all the regions to the south I commend to the care of Muhula," and he "also presented him with a chariot and a banner with nine scalops. As he handed him this last emblem of authority, he spoke to his generals, saying, 'Let this banner be an emblem of sovereignty, and let the orders issued from under it be obeyed as my own.'" The principal reason for intrusting the conquest of China to a special force and commander was that Genghis wished to devote the whole of his personal attention to the prosecution of his new war with the King of Khwaresm and the other great rulers of Western Asia.