Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
TA-TSING (Great Pure). The name of the ruling dynasty of China, under whose reign the Middle Kingdom has perforce begun to adopt and assimilate the forces of western civilization. Direct commercial and diplomatic relations between China and Europe can scarcely be said to have begun until the Ta-tsing line of emperors filled the throne in Peking. One of the several foreign imperial houses that have ruled the mightiest empire of Asia, the Ta-tsing, is "the best Tartar dynasty China has ever had." The ancestral home of the Manchiu chieftains, to whom divine honors as founders are now rendered in Peking, is the northern base of the ever-white mountains which separate Corea from Manchiuria. According to legend, one of three celestial virgins, while bathing in a lake on the surface of which were mirrored the snowy peaks, found on her clothes a red fruit dropped by a flying magpie, and immediately eating it, conceived, and gave birth to a son. On the death of his mother, he floated down the river Hurka, and being hailed by the warring chiefs as a supernatural leader, established his capital at Odoli, and began in the fourteenth century the unification of the Manchiu tribes. The name of this ancestor was Aisin-Gioro, or Golden Family Stem. Gradually encroaching upon the Chinese possessions, the Manchius were invited to Peking to assist against rebels. Finding themselves there, they stayed, and began the conquest of the great plain of China. In a word, they supplanted the native Ming dynasty. In exchange for the shaven forescalp and long queue ("pigtail") which they inflicted upon the Chinese, they themselves took the civilization of China, and became docile pupils. The Jesuit missionaries in the capital enjoyed both the friendship and patronage of the first Ta-tsing emperors, Shun Chi, Kang Hi, Yung Cheng and Kien Lung. The sure foothold of the new dynasty in the empire was signalized by the compilation and issue of the famous "Imperial Dictionary," the "Webster's Unabridged" of the Chinese language. Learning and the arts flourished, and intercourse with western nations increased, until in this latter half of the nineteenth century we see that long contested problems are being solved in a manner not Chinese, but cosmopolitan. The old conception of China being the Middle Kingdom, around and far beyond the borders of which lay the uncivilized barbarian countries, is passing away. The long duel between Cossack and Tartar on the north has ended by making "ravenous Russia's" boundary lines the Amur and Usuri rivers, though Ili has been wrested back from the double-headed eagle; and strong garrisons, constantly maintained along her northern frontier, show China's determination to keep her borders from further "rectification" by diplomates. Her attitude toward France in Tonquin, and toward Japan in Corea, show her further intent to keep a "scientific frontier," and uphold her ancient doctrine of Whang-Ti, or sovereign over vassal nations. Under the pressure of necessity she has established legations and consulates in Europe and America, and has recognized the existence of her citizens abroad. At home the adoption of western military and naval organization and equipment, and of engineering, telegraphy and commercial methods, are largely due to the more practical and enterprising nature of the Manchiu leaders and statesmen. (See also
—LITERATURE. Williamson's Journeys in North China, Manchuria, London, 1870; Ross' The Manchus, The Reigning Dynasty of China, Paisley, 1879; Griffis' Corea, the Hermit Nation, New York and London, 1883.
WM. ELLIOT GRIFFIS.
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