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them to their position, appeared urgent, in order to finish his operations the ensuing year. He was a man of genius, as well as a good scholar ; and having contemplated some time on the subject, he invented the game
of Chess, as well for the amusement of his men, in their vacant hours, as to in. flame their military ardour, the game being wholly founded on the principles of war. The stratagem succeeded to his wish. The soldiery were delighted with the
and forgot, in their daily contests for victory, the inconveniences of their post. In the spring the general took the field again ; and in a few months, added the rich country of Shensi to the kingdom of Kiangnan, by the defeat and capture of its king, Choupayuen, a famous warrior among the Chinese. On this
conquest Hung Cochu assumed the title of Emperor, and Choupayuen put an end to his own life in despair.”
The manner of playing I shall give hereafter, when I treat of the various modes in
Mr. Irwin infers, that the game is probably of Chinese origin, from the following :
.. That the confined situation and powers of the king, resembling those of a monarch in the earlier parts of the world, countenance this supposition ; and that, as it travelled westward, and descended to later times, the sovereign prerogative extended itself, until it became unlimited, as in our state of the game. That the agency of the princes, in lieu of the queen, bespeaks forcibly the nature of the Chinese customs, which exclude females from all power or influence whatever; which princes, in its passage through Persia, were changed into a single vizier, or minister of state, with the large portion of delegated authority that exists there; instead of whom, the European nations, with their usual gallantry, adopted a queen on their board. That on the acquisition of so strong a piece as the vizier, the paö, or rocket boys, were suppressed, as possessing powers unintelligible, at that time, to other nations, and three pawns added in consequence to make up the number of men ; and that, as discipline improved, the lines, which are straggling on the Chinese board, might have been closed on ours. That the river between the parties is expressive of the general face of this country, 'where a battle 'could hardly be fought without encountering an interruption of this kind, which the soldier was here taught to overcome; but that, on the introduction of the game into Persia, the board changed with the dry nature of the region, and the contest was decided on terra firma*. And lastly, that in no account of Chess that he had seen has the story been so consistent or characteristic as the above." With the Indians (according to him) it was designed by a Brahmin, to cure the melancholy of the daughter of a rajah. 5 But with the Chinese, it was invented by an experienced soldier, on the principles of war. Not to dispel love-sick vapours, or to instruct a female in a science that could neither benefit nor inform her ; but to quiet the murmurs of a discontented soldiery ; to employ their vacant hours in lessons on the military art,
* This reasoning will be better understood, when the description of the Chinese game, in the third chapter, is read.
and to cherish the spirit of conquest in the bosom of winter
is traced by them on record near two centuries before the Christian æra; and among the numerous claims for this noble invention, that of the Chinese, who call it, by way of distinction, Chong Kè, or the Royal Game, appears alone to be indisputable.”
Others again suppose it originated in India ; and the story adopted by these is as follows:
It is said, that about the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian æra, there was in the Indies a very powerful prince, who took to himself the proud title of King of the Indies ; his father had forced a great number of sovereign princes to pay tribute to him, and submit themselves under his empire. The young monarch, not aware that kings ought to be the fathers of their people; that the subjects' love of their king is the only solid support of his throne ; and that a king without subjects would only bear an empty title, without having any real superiority over others, fell into the most unbounded licentiousness and cruelty.
His priests and nobility in vain represented to him the impolicy of his conduct, but intoxicated with the idea of his grandeur, which he thought was not to be shaken, he despised their wise remonstrances ; and, on their complaints and representations continuing, he to revenge his authority, which he thought despised by those who thus dared to disapprove his conduct, caused several of the chief of them to be put to death by the most cruel torments.
This affrighted the others; they were silent: and the prince abandoned to himself, and, what was far more dangerous for him, and terrible to his people, given up to the pernicious counsels of flatterers, was hurried on to the last excesses. The people were oppressed under the weight of this tyranny ; and the tributary princes, persuaded that the king of the Indies, in losing the love of his people had lost the very essence of his power and strength, were preparing to throw off the yoke.
Then a Brahmin, or Indian philosopher, named Nassir (Serses, or Sissa), the son of Daher, touched with the misfortunes