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other sources. Every one knew before this embassy was sent from England, that China was subject to a monarch, and that its government was administered by men selected from every province by an examination of candidates for office; that there was neither nobility nor established religion; that the common people were idolaters, and that at certain times it was the custom of all ranks to pay religious reverence to their deceased ancestors; that the mandarins were supposed to be atheists (and to their real sentiments we have no clue in this work); that the country was governed by written laws, and that they were well acquainted with printing; that the bamboo was an instrument of punishment very general in its application; that the kingdom was extremely populous; that the canal was covered with boats; that manufactures of various kinds were carried on to a very great extent; and that, if the people did not possess much of the talent of invention, they surpassed every other nation in the powers of imitation.

All this, and much more, we had learned from Du Halde, the Letters of the Missionaries, and the accounts of other travellers; yet the repetition of them in the six hundred pages of this author is by no means unentertaining. We could not expect much deep research from him; yet in the course of his journey he has marked those circumstances which confirm the impression we have received of the Chinese, and excite a desire for more enlarged information. The Chinese character, like that of all other nations, has its excellences and its defects the prominent features excite our approbation; whilst, as in the polished inhabitants of ancient Greece and Rome, those horrible crimes are tolerated, which excite in all who have a true idea of the dignity of human nature, the utmost indignation and contempt.

The Chinese have been represented as a nation very much addicted to thieving: yet their honesty, sobriety, and carefulness, are scarcely to be parallelled, if we may judge of their possession of these qualities by the occurrences in this embassy. Of the number of packages, which amounted to not less than six hundred of various sizes and descriptions, not a single article was missing or injured on their arrival at the capital, notwithstanding they had been moved about and carried by land, and transhipped several times. In unpacking a similar care was remarkable on arriving at Yuen-min-yuen,' says our author,

I found a number of Chinese workmen busily employed in breaking open the packages, some in one place and some in another, to the no little danger of the globes, clocks, glass lustres, and such like frangible articles, mapy of which must inevitably have suffered under less careful and dexterous hands than those of the Chinese. As it was intended they should be placed in one large

room, the great hall in which the emperor gives audience to his ministers, the first operation was to move them all thither, and carefully to unpack them; and we had the satisfaction to find that not a single article was either missing or injured.' P. 106.

Cheerfulness seems to be a characteristic of the nation:

The cheerful and good-natured countenances of the multitude were extremely prepossessing; not less so their accommodating behaviour to one another. There was an innocence and simplicity in their features, that seemed to indicate a happy and contented turn of mind. This, however, being a sort of gala day, we might, on account of the extraordinary occasion, perhaps have viewed them to the best advantage; yet the same cheerful and willing mind had constantly shewn itself on all occasions, by all those who were employed in the service of the embassy. On board the yachts constant mirth and good humour prevailed among the seamen.' P. 80.

European soldiers may take a lesson from the conduct of their brethren in China:

A file of soldiers now moved along with the procession on each side of the road, armed with whips, which they continually exercised in order to keep off the crowd that increased as we approached the capital, and, at length, was so great as to obstruct the road. We observed, however, that though the soldiers were very active. and noisy in brandishing their whips, they only struck them against the ground, and never let them fall upon the people. Indeed a Chinese crowd is not so tumultuous and unruly as it generally is elsewhere.' P. 89.

Indeed an English and Chinese mob are two very different things, and a little more urbanity among us would no ways injure our character:

Although an extraordinary crowd might be expected to assemble on such a particular occasion, on the same principle of curiosity as could not fail to attract a crowd of spectators in London, yet there was a most remarkable and a striking difference observable between a London and a Pekin populace. In the former the whole attention and soul of the multitude would have been wrapt up in the novel spectacle; all would have been idlers. In Pekin, the shew was but an accessary; every one pursued his business, at the same time that he gratified his curiosity. In fact, it appeared that, on every day throughout the whole year, there was the same noise and bustle and crowd in the capital of China. I scarcely ever passed the western gate, which happened twice, or oftener, in the week, that I had not to wait a considerable time before the passage was free, particularly in the morning, notwithstanding the exertions of two or three soldiers with their whips to

clear the way. The crowd, however, was entirely confined to the great streets, which are the only outlets of the city. In the cross lanes all was still and quiet.' r. 97.

The Chinese laws allow of pressing, and the emperor's service is an excuse for tearing away a poor man from his home and family. At an island where pilots were wanted, applica tion was made to the governor, who instantly issued orders for all men acquainted with the coast by which the ship was to pass, to appear before him,-and the tears and supplications of those who were selected for this service were of no avail.

This arbitrary proceeding of the governor conveyed no very exalted ideas of the justice or inoderation of the government, or of the protection it afforded to the subject. To drag away from his family an honest and industrious citizen, settled in trade, and to force him into a service that must be ruinous to his concerns, was an act of injustice and violence that could not be tolerated in any other than a despotic government, where the subject knows no laws but the will of the tyrant. But we are yet on a distant island of the great empire, remote from the fountain of authority; and delegated power, in all countries, is but too liable to be abused. Besides, a Chinese might be impressed with sentiments equally unfa vourable of our government, were he informed of the manner in which imperious necessity sometimes requires our navy to be manned.' P. 59.

From this specimen of their government it may be concluded that their police is extremely well regulated ;-and it is so in the great cities; but the bands of robbers which rove about some districts of the country, are a manifest proof of the great imbecility or great inattention of the government. From drunkenness the nation is remarkably free; but, in lieu of it, in gambling it may vie with any country of Europe. Suicide is frequent; infanticide very common: a remarkable degree of attention is paid by the laws to the life of an individual, who cannot be executed without an examination of his case by the high tribunal at Pekin; yet an indifference prevails with respect to each other in case of accidents, that seems unaccountable. Of the women we can know but little from this work, for it does not appear that the writer ever conversed with any: they appear but little in public, and the strange custom of pinching their feet renders that limb not only very deformed, but effectually prevents them from following the amusements of our world. The practice of buying and selling women excites the author's peculiar indignation; and is indeed a striking feature of immorality, which must be attended with many unhappy consequences.

The superior style of dress and the appearance of the women in public at Sou-tchoo-foo, so different from the general custom of the country, could only be explained to us by the writings of the Christian missionaries, who observe that the concubines of mandarins and men of property are chiefly procured from the cities of Yang-tchoo and of Sou-tchoo, where they are educated in the pleasing arts of singing, music and dancing, and every other accomplishment suitable to women of superior rank, in order to Tender them the more agreeable and fascinating. That such women are generally purchased by persons engaged in the trade, in different parts of the country, and trained in these citics, where they are disposed of to the highest bidder, "this being the princi pal branch of trade that is carried on in those two cities." How do these holy men reconcile so infamous a traffic among a people whom they have adorned with every virtue? a people whom they have rendered remarkable among nations for their filial piety! Is there on earth a crime more revolting against civilized nature, or more detestable to civilized society, than that of a parent selling his own child and consigning her, expressly and voluntarily, into a state of prostitution? Those unfortunate wretches who, in Europe, have by any accident reduced themselves to that degraded and deplorable condition of becoming subservient to the pleasures of a man, whom they probably detest, are generally the objects of pity, however their conduct may be disapproved; but a parent, who should be the cause of reducing them to such a state, would be execrated; but the assertion is as absurd as ridiculous, and the writer must have been very credulous to suppose, that the "principal trade" of one of the largest cities in the world, whose population cannot be less than a million of souls, should consist in buying and selling ladies of pleasure. Buying females in the legal way is certainly the greatest branch of trade throughout China, as every woman there is bought and sold. These reverend gentlemen likewise inform us, with great indifference, that if a man be desi rous of having a male child and his wife should happen to be barren, he will purchase one of these concubines for the sole purpose of getting an heir; and, when this is accomplished, he either provides her with a husband, or turns her adrift. Such are the moral virtues of the Chinese, compared with whom all other na tions have been accounted barbarous.' P. 518.

We must not however bear too hard upon the Chinese for this instance of their conduct toward the fair sex, when London exhibits every night such numbers whose charms are upon sale, and the conduct of the English in this respect might be considered by a native of China to be as great a breach of morality as the sale of women in his own country.

The property in land is vested in the emperor; who is content however with a small part of the produce, and the subject is very little harassed by taxation: yet in general poverty seems to be the lot of the great bulk of the inhabitants, though

they have neither large farms nor monopolists in corn to increase (as they are idly supposed to do in Europe) the price of the necessaries of life. Land is divided into very small portions, just capable of supporting a family; and in consequence, when bad seasons come, famine thins the ranks of a superabundant population. The arguments on the advantage of small farms receive in this country a practical confutation, and throughout there does not seem to prevail a due sense of the value of the division of labour. They have no poor-laws, yet scarcely is a beggar to be seen. Indeed on the subject of laws and taxation two passages must be quoted, which place the Chinese government in a very high point of view, compared even with the most enlightened ones of Europe.

It would far exceed the limits of the present work, were I to enter into a detail of their code of laws, which indeed I am not sufficiently prepared to do. They are published for the use of the subject, in the plainest characters that the language will admit, making sixteen small volumes, a copy of which is now in Eng. land; and I am encouraged to hold out a reasonable hope, that this compendium of the laws of China may, ere long, appear in an able and faithful English translation, which will explain, more than all the volumes that have hitherto been written on the subject of China, in what manner a mass of people, more than the double of that which is found in all Europe, has been kept together through so many ages in one bond of union. This work on the laws of China, for perspicuity and method, may justly be compared with Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. It not only contains the laws arranged under their respective heads, but to every law is added a short commentary and a case.

I have been assured, on the best authority, that the laws of China define, in the most distinct and perspicuous manner, almost every shade of criminal offences, and the punishment awarded to each crime that the greatest care appears to have been taken in constructing this scale of crimes and punishments; that they are very far from being sanguinary: and that if the practice was equal to the theory, few nations could boast of a more mild, and, at the same time, a more efficacious dispensation of justice. Of all the despotic governments existing, there is certainly none where the life of man is held so sacred as in the laws of China. A murder is never overlooked, except in the horrid practice of exposing infants: nor dares the emperor himself, all-powerful as he is, to take away the life of the meanest subject, without the formality at least of a regular process, though, as will be seen in the case of the late prime ininister of Kien-Long, the chance of escaping must be very slender, where he himself becomes the accuser. So tenaciously however do they adhere to that solemn declaration of God deliver ed to Noah-At the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his that the good intention is oftentimes defeated by

blood be shed,"

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