Images de page


stream forms the rapids of St. Louis, the consequent from south-west to north-east. The more northerly interruption of the navigation naturally rendered La of these--the Thsiu-ling or Blue Mountains--are C. a turning point between the inaritime and the included between the parallels of 31^ and 34°. The inland communications. Gradually, however, its southern or Nan-ling chain is a spur of the Himaimportance in this respect has been diminished, if layar. Commencing in Yun-na:), it bounds Kwang. not extinguished, by works between it and Montreal se, Kwang-tung, and Fuh-keen on the north, and a canal, a railway, and even improvements in the passing through the province of Che-keang-where rapids themselves.

some of its peaks reach the height of 12,000 feetCHINESE EMPIRE, a vast territory in Eastern enters the sea at Ning.po; thus forming a continuAsia, comprehending five great divisions -- viz., ous barrier--penetrated only by a few steep passes, 1. Mantchuria (q. v.); 2. Mongolia (q. v.); 3. Turke of which the Mei-kwan or Mei Pass, is the best stan (q. v.); 4. Tibet (q. v. ;) 6. China Proper, or known---that separates the coast-land of Souththe Eighteen Provinces (Shih--Sang), including eastern China from the rest of the country. This the two large islands of Formosa and Haenan--the great chain throws off numerous spurs to the south former being reckoned in the province of Fuh-keen, and east, which, dipping into the sea, rise above it and the latter as a department of Kwang-tung. as a belt of rugged islands along the southern half

China Proper occupies the eastern slope of the of the Chinese seaboard. Of this belt, the Chusan table-lands of Central Asia. In form it approaches Archipelago is the most northerly portion. to a square, and covers a surface eighteen times

The magnificent river-system of China is repreas large as Great Britain. It is inhabited by more sented by those noble twin streams, the Hoang-ho than 400 millions of the human race, living or Yellow River, and the Yang-tze-kiang, which, under the same government, ruled by the same springing from the same water-shed, the eastern laws, speaking the same language, studying the mountains of Tibet, are widely separated in their same literature, possessing a greater homogeneity, mid course, but enter the sea within 2° of each a history extending over a longer period, and a other. The former has its source in 357° N. lat., more enduring national existence than any other and about 96° E. long.; and after a very tortuous people, whether of ancient or modern times; indeed, course, empties itself into the ocean in lat. 34o.* when we consider its high antiquity, its peculiar It is a 'mighty, impracticable, turbid, furious civilisation, its elaborate administrative machinery, stream for the most part, and little adapted for its wondrous language, its philosophy and classic Chinese navigation. But the river most beloved literature, its manufacturing industry and natural by the Chinese is the Yang-tze-kiang, or son of productions, giving rise to such a gigantic commerce the ocean,'--more correctly translated, the son that with our own land, China is perhaps the most spreads'--which name is only applied to it by the remarkable country in the world, and is worth a natives below the commencement of the delta ; for closer and more serious study than has yet been above that it is called simply Ta-kiang or Great generally accorded to it. China Proper is included River. The basin drained by it is estimated at between 18° and 40° N. lat. (which takes in the 750,000 square miles. Of the other rivers that island of Haenan), and 989---124° E. long. Its coast- water the country, the Peiho in the north, and the line exceeds 2506 miles; and the land-frontier 4400 Choo keang in the south, are the most noteworthy. miles. A line running direct north and south would

The principal lakes of China are five in number give a length of 1474 miles; and another at right --viz., the Tung-ting. hu, in 113° E. long., with a angles to this, 1355 miles; but one drawn diagonally circumference of about 220 miles; the Poyang-hu, in from its north-eastern extremity through Yun-nan 116° E. long., 90 miles in length by 20 in breadth ; would measure 1669 miles. The area of China the Hung-tsin-hu, in Keang-su ; the Tsau-hu, beProper is usually given as 1,297,999 square miles; tween Ngankin-fu and Nankin ; and the Tai-hu, in but Dr. Williams considers that the entire dimen- 120° E. long. On these lakes, artificially constructsions of the 18 provinces, as the Chinese define ed floating-islands, with houses, fields, and inhabitthem, cannot be much under 2,000,000 square ants, animals, and birds, are sometimes seen. miles. All these measurements, however, must be

The Grand Canal has very greatly facilitated the taken as mere approximations.

internal navigation of the country,

Until lately Physical Features.—China has a general slope from the great annual grain fleet, with its 430,000 tons the mountains of Tibet to the shores of the Pacific. of rice for the use of the capital, passed from the The two principal mountain.chains divide it into south to the neighbourhood of Pekin by this great three longitudinal basins, drained by thosc great water-way; thus avoiding the storms and pirates rivers for which China is famous. Within its pro- of the coast, but the alteration already mentioned vinces are found alluvial plains, fertile river-valleys, in the course of the Hoang-ho, has rendered it large populous towns, as well as thinly inhabited comparatively useless. It connects Tien-tsin in Chihhilly and mountainous regions. To describe its le with Hang-chow in Che-keang; though the canal surface more particularly, it may be viewed under proper commences in Shan-tung, and its total length its natural divisions of mountainous country, hilly is about 650 miles. country, and the Great Plain. The first comprehends

Another world-famous structure is the Great Wall more than half the region between the meridian 113° --called Wan-li-chang (myriad-mile-wall) by the and Tibet. East of this meridian, and to the south Chinese-which was built by the first emperor of the of the Yang-tze-kiang river, is the hilly country, Tsin dynasty about 220 B. C., as a protection against which includes the provinces of Fuh-keen, Keang- the Tartar tribes. It traverses the northern boundse, Kwang-tung, and a portion of Hu-nan and Hu. ary of China, extending from 31° E. to 15o W. of pih ; while to the north-east stretches the Great Pekin, and is carried over the highest hills, through Plain. This latter extends from the Great Wall the deepest valleys, across rivers and every other to 30° N. lat. ; a line drawn from King-Chow in natural obstacle. The length of this great barrier Hu-pih to Hwae-king on the Yellow River, may be is

, according to M‘Culloch, 1250 miles. Including a considered its western limit; and the sea forms its boundary on the east. This vast and generally fertile tract has an area of 210,000 square miles,

* The Hoang-ho has recently altered its course, and and supports a population of 177 millions.

now enters the sea in a somew bat higher latitude.

Such changes, causing losses, and entailing expense, From the mountains of Tibet two grand ranges are not unusual; and hence this river has been called stretch across China, having a general direction.China's sorrow.



parapet of 5 feet, the total height of the wall is grand state-ceremony is performed in its honour. 20 feet; thickness of the base, 25 feet; and at the The emperor, accompanied by his great officers of top, 15 feet. Towers or bastions occur at intervals state, repairs to the Sacred Field, and having offered of about 100 yards. These are 40 feet square at the sacrifice on an altar of earth, he traces a furrow base, and 30 feet at the summit, which is 57 feet, with the plough, and his example is followed by and in some instances 48 or 50 feet, from the ground. princes and ministers. A like solemnity is celeEarth enclosed in brickwork forms the mass of the brated by the governor of every, province, who wall; but for more than half its length it is little represents the emperor. The agricultural system else than a heap of gravel and rubbish.

of the Chinese is rude, but effective; and every Geology.—The high lands, where are the sources inch of arable land is carefully cultivated. Spadeof the great rivers of China, consist of granitic and husbandry and irrigation are carried on to a great metamorphic rocks. These are continued round the extent. The Chinese have a strong perception of south and south-east of the country, until they leave the value of night-soil as a manure; for, whilst a huge basin, through which flow the Yang-tze-kiang in this country thousands of pounds' worth are and Hoang-ho, occupied by fossiliferous strata. The annually thrown into the Thames, in China it wild and rugged scenery of the larger portion of everywhere saved, bears a high price, and is China is owing to the predominance of those crys- collected in a manner exceedingly offensive to talline and sub-crystalline rocks. The fossiliferous European notions. In the northern provinces, the strata exhibit representatives of the various for- cercals are principally maize, barley, and wheat; mations. The Palæozoic rocks are but sparingly but in the south, rice is raised in vast quantities, developed in a narrow stripe which runs from near and forms the staple food of the people. Tobacco Pekin, in a south-westerly curve, to nearly the and the poppy are also raised in considerable quancentre of the empire. Cretaceous rocks occur in tities. the valley of the Yang-tze-kiang. Tertiary beds fill Animals.--Very little is really known of the up the eastern portion of the immense basin ; while zoology of China. Of the monkey-tribe the most extensive districts to the west of this region, extend remarkable is the Cochin-Chinese monkey. Some ing to the crystalline rocks in the extreme west, are of the more ferocious of the carnivorous animals covered with modern detritus.

still linger in the jungles of Yun-nan, but are Though no active volcanoes are known to exist unknown in the cultivated districts.

Wild cats in the country, yet indications of volcanic action are common in the forests of the south, and bears

not wanting Salt and hot-water springs are still found in the hills of Shan-se. Of the are found in Yun-nan, in lat. 25° 35'; and wells ruminantia, there are the musk-deer (Moschus mosof petroleum in Shen-se, lat. 36° 40'. The most chiferus), the moose-deer, and a few other species. famous amongst the minerals of China is jade or The gold and silver pheasant, the argus pheasant, the yu-stone, obtained chiefly in Yun-nan. Coal, and other gallinaceous birds, hold a prominent limestone, and porcelain clays are abundant. Pre- place in the ornithology of China. Fly-catchers., cious stones are said to be met with in some thrushes, grackles, and goat-suckers have their districts. In Yun-nan, gold is washed from the representatives in China, and there are severa! sands of the rivers, and in the same province species of crows, jays, and magpies. Water-fow. silver-mines are worked; here, too, is obtained inhabit the lakes, rivers, and marshes. The larger the celebrated pe-tung or white copper. All the reptiles are unknown; but tortoises and turtlesi commoner metals are likewise found in China. abound on the coast, and lizards are plentiful in the: Near the city of Ning-po are extensive stone- south. The ichthyology of China is considered to quarries.

be one of the richest in the world. Sharks, rays, Vegetable Productions.-Our knowledge of the flora sturgeons, and other cartilaginous fishes, are com:: of China has been much advanced by the researches mon on the coast ; and the carp formerly was very of Mr. Fortune; and his works contain valuable plentiful in the lakes and rivers. The goldfish notices of the geography, culture, and varieties has been introduced into Europe from China. Of of the tea-plant, and of the botany of the country insects, the arachnidæ are large and numerous ; generally. The tea-plant (Thea viridis and Thea indeed, a tree-spider is said to attack small birds. bohea) is the most important vegetable production Locusts often commit extensive ravages. Silkof China. See art. TEA. The tallow-tree (Stillingia worms are highly valued, and reared in large sebifera), the Dryandra cordata or varnish-tree, the numbers. camphor-tree (Laurus Camphora), the Chinese pine In a country of such vast extent-extending (Pinus Sinensis), the Chinese banyan (Ficus nitida), from 18° to 40° N. lat.-the climate must vary the funereal cypress-introduced into this country greatly. Indeed, as regards both climate and proby Mr. Fortune--and the mulberry, are amongst the ductions, China may be divided into three zones most important trees of China. The cocoa-nut-the northern, the central, and the southern. The and other palms flourish on the southern coast. northern zone extends to the 35th parallel, and Of the bamboo, which grows as far north as lat. 38°, includes the fine provinces of Shang-tung, Chih-le, there are 63 principal varieties; and it is said that Shan-se, Shen-se, and Kan-su. It produces the the bamboos of China are more valuable than her grains, fruits, and animals of Northern Europe. mines, and, next to rice and silk, yield the greatest Here the children are red-cheeked, and the extremes

The various uses to which they are of heat and cold are great. In Chih-le, the winters applied are truly astonishing; and, amongst others, are very severe; and at that season ice a foot thick the bamboo is famous as an instrument of punish- renders the rivers unnavigable. The natural pro

The fruits of both the tropical and temper- ductions of this and the contiguous northern prov. ate zones-apples, grapes, pomegranates, mangoes, inces are wheat, barley, oats, apples, the hazel-nut, pine-apples, three species of orange, the lichi, &c. and the potato; they are also rich in wood and are found in the country; and camellias, azaleas, minerals. The central zone, the richest portion of and gardenias are natives of the 'Flowery Land.' China, contains eight provinces-Sze-chuen, KweiThe nymphæa, or water-lily, is greatly prized by the chow, Hu-nan, Hu-pih, Keang-su—and is bounded Chinese, both for ornament and in an economical by the 27th or 28th parallel ; tea and silk are its point of view. Agriculture is held in higher estima- characteristic products; the middle portion is the tion in China than, perhaps, any other country granary of China, and the eastern part is celebrated in the world. On the first day of each year, a for its manufactures of silk and cotton. The southern




[ocr errors]

Pop. per

Census of 1812.



475 444 252 420

[ocr errors]


850 705 320 671 276





zone embraces five provinces--Yun-nan, Kwang-tung, I to stand before European forces. The Chinese are, Kwang-se, Fuh-keen, and Che-keang. The exchange as a race, unwarlike, fond of peace and domestic of its tropical productions for those of the northern order, capable of a high degree of organisation and zone is an important branch of the internal commerce local self-government, sober, industrious, practical, of the country. Kwang-tung lies partly within the unimaginative, literary, and deeply imbued with tropics; and the whole province is tropical, both in the mercantile spirit. It is to be observed that climate and productions. Its fruits are oranges, the inhabitants of China Proper are essentially one lichees, mangoes, and bananas; rice is its staple people; the differences, except in dialect, being grain, and it produces the ground-nut, the sweet hardly more marked than between the Northumpotato, and the yam. The following table exhibits brian peasant and the Cornish miner. The the situation, area, and population of the eighteen south-eastern Chinese—the people of Kwang-tung, provinces into which China is divided for adminis- Fuh-keen, and the south of Che-keang--are the trative purposes :

most restless and enterprising in all the eighteen

provinces, and may be regarded as the Anglo-Saxons

Square Miles. Squnie Mile. Northern Provinces

of Asia. In the mountainous districts of the four Chih-le,


south-eastern provinces of China, but principally Shang-tung,

28,958,764 Shan-se, 14,004,210

in Kwang-se, are certain tribes who maintain à 55,268 23,037,171 65,104

rude independence, wear a peculiar dress, and are Eastern Provinces,

descended from the aboriginal inhabitants of China. Keang-su,


Of these the Meaon-tze are the best known.

34,168,059 49,461 Keang-se,


The manners and customs of the Chinese can only Che-keang, 26,256,781 $9,150

here be glanced at. The worship of ancestors is a Fuh-keen, 14,777,410 53,480

remarkable and prominent feature in their social Central ProvincesHu-pih, 27,370,098 70,450

life, and is dictated by that principle of filial piety Hu-nan, 18,652,507 74,320

which forms the basis of Chinese society. The rich Southern Provinces

have in their houses a chambr-a kind of domestic Kwang-tung, 19,174,030

79,456 Kwang-se,


sanctuary-dedicated to their forefathers. Tablets, 5,561,320 107,969

representing the deceased persons, and inscribed Kwei-chow, 5,288,219 64,554

with their names, are here carefully preserved; and Western Provinces

at stated seasons, prostrations and ceremonies are Shen-se,


67,400 Kan-su,


performed before them according to the Book of Rites. Sze-chuen, 21,433,678 166,880 128

All Chinese worship from time to time at the tombs

of their parents. In everything that relates to death Totals, 860,279,897 1,298,079 277

and sepulture, the customs of the Chinese are no less In 1842 the population of China proper was esti- singular. They meet their last enemy with apparent mated at 414,686,994 ; the dependencies, Mantchouria, unconcern; but whilst their future state troubles 3,000,000; Mongolia, 3,000,000; Thian-shan, 1,000,- them little, they regard the quality of their coffins 000; Thibet, 11,000,000; Corea, 9,000,000, and Loo as of vital importance, and frequently provide them Choo, 500,000–a total population of 477,500,000.

during their lifetime; indeed, a coffin is reckoned Inhabitants. Ethnologically, the Chinese belong a most acceptable present, and is frequently given to that variety of the human species distinguished by by children to their parents. • To be happy on a Mongolian conformation of the head and face, and earth,' say the Chinese, one must be born in a monosyllabic language. See CHINESE LANGUAGE, Su-chow, live in Canton, and die in Lianchau'WRITING, AND LITERATURE.

. A tawny or parch- Su-chow being celebrated for the beauty of its ment-coloured skin, black hair, lank and coarse, a women, Canton for its luxury, and Lianchau for thin beard, oblique eyes, and high cheek-bones, are furnishing the best wood for coffins. Yet death the principal characteristics of the race. The aver-is never alluded to in direct terms, but indicated age height of the Chinaman is about equal to that of the European, though his muscular power is not 80 great; the women are disproportionately small, and have a broad upper face, low pose, and linear eyes. Of the general character of the Chinese, it is not easy to form a fair and impartial judgment; and those who have resided long in the country, and

之 sh know them well, have arrived at very different conclusions. M. Huc asserts that they are destitute of religious feelings and beliefs,' 'sceptical and indifferent to everything that concerns the moral side of man,''their whole lives but materialism put in action;' but all this,' says Mr. Meadows, 'is baseless calumny of the higher life of a great portion of the human race.' He admits, indeed, that these charges are true of the mass of the Chinese, just as they are true of the English, French, and Americans; but as amongst these there is a large amount of generosity and right feeling, and also a minority higher in nature, actuated by higher motives, aiming at higher aims,' so also, he maintains, is there amongst the Chinese a similar right feeling, and a like minority who live a higher life than the people

Chinese Match-makers. generally. See HIQUEN-THSANG. As regards valour, their annals record deeds akin to the courage of rather by periphrases, such as—the person 'exists antiquity;' they have no fear of death, commit no inore," "he has saluted the age,' ascended to suicide as the solution of a difficulty, and endure the sky,' &c. Banquets are offered to the dead, the most cruel tortures with a passive fortitude ; and pathetic speeches addressed to them. In China, but neither their arms nor discipline enable them marriage is universal, and within the reach of all; 104





but there is a strict separation of the sexes, and | as no Chinaman is his own barber, a great number betrothal is undertaken by the parents or by profes- 1 of this calling find employment. The Chinaman is sional match-makers. Minute ceremonial observ- very sparing in his ablutions, and appears to be ances regulate every step, and frequently the bride afflicted with a strange hydrophobia ; for cold water, and bridegroom see each other on the wedding-day either as a beverage or for washing his person, for the first time. Women hold a very inferior he holds in abomination. Long nails are fashionposition, and are little better than slaves. Poly- able. The costume of the women differs but little gamy is not recognised by law, but secondary from that of the men, and their shoes are the wives are common, especially when the first proves most remarkable part of their toilet. A lady's shoe barren. Infanticide, though regarded as a crime, is measures about 31 inches from the heel to the toe. undoubtedly practised to some extent, as is proved the feet of the Tartar women are left as nature by edicts issued against it; and parents possess made them ; but amongst the Chinese, all young almost unlimited authority over their children. The girls of the better classes are crippled by a tyrant intercourse of the Chinese with each other, espe- custom. In early infancy the feet are tightly bound, cially of the upper classes, is regulated by a tedious the four small toes being tucked under the sole, of and elaborate etiquette; indeed, they are the slaves which, after a time, they become a part, and the of custom, and everything is done by precedent. heel is brought forward. The process is at length Many curious instances of Chinese politeness complete; stumps have been substituted for the might be cited. The well-bred host presses many ordinary pedal extremities, and the Chinese lady things on a visitor, which the latter must never totters on her goat's feet. dream of accepting. 'A Chinaman,' says Mr. The principal manufactures of the Chinese are Oliphant, has wonderful command of feature; he silk, cotton, linen, and pottery, for which latter generally looks most pleased when he has least they are especially celebrated. The finest porcelain reason to be so, and maintains an expression of is made in the province of Keang-se. The Chinese imperturbable politeness and amiability, when he invented printing in the beginning of the 10th c., is secretly regretting devoutly that he cannot and in 932 A. D. a printed imperial edition of the bastinade you to death. The Le-King, or Book sacred books was published. The skill of the of Rites, regulates Chinese manners, and is one Chinese in handicraft is astonishing. Their rich cause of their unchangeableness ; for here they are silks and satins, light gauzes, beautiful embroidery; stereotyped and handed down from age to age. elaborate engraving on wood and stone, delicate The ceremonial usages of China have been esti- filigree-work in gold and silver, carvings on ivory, mated at 3000; and one of the tribunals at Pekin fine lacquered ware, antique vessels in bronze, and -the Board of Rites—is charged with their inter- their brilliant colouring on the famous pith paper, pretation. Chinese cookery, in the use of made command our admiration. dishes, more nearly resembles the French than the Of the grand modern discoveries in the physical English. Birds'-nests soup, sharks' fins, deer-sinews, sciences the Chinese are profoundly ignorant, and and ducks' tongues, are amongst its delicacies. the study of nature is altoyether neglected. The The wine, or weak spirit (tsew), more correctly Chinaman objects to be wiser than his forefathers, speaking, used by the Chinese is made from rice; but spends a lifetime in studying his classical and from this, again, they distil a stronger literature and the sages of antiquity; and here is spirit, the samshoop of Canton. The former is doubtless one great cause of the homogeneity of drunk warm in minute cups at their meals; tea the race, and the stereotyped nature of the Chinese never appears during a repast, though it may be mind. taken before or after. The Chinese have numerous Of animal physiology and medicine the Chinese festivals ; and perhaps the most remarkable of these have very crude notions, as is shewn by their scheme is that celebrated at the commencement of the new of the human body, in which the heart is placed in year, when unbounded festivity prevails. Prepara- the centre, with the other organs ranged round it, tory to this, debts are settled, and the devout repair and their unphilosophical theory of the pulse, which to the temples to gain the favour of the gods. plainly demonstrates that they are ignorant of the The first day of the year may, in one sense, be true circulation of the blood, and the vascular reckoned the birthday of the whole people, for their system in man; hence their practice of medicine ages are dated from it. Visiting is, at the same must be empirical. Chinese physicians believe that time, carried on to a great extent, whilst parents man is composed of five elements; that so long as and teachers receive the prostrations and salutations each maintains its due proportion, health is preof their children or pupils. The festival of the served; but should one gain the ascendency, illness dragon-boats is held on the fifth day of the fifth follows, and the equilibrium must be restored by month; and at the first full moon of the year, the proper remedies. Acupuncture is practised. The feast of lanterns. In the manufacture of these Chinese have had the opportunity of practically the Chinese excel; and on the night of the festival, testing the superiority of Western medical science, lanterns illuminate each door, wonderful in their by the establishment of English and American variety of form and material.

hospitals, the introduction of vaccination, and by In the matter of dress, the Chinaman exhibits the publication of popular treatises on Physiology his usual practical sense, and varies the material and Practical Surgery, &c., by Dr. Hobson, late of according to the season, from cotton-wadded or Canton. It is worthy of remark, that these books fur-liried coats to the lightest silk, gauze, or grass- were eagerly sought after, and excited a deep cloth. On the approach of cold weather, he lights | interest amongst their literati ; indeed, the Physino fire in his dwelling, but puts on additional ology has been twice republished by persons holding clothing until the desired temperature is attained. high official situations at Canton, and in a preface to A tunic or kind of loose jacket fitting close round the Chinese edition, the publisher observes: Our the neck, and a wide short trouser, are his principal science, indeed, cannot compete with that of the garments. Shoes are made of silk or cotton, with philanthropic author.' thick felt soles. White is the colour of mourning. Government. In the centralised autocratic governThe Tartar tonsure and braided queue became ment of China, the emperor is absolute in the empire, general with the Mantchu conquest of the country, the governor in the province, the magistrate in the since which 180 millions of men have the hair district. The emperor claims no hereditary divine removed from their heads at short intervals; and right, and is not always the eldest son of tho


[ocr errors]




preceding monarch; the abiest son is nominated, but district-magistrate, presides over this division, and his right to the throne as the Teen-tze, or Tien-tze, is assisted by several subordinate officers. A group 'son of heaven,' the Fung-tien, .divinely appointed,' of districts-six is the average number for the whole can only be established by good government, in 18 provinces—forms a department, and is ruled by accordance with the principles laid down in the a prefect, who resides in the fu or departmental national sacred books. If, on the contrary, he violates city. Three departments, on an average, constitute these principles, the people firmly believe that heaven a circuit, of which an intendant (Taoutae) has the signifies, by unmistakable signs, that their ruler is charge. not its chosen representative. The rivers rise from The several gredes of mandarins, or Chinese their beds, the ground sullenly refuses its fruits, government officials (Chinese name, kwan-fu), are the plains tremble, the hills reel, and the typhoon distinguished chiefly by a different-coloured :ball rages over seas and coasts, all alike uttering a or button on the top of the

or button on the top of the cap. There are twelve Numbered, numbered, weighed and parted,” that orders of nobility confined to the imperial house requires no interpretation, but is read in anxiety by and clan, and also five ancient orders of nobility the people, in dismay and terror by the prince,' who open to the civil and military servants of the state. seeks by repentance, and a return to the true prin- The normal government of China is less a despotism ciples of the gover:ment, to avert his doom. The than a morally supported autocracy, and it is in emperor is absolute as legislator and administrator; principle paternal.

What the father is to his but he must legislate in accordance with the general family, that the governor, the prefect, and the principles acknowledged in the country. He also magistrate are intended to be, each in his own constitutes, in his own person, the highest criminal sphere, to the prople; whilst the emperor stands

The Chinese possess a carefully digested in the same relation to the myriad inhabitants of code of laws, which is added to and modified from his vast dominions. In ordinary times, the Chinatime to time by imperial edicts. Their penal code man enjoys much practical freedom, and can travel commenced 2000 years ago, and copies of it are through the country without passport, or follow any sold at so cheap a rate as to be within reach calling he likes. of people of the humblest means. Death, which The Chinese executive system is based on those the Chinaman prefers to long confinement, is the noteworthy competitive examinations, whiclı penalty for a large number of offences, and in intended to sift out from the millions of educated ordinary years about 10,000 criminals are executed. Chinese the best and ablest for the public service. Several modes of torture are legal. The emperor is The first exiunination takes place every three years assisted in governing by two councils-1. The Inner in the capital of each department, when the lowest or Privy Council, composed of six high officials, degree-that of bachelor-is conferred on a certain three of whom are Chinese and three Mantchus; number of candidates from each district. Triennial also ten assistants. The four senior ministers exercise examinations are held in the provincial capital, functioris corresponding to those of an English presided over by two examiners from Pekin, at prime - minister. 2. The General or Strategical which sometimes as many as 10,000 bachelors Council, which closely resembles our cabinet; being present themselves, and compete for the degree of composed of the most influential officers in the licentiate. Some 1200 obtain it, and these may capital, who exercise high legislative and executive attend the trienninl metropolitan examination at duties. The decisions of the emperor in council are Pekin, when about 200 may hope for the coveted regularly published in the Pekin Gazette. There degree of doctor, which insures immediate preferare besides, in the capital, six yamuns or public ment. offices, each charged with a distinct department of Mr. Meadows, the most philosophical, perhaps, of government; and over all is the Court of General our writers on China, and from whose works the Inspection, or the Censorate, as it is called by foregoing sketch of the administrative system of the foreigners. The mandarins composing this are the country has been chiefly derived, has entered very eyes and ears of the emperor;' for it is their pro- fully into what may be termed the philosophy of vince to see that all officers of the government, Chinese government, which he sums up in the followprovincial or metropolitan, are faithful in the dis- ing doctrines, and believes them to be deducible charge of their respective duties.

from the classic literature of the country, and the The adıninistrative machinery of the Chinese is true causes of the wonderful duration of the Chinese very perfect in its organisation, and demands an empire. 1. That the nation must be governed attentive consideration for the right understanding by moral agency, in preference to physical force. of the people and government. In each of the 18 2. That the services of the wisest and ablest men in provinces is an imperial delegate or governor, who, the nation are indispensable to its good government. besides being at the head of the civil jurisdiction, 3. That the people have the right to depose a is commander-in-chief, and possesses the power of sovereign who, either from active wickedness or life and death for certain capital offences. He is vicious indolence, gives cause to oppressive and privileged to correspond with the cabinet-council tyrannical rule. And to these he adds an instituand the emperor.

Under the governor are the tion — the system of public-service competitive Superintendent of Provincial Finances, the Pro- examinations. But, on the other hand, these examvincial Criminal Judge, and the Provincial Educa- inations, by directing the attention of students solely tional Examiner; each communicates with his to the ancient literature of the country, to the exespecial board in Pekin. The governor is also clusion of the physical sciences and inductive philosassisted by many other judicial and administrative ophy, however efficient in producing that wonderful officials. The governmental organisation of each homogeneity for which the inhabitants of the Cenprovince is complete in itself, but in a few instances tral Kingdom are famous, stunt and stereotype the two provinces—Kwang-tung and Kwang-se, for national mind, which, like the dwarfed tree the instance m a viceroyalty, over which a governor Chinaman delights to raise in a flower-pot, or the general, in addition to the governors, exercises feet of a Chinese girl, can never fully expand authority. Every province is again subdivided into Education, as the high road to official employdistricts, departments, and circuits. The average ment, to rank, wealth, and influence, is cagerly number of districts in a province is eighty, and sought by all classes. Literary proficiency comeach of these is about the size of an English mands everywhere respect and consideration, and county. A civil functionary, called sometimes the primary instruction penetrates to the remotest

« PrécédentContinuer »