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time my keen sorrow, I announce this circumstance to heaven and earth, and to my imperial ancestors, and sit down on the imperial throne. Let the next vear be the first of the reign of Taou-Kwang/' '—lb. 48-50.
What a striking caricature is here upon the regal pomposities of the West! How much this pageant resembles the magnificent pomp of European coronations, the courtmummery, the sycophant adulation, the almost divine assumption on the part of the monarch! The truth ip, that man is the same creature in all climates. Under all phases of development, ihe results of diverse national institutions and educational processes, the darker parts of his nature always come prominently to view, only these are perhaps of a deeper shade in the Asiatic than in the European. The principles which are impulsive to evil deeds have an inherence in all men. Civilization, and indirectly, perhaps, Christianity, have to some extent modified these in the western world, but in the East, from the seraglio to the marketplace, ihey are in full and terrible potency.
Unlike his predecessors, Taou-Kwang restricted himself to one wife, upon whom he conferred the title of empress; and shocked at the licentiousness and debauchery which had prevailed among the courtiers in the days of his father, who was accustomed to keep his unruly satellites in order by the frequent use of the whip, he determined to puiify the court, by abolishing the harem, that source of constant evil to the oriental world. He endeavored, by politic cunning, to govern entirely as an autocrat, which even in China seems to be less possible than in France; but he could not break through the ancient customs of his government, and there remained no alternative but to choose advisers. Considerable popularity attended the accession of the new emperor, whose characteristic frugality, with the change of his rank, grew into hard and cruel avarice. His love of money was boundless, and that love increased with every additional year of his rule; so that it became at length the great business of his existence to amass silver, and it was his greatest pleasure to feast his eyes with the glittering heaps. Many of his subjects, who knew his ruling passion, either to avoid his helping himself to their resources, or to obtain favor and promotion at his hands, sent him large masses of silver ore; and thus, in a few years, the emperor accumulated so much sycee silver, that the currency was greatly injured, and incalculable misery was brought upon the people by
his avarice. His successor, the present emperor, according to the almost invariable law in such cases, will soon send all the hoarded wealth into circulation.
Taou-Kwang's father had objected, during the whole course of his reign, to any religious innovations. Perfect religious freedom is impossible under any form of political despotism; and Keaking, in repressing all tendencies towards dissent from the national orthodoxy, only acted after the manner of the order to which he belonged. Tyrants will always tyrannize, and they who are politically autocratic are not satisfied with anything short of absolutism in religion. He waged fierce war with all his subjects who differed from the "orthodox standard." Towards the close of his reign, he received that conviction, which sooner or later impresses itself upon all tyrannical hierarchs, that the more he persecuted, the more obstinately the people adhered to their new ideas. Taou-Kwang had long seen the absurdity of attempting to enforce a uniform system of religious belief and practice upon a nation; and when he ascended the throne, he resolved not to take notice of any new sects which might arise, nor of the Christian missionaries, who had already penetrated into the empire. The Chinese are generally much attached to what with them is " the orthodox system" of religion, which has been handed down from their fathers. New religious ideas do not find favor with them, although their political sects are numerous, and have resisted all the attempts of the government to put them down. To these political sectarians the Chinese emperor showed no mercy.
The first four years of Taou-Kwang's reign were passed in much tranquillity. There were no rebels on the land and no pirates on the sea—circumstances which, without doubt, have been very rare in the imperial experience. But speedily after that period, the turbulence of the people manifested itself; and foreign wars and intestine dissensions brought the empire to the blink of ruin. These rebellions repeatedly occurred. Indeed, the wicked system of government, the universal corruption of persons in office, the heartless and unceasing exactions of the mandarins, inflamed the masses of the people almost to madness. Unity of language alone gives coherence to the Chinese empire. Between the governed and their rulers there can be no sympathy; and in no other country, it is probable, is there so much strife and rebellion as in China. Whole districts will suddenly break out iuto frenzied riotousness, and even at the present hour a very large section of the empire is in rebellion against the imperial government. The people are refractory simply because their rulers are oppressive. Hunger and demagogues are always at hand to fan the fire of sedition. Secret societies enlarge the circle of rebellion, and, over many leagues of country, labor rises against property. Towns and villages are given to the flame. The mandarins are not seldom roasted alive. The government finds its mercenary soldiers utterly unavailing to quench the flame of revolt. Enormous bribes are a never-failing remedy; and when the weak and cowardly government has put down the revolt, the cruelties it perpetrates on its prisoners are so dreadful and so peculiar, that we believe they are unequalled in any other country of the world.
In 1834, the emperor was greatly disquieted by the arrival of Lord Napier as the chief superintendent of trade at Macao. The British representative, after some delay, went up to Canton, and the Chinese government was alarmed by the " barbarian eye placing himself in the flowery land." Taou-Kwang was greatly averse to have any friendly intercourse with the western world. Aware of the inefficiency of his army, and the utter uselessness of his fleet, he had no wish that these should be brought into contact with European forces. His navy was in a deplorable condition; and his favorite idea with regard to it was, that the ships should be "stationed like chessmen" in the inner seas, when, if it were reported that his admirals had allowed any of the enemy's vessels to escape, he upbraided and disgraced the commanders. They, in their own defence, asserted that " the foreign ships sailed with the swiftness of the shuttlecock, and that it was impossible to intercept them."
In 1840, Taou-Kwang, and, indeed, his whole empire, were greatly alarmed by the menaces of the British, who were prohibited by imperial edict from trading with the natives in opium. The emperor, in his emergency, called to his councils the Commissioner Lin. Possessed of much energy and of consummate tact, Lin knew that it was utterly vain to trifle with the outside barbarians. The whole coast was rapidly put into a state of defence. The choicest Chinese warriors were marched towards the seaboard for the utter extermination of the presumptuous barbarian eye. The generals who, in the earlier part of Taou-Kwang's reign, had gained successes, although rather
by bribery and treachery than by the display of military skill, were deputed to destroy the hateful English. But in vain. The sons of the flowery land were powerless before Anglo-Saxon skill and valor. Chusan was taken, and, to the consternation of the imperial court, the British fleet appeared off the mouth of the Pei-ho. The emperor then selected Keshen, his most astute diplomatist, to induce the fleet to withdraw to the eastern waters. He was successful; and the withdrawal of the fleet was regarded by the Chinese as a triumph to the empire, and throughout the whole land the cry resounded, "Destruction to the barbarians!" Keshen and Elepoo, the wisest of the imperial counsellors, were degraded, and the command of the forces was given to Yukeen, who made immense preparations to repel the English. He announced to his soldiery, that he desired nothing more than to meet the outside barbarians in battle.
'• The preparations for receiving the barbarians had been immense; but the vigorous measures of Lord Gough, Sir William Parker, and Sir Henry Pottinger, defeated all the plans. Amoy fell; Chusan came again into the hands of the English, and Yukeen finally had his heart's desire—an engagement with the barbarians. He wished them to come close to the muzzle of his guns; but before this gratification had been afforded him, the fortifications were demolished by cannon and bombs, and his forces defeated; he himself being the first to flee to save his life. On his retreat he repented of his precipitancy, and attempted to drown himself to avoid the imputation of cowardice; ha was, however, drawn out of the water by a poor fisherman ; but he afterwards swallowed some gold-leaf, and thus committed suicide."— pp. 176, 177.
Other generals were defeated ; the wretched soldiers were led only to slaughter; the English steam-ships spread havoc and ruin on the coast; and the emperor began to tremble for the safety of his capital. Had the attacking force been larger, and had the expeditionary force been furnished with small iron steam-vessels of light draught, and suitable for river navigation, there can be no doubt but that Pekin might have been approached, and the haughty monarch compelled to sign a treaty of peace and indemnification in his own capital. That is an event which will occur in the course of a few years. The British occupation of the Chinese sea-board—especially since our Transatlantic kinsmen and rivals have had an eye to Japan—is simply a matter of time.
Towards the close of 1841, Taou-Kwang became convinced that he was not equal to a contest with the outside barbarians. Some members of his court, who had gleaned a little intelligence as to the locality and resources of Great Britain from Chinese sailors, colonists, and others, suggested that the war should be carried from China into Great Britain. The plan of operations suggested was this :—To build a fleet thrice as strong and as numerous as the English fleet, and to station these huge vessels off Singapore and Angeer to intercept and destroy in detail the British ships, and also to march nn army of three hundred thousand men through Siberia and Russia upon London! The unfortunate emperor admired the grandeur of the idea, but doubted its practical application. Hou-Chun, the officer commanding at Pekin—the Marshal Ney of China—came forward to the relief of his master in his difficultii's, with the happy suggestion of building a steamer which could carry six thousand men, half divers, and half gunners. With this enormous ship he professed himself ready to fight the whole EnglUh fleet. The gunners were to fire their terrible broadsides, and the divers were to bore holes in the men of war, and thus the fortune of the flowery land was to be restored. Many steam-vessels had been attempted, in imitation of the English ships; but, although the vessels in every particular seemed to resemble those of the British, it was found impossible to move the paddle-wheels. At length the British fleet rode triumphantly in the Yangtse-Kiang, and Taou-Kwang, convinced that he could not resist the barbarian eye, gave carte blanche for the conclusion of a treaty. The particulars of that treaty are well known to our readers, and it is, therefore, unnecessary to state them here. It not merely brought peace to the discomfited and terrified Chinese, but it also secured religious toleration for all foreigners residing in the empire. A Roman Catholic dignilary, desirous of benefiting his own sect only, interpreted this permission as extending solely to those foreign religionists who told their beads, and adored the cross; but the interference of Sir H. Pottinger removed the proposed restriction, and secured religious freedom for all t4ie outside barbarians. On the conclusion of the war,
so disastrous to the Chinese interests, and so humiliating to the imperial divinity, TaouKwang retired from the affairs of state almost into private life. A haggard and worn old man, he clung to life with remarkable tenacity. The wretched heathenism in which he believed could cast no cheering ray upon the murky future, and fearful of death, he hoped he might live as long as his forefathers, to rule his vast empire. Thus, the more his years increased—although he had almost entirely withdrawn from affairs of state—the more active he appeared in public, the more gorgeous was his style of dress and equippage, and the more readily he manifested to the public that he had a vigor beyond his years. But his days were numbered. On February 11th, 1850, an edict "in the vermilion pencil" appeared,—"Let Yih-Choo, the imperial fourth son, be set forth as heirapparent." This was his last public act, and he speedily " went on his long journey."
Altogether, we have been much pleased with this little volume, which is interesting, not merely as it gives some satisfactory knowledge of Chinese society, but because it is a living voice, addressing us from among the teeming millions of China. What the new emperor's reign will be, we cannot discern; but it is very clear that a great change is at hand in the condition of the people. Evidently, the democratic influence in the empire is gaining ground—the divine attributes of the emperor are becoming daily more absurd in the eyes of his people. Christianity, too— that mighty leaven which, sooner or later, dissolves unholy powers—is beginning to exert a great influence on the people. Political changes will, without doubt, accelerate the advent of religious enlightenment upon the heathenish masses of the Chinese empire, and we may confidently expect that the labors of our missionaries in that benighted land will have a happy issue. The present volume cannot be perused without profit, and, as it will convey much satisfactory knowledge in relation to the condition of the inhabitants of China, we commend it to the attention of our readers.
From the Quirterly Raviaw.
ART AND NATURE UNDER AN ITALIAN SKY.*
It is fortunate that, at a time when cheap postage has enabled too many people to write badly with the greatest ease, the effusions of returned tourists should be less in vogue than formerly. All the information that aspires not above the useful, with much more beside, is now admirably arranged and condensed in the Handbouks; and whoever would snatch a grace beyond them must bring no common abilities as well as opportunities to the task. In short, nothing but a new country can now carry down a poor book. This is as it should be. Yet it is no less true that, however old the theme, a new mind will freshen it—however over-described the region, one good description more is always welcome. This, we do not hesitate to say, the work before us offers. A grand-daughter of Beckford's, while travelling in his steps, had a claim of no common kind to be heard, and she has fully justified her claim. We will not say that she is deficient either in the knowledge or poetic feehng of her grandsire, though she makes a display of neither; but her merits rather consist in turning to unusual account that weakness in which lies a ladytourist's strength, namely, the absence of that medium of acquired lore which, in the best hands, will as often intercept as enhance the prospect. Descriptions of Italy by timehonored names—scholar, poet, and painter —rank among the highest works in the English language, and he or she must be bold who would compete with them on their own ground; yet we may unreservedly own that some of them present as little of real Italy as Dr. Johnson does of real Scotland. In this elegant volume the slight element of personal association, if not worth much, is soon swept away, and nothing remains between our mind's or memory's eye and a most unusually distinct view of Italy itself.
There are as many creeds in scenery as in religion, and as exclusive too. The thorough, out-and-out Highland-worshiper, for instance,
•Art and Nature under an Italian Sky. By M. J. M.D. Edinburgh. 8vo. 1852.
is seldom converted to any other form of natural beauty; but, though our authoress's life seems to have been chiefly cast among Scottish scenes, she is truly catholic in her love of nature, and depicts every gradation, from the rugged to the soft, with a kind of joyful precision we have seldom found surpassed. A lively sketchy chapter of Introduction prepares the reader for that stamp of traveller least likely to feel fatigue herself or to impart it to others. She hoists the banner of real enthusiasm at once—begins with a thrill of delight at 'the Rhine! the Rhine !' and takes us on in rapid stages of ecstasy at the first sight of the Alps, along the Lake of Geneva, and over the Simplon Pass, till she culminates in an appropriate transport at the sudden transition to the southern beauties of the Yal d'Ossola.
The entrance into Genoa is the occasion of another burst, and also the scene of an adventure.
"The approach to Genoa greatly delighted me. Villas and gardens full of orange-trees and flowering shrubs on either side of the road, with trellised vines supported upon ranges of stone pillars. These are often placed tier nbove tier, and their rich ornaments contrast beautifully with the craggy rock from which they seem to spring. Altogether there is something peculiar and appropriate in this approach, preparing one, so to speak, for the magnificent scene which greets the traveller, when, on turning one of the abrupt declivities which jut upon the road, Genua la Superha bursts upon the view! It is built nearly in the form of a crescent, at the foot of mountains of various heights, some of the lower eminences being crowned with forts and ramparts, and their sides gay with palaces and terraced gardens. At each end of the crescent-shaped city are two noble piers, with lighthouses terminating both. One is particularly fine, rising between three and four hundred feet from the solid rock. Splendid houses line the principal streets, which, though narrow, convey no idea of gloom, while the shade they afford from the glare of the noonday sun is most grateful. I was delighted with Genoa, even by the time we reached the Albergo cVIlahn, a very good hotel, with a most attentive and obliging landlord. Our rooms were quite charming, but at such a height! Nos. 65 and 66! However, the heat was so intense, we were glad to have large airy apartments, even at the expense of climbing up lo them. We arranged to go out and see the church of UAnnitnziala, and return to tea beforp going up to our nest again. Well may people talk of the extraordinary magnificence of this church. It is one mass of gold and blue and gorgeous marble of every color. Bright pictures set in golden panels look down from the roof, and lapis lazuli is the ground wherever they are not. In the dome, which is lighted by windows all round, are paintings which, at that distance at least, are perfectly beautiful. The windows are set in massive gold frames, and the effect of crimson silk curtains, on which the setting sun was shining, was nothing less than glorious. . . . We looked in vain for a painting I had heard was in this church, and which I wished to see. Observing a priest walking in one of the aisles, I ventured to accost him, asking him if he could tell me where was the Cena. He replied that he was himself a stranger, but, pointing to a door not far from where we stood, he tolo ine I should there find the sacristan. We followed his directions, and, passing down a long dark passage, unhesitatingly opened a door which seemed to terminate it. Not finding this the case, and seeing no one, we still advanced until we came to a large stone hall; this was empty, and we were just about to turn back when, through a partwlly opened door, I perceived a monk sitting at a table writing. Concluding him to be the sacristan, I advanced towards him; at the sound of footsteps he raised his eyes, and instantly starting up, uttered a most vehement exclnmation of horror. His sudden motion completely startled me, and I stood where I was, in vain attempting to mske known our request. His gesticulation became so violent, and his screams —for indeed I cannot call them words—so wholly unintelligible, we could only gaze at his frantic excitement with surprise. At length the oft-repeated 'la Signora,' threw some degree of light upon the subject, and mv immediate retreat produced a more soothing effect than all my efforts at explanation. In fact, 1 had unconsciously entered the sacred precincts of the monastery belonging to the church; and his horror at seeing a woman where probably none had ever appeared before, had taken from him all presence of mind. His distress, however, was so real, that I could only most humbly express my regret, informing him that a priest had directed us to seek the sacristan by the door at which we had entered. He seemed pacified when ho learned these particulars, and yet more so when he saw us fairly into the church. When all was over we enjoyed a hearty laugh."—p. 58.
We should like lo know what place is sacred from the innocent audacity of an exploring Englishwoman! Let them laugh who can; we are inclined to take part with the poor monk thus recklessly tricked into transgression and out of peace. Nor is this by any means a singular example. We know another most charming Englishwoman driven
out of a garden where, of course, she had no business, with this emphatic repudiation of her society—qui non ci royliono donne—sturbano la nostra tranquillit'a! But it is of little use shutting the convent door after the lady has been in. Doubtless, if the truth were known, the repudiation came too late for the tranquillit'a. We resume where we broke off.
"As we were leaving the church, however, we saw a party of strangers, accompanied by a man who proved to be the sacristan. He took us to a small dark corner behind one of the aisles, and pointed out the painting we had sought. I was exceedingly disappointed, having heard this Last Supper by Procaccini was much celebrated. I am afraid I may sometimes seem almost presumptuous in thus venturing to form my own opinion of these famous works of the old masters;"—[We were not aware that this Cena was a famous work, or Procaccini an old master, whom it was any heresy not to admire;]—"but, in the first place, I can only speak of the impression they make on my own mind, and, moreover, I never can admir» anything because lam bid. I once overheard a party discussing various paintings. They evidently wished to do their duty scrupulously; but one of them ventured to express a doubt as to the degree of admiration to be bestowed on a very dark, fearful-looking picture—one an artist might appreciate, but which none else could possibly regard with pleasure. The very doubt seemed to astonish the rest of the party, and one exclaimed, 'Oh! how can you? Murray says so.' Many a time since has the expression recurred to me, 'Murray says so;' and therefore perforce it must be 'beautiful! exquisite!' &c. But to return. We retraced our steps to the hotel, and greatly enjoyed a really comfortable meal after the wretched fare of the last few days. The heat, even during the night, was overpowering, and, combined with the torments of living animals, effectually put sleep to flight. I rose and looked out between one and two o'clock in the morning upon a strange and beautiful spectacle. The lights sparkling like gems all round the bay; the rich glow of the ruby beacon-light upon the Molo Vecchio, like a star watching over the slumbering city—the phantom-like vessels, dimly revealed in the darkness, with here and there a twinkling light on the waters; the marble whiteness of the houses near, and the utter stillness around; nothing to be heard save the breaking of the swell against the rocks."—p. 59.
We have purposely left those two ominous words in italics standing. A few pages further on we are indulged with an amplification of the same theme. The lady desctibes a night of horrors rather minutely—succeeded of course by a burst of injured innocence from the landlord next morning :—' Madame was the first person who had ever seen anything of the kind in his house.' The subject is not