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beld when every candidate, according to the measure of learn: ing which he has displayed, is promoted to a corresponding place in the government.
Language.] The written language of the Chinese is in some measure hieroglyphical, and to attain a knowledge of it was formerly deemed the labor of life. Travellers represented that each word had a separate character, and that these characters had no connexion with each other. Recent investigation, however, has proved that the language is of a regular and systematic formation, and scarcely more difficult of acquisition than the Greek or even the Latin. It has been discovered that the number of elementary characters is only 214, by the various combination of which all the words in the language are formed. Each element has a distinct meaning by itself, and when two or more are mited, the meaning of the compound partakes of that of the several elements of which it is composed. Thus the two elementary characters signifying fire and wood when united form the Chinese word for burn, and the repetition of the character for wood forms a compound denoting forest. A dictionary of the language bas recently been formed by Mr. Morrison in which these characters are used like letters, as heads, under which the different words are arranged. With respect to the pronuncia; tion, the first thing which strikes us is that all the words are monosyllables, that the initial sounds are all consonants, and the final all vowels, liquids or nasals.
Printing. The art of printing was known and practised in China for a long period prior to its discovery in Europe. It is not performed, however, with moveable types, but with blocks of wood, to which the impression is transfered from the writing, and the word then cut out. They are not unacquainted, however, with the use of moveable types, which are sometimes used for the purpose of altering their compositions, and Mr. Morrison has employed them exclusively in printing his dictionary.
Science.] In most of the sciences the Chinese seem to be behind even the Hindoos. Medicine remains still in a crude and empirical state. Surgery is in the hands of the barbers. Of arithmetic and geometry, they possess merely what is necessary for the common business of life. Astronomy is cultivated with a good deal of attention, as the keeping of the calendar, and the calculation of eclipses are made important affairs of state. This department, however, has never been managed by native Chinese, and for several centuries has been exclusively in the hands of the Jesuists who have been allowed to reside at Pekin.
Fine Arts.] The fine arts cannot be considered as in a flour, ishing state. The public buildings throughout the empire are constructed almost solely with a view to utility. The only edifices in which ornament is studied are the pagodas, which are found in almost every village, but are not remarkable for correct taste. The porcelain tower at Nankin holds an undisputed preeminence; but this, polished over like chjaa ware, and with
bells at every corner, which jingle with the wind, can scarcely be considered as any thing but a huge toy. The paintings of the Chinese are distinguished for rich coloring and close imitation of nature, but the design is poor, and they have not the least idea of perspective.
The drama is a favourite amusement, and Pekin alone is supposed to contain a hundred companies of players. These, however, do not perform on public theatres, but are hired by individuals to enliven the scene of domestic festivity, and their exhibitions are of the most grotesque and ridiculous nature.
Religion.) There is no established religion connected with the stale. The rulers have even been accused of atheism, but without foundation. China has no congregational worship, the gosernment studiously avoiding and prohibiting every thing by which men can be assembled together. The system almost exclusively professed is that of Fo, a modification of the religion of Boodh, wbich is almost universally prevalent in Eastern Asia, and is distinguished here, as elsewhere, by numerous images of departed worthies, some of gigantic size; by processions, bells, beads, and tapers, forming a striking resemblance to the Catholic rites. The Christian religion has been introduced by the Jesuists, who at one time boasted of 300,000 converts, but their career has been stopped by that hostility to change which is so deeply fixed in the ruling powers.
Manners and Customs.) The excessive populousness of this country has given rise to the cruel custom of exposing infants. Every morning persons are employed to go through the streets of Pekin to collect the infants thus abandoned by their parents, and the number exposed in that city alone is supposed to amount to 9,000 annually. In the provinces the practice is less common. The children exposed are chiefly females.-A custom prevails of binding the feet of female children in tight bandages till they cease to grow, a small foot being deemed the chief ornament of a Chinese beauty. The foot of a full sized woman is not more than six inches long. Various stories are related concerning the de. sign of this singular custom, but whatever may bave been its origin, it is certain that the Chinese ladies experience very considerable inconvenience from it in moving from place to place. The most prudent observe the caution of keeping close to the wall, and resting against it. Where this prop fails, they can walk only with a timid and tottering step, and with the hazard of being frequently overturned, when the replacing themselves in an erect position is no easy task; por do their lords ever deign to afford the smallest assistance.
It is not allowed to bury the dead in towns, but the sepulchres are commonly on barren hills and mountains. Mourners clothe themselves in white. The condition of the female sex is very degraded. They are excluded froin society and seem generally to be held in very low estimation. Travellers have occasionally observed them yoked in the plough along with an ass, agd bear ing the chief part of the labor.
Character.) The Chinese have a smooth and polished exter. ior, and are of a mild, affable and quiet disposition. Other good qualities are steady and unremitting industry ; unexampled perseverance in all their pursuits; exactness and punctuality in business ; unbounded veneration for parents and ancestors, and a general good humor and courtesy of manners. To balance these virtues, they are remarkably vain, timid, jealous and deceitful. From the emperor to the meanest subject the most entire disregard of truth prevails. Dishonesty in traffic is universal; and their unparalleled skill in the art of cheating has been remarked with astonishment by all their mercantile visitors. They are also wanting in humanity. If a Chinese drop from a vessei into the sea, he is suffered to sink, without the smallest attempt being made to save him.
Manufactures.] The Chinese display great ingenuity in their manufactures. Their porcelain, in the whiteness, hardness and transparency of the substance, and in the beauty of the colors laid upon it, surpasses any imitation that has been made of it. Silks and satins are another staple manufacture, and cottons are made to a considerable extent. There are a variety of little or. namented articles in which Europeans cannot rival them; such as their lacquered wares which are only inferior to those of Japa an, and their ivory fans, baskets and toys. Their paper and ink are also of a very superior quality.
Commerce.] The internal commerce of China is unrivalled in extent. The innumerable rivers and canals with which it is intersected, are covered with barges of every form and dimension, interchanging the productions of the different provinces. Considerable commerce is also carried on with the Indian islands by the Chinese in their own junks, no vessel from these quarters being allowed in return to enter her ports. Foreign commerce is viewed with a jealous eye. Europeans have only two points at which they are allowed to trade, one at Kiachta, the emporium for the overland trade of Russia, and the other at Canton. The management of the trade at Canton is vested in 10 or 12 persons, called the hong merchants, who are generally men of great wealth, and receive the imperial license to trade with Europeans. All foreign cargoes pass through their hands, and they also provide the cargoes to be exported ; but though they thus enjoy a monopoly, yet as they are men of extensive dealings, they do not afford much reason to complain of their conduct. The principal exports are tea, silks, cotions, and clina-ware. Among the principal imports are woollen cloths, furs, cotton, opium, and watches. The Chinese pretend that it is entirely from favor to foreigners that they permit any traffic with their empire.
History) The origin and early progress of the Chinese nation are involved in considerable obscurity. It is supposed that they attained to a considerable degree of civilization earlier than any other nation. They were not, however, cxempted from that lot by which the southern empires of Asia hare been overwhelmed by successive inroads of the hardy Domadic tribes who wander
over the central table land of this continent. But these conquets ors have always yielded in their turn to the arts and institutions of the country which they subdued, and the machine of Chinese polity, after a temporary disorder, bas resumed its accustomed action. The most memorable modern conquest was that of Genghis Khan, who, in the 11th century spread his desolating hordes from the shores of the Baltic to those of the Pacific ocean. The Tartars continued to hold the throne from the period of this conquest till 1357, when a rebellion was excited, which terminated in their expulsion, and the Chinese, for 276 years, obeyed their native princes. In 1641 the Tartars, taking advantage of an insurrection, again conquered the country and have ever since continved 10 hold the sovereignty.
Islands. The Loochoo islands, called also Lieou Kieou, are situated in the Pacific ocean about 400 or 500 miles east of China, near lon. 128° E. and lat. 26° N. They consist of 36 islands, all of which are small except the Great Loochoo, which is 50 miles long, and from 12 to 15 broad. It was very imperfectly known to Europeans, till visited by captains Maxwell and Hall, in their return from the late embassy to China. The climate and soil seem to be among the happiest on the globe. The whole coast is surrounded with coral reefs, but there are several excellent harbors. The inhabitants are of a diminutive stature, the average height of the men not exceeding five feet and two inches, They are, however, strong, well made and athletic. Their lineaments and appearance indicate a descent from the Japanese or Coreans. In complexion they are quite as fair as the natives of Spain or Portugal. Their disposition appears 10 he peculiarly gay, gentle, and amiable, and their manners are remarkably polite. During the stay of the English upon their coast they lavished upon them every species of courtesy and hospitality, and at their departure made demonstrations of deep grief, that were quite affecting. This kindness was accompanied, however, with that strong aversion to receive strangers into their country, which is characteristic of China, Japan and all the neighboring regions. Although eager to cultivate the intimacy of the English on board their ships, they carefully evaded for a fortnight every thing xvhich could lead to their coming on shore. They are remarkably honest, not a single instance of theft having occured during the whole stay of the ships.
Formosa, called by the Chinese Tai-wan, is a large fertile island, 240 miles long and 60 broad, separated from the coast of China by a strait 60 miles wide in the narrowest part. It extends from lat. 22° 5' to 25° 20' N. Hainan is an island of an oval form, 150 miles long and 75 broad. It extends from lat. 18° to 20° N. and is separated from the coast by a channel about 8 miles wide. The greater part of the island is under the dominion of the em peror of China, but the rest is independent.
Situation and Extent.] Tibet is bounded N. by the desert of Cobi or the unknown regions of Central Asia ; E. by China; S by Farther India and the Himmaleh mountains, which separate it from Hindoostan; and w. by Independent Tartary. Including Bootan, which is one of its tributary provinces, it extends from 26° to 38° N, lat. and from 70° to 100° E. lon. The area has been estimated at 400,000 square miles, but we are very imper. fectly acquainted with the limits of the country; and its interior is almost wholly unknown, no travellers having visited it in modern times, except Bogle and Turner, who were sent by the British in the charac or of ambassadors about the year 1783.
Face of the Country.) Tibet has been called the Switzerland of Asia, the mountains of that continent here attaining their greatest height, and spreading themselves as from a centre, over China, India, Persia and Tartary. llere also are the sources of many of the principal streams, as the Indus, the Setledge, the Eurrampooter, the Irawaddy, the Menam and the Yang-ise-kiang. The whole country is rugged and mountainous in an extraordinary degree. In Bootan, however, the tops of the mountains are overspread with eternal verdure, and rich with abunilant forests of large and lofty trees, while the sides are cultivated with the same care as in China, and are covered with populous villages surrounded by orchards and other plantations. Tibet proper, on the other hand, strikes the traveller as one of the least favored countries under heaven, and appears to be in a great measure incapable of cultivation : the climate, except in the sheltered valleys and hollows, is cold and bleak in the extreme, yet the pastures abound with flocks, and the mountains are rich in minerals.
Productions. The most valuable productions are the goal, from the wool or hair of which the fine shawls of Cashmere are made; the yak, or ox of Tibet and Tartary, distinguished by the profusion of soft hair, in some parts resembling wool, and by the large tails of glossy hair, which under the name of chowries, are in universal demand over India; gold, silver, quicksilver, copper, iron and many other minerals. Bootan produces rice, wine and a great variety of fruits.
Inhabitants.] The number of inhabitants is estimated by Hassel at 12 or 16 millions. They are a strong, well built people, of a brown complexion, and in many of their features bear a strong resemblance to the Mongols. A part of the nation subsist by agriculture and the arts, and a part are nomades or wandering shep.. herds.
Government and Religion.] The goveroment of the Tibetians is a theocracy. Their god and sovereign is the Grand Lama, who is believed to be immortal upon the earth. When his body dies, his soul, it is said, immediately transmigrates and re-appears in some infant, who having displayed all the characteristic marks.