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mart of the commerce between Russia and China, the sce of an archbishop, and seat of supreme jurisdiction over eastera Siberia. Here the officers of government have introduced the fashions, customs and equipages of Europe. Yakusk, on the Lena, in a cold region, has some stone churches, and ouier good buildings, but the Yakuts are addicted to a wandering life.
663. Religion. Tlie christian religion has made but little progress in these coid and inhospitable regions. In the south western parts, some of the Tartars are mahometans. Many of the tribes, near Tibet, are adherents to the superstition of Delai Lama. The more eastern inhabitants are Shamanians. Shamanism consists in the belief that matter is self-existent, and that the gods sprung from the general mass of matter and spirit ; that there is a spiritual world, and will be a general restitution of things. The Shamanians believe also in the transmigration of good souls to burchans or gods, while common souls immediately receive their final decree. Between men and gods are supposed to be the tengri, or spirits of the air, who direct sublunary affairs which are important to nien, but beneath the notice of the gods.
664. Government, Mlanufactures and Commerce. Siberia is divided into two jurisdictions, that of Tobolsk on the west, and Irkusk on the east. Under these are several subordinate provinces, all subject to Russia, and small Russian colonies are established in various parts of this vast territory. The manufactures of salt, isinglass and cavear, near the Caspian, have been mentioned.Some felts, lether and pitch are made in Siberia ; but the chief manufactures are of iron and copper, near the Uralian mountains. The articles of commerce are chiefly furs of various sorts, which are carried to China, in exchange for tea, silk and nankeen. The Kurguses exchange their horses, cattle and sheep, for Russian woollens, iron and furniture; and the Tartars in the east bring cotton yarn, furs, stuffs, hides and rhubarb to the ports of the Caspian.
CHINA. 665. Situation and Extent. China proper is situated between the 20th and 41st degrees of north latitude, and between the 100th and 123d degrees of east longitude. Its extent from north to south is about 1300 miles, and from east to west about 1000 miles, and its contents more than eight hundred millions of akers. On the east and south it is bounded by the ocean, on the west by Tibet, and on the north by the great wall which separates it from Tartary, or more properly Mandshuria. · 666. History. The Chinese empire was little known to the ancients or moderns, till the 13th century, when Marco Polo, a Venetian, travelled into that country. The ancients mention the Sinæ, an oriental people, but these were probably the natives of some country west. ward of China. China was first known to the moderns under the appellation of Cathay. The mahometan travellers called it Sin, and the Persians Tchin. The Chinese claim for their nation a great antiquity, and deduce a regular history of their monarchy for about 4300 years, through 22 dynasties or distinct families of princes. About the middle of the 17th century, the Mandshurs conquered China, and their princes still retain the sovereignty. · 657. Antiquities. China boasts of many coins, and some towers, temples and pagodas of considerable antiquity. But the principal work of art is the stupendous wall, forming the northern limit of the original empire, and erected as a barrier against the inroads of the Monguls. This wall is 25 feet high, and 15 feet wide at the top ; the foundation is of stone, but most of the wall is of bricks laid in mortar. It is carried over rivers upon arches, over valleys and mountains, some of them 5000 feet high, to an extent of 1500 miles, and at small distances of 3 or 400 yards, are towers of 40 feet high, Authors are not agreed when this astonishing work was erected, some dating it as far back as the 2d or 3d century before Christ, others as late as the 13th century af. ter Christ.
668. Mountains and Rivers. We have no precise information respecting the Chinese mountains. The best maps of that country represent two central ranges of mountains running east and west, between the two great rivers, and other chains between the Kian-ku and the Ocean on the south. Among the numerous rivers of this empire, two deserve particular notice. The Hoangho, or Yellow river, springs in two lakes in the north of Tibet, and in a part of the country called Kokonor, and winding northward several degrees of latitude, returns to the latitude of its sources, and runs eastward to the Ocean, or a bay called the Yellow Sea. Its length is about 2100 miles. The Kian-ku rises westward of the sources of the Hoang-ho, and bending southward and then eastward, enters the Ocean after a course of 2200 miles. These are among the largest rivers on the globe.
669. Lakes and Canals. There are several large lakes in China, some of them afford excellent fish, and the Chinese have the singular custom of training certain birds to plunge into the water, and take fish in their bills for their owners. But China exceeds all countries for its canals. The imperial canal is conducted in a winding course, so as to unite the waters of the two great ri. vers. Its length is 500 miles. It is said to have been begun in the 10th century, and to have employed 30,000 men for 43 years. The other canals are too numerous to be described, but the whole country is intersected by canals, so as to facilitate navigation from every part of the empire.
670. Minerals and Animals. China produces gold, silver, iron, copper, quicksilver, loadstone, and marblo in abundance. In the northern provinces, the mines of fossil coal sre inexhaustible. Tutenag, a mixture of zink and iron, seems peculiar to China, as is a species of white copper called petong. The Chinese musical stone is a species of black marble.
The animals of China are such as abound in other parts of the east-tigers, buffaloes, wild boars, camels, deer, rhinoceroses, and domestic animals of all kinds, many of them of peculiar shape. The musk deer is
also found in China. The birds of that country are too numerous to be described, but many of them are distinguished for beautiful forms and elegant plumage. i 67 1. Forests and Plants. In a country where almost every aker of cultivable earth is appropriated to agriculture, there are no natural forests except on mountains, but some extensive woods are preserved near the royal palaces for the use of the prince China is, however, -rich in plants, tho its botany is little known. Among
its productions are the camphor tree, a durable timber, - from the root of which is distilled the camphor of our shops; the tallow tree, from which is procured a green wax for candles; two species of the tea tree, the green and the bohea, whose leaves constitute a principal export from China ; the bamboo, the stem of which is app -plied to a multitude of purposes. In the southern pro
the native country of many of the most beautiful shrubs and flowers which embellish our gardens.
672. Agriculture. The soil of China is various, anal agriculture carried to the utmost point of perfection ; for such is the population of China, that with the utmost -skill and industry, the land will produce no more grain than is barely sufficient for the inhabitants. The conse. quence is, that a failure of crops is followed by famin, and multitudes perish by hunger. The economy, as well as the industry of the Chinese, is remarkable. Steep declivities are formed into terraces, and rain water saved in reservoirs upon the tops of hills, is convered down the sides to water plants on the terraces. Ok men, women and children are employed in collecting, every particle of manure, on the roads and public places, with a basket in one hand and a small rake in the other. · Neither sod nor weeds are permitted on the land, and
the plow has no colter. In the southern provinces, rice · is the principal grain.
673. Population and Religion. The late accounts from · China, collected by the English embassy under Lord · Macartney, make the number of inhabitants in Chin! upwards of 300 millions, an astonishing population, and almost incredible. The primitive religious sistem of the Chinese is said to correspond, in many respects, with that of Moses, being founded on the belief of one supreme God, the creator and preserver of the world, omnipotent, eternal and independent. Sacrifices were performed in the open air, or on a mountain, upon a heap of stones. In Pekin are two temples, dedicated to to the Chang-ti, or eternal spirit, in which sacrifices are performed with a splendor and pomp of ceremonies which exceeds all description. The emperor and grandees prepare themselves for this exercise by fasting and retirement ; marriages, funerals and rejoicing are for bidden. When the emperor appears at the temple, he is attended with a vast number of his lords, and all the utensils employed are of pure gold ; but the emperor, to show his humility before the Chang-ti, rolls himself on the earth, and manifests the most abject abase ment.
674. Changes of Religion. Confucius, a philosopher, introduced a new sect, about 500 years before the christian era. Another sect arose, at an earlier period, which founded their religion chiefly on the suppression of all violent passions. In the first century of the christian era, the followers of the idol Fo introduced a new system from Indoostan, which inculcates the doctrin of transmigration. Fo is said by his followers to have come to save men and expiate their sins. The bonzes, or priests, are however represented as very ignorant and vicious. The Chinese have temples in which they worship, but their religion has degenerated to rank idolatry. There is a considerable number of mahometans in China.
675. Government and Army. The emperor of China is an absolute monarch, but in the administration, the government retains much of the patriarchal spirit. The emperor considers himself as the father of the people ; the empire is governed by fixed laws, and acts of oppression are rare. The officers of government, called mandarins, are regularly educated for public employments. There are eight orders of mandarins, the principal of which are those of letters. To the mandarins of letters is committed the chief administration of affairs,