Page images
PDF
EPUB

Government immediately gave in, barians," greatly augmented the and the military made no further boldness of the malcontents. - Deattempts at the time." "Everybody mocratic assemblies, in which the who has travelled in China," says rights of man were declared," rose in Mr Fortune, * “ knows that, where many parts of the country. “The ever the natives are enterprising and elders and gentry took the lead in bold, they set the Government at this matter, and demanded that, in defiance, whenever it suits their pur- all measures in which the happiness pose to do so. For example, what of the people were concerned, they can the Government do, if the natives should be first consulted. If there on the coast of Fokien—a bold and was anything that did not suit their lawless race-choose to disobey its wishes, they instantly remonstrated ; orders? Positively nothing. Even and, if this proved ineffectual, they farther north, where the Mandarins proceeded with an immense crowd to are more powerful-in Shanghae, for the Government offices, and carried example--the Chinchew men, as they by force what was denied to courtesy." are called, often fight pitched battles, In Canton and its environs, a bewith firearms, in the streets and in lief had prevailed that the populace the open day; and the Mandarins, could beat the Barbarians, and perwith all their soldiers at their backs, mission was accordingly given to dare not interfere. The system of wear arms and organise a numerous apprehension and punishment in such militia. The leaders of this movecases is so curious, that I must not ment, however, either were, or soon omit to mention it. The belligerents became, demagogues, and began to are allowed to fight as long and as hold monster meetings for political fiercely as they choose, and the ends. In this emergency the characsoldiers nerer interfere ; but when teristic policy of the Chinese Governthe weakest side is overpowered, and ment was manifested-which is, to probably a number of lives lost in adapt itself to circumstances, and to the affray, they come down in great yield, rather than pat the supreme force, and seize and carry off to authority in jeopardy by firm resispunishment the most defenceless; tance. Seeing the impossibility of and, in circumstances of this kind, stemming the popular corrent, many they are not over particular about Mandarins sided with the people, seizing the most riotous, or those doubtless with the wise object of enmost implicated in the disturbances, deavouring to gain the direction of these provided those they seize are the dangerous movements. Every effort weakest and least able to resist." was made to rule by the masses, and

We learn from the posthumous to establish practically the truism, work of Gutzlait, already quoted, that the Government exists for the that the danger from these popular benefit of the people, not the people ementes has greatly increased since for the benefit of the Government, the War. The attempts of the This handed ott any direct collision Gorerument to replenish the er between the State and its subjects, bausted exchequer, by imposing bat, as was to be expected, much hearier taxes encountered a most anarchy arose in consequence of the determined resistance from the people. weakening of the Execatire. In one The soldiers who were ordered to case *a prefect," says Gatzlati, enforce payment, were in most cases * baring beatea sa innocent man in driven back, and the Gorernment the streets, the sutrerer appealed to was obred at last to hush up the his fellor-citizens, collected a crowd matter be effecting a compromise of more than ten thousand, and proThis disastrous attempt begat similar ceeded directly to the establishment resistance in other parts of the of the obnoxions Mandarin, which country ; sad the comparative dis was barnt down, and used to the respect into which the Emperor and ground; a declaration being made, his Mandarins bad failen, in case that in such a manner would the quence of their defeat by the bar sovereign people areage themselves.

* Thru Years Wanderings in China

The military were called out, but to their useful and profitable occupawould not attack the people; and the tion. Favoured by such circumstanGovernment, utterly powerless, had ces, large bands of robbers assembled, to overlook the insult. ... Similar and committed terrible ravages upon scenes of outrage and popular revenge the country; indeed, they became at occurred in many parts of China, and length so numerous and powerful as the ascendancy of the populace daily to set the Government at defiance, increased. Men of the worst char- and to make the forces brought acter, gifted with a glib tongue, put against them contemptible." themselves at the head of the move. Such calamities befalling the Emment, and did incalculable mischief. pire have induced many writers to

The Mandarins were often obliged to speculate on its speedy disruption buy off these demagogues, and to and downfall. In these anticipations make their peace by very large and we cannot concur, and incline much important concessions. Thus the rather to the opinion more maturely whole state of society underwent a formed, two and a half years ago, by change, such as had never been anti- Mr Wade, our Assistant Chinese cipated. The people armed them Secretary at Hong-Kong. Justly selves, and paraded in large masses, attaching much importance to the ostensibly for the purpose of exter pernicious influence of the sales of minating the robbers, but in reality rank in undermining the strength of to terrify the Mandarins."

the Imperial Government, he says: Is this " somnolent” China we are reading of, or is it a leaf from the

“This error is always quoted as a opening scenes of the French Revolu

chief one amongst those that have led to tion? The events are strangely alike

the downfall of previous dynasties; and in both cases, but the career of demo

its manifest injustice, and necessarily in

creasing mischief, joined with the poverty cracy in the two countries can never

of the exchequer, and consequent recurbe alike. The French rose against a

rence to so disastrous a remedy, apparently system and a class—the Chinese do more often than of old, incline us to apply neither. There are no castes, no to the State the words of its great philoprivileged classes with them, and the sopher, spoken of himself a few days Mandarins and officials have risen before his death :from the common mass. It is the

"The mountain is crumbling, abuses of power only against which

The strong beam is yielding.' the Chinese protest, not against its form. They admire and venerate “ Still, widely as the grievance must with their whole heart the Govern- be felt, it may be long ere the outcry mental system of their country, which against it be sufficiently general to menace is not only associated with their whole

the security of the present line ; the difpast history, but which adapts itself ficulties of intercommunication are great, admirably to the national spirit.

It news of all kinds travel slowly, and the
It

propagation of written opinions, save in is no mere theoretical constitution,

placards, which only affect an immediate such as have lately been so much in

neighbourhood, seems less a habit with vogue in Europe, it is a perfect em- this people than with any who have the bodiment of the Chinese predilections

command of a press. The selfishness of in government, and has grown with clanship is also opposed to a community the growth and strengthened with of feeling ; a district or province is not the strength of the people. Dynasties supposed to be much interested in the fall, but the constitution remains, oppression or affliction of the one adjoinand probably will remain as long as ing it, as was shown in our invasion in China is a united Empire. The pre- 1842 ; and the inhabitants of many a sent Executive, however, has been

country-side wage real and endless war

with their nearest neighbours. A revoundergoing sundry rude shocks.

lution would but transfer the present " Amidst all this turmoil,” says

form of government to other hands, as the Gutzlaff,“ citizens and peasants

Chinese are unacquainted with the nature tarned politicians, and neglected their or merits of any other, and complain work; great poverty and misery were neither of the present mode of governthe consequences, and only a few, ment, nor of the laws, in which they are urged by sore experience, returned not stated to discern any defect, but

ITHOUT THE

112
The Celestials at Home and Abroad.

[July, simply of the abuse of the latter. There as the copper-mines which supply is, at all events, no general expression of the Imperial mint lie in that quarter, dissatisfaction at this, or any other mea- it is likely enough that no small prosure now in force ; and, notwithstanding

portion of it now falls into the hands all that is here assumed to be evidence of

of the insurgents. Last autumn, the the Empire's decay, there is not, as yet,

aspect of affairs had grown so serious, to be detected any prognostic of its immediate dissolution. Its Sovereign neither

that the Governor-general of the two contemplates nor atteinpts any act of

provinces (Seu) had to quit Canton aggression, such as that of the latter

in person with a large force; and at monarchs of the Ming, the strife ensuing the commencement of the present upon which, after the struggle of half a year, the Emperor's troops had sufcentury, seated his ancestor upon their fered severely in a contest with the throne. In Peking, the Paris of his do rebels ; and the inhabitants of Canton minions, he maintains a large army, by were becoming apprehensive that a various ties affected towards him rather continuation of such warfare would than to any Chinese aspirant to the place their tempting city in some crown. He has been at pains to conci

jeopardy. When we consider the liate his Mahommedan colonies [in the

enormous extent of China, however, west] two years since again in rebellion, but now on better terms with his border

it is evident that what would constitute subjects, and returning to their allegiance.

a fatal rebellion in most countries, is The pirates, whose presence in the south but a small matter in the Celestial has moved some at home and abroad to Empire; and even should this revolt prophesy the speedy downfall of his prove ultimately successful, (which is dynasty, have risen, it is true, from the probable enough,) no decisive results

of a few vessels to that of a are soon to be looked for. formidable fleet in the last four or five Providence ordained the original years ; but they have never taken a place

dispersion and seclusion of the difof political importance, and the remnant

ferent branches of mankind, in order that escaped our men-of-war last autumn

that each nation might work out for have tendered their submission, and are

itself social, religious, and political dismissed to their homes."--(P. 90-92.)

institutions of its own; so that in the On the 25th of February 1850, a latter days, when a remarkable defew weeks after the above opinion was velopment of the locomotive agencies expressed, the Emperor Taou-kwang once more reunited the race, nations died, after a reign of nearly thirty might profit by the experience of their years, and was succeeded by a son neighbours as well as by their own,not quite twenty years old. The im- that the various failures and successes mature age of the new Emperor was of humanity throughout four thousand not a favourable circumstance at a years might all be turned to account, period so critical; and he has not since and that Truth might at last emerge shown much wisdom in dismissing from amidst the thousand shades of from his counsels such men as Keying error. The fulfilment of that beneand Muchangah, who were the long- ficent design seems now drawing near chosen ministers and friends of his to its accomplishment. The present father. IIis reign has hitherto been aspect of the world bespeaks the graa troubled one. In a month or two dual demolition of the barriers which after his accession, the province of nations have so long reared against Kwangse, west of Canton, became their fellows, and the finger of Provithe theatre of a rebellion against the dence points to a consummation moro Imperial authorities; and the leader glorious still. The Temple of Humawas said to have the disposal of fifty nity is enlarging,- the walls of partithousand men, and to display banners tion are being broken down,--and the inscribed with "Extermination to the nations are gathering together into Tartar, and restoration of the Ming the same courts, preparatory to the still (or native) Dynasty." The moun- distant worship of the same God. tainous country occupied by the The three great empires of the rebels is naturally so strong, that world, the British, the Russian, and they seem able to retire at will into the Chinese, -the Anglo-Saxon, the positions where they can set the Slavonian, and the Mongolian-within Government forces at defiance; and the last few years have been rapidly

approaching each other,—the two late From these events, as well as from ter by land, the former by both land therapid rise of our Australian Empire, and sea. China has spread through it is evident that the Pacific Ocean is Mongolia to the shores of the Caspian about to become the arena of the latest and the heights of the Caucasus, and and possibly crowning achievements has come in contact with the Mahom of our race on earth ; and the name medan population of Western Asia given to it three centuries ago may and the Christianity of the Russian prove to have been unwittingly proprefects. Russia, the great nascent phetic of its future history-of the power of the Old World, has rolled comparative millennium which its her armies across Siberia up to the peaceful waters are yet destined to foot of the Great Wall, and now casts witness. The numerous isles of that a covetous eye upon the northern por- vastest of oceans will cease to be the tion of the Celestial Empire, in order Ultima Thules of navigation, and to obtain possession of the mouths of themselves give birth to kingdoms. the great river Amour, which forms Already the stalwart Anglo-Saxons, the only navigable outlet for the pro- after compassing the earth from the ducts of her Siberian dominions. rising to the setting, and from the Britain, firmly seated on her Indian setting to the rising sun, are meeting throne, has reached with her fleets amidst the solitudes of that virgin every harbour of the Flowery Land, ocean; but new combinations of manhas menaced its capital with her kind are there preparing, to play the broadsides, and dotted its shores with leading parts in the last act of the her settlements. Five of its maritime long drama of human life. The New ports we hold in common with the World commenced the fusion of the natives, and on the island of Hong. varied nations of the Old, but it is on Kong a British dependency has arisen the shores, or in the bosom, of the almost within gunshot of its southern Pacific that that fusion is to be concapital. But it is by another branch summated. There, the diverse eleof the Anglo-Saxon race that the ments of the population of Eastern greatest impression upon China is America are gathered to a focus, and, destined to be made, and the same era blending with those of China and the which has brought the British army intervening isles, will by and by to the gates of Nanking has esta. settle in peace in California. Auriblished the Americans in force on the ferous Australia will ere long be the shores of the Pacific. From the har. scene of an analogous combination ; bours of California, that restless and and at this moment, in New Zealand, enterprising people are besetting with a fusion is in progress between the their merchantmen the Chinese waters, most powerful of the Caucasian races and already a naval armament has and the most elevated of the Austrapassed through the Golden Gate on lasian. Gold is now the great lodeits way to the adjoining territories of star of the nations, and is yet destined Japan. The Bay of San Francisco is to break up the seclusion of the hermit nearly opposite to the mouth of the races of India and China. It was Yangtse-keang, the artery of Central gold abroad and distress at home that China, and the fair isles of the Archi- first covered the Atlantic with ships pelago, linking the Old World to the and its western shores with a new New, are convenient stepping-stones population,-and the same agencies of between. Another year may not Providence are now doing a like serelapse before the Sandwich group is vice for the Pacific. But the progress annexed to the Union ; and, strong of the human race, though slow and with the strength of all the hardy liable to many fluctuations, is, on the desperadoes whom the rudest and whole, ever onwards; and instead of roughest races of the West have the labour-market of the new empires poured into California, how long will of Oceanica being supplied, like that of it be before some more fortunate Eastern America, by means of vioAaron Burr, some wiser and braver lence, and with the captive savages Lopez, plants the banner of the Stars of Negroland, it will be voluntarily and Stripes on the opposite coast of occupied by the free and industrious Asia ?

outpourings of China. VOL. LXXII.-NO. CCCCXLI.

THE GENERAL ELECTION.

The funeral bell has tolled, and were the victims of their own expethe hybrid Parliament is numbered diency--they pandered to their own with the things that were. Perhaps ruin. They had not the moral courage it is as yet too early to commence an to resist innovation of any kind by a elaborate biography, or to weigh ac- manly declaration of principle, and curately against each other the merits an appeal to the support of the and the demerits of the departed people. Lord John Russell never body. A decent interval must be seemed to know when he had firm allowed, not for grief-for there are ground beneath his feet. He gave few, if any mourners—but for reflec- way at every assault, and was ultition, ere we essay so formidable a mately driven into a morass. At the task; and, in the mean time, more close of 1850, much of the Protestant pressing duties force themselves upon sympathy of the country was with us. The character of the last Par him, and he might have retained it liament is of less importance to the had he chosen to act boldly or wisely. nation than the composition of that He did neither ; for he was afraid to which is to come. In 1847, we could forfeit the support of the Papists in tolerate a make-shift House of Com- Parliament, and believed that he mons-in 1852, the issue has become might conciliate them by the intromore awfully important.

duction of a measure which was There is yet a breathing time-- simply a miserable sham. In this very short one — before the action attempt he totally failed. He disactually commences; and we shall gusted the nation at large, and the attempt to use it profitably : for it is Papists were clamorous against him. of the utmost importance that every In like manner, while pretending to elector in the kingdom should be resist the onslaught of the Radicals, made aware of the true nature of the he intimated that he was himself precoming struggle, which is not one of pared to lay a scheme before the parties, but emphatically one of country which would certainly secure principles. It is now plain beyond the acquiescence of all who wished contradiction -- indeed it is hardly for a reasonable reform. He brought denied—that an intimate league has in his bill, which alienated from him been formed between Popery and the support of the great majority of Democracy-that the champions of the electors, whilst it did not by any the intolerant faith have united with means satisfy the requirements of the the leaders of the movement party, chiefs of the Radicals. The fact is, to make a combined and general that, under Lord John Russell, Whigassault upon our institutions, civil gery has changed its character. The and religious and that all minor old Whig, in times when men were differences of opinion have been ami- not ashamed of bearing that party cably adjusted. The Radicals are denomination, now so greatly and so willing to aid the Papists in their justly degraded, differed not much, attacks upon the established churches in many important points, from the -the Papists are ready to second modern Conservative. He was the Radicals in their schemes of strictly constitutional in his notions ; organic change. It is long since we and professed himself always ready foresaw that such an alliance must to maintain the equable balance of necessarily be formed-indeed, we be- power. But the Russellite Whig is lieve that every one who has watched entirely a different being. He piques, the course of public events with an or professes to pique himself, on the observant and unprejudiced eye, fact that he is a member of the must have noted various symptoms “great Liberal body;" and, accordwhich were significant of that danger- ingly, whenever he can do so conous coalition. It was not before the veniently, and especially when in power of the Conservative party, as opposition, he fraternises with the arrayed in the House of Commons, Radicals. To secure Radical support, that the Whig Ministry fell. They and to keep office, was the great aim

« PreviousContinue »