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martial, by a vote of thirteen in the affirmative and seven in the negative, and ordered the Proceedings of the court to be published.”
Washington's delicacy was strongly exemplified in his communications to Congress upon the subject; and that body entertained the highest sense of his conduct in the battle. President Laurens wrote to him
“ I arrived here on Thursday last, but hitherto have not collected a sufficient number of States to form a Congress; consequently I have received no commands. Your Excellency will therefore be pleased to accept this as the address of an individual, intended to assure you, sir, of my hearty congratulations with my countrymen, on the success of the American arms under your immediate command at the battle of Monmouth, and more particularly of my own happiness in the additional glory achieved by you in retrieving the honor of these States in the moment of an alarming dilemma. It is not my design to attempt encomiums. I am as unequal to the task as the act is unnecessary. Love and respect for your Excellency are impressed on the heart of every grateful American, and your name will be revered by posterity. Our acknowledgments are especially due to Heaven for the preservation of your person, necessarily exposed for the salvation of America to the most imminent danger on the late occasion.-MS. Letter, July 7th."
In our observations upon the first two volumes of this publication, we made a remark upon the question of the authorship of the papers bearing Washington's name. We find in the fifth volume a note of Mr. Sparks, which bears upon the point, and which we shall extract. There can be but little doubt of the correctness of this gentleman's reasoning and conclusions. He is speaking of a report to Congress on the general organization and management of the army. ." In the Life of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. I. p. 174, it is said of this paper, that it is manifestly the work of Colonel Hamilton. This inference is drawn from the circumstance, that a draft exists in his handwriting. But it was, in fact, the work of many hands. There are few points in the paper itself, which are not contained or intimated in some of the communications of the general officers. As one of General Washington's aids, it was natural that Colonel Hamilton should be employ. ed to arrange and condense the materials into the proper form of a report, especially as no one connected with the General's family was better qualified to execute the task, both from his knowledge of the subject and his ability. This is the only sense in which it can be considered as his work. Indeed, whoever is accustomed to consult the manuscripts of public documents, will often be led into error, if he ascribes the authorship
every paper to the person in whose handwriting it may be found. This remark has particular force, when applied to the important papers to which Washington affixed his name. They were always the results of patient thought and investigation on his own part, aided by such light as he could collect from others, in whose intelligence and judgment he could confide. Whatever pen
he employed to embody these results, it may be laid down as a rule, to which there is no exception, that the writer aimed to express as clearly and compactly as he could, what he knew to be the sentiments of Washington. The fact alone can account for the extraordinary uniformity in style, modes of expression, and turns of thought, which prevail throughout the immense body of Washington's letters, from his earliest youth to the end of his life. It will seldom be accurate to say, in regard to any of his papers, that the person, in whose handwriting they may be found, was their author ; nor indeed is it believed, that there is in history an instance of a public man, who was, in the genuine sense of the term, more emphatically the author of the papers, which received the sanction of his name.”
We cannot conclude our review of these letters without 110
ticing the vein of piety which so many of them exhibit. A lowly dependence upon God was a feature of Washington's character, that claims our instant respect; and which, while we so justly accord to him the appellation of great, amply justifies the nobler addition of good.
ART. V.-A Sketch of Chinese History, Ancient and Modern:
comprising a retrospect of the Foreign Intercourse and Trade with China. Illustrated by a new and corrected Map of the Empire. BY THE REV. CHARLES GUTZLAFF, now, and for many years past, resident in that country. 2 vols. pp. 312 and 380. New York. John P. Haven : 1834.
The Celestial Empire, as its inhabitants proudly style it, has long excited the interest of the European race. The earliest profane historians had heard of a civilized people beyond the countries inhabited by the wandering tribes of Scythia, more just than the rest of the human race; and it is no stretch of imagination to conceive that this people, to whom the early Greeks, hearing of them from nations residing in the north, ascribed a position under the poles, were the Chinese, who even then had adopted the lofty code of morals which they still teach, if they do not practise.
In later times, at the close of the dark ages of Europe, a family of Venetian merchants, the Polos, penetrated into this remote region, and returning loaded with wealth, excited the imagination of poets, and roused the enterprise of navigators, with visions of the riches and power of the Empire of Cathay, and its vast and populous capital Cambalu. Such visions played before the eyes of Columbus, when he launched his bark into an unexplored ocean; and he died under the persuasion that instead of having given a new world to the inhabitants of Europe, he had penetrated to some of the remote provinces of the fabulous empires of China and Japan.
When de Gama had shown the way from the Atlantic to the ocean of India, Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch and English in succession, visited the seaports of China. Here they found a civilization and useful arts in many respects more advanced than their own; and when we consider of what materials the earlier expeditions were composed, how rude and ignorant were the crews of the vessels by which these navigations were accomplished, how fierce and lawless even the most accomplished of their officers, we have no reason to wonder that they were stig
matized by the enlightened part of the Chinese as barbarians; a
The superiority which the Chinese arrogate to themselves, if
The inventions on which modern nations pride themselves, are of separate and remote origin in China; the magnetic needle directed armies and caravans, in the deserts of Central Asia, and pointed out the course of junks from Canton to the Persian Gulf, while European navigators had no more certain guide than the stars; the walls of the cities of Persia and Bucharia, yielded to the force of Chinese gunpowder, when the most formidable weapon of Europe was the bow. Paper was abundantly manufactured in China, when the monks of Italy were erasing the precious writings of the ancients in order to obtain materials on which to inscribe the legends of saints; the writings of Confucius were multiplied by the art of printing ages before Faust was accused of magic; and paper money, on which the administration of the most enlightened nation upon earth” is now engaged in experimenting, was issued at Pekin to pay the armies which occupied Bagdad and overthrew the throne of the Caliphs.
In the regions which extend from the Caspian and Persian Gulf westward to the Atlantic ocean, civilization and the arts have been constantly fluctuating and changing their seats. Thebes, Jerusalem, Nineveh, Babylon, Persepolis, Athens, Alex andria, Rome, Constantinople, Bagdad, and Cordova, have in succession stood first, as seats of learning and science. Each in its turn lost its superiority by violence, and much of the improvement previously obtained was lost at each convulsion. Yet upon the whole, the progress of the human mind has been onwards, and in the intervals of repose more was generally gained than had been lost in the preceding catastrophe. The annals of China present a very different history. A small tribe composed but of a few families, attained at an early date a degree of refinement, probably unequalled by any contemporary nation. Partly by arms and partly by the arts of peace, the neighbouring barbarians were united and amalgamated with them, until a degree
of wealth and power was attained, which excited the cupidity or alarmed the jealousy of the rude and savage nations of the North of Asia. With these, for more than thirty centuries, Chinese civilization has maintained a constant and triumphant contest ; when threatened with invasion, policy has turned the arms of one tribe against another, or united enemies with the body of the nation; when actually conquered by arms, the triumph of the conquerors has been changed into a defeat, and the new rulers have yielded to the unaltering laws of the Celestial Empire.
The evidence of all history shows that different races possess different capacities for intellectual improvement. That which gave birth to the Empire of China, must have been favoured in this respect in a very high degree. The continual mixture with Mongolian, Turkish and Tongusian blood, appears to have limited this capacity ; or perhaps the successive additions made to the nation have been dazzled by the superiority of the original Chinese to such a degree as to conceive their arts, their literature, and their science, incapable of further improvement. To whichever of these causes we may ascribe the result, it is not the less remarkable that ages have elapsed since any advance has been made in these directions. The arts of China are directed by the same receipts which Marco Polo saw in use; her modern literature aspires to no other merit than that of a close imitation of ancient models, and science has degenerated into servile adherence to the rules of bygone times. Two enlightened conquerors, Kublai Khan and Khang-Hi, not only adopted all which they admired in the subjugated nation, but would willingly have engrafted upon it, the one the learning of the Arabs, the other the sciences of modern Europe, but the inertia of Chinese mind was not to be moved by their endeavours, and their successors were speedily wrapped in that dream of fancied superiority, which rejects the introduction of every thing foreign.
China proper is itself a large and extensive country, possessed of a fertile soil, and such variety of climate as adapts it to the most valuable productions of temperate climates, and admits, in the south, of the cultivation of the fruits of the tropics. Situated under the same parallels with our own middle and southern states, occupying like them the eastern shore of a great continent, there is an analogy in temperature and vicissitudes of season that is very remarkable. But while our country is thinly covered by an active moving population, which seeks new outlets for its increase in the fertile regions of the west, China, bounded by barren deserts or sterile mountains, has been for ages compelled to provide for the settlement and support of its redundant population, in the artificial increase of the resources of its own soil. Thus morasses have been reclaimed, mountains cut into terraces,
and the suburbs of cities constructed upon boats. By such means, and the exercise of strict frugality, China suffices to support a population unequalled by any other country: taking the official census as a basis, our author rates it at 367 millions. The accuracy of this he has himself tested by the examination of small separate districts, in all of which he has found the census of the government in defect rather than in excess. Another Chinese authority quoted by Remusat, makes the population no more than 140 millions, but this is acknowledged to be wrong.
The Chinese are usually stated by writers on natural history to belong to the Mongol or yellow variety of the human race. But if we even admit the correctness of the mode of classification, the Chinese do not strictly belong to it, as a body. In the southern provinces, indeed, exposure to the sun and air has darkened the colour of the labouring classes, and in every part the peculiar obliquity of the eyes may be remarked; but in the northern districts, the people are as fair as Europeans of the same latitude, and high born females exhibit as brilliant a complexion as the natives of Spain or France. In addition, the facial angle would place many Chinese in the Caucasian race.
If we were to believe the Chinese themselves, and the European writers who have relied upon the authority of Chinese writers, we should infer that a complete history had existed in official records from 2207 years before our æra, and that they had then even a knowledge of the length of the year, founded upon astronomical observation. The origin of the empire is carried up to Foh-hi, several centuries farther back, and posterior to whom happened an inundation which we cannot avoid considering the same as the deluge of Noah. These pretensions to antiquity cannot be supported. The Chinese account for the meagreness of their ancient annals by the destruction of the books and records by Chi-Hoang-Ti, an emperor of the Tsin dynasty, in the year 213 B. C. But he preserved the genealogy of his own family, and the writings of the religious sect of which he was a follower. In a succeeding dynasty, the historic books of Confucius were written down from the recollection of an aged follower of his doctrine, and subsequently a copy was found, which had escaped the catastrophe. To judge from internal evidence, a part at least of this work is a moral fiction, intended to point out by example the character of a good prince, and when it is probably historical, it by no means warrants the superstructure which has been reared upon it. Thus of seventeen emperors, which the modern compilers of annals reckon in the third or Hea dynasty, when authentic history is said to begin, no more than three are mentioned by Confucius, while he who is now called the founder of the dynasty, appears only in the subordinate character of minister.