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body of privy councillors, who are employed when secrecy and despatch are required.



For the conduct of government business in detail, the Leapoo, or Six Boards, are established at Pekin. These are, 1. The Board of Official Appointments, which takes cognizance of the conduct of all civil officers. 2. The Board of Revenue, which regulates all fiscal matters. 3. The Board of Rites and Ceremonies. 4. The Military Board. 5. The Board of Criminal Jurisdiction ; and 6. The Board of Public Works. All these have subordinate offices under them, as will be seen in the chapter on “ THE INSTITUTIONS OF The Chinese,” to which a description of these various boards more properly belongs.

Apart from these boards and dependent offices, there are two other establishments ; namely, the Lyfân-yuen, or “ Office for Foreign Affairs," which has the charge of the external relations of the empire, and the presidents of which always consist of Manchow or Mongol Tartars; and the Too-châ-yuen, or Office of Censors," of which the members are generally styled Yu-she. This latter office will serve to remind the reader of the palmy times of ancient Rome, when censors were appointed to remind the citizens of their duties. But the title is deceiving. There is no analogy between the duties of the censors of Rome and the censors of China. The latter, in fact, are a people who pry officially into other men's affairs, for which they are rewarded by government with pay and high-sounding titles; albeit they are mere spies. The members con. sist, in all, of about forty or fifty, of which several are sent to various parts of the empire, while others remain in the vicinity of the court. There are two presidents, a Tartar and a Chinese ; and by the ancient custom of the empire, they are all privileged to present any advice or remonstrance to the emperor without fear of punishment; notwithstanding they are frequently degraded or punished for freedom of speech.

Such are the principal organs of the government at Pekin; and the provincial government in its whole, as well as parts, is formed on the same model. Every governor is an emperor in his sphere, but there is this wide difference between them-instead of being responsible only to Heaven, the governors of provinces have to give an account to the emperor.

The provinces are either placed singly under a governor, or two provinces together are made subject to a general governor, who has two common governors under him. Thus Canton, and Kuáng-sy, are under a general governor, who is commonly called the viceroy of Canton. In each of these governments there is a chief criminal judge, and a treasurer, the latter of whom usually takes cognizance of civil suits. The separate cities and districts of each province in the three ranks of Foo, Chow, and Hien, are under the charge of their respective magistrates, who take their rank from the cities they govern.

The duties of a governor are very onerous, He is, indeed, responsible for the welfare and peace of the community over which he presides, and if any disturbance or rebellion takes place, he is never forgiven. Thus, the governor of Canton received signal marks of imperial favour in 1831 ; but he was ruined the next year, by the rebellion of some mountaineers in the northwest, though no blame could be attached to his administration. Once in every three years, the governor of each province is compelled to forward to the Board of Civil Appointments at Pekin, the

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name of every officer under his government, with remarks on their conduct and character, supplied by the immediate superiors of each ; and, according to his report, every one is exalted or degraded so many degrees. The offences of governors are tried by imperial commissioners, appointed by the emperor for the special purpose.

The several degrees of both civil and military officers are distinguished by the colour of the ball which they wear at the point of their conical caps, and which are usually red, light blue, dark blue, crystal, white stone, and gold. These balls, however, are not infallible signs of the rank of the wearer, for the privilege of wearing them may be purchased. This is frequently done by the wealthy, as in case of a breach of the law, it protects them from being punished on the spot, or till they have been legally deprived of the ball. But it does not prove the means of a long delay of punishment, for the process of depriving them of it is very summary. This done, the consequences of their dereliction soon follow, for the principle of the penal code of China may be exemplified by a common saying, applied to hasty parents in the correction of their offspring : It is but a word and a blow, and sometimes the blow first."

The practical portion of the penal code of China is divided under six heads, corresponding to the six supreme boards at Pekin, thus :

1. The division concerning the administration of civil offices, answers to the Board of Civil Appointments. Its two books treat of the system of government, and, of the conduct of officers.

2. This division comprehends fiscal and statistical laws, and corresponds to the Board of


Revenue. It consists of seven books, which comprise the enrolment of the people, lands and tenements, marriage, public property, duties and customs, private property, and sales and markets.

3. The third division treats of the ritual laws, and coincides with the Board of Rites and Ceremonies. It consists of two books, which treat of sacred rites, and miscellaneous observances.

4. This division relates to military laws, thereby answering to the Military Board. It contains five books, which treat of the protection of the palace, the regulation of the army, the protection of the frontier, military horses and cattle, and expresses and public posts.

5. The fifth division comprehends criminal laws, corresponding to the Board of Punishments. It comprises eleven books, the principal heads of which are, treason, robbery, theft, murder, homicide, criminal intercourse, disturbing graves, quarrelling and fighting, and incendiarism. 6. This last division

of the code treats of public works, and corresponds to the Board of Public Works. It contains only two books, which relate to public buildings, and public ways.

This methodical and lucid arrangement proves that it is an efficient engine for the control of the multitudinous population of China. The penal code of this country is very arbitrary. Thusitis constantly meddling with relative duties, whether as regards the living or the dead ; and it pays such a minute attention to trifles as makes it burthensome to its administrators. It is also notorious for the gross injustice and unrelenting cruelty which mark all its provisions against the crime of treason. Every species of advantage and pro

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