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you have abundant religious privileges. See that
you are grateful for this high and inestimable adavantage. Cast your eyes upon heathen China
a land groaning under the iron fetters of superstition-and say: “I felicitate myself that I was not born in China. I might have been, and these knees, which now are permitted to kneel at a
throne of grace, might now be bowing before its begin dumb idols. But happily I have been born in tie England! I have God for my Father ; Jesus Christ
for my Redeemer ; and the Holy Spirit for my election Guide and Comforter, as I journey onwards to the ni eternal mansions prepared for me, in common with mot barn all true Christians, in heaven. Truly I may say
with the psalmist
* The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup:
Yea, I have a goodly heritage.'" Psa. xvi. 5, 6.
have addressed these praises to God, that breathe also a prayer that the poor world-seekIhre ing and superstitious Chinese may one day enjoy irel your privileges; that the millions now ranged e, char under the banners of the great dragon may bow Tout to the sceptre of Christ. The true Christian
knows no selfish motive: saved himself, he desires feel the salvation of the whole human race.
THE INSTITUTIONS AND TRIBUNALS OF THE CHINESE.
Allusion has been made in the previous pages to the public institutions and tribunals of the Chinese. In order that the reader may fully understand their nature, a brief description of each will now be given.
THE IMPERIAL CABINET AND PRIVY COUNCIL.
In the imperial cabinet of China there are four principal members, who are alternately Mantchoo Tartars and Chinese; and two assistants, who bear the title of Kolaou, "ancients of the chamber," or, Pae-seang, "respectful assistants." To these ministers the emperor has recourse in all state affairs. Every matter, whether spiritual or temporal, is submitted to their deliberation; though, in most instances, they simply re-echo the emperor's sentiments. Notwithstanding, he never acts without them, either as priest or sovereign, whence they may be justly considered to hold the most exalted situation in the state.
The members of the imperial cabinet are generally men grown grey in the service of their country. They are selected for their supposed experience and wisdom. Many, after having served their country faithfully, have been degraded to private soldiers, and obliged to stand sentinel before the same hall where they have sat in deliberation with their sovereign, to decide on the fate of the empire. It is from the part of the build
ings in which they sit that their rank is determined, as is that of other officers. Thus the hall in which the emperor gives audience to them is to the left of the palace, and is deemed the most honourable place. It is thought that the emperor could not honour them more than by letting them hold their tribunals in this apartment. Yet, even here, in the highest position in the empire of China, they are frequently taught that lesson, which the wise man gathered from all created things, that, “ All is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
There is another body of men in the imperial cabinet, whose duties are similar to those of the prime ministers. These consist of six Tartars, and four Chinese, some of whom are sent as governor-generals into the provinces, and residents in the colonies. They read the extracts of public documents, write the answers, and put the seals upon
them. Another board of officers, consisting of four Mantchoos, two Mongols, and two Chinese, examine the translation of documents, and transmit them to their proper quarters.
Next in rank to these are the superintendents of the treasure ; the keepers of records; accountants; various chambers of secretaries; and heralds; amounting to more than five hundred mandarins and clerks, to each of whom is assigned an appointed sphere of business, so that no delay may be occasioned even in the most trivial matter. Everything in the cabinet is, indeed, done by rule, and despatch is its characteristic. The law ordains that not a day should pass
before each paper is examined, and submitted to the perusal of the sovereign. All death warrants sent to
Pekin for signature are examined by the ministers themselves; and if anything should serve to exculpate a criminal, it is rendered imperative upon them to bring it forward. So also, when a mandarin is accused of forfeiting his rank, they are bound to discover his former merits, if he had any, which may expiate his subsequent misdeeds. On the other hand, however, if a mandarin, who ought to have been degraded, is still retained, and again transgresses, that minister who pardoned his faults becomes responsible.
With the exception of these two cases, the most important business devolves on the secretaries of the ministers, who are permanently attached to their offices.
Frequent changes occur in the imperial cabinet of China. At the same time there is no party spirit displayed as in European courts. When one officer is dismissed, the others do not resign their seals of office, but proceed at once to choose another, and before night he is installed into his office. This arises from the fact, that the aristocracy all entertain the same notions concerning politics. They are all submissive courtiers; and the only contest known among them, is who shall prove the most servile to the emperor. The cabinet, however, is the hot-bed of intrigue; and all its members are secretly at work in order to obtain promotion. The sure road to preferment is to have a friend among the females of the harem, and this seems to be the chief endeavour of the cabinet ministers, for with such a patron they are safe. Even if they fall, by such intercession they are sure to rise again, and regain the regal favour. And such a vicissitude most of them have experienced. Scarcely one, it has been asserted, has remained in quiet possession of office for any time, except those who serve as willing