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has been ascertained to exceed, annually, 1,200,000 taels, about 400,0001. sterling, on imports alone; but this bears no proportion to indirect gains arising from trade. Contribus tions are exacted from the hong merchants under various names, as “ Uses of the army," “ Imperial tribute," " Yellow river dues," etc.; and the Consoo fund, at first intended as a provision for defraying the debts of bankrupt hongs, is a rich source of revenue to the Chinese, as well as a heavy loss to foreign traders.* Besides this, the inferior offices of the customs at Canton, being farmed out, are maintained by irregular charges on European commerce.
Extensive as the commerce with China, then, appears to be, it is yet a field almost unexplored. It is hoped that recent events will afford the merchant more ample scope than heretofore ; that he will be permitted eventually to enter into the interior of China. Such a consummation is devoutly to be wished, not only for the prosperity of Europe, but for the spiritual well-being of the Chinese. For if the merchant were allowed to carry his wares into the heart of the country, the missionary might carry there the infinitely richer treasures of the word of life.
* The Consoo fund is derived from charges, amounting to about tlirce per cent, laid by the hong merchants on foreigu exports and imports.
The hope entertained by Christians that China will one day prove a highway for the heralds of salvation is not unfounded. A change has already taken place. Until recently, its peculiarities of manners, customs, education, government, religions, and its acknowledged antiquity, have been concealed from the observation of other nations. Now, however, some have visited this country, and some have even penetrated into the interior, and made themselves acquainted with the habits of the people. We believe that the Almighty has designs of mercy toward China,
and in his own good time they will be accomplished. At his word
Every valley shall be exalted,
And all flesh shall see it together. Isa. xl. 4, 5. Information has already been given concerning education among the Chinese.
Historians, as Confucius, depicted the ancients as they deemed they might have been, rather than as they were. Their guide was tradition, and that being blind, led them astray. Fallible as reason is, it would have proved a better teacher, for had they drawn a correct inference from the defective state of society in their own days, when education was more general than in the remote ages, they must have become convinced of its utter insufficiency.
How powerless to produce right moral conduct the mode of education in China is, may be seen in several of the preceding chapters. This will be more clearly discerned, however, in a description of the manners and customs of the people, which may be subdivided under four general terms, namely, the Character and Domestic Institutions of the Chinese ; Ceremonial Usages; Amusements; and Costume and Domestic Manners.
THE CHARACTER AND DOMESTIC INSTITUTIONS
OF THE CHINESE.
Speaking of the character of the Chinese, Gutzlaff remarks: “Generally, they may be considered an agricultural people, whose density of population exceeds the means of their subsistence. The consequences are very obvious. The capital being divided into endless sections, many individuals are without a portion; and whilst the majority earn a scanty subsistence by the sweat of their brow, a very numerous class has nothing on which to depend. On the one hand, such a state prompts to the most unwearied exertion, merely for the sake of maintaining life ; industry is no longer a matter of choice, but becomes a necessary and constant habit, whilst the least intermission of it leads to misery. On the other hand, man's mind, thus ground down to the earth, cannot aspire to higher things : in supplying the most urgent bodily wants, every thought is absorbed, the same necessities and cares present themselves daily, and there is neither time nor inclination to seek for mental or spiritual improvement. Those who are left portionless must contrive for themselves, and either starve or become rogues to prolong their existence. Hence the vast numbers of beggars and vagabonds which are met with every where, and the thousands who are constantly perishing from want of food. The economical habits of the Chinese, also, may thus be explained, for waste produces want, and their feeding upon any substance which yields nourishment, how loathsome soever, is no longer a matter of absurd predilection, but of absolute necessity. Their clothing, dwellings, and whole mode of life, amply bespeak the necessity by which they are controlled. Those classes who are above want are too deeply tinged with the national spirit not to show themselves Chinese by their grovelling desires. Sensual inclinations operate instead of want, and to satisfy
these they are as eager as the poorer classes to procure a livelihood. Their habits degenerate into sloth, because they consider it beneath their dignity to engage in labour; and the length of the nails is used to indicate their exemption from menial occupation. If they do, however, engage in literary pursuits, the same industry which animated the peasant is visible in their studies; they actually toil to obtain knowledge, and carefully store up their acquisitions."
A marked feature in the character of the Chinese is their love of money. All their thoughts and pursuits are centred in " the mammon of unrighteousness.” And this ruling passion during life is strong even in the hour of death. They seek to establish a rate of exchange beyond the grave! They are in the habit of burning paper laid over with thin plates, under the impression that its ashes will take the value of dollars in the other world! Their gods are rewarded for their favours after the same manner; and as more than a thousand papers can be bought for a dollar, and each one when reduced to ashes is worth that sum, this is deemed a profitable mode of remittance! So vain are they in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts are darkened.
The favourable parts of the Chinese character are mildness, docility, industry, peaceableness, subordination, and respect for the aged. These, however, are accompanied by the vices of insincerity, falsehood, mutual distrust, and jealousy. No disgrace is attached to lying and deceit among them, and it is praiseworthy if practised towards foreigners. Concerning their duplicity, Barrow observes : " As a direct refusal to any request