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this official either awards the legal punishment or forwards. the report through the proper channels to his provincial superiors. This system of self-government answers admirably in all hamlets, or in villages adjacent to any town possessing a resident garrison; but there are cases where it is open to grave objections, and leads to incessant anarchy and disorder. We have already noticed the circumstance of the inhabitants of each village being all members of one large family or clan. In the event of such a clan being numerically weak, or within easy reach of military coercion, its organization is useful both in supporting the Government and promoting the well-being of the labouring classes; but it sometimes happens that a clan consists of two or three thousand individuals, and resides in the immediate neighbourhood of another clan equally strong and implacably hostile. Such instances are especially common in the turbulent provinces of the south; and then, instead of the elders meeting to discuss the peaceable concerns of their villages, they meet to make arrangements for a clan-fight-a fight in which the combatants, numbering possibly five or six thousand men, maintain for several days, and even weeks, a useless desultory warfare, causing great disturbance in the surrounding districts, and fostering an universal spirit of discontent. Many of the insurrections that have threatened the existence of past or present dynasties are distinctly traceable to these rivalries; and of late years a petty quarrel in the heart of the Kwangsi province, arising from the supposed theft of a cow, led to a clan-fight of several weeks, during which time a small and but little noticed congregation of obscure and indigent men known as worshippers of a new god formed themselves into a political association, defied the authority of the magistrates, and, as leaders of the Taeping rebellion, have directed one of the most remarkable revolutions upon record. The customs of self-management and of obedience to elders are so closely bound up with the deeply-rooted institution of patriarchal power that the provincial officials rarely interfere in these clan feuds until too late, and then have the mortification of finding their authority totally disregarded. It thus happens that a principle in itself good, and under proper guidance most useful in promoting peace and good order, becomes, through the military inefficiency of the Government and an unwisely extended system of toleration, a grave element of disorganization.

Another cause of state weakness arises from the regulations affecting the public examinations. The working of that great competitive system of China, which makes official rank dependent upon literary merit, is generally well understood, and does not here require notice, although it may be observed that the expenses



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attending such education as would enable a student to compete successfully, are far beyond the ordinary means of the humbler classes, and these, consequently, do not practically share in the much vaunted advantages of open competition. There are also certain orders of the people who are not permitted by law to hold office in any form. Of these we may instance all actors, public singers, or theatrical performers; also that large class of domestic slaves or bond-servants, who alone number many millions. But the evils arising from competition are not occasioned by limitation, but by a too wide extension, and by the circumstance of the Emperor being obliged, if he governs justly, to select his officials from the lists of successful candidates.

In peaceful times the distribution among the thirteen hundred districts in the provinces of a number of resident gentlemen of quiet habits and literary ability, possessed with legal authority, is conducive to much good; and the system that provides these officials satisfies the feelings of the people, and works harmoniously with their other institutions; but it signally fails in providing men of such character and administrative ability as are required for grave emergencies. A sedentary and studious boyhood, followed by three severe competitive trials in early manhood, are not advisable preparations for men who have to control rebellious populations, as is apparent from the tenor of the Pekin gazettes, which during the past twenty years of internal discord contain a long series of reproaches for timidity and misconduct, acknowledgments of incapacity, and degradations from office.

The competitive system creates also a national indifference with regard to the stability of an existing Government. The people are aware that whatever may have been the dynasty, Tartar or Chinese, the Emperors have rarely infringed the custom that awards office to successful graduates, and they find that their personal interests are not affected by a change of rulers. Thus the institution of competitive examinations, although possessing many advantages, is accompanied with two very serious defects: it produces in times of danger incapable officials, and it engenders among the people an undesirable absence of sympathy with their Government.

The most injurious, however, of all the causes which tend to weaken the Empire is the universal depreciation of military service, a principle which pervades the whole political system, and which is, in fact, the natural result consequent upon the undue estimation given to literary pursuits. The Utopian fallacies involved in this principle were wisely disregarded by the early Manchu Emperors. These Tartars, upon their usurpation,


sensibly determined to maintain their power by organizing an efficient army. Garrisons were stationed in the walled cities, guns were cast and placed in battery, and the troops were well supplied with arms. Obedience to the existing laws was strictly enforced, and political agitators met with instant punishment. It has resulted that the whole of the eighteenth century, that immediately succeeding the conquest, is always instanced by the Chinese themselves as the most peaceful and glorious in their annals. The later Emperors have gradually forgotten the secret of their strength, and have allowed themselves to be influenced by the maxims of Chinese philosophy, and general insubordination has been the consequence. The walls and gates of the fortified towns are crumbling or in ruins, dismounted guns lie rusty and useless in the long grass of the slopes, and the arms and ammunition supposed to be in store are either missing or disgracefully unserviceable. The native army has degenerated into a most inefficient militia; the Tartar garrisons, through want of proper drill, have lost much of their military vigour; and at present the only really valuable troops that the Emperor has under his command are the hundred thousand Tartars stationed at or near Pekin. The officers and men of the native Chinese army are recruited from an inferior class, and are regarded with considerable contempt by their non-combatant countrymen. The Tartars are differently circumstanced, and their superior officers are usually men of ability and social standing; the men also are comparatively effective, but their numbers are altogether inadequate for the purpose of maintaining order in the tumultuous provinces, and this fact has led their generals to adopt a very unadvisable policy. It is their custom, whenever their forces are required to take the field, to enrol large numbers of volunteers, to whom is given a considerable bounty, together with extra pay and rations. Upon the conclusion of the operations these men, who are then discharged, spread themselves over the country, swell the local bands of insurgents, and by their pillaging and lawlessness aid in fomenting the disturbances they were intended to quell. There are other causes which create distress among the people and enfeeble the Government, but which our limits will only permit us to indicate. Of these the most important are the too great extent of the empire and the excessive population of certain of its districts, the dissimilarity of the provincial dialects, the absence of good roads, and lastly, the frequent recurrence of inundations and earthquakes. To these the central provinces are specially subject, and thousands, who are thereby made homeless, finding themselves unrelieved by any fitting scheme of poor-laws or public charities, resort to plunder or insurrection. The Manchus

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have also a special difficulty to contend against, affecting themselves alone, and this is the wide-spread belief entertained by the Chinese that their dynasty is drawing to a close, and that the imperial weakness is precursive to an early and inevitable fall.

Before the Empire can attain that administrative strength and provincial cohesion so essential for stability, it will be necessary that the military forces be reorganized and their social status raised. Piracy must be suppressed; efficient bodies of police should be established in the large cities; and that miserable force, the imperial navy, must be altogether reconstructed. It will also be requisite for the Government, while maintaining the integrity of the civil institutions, to be careful not to permit patriarchal authority and competitive regulations to produce internal anarchy and official incapacity.

In order that the measures to be adopted to carry these principles into practice may be effective and lasting, the Chinese people will have to modify many of their long-cherished opinions, and considerable changes must take place with respect to their views upon home and foreign policy-changes that will be slow of formation, but which are being prepared for by events now in progress. Of these the most prominent are the Taeping rebellion, the extension of European intercourse, and the employment of foreign contingents. The former, which is attracting the grave attention of all classes in the East, is especially remarkable, because it contains elements that have never before existed in Chinese insurrections, and has developed amongst a numerous body of men the germs of religious fanaticism. Whatever may be the fate of this rebellion, it will have performed one great and signal service. Through its influence in propagating the belief in an active Supreme Power, and through the destruction by its adherents of all Buddhist temples within their territory, it will tend to weaken and perhaps ultimately eradicate that incongruous combination of superstition and atheism, that deplorable indifference upon all religious subjects, which now degrade the national


Our limits forbid us to discuss, on the present occasion, the interesting topics which were treated of in the debate in which Lord Naas's able speech on the 6th of July, 1863, was delivered; but putting out of view the merits of the policy which England or other foreign nations may have pursued towards China, we may remark that the employment for the first time in Chinese annals of foreign contingents is mainly consequent upon the Government finding themselves unable to overpower the Taepings and suppress piracy. It is doubtful whether these contingents will effect the precise purposes for which they have been raised; indeed, while we


write we are informed that the most powerful foreign aid which the Government has yet bespoken, that of Captain Osborn's armament, has, for some unknown reason, been rejected at the last moment by Prince Kung. This step may involve serious consequences to the dynasty which the Prince represents; but whatever may be the issue of the civil war now raging, the lessons which foreigners have taught will unquestionably be useful in developing the latent strength of the Empire. The attention of the people will be at last directed to the causes that have made them incapable of successfully resisting European demands, and have necessitated submission to grievous humiliations. They will observe their own countrymen, when rightly drilled and armed, become courageous and efficient soldiers, and so they will gradually comprehend the advantages attending discipline and organization, and they will perceive the comparative inefficacy of their sailing and rowing war-junks as contrasted with well-ordered, well-manned, and highly-competent steam-propelled gunboats. The obvious lessons to be thus taught will not be lost upon an energetic although conceited race, sufficiently clearsighted when material interests are in question.

China has in this nineteenth century reached a very critical period of her history, and her ancient institutions and long-enduring but now stagnant civilization are upon their trial. It is therefore fortunate that her people, with their self-reliance and remarkable unity of character, combine a devoted attachment to their native provinces; for these qualities will be needed to carry them safely through that temporary disorganization which seems inevitable, but which we hope may result in assuring to China a more permanent stability and in placing her in a more satisfactory position among the ranks of useful and progressive nations.


ART. II.-1. English Traits. By R. W. Emerson.



2. The Conduct of Life. By R. W. Emerson. 1860. 3. The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. By O. W. Holmes. London, 1861.

4. Our Old Home. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. London, 1863.


T first sight it appears exceedingly strange that three races, like the English, Irish, and French, dwelling so near each other, with no vast difference of country or conditions of climate, yet divided so distinctly at the heart of their national character, with the unlikeness so sharply defined in the national features, should ever have had the same Eastern origin, the same child


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